If we’re not careful, we can begin to think of “revelation” only in terms of the words we find in the Bible! Granted, the words we find in the Bible are special and function as revelation. I affirm with complete conviction Apostle Paul’s declaration: “All Scripture is inspired [breathed out from God…” (II Timothy 3: 16-17 – i.e. it comes from God). But very often the “revelation” that we find in the Bible is the record of a God-encounter – a revelatory experience with God Himself – that is more than simply words! God reveals HIMSELF to someone in some profound way! It may be visual, it may be auditory – and it certainly is sensory and very real!
I think that is the kind of experience Apostle Paul had and recorded for us in I Thessalonians 4:13-17 when he shared what will happen to Christians who have died (and those who are still alive) when the Lord returns! He speaks of it as “a word from the Lord” but the words he used to describe it are very visual, even auditory – I believe Paul saw something and heard something vivid and real – a revelatory drama played out before his very eyes! More than simply words – it was a revelatory reality that will occur one day for those who follow Christ! Here read it that way and see if it doesn’t bring your comfort and living hope!
“And now… I want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. WE TELL YOU THIS DIRECTLY [A “word”] FROM THE LORD: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet Him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.” (From 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 NLT)
Wow! What an awesome “revelation” Paul must have had! Imagine it! And it’s a reality! All of those who are believers – dead or alive – will one day be a part of it! I want to experience that reality – don’t you?