The Spirit of Prophecy

John the Revelator in Vision
John the Revelator in Vision

A common argument we hear at Righteousness is Love Ministries regarding prophets is that there can’t be any in this modern time and that there haven’t been any prophets since the Apostolic era. And we understand their concerns as over the past century or so there have been many cries for the end of the world and unfortunately some have even ended up with mass suicides.

The Bible is full of prophets, even its last book – Revelation – is full of prophecies. We believe it is important to understand whether the prophets finished with the Bible or is there a chance that there will be prophets in the last days.

Therefore, we will look at three important questions when dealing with prophets;

– Will there be prophets in the last days?
– What are the Biblical tests?
– What are their roles?

It is important to understand that the word ‘prophet’ is a biblical term and we believe it would be wise to use biblical reference and not external reference, for the Bible will always interpret itself (2 Peter 1:20).

Will there be prophets in the last days?

Matthew Chapter 24 is an important chapter to consider here. Not only does Christ prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem, close to 40 years later, but He also talks about the events that will happen in the end times, the signs of the times. Throughout this chapter He makes 3 very clear references about prophets:

Matthew 24:4-5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

Matthew 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

Sometimes when studying the Bible we can clearly see what the Bible is saying by drawing analogies and contrasts. If Christ Himself declares that in the end times there will be false prophets who will deceive, then surely there will be Christ’s true prophets in the end times as well. We know this isn’t a mere speculation because in Joel’s end time prophecy he declares that:

Joel 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

Paul himself encourages the Christian Church to have prophecy within their members;

Romans 12:4-6 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith…

In the book of Revelation of Jesus Christ, Apostle John reveals that the last day church will have, what he calls, the ‘Testimony of Jesus Christ’ in Revelation 12:17. Now if we cross reference “Testimony of Jesus’ we will find that John himself explains what it is in Revelation 19:10:

Revelation of Jesus Christ
Revelation of Jesus Christ

Revelation 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

As we can see it is quite clear that the Bible declares that there will be prophets in the modern times, especially when Christ is so soon coming and God does not do anything without revealing his secrets to His people through His prophets:

Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

What are the Biblical tests for Prophets?

If God says that there will be prophets in the end times and he also says that many will come to deceive, which we have seen often, then how do we know whether they are of God or not? Knowing that Satan will counteract God’s plan, God gives us the following warning of false prophets and counsels us to ‘try the spirits’:

1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

As stated above we should try or test the prophets to see whether they are of God, 1 John 4:1. If we are to test the so called prophets we must first have a standard for our testing. The bible declares that;

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

Therefore we must use all the scriptures, Old and New Testament, to find the standard against which every prophet should be tested.

If we study the Bible we will find different texts that a prophet must comply with, for example – a prophet must point out sin, Micah 3:5-8.

The following is a list of ten tests that the Bible offers us when testing a prophet:

A true prophet:

– Predictions will “come to pass” – Jeremiah 28:9
– Will glorify God rather than himself – John 16:13
– Does not give his own private interpretation – 2 Peter 1:20, 21
– Points out sin – Micah 3:5-8
– Warns of coming judgment – Isaiah 24:20, 21
– Edifies the church – 1 Corinthians 14:3, 4
– Message harmonizes with the Bible – Isaiah 8:20
– Teaches that Jesus came in the flesh – 1 John 4:1-3
– Reflects Christ’s character – Matthew 7:16-20
– Obedient to the will of God – Deuteronomy 18:18

EGW holding a 8kg Bible as well as speaking & pointing to the right text
EGW holding an 8kg Bible as well as speaking & pointing to the right text

It is important to note that some predictions or prophecies are conditional, which means if people accept the warning and repent, God will not act upon His prophecies. Jonah and the prophesy against Nineveh is a perfect example of this.

There are also physical tests by which we can recognise a true prophet. In the Book of Daniel he writes a lot about the physical affects that happened when he had visions:

– Falls down weak – Daniel 10:5, 6
– Strengthened by God’s angel and raised up – Daniel 10:8
– Eyes are wide open during the vision – Daniel 10:8, 11, 18
Does not breathe during the vision – Daniel 10:17

What is the role of a Prophet?

We must understand the role of a prophet, otherwise we will get to the end of time just before Christ comes and then say we don’t need one and our understanding of the Bible is sufficient.

As individuals we have failed to understand God’s will for us and for His church, our hearts being desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:10). We need guidance and God uses prophets to express His will and uses them as an example of  His character to his confessed people. Even the Israelites were confused with Christ’s mission when he came 2000 years ago. God provided them with John the Baptist in order to make straight the highway for the Lord, yet they still failed.

Uriah Smith writes a good illustration to show the role of a prophet, especially in the end times: “Suppose we are about to start upon a voyage. The owner of the vessel gives us a book of directions, telling us that it contains instructions sufficient for our whole journey, and that if we will heed them, we shall reach in safety our port of destination. Setting sail we open our book to learn its contents. We find that its author lays down general principles to govern us in our voyage, and instructs us as far as practicable, touching the various contingencies that may arise, till the end; but he also tells us that the latter part of our journey will be especially perilous; that the features of the coast are ever changing by reason of quicksands and tempests; “but for this part of the journey,” says he, “I have provided you a pilot, who will meet you, and give you such directions as the surrounding circumstances and dangers may require; and to him you must give heed.” With these directions we reach the perilous time specified, and the pilot, according to the promise, appears. But some of the crew, as he offers his services, rise up against him. “We have the original book of directions,” say they, “and that is enough for us. We stand upon that, and that alone; we want nothing of you.” Who now heed that original book of directions? Those who reject the pilot, or those who receive him, as that book instructs them? Judge ye…

What we do say is distinctly this: That the gifts of the Spirit are given for our pilot through these perilous times, and wherever and in whomsoever we find genuine manifestations of these, we are bound to respect them, nor can we do otherwise without in so far rejecting the Word of God, which directs us to receive them. Who now stand upon the Bible and the Bible alone?

Let no one then be frightened at this false alarm! A moment’s consideration will show who receive the Bible, and who do not. Whoever receives it fully, will receive the pilot according to its directions. We do not, then, discard, but obey, the Bible by endorsing the visions; while we should just so far reject and disobey it, as we should refuse to receive the provisions it has made for our comfort, edification, and perfection.” Do We Discard the Bible by Endorsing the Visions? By Uriah Smith

Who was Ellen G. White?
Ellen White Vision of 1844
Ellen White Vision of 1844

In Amos 3:7 God states that he will not do anything unless he reveals his secrets to the prophets. In 1844 we believe it was a biblical event that deserved a prophet to guide His people through such a “bitter sweet” time like the Great Disappointment (Revelation 10:10-11). If Christ is to go into the most Holy Place of the Heavenly Sanctuary in 1844 to start the cleansing process (Daniel 8:14) and to prepare His people for His soon coming, then a great event like this has every attribute for a prophet to arise. Here at Righteousness is Love Ministries we believe that this has been fulfilled through the ministry of Ellen G. White.

According the www.whiteesstate.org, Ellen G. White (EGW) was a woman of remarkable spiritual gifts who lived most of her life during the nineteenth century (1827-1915), yet through her writings she is still making a revolutionary impact on millions of people around the world. During her lifetime she wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books; but today, including compilations from her 50,000 pages of manuscript, more than 100 titles are available in English. She is the most translated woman writer in the entire history of literature, and the most translated American author of either gender. Her writings cover a broad range of subjects, including religion, education, social relationships, evangelism, prophecy, publishing, nutrition, and management. Her life-changing masterpiece on successful Christian living, Steps to Christ, has been published in more than 140 languages (www.whiteestate.org).

But please do not take our word for it, read her writings for yourself. A good start would be Steps to Christ (audio). Test her with the above prophetic tests. If we are honest with ourselves, we will see that her ministry fits all of the above requirements for a true prophet. A good resource on the topic can be found on www.ellengwhitetruth.com.

Recommended Purchase:

What is A Seventh-day Adventists & How Inspired Was Ellen White

What is our primary purpose and goal in being Seventh-day Adventists? How did inspiration really operate in the writings and ministry of Ellen White? Elder  Dennis Priebe addresses each of these questions in such a clear, concise manner that the faith of all will be strengthened in the message and mission of the remnant church.

Dennis Priebe is a Seventh-day Adventist minister, with 40 years experience as a pastor, a teacher, and seminar speaker. 11 years were spent as a college professor at Pacific Union College, and 20 years as a seminar speaker for Amazing Facts. His one desire is to prepare people for the very soon return of Jesus to this world.

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Resources:

A great lecture of God’s guiding gift (prophets) especially for the end times.

God’s Guiding Gift / Total Onslaught – Walter Veith

Websites Defending Ellen White Against Attacks:

http://adventist-defense-league.blogspot.com/
http://www.pickle-publishing.com/papers/jeremiah-films/response-to-video-table-of-contents.htm
http://www.sdadefend.com/
http://www.ellenwhiteanswers.org/
http://www.whiteestate.org/issues/issues.asp
http://www.pickle-publishing.com/papers/index.htm
http://dedication.www.3.50megs.com
http://dedication.www3.50megs.com/egw.html
http://www.ellenwhite.info/
http://www.ellenwhitedefend.com/
http://www.ellen-white.com/
http://www.whiteestate.org/issues/issues.asp
http://www.whiteestate.org/issues/contradictions.html
http://www.ellenwhitedefend.com/Defense/Defending.htm
http://omega77.tripod.com/getback-shutdoor.htm
http://www.ellen-white.com/Plagiarism.html
http://amazingdiscoveries.org/AD-magazine-archive-fall-2011-Ellen-White
http://www.adventistbookcenter.com/white-lie-soap.html

Links to research done on the Plagiarism Accusations:

– An Analysis of the Literary Dependency of Ellen White:
http://dedication.www3.50megs.com/David/index.html

– Answers to the Plagiarism Charge (numerous links from this website too):
http://www.ellenwhiteanswers.org/answers/plagarism

– Ellen White Did Not Plagiarize – and here are the facts to prove it:
http://www.ellenwhitedefend.com/Defense/Plagiarized.pdf

– Was Ellen White Really a Plagiarist Examining the Evidence:
http://www.ellen-white.com/Plagiarism.html

– Ellen White Under Fire (Purchase Book – 2010) – by Jud Lake:
http://www.adventistbookcenter.com/Detail.tpl?sku=0816324085

– 101 Questions About Ellen White and Her Writings – by Elder William Fagal:
http://www.adventistbookcenter.com/Detail.tpl?sku=081632378X

– Messenger of the Lord (Purchase Book – 640 pages)- by Herbert E. Douglas:
http://www.adventistbookcenter.com/Detail.tpl?sku=0816316228

– ELLEN WHITE Falsely accused of Plagiarism:
http://dedication.www3.50megs.com/plagiarism_egw.html

– Did Ellen White Plagiarize?:
http://dedication.www3.50megs.com/compare75.html

– Misrepresenting Ellen White:
http://dedication.www3.50megs.com/comparePP_contents.html

– Fannie Bolton and Her Allegation – True or False:
http://dedication.www3.50megs.com/fanniebolton.html

– Was Ellen White a Plagiarist?:
http://www.ellenwhite.info/criticisms-plagiarism.htm

– Was Ellen White a Plagiarist? – by David Conklin (Interview):
http://www.sabbathpulpit.com/pics/wasegwplagairst.pdf

Ramkin Report – Summary:

Download (PDF, 264KB)

Defending Spirit of Prophecy – Vance Ferrell

Download (PDF, 775KB)

M. L. Andreasen on EGW and Spirit of Prophecy

[audio:http://righteousnessislove.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/AndreasenOnEGWandSOP.mp3]