Early Revelaton Among Men Before Before the Scriptures

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The following is excerpted from the 2012 edition of the Advanced Bible Studies Series course “Bible Geography and History” by D.W. Cloud:

In Genesis we learn that man has had revelation from God since the very dawn of his history. Luke 1:70 and Acts 3:21 say that God has spoken “by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began.” 

1. The details of the revelation God has given man from the beginning

a. Adam and Eve walked and talked with God directly in the Garden of Eden. After they sinned, God personally taught them about the coming Saviour through direct prophecy (Genesis 3:15) and through the typology of clothing them in the skins that were required through the slaying of innocent animals (Gen. 3:21).

b. Abel, Adam’s second son, was a prophet who preached salvation by grace without works through the death of an innocent substitute (Lk. 11:50-51). Abel offered by faith (Heb. 11:4), meaning he offered according to God's Word, because "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17).

c. Enoch was a prophet who proclaimed the Second Coming of Christ and the end-time judgment of mankind (Jude 14-15). He was Noah's great grandfather (Gen. 5:21-32).

d. Noah was a preacher of righteousness and probably preached for 120 years as he was building the Ark (2 Peter 2:5).

e. Job was a prophet who knew the Redeemer would come to the earth in the last days and resurrection him from the dead (Job 19:25). 

f. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph were also prophets as we see in the book of Genesis and were told about Christ’s coming kingdom (Acts 3:21). Abraham saw Christ (John 8:56). He knew about the coming heavenly Jerusalem (Heb. 11:8-10). 

2. The significance of the revelation God has given man

a. God has spoken to men through His prophets because He loves man and wants him to repent and be saved (1 Tim. 2:3-5). 

b. The fact that God has spoken to men from the beginning and throughout history means that men are without excuse. The world is in darkness today only because most men have consistently ignored the prophets of God. Cain ignored Abel. The people of Enoch's day ignored him. Noah's message was ignored. Most of Noah's grandchildren rejected the truth which had been taught by their fathers. Israel rejected its prophets. Most people today reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ which has been preached to the ends of the earth for 2,000 years.

For example, most parts of Asia today are in gross heathenism, but the reason lies in the historical rejection of the gospel by Asian peoples. The first foreign missionary work took place in western Asia by the Apostle Paul. The truth was largely rejected, and today most of western Asia lies in bondage to false religion. A strong tradition says the apostle Thomas carried the gospel to India and other parts of South Asia in the first century. His message was largely rejected by Asian people, and today the offspring of those Christ-rejecters continue to live in darkness and lies. It is not because God has not tried to give light! God has made every attempt to fill the world with light and is endeavoring to do so today through the Great Commission, but men love darkness rather than the light (Jer. 7:25-26; 25:4; Jn. 3:19).

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