Progressive Revelation

By Dr. Ken Matto

The true description of biblical progressive revelation is as follows:

Progressive revelation in Christianity is the understanding that the sections of the Bible that were written later contain a fuller revelation of God compared to the earlier sections. For instance, the theologian Charles Hodge wrote, "The progressive character of divine revelation is recognized in relation to all the great doctrines of the Bible. .. What at first is only obscurely intimated is gradually unfolded in subsequent parts of the sacred volume, until the truth is revealed in its fulness." The ultimate revelation of God is understood to be found in Jesus Christ as revealed in the Gospels. Hence according to this idea, the New Testament should be used to understand and interpret the Old Testament, even though all sections of the bible are believed to be accurate according to conservative theology. - From Wikipedia

Throughout the penning of the Bible, God had opened up the revelation of Jesus Christ continuously. For example:

(Num 24:17 KJV) I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.

(Isa 7:14 KJV) Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

(Micah 5:2 KJV) But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

(Mat 1:22-23 KJV) Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, {23} Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

(Mat 2:1 KJV) Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

Now let us look at this particular thread. Numbers was penned by Moses about 1400 B.C. when he wrote the words of Balaam. Notice that Balaam says that he shall see him, but not yet. Then we skip to Isaiah 7:14 where we are given more information about the Lord Jesus Christ. Isaiah prophesied approximately 750-680 B.C. So in 700 years we are given the fact that Jesus would be born of a virgin which was a major sign to identify Him. Then next we jump to Micah where we find another major piece of information, His birthplace was to be Bethlehem. Micah was a contemporary of Isaiah and God gave him the additional piece of information of the birthplace. Then we jump 700 years ahead to Matthew 1:22-23 where we are told that Isaiah’s prophecy of the virgin birth has been fulfilled. Then we see in Matthew 2:1 that Micah’s prophecy of the birthplace of Jesus has been fulfilled. This is an example of progressive revelation and a very important principle to remember concerning progressive revelation is that it is not extra-biblical. Progressive revelation is only possible within the confines of Scripture and not after the completion of it. Let us look at one more:

(Dan 12:9 KJV) And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.

(Rev 22:10 KJV) And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.

The book of Daniel was written anywhere between 605-530 B.C. In Daniel 12:9, we read that the words are closed up until the time of the end. Then in Revelation 22:10 which was penned about 95 A.D. we read that Jesus is commanding that the words of the prophecy of this book (the whole Bible) are not to be sealed. So here we have a sealing of the word for about 500-600 years but when the book of Revelation has been penned, the words are not to be sealed anymore, in other words, there will be understanding by true believers, not a select few.

The doctrine of "Progressive Revelation" after the Bible was completed, is a false gospel that is believed by many apostate groups.

1. The Latter-Day Saints
2. Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches
3. The Seventh-Day Adventist Church
4. The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
5. The Watchtower
6. The Bahai Faith
7. All Christian cults, such as David Koresh and Jim Jones
8. All Date-Setting Groups

All the progressive revelators share the same belief that God is revealing additional truth today (a new light) that was not revealed when the Bible was completed around 95AD. They believe the seals were closed to John on Patmos, despite Revelation 22:10 saying otherwise, and they feel that "they" or some other person or group that they "worship" is the instrument which God brings the final revelation to the masses, as they are all in violation of Revelation 22:18.

The Bible was written by God to be one cohesive whole and that is why books like Daniel were sealed up until the entire Bible was completed. If a person would try to use just one book of the Bible to try and come to a bible-wide truth, they will fail. As we saw the progressive revelation of Jesus Christ from Moses to Micah covered a time period of about 700 years. When the Bible was completed, then all passages that were sealed were unsealed. The true student of Scripture now had the all the books of the entire Bible to study in harmony with each other. It was now possible to compare Scripture with Scripture using the entire Bible and not just a portion of it. (1 Cor 2:13 KJV) Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.