Sabbath, December 12, 2015
“The enemy is on our track. We must be wide awake, on our guard against him. We must put on the whole armor of God. We must follow the directions given through the Spirit of prophecy. We must love and obey the truth for this time. This will save us from accepting strong delusions. God has spoken to us through His word. He has spoken to us through the testimonies to the church, and through the books that have helped to make plain our present duty and the position we should now occupy. The warnings that have been given … should be heeded. If we disregard them, what excuse can we offer?” –Gospel Workers, p. 308.
Promise for God’s people
1. What is one of the great promises that the Lord made to Israel centuries before the Christian era?
Isaiah 44:3 For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring.
Ezekiel 39:29 Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God.
“In His word, God has committed to men the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are to be accepted as an authoritative, infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the revealer of doctrines, and the test of experience. ‘Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness; that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.’ 2 Timothy 3:16, 17, R.V.
“Yet the fact that God has revealed His will to men through His word, has not rendered needless the continued presence and guiding of the Holy Spirit. On the contrary, the Spirit was promised by our Saviour to open the word to His servants, to illuminate and apply its teachings. And since it was the Spirit of God that inspired the Bible, it is impossible that the teaching of the Spirit should ever be contrary to that of the word.” –The Great Controversy, p. vii.
2. What did the Lord declare through another prophet? To what time does this prophecy refer?
Joel 2:28-30 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. 30And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
“The Spirit was not given–nor can it ever be bestowed–to supersede the Bible; for the Scriptures explicitly state that the word of God is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested. Says the apostle John, ‘Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.’ 1 John 4:1. And Isaiah declares, ‘To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.’ Isaiah 8:20.” –The Great Controversy, p. vii.
The time of fulfillment
3. When did the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit referred to in the above verse take place? How does the reference to the book of Joel in Acts look forward to the time of the end?
Acts 2:16-18 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17And 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: 18And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.
“In immediate connection with the scenes of the great day of God, the Lord by the prophet Joel has promised a special manifestation of His Spirit. Joel 2:28. This prophecy received a partial fulfillment in the outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost; but it will reach its full accomplishment in the manifestation of divine grace which will attend the closing work of the gospel.” –The Great Controversy, p. ix.
4. In his sermon during Pentecost, how did the apostle Peter confirm that this promise was not limited to the apostolic time but extended to the last days?
Acts 2:38, 39 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
“After the wonderful manifestation of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, Peter exhorted the people to repentance and baptism in the name of Christ, for the remission of their sins; and he said: ‘Ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.’ Acts 2:38, 39.” –The Great Controversy, p. ix.
“In harmony with the word of God, His Spirit was to continue its work throughout the period of the gospel dispensation.” –The Great Controversy, p. viii.
The remnant people and the gift of prophecy
5. What spiritual gift was prophesied to support the remnant people in the last days?
Revelation 12:17; 19:10 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…. 19:10And 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: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
“ ‘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.’ This prophecy points out clearly that the remnant church will acknowledge God in His law and will have the prophetic gift. Obedience to the law of God, and the Spirit of prophecy has always distinguished the true people of God, and the test is usually given on present manifestations.” –Loma Linda Messages, p. 33.
Purpose of the gift of prophecy
6. What is the Lord’s purpose in sending His prophets and prophecy to His people? What appeal is made regarding the light and word of prophecy?
2 Peter 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.
“The Word of God is sufficient to enlighten the most beclouded mind, and may be understood by those who have any desire to understand it. But notwithstanding all this, some who profess to make the Word of God their study, are found living in direct opposition to its plainest teachings. Then, to leave men and women without excuse, God gives plain and pointed testimonies, bringing them back to the Word that they have neglected to follow. The Word of God abounds in general principles for the formation of correct habits of living, and the Testimonies, general and personal, have been calculated to call their attention more especially to these principles.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 663, 664.
Blessings for those who trust the prophets’ messages
7. What happens when the gift of prophecy is not available or not accepted? How will those who trust the Lord’s prophets and accept His messages be blessed?
Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
2 Chronicles 20:20 And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.
“The apostle cautioned the Thessalonians not to despise the gift of prophecy, and in the words, ‘Quench not the Spirit; despise not prophesyings; prove all things; hold fast that which is good,’ he enjoined a careful discrimination in distinguishing the false from the true. He besought them to ‘abstain from all appearance of evil;‘ and closed his letter with the prayer that God would sanctify them wholly, that in ‘Spirit and soul and body’ they might ‘be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you,’ he added, ‘who also will do it.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:19-24.” –The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 263, 264.
“We must follow the directions given through the Spirit of prophecy. We must love and obey the truth for this time. This will save us from accepting strong delusions. God has spoken to us through His Word. He has spoken to us through the Testimonies to the church, and through the books that have helped to make plain our present duty and the position that we should now occupy.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 298.
For additional study
“We are living in the last days, in a time when we may expect much from the Lord. These words
“During the ages while the Scriptures of both the Old and the New Testament were being given, the Holy Spirit did not cease to communicate light to individual minds, apart from the revelations to be embodied in the Sacred Canon. The Bible itself relates how, through the Holy Spirit, men received warning, reproof, counsel, and instruction, in matters in no way relating to the giving of the Scriptures. And mention is made of prophets in different ages, of whose utterances nothing is recorded. In like manner, after the close of the canon of the Scripture, the Holy Spirit was still to continue its work, to enlighten, warn, and comfort the children of God.” –The Great Controversy, p. viii.