The following is the transcript of the sermon that I gave at the Spirit of Prophecy Symposium on Oct. 17, 2015, at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Also watch the full video.
“Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.” 2 Chronicles 20:20
“Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7
As we face the last days of Earth’s history, we know there will be a determined effort by Satan to destroy the effectiveness of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy.
We see the neutralization of God’s authoritative Word all around us. The historical-critical method applied to the Word of God reduces its effectiveness as authoritative. It is Satan’s plan to undermine God’s plain “Thus saith the Lord.”
We have seen and are seeing determined efforts on the part of individuals motivated by Satan to attack the Spirit of Prophecy and make it “of none effect.” The Word of God and the Spirit of Prophecy both are products of heavenly inspiration and are thus accurate accounts describing the great controversy between good and evil, between Christ and Satan. This is why the devil is determined to destroy the truth found in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy.
Thankfully, the devil will not succeed! However, in the process many people will be deceived. God has given us a mandate from heaven to be defenders of God’s Word because it has been shown to be true and changes people’s lives. We are to lead people back to the true worship of God as the first angel of Revelation 14 emphasizes. It is our privilege to affirm God’s wonderful truth through our witness and proclamation.
We are to believe God’s prophets and share the news that God reveals His secret messages to His appointed prophets and servants.
In the Seventh-day Adventist Church we accept Ellen G. White as a modern servant of the Lord and prophet. This church would not be where it is without the special guidance given it by God through Ellen White in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy. The counsel given will help finish God’s work on this Earth through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is precisely why the devil is so intent on destroying the influence of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy.
In Selected Messages, Book 2, page 78, we read, “The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God. … Satan will work ingeniously, in different ways and through different agencies, to unsettle the confidence of God’s remnant people in the true testimony. He will bring in spurious visions to mislead, and will mingle the false with the true, and so disgust people that they will regard everything that bears the name of visions as a species of fanaticism; but honest souls, by contrasting false and true, will be enabled to distinguish between them.”
Another specific warning was given in Selected Messages, Book 1, page 41, which says, “Soon every possible effort will be made to discount and pervert the truth of the testimonies of God’s Spirit. We must have in readiness the clear, straight messages that since 1846 have been coming to God’s people.”
Ellen White Points to the Bible
Why do I accept Ellen G. White’s prophetic ministry? Why do I believe so concretely in the Spirit of Prophecy? As already indicated in Revelation 19:10, the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. I believe that the writings of Ellen G. White are the testimony of our Lord. They point us back to the sacred Word of God where Paul explains in Philippians 2 that Christ took on the form of a man and became the Word in flesh.
Seventh-day Adventists do not portray the Spirit of Prophecy as part of the Bible or equal to the Bible. As Ellen White herself indicated, the Spirit of Prophecy is to lead to the Bible. However, I fully believe that the Spirit of Prophecy is inspired by the same heavenly inspiration as that of the Bible since it is the testimony of Jesus. Selected Messages, Book 1, page 41 explains, “Through His Holy Spirit the voice of God has come to us continually in warning and instruction, to confirm the faith of the believers in the Spirit of prophecy. Repeatedly the word has come, Write the things that I have given you to confirm the faith of My people in the position they have taken. Time and trial have not made void the instruction given, but through years of suffering and self-sacrifice have established the truth of the testimony given. The instruction that was given in the early days of the message is to be held as safe instruction to follow in these its closing days.”
The testimony of Jesus, which is the Spirit of Prophecy, is integral to the Advent movement. I believe that the Spirit of Prophecy is one of God’s greatest gifts to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It focuses on Christ and His Word — His all-encompassing righteousness, His plan of salvation, His grace and His ministry in the Most Holy Place in the heavenly sanctuary. The Spirit of Prophecy portrays God’s plan for His people living at this end-time and waiting for Christ’s soon second coming. The final events of the great controversy are about to take place. I believe that Jesus is coming soon!
The Spirit of Prophecy is as relevant today as it was when it was written. It is accurate, uplifting, instructive and powerful as it points to Christ and to the Holy Bible. It is truly the testimony of Jesus and that’s why I believe in the prophetic ministry of Ellen White.
The Spirit of Prophecy is portrayed in Revelation 12:17 as one of the two characteristics of God’s last-day, remnant church. That verse says “And the dragon [Satan] was enraged with the woman [God’s church], and he went to make war with the rest [or remnant] of her off-spring [or seed, God’s last-day people and church], who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
The two distinctive characteristics of God’s people are so plain: people who keep the commandments of God including the vital fourth commandment. That commandment identifies who God is and indicates our submission to our Creator who in six literal, consecutive days created this Earth recently by His word and then rested on the seventh-day Sabbath. Its sacredness is God’s sign of authority and the seal of His people for eternity.
The first angel’s call in Revelation 14:7 to worship God as the Creator automatically places upon people the responsibility to observe the seventh-day Sabbath as a memorial that honors His creative activity. A created being cannot honor His Creator while defying His command to keep holy the seventh-day Sabbath. The Sabbath will be the focal point of conflict between good and evil during the final time of trouble. The Great Controversy, page 605, says that, “The Sabbath will be the great test of loyalty, for it is the point of truth especially controverted. When the final test shall be brought to bear upon men, then the line of distinction will be drawn between those who serve God and those who serve Him not.” The Sabbath is a sign of our relationship with God, our dependence on Him for creation and salvation.
He gave the Sabbath to the human race as the culmination of the creation week as described in Genesis 2 and reaffirmed at Mount Sinai. In July 2014, it was a peculiar privilege to stand on top of Mount Sinai and realize that was the area where God gave His precious Ten Commandments through His prophet, Moses. Belief in God’s prophets helps us realize that the seventh-day Sabbath is integral to our faith and even to our name as we show love and allegiance to our Creator and Redeemer.
Remnant Church Has Testimony of Jesus
More specifically for our topic in this symposium, the second distinctive characteristic is that God’s remnant church will have the testimony of Jesus, which is the “spirit of prophecy.” The commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus, or the Spirit of Prophecy, come from the same source: God Himself.
The Spirit of Prophecy was given to nurture and assist God’s last-day movement with instruction from heaven. He used the Spirit of Prophecy to guide in the establishment of His remnant church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church. These people would love Him supremely and follow His commandments through His power. He is using the Spirit of Prophecy to prosper His last-day church into the growing Advent movement of millions of members around the world.
However, one of the greatest threats against the Spirit of Prophecy is not necessarily animosity but rather the threat of indifference. Today many members are unacquainted with it, don’t read it or just plain ignore it. From Testimonies for the Church, Volume 4, pages 390-391 we read, “The volumes of the ‘Spirit of Prophecy’ [forerunner of The Conflict of the Agesseries], and also the Testimonies, should be introduced into every Sabbath-keeping family, and the brethren should know their value and be urged to read them. … They should be in the library of every family and read again and again. Let them be kept where they can be read by many, and let them be worn out in being read by all the neighbors.”
The Adventist Home, page 479, indicates that the Conflict of the Ages series “should be placed in every family in the land.” We thank our publishing houses, literature evangelists and members for doing that around the world.
Various projects, including “Connecting with Jesus,” have circulated millions of Spirit of Prophecy books to the public and to church members around the world in printed and electronic form and we need to do much more of this. The rapid expansion of the Seventh-day Adventist Church demands that our members know in their own languages and dialects what Spirit of Prophecy counsel God has for His last-day church.
The counsel of the Spirit of Prophecy has been instrumental in establishing publishing, health, education, humanitarian and media institutions. The Spirit of Prophecy guides the pastoral, evangelistic, missionary and administrative expansion of the church. The Spirit of Prophecy provides instruction in almost every aspect of life including theology, lifestyle, personal health, the family, the home, young people, interpersonal relationships, personal stewardship and many others. The Spirit of Prophecy is guiding God’s people and always will until the Lord returns. This is why I believe in Ellen G. White’s prophetic ministry.
As a result of Spirit of Prophecy guidance, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is not just another denomination but a heaven-born Advent movement with a special destiny — a mission and message to proclaim found in Revelation 14:6-12 — the three angels’ messages.Testimonies, Volume 9, page 19, tells us that “In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the Word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import — the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention.”
It is why Satan attacks the Spirit of Prophecy and its important counsel from God for His last-day remnant church. Selected Messages, Book 1, page 48, indicates, “There will be a hatred kindled against the testimonies which is satanic. The workings of Satan will be to unsettle the faith of the churches in them, for this reason: Satan cannot have so clear a track to bring in his deceptions and bind up souls in his delusions if the warnings and reproofs and counsels of the Spirit of God are heeded.”
In addition, Testimonies for the Church, Volume 8, page 298 says, “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. God 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.”
Christ has called us to a prominent position as the “remnant of her seed,” a unique movement of destiny, standing firm for His truth, proclaiming the Advent message, bearing the testimony of Jesus, turning people’s eyes to Jesus who is the center of all truth and through the power of the Holy Spirit, turning people back to the true worship of God and who Christ is.
I believe in the prophetic ministry of Ellen White through the Spirit of Prophecy because it lifts up Jesus. In Heavenly Places, p. 127, indicates, “Our faith increases by beholding Jesus, who is the center of all that is attractive and lovely. The more we contemplate the heavenly, the less we see desirable and attractive in the earthly. The more continually we fix the eye of faith on Christ, in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered, the more our faith grows.”
An Emphasis on Unity
Another powerful reason I believe in the prophetic ministry of Ellen White through the Spirit of Prophecy is the emphasis on unity that is presented.
The devil knows that if he can get God’s people to look to themselves and their own opinions instead of looking to Christ that he will be able to bring in dissension, disunity and tension. It is one of his greatest tools against the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
God has called us to be participants in the greatest proclamation of truth in history, the culmination of the great controversy between Christ and Satan. God entrusts us with the task of sharing Christ who lived a sinless life, died for us, rose again, who is now interceding on our behalf as our High Priest and who is to soon return to take us to heaven. We have been called to share the Word of God in all its power through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In this heavenly calling, we will be confronted with people who will disagree with our message and mission. We may be tempted to become discouraged with the apathy of others within the church. Whatever we may face, we should not be tempted to work independently and apart from the church. We are called to work within God’s last-day remnant church not apart from it. Stay unified with your local church and with the worldwide church family. Stay close to the church regardless of its imperfections. Keep the Lord and His mission for His church always before you.
A recent compilation, Counsels for the Church, pages 240-243 indicates, “God has a church upon the Earth who are His chosen people, who keep His commandments. He is leading, not stray offshoots, not one here and one there, but a people. … It is our individual duty to walk humbly with God. We are not to seek any strange, new message. We are not to think that the chosen ones of God who are trying to walk in the light compose Babylon. … Although there are evils existing in the church, and will be until the end of the world, the church in these last days is to be the light of the world that is polluted and demoralized by sin. The church, enfeebled and defective, needing to be reproved, warned, and counseled, is the only object upon the earth upon which Christ bestows His supreme regard. … The church of God below is one with the church of God above. … God has bestowed the highest power under heaven upon His church. It is the voice of God in His united people in church capacity which is to be respected.”
Realize that the church is called to a great work … within and without. The shaking and sifting time is coming. The Lord will do His work. It is a preparation for the loud cry in which Christ has called us to proclaim. Lift up Christ and His Holy Word. Believe in the gift of the Spirit of Prophecy. As we do this under the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we will be involved in revival and reformation and brought to complete humility at the foot of the cross. God will do His work to fully prepare His people for the unbelievable events just ahead.
This is why I believe in the prophetic ministry of Ellen White who indicated in TestimoniesVolume 1, p. 179-181 that “I was shown the people of God, and saw them mightily shaken. Some, with strong faith and agonizing cries, were pleading with God. Some … seemed indifferent and careless … I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen, and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver, and will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth. Some will not bear this straight testimony. They will rise up against it, and this will cause a shaking among God’s people. … The testimony of the True Witness has not been half heeded. The solemn testimony upon which the destiny of the church hangs has been lightly esteemed, if not entirely disregarded. This testimony must work deep repentance and all that truly receive it will obey it and be purified.”
The Word of God and the Spirit of Prophecy point to the True Witness, Jesus Christ, who has inspired both. The Spirit of Prophecy gives us great insight as to our Laodicean condition and our need of the righteousness of Christ to be justified and sanctified by Him. This is why I believe in the prophetic ministry of Ellen White through the Spirit of Prophecy.
How Ellen White Touched My Life
A more practical reason why I believe in the Spirit of Prophecy is that I grew up in a home that held the Spirit of Prophecy in great respect. My father always spoke so positively and passionately about it. My mother gave such unflinching loyalty to God’s Word and the Spirit of Prophecy. I never heard a scornful word or a disparaging remark from my parents about the Bible or the Spirit of Prophecy.
My wonderful wife, Nancy, grew up in a home with the same positive attitude. She loves to daily read the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy as do I. It has a tremendous influence in our home. I advanced from the early trust instilled in my heart by my parents to my own personal deep appreciation for the counsel, direction and clarification in the Spirit of Prophecy. Parents, instill in your children a love for and confidence in God’s Holy Word and the Spirit of Prophecy. As I read the Spirit of Prophecy I accept that its inspiration by God because it is the testimony of Jesus.
Another practical reason why I believe in the Spirit of Prophecy: In about 1870, William immigrated to the United States from Ireland. He was of Scottish and Presbyterian background. He and his wife, Isabella, also from Ireland, lived for some time in Philadelphia where he worked as an engineer building locomotives and finally headed out west to the “big tree” area of northern California to do logging. He settled down in the area north of Healdsburg becoming a fruit and cattle rancher and running a country store. He was not necessarily a highly religious person up to this time.
Eventually William and Isabella had four sons. Isabella became a Seventh-day Adventist but William did not. In 1905, some tents were erected north of the Russian River near Healdsburg for a Seventh-day Adventist camp meeting. Isabella went to the camp meeting even though William had initially thought the circus had come to town. Isabella invited her husband to come to the camp meeting. As William was sitting under the tent, the speaker began to unfold the wonderful truth about Jesus, sharing the need of all sinners to have a Savior and allow Him to change their lives.
The speaker made an earnest appeal and, much to the surprise of Isabella, William stood up and went to the front giving his heart to the Lord. He studied this precious Advent message for a year. He closed his store on Sabbath and trusted God for the future. He was baptized joining this remnant church and later became the first elder of the Healdsburg Seventh-day Adventist Church, the forerunner location of Pacific Union College. Christ changed his life and he became known as a generous man helping people in need.
William and Isabella Wilson were my great-grandparents, and the speaker who preached so earnestly about Jesus at that camp meeting was Ellen G. White. She had purchased property in Healdsburg after James White died.
My grandfather remembered Ellen White coming to their ranch home when he was a boy and how she lovingly told stories to him and his brothers as they sat at her feet. The Wilson family owes its knowledge of this precious Advent message to the direct practical and prophetic evangelistic activity of Ellen White. As a result, the Spirit of Prophecy takes on an even more personal value and another reason why I believe in the Spirit of Prophecy.
What has the Spirit of Prophecy done for me personally? It has pointed me to Christ and His plan of salvation. It has pointed me back to the Bible. It has amplified many aspects of Scripture. It has given me a strong belief in the leading of God in the lives of those who commit themselves into His hands as I have observed the work of our church’s pioneers. It has given me new insight to Christian living. It has drawn me closer to Christ. It has provided incredible understanding of how to accomplish our mission entrusted to us by the very One who inspired the Spirit of Prophecy. For instance, it has given me an unusual burden for “Revival and Reformation,” for “Mission to the Cities,” for “Comprehensive Health Ministry,” for Christ and His righteousness, for faithfulness to God, for “Total Member Involvement,” of which you will hear much more, for the use of publications and media in our evangelistic outreach, for an understanding of prophecy, for the sanctuary service, for the work of departments and on and on. It points us back to Christ and His work for us on the cross and His soon Second Coming.
You read the Spirit of Prophecy, and you will be positively changed forever as it points us back to Christ, His ministry and His work for us in preparing a world through the Holy Spirit’s leading for the new world to come after the Lord’s return. The Spirit of Prophecy has given me an inexhaustible resource for implementing heaven’s plans for the Advent movement. When I think about the Spirit of Prophecy, I just am thrilled with happiness that God would provide us with so much information to accomplish His will in our lives personally and for His church’s mission to the world.
For me personally, I am so excited to have the written Word of God and the Spirit of Prophecy. There are no better sources of clear, understandable instruction from God. These two heavenly sources of God’s instruction have given me a very settled confidence in God Himself and His plans for you and me. What a wonderful God we serve! I praise Him for the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. I am so happy to be a Seventh-day Adventist and rely completely on Christ and His righteousness of which the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy explain so fully.
Ellen White Passes the Test
I personally believe and attest that the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy are believable and true because Ellen G. White and her prophetic ministry pass the four tests of a prophet.
- Her writings agree with the Bible fulfilling Isaiah 8:20: “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
- Her life and works testify of her connection with God fulfilling Matthew 7:20: “Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”
- Her prophecies have come to pass fulfilling Jeremiah 28:9: “As for the prophet who prophesies of peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, the prophet will be known as one whom the Lord has truly sent.”
- Her writings lift up Christ and affirm Him as the Son of God who came to this Earth to save us fulfilling I John 4:2: “By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God.”
In addition, her life and work is verified by physical manifestations during visions, the timeliness of her work at the end of time, the certainty and fearlessness of her pronouncements, the high spiritual plane of her work and the practical nature of her explanations about multiple aspects of the Christian life.
It is our happy responsibility to nurture and foster the belief in and the active use of the Spirit of Prophecy. God asks us to help people believe in the prophetic gift of the Spirit of Prophecy. Do not get discouraged by anyone deriding or mocking your belief in the inspiration of the Bible or the Spirit of Prophecy. We are nearing that glorious day of Jesus’ return and He calls us to stand for Him.
“Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.” 2 Chronicles 20:20
At this special symposium, I appeal to each of us and the world church membership to completely commit ourselves to the proclamation of the Advent message in the context of the three angels’ messages as we point people to Christ, to His righteousness, to the true worship of God and to an understanding that God’s last-day church is identified in Revelation 12:17, people who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus which is the Spirit of Prophecy.
Our Redeemer will see us through to the end because He is the origin of all truth. He is the Truth and the Word. He is the Spirit of Prophecy. He is the Coming King.
One day soon we will look up and see in the eastern sky a small cloud about half the size of man’s hand. That cloud will get larger and larger and brighter and brighter. Soon it will fill the whole sky — all of heaven poured out for this climactic event of earth’s history. And there, seated in the center of the cloud of angels with a rainbow above and lightening beneath will be Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
We will look up and say, “This is the God whom we have waited for, He will save us.” And Christ will look down and say, “Well done, good and faithful servants, defenders and proclaimers of my precious Word and the Spirit of Prophecy, enter into the joy of your Lord.” What a wonderful time that will be.
As part of God’s called people, those who keep His commandments and have the testimony of Jesus, will you join me in committing yourself, through God’s grace and power, to daily walk with Christ, to spend time in His Word, to utilize the power of prayer, to believe His prophets and be enriched by a daily reading of the Spirit of Prophecy as you proclaim this Advent message? If you accept that challenge, would you stand to your feet with me right now?