Testing the Prophets

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21, Joel 2:28, Isaiah 8:20
Date: 02/07/2009 
Lesson: 6
God warns that there will always be false prophets and tells us how to test them.
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Good morning, Happy Sabbath. We're so glad that you are joining us this morning from across the country and around the world, like you do every week. We're so glad for our visitors that are joining us here this morning in the sanctuary, some of them have come all the way from Alaska. And we just want to welcome you and are so glad that you're joining us this morning and going to sing along with us. We have a couple requests that have come in.

The first one we'll be singing is "sound the battle cry," you'll find that on 614 in your hymnals. It's from kaye in australia; emmanuel in barbados; en yi in malaysia; alex and y'keshia in Georgia; heather in New York; jim, dianne, jamie and buffy in florida; jocelyn in Massachusetts; nathan in Indiana; and sharon in Iowa; , first, second, and fourth verse... Amen, thank you so much for that request. And those you who are watching, if you have a favorite request, and of course, those of you here if you have one too, go to our website at saccentral.org, click on the contact us link and you can send in your song request and we will it do our best to sing those for you on an upcoming Sabbath. Our opening song this morning, "a shelter in the time of storm," 528, 528.

And this comes from jose marie in argentina, I think this is one of our first requests from argentina; rosita in barbados; deshawn and marton in California; zeny in Canada; sherace in england; george in fiji; jim, dianne, jamie, buffy and ashlie in florida; noreen in guyana; kelsie, yvette, ryan, and kevin in jamaica; Samson in Minnesota; tina in Montana; richard and joyce in New Jersey; jennifer, carmen, fabian in New York; monica in North Carolina; jeffrey in the Philippines; caroline in saint lucia; tito and alma in South Dakota; wesley in Texas; matiu in tonga; Christa in Virginia; sharon in Washington; and muyunda in zambia. We have a lot of people wanting this song, "a shelter in the time of storm," 528, we'll do first, second, and fourth verse... Amen. Thank you musicians, very much, we appreciate your involvement every week with us. At this time, let's bow our heads for prayer.

Father in Heaven, thank you so much for promising to be our shelter in a time of storm. We thank you so much for the love that you have bestowed upon us for the opportunity, the privilege that we have to be able to call you our father. You protect us, you love us, and you are there for us each and every day. We thank you so much for bringing us together this morning to worship you. I pray that you'll be with each person here as we open up Your Word and study together.

And of course, those who aren't here but are joining us and are a part of our Sabbath school family here at central church. We thank you so much for each and every person. I pray that you'll be with our speaker this morning, Pastor Doug, as he brings us our Sabbath school lesson. And I pray that you will bless him and his ministry here at central and around the world. In Jesus' Name, amen.

At this time, our lesson study will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor our senior pastor here at central church. Thank you very much. And not only want to thank our musicians, I wanna thank jessica and debbie and jenny, and it was nice to have anthony there singing with them today. Like having a man's voice to add that resonance with the beautiful ladies' voices. And wanna welcome our friends who are watching, a lot of our friends tell us that, you know, the words are going across the bottom of the screen as we're singing the various hymns.

And people are in their homes, they're watching, sometimes by satellite out in the wilderness, and this is the only church they can connect with. Just this last--i was in Colorado yesterday morning, I spoke there in a church in franktown, Colorado, on Thursday Bible study, about 300 people came. And many of 'em said, we don't have a church we can go to, we're out--you know, Colorado's big country. We're out in the hills or something and this is our church by satellite. So they drove in, some for hours, just to be there for the Bible study.

So, I wanna welcome our friends that are out there in the wilderness that study with us and sing with us and worship with us. I wanna remind you that if you do not have a church family that you are part of, and you'd like to be part of the Sacramento central family as an alternative, if you don't have a--physical church is always better to be part of and worship with. But we don't want you to be disconnected. You can be part of our cyber membership. Just go to saccentral.

org and we'll try and keep you connected. We have a free offer that goes along with our study today. Today we're gonna be studying a little bit about the life and the ministry of Ellen white and how that relates to the gift of prophecy and her contribution to the seventh day adventist church. Free offer called "a light for the last days" by jennifer jill schwirzer. And we'll be happy to send this to you, if you'd like a copy, ask for offer number, this is easy, 711, offer number 711, call the number on the screen, -788-3966.

For our friends who might be listening on radio or driving down the road, that's -studymore, that would be the acronym for that. Going through our study guide, dealing with the subject of the prophetic gift. But before we get to that, we've been trying to dedicate. We're in the year of evangelism right now, we're trying to dedicate just a few minutes to encourage you in both church and personal evangelism. This year is a special year of emphasis within the seventh day adventist church.

And I'll be honest with you, I've been sort of laboring with a conundrum. I wanna tell you about something that is a great tool for witnessing, but it's the Sabbath and we don't sell things. And so, I'm gonna do my best to tell you about this, just because it's a great personal tool and I'll hope you'll forgive me, I don't want it to sound like a commercial. But "Amazing Facts" for a couple of years, we worked on developing a Bible that people can use to give Bible studies that would basically have an evangelistic meeting in a Bible. And so what we did is we worked on it for a couple of years and we put together the best Bible study resources we could find, put them together with a new king James version of the Bible.

And in the back, it's got all of those "Amazing Facts" study guides that people use. So, you go somewhere and someone asks you about the doctrine of baptism or salvation or the state of the dead or the punishment of the wicked. And you can say, "I can show you where all those verses are in the Bible and you've got the study guide right there to help you." They also are great Bibles to use in an evangelistic meeting, because then the people have the message, they say, "what was that the evangelist said?" He can say, "well, in the back of your Bible it's this study, all the Scriptures and the references are there." It's got an encyclopedic concordance, an index, maps, Bible symbols. You ever wonder about, where do you have all in one place what the Bible symbols mean? A woman, a lamb, a dragon, the bread, the light, the star, got a list of all the Bible symbols and the Scriptures that show what they mean, Bible Numbers. You ever seen a good list on what are the Spiritual meanings of Bible Numbers? And so we're just so excited about this and it's a great witnessing tool, you can take it out, just knock on a door, ask people if they're interested in Bible studies or do a Bible survey.

Have you heard of that before? You do a neighborhood survey, you ask 'em what they think about religion and God and a number of things. And at the end you say, "are you interested in Bible studies?" And a friend of mine said that one out of eight homes that he went to asked for Bible studies. That's better than insurance sales men do, I'm sure. So anyway, just something that you can think about using, obviously if you look at the "Amazing Facts" website, there's information there on that. Our lesson today is lesson number six in our study that talks about the subject of testing the prophets.

This whole study is dealing with the subject of the prophetic gift. That's another reason I mentioned the Bible, it's called "the Amazing Facts prophecy study Bible." So, we're dealing with a prophetic gift here. And the lesson today, lesson six has a memory verse, it's called "testing the prophets," testing the prophets. And the memory verse, say it with me, please, Thessalonians 5:20-21, it's from the new king James version, Thessalonians 5:20-21, ready, "do not despise prophecies, test all things, hold fast to that which is good." John also says, "test the Spirits, prove all things." Now, again I just like to say, because some have not heard previous studies on this subject. When somebody claims to have the prophetic gift in our day and age, we are naturally suspicious, I am.

When somebody tells me that they have dreams and visions, you wonder. Because everybody dreams, how many dream here? Anyone have visions? That's a little different, isn't it? And but you gotta be careful. A little while ago, I was approached by some people that said they'd found somebody now that's having dreams and visions, and they believe they're from the Lord. And you know, when I first heard it I thought, all right, well Lord, you know, I wanna be open 'cause God does still speak. But you know, as I started listening, it first sounded, you know, like it could be credible, but then you start seeing red flags and it's--you have to test, there are Bible criteria.

And since that time, I've come to the conclusion that as sincere as a person might be, and they've got a website and all these people are following on what the next dream is gonna be and it just started lookin' real dubious to me. And you gotta apply the Bible tests. And there's a number of Bible tests, how do you know if a person is a prophet? Or if these dreams or visions are genuine? And so we're going to look at some of those today and, by the way, in the seventh day adventist church, most seventh day adventists recognize the gift of prophecy in the life and ministry of Ellen white. Now, I'm very passionate about this, because very quickly my personal testimony, raised an atheist then began to believe there was a God, got into all these different eastern religions and all kinds of different religions looking for God and religions of nature and American indians. And moved to a cave, found a Bible, read the Bible, was converted by the power of the Bible.

That's never changed, I believed that the Bible was true. But then I began to visit different churches and a lot of good people in different Christian churches. I only went to church on Sunday then, because that's--even though my mother was Jewish and I knew about the Sabbath I figured all Christians--there must be a Scripture somewhere and I wondered about that. They all disagreed with each other and there was so much confusion among Christians about doctrinal surety. Even within one church, you'll have two or three people who have different main views about the second coming.

Some believe in the secret rapture, some believe in the pre-tribulation rapture, the mid-tribulation rapture, the post-tribulation rapture. All members of the same denomination, just confusion. And people would say, "oh, doug you gotta speak in tongues or you don't have the Holy Spirit. Unless you're a member of our church, you're not one of the 144,000," and just, I was hearing all kinds of things. And I got discouraged.

And it discouraged me partly because I'd go to one church and they'd say, "we're the only church goin' to heaven, everyone in those churches, they're all lost, they're all counterfeit." And I thought, boy, this is serious, I've gotta make sure I'm in the right church or I'm lost. So, I went back to the cave and I prayed. And I said, "Lord, there's one Bible, there's one Jesus Christ, one Holy Spirit, one truth." I said, "I wanna know what the truth is." I don't believe this thing that truth is relative and you've got your truth and it's true for you and I've got my truth and it's true for me. And my truth is just as true as your truth. That's not true, that's nonsense.

There's only one truth, you can't have conflicting truths. And so, I said, "Lord, I want to know what the truth is about Christianity. I've got me Bible here, but I might need some outside help. Because I'm reading the Bible and all these Christians are reading the Bible and yet they disagree. What's with that?" After I prayed that prayer, somebody came by my cave.

And I mean, this is really special delivery, way up in the mountains in a cave. And they gave me the book, "the Great Controversy." Probably the most famous book written by Ellen white. And biggest book I'd ever read by far. And she's got the longest sentences of any author. I kept goin' back over the sentence saying, "isn't there punctuation here somewhere?" Just kept goin', comma, comma, comma.

And you know, and some of language was a little archaic for me, because I didn't even have a high school diploma at the time. I do now. And so I struggled with it, but you know, as I read it I said, wow, the whole Bible started making sense for me. And I went back to my friend, who I found out later had been raised a seventh day adventist and he had several books by Ellen white. And I read "Patriarchs and Prophets," and "Prophets and Kings," and "steps to Christ.

" And the whole Bible began to make sense for me. Now, I'd never been to a seventh day adventist church, but the Bible truth made sense. And I started going to my friends where I went to church on Sunday and I was sharing these things with them. And they were going, "wow, that's great." 'Till I got to the Sabbath, they're all, "we can't believe that, that'd mean we have to meet on another day." Some of 'em accepted it, but I even went and studied with the pastors. And I went and visited with several--i was going to several Bible studies.

I couldn't get enough back then. I was visiting several different churches. I'd go to one church denomination for the midweek service, or matter of fact, two or three of 'em. Some for the morning prayer service. And then Sunday morning one, Sunday night, another one.

I mean, I was just really excited about Christianity. And I was sharing with all these pastors what I was learning about this stuff. And they didn't know how to answer most of it, especially when you talked about death and hell, they couldn't produce really good Scriptures on their beliefs. The Sabbath, they all gave me different answers. And it just became very clear to me that these books were inspired and it was the fog of Christianity, of Babylon was just lifting and it was clear.

And I decided if I wanted to be a Bible Christian, I was gonna have to be a seventh day adventist. And I just saw the inspiration of God in the writings of Ellen white and still believe that after 30 years now, that it is biblical. That was the thing for me; it needs to be biblical. And so, I recommend it to you and if you've never read anything by Ellen white, you know, there's several websites you can go to, one that is up there now that's very popular, I hope you'll link to it, is simply Ellenwhitetruth.com or you can put her middle initial, Ellengwhitetruth.com, either one. And there's a website there now that answers a lot of the questions people have, go to the Ellen white estate.

Now, they've got a great website and there's other links at the Ellen white truth website. If you wanna find out more or read some of her writings, I recommend that. Okay, that's my introduction. One reason I thought I should say that, if you get into your lesson, page one, there's something I want to read to you in the first paragraph. Fundamental belief number 18, in the foundational teachings of the seventh day adventist church states, "one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy.

This gift is an identifying Mark of the remnant church--" meaning Revelation 12:17, tells us that "the dragon is wroth with a woman and he goes to make war with the remnant of her seed that keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus." So, one of the identifying characteristics of God's last day church is the Spirit of prophecy that comes from the Bible. This gift is an identifying Mark of the remnant church and was manifest in the ministry of Ellen g. White, the Lord's messenger. Her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provides for the church, comfort, guidance, instruction and correction. They also make clear the Bible is the standard, you hear that? Her writings are not another Bible, her writings point to the Bible as the standard by which all teachings and experience must be tested.

So, some people say that the seventh day adventists use Ellen white's writings as the Bible. Even she said, "please don't do that. Anyone that does do that, they're misguided, we don't believe that. The Bible is the only rule of faith and practice for the Christian." But making that statement about recognizing her writings as inspired, how do you know? You've gotta apply Bible test. You know, I often ask people, if someone came to you in the last days and says, "you know, I'm a prophet.

" And will there be prophets in the last days? Jesus said, "watch out for the false prophets," but God said "behold--" in Malachi 4, I send you Elijah the prophet before the great dreadful day of the Lord meaning others will come in the Spirit and power of Elijah in the last days, Elijah the prophet. The gift of prophecy is one of the gifts of the Spirit and we need all the gifts of the Spirit right up to the end. So, I think it's important to understand: how do you discern between genuine and counterfeit prophets? All right, let's go into our lesson here now with that lengthy introduction. First section is dealing with dreams and visions, dreams and visions. Now, I've given out a few Scriptures to people, I need some help in reading those.

Who will read for me, Joel 2:28? "And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh, your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions." Now, Peter quotes this and when Peter says it, he says "it will come to pass in the last days." Well, Peter maybe thought that when the Holy Spirit was poured out, that was the last days. Well, compared to 6,000 years of history after you go ,000 years it felt like the last days, see what I'm saying? And so, Peter says, "this is a fulfillment, pentecost was a fulfillment of Joel's prophecy that I'll pour out my spirit on all flesh, your sons and daughters will prophesy." If Joel's prophecy was fulfilled during the former reign of pentecost, does it make sense it will be fulfilled again during the latter reign when the second pentecost happens? Will God again pour out his spirit? How many believe? Let me see your hands, that God is gonna pour out his spirit again in pentecostal power in the last days? And that doesn't mean we'll start speaking in tongues like they do in charismatic churches. It means the signs and evidence of the Spirit that you saw at pentecost will happen again. Well, part of that was it says, "your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, you young men will see visions." So, someone comes to you and they say, "I've seen a vision." What do you do? There's some biblical tests that you should apply. Numbers 12, what are some of the ways that God speaks to us? Number 12:6, and I don't know, did I give this one out? I got a hand here, Numbers 12, why don't you read verse 6 for me? "And he said, 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.

" All right, there's a couple of ways, God does it through a vision. Now, a vision is not the same as a dream. You can be awake and have a vision. Or he can do it through a dream. Another way God speaks to his prophets is face-to-face or mouth to mouth.

Remember when Isaiah was in the temple and God spoke to Isaiah and he heard the voice of the Lord? Did he speak to Abraham face-to-face and to Moses face-to-face? And then God often speaks through angels like he did with mary and Zechariah 4:1, you've got it there on the screen, it says, "and the angel that talked with me came again." And the angel spoke to Daniel and the angel spoke to John the revelator. So, God can speak through visions, through dreams, and sometimes there are apocalyptic visions through angels and even face-to-face. Those are the primary ways, but that's how he can communicate with his prophets. One of the main tests is, of course, harmony with the Bible. Now, it's easy for us to evaluate the writings of Ellen white on that basis, because she wrote--well, she had over 2,000 visions in her life and over her 70 years of public ministry, she wrote over ,000 manuscript pages.

Not 100,000 words, ,000 manuscript pages; that's 2.5 million words. She's one of the most translated authors of--in the history of literature and one of the founders, of course, of the seventh day adventist movement. She received her first vision when she was a member of the methodist church as a teenager, seventeen, it was in 1844. She continued her work for years, she died in 1915. So, she said, I have messages from the Lord.

Well, you got a lot of stuff you can look at there and find out if that's true. And I did and I came to the conclusion, absolutely. I can't think of anybody who did a better job meeting that criteria in modern times than Ellen white. It's very dangerous to claim to have the gift of prophecy when you don't or to neglect it when someone does. The Bible says, "despise not prophesying, prove all things.

" Then it tells us in the Bible, "hear his prophets." You can read, for instance in Isaiah 8:20, now we're talking about it needs to agree with the Bible. Main test for a prophet, if they say something that conflicts with the Bible, they're not a prophet of God. Isaiah 8:20, who has that for me? "Bind up the testimony, seal the teaching among my disciples. For teaching and for instruction, surely those who speak like this will have no dawn." Now, when it says, "bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples." Do you know of something in Revelation talks about a seal? Somewhere in the law of God is a seal and that should be sealed within the disciples. It says the seal of God is in the forehead of the saved.

But the law in the testimony, those are the King James words that are often used, talking about the Word of God. The law in the testimony, when you read in Revelation 19, no, no, no, 7, no 12:17, I already quoted this. It says, "the dragon is wroth with the woman and he goes to make war with the remnant of her seed." And then notice this last criteria, "that keep the commandments of God--" that's the law. "And has the testimony of Jesus Christ." If you wanna know what the testimony of Jesus is, it explains that there in Revelation 19:10, you go there and the angel is speaking to John. He says, "I am thy fellow servant and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

" Says, "fear God, for the testimony of Jesus Christ," is the what? Spirit of prophecy. Worship God for the testimony of Jesus Christ is the Spirit of prophecy. So, the law and the prophets, how does the old testament end? Remember the law of Moses, my servant, behold I send you Elijah the prophet, the law and the prophets it represents the Word of God. And so this ministry needs to reflect what's in the law and the prophets. How many of you have read some of Ellen white's books? Let me see, have you found it riddled with Bible quotations and references and allusions in the language? Everything she writes is saturated with Bible principles and references.

It is extremely biblical in its teaching. And she continually says, if there's anything that I say and it conflicts with the Bible, go with the Bible. But I haven't found those conflicts. I find that there's a beautiful harmony there between what she says and the Bible. You know, I think that considering she had a third grade education, her formal education was interrupted after third grade, that she had that kind of knowledge is mind boggling.

To be the most prolific American woman writer in history. Oh, no, I think she's the most prolific woman writer in history. Just is phenomenal. If you read in Revelation 22:18, "for I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if anyone adds to these things God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book." Now, I wanna stop, some people say because of this verse that closes the Bible, the last chapter of the Bible anyway; that if you claim that God spoke through anybody beyond this, that is heresy. This is not what John is saying.

First of all, John--the book of Revelation is the complete book by itself and he was speaking specifically of this vision he had just given. That the book that he wrote, if anyone adds to the words of this prophecy. 'Cause when John wrote Revelation, the rest of the new testament wasn't even compiled. So, someone said that this is saying that if you add to any of the Scriptures. But I'd even accept that, you know, if anyone starts adding to the Bible, be careful of that.

But he's certainly not saying that God is never going to use the gift of prophecy again. Some have tried to use this verse to say, "oh, you're adding to the Scriptures because--" here's the logic, if God inspires somebody and if the Bible is inspired by holy men, then what they say is just as important to the Bible. You're adding to the Bible. You hear the logic there? Does God sometimes give specific messages to people for specific time that are not intended to be part of the Bible? Did God give a specific message to Noah? Was Noah a prophet? Have you ever read the book of Noah? Noah preached 120 years. You know what he said? Where are the quotations of Noah that are to be in the Bible? It was a specific present truth for his day, his message was not intended to be part of the Scripture, the ongoing canon of the Bible.

Was Elijah a prophet? Was he a great prophet? Can you quote from the book of Elijah for me? Elijah had, now, there are things that Elijah said in the Bible, but you look at his life and most of what Elijah does is it's what he's doing and not what he's saying. There's a letter that he wrote to ahab, but for the most part we don't have the teachings of the book of Elijah. So, because somebody's inspired and they speak and write something, doesn't always mean it's to be part of the Bible. For instance, there's a book called the book of nathan the prophet. The Bible refers to the book of nathan the prophet.

Can you please give me a quote from the book of nathan the prophet? It's not in the Bible, the Bible refers to nathan as a prophet, the Bible says nathan was inspired, yet refers to the book that nathan wrote, but it was not by God's design preserved to be included in the canon of Scripture. The Bible speaks about the prophet gad and his book. You can look this up, just take my word for it. It's not written in the book of the prophet gad. Well, we don't have that in our Bible.

Gad was inspired, but it wasn't meant to be part of the canon. So, when someone says, well, just because we say that Ellen white was inspired, it means it's another Bible. That's not biblical to claim that, 'cause there are other inspired writers in the Bible and their writings are not included as Bible. You see what I'm saying? If that's clear, say amen. I just, you all sort of have a far away look and I just wanna make sure.

Deuteronomy 4:13-14, "so he declared to you his covenant that he commanded you to perform the Ten Commandments and he wrote them on two tables of stone." Now, are the Ten Commandments distinct from the writings of Moses? It says, "and the Lord commanded me at that time--" I'm still in Deuteronomy 4:14 now. Deuteronomy 4:13-14, I'm reading now 14, "he commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments that you might observe them in the land where you cross over to possess." So, he says, you've got the law and you've got my testimonies. See what he's saying there? There's a distinction there that's being made. You can read again in Deuteronomy 4:44, now, this is the law which Moses set before the children of Israel, these are the testimonies, the statutes and the judgments which Moses spoke to the children of Israel after they came up out of Egypt. And so you've got these different distinctions of what the Word of God were.

And you have some messages from the prophets that were not intended to be included in the canon and even within the canon, you've got the law and the prophets, the Psalms, the history, the books of poetry in other words. What if a prophet makes a prediction and it doesn't come true? Does that disqualify them as a prophet? It depends if it is a prophecy that is conditional. Somebody read for me, we're talking now under the section in your lesson on fulfilled prophecy. Please read for me Jonah 3:2. "Arise, go to nineveh the great city and preach to it the message that I tell you.

" And verse 4, "and Jonah began to enter the city on the first day's walk. Then he cried out and said, 'yet 40 days and nineveh shall be overthrown.'" All right, so Jonah, was he a prophet? It refers to him as Jonah the prophet. And Jonah was given a message by the Lord. So, he didn't concoct this on his own, it's a message from God. And he goes into nineveh, after, you know, a spell of reluctance that took him out to sea.

He finally gets to nineveh, he enters the city, a half a days journey and he preaches that in days it'll be destroyed if they don't repent. Now, he doesn't say if they don't repent, does he? He says, "you have 40 days and nineveh will be destroyed or overthrown." So, he sits down to watch, gets a good vantage point, stands up on the side of the hill, cooks some popcorn and he waits to see--i threw that in about the popcorn. He waits to see the city being destroyed. I mean, these are pagans, he probably was hoping they would be destroyed. They were enemies of Israel.

Meaning, Jonah's attitude is not one of perfect Christ-like love. And nothing happens, why? Because it says, the people of nineveh, man and beast, they repented, they fasted, they prayed, and God showed mercy on 'em. So, that prophecy of destruction was because of their wicked ways. When they repented, God is not willing that any should perish, it was a conditional prophecy. Does that mean Jonah's not a prophet, because the prophecy did not come true? No, the prophecy he gave was given to mobilize people to repent.

If they did not repent this would happen, they repented, praise the Lord. Don't miss this, Jesus said, no sign will be given, but the sign of Jonah to that evil unadulterous generation. Jonah went 3 days from where the fish burped him out to nineveh. He entered the city half a day, that's 3 1/2, he then preached in 40 days they'd be destroyed. Jesus, who also fell asleep in a boat during a storm, he preached 3 1/2 years to his own people that if they did not repent they would be destroyed, wept over the city, 40 years later, they didn't repent, they were destroyed.

See how Jesus was a sign to his own people just like Jonah? So, the judgment was not withdrawn from Israel, because they did not repent. There's other examples in the Bible. You look in Isaiah 38:1. This is not in your lesson, I just remembered this, this morning. Isaiah 38:1, and those days hezekiah was sick near death and Isaiah the prophet, he's a prophet right? The Son of Amos.

He went to him and said, "thus saith the Lord, 'set your house in order for you will die and not live.'" He's sick. And Isaiah says, it's terminal. But then he turns his head to the wall and Isaiah cries and prays mightily to the Lord. And before Isaiah completely gets out of the royal residence, the word of the Lord comes back to him and says, "oh, you know, he's breakin' my heart. I'm gonna let him live a little longer, since he prayed.

" By the way, friends, don't ever forget, just because you get a report that says you're terminal from the doctor that you should stop prayin'. We got a member at this church and I'll not name him, but he got a report that said he was very terminal, just had a few months to live. They prayed, church had an anointing, went back to the doctor. And he said, "we don't know, but something is mixed up in the--we did another test here and it appears that we were wrong and you're not terminal." And so, God often does things in answer to prayer that he will not do if you don't pray. So, hezekiah prayed and God sees our tears and he gave him more years.

And that sort of rhymes, doesn't it? Tears and years. But can you imagine that? He was still terminal, but he said, you've only got 15 years. That's a little better, isn't it? Than being told you've only got a few hours. By the way, we're all terminal, you just don't know how much time you've got. Poor hezekiah, he saw the clock ticking and he knew exactly he had 15 years and then that was gonna be it.

So, that would still make you nervous, wouldn't it? If you knew the Lord was coming tomorrow, how would you feel today? What if you knew it was one week, what if you knew it was one year? Would you pace your revival according to how much time you had? Would you measure your repentance and reform based on how much time you had? Or would you reform completely in the next 24 hours? So, why are you waiting now? You might only have a day. We kinda gamble with our eternity, don't we? He's not the only example. There's others in the Bible where God relented of his plan and because of the prophecies. If you read in your lesson, there's a section here in Jeremiah 18:7-10. I'll read this one for you, Jeremiah 18:7-10, "the instance that I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom to pluck up, to pull down, to destroy, when I pronounce some prophecy of destruction against it.

If that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent--" meaning, I'll change my mind-- "of the disaster that I have thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning nation, concerning a kingdom to build, to plant it--" to bless it in other words, "if it does evil in my sight so that it does not obey my voice, then I'll relent concerning the good. Which I said, I would benefit them by." So, some had pointed out there's a couple of examples, there's one given in the lesson where Ellen white made a prediction that did not happen. It was an example of a conditional prophecy. It should not shake anyone up.

For instance, in 1856, Ellen white declared, "I was shown--" speaking of a conference where they were attending, "I was shown the company present at the conference, said the angel, some food for worms, some subjects of the seven last plagues, some will be alive and upon the earth to be translated at the coming of Jesus." They have this conference, they were preaching the second coming of Christ was eminent, and God's people were going everywhere preaching. So, the angel gave her this message, she gave it, but it didn't happen. Why didn't it happen? Well, because Jesus coming is conditional on preaching the Gospel in all the world. He said the Gospel of this kingdom, Matthew 24:14, "will be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations. Then the end will come.

" They were doing it, it was going like a train around the world, and then they stopped. And so, the Lord's coming was postponed. Did God intend for the children of Israel to spend 40 years in the wilderness? Did the Lord say that they were gonna go 3 days journey into the wilderness, they'd sacrifice to the Lord, and then make a beeline for the promised land? But that's not how it happened. Why? Because the people messed up there at the Jordan river. So, was Moses not a prophet because they didn't go straight in? Or did God change his mind because the people lost faith? That's what happened back years ago.

the Lord could have come by now. As a matter of fact, there's a statement here in testimonies for the church volume 9, page , "if every soldier of Christ had done his duty, if every watchman on the walls of Zion had given the trumpet a concern sound, the world might air this have heard the message of warning, but the work is years behind while men have slept, satan has stolen a March upon us." A matter of fact, there's several examples where she says that the Lord tarried because we have not done what we could have done. So, that doesn't disqualify a person as a prophet. If you do that, then Moses is disqualified, and Jonah's disqualified and Isaiah's disqualified, and nathan. You remember, a matter of fact, I might have already shared this with you, that example where nathan the prophet told David when David wanted to build the temple for the Lord.

He said, "God is with you, go for it." Well, nathan was speaking from his own judgment. After nathan left, God said, go back and tell David you're not gonna build my temple. You're a bloody man, not only 'cause he was a man of war, but because he had taken innocent blood when he killed uriah. Says, "your son will build my house." So, nathan first spoke from his own judgment, not everything a prophet says is a thus saith the Lord. Right? Karen reminded me this week, a matter of fact, I've got a picture of this I think later in our slides this morning.

How many of you remember when Abraham went to see abimelech the philistine king during a time of famine and he was afraid, because his wife, though she was getting up there in years, was still just a knock-out beauty. And he was afraid that they would kill him for his wife that was already getting her denny's discount. And that's hard to believe, sara must've been really pretty, because when she's like 70 years old, Abraham is afraid for his life when he went to Egypt and when he went to the philistines that they're gonna kill him for his wife. So he says, "just say you're my sister." Well, is that being honest? Yeah, she was his half sister, but that wasn't bein' honest. Because he was avoiding the truth that they were married, that they'd made a covenant, you're not supposed to hide that.

So, here he is, all these plagues fall on abimelech, and God says to abimelech, well, the reason for this is because you've taken that man and you're about to introduce her into your harem and she's married. He said, "I didn't know." And God said, "I know you didn't know, that's why you're still alive." Says, tell you what? "You go to Abraham, he's a prophet, have him pray for you." Wait a second, he's the one that caused the whole problem. And God says, "go to Abraham and have him pray for you and I'll forgive and heal your household." And Abraham was human, but he was still a prophet. Did you get that? We forget that. You got the example in the Bible where Samuel is told to go to Bethlehem and anoint a king.

Right? And he goes and he sees all these dashing and daring tall, dark, and handsome sons of jesse; except the youngest one. And he's lookin' for someone to replace Saul. And so he's thinking, tall, strong, striking. And he looks at the oldest one, I think it's eliab and he says surely, the anointed of the Lord is before me. That's what Samuel said to himself.

And God said, don't look on his height or his outward appearance, God looks on the heart, he's not the one. Well, prophets had their opinions. And it's a mistake to think that every time a prophet said anything, it was a message from God, prophets had flesh and blood, they were humans, prophets were--see, Jesus was The Son of God who was sinless. He was a prophet. He's the only sinless prophet was Jesus, right? Every other prophet was from sinners that God saved, they became holy men and women but they were not perfect in the sense that they never spoke from their own judgment and they never made mistakes.

Was Jonah a prophet? Did Jonah go the right direction when he went to tarsus? All right, so Ellen white did a lot better than Jonah, let me tell you. And so you start applying the Bible tests and you can see that--i had another example I was gonna give you. Yeah, I told you about nathan the prophet, and I told you about Saul, told you about Abraham, that's probably enough to settle that point. Another criteria is, of course, their prophecies come true. Now, the vast majority of Ellen white's prophecy, some things are still to be fulfilled, 'cause they're in the future, have been fulfilled.

I gave you out of, you know, what did I say, 1.5 million words, I gave you one example of something that people thought was questioned and it was a conditional prophecy. But you think about her prediction, for instance, she pretty clearly foretold the san francisco earthquake. You had, I saw that up on the screen, cheryl, a minute ago. Maybe you can jump back to that. There we go, there's a picture of the san francisco earthquake, took place in 1906, and where's her--their prophecy of that, but the words up there.

There we go, 1902 Ellen white wrote, "not long hence, these cities will suffer under the judgments of God, san francisco and oakland are becoming a sodom and gomorrah and the Lord will visit them in wrath." Well, not long after she made that statement was this historic earthquake, it wasn't just like the little shakers that we have in California all the time; I mean, it was devastating. Some have wondered, she made another prediction here about New York city and I'm not weighing in on this, I'm just telling you it's worth considering. On one occasion, this is "last day events," page 113, "when in New York city, I was in the night season called upon to behold buildings rising story after story towards heaven." Well, that's interesting, because you know, before they introduced steel into the construction of New York, there was a limit on how high they could go with brick buildings. But after the engineers understood using reinforced concrete, how much higher they could go, they broke this story barrier that they had like with the woolworth building they had, there was a barrier. And they just went on up to the heavens.

She saw that in prophecy before it happened. The empire state building came after she said this, rising story after story towards the heavens. "These buildings were warranted to be fire proof." They said, 'cause of their concrete construction, they declared them fire proof. "And they were erected to glorify the owners in the buildings. In the scene that next pass before me, there was the alarm of fire.

Men looked at the lofty and supposedly fire proof buildings and said, 'they are perfectly safe.' But these buildings were consumed as if made of pitch, the fire engines could do nothing to stay the destruction, the fire men were unable to operate the engines." And of course, with 911 that was probably not the complete fulfillment of that, but it sure did bring up those images. I think they even have a picture of that following this. All the fire trucks, you remember all the fire trucks there? They couldn't put it out, they were powerless, destroyed. They basically had to abandon them. I think there's gonna be more of this in the future.

That was just a sample. But she predicted the civil war, world war i, it talked about just whole navies going down and that happened. And some of the battles of world war I and world war ii. And I could go on and on. But some of the best proof is some of the prophecy she made about the movement itself.

Let's see here, yeah, on education for instance, she said that this movement was to have educational institutions that would go around the world. And right now, the seventh day adventist church has approximately 6,966 schools around the world. Second only to the catholic church as far as Christian schools go. On health, she said this message of health is to go around the world. And there's a picture of course, of loma linda, and it was a miracle how they got that property under her divine guidance.

That property that they thought was not worth anything, she said this is where God wants this medical work. And directed them to get the money and to buy it. And of course, it's world-known now, 167 hospitals and sanitariums around the world. And then on publishing, she said she saw in vision that this message would be going like leaves of autumn around the world. Now, she lived in a day when they didn't even have television, radio, and internet.

And you just add to that the message going around the world through these mediums as well. Today 65 publishing houses and branches scattered all over the world. And that the not counting the independent publishers that are doing a tremendous work getting these messages out, same truth and books. So, yeah, here's an example of that prophecy, "testimonies" volume 8, page 87, "years ago the Lord gave me special direction that buildings should be erected in various places in America, europe and other lands, for the publication of literature containing the light of present truth... From our books and papers bright beams of light are to shine forth to enlighten the world in regard to present truth.

" And it's happening from the books, the publications, the television, the radio, her vision--I'm not talkin' about a dream right now or an apparition. But the vision that God gave her for this message, going around the world, would you say that's been fulfilled? No one can argue that. And so I think she bears the Marks of a prophet and the things that she said about health, light years ahead of its time. Back when she said that smoking was an insidious poison, a matter of fact, here's a quote from that. "The appetite for tobacco is self-destructive, it leads to a craving for something stronger, fermented wine and liquors, all of which are intoxicating.

" Of course, medical science all bears that out now. When she said what she said about smoking, doctors actually recommended smoking for asthma. Camel cigarettes ran an ad, one time, even just the last century that said, "camel, the cigarette that doctors prefer themselves." I mean, do you just--we've come light years. Now, to finally come back to what she said over a hundred years ago. And she talked about the benefits of a vegetarian diet.

Every time I open a magazine, a reader's digest, there's something right now they're talking about the benefits of an animal-free diet. And all the problems with animal products. I mean, this is not a teaching that is owned by the seventh day adventist church anymore, but we supposedly--we used to own it. And now the rocks are crying out, and everywhere, I mean it's all over the television, people are talkin' about the benefits of vegetarianism and how much longer your life will be and how much stronger it will be and the prevention of disease. She said all of this.

And she said, God gave it to her in vision and I believe it. You can see, read where she says, here, Ellen white's words: "grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables, impart a vigor of intellect that is not afforded by more complex and stimulating diet." Medical science speaks; it supports it. Meat contains a substance that impairs brain activity and lacks a substance that the brain needs to function well. And I could go on and on, reiterating this. Someone read for me, John 4:1-2.

"Beloved, believe that every spirit, but try the Spirit whether they are of God, because many false prophets have come out into the world. Hereby, know ye the Spirit of God that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God." All right, thank you. So, one of the criteria for a genuine prophet is what they say is gonna coincide with the belief that Jesus was God incarnate. That Christ was not just a good man or a great prophet, God came to earth in the form of a man, he took on humanity. So, the reality of Jesus being % divine and 100% human, that's something that the prophet must teach.

Now, there's some people out there that claim to be Christian prophets and they say, "Jesus was one of many God men." No, that doesn't meet-- "they got krishna and buddha, they were also like God and they were men and--" that fails that test. And the final test is called the orchard test and it says, Matthew 7:15 and 16, I better read this real quick. "Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, inwardly they are ravening wolves, you will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?" She had a Godly life. Matter of fact there's a quote that somebody gave concerning her life, at her death they wrote in "the saint helena star" "the life of mrs.

White is an example worthy of emulation. By all, she was a humble, devout, disciple of Christ and ever went about doing good. Her death Marks the calling of another noted leader of religious thought and one whose almost 90 years were full to overflowing with good deeds, kind words, earnest prayers for all mankind," and this is not written by a member of our church. You can read in "the mountain view register" in July 23rd, 1915, "mrs. White's most enduring monument aside from her Godly life and conversation was her published works, which tend to the purest morality to lead to Christ and the Bible, and bring comfort and consolation to many a weary heart.

She has done what she could, now, being dead, yet speaketh." Again, not a member of the church, everybody that knew her, nobody would contend that she was a Godly woman, good to her neighbors. And so, she bore the fruit. And you know what always convinces me, her own family also believed it and they followed it. You can sometimes fool lots of people, but your family, can't fool them. She was consistent in the home and out of the home, she lived what she preached.

And so anyway, we'll say more, there's still a few points I'd like to cover and I might be able to squeeze those into another lesson. I wanna remind our friends, we have a free offer it's called, "a light for the last days" by jennifer jill. And if you'd like to get a copy of this book, just call the number on the screen and that is 866-788-3966 and ask for offer number 711 or 7-11 and we'll send that to you for free. God bless you, friends, we're out of time for today's study. [Music]

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