The Abiding Gift of Prophecy


Chapter 20—Light Penetrates the Darkness

Frome the beginning of the Montanist and Novatian protests and separations, in the second and third centuries, on to the great Reformation of the sixteenth, there were many godly men and women who joined in the movements for reform, and raised up large bodies of earnest, witnessing Christians. Prominent among these courageous Reformers were Montanus, who flourished about 170 A. D.; Novatian, about 250 A. D.; Donatus, about 305 A. D.; Ambrose, about 374 A. 9.; and Constantine of the Paulicians, about 700 A. D. Claudius, Bishop of Turin, preached in the valleys of Piedmont from 817 to 839. Peter Waldo, the dauntless leader of the Waldenses, labored from 1160 to 1179. Joachim of Italy lived between the years 1145-1201; and Wycliffe, scholar and reformer in England, between 1320-1384. Militz of Bohemia made himself known about 1363-1374; and Matthias of Janow, Bohemia, between 1381-1394. John Huss of Bohemia lived from 1369-1415; Savonarola of Italy, 1452-1498; and Martin Luther of Germany, 1483-1546. AGP 214.1

During the whole of this long, tragic period there was an irrepressible conflict between the papacy and the Reformers. Divine light was penetrating the hearts of sincere men and women who longed for salvation, and who walked in the faint rays of the light that had already shone upon them. The Lord had “a few names” that had not defiled their garments. They walked with Him in white, for they were worthy. Revelation 3:4. AGP 214.2

The Lord knew and loved these people, even in their manifest errors and mistakes. He vindicated them, and led them by many marked providences. He gave them fortitude to endure numberless persecutions inflicted upon them. There is historical witness that, even in this long, dark period, He made Himself known to some in visions and spoke to them in dreams, as He made promise through the prophet Joel, and confirmed it through the apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost. As we have found in the preceding centuries, men and women appeared from time to AGP 214.3

time as divinely called teachers and leaders of the people. Many were alluded to by Christian writers and historians of the times. AGP 215.1

Reliable information concerning the work of some of those who thus became God’s spokesmen is not available. On others the testimony is very meager, and is often biased or conflicting. The presence of the false was often intermingled with the true, bringing odium upon all to whom the prophetic office was imputed or by whom it was claimed. The attitude of the Roman Church was not only to restrain the exercise of the gift, but also to declare officially that the prophetic office had ceased with the close of the Scripture canon. For this reason it sought to destroy the writings of the reformers and testimony concerning them. AGP 215.2

“The history of God’s people during the ages of darkness that followed upon Rome’s supremacy, is written in heaven, but they have little place in human records.” “The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan,” p. 61. AGP 215.3