What's the Harm in Continuing Revelation?
Suppose I were to consider the Bible to be God's true and living word, and yet still believe in continuing revelation. In other words, what if I consider God to be actively revealing things to people today. First, we might ask the obvious question, Why do we need our Bibles? Why does Paul say that we can understand by what is written (Ephesians 3:3ff)? After all, God can simply reveal it to us when we need to know it. What is the point of the written word anyway?
The Bible clearly teaches, as we have thoroughly examined, that God's complete revelation was conveyed through the writing of the apostles. Therefore, to go beyond that is to add to God's word things that He has not provided. Many have said that they received modern day messages from God, and while some of these messages proved true, some did not. What about when God gives a vision or message that doesn't come true? Was it from God? Clearly not. God doesn't make mistakes. If even one vision or message did not prove true then how can I trust the others?
Further, God would not require mankind to trust our own hearts or feelings. From the beginning of time, He has provided us with evidence and substantiation for the things we believe in. As Moses was delivering the old law to the Jews, God made this decree for them to follow,
"Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot, so that you may remember to do all My commandments and be holy to your God." (Number 15:38-40)
God's plan from the beginning has been for men to not follow after their own heart, but to follow after the commandments of God. In fact, God warns us not to trust in our own feelings for they lead to destruction. We are simply not capable of directing our own steps and need the word of God as an objective place in which to measure our thoughts, feelings, opinions, and intentions.
"There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death." (Proverbs 14:12, 16:25)
"I know, O LORD, that a man's way is not in himself, nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps." (Jeremiah 10:23)
This line of reasoning deserves some reflection. If someone gets a feeling (vision, message, etc.) from God, how do we know if it is from God? Since divine revelation clearly ended with the apostolic age, we can make an immediate assumption that God speaks only through His word. If we have feelings about something - good or bad - they are our feelings, and no one else's. The Bible states clearly that they cannot be trusted; consequently we can measure them only against the standard of His word.
There are great dangers in relying on a modern day revelation. First, if we trust in these feelings, thoughts, visions, and messages then, we are in danger of misdirecting our steps (Jeremiah 10:23). We could easily find ourselves believing in false doctrine, or trusting that which is false. Second, we must consider that one person's modern day revelation is as good as another. What if two people have conflicting revelations? How can we know which one is true? Maybe neither is true.
Once again we are called back to the standard of truth - the Bible. No matter where we start - if we love truth we will end up back at the word of God as recorded for us by His apostles and prophets. Nothing else can be trusted as absolute truth.