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The Ellen White Research Project: Exposing the Subtle Attack on the Bible's Authority
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The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets

by Ellen G. White


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Part:  A  B  C  D

This explains the language of verse 8: "Charity never faileth;" that is, charity, the heavenly grace of love, will endure forever; it is the crowning glory of man's future, immortal condition; but "whether there be prophecies, they shall fail;" that is, the time will come when prophecies will be no longer needed, and the gift of prophecy, as one of the helps in the church, will no longer be exercised; "whether there be tongues, they shall cease;" that is, the gift of tongues will no longer be of service; "whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away;" that is, knowledge, not in the abstract, but as one of the special gifts of the Spirit, will be rendered unnecessary by the perfect knowledge with which we shall be endowed in the eternal world.

Now, if we take the position that the gifts ceased with the apostolic age, because no longer needed, we commit ourselves to the position that the apostolic age was the weak and childish age of the church, when everything was seen through a glass, darkly; but the age that followed, when grievous wolves were to enter in, not sparing the flock, and men were to arise, even in the church, speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them, was an age of perfect light and knowledge, in which the imperfect and [p. 27] childish and darkened knowledge of apostolic times had passed away! For, be it remembered, the gifts cease only when a perfect state is reached, and because that state is reached, which renders them no longer necessary. But no one, on sober thought, can for a moment seek to maintain the position that the apostolic age was inferior in spiritual elevation to any age which has succeeded it. And if the gifts were needed then, they certainly are needed now.

Among the agencies which the apostle in his letters to both the Corinthians and Ephesians enumerates as "gifts" set in the church, we find "pastors," "teachers," "helps," and "governments;" and all these are acknowledged, on every hand, as still continuing in the church. Why not, then, the others also, including faith, healing, prophecy, etc.? Who is competent to draw the line, and say what gifts have been "set out" of the church, when all were, in the beginning, equally "set" therein?

Revelation 12:17 has been referred to as a prophecy that the gifts would be restored in the last days. An examination of its testimony will confirm this view. The text speaks of the remnant of the woman's seed. The woman being a symbol of the church, her seed would be the individual members composing the church at any one time; and the "remnant" of her seed would be the last generation of Christians, or those living on the earth at the second coming of Christ. The text further declares that these "keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ;" and the "testimony of Jesus" is explained in chapter 19:10 to be "the spirit of prophecy," which must be understood as that which among the gifts is called "the gift of prophecy." 1 Corinthians 12:9, 10.

The setting of the gifts in the church does not imply that every individual was to have them in exercise. On this point the apostle (1 Corinthians 12:29) says, "Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers?" etc. The implied answer is no; not all are; but the gifts are divided among the members as it pleases [p. 28] God. 1 Corinthians 12:7, 11. Yet these gifts are said to be "set in the church," and if a gift is bestowed upon even one member of the church, it may be said that that gift is "in the church," or that the church "has" it. so the last generation was to have, and it is believed does now have, the testimony of Jesus, or the gift of prophecy.

Another portion of Scripture evidently written with reference to the last days, brings the same fact plainly to view. 1 Thessalonians 5. The apostle opens the chapter with these words: "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night." In verse 4 he adds, "but ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief." Then he gives them sundry admonitions in view of that event, among which are these (verses 19-21): "Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." and in verse 23 he prays that these very ones who were thus to have to do with "prophesyings" may be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord.

On the strength of these considerations are we not justified in believing that the gift of prophecy will be manifested in the church in the last days, and that through it much light will be imparted, and much timely instruction given?

All things are to be treated according to the apostle's rule: "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good;" and to be tested by the Saviour's standard: by their fruits ye shall know them." Appealing to this standard in behalf of what claims to be a manifestation of the gift of prophecy, we commend this volume to the consideration of those who believe that the Bible is the word of God, and that the church is the body of which Christ is head.

Part:  A  B  C  D

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