Is the New Testament "New Revelation?"

I have often heard it said, by both Catholic and Protestant apologists, that new revelation ceased with the death of the last apostle. However, both from things I’ve read in the CCC and in the Bible itself, it seems that revelation may have ended before that. The letter of Jude speaks of the faith which was “once for all delivered to the saints.” This makes it sound as though they had already received the fullness of divine revelation at this time. The Catechism also says that there will be no new revelation after Jesus, though I’m not quite sure what that means. Did revelation cease at Jesus’ assumption? Or was it not until St. John’s vision of Jesus in the book of Revelation?

65 “In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son.” Christ, the Son of God made man, is the Father’s one, perfect and unsurpassable Word. In him he has said everything; there will be no other word than this one. St. John of the Cross, among others, commented strikingly on Hebrews 1:1-2:

In giving us his Son, his only Word (for he possesses no other), he spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word - and he has no more to say. . . because what he spoke before to the prophets in parts, he has now spoken all at once by giving us the All Who is His Son. Any person questioning God or desiring some vision or revelation would be guilty not only of foolish behavior but also of offending him, by not fixing his eyes entirely upon Christ and by living with the desire for some other novelty.

73 God has revealed himself fully by sending his own Son, in whom he has established his covenant for ever. The Son is his Father’s definitive Word; so there will be no further Revelation after him.

I’m really not sure what to make of this. Did Revelation cease before the New Testament was even written? Is the New Testament simply a record of things already revealed, or can it properly be considered new revelation? Is the idea that revelation ended with the death of the last apostle actually a Protestant idea, or does the Catholic Church teach this somewhere? I’m curious because I see implications for this in the debate over sola scriptura. I would appreciate whatever help you guys could give me on this. Of course, citations are always appreciated.


I could be wrong about this, but I think the CCC statement is correct. God fully revealed himself through Jesus. He specifically gave them a Tradition to pass on both orally and in writing.

In the books of the New Testament we see God acting to make sure they properly understood what was already revealed. Example: St. Peter receiving the vision to allow gentiles into the church. Another example would be John’s vision in Revelation.

These “visions” were not something “new” in addition to what Jesus had already revealed, rather they kind of helped fill in the blanks a little so they could better understand and practice fully what was revealed in Jesus.

hope that helps

With the exception of St. John the Divine, everything the Apostles told was what Jesus had revealed to them during the time he was physically on earth. So it would be fair to say that revelation ceased after the Assumption, but it took some time to “get the word out.” Anyt

Now I have always been interested in the role of the Book of Revelation. It was a private revelation of St. John the Divine. The Church has always maintained that Catholics are not obliged to accept private revelation (not even heavy-duty revelations such as the Rosary).

But Catholics are required to accept the Scriptures.

It sets up an interesting dichotomy.

The New Testament is considered part of public revelation, yes. It’s true that, for the most part, the writers were recording things that had already been revealed in Jesus’ lifetime, but these particular records, like those that make up the Old Testament, were written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Those particular documents, and not just the information contained in them, were meant by God for dissemination to the entire world.

For that reason, I would not call the Revelation to John a private revelation just because it was initially given to one person. Though there was some early controversy over whether it was Scripture, the Church guided by the Holy Spirit ultimately judged that it was part of the revelation meant for all people, not an optional appendage to the Deposit of Faith.


That’s a good way of looking at it.

Of course, in the controversy to which you refer, those opposed to the inclusion of Revelation preferred the Shepherd of Hermes (a private revelation traditionally ascribed to Hermes of Philippopolis).

So it would seem that, even if Revelation had “lost” the controversy, our NT would include private revelation anyway.

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