Knowing the Shepherd’s Voice, Part II

As false winds of doctrine blow about with hurricane force, you better be ready to know what you believe from the Bible. You had better read the texts given in this article, know what they say, and know what they mean.

How are you going to survive? Well, the events of the last few years have shown to us very clearly that the majority of Seventh-day Adventists are not going to survive. John 10:1-5 will show you why they are not going to survive: “Truly, truly, I say to you, the one not entering through the door of the sheepfold of the sheep, but going up another way, that one is a thief and a robber. But the one entering through the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To this one, the doorkeeper opens and the sheep hear his voice; and his own sheep he calls by name, and leads them out. And when his own he brings out, he himself goes before them. And his sheep follow him because they know his voice. And to a stranger, they will not at all follow but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.”

Here is the sad fact. The majority of Seventh-day Adventists today cannot tell the difference between the True Shepherd’s voice and the voice of strangers. So when all these winds of doctrine start blowing all over the place, you find people going off after this one or going off after that one. What are you going to do about it? The winds of doctrine are already here. They are going to get stronger. You are going to hear more voices than you are hearing now. The winds of doctrine are going to gain hurricane strength. They are going to blow you off your feet unless you are anchored.

A Matter of Survival

Do you know the True Shepherd’s voice? I am sorry to have to tell you, but from my own observation, the majority of the Christian world, the majority of the Adventist world, cannot distinguish the True Shepherd’s voice from the voice of strangers. It is a terrible, terrible thing, but it is true.

You are not going to survive until the end, you will not be ready for the second coming of Christ unless you can discern the True Shepherd’s voice from every other voice. If you are one of His sheep, He says, “They will not at all follow a stranger. They will flee; they will run from the stranger, because they do not know his voice. But they know My voice.”

Do you know the True Shepherd’s voice? Can you distinguish the True Shepherd’s voice from all other voices? Can you?

A preacher of righteousnessshould be echoing the True Shepherd’s voice, but you should be checking out from your Bible whether or not your preacher is telling you the truth. You need to know for sure whether or not your preacher is echoing the voice of the True Shepherd. That is what the people did in Berea; Paul recommended it and commended them for it.

The question that you need to answer is, Can you discern the True Shepherd’s voice from all the other voices? There are many voices out there now, and the number is going to grow. If you cannot tell the difference, the devil is going to figure out what kind of voice is pleasing to you, and if you do not understand the True Shepherd’s voice from all the other voices, you are going to get snagged by something that will sound wonderful to you. You are going to think you are having a wonderful Christian experience. This will happen to the whole world.

So, I want to give you a few elementary principles about how to distinguish the True Shepherd’s voice from all the other voices.

In Harmony

Point No. 1: The True Shepherd’s voice will always be in harmony with the Law of God. The True Shepherd’s voice will never lead you to break any part of the Law of God. Regarding this, Ellen White wrote, in The Signs of the Times, July 4, 1895: “Those who have heard the voice of God proclaiming His holy law on Mount Sinai, in the hearing of the people, know His voice, and when men claiming to be led by Christ, and professing to be entirely sanctified, assert that the law of God is abolished, and ridicule and make light of the great moral standard, and set at naught the testimony of prophets and apostles, we can confidently say that we hear not in their teachings the voice of the True Shepherd. The True Shepherd’s voice has been heard, bearing a different testimony. Jesus says, ‘Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say to you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven, but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.’ [Matthew 5:17–19.]”

Mrs. White is here quoting from Matthew 5, and if you look up the context of this quote, Jesus is giving a sermon about the Law of God, the Ten Commandments. He refers to them by name, and talks about the sixth commandment and the seventh commandment and so forth.

If you are able to recognize the True Shepherd’s voice, you will know immediately that any voice that teaches you to be careless about any part of the Law of God is not the True Shepherd’s voice, and you had better run from it. You better not listen to the sermons; you better not read the books; you better not listen to the tapes; you better run, or you will be deceived; you will be hypnotized by the devil’s snares.

A Special Messenger

Point No. 2: Because God knew how dangerous the end times would be with every wind of doctrine blowing, He promised, in Malachi 4:5, that before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord, He would send Elijah, a prophet, a special messenger.

God has sent such a messenger, something He would not do unless a special messenger, a prophet, is needed. Have you ever thought that through? Does God send His people a prophet if they do not need it? No, God knew that every wind of doctrine would be blowing, so He sent to us a special messenger. You need to be reading what that special messenger wrote, because if you do not, you are going to get snagged. But if you are reading the Spirit of Prophecy every day, you will hear the voice of the True Shepherd, and when the other voices come, you will know it is time to run. But you must be reading for yourself; the preachers cannot present it all in church.

While in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Ellen White encountered a situation that brought her to write the following: “One brother thinks that Sister White doesn’t understand her own testimonies. Heard that in Minneapolis. Why? Because the brethren did not agree with them. Well, there are some things that I understand. I understand enough to acknowledge the Spirit of God and to follow the voice of the Shepherd. I understand that much.” Sermons and Talks, 149. That was her response to her critics. She understood the voice of the Shepherd, and knew the difference between His voice and the other voices.

Reading Ellen White’s writings will help you recognize the voice of the True Shepherd. There are numerous critics condemning the Spirit of Prophecy, but the most powerful evidence for these writings is that when you read Mrs. White’s books, you hear the voice of the True Shepherd. Those who do not like it do not like the rebuke given from the True Shepherd for their sins.

Be a Berean

Point No. 3: “When errors arise and are taught as Bible truth, those who have a connection with Christ will not trust to what the minister says, but like the noble Bereans, they will search the Scriptures daily to see if these things are so. When they discover what is the word of the Lord, they will take their stand on the side of the truth. They will hear the voice of the True Shepherd saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it.’ [Isaiah 30:21.] Thus you will be educated to make the Bible the man of your counsel, and the voice of a stranger you will neither hear nor follow.” Faith and Works, 86.

You can be assured that you will not listen to the voice of a stranger, if you are listening to the voice of the True Shepherd, if you are studying the Book—the Old and New Testaments. You must be on a Bible study program of your own. From what is written in the Spirit of Prophecy, it is absolutely guaranteed that you will be misled if you are not doing these things, because if you are not studying, you will not recognize the voice of the True Shepherd from all the other voices. (See Testimonies, vol. 5, 703–711; The Great Controversy, 625.) But if you are studying the Book, you will recognize when something does not ring True to the Book—it will have a different sound, and you will not listen.


Point No. 4: This is a negative point. Watch out for miracles. Miracles do not prove, in the last days, that the performer of the miracles is the True Shepherd. Of this Ellen White wrote:

“ ‘The voice of a stranger’ is the voice of one who neither respects nor obeys God’s holy, just, and good law. Many make great pretensions to holiness, and boast of the wonders they perform in healing the sick, when they do not regard this great standard of righteousness. But through whose power are these cures wrought?

“If those through whom cures are performed are disposed, on account of these manifestations, to excuse their neglect of the law of God, and continue in disobedience, though they have power to any and every extent, it does not follow that they have the great power of God. On the contrary, it is the miracle-working power of the great deceiver. He is a transgressor of the moral law, and employs every device that he can master to blind men to its true character. We are warned that in the last days he will work with signs and lying wonders. And he will continue these wonders until the close of probation, that he may point to them as evidence that he is an angel of light and not of darkness.” Ye Shall Receive Power, 202.

Miracles do not prove that it is the voice of the True Shepherd. Not at all!

Fasting and Praying

Point No. 5: Are you spending any time these days fasting and praying? Ellen White wrote concerning some people who were content with their knowledge. She wrote: “The children of God must know the voice of the True Shepherd. Is not this a time when it would be highly proper to fast and pray before God? We are in danger of variance, in danger of taking sides on a controverted point; and should we not seek God in earnestness, with humiliation of soul, that we may know what is truth?” Selected Messages, Book 1, 413.

That prediction has already been fulfilled. There is variance on controverted points all over the world. The time to fast and pray is now, so we know the voice of the True Shepherd.

Correct Mistake

Point No. 6: If, when you fast and pray and study God’s Word and the Spirit of Prophecy, you find out that you really are mistaken in something, then action must be taken. If a minister learns that he is mistaken in something he has taught and preached, he must go to those whom he has taught and to whom he has preached and tell them. Even if it was just a private opinion, he must still confess and repent to God. This is where it gets tough, because a number of people for one reason or another cannot acknowledge that they have made a mistake.

If you are in that condition, you will never make it to the kingdom of heaven. All the people who go to heaven must confess their sins and repent.

Ellen White wrote this: “With these warnings [referring to warnings in the Bible against heresies in the last days], why is it that the church does not distinguish the false from the genuine? Those who have in any way been thus misled need to humble themselves before God, and sincerely repent, because they have so easily been led astray. They have not distinguished the voice of the True Shepherd from that of a stranger. Let all such review this chapter of their experience.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 393.

She, at the time, was writing to people who were neglecting personal study and were saying they did not believe what the Spirit of Prophecy said. They were among the critics in Minneapolis, Minnesota, who did not believe that Ellen White knew what she was talking about. She cautioned them to repent, saying that if they did not do so, they would lose their way. The same is true today.

Walk In The Light

Point No. 7: If you want to be able to distinguish the voice of the True Shepherd, you have to walk in all the light you know.

“You have been able but a small part of the time to discern the voice of the True Shepherd from that of a stranger. Your neglect to walk in the light has brought darkness upon you, and your conscience, by being often violated, has become benumbed.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 229. What was this brother’s problem? He was not walking in the light. This was and is one of the big problems that creates trouble in someone’s Christian experience.

People say, “My religion does not seem real. I cannot get in touch with the Lord. It seems my prayers are not answered.” If this is your experience, you need to ask yourself, “Am I walking according to all the spiritual light and truth that the Lord has made available to me? Am I walking in all the light that I know?”

If you are walking in all the light that you know, God will give you more light. But why should God give you any more of His joy, light, and peace, if you are not even following what you already have? If you are not following what you already have, you are walking in a different direction than the True Shepherd. It is no wonder that after a while you do not recognize His voice.

Are you living up to the light you have? “Often temptations are cherished as the voice of the True Shepherd because men have separated themselves from Jesus.” Ibid., vol. 5, 428.

Beware of Stubbornness

“Men who ought to know the voice of the True Shepherd will be more ready to accept the voice of the stranger and follow in unsafe, forbidden paths because of the stubbornness of their human nature.

“Dark hours of trial are before the church [they are here right now] because they have not obeyed the warnings and reproofs and counsel of God. What a bewitching power comes upon human minds to do contrary to the oft repeated will of God, and close the eyes and stop the ears, when Jesus is calling to them to hear His voice. He says, ‘My sheep hear my voice.’ [John 10:27.]

“That night in the boat was to the disciples a school where they were to receive their education for the great work which was to be done afterwards. The dark hours of trial are to come to every one as a part of his education for higher work, for more devoted, consecrated effort. The storm was not sent upon the disciples to shipwreck them, but to test and prove them individually. Before the great trouble shall come upon the world such as has never been since there was a nation, those who have faltered and who would ignorantly lead in unsafe paths will reveal this before the real vital test, the last proving, comes, so that whatsoever they may say will not be regarded as voicing the True Shepherd.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 1001, 1002.

This is the reason you see so many leaders, ministers, and other people going off on tangents, causing others to ask, “What in the world is going on?” God is revealing to the whole church that you cannot trust what these people say. It is an awful experience through which we are going. It is time to have your eyes opened. It is time to follow all the instructions in inspired writings. Ask the Lord to help you, to have mercy on you, and to help you distinguish between the voice of the True Shepherd and all the other voices.

[Bible texts quoted are literal translation.]

Pastor John Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by e-mail at:, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.