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Priceless Heritage of the Church
By Brian Pepper
Face to Face Communication before Sin
In Isaiah 59:1, 2 it says, "Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear."
Communication through Prophets
Communication through ProphetsIn the mercy of God man was not completely cut off from communion with heaven. God opened a channel of communication with the human family. In Numbers 12:6 we read: "...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.” You will notice that in this channel of communication between earth and heaven a divinely appointed person is to be used of God as a link in the chain on the earth side. Also God would send messages to His people through this human instrument, the prophet.
Gift of Prophecy
Gift of ProphecyIn 1 Corinthians 13:2 we read: "And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and have not charity, I am nothing.” The prophet holds a very sacred office, for he or she is the mouthpiece for God to His church. Anciently the prophet was also called a "seer," because he was the spiritual eyes for the church.
Testimony of Jesus Christ
Testimony of Jesus ChristSpeaking of the prophet John, the Bible says in Revelation 1:2: "Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw." This makes it very clear that the spoken or written word of the prophet is called "the testimony of Jesus Christ” because it is not the testimony of the prophet; he merely relaying the testimony of Jesus Christ which has been relayed to him by the angel Gabriel. What the prophet communicates to the church then, is the testimony of Jesus Christ and not merely his own ideas and words.
When the Prophetic Gift Failed
When the Prophetic Gift FailedNow I am assured that you will agree with me that what I have said so far is true and correct however the question could have arisen in your mind "Why were there intervals in Israel's history when the prophetic gift failed?” Well the reason is this; there is a significant connection between the gift of prophecy in the church and the keeping of the law of God.
When a Church or Movement Disregards God's Law
When a Church or Movement Disregards God's LawIn Ezekiel 7:26 it says: "...The law shall perish from the priest, and counsel from the ancients." In other words, if the people and priests neglected to keep God's law, the counsel from the ancients or prophets, would also cease. In Lamentations 2:9 it says, “...the law is no more: her prophets also find no vision..." God will not speak through a prophet to any church or movement which disregards His law. In Proverbs 28:9 we read: "He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be an abomination." Again in Proverbs 29:18 it says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he." Those who keep God’s commandments can be happy in the knowledge that their prayers are heard in heaven, and that God will send messages of counsel to them through his prophets.
Apostasy in the time of Samuel
Apostasy in the time of SamuelAt the time of Samuel, there was great apostasy in Israel, and the law of God was completely ignored. In 1 Samuel 3:1 we read, "And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days, there was no open vision. " So it seems to be an established fact that as soon as the people forsook God's law, God discontinued communications with them.
Apostasy in Sabbath Observance
Apostasy in Sabbath ObservanceOne time when Israel had apostatized and were in great danger from their enemies, they asked the prophet to seek counsel from the Lord for them. I want you to note God's reply in Ezekiel 20:3, 16. "... Are ye come to enquire of me? As I live, saith the Lord God, I will not be enquired of by you. ..Because they despised my judgments, and walked not in my statutes, but polluted my sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols." In every reported instance when God’s church on earth apostatized, in Sabbath observance, He withdrew the gift of prophecy from that church by ceasing to communicate through a prophet. On the other hand, in every recorded instance when the people repented and returned to faithful Sabbath observance, God re-opened the channel of communication between heaven and His church on earth by restoring the prophetic gift to that church.
Selecting a Mouthpiece
Selecting a MouthpieceIn selecting a mouthpiece for Himself, God made no distinction but often selected women as well as men. We have the definite mention of Miriam, Deborah, and Hulda in the Old Testament. And the New Testament tells us of Anna and the four daughters of Philip who had the prophetic gift. There were doubtless many other prophetesses in Bible times who have not been mentioned by name.
New Testament Prophets
New Testament ProphetsMany folk today have come to think that gift of prophecy was for Old Testament times only. But this is a mistake. All the inspired writers of the New Testament had the prophetic gift, including John the Revelator who wrote 80 or more years after Christ. Any church or movement in any age which measures up to God’s requirements, observing His holy Sabbath, is blessed with the prophetic gift.
Apostolic and Remant Churches Compared
Apostolic and Remant Churches ComparedThe Scriptures often compare the Exodus Movement with the Early Christian Church. The Remnant church is also definitely linked up with the Apostolic Church, thus showing the continuity of God’ s true church down through the ages. The Exodus movement was blessed with the prophetic gift, being guided and instructed by it in all their journeys to the Promised Land. The Apostolic Movement, organized by Christ and sent on its mission to evangelize the world was blessed and guided by the gift of prophecy. So we may expect the Remnant church also to have the gift of prophecy, an open channel of communication between heaven and earth.
Gifts Bestowed upon the Early Church
Gifts Bestowed upon the Early ChurchFive gifts were conferred upon the Early Church. Ephesians 4:8,11 says: "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, past pastors and teachers." Through this gift God designed to maintain an unbroken line of communication with His church on earth till its work in the earth should be finished. Yes, one of the five gifts was the gift of prophecy. God tells us plainly what these gifts were designed to accomplish for the church and how long the church was to be blessed with these gifts.
Spiritual Gift Withdrawn after Apostasy in Early Church
Spiritual Gift Withdrawn after Apostasy in Early ChurchAs the early church discarded fundamental truths one by one, these spiritual gifts were withdrawn one by one. Apostles were replaced by bishops; Evangelists were replaced by monks and nuns. When as their crowning act of apostasy they rejected the Bible Sabbath, God cut the line of communication between heaven and the church withdrawing the prophetic gift. For centuries the fallen church was without spiritual gifts.
Spiritual Gifts Began to be Restored after Reformation
Spiritual Gifts Began to be Restored after ReformationWhen the Reformation of the 16th century began to bring those fundamental truths to the world again, the spiritual gifts began to be restored. Many became apostles - pioneers. And soon evangelists, pastors and teachers sprang up. As Protestantism reached its development in 1844 A.D. four of the five spiritual gifts bestowed upon the Early Christian Church were again manifested in the church. Only one gift was lacking, the prophetic gift.
Dawn of Sabbath Keeping Movement
Dawn of Sabbath Keeping MovementThen there came into being a new religious organization, bringing back to the world the knowledge of the Bible Sabbath. Revelation 14:12 says "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Keeping the "commandments of God," involved keeping the Bible Sabbath. This new movement brought the Sabbath to the attention of men.
The Remant Church will have the Prophetic Gift
The Remant Church will have the Prophetic GiftIn Revelation 12:17 we read: "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." What is this "testimony of Jesus?" In Revelation 19:10 we read, "...the testimony of Jesus is the spirit (gift) of prophecy." This text alone removes all doubt. It plainly states that the remnant church will be endowed with the prophetic gift. The early church was blessed with the prophet gift. The remnant church, believing and teaching and practicing all the truths that were practiced by the early church, will lack nothing that the early church had.
False Prophets shall arise
False Prophets shall ariseTo confuse men’s minds, and to lead them to doubt and reject the counsels from God through His true prophets, Satan brings forward false prophets. Speaking of the days just prior to His second coming, Jesus says in Matthew 24:11: "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many." The fact that Satan brings forward false prophets in our day is ample proof that a true prophet exercises the gift of prophecy in the Remnant Church. Where there is a counterfeit there is always the genuine.
How can we Distinguish between the True and False Prophet?
How can we Distinguish between the True and False Prophet?With the true prophetic gift in the Remnant Church, and false prophets in Satan’s ranks, how can the honest seeker for truth distinguish between the true and the false? Well let us read 1 John 4:1: "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world," This command carries with it the assurance that God has given us an infallible rule by which we can try them; so none need to be deceived by false prophets.
How to Test a Prophet
How to Test a ProphetThe first and all-important test is the spiritual one. Here is the test God commands us to apply. Isaiah 8:20 says, "To the law and to the testimony if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." The slightest deviation from what is written in the law of God, and by the Bible prophets stamps any religious teaching or teacher as false. How quickly and easily we can try “the spirits” if we are honestly seeking for truth.
Physical Tests of a True Prophet
Physical Tests of a True ProphetNow let us consider the physical rules by which we can distinguish a true prophet from one that is false. Numbers 12:6 says: "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." Visions and dreams as given to a divinely appointed prophet, are given by the power of God, and are always given under certain conditions which cannot be duplicated by the will or efforts of men. In order to find out what these physical conditions are, let us go to the Bible and read what conditions existed when prophets in those days were given visions.
Eyes Open without Blinking
Eyes Open without BlinkingAbout Balaam’s condition in vision Numbers 24:4 says, “He… saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open.” Anyone knows how impossible it is to keep one's eyes open for more than a minute without blinking. How could anyone keep his eyes open during entire visions up to three hours duration?
No Strength, No Breath, Dumb
No Strength, No Breath, DumbNow let us see what the Bible says about Daniel when he was in vision. Daniel 10:7, 8, 15, and 17 says: "And I Daniel alone saw the vision ... and there remained no strength in me … and I became dumb … neither is there breath left in me.” Daniel describes his condition in vision. He was utterly without strength of his own. He could not speak. But even more remarkable - he did not breathe throughout the vision.
An Angel Strengthened the Prophet
An Angel Strengthened the ProphetIn Daniel 10:16 and 18 it says: "And behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips; then I opened my mouth and spake … Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me." After the complete loss of his own strength, an angel came and strengthened Daniel. Also after becoming completely dumb, the angel touched his lips and he spoke.
The Remnant Church
The Remnant ChurchNow let us take a look at the Remnant Church in 1844 A.D. For several years William Miller had been preaching the Second Advent of Christ and this message had been joyfully received by many. Let us read from his letter written by him on November 10, 1844: "The brethren who loved the appearing of our Saviour . . . almost universally met with scoffing, ridicule, and misrepresentation . . . A war of extermination was commenced against the Advent faith." (Life of William Miller pp 301, 302)
Excummunicating those of the Advent Faith
Excummunicating those of the Advent FaithThrough the preaching of William Miller many were converted, and each joined the church of his choice. But because of the attitude of the religious leaders to the Advent cause, they were unable to remain there. More than 50,000 church members voluntarily left the religious bodies. .. and identified themselves with. .. .William Miller and his associates. . . . Thousands were excommunicated from their churches because of believing in the doctrine of the near coming of the Lord. Elder J.N. Loughborough, one of the pioneers says: "Thus the advent doctrine was forever shut out of the church where hundreds had found the Saviour and had been made happy in God.
Gift of the Spirit
Gift of the SpiritWhile this work of expulsion was going on in the churches. ... the Lord came near to the comfort of His people by the special manifestation of the gift of His Spirit." When the popular churches refused to God’s message, the believers had to form a church of their own. Then God communicated to them messages through His chosen prophet.
Vison of Ellen Harmon
Vison of Ellen HarmonFrom a history of that great religious awakening we read these words: "It was but a few weeks after the passing of the time, in 1844, that she (Ellen Harmon) had her first vision." She tells of this vision and what she saw at that time. There were five women kneeling in prayer when the power of God came upon her and she was taken off in vision from this earth and shown a better land. Just at the time the true followers of God were so discouraged because His message was not joyously accepted, God sent the wonderful vision to them.
The Man who Failed to Respond to the Vision
The Man who Failed to Respond to the VisionJust a short time before this vision was given to Ellen Harmon; the Lord selected a young man to whom He gave a vision, but who failed to respond to the call of God to exercise the gift. His name was Hazen Poss and he lived in Portland, Maine. He was a well educated man of pleasing appearance and address. However, when given a message of warning to give to God's people, he refused to relate the vision. The vision was repeated the second time and he was told that if he did not relate it, God would give the work to another. He was given a third vision and told that he was released from the burden, that God had called another to do His bidding. Now he was willing to relate the vision, but it was too late. He could not remember a word of the vision. God had truly taken the vision away. About three months later he heard another relating the vision that had been shown him. He told the people that it was the same vision given him, and stated later, "That is the instrument on whom the Lord has laid the burden."
Ellen G. Harmon
Ellen G. HarmonThis instrument whom the Lord selected as His mouthpiece to the remnant church was a frail girl, Ellen G. Harmon, who was born in Gorham, Maine, and whose parents were formerly devout members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. At the age of nine she met with an accident which made it impossible for her to continue her school work, and made her practically an invalid till in later years she was miraculously healed in answer to prayer.
Physical Traits of Ellen Harmon when in Vision
Physical Traits of Ellen Harmon when in VisionJames White, one of the great pioneers who saw Ellen in vision many times says: "She is utterly unconscious of everything transpiring around her, as has been proved by the most rigid tests, but views herself as removed from this world, and in the presence of heavenly beings." This certainly presents a condition similar to that of Balaam. Of him it says, “Falling into a trance." Of Ellen Harmon it says, "Unconscious of everything transpiring around her." James White continues: "She does not breathe.” During the entire period of her continuance in vision.... from fifteen minutes to three hours, there is no breath, as has been repeatedly proved." Daniel says: "Neither was there breath left in me." Of the condition of Ellen Harmon in vision we are told: "There is no breath, this condition cannot be imitated. It is a condition that only a miracle of God could produce." Again from James White: "Her muscles become rigid, and joints fixed, so far as any external force can influence them. At the same time her movements and gestures which are frequent are free and graceful, and cannot be hindered by the strongest person." At one time while in vision Ellen held up a large family Bible weighing 18 ½ pounds for half an hour. Daniel says: "He strengthened me." If the Lord had not strengthened Ellen Harmon she certainly could not have held the heavy Bible in one hand at arm’s length for so long a period of time.
Conditions of a Prophet in Vision
Conditions of a Prophet in VisionLet us review the conditions of a prophet in vision as given in the Bible. “He saw the vision of the Almighty,
Parallels of the Exodus Movement and Remnant Movement
Parallels of the Exodus Movement and Remnant MovementIt is of interest to note the many parallels of the Exodus Movement out of the Egyptian darkness into the Promised Land, and the Remnant Movement out of the darkness of this world into the heavenly Promised Land. In both movements the law of God is the divine standard of living.
Exodus Movement - 2 Men and a Woman Prophetess
Exodus Movement - 2 Men and a Woman ProphetessBut there is one other parallel that I would like to mention. In Micah 6:4 we read, "For I brought thee up put of the land of Egypt ... and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron and Miriam." And in Exodus 15:20 we are told: "And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand...” So the visible, or human leadership in the Exodus Movement, when it was organized, consisted of two men and a woman, and that woman was a prophetess, the mouthpiece for God to that movement.
Remnant Movement - 2 Men and a Woman Prophetess
Remnant Movement - 2 Men and a Woman ProphetessThe visible or human leadership in the Remnant Movement when it was organized, consisted of two men and a woman; and that woman was selected by God to be the prophetess or mouthpiece for God to this movement. August 30, 1846, Miss Harmon was united in marriage to Elder James White, one of the pioneers of this movement. Elder James White and Captain Joseph Bates were the two outstanding leaders of this movement in its very beginning and Ellen G. White was the prophetess.
Ellen White's Writings
Ellen White's WritingsHer writings have filled many books, in addition to the numerous articles written for magazines and periodicals, tracts, and pamphlets. They have been translated into many languages and circulated by the tens of thousands in many countries.
Among the World's Best Literature
Among the World's Best LiteratureBecause of the injury she suffered when a young girl, she was unable to secure even a full eight grades of education. Yet she has written some of the world's best literature on all the vital sciences including astronomy, anatomy, physics etc. Her writings on true education are numbered among the best in the world. Some of the world's best judges of literature declare that her book “The Desire of Ages” shows the most marked literary talent of any book in the English language, aside from the Bible. They marvel at the beautiful and perfect English which flows from the pen of one who was denied even eight grades of education.
Desire of Ages
Desire of AgesA leading librarian of the Library of Congress Washington, D.C. states that of the more than ten thousand books on the Life of Christ in English, he would put "The Desire of Ages" first for spiritual discernment and practical application.
Steps to Christ
Steps to ChristAnother volume entitled "Steps to Christ" has won hundreds of thousands of people to Christ. It has been translated into more languages than any other took in the world -- apart from the Bible. "Pilgrims Progress" heads the list of the rest of the worlds’ "books having been translated into seventy more than forty languages, but Ellen G. Whites "Steps to Christ" has been translated into seventy-one languages.
Ministry of Healing
Ministry of HealingAnother volume entitled "Ministry of Healing", with other articles, was decades ahead of its time in regards to the principles of health. Doctor Clive May, Professor of Nutrition, Cornell University, a leading authority, stated that Ellen G. White was "one of the most remarkable women who ever lived in America.”
EducationAnd as I have already mentioned her writings on education were years ahead of her time, despite the fact she did not finish her primary education. Where, then, did she receive her knowledge? We can only answer by saying. It was not her knowledge at all. She received all her instruction from God as a result of the gift of prophecy.
Have Mrs White's Predictions been Fulfilled?
Have Mrs White's Predictions been Fulfilled?Have Mrs White’s predictions been fulfilled? Yes, in remarkable ways. She was shown the American Civil War before a single shot was fired and how the North would be victorious. She was also shown that spiritism would arise and spread around the world, which has come true today.
Testimonies about Ellen White
Testimonies about Ellen WhiteFollowing Ellen G. White’s death in 1915, many secular and religious publications bore testimony to the genuine worth of her character. I will quote just one of the many testimonials. "In her Christian service Mrs White endeavoured always to keep in closest touch with the world’s activities and needs. As an evangelist she often preached to thousands, her voice having unusual resonance and carrying power; and as a worker in temperance and health lines she wielded a wide influence... In all her teachings she insisted on a return to sound Scriptural doctrine and to apostolic simplicity. She recognized the Bible, and the Bible alone, as the supreme rule of faith and practice. She often stated that her mission was not to attempt to teach any new principle, but rather to call attention anew to principles plainly taught in the Bible for the observance of all, whatever their creed or affiliation." (Kennebec (Maine) Journal. July 17, 1915.)