The Abiding Gift of Prophecy
Chapter 26—Claims Tested by the Word
The claim of anyone to possess the prophetic gift, to receive instruction from heaven through visions and dreams, is not in itself inconsistent, superstitious, or fanatical. It is indeed a very proper claim, fully approved by the Scriptures, whenever and upon whomsoever this gift may actually be bestowed. The words of the Lord are no less true to-day than when uttered three thousand years ago, “Hear now My words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make Myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.” Numbers 12:6. AGP 277.1
No man can make himself a prophet. No body of men, however authoritative in the church, can elect another to that sacred office. He must receive the prophetic gift—a gift which only God can bestow. Hence a person becomes a prophet only when the Lord, through the Holy Spirit, imparts to that person the prophetic gift. The gift of prophecy, bestowed from the beginning, has never been withdrawn from the race. There have been times when it has not been openly or widely manifested. But following periods when it has appeared to be inoperative, it has reappeared, and often in a very pronounced manner. AGP 277.2
In view of the fact that it was Mrs. Ellen G. White’s sincere, unwavering conviction that from the year 1844 to the close of her life divine revelations were given to her through visions and dreams, it is fitting that her claim to the prophetic gift should be tested. It is inconsistent to dismiss the claim as preposterous. AGP 277.3
The right thing to do, and the Biblical course to pursue, with Mrs. White’s claim to the prophetic gift is to examine candidly the evidence upon which those claims are based, for from the earliest times there have been both true and false prophets. AGP 277.4
She herself has candidly and fearlessly urged the most thorough investigation of her claims. Of her work, she wrote in 1876: AGP 277.5
“God is either teaching His church, reproving their wrongs and strengthening their faith, or He is not. This work is of God, or it is not. God does nothing in partnership with Satan. 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.” Testimonies for the Church 4:230.