A Light Shines Through the DarknessSearch the Word | Vol. 26 No. 3
Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve, the world has been dark: dark with sin and fear, dark with uncertainty and hatred, and spiritually dark with superstition and cunningly devised fables. But it is to this dark world that God seeks to communicate His light of truth. This He does through the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit, the experiences of life, and lessons in nature. Yet at certain points in earth’s history, God has also used select men and women to communicate His word to mankind. Those whom God has chosen for this purpose are called prophets. Prophecy has been used throughout the Bible to warn men, to prepare men for specific events, and to bring men back to God’s purpose for them by cutting through the shadows of Satan’s deceptions and portraying clearly the pathway of eternal life.
I. BEFORE THE FALL
1. How did God communicate with man before he sinned? Genesis 2:15–17.
Genesis 2:15–17 indicates that God was in the garden of Eden when He spoke with Adam and Eve. Thus they communicated with Him face to face.
2 How close did God actually come to Adam physically? Genesis 2:7.
To breathe into Adam’s nostrils, God had to be face to face with Adam. Before Adam saw anything else, he beheld the face of God.
3. What form of communication (between God and man) was lost after man fell into sin? Genesis 3:8–10.
No longer were Adam and Eve able to enjoy face-to-face communion with God because sin cannot exist in the presence of God. Thus, this form of communion was cut off between God and man.
II. AFTER THE FALL
1. Since the fall of man, how does God communicate with His people? Amos 3:7; Hebrews 1:1.
During the history of the world, God has used both men and women as prophets. All throughout the Scriptures are seen many women who received the prophetic gift such as Miriam (Exodus 15:20), Deborah (Judges 4:4), Huldah (2 Kings 22:14), Anna (Luke 2:36), the daughters of Philip (Acts 21:9), and many others.
2. Whom has God set in the church to provide spiritual growth? 1 Corinthians 12:28
Prophets are an essential part of the true church. In Bible times a prophet was also called a seer. 1 Samuel 9:9. Webster’s New Dictionary defines seer as a foreseer, a prophet, or one who foretells. In the body of Christ, the prophet is equivalent to the eyes. The true church will have the gift of prophecy, for “where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18.
3. Who chooses the prophets? Amos 7:14, 15
4. What is the purpose of prophecy? John 14:29; 2 Timothy 3:16; Amos. 3:7
God chooses the prophets for the preservation and prosperity of His people.
III. PERFECT TIMING
There have been many prophets in the Bible. As we study the Bible we find that prophets have arisen especially at crucial times to bear specific messages to the people of God.
1. What did Noah do while he was building the ark? 2 Peter 2:5
Being a preacher of righteousness means pleading with mankind to turn from their evil ways so that they will not be destroyed. Noah tried to convince them that a flood was coming, thus bearing a message of warning.
2. What message did the prophet Jonah bear to the city of Nineveh? Jonah 3:4
3. What was the response of the people to Jonah’s message? Jonah 3:5–8
God sent Jonah to warn the people of Nineveh of the coming judgment. As a result, the people turned from their wicked ways and turned to God.
4. What was John the Baptist’s message? Matthew 3:2, 3; Luke 3:3, 4
John the Baptist was sent to prepare the people for the first coming of Christ. Prophets are sent at serious times with specific messages to bear. They have been sent to warn of destruction, to bring reformation, etc.
But what about us, living at the end of time? God will not leave us in darkness as to the information necessary to prepare for His second coming. He has promised to restore the prophetic gift to show us how to get ready for this grand event.
IV. END-TIME PROPHECY
1. Whom does God say He will send before the end comes? Malachi 4:5; Malachi 3:1
In symbolic language, God foretold that the message of Elijah would be repeated with power at the end of the world. The prophetic gift will be restored to the church before Jesus returns. Malachi 4:5. The great and dreadful day of the Lord refers both to Christ’s first and second coming. The prophetic gift is to be restored as we approach the end of earth’s history.
2. What will identify God’s people at the end of time? Revelation 12:17.
In Revelation 19:10, the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. To have the spirit of prophecy, there must be a prophet. God’s end-time church will have the gift of prophecy in their midst as a mark of their true identity.
When man was created, God blessed him with the great privilege of being able to speak with his Creator face to face. But when man fell under Satan’s sophistries, this communion was broken. God then used other means to communicate with His erring children. One way was through prophecy. In our modern world, God has not forgotten us. As earth’s final moments tick away, God has sent a prophet to prepare us in these last days for the soon return of Jesus. This prophetic gift is recognized in the person of Ellen G. White through this gift of prophecy to His people, God is seeking to get them ready for His soon return.
Today I recognize that God has loved me so much that He has given me special counsel through the prophetic gift to help me prepare for His soon return. I now ask God to give me the power to follow all the counsel He has given me.
TWELVE TESTS OF A TRUE PROPHET
- A true prophet does not lie. His or her non-conditional predictions will always be 100 percent right and accurate. Deuteronomy 18:21, 22.
- A true prophet does not prophesy for fees or payments. 2 Kings 5:15, 16.
- A true prophet does not give their own private interpretation of any prophecy—including their own prophecies; it is always the Lord’s exegesis and interpretation, based on what He has revealed. 2 Peter 1:20.
- A true prophet prophesies in the name of the Lord. 2 Peter 1:21.
- A true prophet points out the sins, transgressions, and iniquities of people against God. Isaiah 58:1.
- A true prophet warns people of God’s coming judgments. Isaiah 24:19–21.
- A true prophet edifies and counsels God’s people in religious matters. 1 Corinthians 14:3, 4.
- A true prophet will be in absolute harmony with the words of preceding Bible prophets. 1 Corinthians 14:32; Isaiah 8:20.
- A true prophet recognizes the incarnation and divinity of Jesus Christ. 1 John 4:1–3.
- A true prophet, when in vision, does not breathe. Daniel 10:15, 17.
- A true prophet can be recognized by the results of their works. Matthew 7:16, 20.
- A true prophet acts in accordance with the will and approval of God as expressed in the Bible and His law. Deuteronomy 18:18, 19.
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