Prophets and Visions
By Brian Pepper
There are so many people today, who are
confused, Perplexed and bewildered. The enemy of God has caused
widespread religious confusion. Serious men and women are
looking for some safe guide. Just like that earnest
Christian woman who went from one church to another, seeking for
the one that she felt would give her the 'truth'. There are
many who come and say, "We
have been looking for truth; we have been praying for the
truth. We have been turning from this church to that
If you were about to cross a bridge
you would want to be sure that it would not break and let
you down. And so it is with most people, they want to be
sure before starting out on a religious course that it will
not let them down, but that it will carry them through to
Jesus gave gifts unto men
When Jesus left this world, he gave
something special to mankind. Now what were these gifts?
Ephesians 4:8 says, Wherefore
he saith, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity
captive, and gave gifts unto men."
You notice the Saviour gave gifts to
Verse 11 says, "And he
gave some, apostles; and some prophets; and some,
evangelists; and some pastors and teachers."
gave these gifts to the church
And why were these gifts given to
Verse 12 says,
"For the perfecting of the saints for the work of the
ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."
Maybe you are wondering how long
will these gifts remain in the Church. Notice in
verse 13 it
says, "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 fullness of Christ."
And what will be the result?
14 says, "That we henceforth
be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about
with every wind of doctrine, by the sleigh of men, and
cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive."
There you have the answer. Men and
women confused, perplexed and searching for light will
discover in these gifts, the confidence that God is guiding
them. God has promised to do something special to the church
to make available a gift to establish men and women so that
they no longer need to be tossed to and fro, and carried
about by every wind of doctrine.
Now is that not the most wonderful
and satisfying promise that could be repeated by human lips?
But, you ask, "What did God have in mind when he said he
would give us these various gifts?" I turn now to
Corinthians 12 and we will read
"Now concerning spiritual gifts,
brethren, I would not have you ignorant."
This Chapter is dealing with
spiritual gifts. God does not want us to be ignorant about
these gifts. He wants us to understand them, to be familiar
There are several verses that I
would like you to notice.
Verse 4 says, "Now there are
diversities of gifts, but the same spirit."
Verse 8 says, "For to one is
given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word
of knowledge by the same Spirit."
Verse 15 says,
"If the foot shall say, Because I am
not the hand, I am not of the body: is it therefore not of
Verse 17 says,
"If the whole body were an eye, where
were the hearing? Where were the smelling?"
Church compared to the human body
The apostle Paul is getting
extremely practical here. As an illustration to drive home a
tremendous truth, he compares the church of the living God
to the human body.
Now I have two hands, two feet and two ears; but God gave me
only one mouth and one nose. He thought that would be
sufficient. But listen, never once have I found my foot
trying to do the work of my hand. All the members of my body
work together in perfect harmony. If I should lose one of
these members, the entire body would suffer.
In this way God illustrated the work
of the church. He gave certain gifts, talents, spiritual
powers, and these can be compared with the hand, the eye and
Now we are ready to read
27-31, "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
Order of the gifts
Did you notice the order in which
these are given? First apostles, secondly prophets, then
and after that miracles.
God did not place miracles first,
for fear that some would be so carried away with this
unusual gift that they would lose sight of Jesus. Farther
down the list He adds the gifts of healing.
It is the right for the church to
ask for this gift, and although God does not always heal in
just the way we request, never is a sincere soul turned away
without a blessing.
There is a little word called
"helps". What a blessing to the church of Christ are the
ones designated as "helps". The ones who keep the church
nice and tidy. The ones who see a need and do something
Gift of prophecy compared to the
Now I notice that God says that
prophecy is essential to the church. Suppose for the sake of
illustration, I should compare the mouth with the gift of
evangelism, and suppose that apostleship could be best
compared with the heart. What part of the body do you think
would best represent the gift of prophecy? What would you
suggest? 'The eyes' someone suggests. 'The ears', yes thank
you. What else? 'The mind'.
I would like you to give a Bible
text, which will answer this question.
1 Samuel 9:9 says,
"Beforetime in Israel, when a
man went to inquire of God, thus he spake, Come and let us
go to the seer: for he that is now called a Prophet was
beforetime called a Seer."
There you have it, a Bible answer to
your question. The gift of prophecy has always been compared
to the eyes, or the sight, or the vision of the church. Now
I would like to ask you this question, what is the condition
of the man who does not have any eyesight? He is blind. And
friends, that is just the condition of the church that does
not have the gift of prophecy.
Proverbs 29:18 says,
"Where there is no vision the people
perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
People say, "Why have I not been
able to see the Sabbath truth before? Why did I not see
these other things before? Why did I not see these things
before?" The Bible says, where there is no vision the
Women called to prophetic office
God has often called both men and
women to be prophets down through the years. When he could
not find a man to do the job, he asked that a women do it.
Now there are those who are opposed
to any religion where a women takes a leading part. They
quote: "Let the women learn in silence and with all
subjection." But one of the best answers to this
objection is that God called nine women to the prophetic
office. Just think of that, nine of them. There was Deborah,
there was Miriam, Huldah, and the four daughters of Philip.
Also Anna, who blessed the baby Jesus, and there were others
whom God used.
Does the gift of prophecy continue
after Bible times?
Some have asked, "Does the gift of
prophecy still go on after the writing of the Bible was
completed?" Why it certainly does. There have been
prophets all along the way, even through the writings of
these prophets were never included in the Holy Scriptures.
Acts 11:27,28 says,
"And in these days came prophets from
Jerusalem unto Antioch. And there stood up one of them named
Aqabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be a
great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in
the days of Claudius Caesar."
Now here is a prophet whom God used
to warn the apostle Paul, but how many of you have the Book
of Agabus in your bible? Will you raise your hand?
No, no one has the book of Agabus in
his Bible. Well here was a prophet whose writings did not
get within the pages of this Book. And there is
mention of more of them. But you say, that was a long time
ago, what about today?
Acts 2:17,18 says,
"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
When is this to take place? In the last days. There will be
the gift of prophecy in a special manner.
If false prophets then there must be
In fact one of the most conclusive
evidences that God expects the true gift of prophecy to be
operating in the last days is the fact that he warned
against false prophets in the last days.
Matthew 7:15 says,
"Beware of false prophets, which come
to you in sheepís clothing, but inwardly they are ravening
Now I ask you, how can there be a
false prophet if there were not a genuine prophet? Have you ever seen a
counterfeit $3 note? No, of course not! Why? Because genuine
$3 notes are not made. People do not go
to the trouble or risk of counterfeiting that which is not
genuine. The very fact that Jesus warns us against false
prophets in the last days is an indication that true ones
will be operating.
characteristics of the true church
All right now we are ready for
"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
The Devil is angry with the true
church in the last days. Why? Because they have two
distinguishing features which he does not like. One is that
they keep the commandments of God, and the other is that
they have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Now what is the testimony of Jesus Christ? If we turn to
Revelation 19:10 we will find the answer,
"And I fell at his feet to worship
him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony
of Jesus Christ: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is
the spirit of prophecy."
God has given us two outstanding
marks for the true church of the last days. They are to be
keeping all the commandments of God and they are to have
something special, that is the gift of prophecy.
religious groups, which from the Scriptures have learned
that the gift of prophecy is to be operating in the last
days. Out in the desert at Salt Lake City there is a great
organisation which believes it has the gift of prophecy. But
they are not keeping the commandments of God. The Sabbath
for one is violated. They are good people, they are earnest
people, but the Bible calls for the keeping of the
commandments as well as the true gift of prophecy. The two
must go hand in hand.
A latter day prophecy misunderstood
Round about the year 1844 there was a
great religious revival. This revival began among Baptists,
Methodists, Presbyterians, and many other Christian people.
Over two hundred (200) Church of England preachers began to
thunder from their pulpits the message of a soon coming Saviour.
Bible students in different countries had been studying the
2300 days prophecy and they came to the conclusion that the
return of Christ was at hand. Unfortunately they had made a
mistake for where it said, "the Sanctuary should be
cleansed", they thought that this meant that Christ was
coming to cleanse the Earth. There was a terrible
disappointment when the time when they expected Christ, came
and went without anything happening.
Men who rejected the call to prophetic office
Godís people were somewhat
discouraged, however God had a message for them. He called a
young man, a Baptist preacher by the name of William Foy.
God gave this man a vision which was needed to carry the
people through the crisis which they were passing. But he
was unwilling to walk the unpopular path of a prophet, and
he refused to carry the message of God. God chose another
man by the name of Hazen Foss, who refused also.
God chose a woman prophet
The angel then said,
"I will lift the burden and place it on
the weakest of the weak."
Some years before, two little girls
were hurrying home from school with their books under their
arms. They were twin sisters. All at once they heard an
angry shout from a girl behind them. Ellen turned around to
see what was happening, and as she did a stone struck her on
the crown of her nose. It broke her nose and she fell
fainting to the ground. As result of this accident she
passed through a period of serious illness, and was forced to
give up schooling at the third grade. She studied at home
and grew up to the age of seventeen with a limited
One day God spoke to her in a vision. He gave her
the same messages He had given to the two men. She said she
could not. But there was a difference between them. God
promised to strengthen her, and He did. For over 70 years
her voice and pen did not cease to warn, to instruct, to
inspire, to reprove, to admonish the people of God until at
the ripe age of 87 she was laid to rest in Oak Hill
Cemetery, Battle Creek, Michigan on July 24, 1915.
after those early days of inspiration and help to the
people, she married James White and ever after she was affectionately known as
Ellen G. White. In the vaults of the Ellen G. White
publications in Washington D.C. there are 1,000 personal
letters and 47,000 pages of manuscript.
Her writings more clearly reveal
Now the question is
what relation do these writings have to the Bible? No
informed Seventh-day Adventist ever takes the writings of
Mrs Ellen G. White as part of
the Bible. Her writings were to lead men and women back to
the Bible, and to inspire faith in Godís Book so that men
might believe and understand it fully. God did not give this
gift as a substitute for the Bible study.
telescope at Mt Palomar with its mighty 200 inch lens is
manís crowning masterpiece of astronomical genius. Now the
question is this. "Does this
giant telescope bring any new stars into existence."
No, it merely reveals more clearly the ones that
are already there.
Just so the writings of the Spirit of
prophecy does not bring any new doctrines into existence but
reveals more clearly the ones that are already there. If I
look into a telescope I see things that cannot be seen by
the unaided natural eye. Just so, through this gift which God
has given, one can see wonderful things out of the Book.
Some of her books
you read such books as 'Steps to Christ, Desire of the Ages
and The Great Controversy' you will say,
"these books are inspired."
On the basis of the book 'Education'
and other counsels like it, we as a people have built up an
educational system comprising over 3,600 intermediate
schools and 250 colleges and academies around the world.
is a recognised fact that our schools are the only
successful Co-ed in the world. Mrs Ellen G. White laid down a
system of Co-ed schooling that has amazed educationists all
over the world.
A leading professor of Medicine at the
school of Medicine, Colombia University became very
interested in the message. He studied all the doctrines and
asked for baptism. When the Spirit of Prophecy was mentioned
to him, he asked if there was any book written by Mrs Ellen G. White that he could understand, something in his
field of interest. Yes, the book 'Ministry of Healing' was
handed to him. The book 'Ministry of Healing' contains health
principles which have made Adventists unique through the
years. We have 69 sanitariums and hospitals and hundreds and
hundreds of health clinics all around the world. Weeks went
by and one day the professor made this statement,
"That woman is of God, ... for she has stated medical principles in that
book far advance of her time. She has made statements which
the medical profession only now is discovering true."
Time does not allow me to tell of
the remarkable life of this servant of God. I can only
recommend to you the reading of these wonderful books, that
will draw you closer to God and to his dear Son, Jesus