"The Spirit of Prophecy!"
Throughout the long ages of Bible history, there has always been the prophetic word. Whether to correct the erring or instruct the righteous, to reveal the future or to warn us from harm, God has given timely messages to His servants, the prophets. Through 4000 years of Scripture, we see the prophets faithfully giving the messages from God. But what about the modern era, after the book of Revelation? Will there be modern prophets? Will there be the need for more instruction from God? Let's look at this important topic.
1. What did Jesus warn us about in Matthew 24:11
The warning about false prophets implies that there would be true prophets. Otherwise, He could have just said to beware of any prophet.
2. What does God promise concerning prophets? Amos 3:7
3. Will the gift of prophets be a part of the church in these last days? Ephesians 4:11
We have not all come into the unity of the faith, and we are not yet all "perfect" men and women in Christ. So we still need the gift of prophecy in the church. The purpose for the gift of prophecy and these other spiritual gifts is the perfecting of the saints.
4. What did Jesus say that He would send unto the present generation in Matthew 23:34?
5. Does the Bible indicate that there will be prophets in the last days? Joel 2:28
6. Does the apostle Paul expect that there should arise other prophets? 1 Corinthians 12:28
7. What does he say is the most desired gift? 1 Corinthians 14:1
Prophecy is the most desired gift, because with it comes the wisdom of God. The prophet Hosea said: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." (Hosea 4:6)
8. We have already learned about the Remnant church of the last days; What identifies that remnant? Revelation 12:17
"which keep the ________________ of God, and have the____________of Jesus Christ."
One of the identifying marks of God's true remnant church is that they have the testimony of Jesus. Revelation 1:2 says of John: "Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw." John, as a prophet, identifies the messages of his book, Revelation, as the testimony of Jesus.
9. What does he define the "testimony of Jesus" as? Revelation 19:10
10. Who were John's brethren that had the "testimony of Jesus?" Revelation 22:9
John's brethren were the prophets, and the true church at the end of time will have the "testimony of Jesus."
11. What does the apostle Paul tell us to do concerning the spirit of prophecy? 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21
"__________________not prophesying, _______________all things;_____________fast that which is good."
We should be careful not to "despise" the idea of someone having the gift of prophecy until we first test that claim according to God's holy Word. If it is good, we are to "hold fast" to it!
12. What does the apostle John tell us to do concerning whether a prophet is true or not? 1 John 4:1
We are to put the so called prophets to a test to see if they are of God, or of the devil.
13. How should we test the prophet? Deuteronomy 18:22
A true prophet must be right 100% of the time. God never makes mistakes. If he says something is going to happen, it will always happen unless there are other conditions in the prophecy which have not been met. A good example of this happening in the Bible was when God said through Jonah that He would destroy the city of Ninevah. As a result of Jonah's message, the people of Ninevah repented of their sins and God did not destroy them. Of course, this was what our loving God wanted for them all the time!
14. What other important test, must a true prophet pass? Isaiah 8:20
A true prophet must uphold and teach the law of God. He must agree with the testimony of Jesus found in the Holy Bible. A true prophet must be in agreement with all the true prophets which came before them. God does not contradict Himself. Truth is eternal. Truth cannot become error any more than error can become truth. Anyone who claims the gift of prophecy and yet writes or teaches things that are contrary to the light already given by the prophets, cannot be a true prophet of God.
15. What did the Lord say should be done to anyone claiming to be a prophet , but they teach disobedience to God's commandments? Deuteronomy 13:1-5
"And that prophet shall be_______________to______________________"
This shows us the importance of obedience to God's ten commandments, and the faithfulness of those who claim to be prophets. This verse also makes it plain that there were prophets whose writings were not part of the canon of the Holy Scriptures.
16. Is it possible for a prophet to be female? Judges 4:4
17. What other example do we have of prophetesses in the New Testament? Acts 21:8-9
You can also find the stories of Miriam, the sister of Moses; Huldah, Naodiah, and Anna, the prophetess who waited at the temple in Jerusalem, to see the newborn Messiah. The Bible identifies all of these as prophetesses.
In lesson 8 you learned about the 2300 day prophecy of Daniel 8. There are interesting circumstances surrounding the discovery of this prophecy, and the Bible even prophesies about this great disappointment. In the early 1800's, God called a farmer named William Miller to study out and preach about the great prophecies of the book of Daniel. Miller was the first to use the 2300 day prophecy to arrive at the year 1844. Miller did make one mistake though, he assumed the cleansing of the sanctuary to mean the second coming of Jesus. For several years Miller and thousands of others spread the message about the soon coming end of the world. These "Adventists" as they were known, were greatly disappointed when 1844 came and passed and Jesus did not return. Many were so disappointed that they lost faith altogether, but there were others who continued to study God's Word. Eventually they found their error. They were right about the date that the prophecy would be fulfilled, but they had been wrong about what was to take place! The Old Testament sanctuary service lets us know exactly what the cleansing of the sanctuary means. It is when Jesus would enter into the Most Holy Place to begin the judgment.
Let's look at a few of the verses of Revelation chapter 10. Here it tells the story about the great disappointment of 1844.
18. What does the angel have in his hand? Revelation 10:2
Notice that the little book is opened. In Daniel 12:4, God tells Daniel: "shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." The book of Daniel is the little book which was to remain sealed until the time of the end. In the days when travel and knowledge are increasing, the book of Daniel would begin to be understood.
19. Where does the angel stand? Revelation 10:2
You should remember that in Bible prophecy, the sea represents the old world, Europe, and the earth represents the new world, the United States of America. As William Miller was giving the Advent message in America, God raised up another group in Europe to proclaim the same message. Neither of these two groups knew about the other until much later.
20. What was he told to do with the little book? Revelation 10:9
21. What was the result of his eating the little book? Revelation 10:10
a. "it was in my mouth _________________________ as honey"
There was great excitement in the Protestant churches of America and Europe in the years leading up to 1844. The little book was indeed sweet to the taste. But when 1844 passed and Jesus did not return as expected, the prophetic message of Daniel became bitter! It was an exact fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
22. What does the angel say must happen after this great disappointment? Revelation 10:11
The prophecy tells us with certainty that after the great disappointment, the church would go on to "prophesy again" to "many peoples, and nations, and tongues and kings." In order to do this, the church would need to have a prophet and the "spirit of prophecy" that we have been studying about.
Shortly after the great disappointment of 1844, a famous Evangelist was given a vision. In this vision, an angel told him to take the message of the vision to the churches. This famous man was afraid that he would be scorned and ridiculed and he failed to give God's message. The vision was then given to a prominent Minister who had basically the same reaction and also failed to deliver God's message. Next the vision was given to a sickly seventeen year old girl by the name of Ellen Harmon (later to become Mrs. Ellen G. White). Little Ellen was reluctant, but faithful to carry out the work that the Lord had given her to do.
Throughout her lifetime she received some 2000 visions. She wrote 54 published books and recorded over 25 million words of testimony to the church. Her writings have had all the Biblical tests of a true prophet applied to them and in every case they have rung true! Mrs. White, who died in 1915, wrote about many and varied subjects. The Lord revealed much light about the prophecies of the Bible, the life of Jesus, and the perilous times which are to come upon the world. She also wrote much about the subject of health reform. Because many Seventh - Day Adventists have followed the health principles given to her, they live an average of 7-9 years longer than the general population and enjoy much better quality of life.
Some might tell you that Adventists put the writings of Ellen White above the Bible. Hopefully you already know this is not true, as you have studied the Bible with us! In order for Ellen White to have been a true prophet, her writings must agree with those of the prophets before her. God does not contradict Himself! We are not asking you to believe that Mrs. White was a prophet based on this study, but we are asking you to read some of her writings and decide for yourself!
You may have already read the book "Steps to Christ" in the first section of our course. This book was written by Ellen White and has been translated into over 100 languages. It is the best book to read, if you've never read one of her books before. Another great book of hers is called "The Great Controversy:" It covers the history of the Christian church from the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD to the New Earth. We are also including a bonus book: "The Desire of Ages," which has been long recognized as one of the greatest works on the life of Christ. It is my favorite book, aside from the Bible, and I guarantee it will draw you closer to the Savior than you have ever been! These books have been a great blessing to literally millions of people, and they will bless YOU too!
23. Would you be willing to read one of Ellen While's books?