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    The Test of Fulfilled Predictions

    I like to think of the tests of fulfilled predictions in terms of four texts of Scripture. The first text is Deuteronomy 29, verse 29, which says that “the secret things belong unto the Lord our God.” The second text is Amos 3:7, which states that God reveals “His secret unto His servants the prophets.” The third text is Jeremiah 28, verse 9, which makes it clear that unfulfilled predictions made in the name of the Lord are presumptuous, while fulfilled predictions demonstrate that the prophet was sent by the Lord. The fourth text is Jeremiah 18, verses 7 to 10. Here we have the thought expressed that some predictions are conditional.DGRGC 49.6

    When we come to the first test of fulfilled predictions, we should ask ourselves in all sincerity and honesty, “Did Mrs. White ever make any predictions that were fulfilled?” Based upon the study of that test we should be able to draw our first conclusion.DGRGC 49.7

    In 1890 in the The Signs of the Times, April 21, 1890 Mrs. White wrote these words:DGRGC 49.8

    “The tempest is coming, and we must get ready for its fury by having repentance towards God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord will arise to shake terribly the earth. We shall see troubles on all sides. Thousands of ships will be hurled into the depths of the sea. Navies will go down, and human lives will be sacrificed by millions. Fires will break out unexpectedly, and no human effort will be able to quench them. The palaces of earth will be swept away in the fury of the flames. Disaster by rail will become more and more frequent; confusion, collision, and death without a moment’s warning will occur on the great lines of travel.... Oh, let us seek God while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near!”DGRGC 50.1

    We have all read of how whole navies went down in the great world wars. I have seen the effect of incendiary bombs dropped upon certain great cities. The fires broke out and nothing could extinguish the flames. They tried water, and water only caused it to spread. They had not learned how to combat the incendiary bomb and the flames had their own way. In 1890 there were no incendiary bombs, and none of the chemical bombs we know of today. Yet, in the prophecy, she predicted that fires would break out unexpectedly and no human effort could quench them. That prediction seems very interesting in the light of what we have in these days.DGRGC 50.2

    Disasters by rail have become more and more frequent. Confusion, collision, and death without a moment’s warning do occur on the great lines of travel.DGRGC 50.3

    In 1910, to emphasize what she had prophesied so many years before, she sent out another warning: “Soon strife among the nations will break out with an intensity that we do not now anticipate.” This was published in the The Review and Herald, November 17, 1910. We who are just a bit older and can look back to 1914 still remember some things that took place in the years 1914 to 1917 when these predictions were fulfilled. And so I say, dear friends, if we are looking for prophecies or predictions, there are many. This to me perhaps is one of the outstanding ones.DGRGC 50.4

    In connection with divinely fulfilled predictions, I am reminded of an experience we had just recently. It was in January [1953] that Elder Branson called me to his office one morning and said, “I would like you to bring together for me all the passages in the writings of Ellen G. White relative to our work in England, in London particularly.” I smiled and said, “Elder, I think I know what you have in mind. You are thinking of the very same thing I have in mind. Now is the time to do something for London, and it seems to me that we should find the way to fulfil the prophecy relative to the work in London.”DGRGC 50.5

    Of course, he was very much interested that my mind should be running along the same line, and immediately we began to think in terms of what we could do for the work in London that would give us the kind of a setting that Mrs. White described some fifty or more years ago.DGRGC 51.1

    I remember so well this passage found in Testimonies for the Church 6:25 and 26:DGRGC 51.2

    “There is a great work to be done in England. The light radiating from London should beam forth in clear, distinct rays to regions beyond. God has wrought in England but this English-speaking world has been terribly neglected. England has needed many more labourers and much more means. London has been scarcely touched. My heart is deeply moved as the situation in that great city is presented before me....DGRGC 51.3

    “In the city of London alone no fewer than one hundred men should be engaged. The Lord marks the neglect of His work, and there will be a very heavy account to settle by and by.”DGRGC 51.4

    Several weeks ago, as I passed through London, it was my privilege to go down to Regent Street, which is the Fifth Avenue of London, one of the most important of all the business streets in that city. There I saw a remarkable transformation that has taken place in what is known as “The New Gallery.” It was a cinema in the old days, said to be owned by the Crown, a very favourite spot for Queen Mary in her heyday, and a very well-known theatre.DGRGC 51.5

    When our people began to look for a place in London, they had in mind a number of different buildings, but it seemed that the Lord was just opening the way and turning us to this particular spot. As I looked in there and saw the complete transformation from a theatre to a Seventh-day Adventist preaching hall, I said to myself, “This indeed is a fulfilment of prophecy!”DGRGC 51.6

    Such a transformation you cannot imagine. All of those pictures that had to do with the theatre had been blotted out. Even the old theatre carpet with its special symbols or insignia, with the name of the theatre woven right into the carpet, had all gone. The old seats were taken out and the building completely renovated. The people of London call it, “The conversion of the theatre.” And it has been converted indeed!DGRGC 52.1

    That afternoon as we sat in committee, Elder W. W. Armstrong, the president of the British Union, said, “I was born into an Adventist family. As a boy I used to read those statements in the writings of the servant of the Lord and wonder how in the world they would ever be fulfilled. Now to think that the Lord has seen fit to put me here as the president of this union to bring about the fulfilment of that prophecy of so many years ago!” Then he called my attention to a paragraph that I had overlooked. Ellen G. White about fifty years ago, wrote:DGRGC 52.2

    “It seems to me that the necessity of the work in England is a very important question to us in this country [in America]. We talk about China and other countries. Let us not forget the English-speaking countries, where, if the truth were presented, many would receive and practice it.” 4White, Ellen G., The General Conference Bulletin, April 22, 1901, quoted in Evangelism, 415, 416.DGRGC 52.3

    “Well,” I said, “isn’t that interesting?”DGRGC 52.4

    It is because of the crisis in China, which makes it impossible for us to send money into China, that we had some funds available from the old China budget, which now makes it possible for us to give to London enough money to provide a church in a great evangelistic centre. If it had not been for the crisis in China, we would not have had that money.DGRGC 52.5

    The crisis in China means the fulfilment of a prophecy in the city of London. Again I say, dear friends, we have much for which to be thankful in connection with this Advent Movement. There is no crisis with the Lord. What seems to us to be a crisis is but an opportunity in disguise.DGRGC 52.6

    I have given here just two references to predictions that have been fulfilled in a remarkable way. We might bring in many others, but these illustrate the point. Now we ask: Did Mrs. White make any predictions that were not fulfilled? Some would hasten to call our attention to a statement she made in 1856 at the conclusion of a worker’s meeting or conference, when she said: “I was shown the company present at the Conference. Said the angel, ‘Some food for worms, some subjects of the seven last plagues, some will be alive and remain upon the earth to be translated at the coming of Jesus.’”—Testimonies for the Church 1:131, 132.DGRGC 53.1

    That statement was made in the year 1856, almost a hundred years ago. Since many people have been trying by various means to figure out the exact time when Christ will return, it would be expected that some good people would use this statement as a possible way of finding out how soon they might expect the Lord to come. These people have kept a list of all the names of those who were present at that meeting on that particular day in 1856, and they have crossed off each name as death came to them. They have been watching to see who are left and how old they are, thus calculating how much longer we might have to wait for the second coming of Christ.DGRGC 53.2

    This has now resulted in disappointment to some Seventh-day Adventist people, for, so far as we know, every one whose name was listed as having been present at that meeting in 1856 has now passed away. The White Publications Office has received many letters asking about that prediction, and calling our attention to the fact that those people have all passed away, and now why has the Lord not yet come? Our simple answer is that here is a case of conditional prophecy.DGRGC 53.3

    Had the Seventh-day Adventist people met the conditions and done their work as they were expected to do it, the work would have been finished long ago, and we should have been in the kingdom many years ago. 5See Testimonies for the Church 6:400; Testimonies for the Church 9:29; “Evangelism, 694-696. The facts in the matter are that we as a people have failed to do our part in God’s plan. It does not seem reasonable then that we should place the blame on God for our failure. And now let us turn to Jeremiah, chapter 18, and read concerning conditional prophecies: Verses 9 and 10 state: “And at what instant I shall speak concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; if it do evil in My sight, that it obey not My voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.”DGRGC 53.4

    When man fails to do his part, God cannot do what He promises to do. This was so in the experience of the children of Israel and the Lord declared in Numbers 13:34: “Ye shall know my breach of promise.” In 1883 Mrs. White speaking of this experience of Israel told us that “The same sins have delayed the entrance of modern Israel into the heavenly Canaan.”—Evangelism, 696.DGRGC 54.1

    We have, if you will remember, an example of conditional prophecy in that of Jonah. God said to Jonah, “Go over to the city of Nineveh, walk up and down the streets and proclaim the message, ‘In forty days Nineveh will be destroyed.’” So Jonah went up and down the streets of Nineveh telling the people, “In forty days the city of Nineveh will be destroyed.”DGRGC 54.2

    All the people became exercised and quite excited about it. They turned to the Lord with all their hearts. They confessed their mistakes and their wrong doings. They repented in sackcloth and ashes. Jonah went over and sat on a hillside to wait and see if the city would be destroyed. It was not destroyed. It became a conditional prophecy.DGRGC 54.3

    Now it does not disturb my faith in the writings of the Spirit of prophecy because that particular prediction has not yet been fulfilled. I am very glad to assure you that there are so many other predictions that have been fulfilled that I am not going to be disturbed because of the one which we can explain only on the basis of conditional prophecy.DGRGC 54.4

    Divine predictions fulfilled is a great test for any prophet. If the prediction comes true, we may rest assured that it must be from a true source. We must, however, bear in mind the conditional nature of certain predictions and we must also bear in mind that Ellen G. White’s work was not primarily that of making predictions. Her work was mainly of a different nature.DGRGC 54.5

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