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Question About God's Self-Disclosure

Posted by Matt Postiff July 25, 2016 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Theology 
We were discussing God's miracles and how he revealed himself to the Israelites in physical form. Is there a reason why God chooses to not reveal himself so publicly?

Although Scripture does not offer a direct answer to this question as far as I am aware, we can piece together a decent answer.

First, God doesn't reveal himself publicly today in human form precisely because He already did so in history once during the earthly lifetime of Jesus. No more is necessary. This revelation of God through the Son, according to Hebrews 1:2, is the pinnacle of divine revelation. No more is needed to reveal God.

Second, given the completed Word of God, it is unnecessary for God to show Himself publicly. Remember the words of Abraham to the dead rich man in Luke 16:29 concerning the living: "They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them." The rich man objected and said if one goes to them from the dead (a form of a public revelation), then his brothers would really believe. But Moses responded, "If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead." Jesus teaches us here that a public revelation will be insufficient to get stiff-necked people to believe. They will always find an excuse to avoid the obvious, to skirt the facts, to turn away from God, because that is what they WANT to do in their hearts. And in fact they have done so with Jesus--who DID rise from the dead, and yet people STILL aren't persuaded about avoiding Hell. We have the Word of God, which is a sufficient and perfect revelation of God to us today, and we need nothing else.

Third, God doesn't need to reveal Himself publicly for people to know Him because He has another mechanism to accomplish that outcome. He convinces sinners through the proclamation of the gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit to believe in Him. Thus we who believe in Christ know God, and don't require some public spectacle to cause us to believe in Him. "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." John 20:29.

Fourth, God does reveal Himself in a general way to all mankind in nature (Psalm 19:1-6). Because of this, all people have no excuse for their disbelief (Romans 1:19-20 and surrounding). They reject this knowledge, and God is not obligated to give them more such knowledge about Himself.

Finally, the Lord Jesus Christ will return bodily, visibly, and gloriously to the earth once again. Every eye will see him, whether at the rapture or at the second coming. So, God has chosen to reveal himself in bodily form and publicly—just at limited times such as the first and second comings. Then for all eternity, His servants will see Him.

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