37. Spiritual Gifts-2

Article: The Gift of Prophet

There are two aspects of the gift of prophecy as revealed in Scripture:
            1) The spiritual gift of prophecy (presented in lesson 36), and
            2) The call of God to be a prophet.

1) The spiritual gift of prophecy is presented by Paul in two places:

Rom. 12:6  We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.

1 Cor. 12:1-11  Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. . . . There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

The person who has the spiritual gift of prophecy would have abilities similar to what we call a pastor. He preaches the good news of Jesus Christ our Lord; visits the sick; encourages those who are distressed in one way or another; teaches Bible truth; trains others as to how they can efficiently work for God.

2) But Paul presents another spiritual gift that looks similar on paper, but has remarkable differences.

1 Cor. 12:28  And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.

Eph. 4:11-13  It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up  until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

The four or five gifts Paul mentions in each of  these texts help to build up the church of God. But notice that this time he writes “prophet” rather than “prophesy.”

God calls some people to the work of prophet. This person usually carries on much of the same work as those who have the spiritual gift of prophecy. But beyond this, sometimes through visions or dreams, he/she would be given special insight into the will and the working of God as it relates to the church. Sometimes the prophet reveals personal things to individuals in order to rescue them from apostasy. At other times the prophet can guide in God's work in a way that no other person could do because God allows them to see things in a broader perspective.

At times God reveals information about future events. But predictive prophecy seems to be quite rare, even among Biblical prophets. Many of the prophets had the gift of healing and other God-given abilities, but others don't seem to have had all of these gifts.

Examples:

Most of Isaiah's work involved the spiritual shepherding of Judah through two invasions of the Assyrian army during the time of Hezekiah. He was used of God to heal the king of a mortal illness. Even though Hezekiah was a God-fearing king who tried to lead his nation to spiritual greatness, he made some foolish blunders, disobeyed God in a direct manner, and initiated actions that would eventually lead to the nation's ruin. Isaiah did predict some wonderful future events: He forecast that Cyrus (by name) would conquer Babylon—which took place 150 years later (Isa. 44, 45); he outlined much of the life, work, and sacrifice of Messiah (Christ) (Isa. 53, et.al.). But his main work was that of counselor and preacher of righteousness. (Read my book Siege in the Gates: The Story of Hezekiah and Sennacherib— on my web site, www.PettyPress.com.)

Almost all of Jeremiah's work involved revealing the sins of the Jews and counseling kings and princes. (Read Fire in the Gates: The Drama of Jeremiah and the Fall of Judah—on my web site.) He predicted the destruction of the Jewish nation, which happened during his lifetime. He also predicted that the Jews would return home from Babylonian captivity after 70 years. (Read The Open Gates: From Babylon’s Ashes . . . Freedom for the Jews—also on my web site)

            The prophetess Huldah is known only for the counsel she gave to King Hezekiah.

David predicted future events, but his work as a prophet and king was primarily as  encourager of God’s people, administrator and judge, and giving them psalms to sing in praise to the Creator.

There were many more prophets whose work was more like that of pastor and/or teacher. Some of these predicted events in the near future, but that wasn't their primary work. Some wrote books that have appeared in the Bible, but some of them didn’t: Moses, Joshua, Deborah, Samuel, Nathan, Elijah and Elisha to name only a few. Some of these worked miracles, but their primary work was that of counseling individuals, statesmen and, at times, the entire nation.

 

The book of Revelation predicted that the gift of prophet would exist in God’s church at the end of time.

Rev. 12:17  Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.

John traces the true church (the woman) through the ages to the end of time (verses 13-16), when the rest of her offspring (KJV= “remnant”) would be recognized by the fact that they obey all God’s commandments (including the seventh-day Sabbath) and have the testimony of Jesus.

But what’s the Testimony of Jesus?

Rev. 19:10  At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."

John tried to worship the angel, but the celestial being prevented him from doing so. This angel explained that he was merely a fellow servant of John and his brothers “who hold to the testimony of Jesus.” And, he said, “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

So the church of God in the last days will be identified by keeping all ten of God’s commandments, and having the spirit of prophecy.

“But,” you say, “many in the Christian church have been given the gift of prophecy.”

But wait. There’s more. This “testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” is different. Who is said to have had this gift? The angel, and John, and his brothers. Who were these brothers of John?

Rev. 22:8, 9  I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!"

So John’s brothers who had the “testimony of Jesus,” which is the “spirit of prophecy” were the prophets. That would mean that the “testimony of Jesus” which would mark the church of God in the last day, is the actual presence among them of a prophet.

So in the last days we can expect to find God’s true church by looking for those people who keep all ten of God’s commandments, including the seventh-day Sabbath of the fourth commandment (see Study Guide 20), and they would have a prophet among them.

There are many churches that keep all ten of God’s commandments—including the seventh-day Sabbath. There are many church which claim to have a prophet. But there is only one church which keeps all of the ten commandments—including the seventh-day Sabbath—and also has a prophet: the Seventh-day Adventist church, with Ellen G. White as it’s prophet.

 

Ellen G. White’s counsel and reproofs have kept the Seventh-day Adventist church on track and made it one of the driving forces of our day. Following her guidance, the church has become one of the fastest growing Christian denominations in the world. Seventh-day Adventists, because of the leadership of this inspired woman, have the largest protestant school system in the world and one of the largest mission enterprises as well.

Ellen White’s counsels on health have made Adventists the benchmark of what it means to live a long, healthy life. The church has a world class medical center, and one of the largest hospital systems on the planet.

This amazing woman wrote over 100 books, several of which have been translated into a hundred different languages. Many of her books have sold millions of copies. Most are still in print. She is counted as one of the most prolific writers of the latter half of the 19th and early part of the 20th centuries, having written over 100,000 pages during her 70 years of ministry—and one of the most published women in history.

You may read many of her books on-line at: . I recommend that you also read the book A Prophet Among You. The complete text of this book is also available at that site.

Perhaps you would want to begin by reading Steps to Christ (a devotional), and graduate to Desire of Ages, (the life and teachings of Jesus), or the Great Controversy (a brief survey of the Protestant church and last day events).


Listen to the counsel of one of Judah’s great kings:

2 Chron. 20:20 . . . Jehoshaphat stood and said, "Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful."