The Abiding Gift of Prophecy


Chapter 22—Nearing the Great Consummation

We have now traced evidences of the prophetic gift through nearly six thousand years of time. The first four thousand years of this long period are covered by the Biblical record, during the latter half of which the Bible itself was written by well-recognized prophets and apostle-prophets. From their inspired writings we have made a survey of the manifestations of the gift of prophecy from the time of its bestowal upon Adam, on to the time of the apostle John, himself one of the greatest of the prophets. His death closes the Biblical record of this gracious gift. AGP 229.1

For information regarding the manifestation of the prophetic gift since apostolic times, we have been compelled to delve into the history of the Christian church in its march through the centuries. After examining the history of this period, we have likewise given a report of our findings. In the writings of devout men who lived in the early centuries of the Christian era, we found convincing testimony that the gift of prophecy, together with other spiritual gifts imparted to the church by our Lord, continued in the church for at least two centuries after the death of the apostles. These records likewise indicate clearly and unmistakably the tragedy of gradual yet steady departure from the high spiritual standards of the apostolic church. By the middle of the fourth century this “falling away,” foretold by the apostle Paul, had become so serious that the church had lost, to a considerable degree, these precious spiritual gifts. AGP 229.2

We have duly noted various groups of loyal, protesting followers of Christ who from this time on separated themselves from the dominant, worldly church. We have stressed the fact that strange, fanatical, heretical groups are not to be confused with these defenders of truth who formed new church affiliations, with new names. Such separations have continued through the centuries down to the present time. It is among certain groups of these separatists that we have found much of the evidence of AGP 229.3

spiritual gifts, bestowed as seemed best to the divine Giver. Of this, Dr. A. J. Gordon says: AGP 230.1

“Whenever we find a revival of primitive faith and apostolic simplicity there we find a profession of the chaste and evangelical miracles which characterized the apostolic age. These attend the cradle of every spiritual reformation, as they did the birth of the church herself. Waldenses, Moravians, Huguenots, Covenanters, Friends, Baptists, and Methodists all have their record of them.” The Ministry of Healing, 64, 65.

In the preceding chapters we have traced the history of these loyal, protesting, reforming bodies of Christians. Among these were some whom the testimony of history represents as endowed with the spiritual gifts that marked the apostolic age, manifest to a varying extent. We have now been brought down to the opening of the nineteenth century. AGP 230.2