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By a Prophet - God is Still Leading His People

Mark Howard

Hosting its seventh annual conference, GYC's 2008 theme this was "For This Purpose." How do we find this purpose? By listening to and studying God's Word. Featuring inspirational speakers such as Justin Kim, Randy Skeete, Radim Passer, Chelsy Jourdan, Alistair Huong, Doug Batchelor, and more, this conference leads us in studying how we can reflect Christ's character.


Mark Howard

Director, Emmanuel Institute of Evangelism



  • December 18, 2008
    9:30 AM
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All right, we want to go ahead and get started here this morning, and what I’d like to do is begin with a word of prayer, and then I’ll tell you what we’re here for, and we’ll get into our study. So, if you’ll bow your heads with me, please. Heavenly Father, Father, I pray that Your Spirit would be with us in this time that we have today. Lord, the same Spirit that inspired the prophets has given a last-day manifestation of this gift, and, Father, it’s crucial for us to understand the nature of this gift among us as Seventh-day Adventists. I pray that You would bless the time that we have and give us understanding in spiritual things. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Okay, now what we’re talking about here in six parts, this is the first part, is the gift of prophecy in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I want to give you a little bit of background on my own self here, so that you’ll understand maybe a little more of why I’m doing this. I was raised in the Adventist church. My name is Pastor Mark Howard, by the way. I’m a pastor in the Michigan conference, and I’m the new director for the “ARISE, Michigan” program, as the ARISE…Some of you who are familiar with ARISE, the program that’s been in Michigan is moving out to California. It’s pretty close to here, as a matter of fact. And I was raised in the Seventh-day Adventist Church and was, I’d say, a nominal Adventist for the first 13, 14 years of my life, at which time my parents left the Seventh-day Adventist church largely due to questions they had about the gift of prophecy and about the teaching of the sanctuary.


And so, it’s been really a burden of mine and a pleasure of mine to be able to address those topics. I teach for the ARISE school every year on both of those subjects, the Spirit of Prophecy and the Sanctuary. And when I was about 26 years old, and the Lord reached my heart, and I made a decision to become a Seventh-day Adventist myself (I had never been baptized before), those were big burdens of mine to understand from a biblical foundation why we believe what we believe and this thing about the gift of prophecy. And, of course, as Seventh-day Adventists, and how many of you are Adventists? Is everybody here a Seventh-day Adventist? And if you’re a Seventh-day Adventist and you’re in Adventist circles and Adventist churches, it’s not uncommon that you hear about Ellen White. In fact, I’m afraid that today sometimes it’s even more in a negative way than in a positive way.


And one thing that I wasn’t hearing, that at least I felt wasn’t clear to me, was where our biblical basis is for the gift of prophecy. I’ll give you a for instance. How many of you are familiar with the name of Dale Ratzlaff? Okay, Dale Ratzlaff is a former Adventist minister, and one of the premier, if you want to use that word, internet critics outside the Adventist Church. And Ratzlaff made an interesting point in one of his magazines I read sometime back regarding the gift of prophecy and how Adventists have been dealing with it. And this was from a magazine Proclamation! magazine of November-December 2006, and this is what he says of the Adventist Church. He says, “The Church,” that would be the SDA Church, “sees that the questions about Ellen White’s prophetic veracity are creating a serious problem.” You’ll have this in another handout, by the way, but I didn’t have it in the handout you have today. “The Adventist Church sees the questions about Ellen White’s prophetic veracity are creating serious problems, but they also see that without Ellen White, Adventism loses its distinctiveness. Instead of admitting that her legacy has separated Adventism from evangelical Christianity and has colored every doctrine, they are attempting to give her a figurative facelift and to introduce her to new members and young people as a warm human, accessible role model and commentator.”


Now what he is saying in essence is this, our way of dealing with a lot of what’s, you know, the negativity in the Adventist Church about Ellen White, is we try to present Ellen White to young people as a warm, friendly, loving lady. And that’s fantastic because I believe Ellen White is all those things, but I commented to somebody recently that I don’t read anywhere in the Bible where the Lord presents to us how kind and gentle Jeremiah was so that we’re ready to receive the prophecies of Jeremiah. In other words, that’s a good piece of information about the background of the characteristics of the person, but what I wanted to know is what’s the biblical foundation for this belief in the gift of prophecy.


I mean, the evangelicals say that Seventh-day Adventists are out of the park on this one. They say, “Seventh-day Adventists, you guys, you believe in the Bible, but then you also believe in this Ellen White thing,” as if they’re separate, and as if, to believe in Ellen White is not to believe in the Bible. And so, I began to research that, and that’s what I’ve put together, and that’s what we’re going to be sharing here. Number one, how to understand biblically, do we have biblical ground to stand on, with this believe in the gift of prophecy? Do we have biblical ground to stand on in the belief of a last-day prophet, and I want you to note your handout for this.


I do have these listed here in your handout. This is listed under number one, letter D. It says there: As Seventh-day Adventists, we have claimed the great Protestant principle of sola scriptura, that means “the Bible only.” Some allege that we contradict this principle by our acceptance of the prophetic gift, the testimony of Jesus, as manifested through the life and ministry of Ellen G. White. In consideration of this, there are three questions we must ask. Number one: Does the Bible support our belief in the gift of prophecy? Now that’s not just speaking of Ellen White; that’s speaking of the gift of prophecy in general. What does the Bible have to say about the gift?


And I really want to emphasize this to you this morning. This first section is going to deal with that. There are a lot of people that have questions about the gift of prophecy, not so much because of anything Ellen White does, but because they have no clue what the Bible says about prophets. Most Christians, when you talk about prophets, they don’t even talk about prophets in their church. They don’t know what a prophet is. They don’t know what a prophet does. How are you going to judge somebody as a prophet if you don’t even know what a prophet is?! And so, we have to figure out, if the Bible speaks to this idea of the gift of prophecy, that it would support our current position on it. Does the Bible support our belief in the gift of prophecy in general?


Number two: Does the Bible support our belief in a last-day manifestation of the gift of prophecy? And, number three: Does the Bible support Ellen White in the role of the last-day prophetic messenger? Questions that we need to ask, and questions there are biblical answers to.


This is going to be our purpose in this series. Now, this particular segment this morning is called “By a Prophet.” It’s taken from the book of Hosea, and I hope you have your Bibles with you because we’re going to be spending a lot of time in them. Now, Hosea is after the Old Testament book of Daniel. Most of you should know where Daniel is if you don’t know where Hosea is or aren’t real familiar with it. We’re going to Hosea, chapter 12, and you’ve got it there on the sheet as well. It’s listed there, the text is, at any rate.


Hosea 12 and verse 13, I want you to note what the Bible says. Hosea 12 and verse 13. Hosea 12 and verse 13, it says, “By a prophet the Lord brought Israel out of,” where? “Egypt, and by a prophet,” what? “he was preserved.” Now, how many of you have studied this idea of the exodus from Egypt and realized that that picture of the Israelites leaving out of Egypt and going into the Promised Land is parallel to the Advent movement as God is trying to take us out of the world of sin into the heavenly Canaan? How many of you are familiar with that idea?


Now think about this. Who was the prophet that God used to lead Israel out of Egypt? It was Moses, right? And the Bible tells us here in Hosea that God led Israel by a prophet. Now, they may have wanted to be led…In fact, if you read the history, there are oftentimes they wanted to be led by anybody but Moses. Okay? And today we may say, “Well, I’d rather be led by somebody else than a prophet.” But we need to follow the parallel.


If God used a prophet and led His people, not only led them out of Egypt, but it says by a prophet they were preserved. What happened when the people rebelled against Moses? Was it good or bad? Was it positive for their spiritual experience or negative for their spiritual experience? It was negative, wasn’t it? And so, now, if we’re going to parallel that with the Last Days and say, “Well, this parallels God taking His modern Israel out of the bondage of sin and into the heavenly Canaan.” And if God uses a prophet to lead modern Israel, what’s going to happen if we reject the gift? It’s going to be negative, isn’t it? It’s going to be negative.


So, the title of today’s presentation is “By a Prophet,” and I want to just explore what a prophet is. Now, I want to ask you first of all, if I were to ask, and this is kind of general, like, if you ask anybody what a prophet is, what do you think the first answer is that people give? What is a prophet? Okay, a messenger. Somebody up here says a messenger. Now, do you think that’s the first answer I usually get? What do you think most people, and this is in the Adventist Church as well as other places, but if you talk to the population at large, and you say, “What’s a prophet?” what do you think they would generally say? “Somebody who tells the future.” And does that resound with you? Do you relate to that? Yeah, most people say, “Oh, a prophet is somebody who tells the future.”


I want you to look at your handout, and I want you to look at section two. It says, “The prophet as a spokesperson.” Now, we want to let the Bible define a prophet for us, okay? And we’re going to go to the book of Exodus. Genesis, Exodus, Exodus, chapter 4. We’re going to Exodus, chapter 4. This is where God calls Moses to be a messenger for Him and go to Pharaoh. We’re going to start in verse 10, Exodus 4 and verse 10. Do you have it? Okay, now, you can talk back to the preacher this morning. Do you have it?


[Audience: Yes.]


That helps me know you’re with me. Exodus 4 and verse 10, “Then Moses said to the Lord, ‘O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.’” Now, have you ever said that when God tried to send you somewhere? “I’m slow of speech. I don’t know how to talk! I don’t know what to say.” Well, you’re in good company, right? That’s exactly what Moses said.


Now, notice the Lord’s response to him, though, and I think He would respond the same way to us when we say that, when God tries to send us somewhere. Verse 11, “So the Lord said to him, ‘Who made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and,’” what? And what? “‘teach you what you shall say.’” Now, I’m reading in the New King James, so you may read differently if you have a different translation. So, Moses says, “I can’t speak for You, Lord,” and the Lord says, “Moses, you go in My name. I will speak through you.” Do you think God does that through us? Now, I’m not saying we’re all prophets here, but I’m just saying, when God sends us somewhere in His name, do you think that God uses us and speaks through us? Yeah, I think that’s a whole nother topic, though.


So, here the Lord tells him, “Moses, you go, and I’ll speak through you.”  Verse 13, “But he said, ‘O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.’” Right, send someone else. Have you ever said that one before? “Not me, Lord. Send the next…I don’t know what to say.” Verse 13, “But send someone else.” Verse 14, “So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, and He said: ‘Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. Now you shall speak to him,’” notice what it says. Moses, He says, “You speak to your brother, Aaron,” and do what? Verse 15, “‘You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will teach you what you shall do.’” Verse 16, “‘So he shall be your,’” what? “‘your spokesman to the people. And he himself shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God.’” “Moses, you’re going to speak to Aaron, and he will be a spokesperson for you. You’ll be like God to him, putting the words in his mouth, and he’ll be your spokesperson.” Are you with me so far?


Okay, now I want you to compare that to Exodus 7, verse 1. A virtually identical passage; the wording is just a little different. Exodus 7 and verse 1, and it says, “So the Lord said to Moses: ‘See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be,’” what? What shall he be? “‘Your prophet.’” Now, if we were just putting those two together, what does the Bible tell us a prophet is? A spokesperson, okay? This is crucial to understand. There are so many people, when they hear prophet, “A prophet is somebody who tells the future.” Tell me, when did Elijah tell the future? Oh, you can say he told the future in that it wasn’t going to rain for a few years, but the fact is, Elijah gave no apocalyptic prophecies. What about John the Baptist? No apocalyptic prophecies, right? No End-Time prophecies by John the Baptist. Were they prophets of God? Were they lesser prophets than other prophets because they didn’t tell the future? No, what did Jesus say about John? Greatest of the prophets. A prophet is a spokesperson for God, okay? That needs to be clear in our minds.


Now, I want to test this by going to the book of Jeremiah, chapter 1. Jeremiah, chapter 1, notice how God calls Jeremiah to the prophetic ministry and notice His words to him. This fits our definition here. Jeremiah, chapter 1, and we’re going to go to verse 5. (Could you give me a hand with this here? I don’t know if this is attached underneath here; I hope it’s not. Just move it down to ground level, so I can put my stuff on something. Oh, great. Yeah, much better, much better. Thank you.)


Jeremiah 1 and verse 5, now notice what it says, “Before I formed you in the womb,” the Lord says to Jeremiah, “I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you,” what? “a prophet to the nations.” Then Jeremiah says, “Ah, Lord God! I cannot,” what? Isn’t that interesting? That’s the same think Moses said. “Lord, I can’t speak.” In this case he said, “I’m but a youth.”  And the Lord said, “‘Do not say, “I am a youth,” for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you,’ says the Lord. Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me: ‘Behold, I have,’” what? I have what? “‘Put My words in your mouth.’” Now, isn’t that what we just read in Exodus? Okay, so you’re with me on this idea that the prophet’s a spokesperson. Does that make sense to you? Okay.


And, incidentally, if you look at your handout there, under section two, letter A, it says, “The prophet is a spokesperson.” The subpoint one there says, “The Hebrew word is “navi,” which literally means “a spokesperson.” That’s in the Hebrew. The Greek word is “prophetes”; that’s the word for prophet, both of them, which also means “one who speaks forth, or a spokesperson.” So, in both the Hebrew and the Greek, they both say the same basic thing.


Now the next text I want you to turn to with me is the book of Amos, chapter 3. Amos, chapter 3. Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos. Chapter 3 and verse 7, probably a text that most of you are familiar with. Amos 3 and verse 7, the Bible says, “Surely the Lord God does,” what? What does He do? Did you guys have a heavy breakfast this morning? “Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.”


One thing that we find in the prophetic ministry in the Scripture. Let me back up a little bit. God has spoken in many ways to people. In fact, before I comment, let’s go to the next text there in the handout, 1 Samuel 28 and verse 6, 1 Samuel 28 and verse 6. First Samuel 28 and verse 6, this is speaking of when King Saul had rejected God’s counsel through Samuel the prophet. Samuel the prophet died, and Saul sought the Lord, and the Bible says in 1 Samuel 28, verse 6, “And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets.” Now this lists three of the common modes of communication that God had with His people. One was dreams. The Bible says that God has communicated in dreams. Now, one it doesn’t mention here is face-to-face, which was only on a few occasions, and it really wasn’t God the Father but Jesus Christ, who was the One who communicated. And we see God communicating with Moses from the burning bush. We see God communicating from Mount Sinai, but generally God was not communicating on that level.


Sometimes God would speak in dreams, not only to prophets. For example, Nebuchadnezzar had a dream, right, that God communicated to him. The Urim and the Thummim were two special stones in the outfit of the high priest, and God would communicate through those. But primarily God’s mode of operation, His modus operandi, His favorite mode and method of communication was through the prophets, okay?


We find throughout the Bible that the bulk of God’s communication came through the prophetic ministry. Now, the reason I bring that up is, sometimes human beings would prefer to dictate to God how God gives us truth. But sometimes God may give us truth through a channel that we don’t appreciate. And let me just throw a little word of caution out to you today: The devil knows the areas that we need to improve in, just like God does, and sometimes the devil will jump the gun, and he may have somebody who’s a very un-Christlike person come out and point out to you some weak spot in your character, and then you’ll say, “Well, that person was so unchristian about it, I’m going to ignore it.” We need to always be ready to receive truth on the basis that it’s truth, not on the basis of who it comes from. If it’s true, it’s true. That doesn’t justify the person who may have had the wrong attitude, you understand what I’m saying? But much more so when it’s a channel that God does choose.


And throughout the Scripture, God chose the prophetic ministry. Now, I think some of you may be like me. Now, I’ve done this sometimes. I mean, sometimes I’ve had difficult decisions to make in my spiritual life, and I just wish God would write it in the sky, in the clouds, or something. It’s like, “Come on, Lord, just make it plain to me!” Have you ever felt that way before? You’re wrestling with some kind of decision, spiritual decision, and you know if God needed to do it, He would. But the fact of the matter is that throughout the Scripture, God’s modus operandi, His choice mode of communication, has been through the prophetic ministry. “Surely the Lord God will do nothing unless He reveal His secret through His servants the prophets.”


I want you to see how it works in the book of Revelation, chapter 1. Now, some of you, this may be familiar ground. You know, we’re starting out on pretty basic ground here in this seminar, and we’re building to the more complex stuff. But we’re going to Revelation 1, and we’re just looking at the hierarchy (this is the letter C at the bottom of page one, by the way) of prophetic communication. How does God communicate through the prophets specifically? Well, it tells us right here in Revelation 1 and verse 1. The Bible says, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave,” what? “God gave Him,” right? God gave to who? Jesus Christ, “to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John,” okay?


So, follow the way that God communicated here. God had a message to communicate. God first communicates it to His Son Jesus. His Son Jesus communicates it to an angel. The angel communicates it to the prophet. The prophet communicates it to the people. Question: How did you and I get the book of Revelation? Ultimately from God, right? But directly from who? From John, right? If John didn’t write Revelation, you and I wouldn’t know Revelation, right? I didn’t have the vision of Revelation. Did you have the vision of Revelation? No, John had the vison of Revelation. And had it not been for John writing it out, we wouldn’t have it.


Now, we may say, “Well, I don’t like that. I don’t like that arrangement. I would prefer that God just speak to me directly.” But God has chosen how to speak to His people. And God’s choice here, and throughout the Scripture, has been that He would communicate His message to the prophet; the prophet communicates to the people. We see it in the letters to the churches. In a similar fashion, Jesus Himself dictating, He says, “To the angel of the church in Ephesus, write,” “To the angel of the church in Pergamos write,” “To the angel of the church of Smyrna write,” and He dictates a letter. And then the letter comes to the church, and it’s read to the churches. God communicates to the prophet. God the Father, incidentally in this chain of command, communicates to His Son, His Son to the angel, the angel to the prophet, the prophet to the people. Are you following that so far?


Now, here’s a question that we need to ask, and we’re just kind of laying a foundation, as I said: Who specifically is it who speaks through the prophets? We’re going to the book of 1 Peter. We’re going to the book of 1 Peter, chapter 1. It’s in the New Testament after the book of Hebrews, then the book of James, then the book of 1 Peter, chapter 1, and starting in verse 10. Peter is sharing here the plan of salvation, and in verse 10, this is what he says, “Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.”


Now, I want to unpack that a little bit. He talks about the plan of salvation, and he says, the prophets, he’s speaking of the Old Testament prophets, inquired about this plan of salvation, right? Now, Jesus hadn’t come yet, okay? They knew the Messiah was coming, but they were trying to understand what this ministry of the Messiah would look like. So, the prophets themselves who gave the messages searched their own prophecies and the prophecies of the other prophets trying to understand what was coming. And that’s what it says in verse 11; they were searching what or what manner of time the what? The Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of Christ who was where? Who was where? In who? In the prophets. The Spirit of Christ was in the prophets. The Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He what? It’s right there in verse 11. Was indicating when He? Testified.


Okay, so the Bible tells us here that the Spirit of Jesus was in the prophets, testifying through the prophets. Are you following that? Now, if a person testifies about something, you might say they’re giving their what? Testimony. Who’s in the prophets giving their testimony? Jesus is. So, we could call the Spirit of prophecy the testimony of Jesus, couldn’t we? Okay, and that’s what the Bible tells us if you go to Revelation with me.


Revelation, chapter 12, Revelation, chapter 12 and verse 17, in speaking of the remnant church, the Apostle John tells us some identifying characteristics. Revelation 12:17 says that “the dragon was enraged with the woman,” symbolizing God’s church, “and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have,” what? “the testimony of Jesus.” Now, as Seventh-day Adventists, we say, “Well, we believe this testimony of Jesus is the gift of prophecy,” and one reason for that is, if you go to Revelation 19 with me, the Bible tells us that. Revelation 19, verse 10, Revelation 19 and verse 10, an angel is speaking to John as we read there in verse 1 of Revelation 1:1. And John says, “I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘See that you do not do that! I am your fellow,’” what? “‘servant, and of your,’” of your what? “‘brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the,’” what? “‘spirit of prophecy.’” Now it seems plain.


I want you to hold your finger there, though. We’re going to look at that again, but I want you to go page two, the top of page two in your handout, and if any of you…Some of you may have encountered this, that if you get involved in the internet and some of these anti-Adventist websites, they don’t allow for that. They say this testimony of Jesus, the Adventists are all off base. We say that it has to do with the gift of prophecy; they say it has nothing to do with the gift of prophecy. And you’ll read it right here. This is from Dirk Anderson’s website. It’s top of page two. Internet critic, Dirk Anderson, claims that, “Throughout the New Testament, we find a pattern of the testimony of Jesus referring to the believer’s personal witness about Jesus Christ. Rather than being the prophetic utterances received from Jesus, the testimony of Jesus is the believer’s personal testimony about Jesus.”


Now, I’ve got a four-page article by Dale Ratzlaff, who is, again, one of the ringleaders in these anti-Adventist websites, and he goes to great pains and lots of Scriptures to show that when the Bible says “testimony of Jesus,” it’s not talking about the gift of prophecy, it’s talking about the believer testifying about their relationship with Jesus. Okay? One interesting thing about his four-page article is there’s one text he doesn’t include, and he can’t include it because if he did include it, it would put this whole issue beyond question. And that text is Revelation 22.


Now, we’re going to go there in a minute, but I want you to look at 19 again, verse 10. I want you to note very closely the language of this because it’s going to be repeated. The angel’s speaking to John, and in verse 10 John says, “I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘See that you do not do that! I am your fellow,’” what? “‘servant, and of your brethren,’” I want you to get this clear because it’s going to make it very clear in Revelation 22, “‘who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy.’”


Okay, now go with me to Revelation 22, verse 8, and you are going to see almost the exact same phrase, just a little bit of the wording has changed, but it clarifies the whole point. What is the testimony of Jesus? Is it the believer’s testimony about Jesus and what Jesus has done in their life, or does it have to do with the gift of prophecy? Revelation 22, verse 8, John says, “Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I,” did what? “fell down to worship,” just like we saw in 19:10, “before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. Then he said to me,” what? “‘See that you do not do that.’” This is starting to sound very familiar, isn’t it? “‘For I am your,’” what? “‘fellow servant,’” same language as in 19:10, right? “‘I am your fellow servant and of your,’” what? “‘brethren,’” just like he said before, but here he doesn’t say “your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus.” He says, “I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets.”


Now, you can see why Dale Ratzlaff didn’t bring that into his little article, because it puts beyond the shadow of a doubt the understanding that when the Bible speaks of the remnant church having these two characteristics, they keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus, the testimony of Jesus is not talking about a person who just testifies about what Jesus has done in their life. The testimony of Jesus is the gift of prophecy that God says will be in the last-day church. And this is what we read in 1 Peter, the prophets searched what manner of time the Spirit of Jesus who was in them was testifying, or the Spirit of Jesus was indicating when He testified beforehand.


The point I want to make here is this, and this has got to be very clear with us. When a prophet speaks, unequivocally, it doesn’t matter what prophet, it could be John, it could be Jeremiah, it could be Isaiah, it could be Ellen White, when a prophet speaks, who is the person primarily speaking through that prophet, according to the Scripture? Jesus Christ Himself. So, the idea of trying to make the gift of prophecy opposed to a belief in Jesus or following Jesus is ludicrous because it’s Jesus Himself speaking to the prophet. Are you following that? Now, we just read it in the Bible, right?


So, I mean, this is, like it or not, you know, there are people that say, “Well, I don’t know about…” That’s what the Bible tells us about the gift, and if we’re going to build anything on this idea of the gift of prophecy, we’ve got to build it on the Scripture, right? So, the gift of prophecy is specific to that prophet as a spokesperson for God, specifically a spokesperson for Jesus, and it’s God’s primary method or mode of communication. That’s the way He’s chosen to communicate to His people on a regular basis.


Incidentally, one other thing I want to bring in here is, on page two, letter D, subpoint two. We’re going to look at a text in the book of Matthew, chapter 26 and verse 56, and I want you notice some phrasing here in the Scripture to kind of conclude the point that we’re on. Matthew 26 and verse 56, Matthew 26 and verse 56, now, these are the words of Christ here. In Matthew 26:56 Jesus says, “But all this was done that the,” what? “Scriptures of the prophets,” now, I think the King James may say “prophetic Scriptures,” there. “The Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.” Now, notice how Jesus uses this phrase, “The Scriptures of the prophets,” the Scripture proceeding from the prophets.


You have other texts there in your handout, Romans 1:2, Romans 16:26 say the same thing. Did you know that the Bible, the bulk of the Bible has come to you and come to me through prophetic ministry? Like, where did the book of Isaiah come from? Isaiah. Where did the book of Jeremiah come from? Where did the book of Daniel come from? Where did the New Testament – you know Paul was a prophet. You have the prophetic ministry working throughout the Scripture. We wouldn’t have the bulk of Scripture without prophets.


So, to summarize what we’ve looked at so far, God has chosen to certain men and women to be spokespersons for Himself. We call them prophets. You can call a woman a prophetess. That person is a spokesperson for God, and that spokesperson communicates God’s message to His people, either audibly or in written form, right? That’s the way God has chosen to communicate to us. We may prefer it a different way, but that’s how God has said He’s going to primarily communicate with His people, and that’s where we’ve received the bulk of truth that we have: from the prophetic ministry.


So, prophets are essential in God’s church, or have been in the laying of the foundation, haven’t they? There are different types of prophets, and I want to touch on this on page two; it’s letter E. And the reason this is important to us is that, once again, if, for example, we’re going to face some of the challenges, not only from others but even in our own minds, because I deal with this with church members. I deal with it with young and old alike. People have questions about Ellen White. If we’re going to put Ellen White to any kind of test, we first have to understand the biblical foundation. For example, if there’s no case in the Bible of a prophet that wrote things that were never included in Scripture, we might say, “Well, why would God raise up a last-day person who would write things that wouldn’t be included in Scripture?” Or better yet, if there was no instance of God using a woman in the Bible for the prophetic ministry, then it might be a stretch for us today to say that God would use a woman for the prophetic ministry because we’d have no biblical foundation for it. You understand what I’m saying? I’m not saying that’s totally without the realm of possibility, but if we have precedent in the Bible for women in the prophetic ministry, that gives us all the reason to believe that God would still use a woman in the prophetic ministry. Are you with me on that?


Okay, letter E, types of prophets. We’re going to go through this briefly. There are three basic types of prophets. Number one: Literary canonical prophets. Canonical means they were in the Bible. Literary means they wrote. A literary canonical prophet is a prophet that God used who wrote something, and their writings are included in the canon of Scripture, and there are some examples (Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, etc.).


Number two: There are also in the Bible literary non-canonical prophets. These are prophets that we…the Bible tells us they wrote things, but we don’t have record of what they wrote. Examples there are Enoch and Gad and Elisha and – I’m sorry. No, no, no. Iddo, Nathan, Ahijah, Shemaiah, Elijah. You can look those texts up at your leisure, and those texts tell us that all of these prophets had writings, but we don’t have…You know, when’s the last time you leafed through the book of Elijah? We don’t have it, okay? But he wrote things, and the Bible says that he wrote, and these others wrote. So, these are literary non-canonical prophets. That would be the category Ellen White would fall under. She wrote things, but her writings were not included in the canon of Scripture. Well, that’s okay; there were other prophets that God used that did the same thing.


Number three: You have the non-literary non-canonical prophets. These are prophets that, as far as we know, didn’t write anything. Their prophetic ministry didn’t include writing. It was verbal, evidently verbal communication, and obviously, if they didn’t write anything, it couldn’t be included in the canon of Scripture, and such examples are Enoch, Gad, Elisha and Agabus, to name a few.


Some other points there below that, some of the women, some of the prophets that God used were women. You have some examples there, Miriam, Deborah, Isaiah’s wife; that was an interesting one to me. The Bible says in Isaiah 8:3 Isaiah’s wife was a prophetess. That would be an interesting household, wouldn’t it? Isaiah goes home and says, “Honey, I have a message for you from the Lord.” “Well, guess what, honey. I have a message for you from the Lord, too.” I mean, that would be an interesting…Anyway, Isaiah and Isaiah’s wife were both prophets, had the prophetic gift. Philip’s four daughters, etc. So, some of the prophets were women.


And the next point, number five: Some of the prophets were contemporaries. That means they were prophets at the same time. Examples there: Moses and Miriam both had the prophetic gift at the same time. Isaiah and Micah prophesied at the same time. Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel were all at the same time, etc. So, you see different ways the prophetic gift was used in the Scripture, and the more we understand that, the better we can understand how God might use it in our day.


Listed below that are some roles and functions of the prophetic gift, and I’m not going to get into all of those just for sake of time. I want to focus on one, primarily. Now, you can go through…The prophetic gift has done much in God’s church. If you just look through the list there. I mean, laying the foundation of the church, equipping the saints for the work of ministry, initiating and coordinating the missionary work, etc., etc. I mean, the prophets have guided much of God’s work. And this is just…Again, just looking at the Bible, before we even bring Ellen White into the mix, this is what the Bible tells us about the prophetic gift.


Now, I want to move on to page three because this is the area that I think really needs to be understood. Among the different roles of the prophetic gift is the role of the prophetic gift in the formation of doctrine or biblical understanding and teachings. This is crucial because there’s a lot of misunderstanding on this today. We’re on page three, and I want you to look at the top of the page there, the top point, 3A: The evangelical world has always attacked us (Seventh-day Adventists) on this point. Prophets, they say, should have nothing to do with the forming of your doctrinal positions. The Bible alone should be your final authority, and we agree, sort of.


And what I mean by that is this: We believe that the Bible should be the final authority, but we need to understand the role of the prophetic gift in doctrine. And I want you to turn to the book of Ephesians with me, in the New Testament, Ephesians, chapter 4. Now, this is one of the lists of the prophetic gift. Ephesians 4 and verse 11, and before we read that, I want to make this next point very clear because this is really, to me, one of the most important points for us to understand in this whole issue of prophets and the gift of prophecy through Ellen White. It’s not just outside the church. It’s not just the evangelical world, but it’s inside the church today. There’s a lot of confusion on what role the prophet should have in the formation of our Bible beliefs, of our doctrines.


Some would say that if we allow Ellen White to influence our doctrines, our understanding of Bible doctrines, then we make Ellen White our standard and not the Bible our standard, okay? The question we need to ask is, “How does the Bible prophet fit into the mix?” How did the Bible prophets relate with Bible doctrine, okay? If the prophet, and maybe I could state it this way, if the prophet has nothing to do with our understanding of biblical doctrine, why have prophets? A prophet suddenly becomes another opinion. We’ve got enough opinions today, isn’t that true? The prophet in the Bible, and we’re going to look at this, was given by God as an authoritative voice to give understanding and clarity in biblical truth, okay?


And I’m presenting that up front, and then I want you to see it as we look at this, for example, this passage in Ephesians 4, verse 11. It’s speaking here of Christ’s ascension to Heaven, and how Christ, as He ascended to Heaven, gave gifts to the church. And it says in verse 11, “He Himself gave some to be,” what? “some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.” Verse 12, “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry,” now, that’s one of the reasons for these gifts, all the gifts, by the way, “for the edifying of the body of Christ till we all come to,” what? “the unity of the faith.” Let me comment on that just briefly.


Unity is good sometimes. If you go to the book of Acts, in Acts, chapter 2, there was unity there on the Day of Pentecost. If you go to Acts, chapter 7, there was also unity there. It says they went and they stoned Stephen with one accord. So, unity is good if it’s on a biblical foundation.


This is not talking about unity in general. The Bible says that the spiritual gifts were given to bring God’s people to a unity of the faith, that’s to a oneness of understanding on truth. Does that make sense to you? Okay, I want this to be clear. So, the Bible is telling us that the prophetic gifts (plural), one of the purposes of them is to bring us to a oneness of doctrinal understanding. Would it make sense, then, if the prophetic gift would be used to bring us to doctrinal understanding? Yeah, from this passage it would be very clear.


And notice what he goes on to say. Read verse 13 again, “till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Now, that word “perfect” would be better rendered “mature.” In other words, this is speaking of the time when the Christian reaches maturity, and in the context here, when would that be? Paul talks in 1 Corinthians 13 about when that which is perfect shall come. When is that time? When Christ comes. When Christ comes, that’s the culmination of God’s work, okay, in humanity. The point there would be that these spiritual gifts, if they’re given until we all come to the unity of faith, we would expect all the spiritual gifts in the church until we come to the unity of the faith and to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, right?


So, the reason that’s important is that some people that you may talk to that say, “Well, I don’t believe there are prophets in the New Testament church. I believe the prophetic ministry went out with the Old Testament church or with John. When John died on Patmos or after he came out of Patmos, John the Revelator, then there was no more prophetic ministry.” Some people believe that, you know. They don’t believe there are prophets in the New Testament church. But the Bible tells us that prophets, along with the other gifts, will all be in the church until we all come to “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Do you follow that?


Now, it goes on here, verse 14, “that we should no longer be,” what? “children, tossed to and fro and carried about with,” what? “every wind of,” what? “doctrine.” So, what the Bible tells us here is that one of the roles of the prophetic gift is to establish us in a united belief on doctrine so that we’re not tossed to and fro with all the wind of doctrine. Are you following that? Without even getting into Ellen White, I would expect from the Bible description that the prophetic ministry would give direction to His church, to God’s church, on doctrine. Do you follow that?


Now, what some people say is, and this is kind of an interesting statement, and you may have met this before, some people will say things like, “Well, you know, we Christians,” or we evangelicals or whatever, “we interpret the Bible…we read the Bible, and we interpret the text, but you let Ellen White interpret the Bible for you.” Okay? I’ve heard that kind of thing before. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard that kind of thing before. Something that we need to keep in mind is that that’s a really a strawman argument, by the way, because, number one, none of us here wrote the Bible or received the communications of the revelations that God gave to the writers of the Bible.


So, everybody who reads the Bible has to interpret it. It’s not like evangelicals say, “Well, we get our message from the Bible, but you get it from Ellen White,” No, no, no, no, no. Everybody is left…The Bible is always a matter of interpretation. The question is, as I, in my finite understanding, am reading and studying a passage, would it be better for me to interpret it as I read it and try to understand it, would it be better for me to interpret it by my finite understanding or by the guidance that God gives? By the guidance. And not to say that God doesn’t give us guidance when we read it, and the Holy Spirit doesn’t guide us into all truth. The Bible says that. But one of the ways God says He would do it, according to the Scripture, is through the prophetic gifts, not just the gift of prophecy, by the way. I mean, pastors, teachers, evangelists all have their place in there.


But the thing that we are looking at is the prophet information of doctrine. I want you to look with me, letter B on page three, letter B on page three. Oh, I didn’t read…Let’s read the point right above that. This is a quote from the magazine Christianity Today in 1980. It’s under Letter A, subpoint 1, “Traditionally Seventh-day Adventists acknowledge Holy Scripture to be the final authority for discovering God and His truth. On this basis, they vigorously teach the necessity for keeping the seventh-day Sabbath and condemn all bodies that reject this teaching,” which isn’t really an accurate statement, “willfully choosing to worship on Sunday, yet they also have accepted the teachings of Mrs. White as the authoritative and infallible interpretation of Scripture.”


Now, they are trying to make it sound like those things are contrary. Letter B: These types of non-sensical arguments (and I’m not just saying that to be mean; they truly are senseless) have promoted a spirit of fear and trepidation among Adventists wanting to appear orthodox in the eyes of the evangelical world, so that even in the church today, many are claiming that Ellen White was a good Christian woman whose writings are good for inspirational reading but should have nothing to do with the solving of doctrinal issues, even so far as to say, just because Ellen White wrote something doesn’t mean I have to agree with her. Now, I hear these kinds of things today.


Now, if that’s the case, what’s the point of…”Oh, just because Jeremiah said something…” Imagine David, you know, hear comes Nathan the prophet, “David, thou art the man!” “Well, Nathan, I appreciate your opinion, but I just don’t see it the same way as you see it.” And we’re going to get into prophetic authority a little bit later, but I want to clarify, using one more example from the Scripture, and I’m not going to look at it, just for sake of time. But if you go to the book of Acts 15…I have to look at part of it. Go with me to Acts 15, and in Acts 15 we find that there was a controversy, a doctrinal controversy. What kind? A doctrinal controversy in the early church. And so, all the brethren got together in Jerusalem, and they had a meeting, a general conference meeting, if you will, to decide the issue.


And I want you to notice verse 6. Now, there were people that were saying that the Gentiles, if they were going to become members of the faith community, they had to get circumcised. Well, there was a big disagreement on that, and there should have been. Verse 6, “Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: ‘Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.’”


Now, I don’t have time to go into all the Act’s history now, but Peter gets up, and he says, “God chose by my mouth that the gospel be communicated to the Gentiles.” Anybody familiar with the book of Acts, can you tell me when God chose that? When did God indicate to Peter that he was going to speak to the Gentiles, the message was going to go to the Gentiles? Cornelius, you can read the story of Cornelius. What happened with Cornelius? Peter went up on his housetop to pray, and what happened? He had a vision, didn’t he? And in the vision, God communicated to him through that sheet that came down and was taken up. It came down three times. “Peter, kill and eat.” “No, no, Lord. I’ve never eaten anything unclean.” And then after the whole thing, Peter says, “The Lord has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”


Peter is referring, and commentators agree with this, not just Adventist commentators, that this passage is referring back to that vision. I want you to understand what’s happening. There is doctrinal controversy in the church. Everybody is reading the same Scripture, but there are different viewpoints. And so, Peter gets up and clarifies by saying, “The Lord showed me in vision. The Lord chose by me.” Well, how did he choose? We go back, He has shown him in vision. Peter cites his vision as a point to solve the doctrinal controversy. Now, notice how it proceeds from here.


“God chose by my mouth,” etc. Verse 8, “So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” etc. Now, we’re going to verse 12, “Then all the multitude kept silent and listened to,” what? “Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles.”


So, first Peter gets up, and he gives his testimony, and he talks about his vision. He says, “God showed me in vision.” Then Barnabas and Paul get up and say, “Our experience testifies to the truth of what Peter says.” And then I want you to notice the concluding statements of James in verse 13, “And after they had become silent, James answered, saying, ‘Men and brethren, listen to me: Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. And with this,’” the what? “‘the words of the,’” what? “‘prophets agree,’” what? “‘just as it is written.’”


Follow what happens here. There is doctrinal controversy in the church. Peter, as a clarifier, gets up and says, “God showed me this in vision.” Paul and Barnabas get up and say, “We testify our experience bears it out,” and what does James do? He takes it all to the test of Scripture, and he says, “You know, Peter’s vision agrees with the Scripture, and this is the position we’re going to take.” Do you follow that?


That was the biblical way of solving the controversy. So, if we come to today, and we have Seventh-day Adventists, and they have different views on Scripture, and Ellen White says, “I had a vision,” would we be outside the realm of Scripture to say, “Let’s take what Ellen White said, and let’s see if it accords with the Scripture, and if it does, that’s a position we ought to stand on.” Is that in accordance with what we just read in Acts? Absolutely it is.


And I want to show you that as we finish up here that that’s exactly what happened, and that’s exactly how Ellen White expected her ministry to be understood. And we’ll flesh this out in our time together in the meetings we have in another of the sessions, but I just want to get this point clear before we finish up this particular session.


I want you to go to page four, letter D, down about the middle of the page, in summarizing what we just looked at: Ellen White, in accordance with Ephesians 4:13-14, which we just read, was given clear understanding in scriptural things (notice) to aid in the formation of doctrine, not as the basis for the doctrine, but as an expositor of the Scriptures, which the doctrines were founded upon. Now, Ellen White never came up with the doctrine, but she did give clarification on the doctrine.


Let’s see it right there in subpoint one, the means of defining truth. Ellen White shares here her early experience in the church. She says, “Many of our people do not realize how firmly the foundation of our faith has been laid. I met with founders of the movement, and we studied and prayed earnestly.” They did what? Ellen White wasn’t just coming and testifying, and they didn’t open their Bibles. They were studying, they were praying, they were seeking understanding in the Scripture. “Often,” she says, “we remained together until late at night and sometimes through the entire night, praying for light and studying the Word. Again and again these brethren came together to study the Bible in order that,” what? “they might know its meaning and be prepared to teach it with power.” So, it was Bible study. “When they came to the point in their study where they said, ‘We can do nothing more,’ the Spirit of the Lord would come upon me. I would be taken off in vision, and a clear explanation of the passages we had been studying would be given me with instruction as to how we were to labor and teach effectively. Thus, light was given that helped us to understand the Scriptures,” etc., etc.


Now, that’s how she says doctrine was formed in our early church. Does that fit with Acts 15? Does that fit with Ephesians 4? Absolutely. Look at the next statement.


This is under the means of establishing the truth. “In the early days of the message, when our numbers were few, we studied diligently to understand the meaning of many Scriptures. At times, it seemed as if no explanation could be given. My mind seemed locked to an understanding of the Word.” Ellen White tells in these early experiences that the brethren would be studying…Have you ever been in a group Bible study, and everybody’s like, “Oh, awesome, awesome, awesome!” and you’re sitting there going, “I’m not getting it. I’m not getting it,” have you ever done that? Well, this is how she was. Here she is, she’s not getting it. Okay, so, think about this now.


Let’s say you’re one of the people that is getting it. It’s clear to you, and here’s this person, and you’re getting deeper and deeper into the subject; she gets nothing. She is clueless. And yet, all the brainiacs are getting it, “Oh, we’ve got it! It’s clear; it’s crystal clear!” And then they get to a point where they say, “Man, this is baffling me.” And then here she speaks up and, bing! There it is. She defines what they couldn’t understand. Now, how could a person who wasn’t getting anything all of a sudden know more than the rest of the people that were getting everything?


God did that on purpose. And this is what she is describing. She said, “My mind seemed to be locked to an understanding of the Word, but when our brethren, who had assembled for study, came to a point where they could go no farther and had recourse to earnest prayer, the Spirit would rest upon me, and I would be taken off in vision and be instructed in regard to the relation of,” what? Now this is interesting. Here she says, “The Lord would basically reveal to me other Scriptures that would unfold the subjects for us.” So, even here it’s still rooted in Scripture. You see that? But we can’t say that the prophetic gift didn’t have anything to do with it. You following what I’m saying? What she’s saying? “These experiences were repeated over and over again, thus many truths of the Third Angel’s Message were established point by point.” She says this is the way our truths were established.


And I want to look at just a couple more statements here where Ellen White makes it clear that she expected her gift to be utilized this way. Bottom of page four, very bottom, point number three, subpoint three: Ellen White expected her writings to be used to solve doctrinal controversy. Top of page five, here are some examples. A.T. Jones had been studying the writings or the prophecies of…There’s a lady by the name of Anna Rice Phillips who claimed the gift of prophecy; she was later proved that she was a false prophet. But A.T. Jones was taking her prophecies and saying, “Oh, these make sense.” Ellen White wrote to him, and she said, “You say that Anna’s visions place the forming of the image of the beast after probation closes. This is not so. You claim to believe the testimonies; let them set you right on this point.” Did she expect her writings to set people right on doctrinal points? Yes or no. Yes.


Next point, next passage, she says, “Our first general meeting,” this is a different situation, “Our first general meeting in western New York beginning August 18 was held at Volney in Brother David Arnold’s barn. About 35 were present,—all the friends that could be collected in that part of the State. But of this number there were hardly two agreed. Some were holding serious errors, and each strenuously urged his own views, declaring that they were,” what? “according to the Scriptures.”


Have you seen that in our church today? Sure. I mean, “No, I believe in the Bible…” “No, no, no, I’m standing on what the Scripture says; you’re not,” and back and forth, right? So, here she says the situation, all these believers, sincere as the day is long, but they had all these differences of opinion on what the Scripture meant.


Now, she goes on to say, “These strange differences of opinion rolled a heavy weight upon me. I saw that many errors were being presented as truth. It seemed to me that God was dishonored… The light of heaven then rested upon me, and I was soon lost to earthly things. My accompanying angel presented before me some of the errors of those present, and also the truth in contrast with their errors. These discordant views, which they claimed were in harmony with the Scriptures, were only according to their opinion of Bible teaching; and I was bidden to tell them that they should,” what? “yield their errors.” What does that mean?


That means, “Here you are; you’re reading the Bible, and you say this is what the Bible says.” Here’s what the prophet says, and she says, “God called upon His people to yield.” That means you say, “Okay, I’m going to give up my belief, and I’m going to believe what Ellen White has said about it.” Now, you may have questions about that, that we may have to address more in the series, but the point that I want to be clear in your mind is, number one, the Bible claims, for the gift of prophecy, the role of giving doctrinal direction and explanation and interpretation. That’s biblical. And that Ellen White herself expected her writings to be used in an authoritative way in the formation of doctrinal understanding.


Now, not as the basis of the understanding, the Scripture has to be the basis of it, but the prophetic gift is scriptural. Prophets aren’t outside the Bible. Prophets ARE the Bible, brothers and sisters. You follow that? And the problem we’re facing in the church today with such…How many of you have noticed that it’s hard to get two Adventists to agree on anything anymore? I’m going to tell you that if Adventists were to receive the gift of prophecy in the role that God gave it, we would start to find more unity in the church today. That’s why God gave it. Ephesians 4, that, “we all come to the unity of the faith.”


If we reject the spiritual gifts in the role that God has placed them in the church and say, “Well, I just don’t think it needs to be used to solve my doctrinal…” You know what typically we’re doing? We’re typically saying, “Well, I have a different opinion, and I don’t want to give it up.” God wants to bring us to unity of the faith, but we have to understand that the prophetic ministry that God has chosen to use in His church, among other things, was given to bring His people to doctrinal unity. And when we return to receiving the gift as God gave it, we’ll return to the unity that God intended us to have in this church. Amen?


Now, I wish I could comment more, but this is part one in six, and we’re going to unfold more of how the gift is to be regarded. We’re going to talk about how the gift is to be read. You’ve heard some of those quotes about Ellen White and not owning a bicycle and this kind of thing. What’s that all about? Well, we’re going to get into that, and we’re going to explain how to make sense of some of these testimonies. We’re going to look at the website attacks, and we’re going to also look at some attacks inside the church on this whole idea of prophetic authority all in the course of our time together, so I hope you’re going to make it a point to come to more of these. But I want to finish with a word of prayer here, and we have a break until our next session.


So, if you’ll bow your heads with me. Heavenly Father, Father I thank you for the prophetic gifts that You’ve given us. Father, I pray that You’ll help us to be clear on the biblical foundation of the gift of prophecy. Lord, though there are many people with different opinions as to how the prophetic gift should be received, Lord, let us receive it as You have defined and directed that it should be received in Your Word. And, Lord, I pray that You will bless each one of these young people. Some of them are going to continue to come to this. There are lots of seminars, but whatever they do, wherever they go, that they would be blessed here, Lord, in such a way that when they go back to their homes, they can help to do their part in Your vineyard to finish this work. We ask and pray it all in Jesus’ name. Amen.


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