If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make Myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. Numbers 12:6.
A study of the Biblical doctrine of the gift of prophecy is vital for every Seventh-day Adventist, first, because Adventists accept the Bible as the inspired word of God, prepared for men through the operation of the gift of prophecy; and second, because Seventh-day Adventists believe that God has revived the gift of prophecy in the remnant church through the life and work of Ellen G. White. It is the purpose of this book to outline the reasons for, and the function of, the prophetic gift in both ancient and modern times, so that confidence in the current applicability of the teachings of the Bible and the Ellen White writings might be increased, and that their use might be more fully understood.
The subject matter of the book falls naturally into three categories: (1) a study of the practical working of the gift of prophecy as revealed in the Bible (chapters 1-9); (2) the second advent movement, and the life and work of Ellen White in relation to that movement (chapters 10-15); the place of the writings of Mrs. White in the church today, and a study of some of the topics on which she has written (chapters 16-24). In the first group of chapters no reference is made to the Ellen White writings. First the Scriptural foundation is laid. Then Mrs. White's life and experience are introduced and Bible tests are applied to her. Finally, her writings are brought into consideration.
While this book has been prepared primarily for use in college classes in the Gift of Prophecy, it should be useful to Seventh-day Adventist ministers and others who wish to make a careful study of the place of the prophetic gift in the church today. The importance of the subject increases with each passing year. As the end draws near and the work of giving the last warning to the world extends, it becomes more important
for those who accept present truth to have a clear understanding of the nature and influence of the Testimonies, which God in His providence has linked with the work of the third angel's message from its very rise.Testimonies, vol. 5, P. 654.
Point will be given to the study if certain objectives are kept in mind:
1. To learn the need for and the function of the prophetic gift as a means of communication between God and His people.
2. To gather from the Bible information concerning the scope of the work and the lines of instruction given through the ancient prophets.
3. To note something of the characteristics of the men called to this work, and the individual style of their writings.
4. To discover the experiences that are characteristic of the prophets in receiving and passing on their messages.
5. To determine the results of various attitudes of individuals and nations toward the prophets and their messages.
6. To learn how to apply the Bible tests by which we may tell whether a prophet is true or false.
7. To learn whether the exercise of the gift of prophecy might be expected to end with the close of the writing of the canonical books of the Bible, or if we might expect to find the gift exercised in the remnant church in a manner similar to that in which it operated in ancient times.
8. To discover whether we may reasonably expect that the scope of work and lines of instruction covered by any manifestation of the gift of prophecy in the remnant church might be as varied and extensive as such work and instruction by the ancient prophets.
9. To draw conclusions regarding the responsibility of the
individual members of the remnant church in view of an exercise of the gift of prophecy among them.
10. To investigate the claims of Ellen White to be a messenger of the Lord to the remnant church.
11. To apply to the life and work of Ellen White the Bible tests of a prophet.
12. To consider such portions of the Ellen White writings as are appropriate for those engaged in the study.
Grateful acknowledgment is made to the Board of Trustees of the Ellen G. White Publications, who greatly hastened the preparation of this book by granting me time to carry out the major portion of the project as part of my responsibility as associate secretary of the Ellen G. White Publications, and to Arthur L. White, secretary of the board, for his valued counsel and constant helpfulness. Thanks is given to the large group of college Bible teachers, administrators, and others who helped plan the outline for the book, and who read the complete manuscript and submitted constructive criticisms. Of this group K. J. Reynolds, J. C. Haussler, and R. W. Olsen have been especially helpful. The latter gave the book trial in the classroom by using it in mimeographed form as the textbook for his college class in the Gift of Prophecy for one year.
Supplementary materials and suggestions for classroom use of this book are available to college teachers from the office of the Department of Education, General Conference of Seventhday Adventists, Takoma Park, Washington 12, D.C.
It is hoped that this book will strengthen confidence in, and increase understanding of, the function and importance of the gift of prophecy among God's people in all ages.
T. Housel Jemison.