Is there a difference between “Revelation” and “Illumination”? There sure is, yet many Christians today use these words synonymously.
Revelation is when God reveals new information that is not already revealed in Scripture, and that is not going on today. God is not giving anymore new revelation.
Illumination is when the Holy Spirit illumines the mind of the believer to understand what is already written in Scripture.
Illumination should be happening in the mind of the believer, but revelation is not.
Unfortunately there are many famous Bible teachers today who claim that God gives them visions and speaks to them outside of Scripture. Many Christians are taught to listen for a small still voice from God, yet the Bible does not support this at all.
“You will search the New Testament in vain for instruction on how to hear the voice of God.” Justin Peters
This once again points to the importance of being a Berean, and making sure that what we are being taught lines up with God’s Word. We cannot assume that because someone is famous and has a large following, that it means he/she is handling God’s Word correctly.
Check out this excellent video that addresses the danger of confusing these two terms; gives examples of a couple of famous teachers who claim direct revelation from God outside of Scripture; and emphasizes the importance of Sola Scriptura.
“Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” Acts 17:11