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The Difference Between Revelation, Vision and Wisdom

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Revelation

Jeremiah 33:3 (NKJV) 3 Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’

What is Revelation? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, revelation is defined as an act of revealing or communicating divine truth. It is something that is revealed by God to humans. It is an act of revealing with the intention of making something known; something that is disclosed, especially an enlightening revelation or a pleasant and often enlightening surprise. Revelation is derived from the Greek, apokalypsis which means uncovering of the head, disclosure of hidden springs, revelation/uncovering of divine mysteries, manifestation of persons. Revelation comes from the Hebrew galah, which means to uncover, remove, reveal, emigrate, disclose, discover, or display.  Revelation is a disclosure. It is the revelation of divine truth in nature, through Christ, through scripture, and by God’s spirit of Truth.

Types of Revelation

Deuteronomy 29:29 (NKJV) 29 “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Based on the verse above, we can see that there are things that God has chosen to reveal, and there are also things that He has kept secret. Deuteronomy 29:29 indicates that God has chosen to make two types of revelation to human beings or his creatures. The first type is “those things which are revealed,” and the second type is “the secret things.” “Those things which are revealed” belong to humanity and their generation and are known as general or natural revelation, while “the secret things” belong to God and are known as special or supernatural revelation. General or natural revelation pertains to the universal truths about God that can be discerned through nature. It always encompasses God’s revelation to all people and in all places, providing evidence of God’s existence as well as His intelligence, power, and transcendence. The two scriptures that show general revelation are Psalm 19:1–4 and Romans 1:20. Psalm 19:104, this scripture shows that the universe reveals a well-intentioned creator who is God. 2. Romans 1:20: Here, God’s eternal power and divine nature are clearly seen and understood from what has been made, and there is no excuse for denying these facts. In other words, creation reveals the existence of a powerful and divine creator. Special or supernatural revelation refers to the specific truths about God that can be known through supernatural means. It is the way God has chosen to reveal Himself through miraculous events. Special or supernatural revelation includes physical appearances of God, dreams, visions, the written Word of God, and most importantly, the revelation of Jesus Christ.

How did God supernaturally reveal Himself to humanity?

The ways in which God revealed Himself to humanity include:

  • God physically appearing to people (Genesis 3:8, 18:1; Exodus 3:1-4, 34:5-7)
  • God speaks to people through dreams (Genesis 28:12, 37:5; 1 Kings 3:5; Daniel 2)
  • God speaks to people through visions (Genesis 15:1; Ezekiel 8:3-4; Daniel 7; 2 Corinthians 12:1-7).

The most important and primary way God reveals Himself is through His Word, the Bible. This is known as special revelation. God guided the authors of Scripture to accurately record His message to mankind while still allowing them to use their own styles and personalities. The word of God is considered to be God Himself (John 1:1), living and active (Hebrews 4:12), inspired, profitable, and sufficient (2 Timothy 3:16-17). God chose to communicate His word through human authors because He understood the inaccuracy and unreliability of oral tradition, as well as the potential for misinterpretation of dreams and visions. Therefore, everything humanity needs to know about God, what He expects, and what He has done for them is written in the Bible.

The ultimate special revelation. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God……. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14). From the above passage in John 1, it shows that the ultimate form of special revelation is the Person of Jesus Christ. God became a human being. Hebrews 1:1-3 gives us a clear picture of Jesus as the ultimate form of special revelation. The Bible says, “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Hebrews 1:1–3). This verse in Philippians 2 paints another picture of Jesus being our ultimate special revelation. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:5–8). God became a human being, in the person of Jesus Christ, to identify with you, set an example for you, teach you, reveal Himself to you, and, most importantly, provide salvation for you by humbling Himself in death on the cross. Thus, Jesus Christ is the ultimate “special revelation” from God.

Vision

Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) 8 Where there is no vision, the people perish:

but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Vision, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is the act or power of seeing, sight. It can also refer to something seen in a dream, trance, or ecstasy, especially a supernatural appearance that conveys a revelation. Additionally, it can refer to a thought, concept, or object formed by the imagination and a manifestation to the senses of something immaterial. Vision can also relate to the act or power of imagination, the mode of seeing or conceiving, unusual discernment or foresight, and something seen that is a lovely or charming sight.

Vision comes from the Hebrew word “châzôn.” The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon defines châzôn as: 1) vision 1a) vision (in an ecstatic state) 1b) vision (at night) 1c) vision, oracle, prophecy (divine communication). Vision is a visual form of divine revelation, which includes dreams and consists of symbolic images often accompanied by their interpretation. A vision is something seen in a dream, in a trance, or in a state of ecstasy. It can represent an idea to achieve, a goal to attain, and may also manifest as a supernatural appearance that conveys a revelation. A vision can also serve as a means of communication from the spiritual world or as an experience of the supernatural. It is important to note that vision can be received or generated from different sources. These sources may include the flesh or other spiritual beings such as angels, demons, or God and His Spirit. A genuine vision should convey revelation or divine instruction about the future, or what must be done to accomplish God’s purpose in one’s life or ministry. The vision is what gives you or your ministry its specific and unique character. It provides the framework for each task ordained by God and gives you or your ministry its particular identity. The vision provides direction and a sense of purpose for an individual or assignment. Vision is incredibly important, particularly a divine vision, as it serves as a powerful motivator in any given assignment. In Proverbs 29:18 and Amos 8:1-14, the Bible shows that people perish when there is no vision or revelation from God. Therefore, a vision gives birth and life to people and ministry. It shapes the work and determines the parameters of the tasks to be accomplished in terms of time, place, magnitude, means, activities and administration. Vision is important as it provides a platform through which revelation expresses itself.

Vision comes in two forms

The first is something that people produce, which is what you desire in your heart, your goal, or your purpose in life. This is something that even those who are not born again can have. For example, Hitler had a vision of taking over Europe. Michael Jordan had a vision to be the greatest basketball player ever. Bill Gates had a vision to put a computer in every home. Henry Ford had a vision of a car for every family. The second form of vision is divine. In this form, vision is used as a means to receive communication from the spiritual world. Examples of this include In the Bible, a prophetic word may be referred to as a vision (Isaiah 1:1; Nahum 1:1). Certain individuals, such as Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zachariah, experienced a greater capacity for visionary revelation. Additionally, there are instances such as Gabriel’s announcement of John’s Birth (Luke 1:8–20) and the announcement to Mary about Jesus (Luke 1:26–37). Ananias and Paul received visions to prepare Paul for baptism (Acts 9:10–19). Peter and Cornelius received visions to prepare them for Peter’s ministry (Acts 10:3–35). Peter was freed from prison through an angelic vision (Acts 12:9). Paul received a vision for European ministry (Acts 16:9) and was encouraged in his ministry through a vision at Corinth (Acts 18:9). The book of Revelation is full of visions shown to John. The Bible teaches that visions of God and His sovereign Lordship are necessary to propagate the truth. Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law.” When prophetic vision is lacking, the proclamation of God’s will among His people ceases, and civilization itself is jeopardized.

Wisdom

1 Corinthians 1:30-31 (KJV) 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

What is wisdom? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, wisdom is the ability to discern inner qualities and relationships, insight, good sense, judgment, generally accepted belief, and accumulated philosophical or scientific learning. The Hebrew word for wisdom is “chokhmah,” derived from the verb “chakham,” meaning “to be wise.” It encompasses a wide range of meanings in the Old Testament. It can refer to the skill or ability of craftsmen or artists (Exodus 28:3; 35:10; 36:1–2; Jeremiah 10:9). Certain animals are described as “very wise” because of the clever ways they overcome their weaknesses (Proverbs 30:24–28). Most often, “chokhmah” refers to a person’s wise judgment or decision-making, which leads to success (Proverbs 13:17; 14:8; Ecclesiastes 8:5; 10:12). Wisdom brings strength and favor; the wise avoid acting recklessly or out of anger (Proverbs 14:35; 24:5; Ecclesiastes 7:19; compare Proverbs 14:16; 16:14; 29:8, 11). Wisdom is the ability to discern right from wrong. This discernment is marked by sound judgment, moral sense, and prudence. Wisdom is accumulated knowledge, erudition, and enlightenment. It is also an ability, a quality, and a trait. Wisdom is the ability to apply knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight. It is the quality of being prudent and sensible, and it is the trait of utilizing knowledge and experience with common sense and insight. Wisdom is Jesus Christ Himself according to 1 Corinthians 1:24-31

Three types of wisdom

James 3:13-17 (NKJV) 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

Human Wisdom

It is the wisdom that is acquired under the sun, the wisdom acquired by human effort (Ecclesiastes 1:9). It is the wisdom that perishes with men; it is not eternal or everlasting (Ecclesiastes 3:19-20). This wisdom is inferior; one only becomes fully successful when one fears God while walking in this wisdom (Ecclesiastes 7:16-17). The wisdom of this age is acquired through books, experiences, and observations. Anyone can obtain this wisdom, whether or not they have the Holy Spirit. Anyone can attend college, university, or any school and become a professional in any field, but not necessarily have the Spirit of God in them. This wisdom is greatly centred and identified with philosophy; its god is tradition, education, and logic. The Bible is not logical but spiritual because holy men wrote it when the Holy Spirit came upon them. The understanding of the Bible is not derived from logical reasoning but from the Spirit of God.

Human wisdom is good but inferior to the other two types of wisdom. Human wisdom operates in a way that if a sickness, for instance, cannot be cured by medical science, then that’s the end of one’s life. This type of wisdom is not bad in itself. However, it does not give acknowledgment or recognition to God. Its proponents believe that one becomes successful because of their intelligence or smartness, and they also believe that the earth or humans themselves came into being by themselves.”

Demonic Wisdom

James 3:13-17 (NKJV) 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

The wisdom mentioned in the following verses is referred to as demonic wisdom. It is associated with the devil, demons, and Satan (Ephesians 6:12). The Apostle Paul describes it as the wisdom of the rulers of this age, which some believe to be political or governmental leaders. However, according to the scriptures, it refers to demonic wisdom, associated with principalities, rulers of the darkness of the earth, and spiritual wickedness in high places. Any wisdom that opposes the wisdom of God is considered demonic. If you seek human wisdom and realize that it contradicts spiritual wisdom and makes the wisdom of God appear foolish, then it can be considered demonic. Demonic wisdom is fueled by evil manipulations and is inspired by the devil. Any wisdom that challenges the wisdom of God or seeks to rationalize everything is considered demonic. It influences and exploits your senses. For example, wisdom that supports same-sex marriages and abortion is considered demonic. Living by demonic wisdom excludes you from eternal life. It does not honour God and provides false hope that undermines faith in Christ. While it may offer success on earth, it does not have any impact on eternity. It may help accumulate earthly treasures but ultimately leads to damnation.

Godly Wisdom

James 3:13-17 (NKJV) 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

“This is the wisdom that comes from God” (Job 28:12–23). This wisdom is spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14). It is not something that you can derive from going to school, book knowledge, or scientific methods. Godly wisdom cannot and does not change and cannot be disproved (Matthew 28:18).

In James 3:16-17, Apostle James describes this wisdom as one which seeks peace, not success. It desires purity, not happiness. It shows itself in willingness to yield to others, a sharp contrast to ambitious self-promotion. This wisdom is not corrupted; it is pure and peaceable and helps you live a holy life. Now, godly wisdom is essential for success as a Christian, both in this life and in the afterlife. Without Christ, it is impossible to possess godly wisdom, as it is He who grants us this wisdom. He is our wisdom from God (1 Corinthians 1:24, 30).

What is the Difference between Revelation, Vision and Wisdom?

Revelation is the act of making something known. It involves the communication of knowledge to man by a divine or supernatural agency. It is an enlightening or astonishing disclosure. On the other hand, vision refers to the mental formation of images or impressions that are not perceived as real or present to the senses. It can also be a religious or mystical experience of a supernatural appearance. A vision can be something seen in a dream, in a trance or ecstasy. It may also represent an idea to achieve or a goal to attain. In religious or spiritual contexts, a vision can convey a revelation. Vision involves producing mental images through imagination and meditation, whereas revelation is something received, often by divine or supernatural means. You can imagine and dream up a vision, but discovering God’s will requires that God reveal His will to you. Wisdom is the accumulated knowledge, erudition, and enlightenment. It is also the ability to apply knowledge or experience, as well as the quality of being prudent and sensible. Wisdom involves utilizing knowledge sensibly, correctly, and usefully. It is the trait that results from using accumulated knowledge in a prudent and sensible manner. While vision is related to sight, wisdom is related to insight. Vision is the act or power of imagination, while wisdom is the judgment of what is received through imagination. Revelation involves the disclosure of divine truth, whether through nature, Christ, scriptures, or God’s Spirit of Truth. Vision is a form of divine revelation that can include dreams and symbolic images, often accompanied by their interpretation. Meanwhile, wisdom is the ability to discern between right and wrong, marked by sound judgment, moral sense, and prudence.

In conclusion, while revelation, vision, and wisdom work together, they have different roles. Revelation brings to light what is obscure, often through something seen or heard. Vision provides the platform for the revealed thing to be conveyed. Wisdom judges the truth of the message and helps to work out the disclosed assignment correctly. Revelation discloses vision acts as the vehicle for the revelation, and wisdom acts as the architect of what was disclosed. Revelation brings the disclosure, vision serves as the vehicle or platform, and wisdom acts as the architect—the creator of patterns and plans.

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