The Voice of The Spirit


Chapter 4— Human History

In the previous chapter we analyzed the special circumstances that surround the prophet when visited by a divine or angelic presence. Visions, prophetic dreams, or the real presence of a celestial being, as happens in theophanies, surround the prophet with an almost supernatural halo. For the sincere believer, the visionary experience is sufficient evidence, especially when accompanied by phenomena inexplicable to the human mind, such as foreseeing the future or revealing secret conditions. He is more than ready to accept these messages as coming from God. VOTS 55.1

But in the inspired writings there are also narratives, biographies, and literary segments that are not the direct result of a vision or prophetic dream. Even the most classic examples of visionary activity, such as those reported in the books of Ezekiel or Daniel, contain historical or narrative portions for which the prophet did not depend for information on a vision or an angelic encounter. Are these records less inspired than the visions? Are there degrees of inspiration in the Scriptures? Our answer to these questions, based on the biblical record itself, is categorically No. “All Scripture is inspired by God,” Paul says, referring to the inspired writings (2 Timothy 3:16). Peter says “but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). None of these servants of God ever suggest that some parts of the sacred writings are less inspired than others, or that the prophet, when speaking on God’s behalf, on some occasions could make the message less inspired than on others. Both apostles assert that all that the prophets speak on behalf of God is inspired. VOTS 55.2

There are no degrees or levels of inspiration or revelation in the prophetic writings. Rather, when we examine the prophetic writings we see various “models” or ways that Divinity uses to inspire the prophet. The apostle expresses it well, “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (Hebrews 1:1, 2). To understand the dynamics of inspiration and divine revelation, we must try to discover these “various ways” that God has spoken to the prophets. VOTS 56.1

In this chapter we will analyze two modes or systems of inspiration and revelation found in the Scriptures and the writings of Ellen White: (1) the eyewitness model, in which the prophet acts as an eyewitness of the events being related, and (2) the historical model, in which the prophet acts as an historian. VOTS 56.2