In Matthew 24, Jesus said that there would be many false prophets. Ellen Harmon, later Ellen White after she married James White, a minister, told the people to check her out. She said, “Now, I know my work is a supernatural work and it is either of God or the devil, but you will have to check it out and decide.” (See Testimonies, vol. 5, 671.)
We must check out anyone who claims to be a prophet. A few years ago when I was at a camp meeting that we were conducting, a man came up to me and said, “I am a prophet.” I do not scoff at anybody who claims to be a prophet, because the Lord could send us a prophet at any time. But there us a text in the Bible that says to prove all things. It is 1 Thessalonians 5.
So when this man told me that he was a prophet (actually it was his friend standing by me who told me that the man was a prophet), I had some questions. Then there was a lady from France several years ago who said that she had the gift of prophecy. I do not scoff at that, but I have some questions for her, too. In fact, if you, or I or anybody said, “I believe that the Lord has sent me the gift of prophecy,” we should be checked out by the church to see whether we meet the tests of a prophet, which are in the Bible.
Tests of a True Prophet
I will list ten, and I will give some texts.
If a person is a true prophet, they will tell the truth. The Bible says that it is impossible for God to lie. They will make predictions that come true, according to Jeremiah 28:9.
A true prophet will prophesy in the Lord’s name. 2 Peter 1:21.
A true prophet will not give some private interpretation of Scripture. 2 Peter 1:20.
A true prophet will point out the sins of the people of God. Isaiah 58:1. If a person is a true prophet, they will not just come to you with some lovey-dovey message and never tell you about your character defects, which need to be changed. That is a hard test for many so-called prophets to pass.
A true prophet will warn God’s people of coming judgment. Isaiah 24:20, 21 would be one example.
A true prophet will build up, or edify, the church. They will not tear it apart. 1 Corinthians 14:3, 4.
A true prophet will teach in harmony with preceding prophets and with the Law of God. Isaiah 8:20 says, “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word,…there is no light in them.” This is one of the most important ones of all, and many so-called prophets cannot pass this test.
A true prophet will recognize the incarnation that Jesus came in the likeness of sinful flesh. 1 John 4:1-3. This is an exceedingly important test, also. Many so-called prophets cannot pass this one either.
A true prophet will not lead people into some kind of fanaticism, some crazy idea that you find out too late has ruined your health, or your family, or something else in your life. They must have good fruit. When you listen to what a true prophet says, you will have good results in your life. Let me give you a quick example.
Sometime past there was a person, I do not know if this person actually claimed to have the prophetic gift, but they professed to have a special message from God for His people. They went around to different churches in the West Coast of the United States, then moved eastward. Wherever they went, one of the things we began to notice was that families would break up. Wives would be leaving their husbands, and they would follow this man here and there. When I saw that, I said, “That man is not a true prophet. It is not good fruit. A true prophet does not go around breaking up families in God’s church.” Jesus said that a true prophet would bear good fruit. (See Matthew 7:15-20.)
Some day I am going to show the evidence in the life and work of Ellen White, and let me tell you there is a mountain of evidence, to prove that she was a prophet. I am not embarrassed; I am not afraid; I have studied this. I do not believe this because somebody told me; I checked it out myself for several months. I wanted to know for sure, and there is no question! The evidence is overwhelming! God sent us a special messenger who was more than a prophet. When we read what she wrote, it leads us right back to the Bible. I have been reading her writings for over 40 years, and over and over again I have read something that she wrote which I did not know. I said, “Does the Bible teach that?” So I would start checking out the Bible and there it was. I had not noticed it.
But I do want to spend just a little time on the last test of all:
A true Bible prophet must have visions and dreams—period. That is what the Bible says. “Then He said, [This is God speaking to Aaron and Miriam.] ‘Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, make Myself known to Him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream.’” Numbers 12:6. Notice, if anyone claims to be a prophet, the Lord says if he or she is really a prophet He will make Himself manifest to that person. How? In a vision and in a dream.
Now what happens to a prophet when they are in vision? The book of Daniel gives us a fuller description of a prophet in vision than any other place in the Bible, although there are a few other descriptions. The most complete description of a prophet in vision is in Daniel 10:7. Daniel gives the record of this vision. He says, “And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men that were with me did not see the vision; but a great terror fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.”
So the other men realized that something supernatural was happening. That is what occurs when a prophet is in vision. Other people in the room realize that something supernatural is happening. What is this supernatural thing? Look what it says in Daniel 10:8. “…I saw this great vision, and no strength remained in me; for my vigor was turned to frailty in me, and I retained no strength.”
Continuing in verse 9 we read, “Yet I heard the sound of his words; and while I heard the sound of his words I was in a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground. Suddenly, a hand touched me.…” Then he receives instruction from the angel about the latter day; and then it says, “And suddenly, one having the likeness of the sons of men [That is Jesus Christ.] touched my lips; then I opened my mouth and spoke, saying to Him who stood before me, ‘My Lord, because of the vision my sorrows have overwhelmed me, and I have retained no strength. For how can this servant of my Lord talk with you, my Lord? As for me, no strength remains in me now, nor is any breath left in me.’” Daniel 10:16, 17.
A Prophet in Vision, Does not Breathe
Daniel says, “How can I talk to You Lord, when I am not breathing? There is no breath left in me.” You know, if you took a mirror right now, and if you put this mirror right in front of your face and speak, moisture will gather on the mirror, because when you talk the air is coming out of your mouth. It is only one of the ten signs, but it is a significant one. A prophet in vision does not breathe. That is a supernatural experience. Now, friends, this is something that is pretty hard to fake.
When I was a freshman in college, I was in a swimming class and, of course, we had to swim under water and do different things. One of the things the instructor had us do was to hyperventilate then we would hang onto the side of the pool and put our head in the water. We were timed to see how long we could hold our breath.
The longer you can hold your breath, the better you can swim underwater. There are professional divers whom, I am told, can hold their breath under water for three and a half minutes after they have hyperventilated. There is some danger involved in that. I could not do it for three and a half minutes. I tried, and I was one of the last ones in the class to lift my head out of the water. My head was under the water for one minute and fifty seconds.
Do you know how long Ellen Harmon White held her breath while she was in vision? I would like to share a few eyewitness accounts. You see, you have to have eyewitnesses if you are going to know that a person is a prophet.
Merritt Kellogg, md, writes on May 29, 1853: “Sister White was in vision about twenty minutes or half an hour. As she went into vision, everyone present seemed to feel the power and presence of God and some of us did indeed feel the Spirit of God resting upon us mightily. We were engaged in prayer and social meeting Sabbath morning at about nine o’clock. [Generally Ellen White went into vision in public when she was in a religious meeting, and often when she was praying.] Brother White, my father, and Sister White had prayed and I was praying at the time. There had been no excitement, no demonstrations. We did plead earnestly with God, however, that He would bless the meeting with His presence and that He would bless the work in Michigan.
“As Sister White gave the triumphant shout, ‘Glory, glory, glory,’ which you have heard her give so often as she goes into vision, Brother White arose [That is her husband.] and informed the audience that his wife was in vision. After stating the manner of her visions and that she did not breathe while in vision, he invited anyone who wished to do so to come forward and examine her.
“Doctor Drummond, a physician, who before he saw her in vision had declared her visions to be of hypnotic origin and that he could give her a vision, stepped forward and after a thorough examination turned very pale and remarked, ‘She does not breathe.’ I am quite certain that she did not breathe at that time while in vision nor in any of several others, which she has had, when I was present.
“The coming out of the vision was as marked as her going into it. The first indication that we had that the vision was ended was in her again beginning to breathe. She drew her first deep breath long and full in a manner showing that her lungs had been entirely empty of air. After drawing the first breath, several minutes passed before she drew the second, which filled the lungs precisely as did the first. Then a pause of two minutes and a third inhalation after which the breathing became normal.” This was written by a medical doctor. (See General Conference Bulletin, 1893, 59, 60, by M. G. Kellogg, M.D., Battle Creek, Michigan, December 28, 1890.)
In 1857, there was a man present when she went into vision who did not believe in the visions, did not believe there was anything supernatural. In the same way, Elder White stood up and invited anybody who was present to examine her. They tried all kinds of things. They would take a candle and put it in front of her mouth when she was talking to see if there was any air coming out. The fire would not flicker. They would take a mirror and put it in front of her mouth to see if any moisture gathered on the mirror. No moisture collected on the mirror.
But this man, Brother Bordeau, decided to be much more direct. He put his hand right over her mouth to see if there was breath; there was not any evidence of breath. He had been told that she did not breathe and he said, “Well, I am going to check this out.” So do you know what he did? He took one hand and put it over her nose, closing off the air passages, and he put the other hand over her mouth. And then everybody began to watch. Would you not watch such an experiment?
Everybody watched. One minute went by. Two minutes went by. Three minutes went by. Five minutes went by. What happens in five minutes? A few years ago when I was in Texas, a lady was choked for four or five minutes by somebody who was in her garage. Now she was still alive, but after that she was a vegetable for as long as she lived. If you are choked for four or five minutes and if you survive, you have such severe brain damage that you are a vegetable the rest of your life. You cannot talk; you cannot hear; you cannot understand; you cannot communicate. You just lie there in bed. You are a vegetable. That is it after four or five minutes.
However, Brother Boredau kept holding on for more than five minutes. He kept on six minutes. Seven minutes. Eight minutes. Nine minutes. Ten minutes. (See Statement of D. T. Bourdeau, February 4, 1891, quoted in J. N. Loughborough, The Great Second Advent Movement, 210.)
At ten minutes all of a sudden he became very frightened and he just got up and went out of the room. He could not take it any longer. Now, nothing happened. There were times when she was in vision for over two hours without breathing. The people who saw that said, “The Lord has sent to us a prophet. The Lord has sent us somebody who is more than a prophet, a special messenger to prepare us for His Second Coming.” (See Statement of D. T. Bourdeau, February 4, 1891, quoted in J. N. Loughborough, The Great Second Advent Movement, 210.)
Special Light from Heaven
I want to tell you, friends, I have read Mrs. White’s books. I consider these books to be of greater value than all the books I studied to get my Master’s Degree, my Doctor’s Degree or any other degree. These books are more valuable to me than any of those things, because these books contain special light from heaven.
Suppose somebody reading this knew a world famous physician, and I was sick. So you said to me, “I have a relative who is a world famous physician. I think He could help you, and I would like to get you an appointment so that you can see Him.” If you were sick, would you want to see this person?
But, friend, these books contain the wisdom of the Great Physician. The information I have found in these books has saved me from great, great suffering.
We still have these books available. Today we can get the writings of Mrs. White in three volumes. We have taken many, many of the books and put them into three volumes so that we can take them with us wherever we go. I have the entire Ellen White writings now on CD ROM on my computer. I take it with me wherever I go, anywhere in the world, so I can check things. I am asked questions, because some people think that I am a theologian. I am not actually that smart. It is just that I have access to light from heaven that leads me back to Bible truth.
Knowing Him Better
I want to tell you, friends, I have read these books for over forty years and I have checked them over, I believe, thousands of times. I have checked them over and over again with the Bible. They always agree. The knowledge in these books and this writing has led me closer to Jesus, they have helped me to know Him better.
My dear friends, if there is somebody reading this who has never been exposed to this information before, if you are that person, let me tell you something. I am not trying to push something off on you. All I am saying is, “Check it out. Check it out. Just get down on your knees and say, Lord, is this really true? Have you really sent to us a special messenger? Please help me to see the evidence. Check it out.”
The Bible says to prove all things. Hold fast that which is good. I have checked it out, and I found that it is good.
Here are a few things in Ellen White’s writings about what is going to happen in our time. See if she told the truth. This was written before the First World War, before the development of worldwide Communism, before the Second World War, the development of the atomic bomb and the riots in our cities. This was written before all of those things happened.
She said the conditions in our cities were going to get more and more objectionable. (See Testimonies, vol. 7, 82.) Has that happened? The time was going to come when the power of the labor unions would be very impressive. (See Ibid., 84.)
She said the time was going to come when the atmosphere was going to be polluted in our cities. (See Ministry of Healing, 262.) They did not have cars when she wrote that. She said the time was going to come when there was going to be great unrest among the nations and there was going to be great wars and millions of lives were going to be lost. (See Review and Herald, May 26, 1891; Ibid., November 17, 1910.)
By the way, back when she said that, because of the recently discovered theories of evolution, people were saying, “The world is getting better and better.” Ellen White said the time was coming when there was going to be more trouble than there had ever been in the world. There was going to be millions of lives lost in great wars. (See Signs of the Times, April 21, 1890.) Has that happened?
Right after the turn of the twentieth century she wrote that very soon grievous troubles were going to break out among the nations that would not cease until Jesus comes.” (See Review and Herald, November 24, 1904.) Has that happened? She said a time of great anarchy is coming in the world. (See Patriarchs and Prophets, 101.) She said there was going to come a time when gigantic monopolies would be formed. Has that happened? You are seeing it happen right in front of your eyes.
The Light at the End of the Tunnel
But why are we happy anyway? Because we have special light from heaven that not only explains the darkness around us, but shows us also the light at the end of the tunnel and how to be ready for the soon coming of Jesus.
Friend, I have so much in my heart. I want to invite you, oh, please, if you have never checked these things out, do so. It will be one of the greatest blessings that will lead you to an understanding of Bible truth.
Over and over again I have been in situations where people ask me how I know so much about the Bible. They think that I must be smart. It is not that I am smart; it is just that I am like the early disciples who went to listen to John the Baptist. I want to listen, to read the special messenger, to get information about how to get ready for the Second Coming, and I have been greatly blessed. I would like for you to have the same blessing that I have had. Just check it out.