The Gift of Prophecy

Lesson 17

 

One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen G. White. As the Lord’s messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction. They also make clear that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested. – “Fundamental Beliefs,” 17.

 

v  “Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.” 2 Chron. 20:20

v  Prophets played a vital role in both Old and New Testament times.

v  But did prophecy cease to function with the closing of the Biblical canon?

v  The Prophetic Gift in Bible Times

Ø  Though sin ended face-to-face communication between God and human beings, God did not end His intimacy with humanity.

Ø  He began sending His messages of encouragement, warning, and reproof through prophets.

Ø  In the Scriptures a prophet is “one who receives communications from God and transmits their intent to His people.”

Ø  Prophets did not prophesy on their own initiative. – 2Pet. 1:21

Ø  Moses relationship to Pharaoh was like that of God to His people.  NB – Ex. 7:1, 2

Ø  The term prophet, then, designates a divinely appointed spokesperson for God.

Ø  Prophet: nabi(H), Seer: roeh/chozeh(H) Isa. 30:10, 2Sam. 24:11

Ø  “Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7

Ø  The Functions of the Prophetic Gift in the New Testament.

§  Encourages believers to desire especially this gift. 1Cor. 14:1, 39

§  Functions of the Prophet

·         They assisted in founding of the church – Eph. 2:20

·         They initiated the church’s mission outreach – Acts 13:1, 2; 16:6-10

·         They edified the church – 1Cor. 14:3, 4

·         They united and protected the church – against false doctrine.

·         The warned of future difficulties – Acts11:27, 28

·         They confirmed the faith in times of controversy – Acts 15:32

v  The Prophetic Gift in the Last Days

Ø  Many Christians believe that the gift of prophecy ceased at the close of the apostolic era – The Bible shows a continuing need.

Ø  Continuation of Spiritual Gifts

§  There is no Biblical evidence that God would withdraw the spiritual gifts He gave the church before they had completed their purpose.

§  Church not yet mature – therefor it still need the gifts. Eph. 4:13

Ø  The Prophetic Gift Just Before the Second Advent

§  God gave the gift of prophecy to John the Baptist to announce Christ’s first advent.

§  In a similar way we may expect Him to send the prophetic gift again especially because of the false prophets. Matt. 24:11, 24

§  The rise of false prophets as one of the signs but this is also proof of true prophets during the last days. Joel 2:28-31

§  Pentecost: Early rain; Joel prophecy also about latter rain just before the second coming.

Ø  The Prophetic Gift in the Remnant Church.

§  Rev. 12 reveals two major periods of persecution. 1) 1260 years (538A.D – 1798A.D) and 2) just before the second advent.

§  “They who keep the commandments of God…”. Rev. 12:17

§  Prophets have “the testimony of Jesus”. Rev. 22:9; 19:10

§  The Spirit of Prophecy can refer to:

·         The Holy Spirit’s inspiring the prophet with a revelation from God.

·         The operation of the gift of prophecy.

·         The medium of prophecy itself.

§  Jeremiah linked the demise of this gift with lawlessness. Lam. 2:9

§  During first Exodus there were prophets, therefor there will also be prophets during the last Exodus to Heaven. Acts 7:38; Hos. 12:14

v  Post-Biblical Prophets and the Bible

Ø  The prophetic gift in end-time much the same as the Apostles.

Ø  Its thrust is 1) to uphold the Bible as the basis of faith and practice 2) to explain its teachings, 3) and to apply its principles to daily life.

Ø  Post-Biblical prophets function much like prophets whose testimonies never became a part of the Bible.

Ø  Their messages did not contradict the previous recorded divine revelation but rather confirmed it.

Ø  Testing the Prophetic Gift

§  Does the message agree with the Bible?

·         “To the law and to the testimony!” Isa. 8:20

·         A later prophet must not contradict earlier prophets.

§  Do the predictions come true?

·         Deut. 18:21, 22; Jer. 28:9

§  Is Christ’s incarnation recognized?

·         By this you know the Spirit… 1John 4:2, 3

·         Must confess Christ’s incarnation, deity, pre-existence, virgin birth, true humanity, sinless life, atoning sacrifice, resurrection ascension, intercessory ministry, and second advent.

§  Does the prophet bear good or bad “fruit”?

§  2Pet. 1:21; Matt. 7:16-20

§  It does not mean that the prophet must be absolutely perfect.

§  Elijah was a man – Jam. 5:17

§  The prophet’s life should be characterized by the fruit of the Spirit and a motivation for others to live alike. Gal. 5:19-23

v  The Spirit of Prophecy in the Seventh-day Adventist Church

Ø  The gift of prophecy was active in the ministry of Ellen G. White, one of the founders of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Ø  She has given inspired instruction for God’s people living during the time of the end.

Ø  Her prophetic call put her under critical scrutiny.

Ø  Passing the Biblical tests, she went on to minister through her spiritual gifts for 70 years.

Ø  From 1844, when why was 17, until 1915(death).

Ø  She had more than 2000 visions.

Ø  EG White never assumed the title of prophetess.

Ø  The Application of Prophetic Tests

§  Agreement with the Bible

·         Her abundant literary production includes tens of thousands of Bible texts in full agreement with the Scriptures.

§  The accuracy of predictions

·         EG White writings contain a relatively small number of predictions.

¨      The rise of modern spiritualism

Ø  Identify in 1850 with the rise of spiritualism that it would become acceptable among Christians.

¨      A close cooperation between Protestants and Roman Catholics

Ø  During her life a gulf existed between Protestants and Roman Catholics that seemed to preclude any cooperation between the two.

·         The acknowledgement of Christ’s incarnation

·         The influence of her ministry

¨      She served the church whole heartedly without pay.

¨      Her material fills more than 80 books, 200 tracts and pamphlets, and 4600 periodical articles. Sermons, diaries, special testimonies, and letters another 60 000 pages.

¨      The Lord gave her counsel in matters of health, education, family life, temperance, evangelism, the publishing ministry, proper diet, medical work, and many other areas.

Ø  The Spirit of Prophecy and the Bible

§  They do not substitute the Scripture and cannot be placed on the same level.

§  The Bible the supreme standard

·         She acknowledged Sola Scriptura

§  A guide to the Bible and the understanding of the Bible

·         She saw her work as that of leading people back to the Bible.

§  A guide to apply Bible principles

·         She helped in explaining biblical principles through Scripture.

 

Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.” 2Chron. 20:20