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The Bible, the Spirit of Prophecy, and the Church

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    Important Conclusions

    Now that we have considered these divine revelations as successive, each one that followed amplifying the one or the others that went before, let us think of some things involved in this fact. Let us go back in point of time to that period in Israel when the prophets, like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and others, ministered to the people of God. Was it not probable that there were people of that time who, in theory at least, treasured the writings of Moses and regarded them in a special way as God’s revelation, but who resented the new prophetic messages because they cut across their pathway? Might they not have said, “We have Moses; we accept and believe Moses and Moses only”? Might it not have been the same in the days of the apostles, that when they came with definite messages from Heaven the Jews of their day would reason in the same way? It would have been natural for them, opposed as they were to the preaching of the apostles, to say, “We have the Old Testament. That is complete. We accept and believe the Old Testament and the Old Testament only.” But would they have been justified in this attitude? Is there not the same danger facing the people of God today? Might there not be a tendency to say the same thing? Has it not been said, “We believe the Bible and the Bible only; we do not need any messages from the prophets”?BSPC 121.8

    Let us ever remember that in ancient days God’s prophets had a divinely appointed place in His plan. They did not alter the previous revelations, but they did call attention to them and amplify them. This is the relationship that exists between the Spirit of prophecy and the Bible in the Advent Movement.BSPC 122.1

    The testimony of the messenger of the Lord is very clear on this point, as will be seen in the following paragraphs:BSPC 122.2

    “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.”—Testimonies for the Church 2:454, 455.BSPC 122.3

    “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 4:323.BSPC 122.4

    “‘The word of God is plain and close in its restrictions; it interferes with your selfish indulgence; therefore you do not obey it. The testimonies of His Spirit call your attention to the Scriptures.’”Testimonies for the Church 5:234.BSPC 122.5

    “The Testimonies are not to belittle the word of God, but to exalt it and attract minds to it, that the beautiful simplicity of truth may impress all.”Testimonies for the Church 2:606.BSPC 123.1

    “Additional truth is not brought out; but God has through the Testimonies simplified the great truths already given and in His own chosen way brought them before the people to awaken and impress the mind with them, that all may be left without excuse.”—Testimonies for the Church 2:605.BSPC 123.2

    Mrs. S. M. I. Henry beautifully expressed this relationship after she found her way into the fuller light of the Spirit of God. We read:BSPC 123.3

    “The manifestation of the power of the Spirit of God was as clear as sunlight; and in that light I saw the Testimony as simply a lens through which to look at the truth. It at once grew from a lens to a telescope, a perfect, beautiful telescope, subject to all telescopic conditions and limitations, directed toward the field of the heavens,—that field, the Bible.BSPC 123.4

    “Clouds may intervene between it and a heaven full of stars; clouds of unbelief, of contention. Satan may blow tempests all about it; it may be blurred by the breath of our own selfishness. The dust of superstition may gather upon it; we may meddle with it, and turn it aside from the field; it may be pointed away toward empty space; it may be turned end for end, so that everything is so diminished that we can recognize nothing. We may change the focus so that everything is distorted out of all harmonious proportions, and made hideous: it may be so shortened that a great piece of opaque glass shall appear to our gaze. If the lens is mistaken for the field, we can receive but a very narrow conception of the most magnificent spectacle with which the heavens ever invited our gaze. But in its proper office as a medium of enlarged and clearer vision, as a telescope the Testimony has a wonderfully beautiful and holy office.BSPC 123.5

    “Everything depends upon our relation to it and the use which we make of it. In itself it is only a glass through which to look, but in the hand of the divine Director, properly mounted, set at the right angle. And adjusted to the eye of the observer, with a field clear of clouds, it will reveal truth such as will quicken the blood, gladden the heart, and open a wide door of expectation. It will reduce nebulae to constellations; faraway points of light to planets of the first magnitude, and to suns burning with glory. The failure has been in understanding what the Testimonies are and how to use them. They are not the heavens palpitating with countless orbs of truth, but they do lead the eye and give it power to penetrate into the glories of the mysterious living word of God.BSPC 123.6

    “This has been the most beautiful experience which has ever been granted me. It grows on me from day to day.”—The Gospel Herald, January, 1898, pp. 25, 26.BSPC 123.7

    But there is another important consideration to which we should give study. When we read the Old Testament writings we become aware of the fact that there were many prophets whom God sent to Israel, whose writings and messages were not incorporated in the Sacred Volume. It is important that we recognize this, for such recognition will help us to appreciate the relationship God’s prophets sustained to the Holy Scriptures. All the prophets in this particular class cannot be listed, but attention is called to a few:BSPC 124.1

    Iddo 2 Chronicles 13:22 Azariah 2 Chronicles 15:1
    Jehu 2 Chronicles 20:34 Azur Jeremiah 28:1
    Shemaiah 2 Chronicles 12:15 Oded 2 Chronicles 15:8
    Ahijah 2 Chronicles 9:29 Jeduthun 2 Chronicles 35:15
    Gad 1 Chronicles 29:29 Heman 1 Chronicles 25:5
    Micaiah 1 Kings 22:8, 9 Hananiah Jeremiah 28:17

    All these were God’s servants. They were called just as surely as other prophets were called. They were just as divinely appointed to their sacred office as were those prophets whose writings were incorporated in the Scriptures. It is evident, then, that in those days God had among His servants the prophets many who were in no way connected with making up “the volume of the book.” Seeing that they were called of God to exercise this important ministry, were not their messages and those of the other prophets of equal value? The prophet Nathan was certainly called of God when he went to David and pointed out his sin, yet no book he ever wrote found its way into the Sacred Canon.BSPC 124.2

    What lesson might we learn from this? Is it not a fact that if God had His recognized prophets in those days, whose messages were not permanently recorded in the Sacred Oracles, could He not have prophets in the church doing a similar work today? Those prophets in ancient days were called by God to specific service, and if they rendered that service faithfully, they were just as accepted of God as were the prophets whose writings ultimately found a place in the canon of the Scriptures.BSPC 124.3

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