ISSUES: The Real Issue, Section I

Issues 1: The Real Issues, the Side Issues, and the Pseudo IssuesISSUES: The Real Issue, the Side Issues, and the Pseudo Issues

by Dr. Ralph Larson

Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan. – Testimonies to Ministers 409

It is natural for the wrongdoer to hold the messengers of God responsible for the calamities that come as the sure result of a departure from the way of righteousness. Those who place themselves in Satan’s power are unable to see things as God sees them. When the mirror of truth is held up before them, they become indignant at the thought of receiving reproof. Blinded by sin, they refuse to repent; they feel that God’s servants have turned against them and are worthy of severest censure.

Standing in conscious innocence before Ahab, Elijah makes no attempt to excuse himself or to flatter the king . . . . He has no apology to offer. Indignant, and jealous for the honor of God, he casts back the imputation of Ahab, fearlessly declaring to the king that it is his sins, and the sins of his fathers, that have brought upon Israel this terrible calamity. “I have not troubled Israel,” Elijah boldly asserts, “but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim” – Prophets and Kings, 139,140 ISSUES: The Real Issue the Side Issues

A response to the recent attack against “certain private organizations” by the officers and the Union presidents of the North American Division.

Does The church have a cancer?

Chapter I – The Real Issue Of Unjustified And Unauthorized Changes In Our Church’s Theology


The Adventist Review of November 5, 1992, contained a sixteen- page, tract style insert titled “Issues: The Seventh- day Adventist Church and Certain Private Organizations.” It is described as an abbreviated and adapted version of a larger book with a similar title. Both the tract and the 467 page book are apparently being published for the purpose of preparing church member’s minds for the mass disfellowshipping of thousands of church members who have been protesting against unauthorized and unjustified changes in our church’s theology.

It is alleged that these “dissident” members are a cancer in the body of the church that must be cut out.

To have an informal church operating within the regular church is like having active cancer cells in a healthy body. A person diagnosed as having cancer has three options:

  1. deny there is a cancer and refuse to recognize the progressive sickness in the body;
  2. recognize that there is cancer, ignore medical treatment, and pray that God will work a miracle of healing;
  3. recognize that the cancer must be gotten rid of, have it medically treated, and, if possible, have it cut out.— Issues book, page 19.

With this awesome introduction we are ushered into the era of what appears to be an Inquisition of no small proportions.

I have written about The Great Adventist Apostasy in an attempt to alert both church members and church leaders that totally unauthorized and unjustified changes are being made in our church’s theology, and that those changes are being effected through our educational system and our church pulpits.—( See articles by Ralph Larson in Our Firm Foundation, January through December, 1991.)

When so warned and challenged, church leaders may respond in either of two ways. They may conduct careful investigations in order to determine whether the charges are valid and take appropriate corrective action as needed. Or they may decide to simply “stonewall” the charges, close ranks, assume a defensive attitude, and try to silence the voices of those who are sounding the alarm and calling for reform.

Tragically, the North American Division leaders seem to have chosen the latter course, and it appears that The Great Adventist Apostasy is to be followed by The Great Adventist Inquisition.

But will this Inquisition succeed in silencing the voices of those church members who are appealing for loyalty and adherence to the principles of our historic faith, or will it have the opposite effect? Perhaps we would do well to look back at similar situations as recorded in the pages of church history.


The Real Issue Of Unjustified And Unauthorized Changes In Our Church’s Theology

The doctrines of our church are being changed, and this is the real issue. This is the reason for the existence of the “certain private organizations” that are being attacked; and it is the reason that these private organizations are receiving such widespread support from church members who view the changes with alarm, wondering why church leaders seem to be doing little or nothing to interfere with the changes.

The changes are wrongful for two reasons. First, they are unofficial and unauthorized, having never been voted by the General Conference in session. Second, the changes have no valid basis in Scripture but are false doctrines drawn from the Calvinistic segment of Babylon where they have been held for centuries. Our pioneers met them and rejected them, as did virtually all of our church leaders, until we started sending our young people to the educational institutions of Babylon to receive their advanced degrees.

The unauthorized doctrinal changes are being effected through our educational system and our church pulpits. Instead of presenting them to a General Conference in session as a proper procedure would have required, the proponents of these changes have simply started teaching them in our schools. As a result, there is not a Seventh- day Adventist higher educational institution in North America today which is free from the false doctrines of Calvinism.

Graduates of these institutions are now taking their places in the pulpits of our churches, in the administrative offices of our conferences and in the editorial offices of the Adventist Review and Ministry. Notable exceptions to date are the Sabbath School quarterlies of the last few years which have presented lessons in harmony with our historic faith.

Compare, for example, the following clear affirmation of the Calvinistic doctrine of original sin (defined as inherited guilt) in the Review with the equally clear rejection of that same doctrine in a Sabbath School quarterly:

If a baby dies a few hours or days after birth, it is still subject to the second death— the condemnation death— even though it has never broken any commandment.— Norman Gulley, Adventist Review, January 25, 1990, page 13. Some have taught that every human being shares the guilt for Adam’s sin, as though each of us had committed that sin ourselves. Adventists reject this unscriptural teaching.— Sabbath School Quarterly, second quarter, 1990, page 42.

Here we see Adventism and Calvinism competing with each other in two of our church’s publications. Calvinistic theology offers solutions to the horrible teaching expressed in the

Review by its doctrines of predestination and/ or infant baptism. The Review offers no solution at all but simply leaves us to the awful conclusion that all children who die in infancy must be burned to death in the fires that will consume the earth. If time and space permitted, we could fill a fair- sized book with descriptions of similar outbreaks of tension between the two theologies that are competing with each other in the Adventist Church today. In Australia, suggestions have been sent to ministers from conference offices advising them as to the best methods of sustaining the doctrines of Calvinism in opposition to the doctrines of Adventism presented in the quarterlies. In England, where they print quarterlies, they simply make changes in favor of the Calvinistic doctrines. (I have samples in my files.)

I am grateful to the writers of the Issues tract and book for presenting quotations from my writings which list five major changes in our doctrines that are now taking place in various places and to varying degrees. No doubt the Holy Spirit will use this information to alert church members to their danger, but since some readers of this paper may not have seen the Issues, I will here briefly list the five doctrines:

  1. The doctrine that we receive weakness from Adam, but not guilt, now being replaced by the Calvinistic doctrine of original sin defined as inherited guilt.
  2. The doctrine that our Lord came to this earth in the human nature of fallen man, now being replaced by the Calvinistic doctrine that Christ came to earth in the human nature of the unfallen Adam.
  3. The doctrine of righteousness by faith, now being replaced by the Calvinistic doctrine of unrighteousness by presumption, salvation in sin.
  4. The doctrine of the sanctuary, now being either denied or replaced by vague uncertainties.
  5. Belief in the Spirit of Prophecy, now being denied because it supports all of the Adventist doctrines listed above and firmly rejects the Calvinistic doctrines.

While I do appreciate the printing of quotations from my writings in Issues, I would have been even more grateful if it had been pointed out that I was comparing our present situation with the following Spirit of Prophecy quotations:

“Before the last developments of the work of apostasy, there will be a confusion of faith. . . . one truth after another will be corrupted.”— ST 5- 28- 94.

“God will arouse His people; if other means fail, heresies will come in among them, separating the chaff from the wheat.”— 5T 707.

These unauthorized doctrinal changes, these heresies, are the real issue. We are most emphatically not defending or propagating our personal views, as the Issues writers insist more than 20 times. To repeatedly represent to the church membership that the contest is between the personal opinions or interpretations of the “dissidents” and “the church” is reprehensible and sets up a doubly false proposition.

We are defending the theological positions that are set forth in every statement of faith that our organization has ever published (denials notwithstanding) and that are most fully and clearly stated in the 1988 publication, Seventh- day Adventists Believe. In that volume, our position on righteousness by faith is affirmed not less that 140 times, and our position on the human nature of Christ is stated like this:

He took the nature of man in its fallen state, bearing the consequences of sin, not its sinfulness.— page 49.

These are obviously not the personal views or interpretations of the “dissidents,” much less a “new standard of Adventism” as alleged in the Issues book, page 14. And how shall we understand the bald assertions that our views do not even appear in the book SDAs Believe? (See Issues book, pages 13, 49, 241,242.) I have pointed out that we are being confronted with a doubly false proposition that the issue is between our personal opinions and “the church.” Just as we have firmly denied that we are defending our personal opinions, we must with equal firmness deny that the writers and promoters of the Issues tract and book are “the church.” They are a very small group of persons within the church. We must remember that more than nine tenths of our membership live outside of the North American Division, and that the unauthorized changes in our doctrines have scarcely been heard of in most of the countries that we call mission fields. They are beginning to make their appearance there through the influence of the more recent graduates of our educational institutions, but they have as yet hardly touched the lives of the vast majority of the membership.

To a lesser degree the same principle even applies to the North American Division. The ethnic groups in North America are comparatively untouched by the doctrinal changes, as are many of our local Hispanic members, although it is moving in on the Hispanics very rapidly.

The vast majority of our world- wide membership is certainly not involved in the publication of the Issues, nor in the doctrinal controversy that it represents. In view of this reality, for those who prepared the tract and the book to refer to themselves as “the church” is wildly inaccurate and not a little presumptuous. Let us remember the definition of the church that is given to us by Ellen White:

God has a church. It is not the great cathedral, neither is it the national establishment, neither is it the various denominations; it is the people who love God and keep His commandments.— UL 315.

Settle it in your mind forever, my friend and fellow believer. The real issue is unjustified and unauthorized changes in the doctrines of our church, doctrines that have been made clear to us and sealed as to their truthfulness by the Holy Spirit of God. This, of course, gives rise to a question in our minds. Why are the North American Division leaders so reluctant to discuss the real issue? Why do they prefer to emphasize side issues and pseudo issues? We will consider this question in the next chapter.

Facing the Crisis – With the Lesser and the Greater Light – Part I

Every day brings us closer to the final crisis. Inspiration describes it as a time of trouble such as never was that is soon to burst upon us as an over whelming surprise. God foreknew the intensity of this end-time conflict. He knew that we would never be able to stand before Satan’s mighty power without special assistance from the Holy Spirit, for Satan will shortly cause all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond to receive a mark in their right hands or foreheads. So that no man might buy or sell save he that had the mark or the name of the beast or the number of his name.

How thankful we should be that God has given the Spirit of Prophecy to His church which, together with the Bible, will enable His people, through the power of Christ, to prepare for and to pass through this end-time crisis with divine assurance of victory. Only through His words can we be assured that Christ will stand by each one who faithfully fulfills the divine conditions that are revealed to us through these inspired writings.

It is Time to Awake

Before we explore heaven’s guidelines, let us seek the aid of divinity. It is time to awaken from Satan’s fearful stupor, which is enveloping God’s people. It is time to comprehend the divine instruction that He has sent that we may face this coming crisis fearlessly as soldiers of the cross.

“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:19-21.

Ellen White writes, “The Spirit was not given—nor can it ever be bestowed—to supercede the Bible; for the Scriptures explicitly state that the Word of God is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested.…Isaiah declares, ‘To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.’ Isaiah 8:20.” The Great Controversy, Introduction, vii.

The Spirit of Prophecy Passes all Tests

The writings of the Spirit of Prophecy have passed every test of the Holy Scriptures. They have been proven true to the Word of God. Indeed, Ellen White magnifies the light given by ancient prophets, making their words clearer and more understandable regarding special application for our time.

“The Holy Ghost is the author of the Holy Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy.” Selected Messages, book 3, 30. And on page 32 we read: “The Bible must be your counselor. Study it and the testimonies God has given for they never contradict His word.”

Since the Holy Spirit is the author of both the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, I am sure you will agree that the primary purpose of both is to lead men and women to our Saviour who is the Light and Salvation of the world.

Misinterpreted and Misrepresented

There are two quotations found in the Spirit of Prophecy that we frequently hear quoted among us. But they are often taken out of context. These statements are then misinterpreted and misrepresented, not only by individuals, but also by some of the leaders of our church.

The first quotation is taken from Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, January 20, 1903. “Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light.” Immediately the question must be asked, who is the lesser light and who is the greater light? It is here that Satan has begun to destroy confidence in the writings of the Lord’s servant.

The best way to learn the meaning of a perplexing expression is to ask the author what he or she meant. Surely Ellen White explains what the Holy Spirit, who inspired her thought, meant for her to convey. It will be well for us to read this often-quoted passage in its context.

Who is the Lesser Light?

But first, there are a number of other passages in which Ellen White uses the expressions “the lesser light” and “the greater light.” In solving this statement, these should be helpful. We will begin with one that is found in The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, 83, 84. Note carefully her explanation as she describes the work of John the Baptist.

“The prophet John was the connecting link between the two dispensations. He was the lesser light which was to be followed by a greater. He was to shake the confidence of the people in their traditions, call their sins to their remembrance, and lead them to repentance; that they might be prepared to appreciate the work of Christ. God communicated to John by Inspiration, illuminating the understanding of the prophet, that he might remove the superstition and darkness from the minds of the honest Jews, which had, through false teachings, been gathering upon them for generations. But the least disciple who followed Christ, witnessing His miracles, and receiving His divine lessons of instruction and the comforting words that fell from His lips, was more privileged than John the Baptist.

Who is the Greater Light?

No light has ever shone or ever will shine so clearly upon the mind of fallen man, as that which emanated from the teachings and example of Jesus. Christ and His mission had been but dimly understood and typified in the shadowy sacrifice. . . . Although not one of the prophets had a higher mission or greater work to perform than had John, yet he was not to see even the result of his own labors. He was not privileged to be with Christ and witness the divine power attending the greater light.”

Did you notice those last words? “The divine power attending” who? There is no question. The answer is Christ, “the greater light.” This sentence definitely reveals that the greater light was Christ. Whom did she name as the lesser light? The prophet John. In this passage she has defined both of these terms in unmistakable language. As we read other passages from her writings, we will find that she will be consistent.

Let us look at a second passage that is found in Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, April 8, 1873. Herein Ellen White writes that John was, “…one of the greatest prophets that God had sent as a messenger to the earth,… Christ had said of him that he was more than a prophet. … [that] there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist.”

In the context of these words, she continues, “John was the lesser light, which was to be followed by a greater light.” Who was that greater light who followed John? Jesus!

In the third statement, in Desire of Ages, 220, “The prophet John was the connecting link between the two dispensations. As God’s representative he stood forth to show the relation of the law and the prophets to the Christian dispensation. He was the lesser light, which was to be followed by a greater. The mind of John was illuminated by the Holy Spirit, that he might shed light upon his people. . . .”

Notice these words that follow; “…but no other light ever has shone or ever will shine so clearly upon fallen man as that which emanated from the teaching and example of Jesus.” From this we can come to only one conclusion. John, the lesser light, was to show the relation of the law and the prophets of the Old Testament to Christ, the greater light, who followed him.

Christ, the “Greater Light”

The Bible confirms Ellen White’s definition to be correct. “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through Him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” John 1:6-9.

In John 5:35, 36, Jesus said: “He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. But I have greater witness [meaning light] than that of John.” Then in John 9:5, Jesus declared plainly, “I am the light of the world.” If no other light had shown or ever will shine so clearly as Christ, surely the Old as well as the New Testament prophets were lesser lights. Friend, there is no question about this.

In the fourth passage Ellen White speaks of the Old Testament era as a lesser light and the New Testament era as a greater light. “With the first advent of Christ there was ushered in an era of greater light and glory; but it would indeed be sinful ingratitude to despise and ridicule the lesser light because a fuller and more glorious light had dawned. Those who despise the blessings and glory of the Jewish age are not prepared to be benefited by the preaching of the gospel.” This Day With God, 246.

We can clearly see Ellen White does not depart from her established definition. Christ’s first advent ushered in a time of greater light and glory. God, through the Old Testament prophets, had established the lesser light, the glory of the Jewish age. The purpose of this age was to establish the sanctuary service, which pointed toward the greater light to be ushered in with the first Advent of Christ.

Dispelling the Myth

I believe we are ready to discuss the passage in Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, January 20, 1903. From our pulpits and books this passage it has been declared that Ellen White refers to the Bible as the greater light and to her writings as the lesser light. I refer particularly to the caption in a recently published edition of Selected Messages, book 3, 30, copyright 1980.

It clearly promotes this mistaken position. The caption reads, “Relationship of E. G. White Writings to Bible—The Lesser Light.” Immediately after this, the following passage is printed. “Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light.” Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, January 20, 1903.

Now, let me ask you a question. Have you ever read this passage in its context? Please note the purpose of this article. From its beginning to its ending, she is promoting the sale of what? her books. To whom? to the people of the world. Why? to lead them to the Saviour, the greater light.

“I thank my Heavenly Father for the interest that my brethren and sisters have taken in the circulation of Christ’s Object Lessons. By the sale of this book great good has been accomplished, and the work should be continued. But the efforts of our people should not be confined to this one book.…The larger books, Patriarchs and Prophets, Great Controversy, and Desire of Ages, should be sold everywhere. These books contain truth for this time, —truth that is to be proclaimed in all parts of the world. Nothing is to hinder their sale.…Many more of our larger books might have been sold if church members had been awake to the importance of the truths these books contain, and had realized their responsibility to circulate them. My brethren and sisters, will you not now make an effort to circulate these books?”

“Sister White is not the originator of these books. They contain the instruction that during her life-work God has been giving her. They contain the precious comforting light that God has graciously given His servant to be given to the world. From their pages this light is to shine into the hearts of men and women, [notice] leading them to the Saviour. The Lord has declared that these books are to be scattered throughout the world. There is in them truth which to the receiver is a savor of life unto life. They are silent witnesses for God. In the past they have been the means in His hands of convicting and converting many souls. Many have read them with eager expectation, and, by reading them, have been led to see the efficacy of Christ’s atonement, and to trust in its power.…The Lord has sent His people much instruction, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light.” Ibid.

Surely, nothing could be stated more clearly. Some of Ellen White’s books were designed to be distributed widely to the public. Why? “From their pages this light is to shine into the hearts of men and women, leading them to the Saviour.” She expressed the same thought when, a few sentences later she said, “…The Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light.”

Because people had neglected the Bible, which God had given to the world for this purpose, Ellen White pointed to her own writings, though they were precious and inspired, as the lesser light to lead the people of the world to Jesus Christ, the greater light. If this passage meant what is commonly believed, that the greater light is the Bible, it would not be consistent with all of her other passages in which she defines the greater light to be Christ.

Therefore, we must conclude from this article that Ellen White is not demeaning her writings as inferior to the Bible, since the Holy Spirit is the author of her writings as stated in Selected Messages, book 3, 30, and since God—not Ellen White—is the originator of her writings. Then who is it that is teaching that the writings of Ellen White are second class?

Making of None Effect

It is none other than the liberals among us who are being used by Satan to make of none effect the Spirit of Prophecy. Ellen White was taught by the same Holy Spirit of God as were the ancient prophets. If John the Baptist, the greatest of the prophets, was a lesser light, surely the Bible prophets were all lesser lights. Christ alone is the greater light.

In the creation story there is an interesting illustration which may help us to understand the difference between the lesser and the greater light. “And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night.” Genesis 1:16.

Jon Janiuk calls attention to this illustration in his Great Controversy Endgame, book 3. He points out that in the context of this verse, two questions are answered.

  1. What is the greater light? The answer: The sun that rules the day. The sun is the greater light for it has original light or light emanating from itself.
  2. What is the lesser light that rules the night? The moon. Does the moon have light in itself? No, all the moon can do is reflect the light of the sun. Does this not teach an important Bible principle? A greater light has light in itself while a lesser light can only reflect light.

A thousand moons together could never become the greater light because the greater light is the original light—the sun. Janiuk concludes that the writers of the Bible and Ellen White did not have light in themselves. As the moon, they could only reflect the original light of Jesus Christ, the Sun of Righteousness. The Bible promise in Malachi 4:2 states, as “the Sun of Righteousness, [he will] arise [upon us] with healing in His wings.” Why? for Jesus is the light of life.

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’ Desire of Ages, 463. When He spoke these words, Jesus was in the court of the temple specially connected with the services of the Feast of Tabernacles. In the center of this court rose two lofty standards, supporting lampstands of great size. After the evening sacrifice, all the lamps were kindled, shedding their light over Jerusalem. This ceremony was in commemoration of the pillar of light that guided Israel in the desert, and was also regarded as pointing to the coming of the Messiah. At evening when the lamps were lighted, the court was a scene of great rejoicing.…In the illumination of Jerusalem, the people expressed their hope of the Messiah’s coming to shed His light upon Israel. But to Jesus the scene had a wider meaning. As the radiant lamps of the temple lighted up all about them, so Christ, the source of spiritual light, illumines the darkness of the world. Yet the symbol was imperfect. That great light, [and here she speaks of the sun which He Himself had infused with original light] which His own hand had set in the heavens was a truer representation of the glory of His mission.”

This same thought is expressed in Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students, 54. “The sun rising in the heavens is representative of Him Who is the life and light of all that He has made.” But let us never forget that man has a part to act in the salvation of the world for Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world.” But humanity has no light in itself. Men are likened not to the sun but to the moon.

Christ, the Source of Light

Man can only reflect the light of Jesus. “Humanity has in itself no light. Apart from Christ we are like an unkindled taper, like the moon when her face is turned away from the sun; we have not a single ray of brightness to shed into the darkness of the world. But when we turn toward the Sun of Righteousness, when we come in touch with Christ, the whole soul is aglow with the brightness of the divine presence. Christ’s followers are to be more than a light in the midst of men. They are the light of the world.” Thoughts From The Mount of Blessings, 40.

As the moon, all human beings are lesser lights, whether they be prophet, priest or king. However, when men turn their faces toward Christ and connect themselves to Him, they can reflect His light to the world. “It is the privilege of the Christian to connect with the source of light, and through this living connection become the light of the world.… As the light of the sun is the light and life and blessing to all that live, so should Christians, by their good works, by their cheerfulness and courage, be the light of the world. As the light of the sun chases away the shades of night and pours its glories on valleys and hills, so will the Christian reflect the Sun of Righteousness which shines on him.” This Day With God, 93.

Is that not beautiful? Oh, what a privilege to reflect the light that shines from the Sun of Righteousness. “O be sure you receive your illumination from the source of all light. He is the great central Light of the universe of heaven and the great Light of the world.” That I May Know Him, 341. May this beautiful counsel be fulfilled in each and every one of us.

“The princely dignity of the Christian character will shine forth as the sun and the beams of light from the face of Christ will be reflected upon those who have purified themselves even as He is pure.” God’s Amazing Grace, 341. So, friend, let us always remember that “the Sun of Righteousness has risen. “Christ our Righteousness is shining in brightness upon us.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 932.

Beloved, Christ does this for us because He loves us. “Christ ‘loved the church, and gave Himself for it.’ It is the purchase of His blood. The divine Son of God is seen walking amid the seven golden candlesticks. Jesus Himself supplies the oil to these burning lamps. He it is that kindles the flame. ‘In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.’ No candlestick, no church, shines of itself. From Christ emanates all its light.” . Ibid., vol. 6, 1118.

Looking to Jesus

Again in Selected Messages, book 2, 249, we are promised: “The trials may be severe, but look to Jesus every moment—not to struggle, but to rest in His love. He careth for you.” I like that. “We know that as trials press closer and closer, the hope grows stronger. The beams of the Sun of Righteousness shall shine into your heart with their healing power. Look beyond the clouds to the brightness, even the light of the Sun of Righteousness.”

With these glorious truths before us, we can better comprehend the damage that is being done to our church when, through misunderstanding, or various means, the writings of Ellen White are downgraded as a lesser light to the Bible. Satan understands the tremendous blessings and encouragement the Testimonies are to God’s church when they are treasured and studied by its members.

I fear this misunderstanding is one way, among others, that Satan is seeking to undermine the ministry of God’s messenger to the remnant church so that eventually her writings will become of none effect in the lives of many. For if Satan can downgrade the Spirit of Prophecy by this and other implications so that the Testimonies are neglected, left on the shelves to collect dust, he knows that God’s people may not detect his final deceptions, deceptions that the Spirit of Prophecy not only points out clearly but also tells us how to avoid.

Never forget that if it were possible, Satan would have all of us perish. “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 works 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.

Oh, friend, let us not despise the last day lesser light or regard Ellen White’s writings as inferior words from God. During my sixty years of ministry for the Lord, I have constantly used both the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy in my preaching to Seventh-day Adventists all over the world, and in all of my tape ministry. I have always believed that both the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy originated from the same source of authority, the Holy Spirit.

Creation’s Light

May I bring one more beautiful thought? In the beginning when Christ created this world, He sent His healing light upon this void and shapeless earth. “And God said, Let there be light:” and there was light…And the evening and the morning were the first day.” Genesis 1:3, 5.

On that first day there was no light from the sun or the moon. They were not created until the fourth day. But there was light, and who was that light? It was Jesus, the Creator. In the earth made new there will come a time when, in the New Jerusalem, there will be no need of the light from the sun or from the moon for we read in Revelation 21:23, “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.”

Jesus was, now is, and ever will be, the Sun of Righteousness; our greater Light forever. Oh, what a Saviour! Praise His name! I appeal to you in the name of our Lord and Master, let us face this coming crisis with absolute assurance of victory in Jesus, because we have accepted the Spirit of Prophecy and the Bible as the lesser light which leads us to the greater Light, the Sun of Righteousness; Jesus Christ, who alone is able to save us.

To be continued…

Do You Really Love Jesus? – Part III

Although there are many others, the “Tamper” Accusation is one of the last areas of attack on the Spirit of Prophecy. This one is the most dangerous, because it is the most subtle. Many of those who make this charge profess to believe, 100 percent, in the authority of Ellen White. They may not make an attack undermining her authority, they may not say some things were only her opinions, or claim only in vision or the Bible and the Bible only—all of the other things we looked at, they may not do.

Even though they agree that the authority of the Spirit of Prophecy is equal with the authority of the Bible, they say that some things in Ellen White’s published books were not written by her. Have you ever heard that? That is what we want to examine. Let us briefly overview a few points in relation to this theory.

Republication and Changes

Just like every other attack on the Spirit of Prophecy, you could make the same attack on the Bible.

There are two primary supports for the tamper charge: There were changes in things that were republished and there are alleged contradictions between earlier Spirit of Prophecy writings and later Spirit of Prophecy writings, and contradictions between the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy writings.

It is true that there were changes; that fact is true. Does anybody claim that there are contradictions in the Bible? Many people do. “Those who take only a surface view of the Scriptures will, with their superficial knowledge, which they think is very deep, talk of the contradictions of the Bible, and question the authority of the Scriptures.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 20. That is the exact same thing some people are doing with the Spirit of Prophecy—talking of contradictions and questioning its authority.

Jesus says, “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true.” John 5:31. But in John 8:14 we read, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of Myself, yet My record is true.” The two statements appear to the superficial Bible student to be contradictory. If you study it out you will find that “bear record” and “bear witness” means the same thing. A skeptic could use that to say there are contradictions, not only in the Bible, but in what Jesus said. That is just one example of many in the Bible.

Skeptics and Infidels

“In the very same way that they treat the writings in my published articles and in my books, so do skeptics and infidels treat the Bible.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 19.

What do skeptics and infidels say about the Bible? They say there are contradictions in it. The same way these skeptics and infidels treat the Bible, people are treating the Spirit of Prophecy.

“From various sources I have been receiving letters containing statements regarding supposed inconsistencies in the Testimonies and reasons why they cannot be regarded as reliable.” Loma Linda Messages, 176.

One alleged contradiction occurs between Spirit of Prophecy, vol.1, 29, and Patriarchs and Prophets, which was the later revised and updated version of the first volume in the Spirit of Prophecy series.

In the first reference it says that Satan “repented of his rebellion,” but in the second reference it says, “He nearly reached the decision to return, but pride forbade him.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 39. So people say, See, that is a contradiction. The answer for that claim is actually very easy. The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1 quote is from Chapter 3, “Temptation and Fall.” Satan had already been cast out of heaven; he was here on the earth and then he repented of his rebellion. However, in the Patriarchs and Prophets quote, Satan is still in heaven; he almost reached his decision to repent but pride forbade him. The two quotes are not talking about the same time or the same event—so there is not the least bit of a contradiction. As is so often the case, the problem involves not understanding the context of the two statements.

Examining the Charges

Let us examine the charges for the alleged unauthorized changes in the Spirit of Prophecy. It is true; there were things which Mrs. White wrote that were republished later, and in the republication there were some things added, some things taken out, some things revised. The same thing is true in the Bible. Let us look at all three cases found in the Bible: things added, things left out, and wording changed or variation in wording.

“Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire.” Jeremiah 36:32.

Jeremiah’s writings had been burned, but they were rewritten. They were redone, but “there were added besides unto them many like words.” Many words were added, when the inspired writings were redone.

1 Corinthians 5:9, gives one of several examples of things left out of the Bible. Paul is writing to the Corinthians. We call it Corinthians, book 1, or first Corinthians. In actual fact, it is really at least 2 Corinthians, and what we call 2 Corinthians is at least 3 Corinthians, because, if you will notice in 1 Corinthians 5:9, Paul says, “I wrote unto you in an epistle” or in a letter. He had already written to them once, at this point in time, but for whatever reason God did not see fit to preserve that letter and have it part of the Bible. It was not included.

There are other examples in the Bible of things being rewritten and slightly revised, of things added and of things left out. See 2 Samuel 22 and Psalm 18. The two are basically identical but a little different. Other examples are Psalm 14 and Psalm 53; 2 Peter 2 and the book of Jude.

Let us look at Deuteronomy 5, and by all means, do not miss this one. This is the strongest rebuke in the entire Bible to the tamper charge. What does the name, Deuteronomy, mean? the second book of the law, the second or repeated legislation. Deuteronomy is a repeat of what was already stated in Exodus, especially, and some of Leviticus and Numbers. It is a republication, we might say, although it was not published on printing presses.

In Deuteronomy 5 we even have the repeat of the Ten Commandments—which originally were written by God’s own finger in tables of stone because they are eternal, unchanging. Deuteronomy 5:7 begins the Ten Commandments almost word for word, but not exactly, as Exodus 20, until you get to verse 15, in the fourth commandment. Verse 12 begins the fourth commandment, but notice what it says in verse 15. Instead of saying the fourth commandment was given because God created the earth in six days and rested on the seventh, it says: “And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day.”

Is that what the fourth commandment said, which is the heart of the Ten Commandments and contains the Seal of God? No, very clearly, it is quite different. If there is anything that should never be changed, it would be the Seal of God that He wrote with His own finger in stone, representing its eternal and unchangeable nature! The skeptic would say, somebody must have been tampering with the book of Deuteronomy here! In fact, it must have been somebody who did not like the Sabbath, because they worded it in such a way as to make it sound like it was a Jewish Sabbath, as though it was given to the Jews when they came out of Egypt and that is why God commanded them to keep the Sabbath day.

That would make it a pretty sinister motive, would it not? We can attribute just about the most sinister motive there is to tampering with Deuteronomy 5:15. But then we would have to ask when was it tampered with?

In the Septuagint—which is the Greek translation of the Old Testament translated a few hundred years before Christ—this verse appears the way it is here. So it would have to have been tampered with before Christ came to this earth. The same is true with the Hebrew manuscripts that were around before Christ came to this earth.

What Does Jesus Say?

So, if this was tampered with before Christ came, let us see what Christ had to say about it. In Matthew 4:4 is the story of when Christ was led out into the wilderness and was tempted by Satan. Jesus said, in verse 4, “‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’”

How much? every Word. “It is written.” Where was it written? Was the New Testament written at this point in time? No! He was quoting from the Old Testament. From what book in the Old Testament was He quoting? Deuteronomy! The only place in the Old Testament He could have been quoting is Deuteronomy 8:3. In Matthew 4:7 He again quotes from Deuteronomy: “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.’” That is from Deutero-nomy 6:16. The third time: “‘It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.’” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 315, says that Matthew 4:10 is a quotation from the Septuagint of Deuteronomy 6:13.

Did Jesus decide to undermine the authority of the book of Deuteronomy because somebody might have tampered with it? No. He quoted from it three times. “It is written,”—and He even said that we are to live by “every word.” This means Deuteronomy as well as the rest of Scripture.

It is interesting also that these three quotes from Deuteronomy are the first recorded in the Bible of Jesus quoting Scripture. Jesus did not fall for the tamper accusation, and Jesus is our perfect Example. We will not be in danger if we follow His example.

Now there are some things in the book of Deuteronomy that are not in Exodus, Leviticus or Numbers, the previous books. There are some things in the previous books that are not in Deuteronomy. There are some things that are revised, not worded the same, and there are some things that are basically unchanged.

Further Clarification

It is the same with the Spirit of Prophecy. In the later books, some things have been added; some things have been left out; some things have been revised, and some things are about the same.

“My mind has been exercised upon the question of the Testimonies that have been revised. We have looked them over more critically. I cannot see the matter as my brethren see it. I think the changes will improve the book. If our enemies handle it, let them do so.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 97.

Oh, some people say, maybe that was not written by Ellen White; maybe that was written by the tamperers. Well we will look at that more as we continue.

Wiser than God?

“Regarding the testimonies, . . . Some matters must be withheld because some persons would make an improper use of the light given. Every jot and tittle is essential and must appear at an opportune time. In the past, the testimonies were carefully prepared before they were sent out for publication. And all matter is still carefully studied after the first writing.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 57.

Some things were left out because some people would make an improper use of them. Unfortunately, some people now are making an improper use of the fact that they were left out—thinking that their own foolishness is wiser than God’s wisdom on what should or should not have been left out or revised.

C. White wrote, “Sister White was responsible for leaving out or adding to matters…in the later editions of our books.…She had many times direct instruction from the angel of the Lord regarding what should be omitted and what by At should be added in new editions.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 452, Appendix C.

Does anyone reading this think that they have a better idea than direct instructions from the angel as to what should have been left out or put in?

God Cares About the Small Things

Let me give you another example that helps to disprove the tamper accusation. Mrs. White was given a vision of a situation before it actually occurred. Ballanger was trying to change some of the Seventh-day Adventist doctrines in a magazine that was published under the title, The Sentinel. Regarding the situation with Ballanger and the Salamanca vision, she writes, “Those in counsel pointed to certain passages, declaring that this must be cut out, and that must be changed.” Testimonies to Ministers, 469.

Now this was not publication of her inspired writings. This was just a Seventh-day Adventist magazine, but she was given this very important vision before the incident occurred. Because of the vision, she was able to stop the action.

Another vision Sister White had revealed that one of her helpers stole her hairnet. When the helper became afraid of getting caught, she burned it to eliminate the evidence. God gave Mrs. White a vision about who stole it and He even showed her that it had been burned. (See Campfire Junior Stories by Arthur White.) If God gave a special vision for something as insignificant as a hairnet, would He not give a special vision if somebody was tampering with the Spirit of Prophecy?

Pulling the Wool Over the Eyes of God?

“The Lord has preserved this Holy Book by His own miraculous power in its present shape.…Men should let God take care of His own Book,…as He has done for ages.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 15, 17. If God can take care of the Bible, can He take care of the Spirit of Prophecy? Yes, He can.

There have been some translations of the Spirit of Prophecy that may not be the most accurate. Some things may have been left out of them, but the same could be said about the Bible. There are some translations of the Bible that are not very good. With the Bible we can go back and study the original language—the Hebrew or Greek. With the Spirit of Prophecy we can go back ro the original language—English.

There have also been books, published since 1915, which contain typographical errors or minor punctuation changes. Punctuation was not inspired, nor was it inspired in the Bible. Most of the recent books were published from letters and manuscripts, for which the handwritten or signed manuscript is on file, so we know they are valid. There are two things to watch out for in these compilations that were published since Ellen White passed away. First is the ellipsis (…). When an ellipsis is used, you need to study the quote in its original context to see if something has been omitted relevant to its meaning. Second, the headings are not inspired. Last Day Events, 51, is just one example. It says, “A New Denomination Not Needed.” That is not inspired; Ellen White did not write that. The Bible also has headings; many Bibles have headings at the top of the page or down through the sections of the Bible. They are not inspired.

Reports Are Not True!

“After the matter for the Testimony is prepared, every article must be read by me.” Ibid., Book 3, 98. “What I write by hand is copied out by faithful helpers. Before any of this matter is printed, it is read over and closely examined by me.” Manuscript Release, 8, 21, 22. “I read over all that is copied, to see that everything is as it should be. I read all the book manuscript before it is sent to the printer.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 90. “The reports that are circulated, that any of my helpers are permitted to add matter or change the meaning of the messages I write out, are not true.” Ibid, Book 1, 50.

“And now to all who have a desire for truth I would say: Do not give credence to unauthenticated reports as to what Sister White has done or said or written.” She says, “If you desire to know what the Lord has revealed through her, read her published works.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 696. [Emphasis supplied.]

Throughout all the people who support the tamper accusations, there is not general agreement on what was supposedly tampered with and what was not.

“They feel at liberty to reject any portion that does not agree with them. That is the foundation for all these fanaticisms and winds of doctrines that are going around. One or more of these deceptions, especially the tamper accusation, is employed. When there is something in the Spirit of Prophecy that is so clear that they cannot harmonize it with what they believe and are teaching, they just say, oh, that was tampered with, or that was uninspired, or that was lesser light or any one of these theories that are undermining the authority of the Spirit of Prophecy.

It is funny how those who believe every word in the Spirit of Prophecy books, and who do not try to teach anything that contradicts the Spirit of Prophecy, are not the ones running around saying it has been tampered with. It is the ones who are wanting to reject something in the Spirit of Prophecy who are undermining it. Strange how that works.

Making of No Effect

Revelation 22:18, 19 presents a very solemn warning. This warning applies to the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book; And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

Is there any warning in these two verses that if somebody actually did succeed in adding something to the Bible, and if you believed it, you would be lost? No. God promises us that no one will be lost for believing everything in the Bible: “Brethren, cling to your Bible, as it reads, and stop your criticisms in regard to its validity, and obey the Word, and not one of you will be lost.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 18. The warning of Revelation 22:18,19 is to the person who would add or take away from God’s word. So, if no one did add to or take away things from the Spirit of Prophecy, but I am claiming that tampering was done, then I am taking away from the Spirit of Prophecy. I am the one to whom the warning applies! But if I implicitly believe everything that is in the Bible and in the Spirit of Prophecy, then the warning does not apply to me—regardless of whether or not someone else tried to add or take away from God’s Word.

In Genesis 3, we often talk about the devil’s first lie, “Ye shall not surely die.” But how often do we notice in verse 1 what the devil said to pave the way for his first lie? The very first thing out of that archfiend’s mouth was, “Yea, hath God said…” casting doubt on God’s Word!

“It was through making the word of God of none effect that sin was brought into the world.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 345. That is how serious it is. We are all here in this sinful world because the devil undermined the authority of God’s Word, and somebody believed it.

Satan’s Last Deception

“The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God. . . Satan will work ingeniously, in different ways and through different agencies, to unsettle the confidence of God’s remnant people in the true testimony.” Ibid., Book 1, 48.

We have looked at many of these ingenious ways. Testimonies, vol. 5, 675, says, “The testimonies are rejected, and many excuses which are untrue are offered to others as the reason for refusing to receive them.”

“It is God’s plan to give sufficient evidence of the divine character of His work to convince all who honestly desire to know the truth. But He never removes all opportunity for doubt. All who desire to question and cavil will find occasion.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 72.

If you are trying to find something in the Spirit of Prophecy that is evidence that it has been tampered with, you will find it. But that does not mean it is true. You can do the same thing with the Bible.

“I pity those who have set their feet in the path of doubt and unbelief. I would gladly help them if I could, but the experience of the past gives me little hope that they will ever come to the light. No amount of evidence will convince men of the truth so long as they are unwilling to yield their pride, subdue their carnal nature, and become learners in the school of Christ.” Ibid.

“Let not those who seek to hedge up my way and destroy the influence of my words deceive themselves with the belief that they are doing God service. They are serving another master, and they will be rewarded according to their work. Rebellion will exist as long as Satan exists.” Ibid.

What do the tamper accusation, and all the other accusations, do? They destroy the influence of her words.

“They have professed to believe the visions, but have acted contrary to them. Their example and influence have raised doubts in the minds of others. It would have been better for the cause of present truth had they both opposed the gifts. Then the people would not have been deceived, and would not have stumbled over these blind teachers.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 234. (See also Upper Look p. 115)

“All who believe that the Lord has spoken through Sister White, and has given her a message, will be safe from the many delusions that will come in these last days.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 84.

You will not find one quote that says all who believe the Spirit of Prophecy has been tampered with, or any of these other accusations, will be safe from the many delusions.

I appeal, with tears, to anyone who may have accepted or taught accusations on the authority of the Spirit of Prophecy, even if accepted and taught honestly, to repent, to confess, and do your best to correct the wrong impressions left on the minds of others. Merely ceasing to promote error is not enough. A stand must be taken on the side of truth which is as much or more public as the stand which was previously taken on the side of error. Your decision will prove if you really love Jesus.

Question and Answer: Is the Spirit of Prophecy relevant today?

Looking at this from a biblical standpoint, Paul said to Timothy, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). The Spirit of Prophecy is part of “the word of truth.”

There are testimonies and prophecies in Ellen White’s writings that may not directly apply to you or to me personally, such as the testimony where Ellen White said that ladies as well as men should learn how to harness a horse. (See Education, 216, 217.) She was stating the practical truth for her time. Statements she made about bicycles and horses may well apply to automobiles and tractors today. From a practical standpoint, we can see that our religion needs to be applied in all our everyday activities.

“Great truths must be brought into little things. Practical religion is to be carried into the lowly duties of daily life. The greatest qualification for any man is to obey implicitly the word of the Lord.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 359.

We are blessed in having the instruction from the Spirit of Prophecy as a guide in our daily living. We may follow the principles given in these inspired writings in our business transactions, our health questions, our family discipline, our worship, our preparation for eternal life, and our social life. God has been very gracious to give us divine instruction on many things. These instructions are not rigid rules, but helpful guidelines to give us happiness while we are occupying this earth.

The following quotations from Ellen White’s writings are cautions we do well to heed:

“It is Satan’s plan to weaken the faith of God’s people in the Testimonies. 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.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 211.

“When the testing time shall come, those who have made God’s word their rule of life will be revealed. In summer there is no noticeable difference between evergreens and other trees; but when the blasts of winter come, the evergreens remain unchanged, while other trees are stripped of their foliage. So the falsehearted professor may not now be distinguished from the real Christian, but the time is just upon us when the difference will be apparent. Let opposition arise, let bigotry and intolerance again bear sway, let persecution be kindled, and the halfhearted and hypocritical will waver and yield the faith; but the true Christian will stand firm as a rock, his faith stronger, his hope brighter, than in days of prosperity.” The Great Controversy, 602.

Jesus is coming to take us home. May God bless you as you make your calling and election sure.


Question – Is it necessary to believe in the Spirit of Prophecy…


Is it necessary to believe in the Spirit of Prophecy to be a Seventh-day Adventist?


Let us first consider several passages from the Bible: “Where [there is] no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy [is] he.” Proverbs 29:18. “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7. “Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.” 11 Chronicles 20:20, last part.

Paul speaks of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12. Verse 10 specifically mentions the gift of prophecy. Romans 12:6 also refers to the gift of prophecy.

John the Revelator wrote: “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17. Revelation 19:10 explains the “testimony of Jesus Christ.” It says, in the last part, “The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy.”

After reading these texts, we should have some idea of how the Lord communicates with His people. “And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, [I] the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, [and] will speak unto him in a dream.” Numbers 12:6.

The Lord did not expect human beings, with their finite mentality, to figure out their way by themselves here on this sin-cursed earth. He provided them communication with heaven by prayer, then, specifically, through prophets to guide His people.

We are living in the end time of this earth’s history. Knowledge is increasing, and men are running to and fro. (Daniel 12:4.) In such a situation, surely God would have something to say to His people to guide them through the maze of new information and new inventions. Human reasoning tells us that we need the advice of a prophet.

How do we know that the true gift of prophecy has been given? First, truth is always truth. One of the strongest evidences is that a true prophet’s writings will agree with the former prophets in the Bible, especially with the Law of God. It says, in Isaiah 8:20, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, [it is] because [there is] no light in them.” Therefore, the writings and the works of a prophet must be tested against the Bible.

Ellen White, who authored what is known as the Spirit of Prophecy, wrote many books and articles—some 225,000 pages—and every one agrees with the Bible; never in one word did she contradict the Bible. Her writings always lead to the study of the Bible. Having only a third grade education, in order for her to write as much and as accurately and interestingly as she did, she had to have more than just her human intelligence. Her many visions and dreams all draw one closer to the Lord.

I could write a small book on physical proof and the proof of prophecies fulfilled, but to me that is not the greatest proof that she was a prophet of the Lord. The greatest proof comes from the reading of her writings and seeing what they will do for you. Lay all your preconceived ideas and prejudices aside and read.

Since we have all this wonderful instruction, it would surely be an insult to the Lord if we did not accept it. Therefore, I would suggest that a real Seventh-day Adventist will read and follow the instruction given in the Spirit of Prophecy.

The Pen of Inspiration – The Spirit of Prophecy

New Believers to Have Clear Understanding.―As the end draws near, and the work of giving the last warning to the world extends, it becomes more important for those who accept present truth to have a clear understanding of the nature and influence of the Testimonies, which God in His providence has linked with the work of the third angel’s message from its very rise.―Testimonies, vol. 5, 654. (1889)

God’s Present-Day Instruction.―In ancient times God spoke to men by the mouth of prophets and apostles. In these days He speaks to them by the testimonies of His Spirit. There was never a time when God instructed His people more earnestly than He instructs them now concerning His will, and the course that He would have them pursue.―Testimonies, vol. 5, 661. (1889)

Frequently Neglected.―Ministers frequently neglect these important branches of the work―health reform, spiritual gifts, systematic benevolence, and the great branches of the missionary work. Under their labors large numbers may embrace the theory of the truth, but in time it is found that there are many who will not bear the proving of God. The minister laid upon the foundation, hay, wood, and stubble, which would be consumed by the fire of temptation.―Review and Herald, December 12, 1878.

Not to Take Place of the Bible.―The testimonies of Sister White should not be carried to the front. God’s Word is the unerring standard. The Testimonies are not to take the place of the Word. Great care should be exercised by all believers to advance these questions carefully, and always stop when you have said enough. Let all prove their positions from the Scriptures and substantiate every point they claim as truth from the revealed Word of God.―Letter 12, 1890.

Testimonies Not Ahead of Bible.―The more we look at the promises of the Word of God, the brighter they grow. The more we practice them, the deeper will be our understanding of them. Our position and faith is in the Bible. And never do we want any soul to bring in the Testimonies ahead of the Bible.―Manuscript 7, 1894.

Purpose of the Testimonies.―The Word of God is sufficient to enlighten the most beclouded mind, and may be understood by those who have any desire to understand it. But notwithstanding all this, some who profess to make the Word of God their study, are found living in direct opposition to its plainest teachings. Then, to leave men and women without excuse, God gives plain and pointed testimonies, bringing them back to the Word that they have neglected to follow. The Word of God abounds in general principles for the formation of correct habits of living, and the Testimonies, general and personal, have been calculated to call their attention more especially to these principles.―Testimonies, vol. 5, 663, 664. (1889)

The Greater and Lesser Lights.―Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light.― Colporteur Evangelist, 37. (1902)

Illustration: Presenting the Spirit of Prophecy.―Elder _____ enters into no controversy with opponents. He presents the Bible so clearly that it is evident that anyone who differs must do so in opposition to the Word of God.

Friday evening and Sabbath forenoon he spoke upon the subject of spiritual gifts, dwelling especially upon the Spirit of prophecy. Those who were present at these discourses say that he treated the subject in a clear, forceful manner.―Letter 388, 1906.

In his teaching Elder showed that the Spirit of prophecy has an important part to act in the establishment of the truth. When binding off his work, he called for me . . . to speak to the people.―Letter 400, 1906.

Give Time to Weigh Evidence.―In the last vision given at Battle Creek I was shown that an unwise course was taken at in regard to the visions at the time of the organization of the church there. There were some in who were God’s children, and yet doubted the visions. Others had no opposition, yet dared not take a decided stand in regard to them. Some were skeptical, and they had sufficient cause to make them so. The false visions and fanatical exercises, and the wretched fruits following, had an influence upon the cause in _____, to make minds jealous of everything bearing the name of visions. All these things should have been taken into consideration, and wisdom exercised. There should be no trial or labor with those who have never seen the individual having visions, and who have had no personal knowledge of the influence of the visions. Such should not be deprived of the benefits and privileges of the church, if their Christian course is otherwise correct, and they have formed a good Christian character.

Some, I was shown, could receive the published visions, judging of the tree by its fruits. Others are like doubting Thomas; they cannot believe the published Testimonies, nor receive evidence through the testimony of others, but must see and have the evidence for themselves. Such must not be set aside, but long patience and brotherly love should be exercised toward them until they find their position and become established for or against. If they fight against the visions, of which they have no knowledge; if they carry their opposition so far as to oppose that in which they have had no experience, and feel annoyed when those who believe that the visions are of God speak of them in meeting, and comfort themselves with the instruction given through vision, the church may know that they are not right.―Testimonies, vol. 1, 327-329. (1862)

Driven to a Premature Position.―I have been shown that some, especially in _____, make the visions a rule by which to measure all; and have taken a course which my husband and myself have never pursued. Some are unacquainted with me and my labors, and they are very skeptical of anything bearing the name of visions. This is all natural, and can be overcome only by experience. If persons are not settled in regard to the visions, they should not be crowded off. The course to pursue with such may be found in Testimony No. 8 [volume 1, pages 328, 329], which I hope will be read by all. Ministers should have compassion of some, making a difference; others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire. God’s ministers should have wisdom to give to everyone his portion of meat, and to make that difference with different persons which their cases require. The course pursued with some in who are unacquainted with me, has not been careful and consistent. Those who were, comparatively, strangers to the visions, have been dealt with in the same manner as those who have had much light and experience in the visions. Some have been required to endorse the visions when they could not conscientiously do so, and in this way some honest souls have been driven to take positions against the visions and against the body, which they never would have taken had their cases been managed with discretion and mercy.―Testimonies, vol. 1, 382, 383. (1863)

Overcoming the Opposition.―The ministers (non-S.D.A.) are opening up their tirade, and against Mrs. White in particular. But this is only hurting themselves. . . . I am placing Desire of Ages, Great Controversy, Patriarchs and Prophets, and Christ Our Saviour in families; so while the ministers are working against me, I will speak in my writings to the people. I believe souls will be converted to the truth. We are now turning them to the law and to the testimonies. If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.―Letter 217, 1899.

Judged by Their Fruits.―Let the Testimonies be judged by their fruits. What is the spirit of their teaching? What has been the result of their influence? All who desire to do so can acquaint themselves with the fruits of these visions. . . .

God is either teaching His church, reproving their wrongs, and strengthening their faith, or He is not. This work is of God, or it is not. God does nothing in partnership with Satan. My work . . . bears the stamp of God, or the stamp of the enemy. There is no halfway work in the matter. The Testimonies are of the Spirit of God, or of the devil.―Testimonies, vol. 5, 671. (1889)

God Speaks Through Testimonies.―We must follow the directions given through the Spirit of prophecy. We must love and obey the truth for this time. This will save us from accepting strong delusions. God has spoken to us through His Word. He has spoken to us through the Testimonies to the church, and through the books that have helped to make plain our present duty and the position that we should now occupy.―Testimonies, vol. 8, 298. (1904)

Evangelism, 255-260.

The Spirit of Prophecy in the Remnant Church The Gifts – Their Object

The subject of the gifts of the church is at the present time receiving much attention. We are anxious that the readers of the Review should understand our real position in regard to them. The Scriptural view of this subject will stand, however it may differ from previously received views. Bible Christians should not be afraid of any Bible question. Those who profess to be seeking for gospel truth in its purity, do well to go back and learn from the acts and teachings of Christ’s first witnesses, who received the pure truth from the lips of the Great Teacher, and shared largely the gift of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of truth.

“We want the truth on every point;

We want it, too, to practise [sic] by;

Do Thou, O Lord, our eyes anoint

With the fresh unction from on high.”

Gifts in the Church

God set the gifts in the church.

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with [them], and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” Mark 16:15-20.

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:1-4.

“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. [Are] all apostles? [are] all prophets? [are] all teachers? [are] all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way.” 1 Corinthians 12:27-31.

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Ephesians 4:11-16.

There is no evidence that they were given for a limited portion of the Christian age, to be removed from the church, and she be left for a long time without them. And, more, the prophecy of Joel quoted by Peter and other portions of Scripture, furnish sufficient grounds for faith that, in connection with the last message of mercy, the gifts will be restored to a living church. (“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: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.” “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all [ye] that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is [but] the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.” Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:1-22.)

Day of Pentecost

To say that Joel 2:28-32 was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost is most absurd, in view of the following facts:

  1. The signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, mentioned in the prophecy, did not then appear.
  2. There is no evidence that the dreams and visions mentioned in the prophecy were given on the day of Pentecost. They were exercised with the gift of tongues on that day; but the record is silent in regard to visions. Neither can we suppose that there were “old men” asleep on that exciting occasion, dreaming dreams!
  3. The prophet is telling what would occur prior to, and would constitute signs of, “the great and the terrible day of the Lord.” The signs in heaven and on the earth, the outpouring of the Spirit, prophesying, and remarkable dreams and visions, as the fruit of the Spirit, all constitute signs of the approach of that great and terrible day.
  4. These were to occur in the “last days.” As there can be no days later than the last, the days of which the prophet speaks must reach to the end (even admitting that the last days cover the whole Christian age); but to apply the prophecy to the day of Pentecost, and have the events of the last days and the signs of the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord fulfilled there, is most absurd.

But we do not admit that the term “last days” applies to the whole Christian age. When Paul says, “In the last days perilous times shall come” (11 Timothy 3:1), he does not refer to the whole Christian age, a part of which had already passed. He was speaking of the future. He pointed to the men of the last generation, to the fallen churches of this day, in whom are fulfilled the things of which he spoke. Hebrews 1:1, 2, may be urged as proof that the “last days” cover the whole Christian age: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son.” But the days in which the apostle wrote to the Hebrews, in contrast with the days in which God spoke to the prophets, were the last. They were the last that the world had witnessed, hence Paul calls them “these last days”; but that they were the “last days” that the world would ever witness, is quite another thing.

Benefit the Remnant

The prophecy of Joel (chapter 2:28-32) has its fulfillment in the “last days.” It was written for the benefit of the remnant. The remnant mentioned in verse 32, who find deliverance, are evidently the same as in Revelation 12:17, with whom the dragon is wroth. And why wroth? Because they keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. What is the testimony of Jesus Christ? We will let the angel who addressed John answer the question. He says, “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:10. Says Joel, “Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.” The remnant of both texts are evidently the same. No one, then, need marvel because the dragon’s ire is stirred, on seeing the “spirit of prophecy” revive in the church.

“But,” say some, “the spirit of prophecy, with all the gifts, ceased 1800 years since.” We inquire for their proof of this position, and they quote with emphasis 11 Timothy 3:16, 17, to prove that God’s revelation was complete in Paul’s day, therefore instruction by any of the gifts at this day must be unnecessary and false. Paul says, “All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable, . . . that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” But when did he thus write to his son Timothy? Answer: a.d. 66. Now this text either proves that all men, for all coming time, were thoroughly furnished unto all good works when Paul penned it, or it does not. If it does, then it also proves that the epistles of John, written twenty-four years afterward, and the Revelation given thirty years after, were superfluous.

But if the text does not prove that all men, for all coming time, were thoroughly furnished unto all good works, a.d. 66, when Paul wrote it, then it does not disprove the view that God may reveal Himself by some of the gifts, a.d. 1856. It is evident that Paul here refers to the Old Testament Scriptures, which Timothy had known from his youth.

Object of the Gifts

As all objections against the revival of the gifts can be fully met, then we inquire, What is their object? Were they designed to take the place of the word? Never! If the gifts be revived, and the church receive instruction from them, will not this supersede the necessity of searching the Scriptures for truth and duty? No! Never!

Here is where some good brethren are stumbling at this subject. They conclude that if it is true that God is reviving some of the gifts, “for the comfort of His people, and to correct those who err from Bible truth,” all errors would at once be corrected by these gifts, and the church be saved the trouble of searching the word for truth to expose error. They think it strange that the error of commencing the Sabbath at six o’clock has not been corrected by some of the gifts, if indeed they exist in the church. But such entertain erroneous views of this subject. They would put the gifts where they do not belong. Said Jesus, “Search the Scriptures.” [John 5:39, first part.] We are to seek for truth, not only as for lost treasures, but as for “hid treasures.” [Proverbs 2:4.]

The revival of any or of all the gifts will never supersede the necessity of searching the word to learn the truth. The Scriptures on the subject of the time of the Sabbath have never been searched as they have been by the remnant on other subjects, till of late. In our opinion, the error never would have been pointed out by any of the gifts, unless the word had first been thoroughly searched on the question. It is not God’s plan to lead out His people into the broad field of truth by the gifts. But after His people have searched the word, if then individuals err from Bible truth or through strife urge erroneous views upon the honest seekers for truth, then is God’s opportunity to correct them by the gifts. This is in harmony with our entire experience on this subject.

God’s Order

Read Acts 15. When certain men from Judea taught the Gentile churches that they must be circumcised and keep the law of Moses, “Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them.” The subject was first duly discussed. Then from their conference at Jerusalem the apostles and elders, with the whole church, sent out chosen men with letters to the Gentile churches. We give an item of the letter as follows: “It seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things.” Acts 15:28.

Apostolic order on this question was, first, investigation, then the testimony of the Holy Ghost in some way on the question. And we are confident that this has ever been God’s order, and ever will be His order through all coming time. The word should ever stand forth in front, as the rule of faith and duty. But the experience of the past shows that good men have erred greatly from Bible truth. It would be folly to deny this. If, then, in our extremity, it be God’s opportunity to correct errors of the honest Bible reader, and rebuke the ambitious partisan¾who would wish to be found fighting against God?

The following we take from an article we wrote on this subject, published in the first volume of the Review, April 21, 1851:

“Every Christian is therefore in duty bound to take the Bible as a perfect rule of faith and duty. He should pray fervently to be aided by the Holy Spirit in searching the Scriptures for the whole truth, and for his whole duty. He is not at liberty to turn from them to learn his duty through any of the gifts. We say that the very moment he does, he places the gifts in a wrong place, and takes an extremely dangerous position. The word should be in front, and the eye of the church should be placed upon it, as the rule to walk by, and the fountain of wisdom, from which to learn duty, in ‘all good works.’ But if a portion of the church err from the truths of the Bible, and become weak and sickly, and the flock become scattered, so that it seems necessary for God to employ the gifts of the Spirit to correct, revive, and heal their erring, we should let Him work. Yea, more, we should pray for Him to work, and plead earnestly that He would work by the Spirit’s power, and bring the scattered sheep to His fold. Praise the Lord, He will work. Amen.”

This article appeared in the Review and Herald, February 28, 1856. At this time Elder James White was the recognized leader of the Seventh-day Adventist believers, then unorganized. He was elected president of the General Conference in 1865.

Bible Study Guides – Importance of the Spirit of Prophecy

November 24, 2007 – November 30, 2007

Key Text

“Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:8, 11-13.

Study Help: The Great Controversy, vii-xii; Selected Messages, Book 1, 24-39.


“The word of God is sufficient to enlighten the most beclouded mind and may be understood by those who have any desire to understand it. But notwithstanding all this, some who profess to make the word of God their study are found living in direct opposition to its plainest teachings. Then, to leave men and women without excuse, God gives plain and pointed testimonies, bringing them back to the word that they have neglected to follow. The word of God abounds in general principles for the formation of correct habits of living, and the testimonies, general and personal, have been calculated to call their attention more especially to these principles.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 663, 664.

1 Of what would Paul not have the Corinthian believers to be ignorant? 1 Corinthians 12:1.

note: In his preface to Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 29, James White wrote: “The object of the gifts, as stated by Paul, was ‘for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith.’ [Ephesians 4:12, 13, first part.] These were Heaven’s appointed means to secure the unity of the church. Christ prayed that his people might be one, as he was one with his Father. Read John 17. Paul exhorted the Corinthians in the name of Christ to be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment. Read 1 Corinthians 1:10; Romans 15:5; Philippians 2:1, 2; 1 Peter 3:8; 5:5. The gifts were given to secure this state of unity.”

2 Enumerate the principal gifts of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:28, 8-10.

note: “The talents that Christ entrusts to His church represent especially the gifts and blessings imparted by the Holy Spirit. [1 Corinthians 12:8-11 quoted.] All men do not receive the same gifts, but to every servant of the Master some gift of the Spirit is promised. . . .

“The gifts are already ours in Christ, but their actual possession depends upon our reception of the Spirit of God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 327.

It is important for the people of God to understand the role of the gift of prophecy in their midst. Wrote Ellen White: “In ancient times God spoke to men by the mouth of prophets and apostles. In these days He speaks to them by the testimonies of His Spirit. There was never a time when God instructed His people more earnestly than He instructs them now concerning His will and the course that He would have them pursue.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 661.

3 What gift did Paul say the Corinthian believers were especially to desire? 1 Corinthians 14:1.

note: “The gift of prophecy is one of God’s choicest gifts to the human family. Indeed, it ranks next to the supreme gift of His only-begotten Son and of His Holy Spirit to a world estranged and separated by sin.” A. G. Daniells, The Abiding Gift of Prophecy, 15. <> July 17, 2007.

“Some, I [Ellen White] was shown, could receive the published visions, judging of the tree by its fruits. Others are like doubting Thomas; they cannot believe the published Testimonies, nor receive evidence through the testimony of others; but must see and have the evidence for themselves. Such must not be set aside, but long patience and brotherly love should be exercised toward them until they find their position and become established for or against. If they fight against the visions, of which they have no knowledge; if they carry their opposition so far as to oppose that in which they have had no experience, and feel annoyed when those who believe that the visions are of God speak of them in meeting, and comfort themselves with the instruction given through vision, the church may know that they are not right. God’s people should not cringe and yield, and give up their liberty to such disaffected ones. God has placed the gifts in the church that the church may be benefited by them; and when professed believers in the truth oppose these gifts, and fight against the visions, souls are in danger through their influence, and it is time then to labor with them, that the weak may not be led astray by their influence.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 328, 329.

4 Where were spiritual gifts to be manifest? 1 Corinthians 12:28. For how long? 1 Corinthians 13:8-10.

note: “In the great crisis of 1844, an unbelieving world was arrayed against God’s disappointed people. Some shunned them, some ridiculed them, and many were hostile to them. They were surely a forsaken and scattered flock, knowing not what to do. Among them were some who, like Jehoshaphat and Judah, kept their eyes upon God and offered importunate prayer for divine guidance. The Lord heard their prayers, and gave them a remarkable answer through the prophetic gift. He chose for His messenger Miss Ellen Gould Harmon of Portland, Maine,—one of the truly devout and sorely disappointed believers in the coming of the Lord in 1844.” A. G. Daniells, The Abiding Gift of Prophecy, 258. <> July 17, 2007.

“Those who maintain that the gifts of the Spirit, including the prophetic gift, ceased with the days of the apostles are thereby logically forced not only to turn a deaf ear to the claim of any present-day messenger for God, but to denounce such a one as an impostor.

“Those who believe in the abiding gift of prophecy must recognize the force of the Saviour’s injunction: ‘Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.’ Matthew 7:15. Nor should they be unmindful of our Lord’s prediction that among the signs that were to herald the return of our Lord as imminent, is the appearance of ‘false christs, and false prophets,’ who ‘shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.’ Matthew 24:24.

“In order that one may ‘quench not the Spirit,’—the Holy Spirit, who has moved upon and inspired the prophets of all ages,—the apostle Paul enjoins the believers to ‘despise not prophesyings.’ In order to avoid deception by a subtle counterfeit, he adds the injunction: ‘Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21.” Ibid., 264.

“The welfare of the church as a whole, and of its individual members, is inseparably bound up with believing and heeding God’s prophets. These . . . are His chosen messengers, His appointed spokesmen, to His church on earth. . . . This plan of communication has been God’s chosen, uniform, and beneficent provision for revealing His will to man, ever since the separation caused by sin. Through this means, God counsels and instructs, He cautions, entreats, and warns, as need may occasion and as divine love indicates. The presence of the prophet among men is not, therefore, something new or unusual, something strange or fantastic. God is the author of this provision, and wayfaring man is its beneficiary. It is as old as the human need, and as constant as the divine love that prompted and instituted it.

“The vicissitudes of the church in all ages have been gauged by its allegiance or its disloyalty to the gift of prophecy, and its safety measured by its response to these heavenly leadings. Through the centuries spanning the patriarchal, Mosaic, and apostolic eras, we have seen this inviolable rule in operation, as revealed in the pages of Holy Writ.

“Then after the death of the apostles, the tragic march of events in the Christian era begins, is told in blood and tears, and is blotched with drift and apostasy. Steadily the nominal Christian church veers from those foundation principles—the precepts and practices, the letter and the spirit—that characterized the apostolic church. The departure centered in perversion of the law and the gospel, though it permeated every truth of Christianity.

“Tragic has been the lot of those who stood for the primitive faith. Hated and maligned, persecuted and isolated, they witnessed to the truth. But from time to time prophets—men and women—arose at the call of God, and denounced the iniquity of the disloyal. They encouraged the fidelity of the faithful, and guided and guarded the adherents of truth through the weary centuries.

“Now in these divinely denominated ‘last days,’ God’s great plan of redemption and the mad course of the human race approach their climax together. Iniquity so abounds among men, human philosophy is so defiant, man’s independence of God and of the provisions of redemption are so affronting in this supreme conflict between good and evil, that it was imperative for the gift of prophecy to be conspicuously manifest in the ranks of the remnant church.” Ibid., 370, 371.

5 What is God’s purpose in bestowing spiritual gifts in the church? Ephesians 4:11-14; 1 Corinthians 12:7; 14:22, last part.

note: The testimony of Uriah Smith, one of the pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, concerning the influence of the spirit of prophecy on the lives of church members will be helpful: “Their fruit is such as to show that the source from which they spring is the opposite of evil.

“They tend to the purest morality. They discountenance every vice, and exhort to the practice of every virtue. They point out the perils through which we are to pass to the kingdom. They reveal the devices of Satan. They warn us against his snares. They have nipped in the bud scheme after scheme of fanaticism which the enemy has tried to foist into our midst. They have exposed hidden iniquity, brought to light concealed wrongs, and laid bare the evil motives of the false-hearted. They have warded off dangers from the cause of truth upon every hand. They have aroused and re-aroused us to greater consecration to God, more zealous efforts for holiness of heart, and greater diligence in the cause and service of our Master.” Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 469, 470.

6 How does the True Witness deal with the Laodicean church, and what counsel does He offer? Revelation 3:14, 19

note: The chastening process is accomplished by the messages of reproof and correction given through the prophets. Applying the words of this text to the testimonies she bore, Ellen White declared: “The Lord has seen fit to counsel Elder Smith, to give him words of reproof because he had erred; but is this an evidence that God has forsaken him? No. ‘As many as I love I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent’ (Revelation 3:19). The Lord reproves wrongs in His people, but is this an evidence that He has rejected them? No. There are errors in the church, and the Lord points them out by His own ordained agencies, not always through the testimonies.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 81.

7 Instead of an indication of God’s rejection, of what is the chastening of the Lord a certain evidence? Hebrews 12:6, 7. What excellent results does this chastening produce? Verse 11.

note: “The Lord can bring victory out of that which may seem to us discomfiture and defeat. We are in danger of forgetting God, of looking at the things which are seen, instead of beholding by the eye of faith the things which are unseen. When misfortune or calamity comes, we are ready to charge God with neglect or cruelty. If He sees fit to cut off our usefulness in some line, we mourn, not stopping to think that thus God may be working for our good. We need to learn that chastisement is a part of His great plan and that under the rod of affliction the Christian may sometimes do more for the Master than when engaged in active service.” The Acts of the Apostles, 481.

“It is God who has led you through strait places. He had a purpose in this, that tribulation might work in you patience, and patience experience, and experience hope. He permitted trials to come upon you, that, through them, you might experience the peaceable fruits of righteousness.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 416.

8 How did the vision of the sheet let down from heaven, given to the church through Peter, teach an important Bible principle? Acts 10:1-35. Compare 11 Chronicles 19:7.

note: As the vision given to Peter on the housetop corrected him as a Jew in his prejudicial attitude toward the Gentiles, so the visions of Ellen White correct those who err from Bible principle.

“The Lord has sent His people much instruction, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little. Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light.” Colporteur Ministry, 125.

“Brother J would confuse the mind by seeking to make it appear that the light God has given through the Testimonies is an addition to the word of God, but in this he presents the matter in a false light. God has seen fit in this manner to bring the minds of His people to His word, to give them a clearer understanding of it.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 246.

9 How did Mrs. White indicate the relationship of her messages to the Bible?

note: “The Spirit was not given nor can it ever be bestowed to supersede the Bible; for the Scriptures explicitly state that the word of God is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested.” The Great Controversy, vii.

10 What claim did Mrs. White make for herself and her work?

note: “I [Ellen White] have had no claims to make, only that I am instructed that I am the Lord’s messenger; that He called me in my youth to be His messenger, to receive His word, and to give a clear and decided message in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 32. [Author’s italics.]

11 What did Mrs. White refrain from claiming?

note: In a public address delivered October 2, 1904, in Battle Creek, Michigan, Mrs. White stated: “During the discourse, I said that I did not claim to be a prophetess. Some were surprised at this statement, and as much is being said in regard to it, I will make an explanation. Others have called me a prophetess, but I have never assumed that title. I have not felt that it was my duty thus to designate myself. Those who boldly assume that they are prophets in this our day are often a reproach to the cause of Christ.

“My work includes much more than this name signifies. I regard myself as a messenger, entrusted by the Lord with messages for His people.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 35, 36.

12 What work did God “especially” assign to Mrs. White?

note: “The work which the Lord has laid out before me [Ellen White] especially is to urge young and old, learned and unlearned, to search the Scriptures for themselves; to impress upon all that the study of God’s word will expand the mind and strengthen every faculty, fitting the intellect to wrestle with problems of truth, deep and far-reaching; to assure all that the clear knowledge of the Bible outdoes all other knowledge in making man what God designed he should be.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 686.

Bible Study Guide – Confidence in the Spirit of Prophecy

December 23, 2007 – December 29, 2007

Key Text

“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,<> 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.

Bible Study Guides – A Gift That Guides and Guards

December 9, 2007 – December 15, 2007

Key Text

“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” Psalm 32:8.

Study Help: Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 24–62.


During the 70 years of her ministry (1845–1915), Ellen White was used as God’s instrument to bring prophetic guidance to His people, often in times of crisis. A review of the guiding and guarding influences of the spirit of prophecy through the years of the church’s work gives clear, convincing ground for confidence in God’s leadership. Speaking of the early days of the movement when error and fanaticism threatened the leaders, she wrote:

“Those who passed over the ground step by step in the past history of our experience, seeing the chain of truth in the prophecies, were prepared to accept and obey every ray of light. They were praying, fasting, searching, digging for the truth as for hidden treasures, and the Holy Spirit, we know, was teaching and guiding us. Many theories were advanced, bearing a semblance of truth, but so mingled with misinterpreted and misapplied scriptures, that they led to dangerous errors. Very well do we know how every point of truth was established, and the seal set upon it by the Holy Spirit of God. And all the time voices were heard, ‘Here is the truth,’ ‘I have the truth; follow me.’ But the warnings came, ‘Go not ye after them. I have not sent them, but they ran.’ (See Jeremiah 23:21.)

“The leadings of the Lord were marked, and most wonderful were His revelations of what is truth. Point after point was established by the Lord God of heaven. That which was truth then, is truth today.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 103, 104.

Ellen White was not the leader of the advent movement as Moses was of the Exodus movement. She did not serve in a kingly capacity as David did over Israel. Her work was more like the work of Samuel, who was a teacher in Israel. But as the Israel of old “from Dan to Beersheba” recognized in Samuel the work of a true prophet of God, so have Seventh-day Adventists recognized in the work of Ellen White an instrumentality of God’s Holy Spirit sent to give guidance, spiritual aid, and comfort to His people. Her messages have been a guarding, preserving influence.

1 What were the prophets in olden times frequently called? I Samuel 9:9.

Note: In one of her earliest books, Spiritual Gifts, Book 1, Ellen White described the many scenes of the great controversy vision given to her at Lovett’s Grove, Ohio, in the spring of 1858. In writing out her views, she prepared a book of 219 pages. Over 200 times she wrote, “I was shown”; “I was pointed back”; “I saw”; “I was told”; “It was presented before me”; and other such phraseology. These same phrases are repeatedly used in other of her writings. Thus she described scenes past and future as an “eyewitness.”

The prophetic work of Ellen White from the earliest days of the advent movement, offered:

  • Protection against danger from within the church. (See Testimonies, vol. 1, 113–115; 311–323; 356, 357; 409–419.)
  • Protection against danger from without the church. (See Early Writings, 59, 60; 262–266.)
  • Guidance in the understanding of basic Christian truths. (See Early Writings, 145–295.)

2 How does the prophet Isaiah describe those who publish peace and salvation? Isaiah 52:7.

Note: At a conference held in the home of Otis Nichols at Dorchester, Massachusetts, in November 1848, the pioneers sought God for special guidance. Heaven seemed near, and to Ellen White was given a vision. After the vision, she said to her husband:

“I have a message for you. You must begin to print a little paper and send it out to the people. Let it be small at first; but as the people read, they will send you means with which to print, and it will be a success from the first. From this small beginning it was shown to me to be like streams of light that went clear round the world.” Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 125. Thus Present Truth, the first periodical of the Advent movement, was begun.

3 What experience in the New Testament church demonstrated the value of church order and organization? Acts 6:1–6. Compare Acts 15:1–32.

Note: “I [Ellen White] saw that this door at which the enemy comes in to perplex and trouble the flock can be shut. I inquired of the angel how it could be closed. He said, ‘The church must flee to God’s Word and become established upon gospel order, which has been overlooked and neglected.’ This is indispensably necessary in order to bring the church into the unity of the faith. I saw that in the apostles’ day the church was in danger of being deceived and imposed upon by false teachers. Therefore the brethren chose men who had given good evidence that they were capable of ruling well their own house and preserving order in their own families, and who could enlighten those who were in darkness. Inquiry was made of God concerning these, and then, according to the mind of the church and the Holy Ghost, they were set apart by the laying on of hands. Having received their commission from God and having the approbation of the church, they went forth baptizing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and administering the ordinances of the Lord’s house, often waiting upon the saints by presenting them the emblems of the broken body and spilt blood of the crucified Saviour, to keep fresh in the memory of God’s beloved children His sufferings and death.

“I [Ellen White] saw that we are no more secure from false teachers now than they were in the apostles’ days; and, if we do no more, we should take as special measures as they did to secure the peace, harmony, and union of the flock. We have their example, and should follow it.” Early Writings, 100, 101.

4 What experience came to the apostle Paul that led him to carry the gospel to Europe? Acts 16:9, 10.

Note: “From all countries the Macedonian cry is sounding: ‘Come over, . . . and help us.’ [Acts 16:9.] God has opened fields before us, and if human agencies would but co-operate with divine agencies, many, many souls would be won to the truth.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 46.

“The instruction the Lord has given me [Ellen White] is that a field should not be shunned because it has objectionable features. This world was seared and marred by the curse, but still Christ came to it.” Medical Ministry, 321.

5 In the days of Hezekiah, what remarkable instance of divine guidance and protection is recorded? 11 Chronicles 32:22. Compare Isaiah 37:1, 2, 6, 7, 33–37.

Note: As Hezekiah, the God-fearing king, and the prophet Isaiah sought the deliverance of Judah from threatened annihilation at the hand of the boastful king of Assyria, God “guided them on every side.” (11 Chronicles 32:22.)

God has also guided His present-day people “on every side” through the spirit of prophecy. For example:

  • Health reform. “The health work began with the establishment of a sanitarium in 1866.” Arthur L. White, Ellen G. White: The Early Elmshaven Years, vol. 5, 1900–1905, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington, D.C., 71. (See Testimonies, vol. 1, 485–494.)
  • Education. “Educational work was started with the opening of Battle Creek College in 1874.” Ibid.
  • Organization. “It has been a necessity to organize union conferences, that the General Conference shall not exercise dictation over all the separate conferences. The power vested in the Conference is not to be centered in one man, or two men, or six men; there is to be a council of men over the separate divisions.” Last Day Events, 55.

6 In addition to leading the nation of Israel, what other work is Moses said to have done? Hosea 12:13.

Note: God miraculously delivered Israel, by the hand of Moses, out of slavery and led them to the borders of the Promised Land. A review of God’s present-day people discloses how, by the hand of the prophetess Ellen White, they have been “preserved” by the divine instruction and protected from Satan’s many attacks.

For instance, one of the first burdens laid upon Ellen White was to erect a wall about the church and protect it from fanatics who taught extreme views such as holy flesh and instantaneous sanctification. Others attempted to set specific times for the Lord to come. (See Selected Messages, Book 2, 31–38; Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 83–89; Testimonies, vol. 1, 72.) These dangerous views were squarely met by Ellen White.

The church will face fanatics again, and the experiences of the past will be repeated. Though extreme views will be taught and practiced, Goxd’s true people will not be misled.

“The principles of truth that God has revealed to us are our only true foundation. They have made us what we are. The lapse of time has not lessened their value. It is the constant effort of the enemy to remove these truths from their setting, and to put in their place spurious theories. He will bring in everything that he possibly can to carry out his deceptive designs. But the Lord will raise up men of keen perception, who will give these truths their proper place in the plan of God.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 201.

7 What may God’s commandment-keeping church, having the “testimony of Jesus,” expect at the hand of the dragon, Satan? Revelation 12:17.

Note: “Through deceptive means and unseen channels, Satan is working to strengthen his authority and to place obstacles in the way of God’s people, that souls may not be freed from his power and gathered under the banner of Christ. By his deceptions he is seeking to allure souls from Christ, and those who are not established upon the truth will surely be taken in his snare. And those whom he cannot lead into sin he will persecute, as the Jews did Christ.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 295.

8 For what purpose did Christ place the gifts in the church? Ephesians 4:11, 13.

Note: “I [Ellen White] have been shown that just such phases of error as I was compelled to meet among Advent believers after the passing of the time in 1844, will be repeated in these last days. In our early experience, I had to go from place to place and bear message after message to disappointed companies of believers. The evidences accompanying my messages were so great that the honest in heart received as truth the words that were spoken. The power of God was revealed in a marked manner, and men and women were freed from the baleful influence of fanaticism and disorder, and were brought into the unity of the faith.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 376.

9 What did the messages of the prophet Elisha do for Israel? 11 Kings 6:8–12.

Note: The attacks upon God’s people today may not be in the form of physical violence, yet they are no less real and perilous. One form in which the archenemy brings his attacks is from within, as misguided and overzealous souls misuse the spirit of prophecy counsels that were given to reform. Ellen White wrote:

“Although there are evils existing in the church, and will be until the end of the world, the church in these last days is to be the light of the world that is polluted and demoralized by sin. The church, enfeebled and defective, needing to be reproved, warned, and counseled, is the only object upon earth upon which Christ bestows His supreme regard.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 49.

10 At a time of crisis in the experience of Israel, through what means did the Lord lead to deliverance and bring about that deliverance? 11 Chronicles 20:14–20. Compare Judges 4:1–7, 14.

Note: Just as Jahaziel and Deborah proclaimed turning points for God’s people, so Ellen White gave messages that were turning points. The prophetic message she presented on a Sabbath afternoon in 1868 in Bushnell, Michigan, was the turning point in the life of the Bushnell church. The preceding Sabbath the members had decided to disband, but the providential appearance of Ellen White and her husband, Elder James White, turned the tide.

“An appointment had been made through a notice on the back page of the Review published on Tuesday, July 16. Neither [Ellen and James White] had ever been to Bushnell [Michigan], but the elder of the Greenville church, A. W. Maynard, and the elder of the Orleans church, S. H. King, had suggested a grove meeting at Bushnell, where there was a struggling group of believers. …

“As the dwindling company of discouraged Sabbathkeepers at Bushnell had met the previous Sabbath morning, July 13, only seven were present, and they had decided to hold no more meetings (The Signs of the Times, August 29, 1878). But the notice in the Review led them to get word around for at least one more meeting. …

“All the Sabbathkeepers were on the grounds Sabbath morning. After James White had spoken, Ellen, Bible in hand, began to speak from a text of Scripture and then paused. Laying her Bible aside, she began to address those who had accepted the Sabbath in that place. She was not acquainted with them and did not know their names, but she addressed a number of persons. …

“She described each peculiar case, stating that the Lord had shown her their cases two years previous [most likely in the vision at Rochester], and that, while she was just then speaking from the Bible, that view had flashed over her mind, like sudden lightning in a dark night distinctly revealing every object. …

“Sunday morning there was a baptism, and the Bushnell church was organized and officers chosen. In the years that followed, several workers in the cause came from that church.” Arthur L. White, Ellen G. White: The Progressive Years, vol. 2, 1862–1876, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington, D.C., 189–191.