1. Persecution and Sacrifice
a. What must true prophets endure and why? James 5:10; 1 Kings 18:17, 18.
“Isaiah, who was permitted by the Lord to see wonderful things, was sawn asunder, because he faithfully reproved the sins of the Jewish nation. The prophets who came to look after the Lord’s vineyard, were indeed beaten and killed. ‘They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheepskins and goat-skins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented’—men of whom the world was not worthy. They were cruelly treated, and banished from the world.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 4, p. 1137.
b. What confirms the existence of true prophets until the end of time and how must they be tested? Matthew 7:15–20; 1 John 2:4.
c. Why is a true prophet a blessing in the church? Ephesians 4:8, 11–16.
“A union of believers with Christ will as a natural result lead to a union with one another, which bond of union is the most enduring upon earth. . . . It is only by personal union with Christ, by communion with Him daily, hourly, that we can bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 47, 48.
“Unity is the sure result of Christian perfection.”—The Sanctified Life, p. 85.
2. Working of Miracles
a. Are working miracles a test of a true prophet? Luke 7:26–28; John 10:41.
“By means of the angels there will be constant communication between heaven and earth. And Satan, surrounded by evil angels, and claiming to be God, will work miracles of all kinds, to deceive, if possible, the very elect. God’s people will not find their safety in working miracles, for Satan will counterfeit the miracles that will be wrought. God’s tried and tested people will find their power in the sign spoken of in Exodus 31:12–18. They are to take their stand on the living word: ‘It is written.’ This is the only foundation upon which they can stand securely. Those who have broken their covenant with God will in that day be without God and without hope.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 16.
b. Who will make the most of working miracles in the last days? Revelation 19:20; 13:14.
“Satan closely watches events, and when he finds one who has a specially strong spirit of opposition to the truth of God he will even reveal to him unfulfilled events, that he may more firmly secure himself a seat in his heart. He who did not hesitate to brave a conflict with Him who holds creation as in His hand, has malignity to persecute and deceive. He holds mortals in his snare at the present time.”—Ibid., vol. 2, pp. 171, 172.
c. Why are we to make so many tests today? 2 Corinthians 11:14.
“As spiritualism more closely imitates the nominal Christianity of the day, it has greater power to deceive and ensnare. Satan himself is converted, after the modern order of things. He will appear in the character of an angel of light. Through the agency of spiritualism, miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and many undeniable wonders will be performed. And as the spirits will profess faith in the Bible, and manifest respect for the institutions of the church, their work will be accepted as a manifestation of divine power.”—The Great Controversy, p. 588.
“We are living in perilous times, and it does not become us to accept everything claimed to be truth without examining it thoroughly; neither can we afford to reject anything that bears the fruits of the Spirit of God; but we should be teachable, meek and lowly of heart. There are those who oppose everything that is not in accordance with their own ideas, and by so doing they endanger their eternal interest as verily as did the Jewish nation in their rejection of Christ.”—Counsels to Writers and Editors, pp. 35, 36.
3. Prophecies Fulfilled
a. How does God speak to human beings? Numbers 12:6.
“During the first twenty-five hundred years of human history, there was no written revelation. Those who had been taught of God, communicated their knowledge to others, and it was handed down from father to son, through successive generations. The preparation of the written word began in the time of Moses. Inspired revelations were then embodied in an inspired book. This work continued during the long period of sixteen hundred years—from Moses, the historian of creation and the law, to John, the recorder of the most sublime truths of the gospel. . . .
“Written in different ages, by men who differed widely in rank and occupation, and in mental and spiritual endowments, the books of the Bible present a wide contrast in style, as well as a diversity in the nature of the subjects unfolded. Different forms of expression are employed by different writers; often the same truth is more strikingly presented by one than by another. And as several writers present a subject under varied aspects and relations, there may appear, to the superficial, careless, or prejudiced reader, to be discrepancy or contradiction, where the thoughtful, reverent student, with clearer insight, discerns the underlying harmony.
“As presented through different individuals, the truth is brought out in its varied aspects. One writer is more strongly impressed with one phase of the subject; he grasps those points that harmonize with his experience or with his power of perception and appreciation; another seizes upon a different phase; and each, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, presents what is most forcibly impressed upon his own mind—a different aspect of the truth in each, but a perfect harmony through all. And the truths thus revealed unite to form a perfect whole, adapted to meet the wants of men in all the circumstances and experiences of life.”—The Great Controversy, pp. v–vi.
b. What are we to expect when a prophet makes a prediction? Jeremiah 28:9. As we see Protestantism and Catholicism unite today, what prediction is now fulfilling that was made over a century ago?
“When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 451.
4. The Purpose of the Spirit of Prophecy
a. What are we to expect as we approach the end of time—and how are we to deal with these dangers? 2 Timothy 3:1; Isaiah 59:19, 20.
“We are living in perilous times. Amidst the changing scenes, with heresy and false doctrines coming in that will test the faith of all, the house built on the solid rock cannot be shaken. But when storm and tempest come, the house built on the sand will fall, and great will be the fall of it.
“Let us take heed, then, how we build. Let no one build unwisely. The word of God is our only foundation. Every semblance of error will come upon us. Some of these errors will be very specious and attractive, but if received, they would remove the pillars of the foundation that Christ has established and set up a structure of man’s building. . . . Under Satan’s guidance they prepare false foundations for human minds.” —Medical Ministry, p. 87.
b. How do prophets help the church? 2 Kings 6:8–12; 1 Corinthians 14:22; Ephesians 4:12.
“God has given me a marked, solemn experience in connection with His work; and you may be assured that so long as my life is spared, I shall not cease to lift a warning voice as I am impressed by the Spirit of God, whether men will hear or whether they will forbear. I have no special wisdom in myself; I am only an instrument in the Lord’s hands to do the work He has set for me to do. The instructions that I have given by pen or voice have been an expression of the light that God has given me. I have tried to place before you the principles that the Spirit of God has for years been impressing upon my mind and writing on my heart.
“And now, brethren, I entreat you not to interpose between me and the people, and turn away the light which God would have come to them. Do not by your criticisms take out all the force, all the point and power, from the Testimonies. Do not feel that you can dissect them to suit your own ideas, claiming that God has given you ability to discern what is light from heaven and what is the expression of mere human wisdom. If the Testimonies speak not according to the word of God, reject them. Christ and Belial cannot be united. For Christ’s sake do not confuse the minds of the people with humans sophistry and skepticism, and make of none effect the work that the Lord would do. Do not, by your lack of spiritual discernment, make of this agency of God a rock of offense whereby many shall be caused to stumble and fall.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 691.
5. In The Beginning
a. Who is to test the prophets? 1 Corinthians 12:28.
b. Can the same prophet be both true and false? Explain. James 3:11.
“There are some professed believers who accept certain portions of the Testimonies as the message of God, while they reject those portions that condemn their favorite indulgences. Such persons are working contrary to their own welfare and the welfare of the church. It is essential that we walk in the light while we have the light. Those who claim to believe in health reform, and yet work counter to its principles in the daily life practice, are hurting their own souls and are leaving wrong impressions upon the minds of believers and unbelievers.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 154.
c. What are we to do when we recognize a prophet to be sent by God? 2 Chronicles 20:20; Hosea 12:13; Psalm 34:8.
“God has given sufficient evidence, so that all who desire to do so may satisfy themselves as to the character of the Testimonies; and, having acknowledged them to be from God, it is their duty to accept reproof, even though they do not themselves see the sinfulness of their course. If they fully realized their condition, what would be the need of reproof? Because they know it not, God mercifully sets it before them, so that they may repent and reform before it shall be too late.”—Ibid., vol. 5, p. 682.
“My work for the past thirty years bears the stamp of God or the stamp of the enemy. There is no halfway work in the matter. The Testimonies are of the Spirit of God, or of the devil.”—Ibid., vol. 4, p. 230.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why is it that those who teach the pure truth often face persecution?
2. Why are miracles not a testing point in these last days?
3. What method does God use to communicate to prophets?
4. Why do we need the spirit of prophecy today?
5. What are we to do when we recognize a prophet from God?