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Bible study lesson 19

Bible study lesson 19 - The Gift of Prophecy/Spiritual Gifts

Purpose: To show that Christ does everything in His power to guide His own and this was made manifest in the ministry of Ellen G. White.

Theme: Jesus is always on time.

Bible verses to read:

  • Luke 10:16
  • Mark 6:14-18
  • Luke 23:8-9
  • Amos 3:7
  • 2 Chronicles 20:20
  • Genesis 15:13-14
  • Exodus 3:6-10
  • Deuteronomy 34:10
  • Jeremiah 25:11-12
  • Jeremiah 29:10
  • Ezra 1:1-3
  • Ezra 5:1-2
  • Daniel 9:25
  • Mark 1:1-4, 14, 15
  • Daniel 8:14, 17
  • John 16:12-13
  • Joel 2:28-32
  • Matthew 24:24
  • Ephesians 4:7-13
  • 1 Corinthians 1:5-7
  • Isaiah 8:20
  • Deuteronomy 13:1-3
  • Jeremiah 28:9
  • Matthew 7:15-16
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21

Is the time of prophets and spiritual gifts over?  Should we dismiss any claims of the gift of prophecy or spiritual gift as false?  Will any prophets arise in the end times?  These questions will be answered in today’s lesson!

Let’s turn to Luke 10:16.

- According to this verse, what is the consequence of not listen to people sent by God?

  • Answer (highlight to read): You will end up rejecting God.

If a prophet of God speaks, we are hearing God through them.  If we reject their message, then we reject God.  How important then is it for us to hear God’s messengers?

Let’s turn to Mark 6:14-18.

- According to these verses, what did John tell Herod?

  • Answer: It was unlawful for Herod to have his brother’s wife.

- According to these verses, what did Herod do to John the Baptist?

  • Answer: Herod had John beheaded.

Did Herod hear God or reject Him?  John’s message did not originate with John – it came from God.  Herod rejected God because he killed God’s messenger, John the Baptist.

Let’s turn to Luke 23:8-9.

- According to this verse, did Jesus answer any of Herod’s questions?

  • Answer: No

Why did Jesus not answer Herod?  He had already spoken to Herod through John the Baptist.  Many people think they want to hear from God, but in reality, they do not.  That is why God uses us as imperfect people to deliver His perfect message so that He can test and see who really wants to hear His voice.  Herod would have heard God’s word if it had come in a way that was appealing and accommodating to him, but John the Baptist was a prophet from the wilderness dressed in camel hair who spoke the plain truth.  Herod did not listen.

Let’s turn to Amos 3:7.

- According to this verse, who does God reveal His secrets to?

  • Answer: God reveals His secrets to His servants the prophets.

Let’s turn to 2 Chronicles 20:20.

- According to this verse, what happens if you believe God’s prophets?

  • Answer: You will prosper.

If we want to know what God is doing, then we need to consult His prophets.  Without a prophet, we cannot know what God is doing.  If we want to know God’s secrets we have to go and seek the word of His prophets.  God’s method for communicating to humanity is to send prophets.

Let’s turn to Genesis 15:13-14.

- According to this verse, who is God speaking to?

  • Answer: Abram

Abram is having a face-to-face communion with God, so we can call Abram a prophet.  Abram receives a time prophecy from God.  This prophecy is 400 years long.  Who does this prophecy concern?

Let’s turn to Exodus 3:6-10.

- According to these verses, who will God deliver from Egypt?

  • Answer: The children of Israel

- According to these verses, who is God sending to deliver His people?

Answer: Moses

Let’s turn to Deuteronomy 34:10.

- According to this verse, was Moses considered a prophet?

  • Answer: Yes

Notice how Abram receives a prophecy in the beginning and towards the end of the prophetic time period, God sends another prophet to confirm the prophecy.

Let’s turn to Jeremiah 25:11-12 and Jeremiah 29:10.

- According to these verses, how long is the time prophecy?

  • Answer: 70 years

- According to these verses, how long before Israel can leave Babylon?

  • Answer: 70 years

Jeremiah receives a 70-year time prophecy concerning the children of Israel.

Let’s turn to Ezra 1:1-3.

- According to these verses, what proclamation did King Cyrus make?

  • Answer: The children of Israel are allowed to go back and rebuild Jerusalem.

- According to these verses, did this event fulfill Jeremiah’s prophecy?

  • Answer: Yes

Were there any prophets around the end of the prophetic time period of Jeremiah’s prophecy?

Let’s turn to Ezra 5:1-2?

- According to these verses, who were the prophets at the end of Jeremiah’s prophecy?

  • Answer: Haggai and Zechariah

God raises up Haggai the prophet around the end of Jeremiah’s prophecy.  Haggai’s mission had everything to do with Jeremiah’s prophecy!

Let’s turn to Daniel 9:25.

- According to this verse, how long is the time prophecy for the coming of the Messiah?

  • Answer: 483 years from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem.

We see in this verse, Daniel receives a time prophecy.  Was there a prophet at the end of this prophecy to confirm it?

Let’s turn to Mark 1:1-4, 14-15.

- According to these verses, who was the prophet just before Jesus began His ministry?

  • Answer: John the Baptist.

God raises up John the Baptist at the end of Daniel’s time prophecy.  John’s ministry was to prepare the way for the coming Messiah.  His ministry had everything to do with Daniel’s prophecy!

Do you see a pattern here?

Prophecy

Prophet at beginning of prophecy

Time period

Prophet at end of prophecy

Children of Israel to be in captivity for 400 years

Abram

400 years

Moses

Children of Israel to be in captivity in Babylon for 70 years

Jeremiah

70 years

Daniel

Messiah will come 483 years after decree to rebuild Jerusalem

Daniel

 483 years

John the Baptist

God gave us a tool so that we are not deceived by false prophets because He will always send a prophet that will to confirm the promise of the prophecy on time.

Let’s turn to Daniel 8:14, 17

- According to these verses, how long until the sanctuary is cleansed?

  • Answer: 2300 days (which is 2300 literal years as we learned in lesson 13)

- According to these verses, what does the prophecy deal with?

  • Answer: The time of the end

If we follow God’s prophetic pattern, then we need to be looking for a prophet who comes with a message relevant to the prophecy.  God does not change, so we need to be looking for a prophet at the end of the 2300 years.

Prophecy

Prophet at beginning of prophecy

Time period

Prophet at end of prophecy

Cleansing of the sanctuary (Judgment begins)

Daniel

2300 years

?

The 2300-day prophecy was given through Daniel and began in 457 BC.  The endpoint of the prophecy was AD 1844.  Did a prophet appear around that time period?

Have you heard of a woman named Ellen G. White?  She was a woman who lived during most of the 19th century (1827-1915) who demonstrated some remarkable spiritual gifts.  She wrote over 40 books in her time, which covered a broad range of topics, including religion, prophecy, evangelism, nutrition, social relationships, and education.  She is perhaps the most translated writer in English literature and her book on Christian living, Steps to Christ, has been translated in over 100 languages.  Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White is more than just a respected author – they believe that she was a messenger appointed by God to bring the world’s attention to the Holy Scriptures and to prepare people for the Second Coming of Jesus.  Ellen G. White had about 2,000 visions from age 17 all the way to age 70, which she wrote out to share with others.

You may be asking yourself at this point, “Even if I believe all the things you said about Ellen G. White are true, aren’t Christians supposed to believe in the Bible only?  If all I need is to be found in the Word of God, then why should I take any special interest in the writings of Ellen G. White?"

That is a very good question.  Jesus gives the answer to that question in John 16:12-13.

Let’s turn to John 16:12-13

- According to these verses, Who will Jesus send as a guide to all truth?

  • Answer: The Holy Spirit

This promise was fulfilled in the ministry of the apostles, but we know from the Bible that the Holy Spirit's guidance did not end in the first century.  Let's look at a few passages in the Bible to affirm this.

Let's turn to Joel 2:28-32.

- According to these verses, are there still people prophesying at the end of time?

  • Answer: Yes

Let's turn to Matthew 24:24.

- According to this verse, who does Jesus warn us against?

  • Answer: False christs and false prophets

There would be no reason to warn us if there weren't going to be real prophets who show up at the end of time.

Let's turn to Ephesians 4:7-13.

- According to these verses, is the gift of prophecy one of the gifts given to the church?

  • Answer: Yes

The spirit of prophecy is one of the spiritual gifts given to build up the church until we become perfect.  We only become perfect when Christs returns, so then the spirit of prophecy should still be in the church as it helps make us perfect.

Let's turn to 1 Corinthians 1:5-7. 

- According to these verses, will we be lacking in any spiritual gift until Christ returns?

  • Answer: No

None of the spiritual gifts, including the gift of prophecy, will be removed until the coming of the Lord.

It is true that as Christians, we should follow the motto the Reformers of old subscribed to: "The Bible, and the Bible only."  Seventh-day Adventists will agree that the writings of Ellen G. White are not substitutes for the Scriptures.  However, the Scriptures teach that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide people until the end of time.  

The Bible speaks of special messengers sent by God, though they did not write any part of the Scriptures, were inspired by the Holy Spirit to warning of dangers, confront injustice, and foretell the outcome of choices leading away from God.  In the Old Testament, we read of prophets like Huldah (2 Kings 22:9-20), Deborah (Judges 4:4-9), and Nathan (2 Samuel 12:1-15).  Likewise, in the New Testament we read of Anna (Luke 2:36), Philip's daughters (Acts 21:8-9), and Agabus (Acts 11:27-30). 

I am not saying that you have to believe Ellen G. White, but I would like to share a standard to measure a Biblical prophet.

Let's turn to Isaiah 8:20.

- According to these verses, what if a prophet speaks words not in harmony with the Bible?

  • Answer: There is no light in that prophet.

A true prophet speaks in harmony with Biblical faithfulness to the law and to the testimony of prophets.  If not, then that person is not a true prophet - there is no light in that person.  true prophets make themselves subject to previous prophets.  Those who come and declare themselves to be independent of all other revelations previous to themselves are false prophets.

Let's turn to Deuteronomy 13:1-3.

- According to these verses, what if a prophet's prophecy comes to pass and then that prophet tells you to break God's commandments?

  • Answer: Do not do it.

Even if a prophet's prophecies come true, that person is a false prophet if they tell you to break any of God's commandments.

Let's turn to Jeremiah 28:9.

- According to this verse, what if a prophecy made by a prophet does not come true?

  • Answer: That person is not sent by God.

God has shown a prophet would come, so when you examine the ministry of Ellen G. White, is she in harmony with the law and testimony?  You can only do this if you know yourself the law and testimony.  We all have to know the Bible for ourselves.

Let's turn to Matthew 7:15-20.

- According to these verses, how can we tell between a true and a false prophet?

  • Answer: By their fruit

Fruit is what is produced by a fruit tree, so this refers to the positive impact of a prophet's ministry.  How are the followers of that prophet doing as a result of their teachings?

Let's close the lesson by turning to 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21.

- According to these verses, are we to despise prophecies?

  • Answer: No

- According to these verses, how can we be sure which prophecies are good?

  • Answer: Test them.  

In summary, the rules to test the validity of the writings of Ellen G. White and those of any other prophets:

  1. Biblical faithfulness to the law and the testimony of the prophets
  2. Commandment keeping
  3. Prophetic accuracy
  4. Positive fruit

My friend, are you going to despise prophecies?  Are you willing to test all things and hold fast to what is good?  Will you test the writings of Ellen G. White?

I would you to share with you two links so that you can have a chance to read the writings of Ellen G. White for yourself and determine whether or not she was inspired by God: