What is a revelation???
Revelation is divine self disclosure. Through revelation, the divine becomes known to humanity. A revelation can either be propositional or non-propositional. Revelations can be an aspect of any type of religious experience
Propositional revelation is the communication of some truth by God to humans through supernatural means. The content of this revelation is a body of truths expressed in statements or propositions. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all claim to have this experience.
Examples of propositional revelations:
Muhammed recieving the Qur'an: On the irst appearance, the Angel Jibril told Muhammed to read, Muhammed replied that he could not read. Jibril embraced him and then told him to read again, Muhammed's answer was the same. Again Jibril embraced him and asked him to recite what would become the first verse the Surah.
"Recite: In the name of your Lord Who created man from a clot. Recite: Your Lord is Most Noble, Who taught by the pen, taught man what he did not know"
Guru Nanak: (his vision of God's court is described in detail on page 3 of Visions card). When he reappeared after the third day he was saying a verse, now called the Mool Mantra. This is also one of the most comprehensive definitions of God:
"The True One and only Omnipresent Immortal Essence of Reality. The Creator, the Omniscient and Omnipotent, the Incomprehensible (the fearless). Before all Beginnings and after all Endings. Beyond Time, Space and Form (and enmity). Free from the cycle of Births and Deaths, the Self-manifested. The Loving Merciful Enlightener (Realised with His Grace thriough total submission to His Will)".
This version of revelation is not a matter of Divinity imparting knowledge directly to humanity but of a moment of 'realisation' coming at the end of a period of reflection.
Buddhism scriptures are not seen as emerging from some transcendent source but rather from within the Buddha himself.
Brief description or the experience: As he sat meditating under the Bodhi tree, he realised that he had been reborn many times; that all beings were reborn according to their deeds; that suffering was fuelled by craving and that there was a means of bringing this suffering to an end.
Main Features of Revelation
Franks Davis said that there were 5 distinctive features of revelation experience:
1. They are sudden and of short duration
2. Alleged new knowledge acquired immediately
3. Alleged new knowledge from external agent
4. The alleged new knowledge is recieved with utter conviction
5. The insights are often impossible to put into words (innefability)
The content of revelation
Universal Truths - The enlightenment of the Buddha is a revelation of a uiniversal truth. Guru Nanak recieved a universal truth revelation about the name of God.
The Future - Hildegard of Bingen claimed to have recieved insight from God about future events. An example is: "The time is coming when princes and peoples will reject the authority of the Pope. Some countries will prefer their own church rulers to the Pope. The German Empire will be divided". This was claimed to be fulfilled in the sixteenth century by the Protestant Reformation.
The Present - Benni Hinn was a leader of the charismatic movement, anc claims that he has words of knowledge from God that only humans can possess, not even engels or the devil could understand what we could. He said that "In a few minutes from now, every person here or at home is going to recieve that anointing power over demons"
Spiritual Help - James (in his book; The Varieties of Religious Experience) talked about Saint Ignatius's experience in which he saw the plan of divine wisdom in the creation of the world.