The Abiding Gift of Prophecy


Chapter 25—A Sound Basis for Confidence

Two dangers, either of which may prove fatal, confront the seeker for truth as he is brought into contact with one who claims to have had revelations from God. On the one hand he may rashly reject the true; or, on the other, he may blindly accept the false. But God’s message is, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1. AGP 264.1

Those who maintain that the gifts of the Spirit, including the prophetic gift, ceased with the days of the apostles are thereby logically forced not only to turn a deaf ear to the claim of any present-day messenger for God, but to denounce such a one as an impostor. AGP 264.2

Those who believe in the abiding gift of prophecy must recognize the force of the Saviour’s injunction: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Matthew 7:15. Nor should they be unmindful of our Lord’s prediction that among the signs that were to herald the return of our Lord as imminent, is the appearance of “false christs, and false prophets,” who “shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Matthew 24:24. AGP 264.3

In order that one may “quench not the Spirit,” the Holy Spirit, who has moved upon and inspired the prophets of all ages,—the apostle Paul enjoins the believers to “despise not prophesyings.” In order to avoid deception by a subtle counterfeit, he adds the injunction: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21. AGP 264.4

To evaluate a life and work after its record has been made, when the fruitage has appeared and ripened, when the influences for good or ill have been manifest, is comparatively easy. The real test in forming a correct judgment rests upon those who are forced to weigh the individual worth of a contemporary, especially AGP 264.5

before the success or failure has become apparent. This principle is notably true in testing the claims of a prophet. AGP 265.1

To those who were rejecting Him, the greatest prophet of all ages,—yea, while they were plotting His death,—Christ declared: AGP 265.2

“Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchers of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchers.” Luke 11:47, 48.

It is sad, but nevertheless true, that too few who have lived with these chosen men of God in any age have recognized them as His messengers. Those who rejected Christ also stoned Stephen; they rejoiced when Herod put James the apostle to death; they harried and persecuted Paul, the meanwhile outwardly honoring the ancient prophets with their lips. Nevertheless, there have always been some whose hearts have rejoiced as they have recognized the voice of God speaking through these His chosen ones. AGP 265.3