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Modern Prophets

Scripture: 1 Peter 3:15, Revelation 12:1-6
Many people choose a church based on feeling and don't really know what their church believes. There is no magical formula to get to heaven by having your name on a church's books. We should join a church that teaches the Bible's message which includes calling us to obedience to the Lord.
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            I heard a man say once if he could find the answer to just one great question, that he would have all the other answers about religion that he had ever wanted to ask. And the question was is there a true church in the world today, and how can we locate that church? I’m sure that all of us would say the same thing tonight. If we could just get that answer, we’d have a lot of others also wouldn’t we?

 

            We’re living in a day now that 62%, at least 62%, of the American people belong to a church; and yet most of those people have no idea at all as to why they belong to the particular church they belong to. Most of them were born into it – you know – their parents belonged and so they sort of came along and grew up in the same church. Or else they listened to some preacher one time and believed what he said and thought he was a nice man, had a pleasant message, so they joined that church. And yet most of those people don’t even know what their own church teaches. In fact, if they did understand what their church taught, they wouldn’t be able to believe it. They wouldn’t be able to accept it. Most of them had never studied like that.

 

            Now the Bible says in 1st Peter 3:15 that we should always be able to give an answer to every man that asketh a reason for the hope that is within us. In other words friends, we ought to have a Bible reason for being what we are religiously speaking. You need to know why you belong to the church you belong to, and you ought to have a reason out of the Bible – not just some traditional reason or sentimental reason.

 

            Many people are like that. A man in the little country store, a stranger was driving through this little town. He stopped to buy something and here was the old farmer there around the pot-bellied stove. And so they fell into conversation and began to talk about religious matters. And the stranger asked the old farmer finally he said, ‘Listen friend, what do you really believe anyway?’ And the old farmer said, “Well,” he said, “Uh I believe just what my church believes.” And he said, ‘Fine.’ He said, ‘ Well what is it your church believes?’ “Well uh,” he said, “They believe just like I do.”

 

            You know really, that’s about what it is with many people. They don’t know what they believe. They don’t know what their church believes; and so they can’t give any answer to people who say, ‘What is the basis of your faith?’ Now please don’t misunderstand me. I believe in church membership. Some folks think that, ‘If I just get my name on the church book, that’s all I need. I’ll get to Heaven that way.’ But there’s no magical formula in just belonging to a church. Believe me, there isn’t friends.

 

It is important – oh yes indeed – I think that church can do something for us.  First of all, it ought to be able to teach us the Bible, the Word of God, the truth. And then secondly, it ought to be able to harness us up for service so we can go out there and work together in spreading the great message of hope and salvation. These are the two things the church can do for us. Now if the church does not have the truth in its possession, if the church itself does not hold to the truth, then it cannot teach me the truth; and therefore it would be just as well for me not to belong to a church like that – as to just join one because I found one that seems pleasing, or that has the right name, or for any other reason.

 

In fact, let’s think about this for just a moment. Now how would you go about finding a church to join? Suppose you didn’t have one? You wanted to become a member. You wanted to harness up your life in service with other Christians in the fellowship of some denomination. Now how would you go about finding that church? You say, ‘Brother Joe, I just studied all the teachings and doctrines of those churches until I found the one that really appealed to me.’ Well if you would do that friends I’ll tell you something, you’d be studying until the Lord comes, and you still wouldn’t have them all studied out.

 

There are hundreds of churches in this country; and if you went through giving an exhaustive study of the doctrines and teachings, you wouldn’t finish it before your life would be over, probably. That’s not the best way to do it. All right, how would you do it then? Look for a church that has the right name? Is there some Biblical proper name the right church will have today? And if we search, we’ll finally find the one that has this particular name that would indicate it’s the right one? No, no friends. The church could call itself anything. It could give itself any title or any name and that wouldn’t mean anything concerning the rightness or wrongness of it, or whether it had true doctrine or false doctrine.

 

What should we do then friends? Should we look for a church until we find one that has all perfect people in it maybe and say, ‘this is it – this is the one I’ve been looking for’ – and then join it? Too bad. If you joined it, it’s no longer perfect is it? And so that would blow that one. No. These are not the right ways or the best ways to find the true church friends.

 

Let me tell you what to do. This is the way to do it. Go to the Bible first and find out what the Word of God teaches concerning truth. Discover God’s Will out of the inspired Book, and then go around and find the church that teaches the truth as it is in the Bible as it is in Jesus. Now that is the right way to do it, and I can promise you one thing that very, very quickly, you’ll be eliminating, eliminating, eliminating the names of the churches as you go down the list.

 

Now tonight, we’re going to turn to one of the most fascinating prophecies in the Bible. We’ve already talked about it. In fact, we’re going to review from last night this 12th chapter of Revelation. And as far as I’m concerned friends, this chapter has some of the most important, urgent information in it for us of any other part of the Bible. It actually traces the history of the true church from the days of Jesus, right down to the present. And you can discover for yourself where the true last day church is located right before our very eyes, right in this present day we’re living in.

 

We’re going to begin with this prophecy of a beautiful woman clothed with the glory of the sun. Now we know that in Bible prophecy a woman represents what? The

Church. “I’ve liken the daughters of Zion unto a comely and delicate woman, and I will say unto Zion thou art my people.” God’s people, the Bride. He’s the Bridegroom, married to his Church. And here is this beautiful woman symbolizing the true people of God. “And there appeared a great wonder in Heaven. A woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet. And upon her head a crown of 12 stars. And she being with child cried, travailing in birth and pained to be delivered.”

 

            All right, let’s stop right there. Let’s look at the first verse. Now here’s the beautiful woman, 12 stars on her head – this is the 12 Apostles. We’re looking in on the history of the church, right in the days of the Apostles at the very beginning. This is a sort of embryo church, as it starts growing and developing. Now the woman of course, even in the Old Testament, represents the church, and in the New Testament also. In the Old Testament, it was a Jewish church, the Jewish people, the chosen people of God representing the true message. In the New Testament, here begins the Christian church; and these 12 disciples forming the core of it, the nucleus of it. Let’s follow the history of this woman, friends. And this chapter leads us from century to century, right down through the Dark Ages, right down into the modern time, right down into the present, where we can discover for ourselves where this woman now is located.

 

            You talk about something fascinating and thrilling? This study tonight is going to be that. I do not consider that I’ve talked about any subject more important than I’m dealing with tonight. And I hope when you go out of here, you’ll feel that it’s the most persuasive and convincing message that you’ve ever heard in your life.

 

            Now, what happens to this woman? Let’s continue reading: “She being with child cried, travailing in birth and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in Heaven and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and 10 horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And the dragon stood before the woman, which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man-child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her child was caught up unto God and to His throne.”

 

            Let’s ask a few simple questions. Who was the man-child born in this instance? That had to be Jesus. He’s the only man-child ever born who was to rule all nations, and who was finally caught up unto the throne of God. But who tried to kill Jesus at His birth? Herod, the old Roman king tried to put Him to death. He sent out an order you remember, that all the babies two years and under should be put to death. Joseph and Mary were warned in a dream and fled to Egypt in order to escape the assassination attempt of the king. They stayed there until the king was dead, then they returned and settled in Nazareth.

 

            Now notice friends, it says the dragon stood before the woman – we ought to clarify this a little bit. Primarily of course, a dragon represents a devil doesn’t it? But in this case, the devil was using the old Pagan Roman Empire so closely in trying to kill Jesus that even Rome itself is represented by the dragon, just like Satan himself. But they elude his strategy you see? The devil wants to kill the Son of God. He wants to wipe out the plan of salvation, but they saved Jesus by going to Egypt then they came back. And the devil still followed Him around and tried to put Him to death.

 

And finally of course, put in the hearts of those leaders both the Romans and the Jews, to actually kill our Lord, they brought Him into that mockery of a trial and condemned Him and crucified Him and put Him into that tomb and sealed it up. But the grave could not contain the Son of God. He burst out of there on the third day, and then finally was caught up to His Father in Heaven.

 

So the persecutions build up, and in verse 13 it tells us the dragon then was angry at that little infant church. Christ had eluded him, but he still thought, ‘if I could wipe out these believers, these few hundred or thousand of them that are here, it will still prevent the message from spreading and will still frustrate the plan of salvation.’

 

Verse 13 says, “When the dragon saw that he was cast under the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man-child.” So now he tries to slaughter the Christians – all of them – so it could never spread any further, but it didn’t work. The old Caesars were wrong, threw the Christians to the wild animals. If you’ve ever been to Rome, you probably saw the Coliseum there – the blood-soaked ground upon which literally thousands and thousands of Christians gave their lives. And then the Pagan Roman Empire passed out the stake, and the Papal church came along, and the persecutions continued. Millions of Christians died under those horrible inquisitions of Rome. In fact, the pressure built up so strongly against those sincere Protestant refugee Christians that they had to finally flee for their very lives going back into the Alps Mountains and hiding out in the caves of the earth in order to escape.

 

And here’s the way the Bible describes it in the next verse, verse 14: “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle that she might fly into the wilderness into her place where she is nourished for a time, and times and half a time from the face of the serpent.” Now here it is. It said that things got so bad; the pressure of persecution became so severe that these Christian groups, these Protestant Christians had to flee for their lives. Now the Bible says they went back into the wilderness. Now the wilderness constituted the mountain vastnesses of those Waldensian valleys and the Alps Mountains. In fact friends, a new book of Acts has been written about the heroism of these people, the Waldensees, the Huguenots from France, the Albigenses from the low countries of Europe. And they went back there to preserve their lives and to preserve their true faith, taking with them even the knowledge of the true Sabbath.

 

The pursuing armies of Rome went in there to try to ferret them out of their hiding places but God fought for them. And great avalanches would sweep down there and trap the pursuing armies and wipe them out as they tried to destroy God’s people. But now friends notice something – the woman it said would be in hiding back there in the wilderness for a period of a time, times and a half of time.

 

Now how long is this? Verse 6 tells us more clearly: “And the woman fled into the wilderness where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand, two-hundred and three-score days.” In other words, time, times and a half of time is exactly equal to 1,260 days, which means that in Bible prophecy, a “time” is a year; “times” is two years; a “half of time” is a half of year, which gives us three and a half years when we add it up. And three and a half years is exactly equal to 1,260 days. Then we discover that in prophecy, a “day” represents a year in symbolism, prophetic interpretation; a day for a year.

 

In Ezekiel 4:6 God said, “I’ve appointed to you each day for a year,” so this is really talking about a period of 1,260 years, and that is what friends? What period does that cover? The very same period of time that the Catholic church was ruling the world and the Dark Ages covered this earth. From 538 AD, the year that Emperor Justinian’s decree went into effect exalting the Pope as the political head of the world, until 1798 AD, exactly 1,260 years.

 

During that time my friends, the truth was not to be seen before the world. It was it hiding. It was in sackcloth, as the Bible puts it in another prophecy. And it was not to be seen before the world. Now notice that just as surely as that woman went into hiding, she would also come out of her hiding place sometime after the end of that 1,260 years. Now when did the 1,260 years end? In 1798. Now this brings us to the first point of description concerning the true church for these days. Let me see if I get the strength to break a piece of chalk here to write with. I’d like to sort of make it a little bigger tonight if I can.

 

Number one, the true church will not appear before the world until after what year? In 1798, because the woman would be in hiding there until after the 1,260 years, which ended in 1798. So we will put down here after 1798. Now that is very important friends – and this is not something we’re making up. The prophecy itself said that the woman would be in hiding until after that period; and we’ve been over this prophecy several times before; and there’s no doubt whatsoever that it ended in 1798.

 

But let’s go on reading now. We want to find the woman today don’t we? She went into the wilderness – all right, she’s got to come out. And when she emerges sometime after 1798, what are we to look for? What other characteristics, what other marks of identity will point out this particular woman as being the true woman or the true church? Let’s look at verse 17. I don’t know any one text in the Bible that carries more potent truth in it than this verse 17: “And the dragon was wroth with the woman and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” There it is – an actual description by God Himself.

 

But what will this woman look like at the very end of time? I want us to break it down word-by-word and get the full message out of this verse. It’s too important to miss anything. “And the dragon,” now who is the dragon primarily? The devil. Let’s call him the devil. “The devil was wroth,” what does that word mean? Angry – that’s the old English word for “wrath.” ‘The devil was angry with the woman.’ Who’s the woman? The true church. “…And went to make war with the remnant of her seed.” Last night we found out what a remnant was. The ladies here told us, those who have been to remnant sales. A remnant is the very last end piece of something, well of a cloth isn’t it? A bolt of cloth – right at the very end – the final last little piece is called the remnant of that bolt. It’s exactly like the first piece that came off, but it happens to be at the end; and it’s usually much smaller, you see, in size.

 

So the remnant of the true church here would be the last part of the true church at the very end of time, you see. And so what we’ve read so far, the devil was angry with the true church and went to make war with the last part of the true church in the last days, which keep the commandments of God, what commandments would those be? The Ten Commandments, so that brings us to the second identifying mark here. This true church, or the remnant of this woman, will be keeping all of the Ten Commandments.

 

            All right. All of the Ten Commandments. Very interesting. Very interesting. In fact, that is going to be a most definitive point in making the identification in just a moment as we read on. Now let’s continue our dissecting of this verse. The devil was angry with the true church; went to make war with the last part of the true church in the last days, which keep the commandments, the Ten Commandments – all of them – and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Here is the third characteristic. This remnant will have the testimony of Jesus – whatever that is.

 

            Now at this point, we don’t know what that phrase means. There’s a strange expression to it. But let’s allow the Bible to define the testimony of Jesus. We’ve only got Biblical explanations and definitions for everything. In Revelation 19:10, look at this now. Revelation 19:10, John sees an angel appear suddenly in front of him. He says, “I fell at his feet to worship him and he said unto me, ‘See thou do it not. I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus.  Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit or prophecy. The testimony of Jesus is the what? The spirit of prophecy. Let’s put it down here now. We’ve found a further explanation.

 

            The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy – whatever that is. Now it’s still not fully clear is it? Because even that phrase doesn’t appear completely clear to our eyes. We need to get a further explanation of that. But friends, there it is. Three things that we cannot argue about, we cannot quibble over them. It came right out of the 12th chapter. The woman, the true church, has been passing through the years and centuries of history from the days of the Apostles right down to our day, and we’ve found the remnant – the last part of that woman – coming forth out of her hiding place sometime after 1798; and having all of these marks of identity.

 

            Now we’re going to do something very interesting. We’re going to add one more mark of identity. Let me ask you something friends. If God has a true, final, last warning message to give to the world, would He not give it to the world through His last, remnant church? What do you think? Of course He would, wouldn’t He? In other words, if God has got some special message for the world in the last days, He would surely give it through this woman that we’re talking about and through the last part of her seed, or the last part of this true church. I want to ask you something and then answer it for you. Does God indeed have some special last message to give to this world before Christ returns? Yes He does.

 

Let’s go to Matthew 24 and beginning with verse 14: “And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come.” Now notice something. Jesus said that the final sign to the world of the coming of Christ would be what? It’ll be preaching of the Everlasting Gospel to the whole world. And when that message, He said, had gone, then what’s going to happen? The end will come. Listen, what Jesus prophesied and predicted John saw it taking place – because we go back now to the book of Revelation chapter 14, and begin reading with verse 6: “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of Heaven having the Everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.”

 

Now is that the same message Jesus spoke about? Yes. Christ said this Everlasting Gospel will go to all the world – and then what will happen? The end will come. John said I saw it going with the speed of an angel, he said flying to every nation, kindred, tongue and people, saying with a loud voice… And then he goes on to give what the message is. One, two, three. He gives the points contained in that special message. And then in verse 14 after describing the message, he said, ‘Then I looked and behold, a white cloud; and upon the cloud One sat like unto the Son of Man, having on His Head a golden crown and in His Hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple crying with a loud voice to Him that sat on the cloud, “Thrust in thy sickle and reap, for the time has come for thee to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.”’

 

In other words, Christ is coming – and it happened exactly when Jesus said it would happen. Christ said this special message will go, and the end will come. John said I saw that message going – the Everlasting Gospel – to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. And then he said I looked, and there was Christ returning. Now do you see friends that this must be it? This is it. This is what Jesus was referring to. It’s what He was talking about.

 

Now. I submit to you tonight that this message must be the most vital and urgent and crucial that anybody can ever proclaim, and anybody can ever hear. Don’t you believe it? If it’s the final warning just before Jesus comes, it must be, I say, of supreme importance and urgency. Now let’s look at the message and see what it is because we need to understand it for sure.

 

Going back to verse 6 again: “…To preach unto them that dwell on the earth, to every nation, kindred, tongue and people saying with a loud voice: Fear God, and give glory to Him, for the hour of His Judgment is come.” Present tense – “is come” – now. Say, have you heard anything about the Judgment already being here? Already beginning? Have you heard it here in these meetings? Why Wednesday night we talked about the hour of God’s Judgment. And we found out my friends that the Judgment has already started. We’re living in the time of the Judgment. It has been going on now for many years. And the prophecy says that there will be a final message that will proclaim what? The hour of God’s Judgment is come, that it has already started. It’s not future. It’s here. You’ve been listening to the message right in these meetings, and it’s being preached in every country of the world practically, not just here by the Amazing Facts crusades.

 

But let’s go on to the next part of it. It says, “…The hour of His Judgment is come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth and the sea and the fountains of waters.” You know something? That’s quoted right out of the Fourth Commandment. Did you notice that? Why it’s quoting right from the Fourth Commandment, talking about God the Creator – and the great sign that He set up as a memorial of His creative power. In other words, the Sabbath is a part of this special message, which will go out to every country just before Christ returns.

 

And then it goes on to say, “There followed another angel saying Babylon the Great is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” Did you hear anything about Babylon last night? Why we found that this woman is called Babylon the Great – and she had daughters remember? And it represented a great religious system. A golden cup full of abominations and fornication – false doctrine, false teaching – marking the great religious institutions. And what did we find God wanted people to do? “Come out of her my people. Babylon is fallen, is fallen.”

 

And then it says, “the third angel followed them saying with a loud voice if any man worships the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead or in his hand…” have you heard anything about that here in these meetings? Why friends we have been explaining from the very beginning of this crusade the exact message of Revelation 14, which we now discover to be the last warning that God is going to send to the world; and He says as soon as that message has gone everywhere, the end of all things will come. Jesus will return. Isn’t that exciting friends? Isn’t that exciting?

 

Now what is the message? Let’s review it again. The hour of God’s Judgment is come. It is a message proclaiming the Judgment is already here, that it has already started. Secondly, it’ll include the Sabbath message. Thirdly, it’ll talk about Babylon and identify it and call people to come out of Babylon. And then it’ll talk about the beast and the mark of the beast, and the number of his name. You’ve heard all of that here friends. This is God’s final warning to the world – the Bible says so. And when it goes, and when it’s finished, the end of all things will come. Jesus will return.

 

Now listen, if this indeed is God’s last message, which He says it is and John confirms it, then surely His true, remnant church, at the end of time and the last days, will be preaching that message, right? So let’s put it down here. Point number four, that this true church, this true remnant of the woman, will be preaching Revelation 14, including all of those things that we mentioned. The Judgment Hour message, the Sabbath, the fall of Babylon, the call out of Babylon, the beast, the mark of the beast, and so forth. There it is, right in front of you.

 

Now let’s look at our lesson. Isn’t that interesting? Four things. We’ve not made that up at all. It all came out of the Bible. It would have to be a church that would come up sometime after the year 1798. Well listen, most of the great Protestant churches of today came up long before 1798. They could never be the true remnant of the woman. Never could.

 

What about number two? It would be keeping all the commandments of God. What about how many churches today profess that they really keep all ten of the commandments? The fact is that most of them admit that they do not. The Fourth Commandment says that the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God – and if you ask ministers of the great leading churches of the land, ‘Do you believe in keeping the seventh day of the week as a Sabbath?’ They’ll say, ‘No. We don’t teach that. We teach that we should keep the first day of the week.’ In other words, what they’re saying is, ‘we don’t teach the Fourth Commandment. We don’t believe that it should be kept.’ And yet we find here one of the marks of identification God says that the true church will do it. They will keep all of them, including the Sabbath – so no church that broke the Fourth Commandment could be the true, remnant church. It would have to keep the Sabbath, along with all the other commandments.

 

Number three. It would have to be a church of prophecy. Now I’m going into that a little deeper here in just a moment, but certainly we can see immediately that it would have to be a church that believes in prophecy wouldn’t it? It would have to be a church that preaches prophecy, but it really is a lot more than that and I’ll explain in a moment.

 

But look at point number four. It would have to preach a certain message, in a certain place. In fact, in every place. It’ll have to go to all the nations of the earth proclaiming what? The hour of God’s Judgment is come, the Sabbath, the fall of Babylon, the call out of Babylon, the beast, and the mark of the beast, and so forth.

 

Friends, there is only one church in the whole world that does those four things. Only one. Now I must pause here because I become very, very sensitive at this point as I mentioned last night – because I know exactly what a lot of people think as they follow me up to this point. They’re going to say, ‘Now Brother Joe is going to say that his church is the true church and everybody else is going to be lost.’ And I don’t say that at all. No indeed.

 

I believe that people are going to be saved and lost in all churches, because we’ll all be judged according to the light we have and the way we’re honoring that light and obeying the truth that we understand. So that means people will be saved from all churches; but after I’ve said that, I must come back and point out to you that there is a church called the remnant church. It’s identified here in this prophecy that has a special work to do in all the earth. And there is only one church that meets the four points. And that is the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Now that is not said in any kind of boastful way friends because it doesn’t mean that the people in that church are any better than the people anywhere else. Really it doesn’t. It does mean that they’ve got the true message; and that they have come to understand the knowledge of a lot of great truth. That’s what it means. But maybe they’re not going to be faithful in obeying that truth and maybe most of them will be lost, see? We’re not talking about people. We’re talking about a church here, a remnant church that has been identified for us. It’s right in front of our eyes, and there’s only one church that meets the description.

 

But let’s go a little deeper into this point number three, the spirit of prophecy. Really what is that? Now friends, please, you follow me as closely as you can for the next few minutes, because what I have to say now could really be the most persuasive thing that you’ve heard since this crusade began.

 

What is the spirit of prophecy? Go back with me to Revelation 19 verse 10, where John had this vision or he saw the angel in front of him; and he said, ‘I fell at his feet to worship him and he said unto me, “See thou do it not. I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”’ Now I’m going to ask you a question. This is a quiz. You’re a class now. My question is this, who was it, according to this verse, that had the spirit of prophecy?

 

No – you’re all wrong. Now wait a minute, let me go back and ask the question again. Who is it according to this verse that had the spirit of prophecy? Now let me read it again and you listen. You’re not listening see? I’m going to have to give you an F if you don’t come through with the right answer you know – now listen again. The angel said, “See thou do it not. I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Now who had the spirit of prophecy according to the angel’s word? The brethren. All right. Somebody got it at last, you see? Boy this is revealing. I thought you were listening to me, but now I suddenly find that you’re not listening.

 

Let me read it again and you’ll see. The angel said, “See thou do it not. I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus….” You see, the brethren have the testimony of Jesus, according to this verse. And the big question is, who are those brethren that he was talking about? Turn the page to Revelation 22 and verse 8, and we find the story repeated again. ‘And I, John, saw these things and heard them, and when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things. Then saith he unto me, “See thou do it not, for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the Prophets.”’ Now we know who the brethren were don’t we? Who were they? The Prophets.

 

All right then friends – who was it who had the spirit of prophecy? The Prophets had the spirit of prophecy. The Prophets see? Now you see, some people think the spirit of prophecy would be the ability to understand prophecy or to preach prophecy. And if that were true, maybe I could say that I have the spirit of prophecy, but this is not the way it is. The definition here is that the spirit of prophecy is held and possessed only by the Prophets, by John’s brethren who were the Prophets. Do you follow me now? Do you understand what I’ve said? The spirit of prophecy then friends, is the actual gift of prophecy, the gift of prophecy, the ability to be a Prophet, and to speak forth God’s word under inspiration. See, that’s what a Prophet is.

 

And so the spirit of prophecy is exactly the same as the gift of prophecy. Let’s go back to 1st Corinthians chapter 1 in order to confirm that and to give you the Bible proof for it. In 1st Corinthians 1, beginning with verse 5: “That in everything ye are enriched by Him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you”, now what is the testimony of Jesus Christ? The spirit of prophecy. “…Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come behind in no gift, waiting for the coming of our Lord.” Here, the testimony of Jesus is called a gift see? In Revelation, it’s called the “spirit of prophecy.” Here, it’s called a gift of prophecy.

 

Now that’s getting closer to where we can understand isn’t it, because we know about the spiritual gifts; and we know that one of them was prophecy, don’t we? Let’s go to Ephesians 4 verse 8 now and follow this a little bit closer. Now don’t let me loose you. Follow me here friends. Ephesians 4:8. “Wherefore He saith when He ascendeth up on high, He lead captivity captive and gave gifts unto men.” When Jesus left this earth to go back to Heaven, He left spiritual gifts here on the earth in the church that He left behind. What were those gifts that He left behind when He ascended? Verse 11: “And He gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.” There it is. He placed certain special abilities in the church among the members of the church when He went away.

 

To one person, He gave the ability or the gift of being a pastor; another, a teacher; another, an evangelist; another, an apostle (and the word “apostle” simply means a missionary. It comes from two Greek words that mean “somebody who was sent forth to preach”), and then prophets. Now He placed these special gifts or abilities there in the church when He went back to Heaven. Why did He place them there? Let’s read the next verse: “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” What does all that mean? Why to build up the believers; to establish the church; to strengthen the church, the called out ones that He was leaving behind here in this world!

 

Now here’s my next question: how long were those gifts to remain in the church? The next verse says, “…Till we all come in to the unity of the faith and to the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” When will that be friends? Why that’s the end of time. That’s when Jesus comes back again. He put those gifts in there to stay in there until the end of the age until He would return and take His church home. Now think of that a moment. Remember, that’s what He says. They were to remain there in the church.

 

Let’s look around for a moment and see what we find today in the church. Are all of those gifts manifested today in the churches of the world and of the land? Let’s look at them for a moment. What about pastors? Yes, practically every church has a pastor doesn’t it? What about teachers? Yes teachers are there, aren’t they? Everywhere – almost all churches. What about evangelists? Yeah – somebody seems to indicate maybe they might have too many evangelists (laughs). No, I don’t think they have too many, but evangelists? Yes almost all churches have evangelists; and what about missionaries – yeah missionaries, or apostles. What about prophets? Ah when we look at that one my friends, it’s a little different isn’t it?

 

Why we don’t see very many people today professing to be prophets. We don’t see churches today professing prophets. Why friends? Why? Here it is, right among the list that Jesus placed in the church. He left it here, and He said this is to be here until the end and until the church is perfect. They had them in the early church. No problem there. In fact, we go back to the book of Acts – let’s go to Acts 13:1, I want you to see how they had all of the gifts back in the early church. In verse 1 of Acts 13: “Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers,” you see that? Two of the gifts. They had teachers; they had prophets there in the church. Come on over to Acts 21, verse 9: “And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.” Now here’s a man that had four daughters that all had the spirit of prophecy see? The gift, that had been left there in the church, it is being exercised in the early church. Now friends, why did that gift not keep on down through the centuries to the present, like all the other gifts?

 

The others, we look at them, and they’re still here; but here’s one that seems to be strangely missing as we look around. In fact, it just seems to disappear there very soon after the days of the Apostles, about a couple of hundred years – 200 or 300 years after Christ. We don’t have any more record of Prophets back there, even in that early church. Now what happened? What happened to that gift friends – and why was it removed from the church – whereas all the other gifts continued on through the centuries to our present day?

 

I’m going to tell you why. Now listen. God removed that gift for the very same reason that He had done it in all past history in the Old Testament. There is a law that operates in both the Old and New Testament, and God was simply fulfilling that law. And the rule was, listen – the rule was that God always guided and led His people by two Divine means. He led them by the Law, and He led them by Prophets. That’s the way He led them.

 

Let’s go back to Jeremiah 26 now. Follow me closely. Jeremiah 26, verses 4 and 5: ‘And thou shalt say unto them, “Thus saith the Lord, if ye will not harken to me, to walk in my law, which I have set before you, to harken to the words of my servants the Prophets, whom I sent unto you, then will I make this house like Shiloh, and make this city a curse….”‘ God said you’ve got to do two things – I’m going to lead you by my law, you must keep it – and I’ll lead you by my Prophets, you must hear them.

 

You’ve heard of the Law and the Prophets haven’t you friends? Now these two things go together. The go together always. Now they refer of course, to the Old Testament Scriptures also; but they also refer to the fact that God led and guided and protected His people by the Law, and He guided and led and protected them also by the Prophets. And He said you’ve got to obey these two things. And if they turned away from either one of those Divine means of guidance, God considered they were rejecting His Leadership, and He would withdraw the other from them.

 

Now let’s notice how this operated. Let’s go down to the little book of Lamentations, which follows Jeremiah. Lamentations 2, verse 9. I always know where this book is. In the mission field, there was a mother who named her little boy Jeremiah Lamentations, and I always know Lamentations comes right after Jeremiah. Here’s what it says: “Her gates are sunken to the ground. He hath destroyed and broken her bars. Her king and her princes are among the Gentiles. The law is no more. Her Prophets also find no vision from the Lord.” You see what happened? When they turned away from the law, what did God do? He took away the other means of guidance see? No more visions to guide them. If visions came after that, it was to rebuke them, not to guide them or give them counsel or instruction.

 

And so it says, “the law is no more, her prophets also find no vision from the Lord.” Turn over a few pages to Ezekiel 7 and verse 26: “Mischief shall come upon mischief and rumor shall be upon rumor, then shall they seek a vision of the Prophet, but the law shall perish from the Priest.” You get the picture? The law and the Prophets go together; and when they separated them and disobeyed the law, God took away the Prophets from them. Does that remind you of another verse in the Psalms where it says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keepeth the law happy is he.”

 

Again, the idea that if you’re keeping the law, then you have the vision, you have the prophets; but if you’re not keeping the law, you don’t have the vision and the Prophets. Let’s look at one more verse now to get this principle fixed in our minds, and that is in Ezekiel 20 and verse 3: ‘Son of man, speak unto the elders of Israel and say unto them, “Thus saith the Lord God, are you come to inquire of Me? As I live, saith the Lord God, I will not be inquired of by you.” Now did you follow that? The people are coming for counsel, for guidance. And God says I will not answer you. “I will not be inquired of by you.” Why did He say that?

 

Go on down into the next verses, and you’ll find out in verses 11 and 12: “And I gave them My statutes and showed them My judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them. Moreover also, I gave them My Sabbaths to be a sign between Me and them that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them; but the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness. They walked not in My statutes and they despised My judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and My Sabbaths they greatly polluted. Then I said I would pour out My fury upon them in the wilderness.” Now friends, notice something. God said I will not answer you. Why? – Because you have rejected My law; you have broken the Sabbath; and therefore I’ll not answer you.

 

Now let’s come down for a moment and ask ourselves the question again, why did Prophets disappear along or about 200 to 300 years after Christ? What happened in that early church about that same period of time friends concerning the law of God, and especially concerning the Sabbath of the Lord? What happened? Why they brought in the pagan, counterfeit day of the sun, and sat it up in the church, and pushed the Sabbath right out the door. And God removed the gift of prophecy from the church, just like He had been doing all through the hundreds of years before in the Old Testament.

 

God says I’ll do nothing but I reveal my secrets to my servants the Prophets. Every book of the Old Testament was written by a Prophet. And God used the gift of prophecy to guide His church, to protect His church; but every time they turned away from keeping His law and keeping the Sabbath, He would no longer give them counsel and guidance by it. He would only send messages of rebuke and condemnation. But now we find out why Prophets disappeared – because they turned away from the law; they rejected the Sabbath.

 

Here’s my next question: Is there reason to believe that when the church restores the law to its right place and begins to keep the Sabbath again, is there reason to believe that God will also restore the gift of prophecy again to the church? Is there reason to believe that? Why friends, we just read over in Revelation didn’t we? Let’s go back now and we’ll understand this verse much better than we ever have before.

 

Revelation 12:17, listen: “…And the dragon was wroth with the woman…” let’s paraphrase it: ‘the devil was angry with the true church, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed…’, the last part of the true church in the last days, “…which keep the commandments of God…” There’s the law isn’t it? There’s the law being put back into its right place now. These people are going to be keeping the Sabbath and keeping the commandments of God. Then what else is He going to do to honor that church which comes back to His plan? “…Which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ…”, which is what? “…Which is the spirit of prophecy….” In other words, God is going to restore the gift of prophecy in His last church my friends, just like when He had it in His first church.

 

In fact, a remnant is exactly like the first piece. Remember what I said? The remnant of a piece of cloth is exactly the same as the first piece that comes off. There can’t be any difference. It’s just at the end and it’s smaller in size, but the very same quality. Then this means that the last part of that New Testament church would have to have all of the spiritual gifts in it just like the apostolic church had it. And sure enough, the Bible says that when that remnant appears after 1798, after it comes out of its hiding place and appears before the world, it will be keeping all of the Commandments, including the Sabbath, and it will have the spirit of prophecy demonstrated within it, and it’ll be preaching a special message to all the world.

 

Now, can you see something interesting friends? Indeed, there is only one church in the whole world that meets those four points – only one – and that’s the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. You say, ‘Brother Joe what do you mean the spirit of prophecy? Now do you say then that your church has the gift of prophecy manifested in it?’ Indeed friends – we believe that it has; and if we didn’t believe that, we could never claim to meet the description of the Bible, and we’d have to be searching somewhere else to find it – because there’ll have to be a church somewhere that has all of these points, including the gift of prophecy demonstrated in it. And we believe that that gift of prophecy has been manifested in this church through the life and teachings of Mrs. Ellen G. White.

 

Now you may say, ‘Brother Joe, how do you know that this is the true gift of prophecy, because there’re going to be false prophets also, aren’t there?’ Yes indeed there will be false prophets friends. But the Bible tells us how we can identify the true prophets. And there are many things here in the Scriptures to tell us that. For example, Isaiah 8:20 says, ‘to the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.’ Any true prophet my friends in any period of history would have to speak in perfect harmony with the rest of the inspired Scriptures of God wouldn’t they? They’d have to. They would have to.  There could be no contradiction or difference between the Scriptures and the writings of any true prophet.

 

Now there are many in the world today that claim – that claim – to have the true gift of prophecy. Jean Dixon, back near where I live in Maryland, really professes to have that gift. Her friend, Ruth Montgomery, wrote a book entitled, The Gift of Prophecy, in which she claimed Jean Dixon had this very spiritual gift we’re talking about tonight. Now if so, that means that Jean Dixon’s teachings and doctrine would have to be in harmony with the Bible, isn’t that right? They would have to be in perfect harmony with the Bible. Let me read something out of the newspaper here. In an interview with Jean Dixon, and here is Jean Dixon speaking, she says, ‘I personally believe that there is a life after death; and that the spirit of a person never dies. It goes on into another body.’ Well now that isn’t Biblical is it friends? That’s contrary to the Bible.

 

And then it says, ‘Mrs. Dixon believes that ghosts are spirits which have not yet found a body to re-inhabit. “Ghosts are good”, she said. “They’re there to give people help and understanding.”’ That’s not according to the Bible is it friends? And so we have to say that is not the true gift. In fact, I have a newspaper here that has a big, mid-edition spread in it. This newspaper came out in August of 1974, and it’s “Jean Dixon’s Mid-year Predictions.” And here are some of her predictions: ‘Nixon to Stay In. President Nixon will continue to occupy the White House. He’ll be found to have committed no impeachable offenses.’ Well – that was wrong, wasn’t it?

 

And then it says, ‘Patty is Betrayed. The betrayal of Patricia Hearst by a female member of the SLA will end the long episode, and the beginning of legal action against her abductors.’ That wasn’t the case either. And then it goes on to say, ‘A Woman V. Vice-President Ford will become a candidate for the Presidency in 1976….’ Of course he was, but then she goes on to say that, ‘he would have a woman Vice-President running mate.’ Well that didn’t happen of course. And so, it failed. It failed. What can we say about that? It is not the true gift of prophecy friends. It is not in harmony with the Bible. It must be completely in harmony with the Word of God.

 

Now. Let me tell you that when this church arose, when it came forth, the church that was to restore the law, and restore the Sabbath as you’ve been hearing me preach it here, when this church came forth my friends, God honored this movement with the gift of prophecy through the life and teachings of Mrs. E. G. White. This woman had only an education of four or five years, three or four or five grades of education – and yet became one of the most prolific women authors of history.  Over 60 books came from her pen on many, many subjects.

 

Now somebody may say, ‘Well now Brother Joe, are you saying that there’s another Bible besides the Bible that you’ve been preaching out of?’ No, no. Now don’t misunderstand me at all friends. There is only one Canon to the Scripture, and that’s the Bible that I have right here – and you’ve heard me preaching out of nothing else, have you? You’ve heard me only using this Sovereign Bible, which is the Sovereign guide for all mankind. By this Book, we’re to test all truth and all doctrine. The spirit of prophecy does not add to the Canon of the Scripture. It does not add to or take away from this Bible. It is like a great magnifying glass that brings out the beauty and truth that’s in this Book, and what a tremendous blessing it has been through the years.

 

Let me just tell you a little story of one or two things. This little lady wrote a book over a hundred years ago entitled, Counsels on Diet and Foods. Just a few years ago, Dr. Clyde McKay, the Head of the Nutrition Department of Cornell University, and one of the leading Nutritionists in the world, got a hold of that book and read it, quite by chance. And then afterward, he began to go around lecturing at universities about the remarkable things he read in that book. Because in the book, over a hundred years ago, it had been written about cholesterol – not called by name but describing it all – and several other things that Dr. McKay himself had only recently discovered in the laboratory.

 

He couldn’t believe it. He thought no one knew those things except himself, and those scientists who came to a knowledge of it in their research. And so he was going around and lecturing about this remarkable book and this woman, who had talked about the things that he had discovered a hundred years before he had discovered them. Here’s what Paul Harvey wrote about this book and this event. He says, ‘Once upon a time, a hundred years ago, there lived a young lady named Ellen White. She was frail as a child; completed only grammar school and had no technical training – yet she lived to write scores of articles and many books on the subject of healthful living.

 

‘Remember, this was in the days when doctors were still bloodletting, and performing surgery with un-washed hands. This was in an era of medical ignorance bordering on barbarism, yet Ellen White wrote with such profound understanding on the subject of Nutrition, that all but two of the many principles she espoused had been scientifically established. Professor of Nutrition Dr. Clyde McKay of Cornell said, “How much better health the average American might enjoy if he but follow the teachings of Mrs. White.”’ Isn’t that amazing? How could a woman with a fourth-grade education write a book on health that would be true a hundred years later because the only discoveries that would be made confirmed and corroborated what she had written those years earlier?

 

She wrote a book called, Education. I remember somebody writing a book on education that has a fourth-grade education. And that book was read by Dr. Dorothy Stratemeyer, the Head of the Education Department of Columbia University in New York City. And this great educator wrote and said that, ‘This book, Education, contains the soundest and most up-to-date principles of true education.’

 

There is no question in my mind dear friends but what this was the true gift of prophecy. In all of those writings, there is nothing out of harmony with this Book [the Bible]. If there were, then we’d have to reject it you see? It is to be measured and tested by the law and the testimony, but it is there. Now somebody may say, ‘Brother Joe, why did God give this gift? What would be the purpose of it?’ I’ll tell you what the purpose was.

 

Number one, God wanted to add here the touch of identity to show that the remnant church indeed was in existence. So He had to manifest that gift in order to fulfill the prophecy that down at the end of time, there would indeed come a movement and a church that would be the remnant church. So He fulfilled the requirement of the prophecy, and that is the gift of prophecy would have to be there.

 

Number two, this church would be going to all the world to preach a special message, and to restore the truths that have been trampled down and lost sight of during the Dark Ages. And in order to have power and impetus in its work in carrying that message, this church would need the power and the strength that the spirit of prophecy would give it – and so He gave, indeed, the spirit of prophecy to this church, as it arose, preaching the law, restoring the Sabbath, and going forth to do a great work of reformation in every nation, kindred, tongue under the earth. Isn’t that beautiful friends? What a thrilling thing it is tonight to see the fulfillment of this prophecy.

 

I don’t believe that I’ve ever been so excited as when I discovered the truth that I’ve shared with you tonight friends; that God would come along and say one, two, three, four, and give it to us like that, and then fulfill it. And if we did not find a church tonight that had all four of these marks upon it, then we would have to be looking and searching for it still. We’d have to be searching. It will have to have the gift of prophecy in it, and it’ll have to have all these other gifts; and only one of them really fulfills them.

 

Now many of you have already found out what the spirit of prophecy is because you’ve got the book, The Desire of Ages, the first week for attendance here – and that is a sample of the spirit of prophecy. And I want you to read that and test it by the Word of God. You’ve got another book in the third week, called The Great Controversy. That is another book by Ellen G. White. If you do not have any book by her, if you’re here tonight and do not have any book at all by her, you stop at the desk out there, and we will present you with one so that you’ll have one when you leave this evening. But I want you to study those books and find for yourself that this is indeed, the true gift. Now we’ve found tonight it has to have the marks, all right? Now I’m simply asking you to take the marks of the Bible and apply them to the church now in existence, and see if it matches up.

 

This reminds me of one of our missionaries years ago in the high Andes Mountains. He was going from village to village preaching to the people, and he came to one place and spent several days. And when he started to leave, they didn’t want to let him go. They said, ‘Stay with us and tell us more.’ He said, ‘No – well I’ll have to go. I’ll send a teacher to you later.’ And they said, ‘How can we know that the teacher is from you?’ He said, ‘We don’t have the money right now. We’ll have to wait until the funds are available.’ They said, ‘How can we know that the teacher has come from you?’ And he said, ‘Well uh…’, he reached down and picked a stone up, broke it in two, gave them half of the stone and he said, ‘…When we send a teacher, he’ll bring this half of the stone. You keep this part and when he comes, it’ll fit together and you’ll know it’s the right teacher.’

 

Two years later, the funds were available, the teacher came. They went rushing out to meet him with the stone, the half of the stone. He had the other half. They put it together. It was a perfect match. They knew they had the right teacher. Now friends, here we have half the stone don’t we? God has given us the marks, the characteristics. All we have to do is to fit it out with the church – and there’s only one church in the world that matches. Only one.

 

We’re not boasting when we say it. Listen, this is not just another denomination. This is a movement, raised up in response to prophecy, to do a great work and preach a special message to the whole world – and we need you to help us do it friends. We need you to help us do it. And if there are those here tonight that have not made that decision, I hope that after this study this evening you’ll say, ‘Brother Joe, that settles it. That’s it. There can be no more doubt. This is the remnant church, and I want to be a part of it.’

 

Now if you haven’t made that decision yet, over 50 have already made that decision. If you haven’t made it, I want to ask you to do something as I offer the closing prayer right now. Make a big cross right on the front of your card; and that will indicate to me that you want to come along and be a part of this church, and help us spread this great message everywhere. We need you friends! We need as many voices as possible because when this message has gone, what’s going to happen? Jesus will come. The end will come. I want Him to come soon, don’t you? I want Him to come soon, and I hope you do. Come along with us and help us spread this message.

 

As I offer the closing prayer, make a big cross there on your card if you haven’t made the decision yet, so that I’ll know that you want to come with us. Let’s pray. Father, how thankful we are tonight for this fascinating, thrilling prophecy. Our minds boggle almost as we see how simple it has been laid out there, one, two, three four, telling us where we can find the truth in these last days. Bless us tonight. Be with those who are making their decision right now to be a part of this great, remnant church. We long to see Jesus come, and we pray that it’ll be soon. Keep us as we go and bring us back on Friday night. We pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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