December 23, 2007 – December 29, 2007
“Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.” Acts 26:19.
Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 5, 668–670; Selected Messages, Book 1, 40–48.
“It is the responsibility of each individual to apply the Bible tests of a prophet to the life and ministry of Ellen White in order to be assured of the validity of her claim to be the messenger of the Lord… The inspiration of the messenger, the Scriptural nature of the instruction, the value and contribution of the messages, have been recognized and accepted since the beginnings of the [Seventh-day Adventist] church, even before there was denominational organization. Time has vindicated the confidence of the pioneers and the present believers and leaders of the advent cause in the guidance of God through the ministry and writings of Ellen White” T Housel Jemison, A Prophet Among You,< www.WhiteEstate.org> August 2007, 464.
1 By what figurative language did God describe the work of the ancient prophets? Hosea 6:5.
Note: “The people of God in these last days could not be safe in trusting in men, and making flesh their arm. The mighty cleaver of truth has taken them out of the world as rough stones that are to be hewed and squared and polished for the heavenly building. They must be hewed by the prophets with reproof, warning, admonition, and advice, that they may be fashioned after the divine Pattern; this is the specified work of the Comforter, to transform heart and character, that men may keep the way of the Lord.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 464.
2 What purpose did the Lord have in sending prophets to His straying people in days of old? What was the response? II Chronicles 24:19.
Note: “The question to be settled … is: Shall I deny myself and receive as of God the Testimonies which reprove my sins, or shall I reject the Testimonies because they reprove my sins?
“In many cases the Testimonies are fully received, the sin and indulgence broken off, and reformation at once commences in harmony with the light God has given. In other instances sinful indulgences are cherished, the Testimonies are rejected, and many excuses which are untrue are offered to others as the reason for refusing to receive them. The true reason is not given. It is a lack of moral courage—a will, strengthened and controlled by the Spirit of God, to renounce hurtful habits.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 32.
3 What messages did rebellious Judah ask the prophets to give? Isaiah 30:10. Compare Ezekiel 33:30–33.
Note: “There are some in these last days who will cry: ‘Speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits.’ [Isaiah 30:10.] But this is not my work. God has set me as a reprover of His people; and just so surely as He has laid upon me the heavy burden, He will make those to whom this message is given responsible for the manner in which they treat it. God will not be trifled with, and those who despise His work will receive according to their deeds.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 679.
4 What was Ahab’s attitude toward the true prophet of God? I Kings 22:8. To what did such an attitude often lead? Acts 7:52.
Note: “’It is Satan’s plan to weaken the faith of God’s people in the Testimonies.’ ‘Satan knows how to make his attacks. He works upon minds to excite jealousy and dissatisfaction toward those at the head of the work. The gifts are next questioned; then, of course, they have but little weight, and instruction given through vision is disregarded.’ ‘Next follows skepticism in regard to the vital points of our faith, the pillars of our position, then doubt as to the Holy Scriptures, and then the downward march to perdition. When the Testimonies, which were once believed, are doubted and given up, Satan knows the deceived ones will not stop at this; and he redoubles his efforts till he launches them into open rebellion, which becomes incurable and ends in destruction.’ [vol. 4, 211; vol. 1, 236.] ‘By giving place to doubts and unbelief in regard to the work of God, and by cherishing feelings of distrust and cruel jealousies, they are preparing themselves for complete deception.’ [vol. 3, 328.]” Testimonies, vol. 5, 672.
5 In contrast to the above, what was David’s attitude toward the message that came to him from the prophet Nathan? II Samuel 12:7–9, 13.
Note: Reporting on the work of Ellen White at a general gathering of workers in Europe, D. T. Bordeau wrote: “Not only does this gift reprove sin without dissimulation and partiality, as did Nathan when he said to David, ‘Thou art the man;’ but it deals in words of encouragement to help those reproved to overcome, and to inspire hope, faith, and courage to the desponding. It not only probes the wound, but it also pours in the oil, binds the wound, and hastens the process of restoration. It brings the receiver to the Bible, and earnestly endeavors to carry out the instructions it enjoins, exemplifying in a marked degree the rare graces of modesty, true humility, and self-denial. It identifies itself with those for whom it labors, bearing their burdens in earnest, persevering prayer, forgetful of self and ease, and keeping the glory of God and the salvation of souls in view, aiming to secure these at any sacrifice.” Review and Herald, November 20, 1885.
6 As Paul recounted his experience before King Agrippa, what did he declare had been his personal relationship to heavenly visions? Acts 26:19.
Note: “Paul declared that his change of faith had not been prompted by impulse or fanaticism, but had been brought about by overwhelming evidence.” The Acts of the Apostles, 125.
7 What principle is given to help the honest seeker in his study of revealed truth? I Corinthians 2:12, 13.
Note: “The Bible is its own expositor. Scripture is to be compared with scripture. The student should learn to view the word as a whole and to see the relation of its parts. He should gain a knowledge of its grand central theme—of God’s original purpose for the world, of the rise of the great controversy, and of the work of redemption.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 462.
“The testimonies themselves will be the key that will explain the messages given, as scripture is explained by scripture.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 42.
8 What need often arises even among those who have known the present truth? Hebrews 5:12. Compare II Peter 1:1–15.
Note: “We are not always to remain children in our knowledge and experience in spiritual things….
“God has given us many advantages and opportunities, and when the last great day shall be ushered in, and we shall see what we might have attained, had we taken advantage of the helps that Heaven vouchsafed to us; when we see how we might have grown in grace, and look upon these things as God looks upon them, seeing what we have lost by failing to grow up into the full stature of men and women in Christ, we shall wish that we had been more in earnest.” Sons and Daughters of God, 330.
“I [Ellen White] was then directed to bring out general principles, in speaking and in writing, and at the same time specify the dangers, errors, and sins of some individuals, that all might be warned, reproved, and counseled. I saw that all should search their own hearts and lives closely to see if they had not made the same mistakes for which others were corrected and if the warnings given for others did not apply to their own cases. If so, they should feel that the counsel and reproofs were given especially for them and should make as practical an application of them as though they were especially addressed to themselves.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 660.
9 What must we consider when we study certain specific counsels in the Bible and in the Testimonies?
Note: “Regarding the testimonies, nothing is ignored; nothing is cast aside; but time and place must be considered.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 57.
10 Against what misuses of the writings of Ellen White are we warned?
- Not to be used as an iron rule or club. The following principle addressed to ministers applies to each individual: “They profess to believe the testimony borne, and some do harm by making them an iron rule for those who have had no experience in reference to them, but they fail to carry them out themselves.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 369.
- Not to be used as proof for unbelievers. “Some have taken an injudicious course; when they have talked their faith to unbelievers, and the proof has been asked for, they have read a vision, instead of going to the Bible for proof. I [Ellen White] saw that this course was inconsistent, and prejudiced unbelievers against the truth. The visions can have no weight with those who have never seen them and know nothing of their spirit. They should not be referred to in such cases.” Ibid., 119, 120.
- Not to select brief excerpts and use them out of context. “There are those who pick out from the Word of God, and also from the Testimonies, detached paragraphs or sentences that may be interpreted to suit their ideas, and they dwell upon these, and build themselves up in their own positions, when God is not leading them.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 179.
11 Have the passage of the years and the circumstances of modern times made the prophetic writings obsolete?
Note: “I [Ellen White] have been shown that the principles that were given us in the early days of the message are as important and should be regarded just as conscientiously today as they were then.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 158.
“Through His Holy Spirit the voice of God has come to us continually in warning and instruction, to confirm the faith of the believers in the spirit of prophecy…. Time and trial have not made void the instruction given…. The instruction that was given in the early days of the message is to be held as safe instruction to follow in these its closing days.” Review and Herald, July 18, 1907.
12 In Paul’s appeal to Agrippa, what pertinent question did he ask? Acts 26:27.
Note: “My brethren, beware of the evil heart of unbelief. The word of God is plain and close in its restrictions; it interferes with your selfish indulgence; therefore you do not obey it. The testimonies of His Spirit call your attention to the Scriptures, point out your defects of character, and rebuke your sins; therefore you do not heed them. And to justify your carnal, ease-loving course you begin to doubt whether the testimonies are from God. If you would obey their teachings you would be assured of their divine origin.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 234.
13 When there is no prophetic vision, what dire consequences result? Proverbs 29:18. Compare I Samuel 3:1.
Note: “Satan is … constantly pressing in the spurious—to lead away from the truth. The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God. ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish’ (Proverbs 29:18). Satan will work ingeniously, in different ways and through different agencies, to unsettle the confidence of God’s remnant people in the true testimony.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 48.
14 With what words did Jehoshaphat encourage the people as they followed the Lord’s direction given through the prophet? II Chronicles 20:20.
Note: “Some will yield their faith, and will deny the truth of the messages, pointing to them as falsehoods.
“Some will hold them up to ridicule, working against the light that God has been giving for years, and some who are weak in the faith will thus be led astray.
“But others will be greatly helped by the messages. Though not personally addressed, they will be corrected, and will be led to shun the evils specified…. The Spirit of the Lord will be in the instruction, and doubts existing in many minds will be swept away. The testimonies themselves will be the key that will explain the messages given, as scripture is explained by scripture. Many will read with eagerness the messages reproving wrong, that they may learn what they may do to be saved…. Light will dawn upon the understanding, and the Spirit will make an impression on minds, as Bible truth is clearly and simply presented in the messages that since 1846 God has been sending His people. These messages are to find their place in hearts, and transformations will take place.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 41, 42.