Gift of Prophecy – Sabbath School Discussion

Garden Grove SDA – Young Adult Sabbath School
28 Fundamental Beliefs – #18 The Gift of Prophecy
April 12, 2014
Duration ~ 50min (Adaptable to 40 min.)

Icebreakers

Please state your name and answer the following question.

Q1:      If you had access to a time-traveling Delorean for just ONE round trip, would you travel to the future or to the past—and where?

            FYI most people will want to go to the past—surprising, isn’t it?

It is within our human nature to want to know what is going to happen to us and to our world. That is why the FB we will be discussing today is really important for us. Fundamental Belief #18 deals with the Gift of Prophecy and its role in our lives, especially as we approach the end times.

Prayer

Intro – Definition of Prophecy

Q2:      What is prophecy? / How would you define “Prophecy”? / What is another word or synonym that could be used instead of “Prophecy”?

Websters: 1: an inspired utterance of a prophet, 2: the vocation of a prophet, 3:the inspired declaration of divine will an purpose, 4: a prediction of something to come

From the definition, it is clear that there are two important elements. A divine source (God), a message, and a recipient (prophet). Now some examples as to what people consider prophets and prophecy wouldn’t go amiss. To do this, Please get into groups of 3, read the paper I’m handing out, and answer the question:

Q3:      What is the prophet mentioned and when/where did they live? Were any of their predictions fulfilled, or were they totally off the mark?

            BTW, to make the lesson not run too long, only go over three or four prophets.

Edgar Cayce (1877-1945) “The Sleeping Prophet” because he would go into trances. He was an American who predicted a major global change in 1998, in which nearly the western half of the United States would be at the bottom of the Pacific, the Great Lakes would become The Great Lake, and New York City would be frozen solid.Regarding the end of the world, He explained that the survivors of Atlantis had concealed beneath Egyptian Sphinx a Hall of Records containing all the wisdom of their lost civilization and the true history of the human race.  He prophesied that this Hall of Records would be rediscovered and opened between 1996 and 1998, and connected the opening of the chamber to the second coming of Christ.

Jeanne Dixon (1918-1997) was an American who made hundreds of trivial predictions about celebrities and earning her the sobriquet of a “gossip prophet.” As to the end of the world, she foresaw a young man arising out of Egypt to rule the world, who before the close of the 20th century would “bring together all mankind in one all embracing faith; a new Christianity, with every sect and creed united through him.” At the end, she saw him leading the masses up a road to a point of decision and division where they could either follow him to the left into darkness and destruction or take the straight and narrow to the right, away from him. A few faithful went up the straight and narrow to Christ just before his return. This prediction is also on top of yet another prediction of the world’s destruction. “I have seen a comet strike our Earth around the middle of the 1980s. Earthquakes and tidal waves will befall us as a result of the tremendous impact of this heavenly body in one of our great oceans…”

Michel de Nostredame – “Nostradamus” (1503 – 1566) was a French apothecary and reputed seer. To put it in simple terms, he combined 3 languages, mixed it all together with symbolism and cryptic messages, and then put them into 4-line “verses” or “quatrains.” It has been explained that this was done to avoid persecution from the Inquisition. That may have been also why he repeatedly stated in letters that he was not a prophet. Much of his “prophetic” work paraphrases collections of ancient end-of-the-world prophecies (mainly Bible-based), supplemented with references to historical events and anthologies of omen reports, and then projects those into the future in part with the aid of comparative horoscopy. Hence the many predictions involving ancient figures such as Sulla, Gaius Marius, Nero, and others, as well as his descriptions of “battles in the clouds” and “frogs falling from the sky.”

Máel Máedoc Morgair (1094?-1148) aka “Malachy O’Morgan” An 11th-century Irish Bishop who introduced Roman Catholic Liturgy to Ireland. Malachy predicted a succesion line of 112 popes and their characteristics in the form of thumbnail sketches which he wrote down in little rhymes. Acccording to Mallachy’s predictions the John Paul II is no 110, and the one after that he called “Gloria Olivae” before the very last one “Petrus Romanus”, about whom he wrote: “In the final persecution of the church there will reign Peter the Roman, who will feed his flock through many tribulations, after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful judge will judge the people.

David Berg (1919-1994), also known as “Moses David,” was an American evangelist and missionary. In his final years Berg lived in seclusion, communicating with his followers and the public via nearly 3,000 “Mo Letters”that he wrote on a wide variety of subjects. His writings were often extreme and uncompromising in their denunciation of what he believed to be evil, such as mainstream churches, pedophilia laws, capitalism, and Jews. Berg also predicted several apocalyptic events that did not occur. His best-known prediction was that comet Kohoutek (1974) would wreak havoc and possible destruction. He also predicted that California would imminently fall into the ocean during that time, that the great tribulation would begin in 1989, and that the second coming of Jesus would happen in 1993.

William Branham (1909-1965) – American Christian minister, usually credited with founding the post World War II divine healing movement. He claimed to have received an angelic visitation, commissioning his worldwide ministry of evangelism and faith healing. He predicted that “1977 ought to terminate the world and usher in the millennium,” the city of Los Angeles would “sink beneath the ocean” and that a tidal wave would sweep inland as far as the Salton Sea. He has been criticized because of his comments on “three Bibles”. He said these were the zodiac, the great pyramid, and the Holy Bible.

Veronica Lueken (1923-1995) – Roman Catholic housewife from Bayside, New York who, between 1970 until her death, reported experiencing apparitions of the Virgin Mary and numerous Catholic saints. She shared her visions with others, and her doctrines emphasized the preeminence of Mary rather than of Jesus. In 1994 she received a vision of a great comet or star from heaven. It was not Jesus. It was Mary coming for her Children. Veronica later “heard” Jesus say that “Mary was the Star of Heaven; the Bright Morning Star” and that it was the Father’s will that the people should be more devoted to the Virgin Mary. She was also told that the next war would embroil the whole world and lead to destruction of at least a billion people.

Ursula Southeil (1488-1561) – “Mother Shipton” an English soothsayer and reputed prophetess. Was reputed to be hideously ugly. She told fortunes and made predictions throughout her life. She developed considerable fame, so that even the Royal Family were heard to discuss Mother Shipton’s prophecy of the Great Fire of London. She said the end of the world would come in 1991, following a great war in 1926 in which the world would go up in flames. Finally:
When pictures seem alive with movements free,
when boats like fishes swim beneath the sea.
When men like birds shall scour the sky.
Then half the world, deep drenched in blood shall die.

Lúcia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Franciso Marto – “The Fatima Children” Shepherd children in Portugal in the early 20th century received visions from the Virgin Mary (aka Our Lady of Fatima). In one of the visions they saw the horrors of hell and the demons in it as well as the joys of heaven. They were also told about the fate of Russia, WWII, and other wars. They caused such controversy in their hometown that they were jailed in prison for a time. Lucia was told that while her cousins were to die soon (Spanish flu claimed their lives soon after the end of WWI), she was to remain behind because “Jesus wished Lucia to make the Virgin Mary well known and loved on Earth and to establish devotion in the world to her Immaculate Heart.” Lucia became a nun.

Nicolaas van Rensburg (1862-1926) – was from the South African Republic. His visions dealt with the role of South Africa and Germany in the world. He spoke in great length about the final great war (WWIII). He said it would be caused by a Russian-led invasion of Europe in which armies of the world would use “terrible electrical rays that sow death and destruction from above and below” Everything would be confusion, America and England would become bankrupt. England would be struck by 7 plagues before becoming totally annihilated. The time of trouble for South Africa would be much shorter lived and less troublesome compared to the rest of the world, as Christ would favor it with blessings so it would be a safe-haven for Christians from all over.

I know most of the examples are wildly wrong, and easy to discard.

Q4:      But how exactly do we decide which predictions to believe and which to forget? / What are some things you would look for in a prophet before accepting what they say? / How could you distinguish between a true prophet and a false prophet?

Tests of a Prophet

1. Will speak in harmony with the law and the testimony.

READ – Isaiah 8:19-20And when they say to you, “inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.

Q5:      Let’s focus on v.20. What is the first test?

Prophecy must be in accordance with the

  • LAW / TEACHINGS: “TORAH” writings of Moses, and the ten commandments (5 books)
  • TESTIMONY: writings of the Prophets. 1 Corinth 14:32-33 – a prophet must speak in accordance to what prophets before have spoken before.

Q6:      Why is it important that a prophet be in full compliance with the Bible law and the prophets? / What is the significance of the Bible in our lives that makes it necessary for us to check any prophecy with what it says?

  • What a prophet says must harmonize with what God has already said because God does not contradict himself (Mal 3:6) (James 1:17)
  • The Bible is our final authority in all matters spiritual and moral.
  • The work of a prophet should be to lead people to God and his word, not to go against it. (Deut 13:1-5)
2. Through their fruits

READ – Matthew 7:15-16, 20Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?…. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

Q7:      What is the second test Jesus is telling his disciples to look for?

Q7.5:   What do you understand by “fruits”? What do you think Jesus meant when he said “fruits”?

  • Holy Spirit implants qualities of Christ in the heart
  • Galatians 5:22 – but the Fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control
  • John 15:8 – in his character the prophet must display the goodness of Jesus

STORY: As a teenager, I was spiritually confused by a couple of Bible teachers who were obviously not teaching according to the Bible. They claimed to have a better light and wisdom and had really sketchy interpretations of the Bible. They weren’t bad people, they were nice and outgoing, and they had a considerable following with the students and even with church leaders. In all this, my father pointed to this verse and taught me one thing that remains with me today.

  • A leader’s fruits begin with his family—see if his home life is in order. If they are living according to the word of God.
  • A leader with good fruits will equip his followers for ministry to bring others to Christ.

* Every human errs, only God is infallible. (James 5:17, Elijah was subject to human passions)

* The fruit tests takes time. Only a life of continual service and faithfulness will really produce those fruits. But in time the false prophets show their bad fruit.

One of the prophets we talked about, David Berg, was criticized for being an anti-semitic and pedophile. Furthermore, he was accused of molesting one of his nieces when she was a young teen. The truth came out years and years later.

3. Confessing Jesus

READ – 1 John 4:2-3By this you know the Sprit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

Q8:      What is the third test?

  • Jesus came in the flesh (Luke 24:38-43)
  • And partook of all the human race has to endure (Heb. 2:14)

*This test is broader than simply to believe that Jesus became a human being.

* It must agree with what the Bible says about Jesus’s incarnation—must believe in His deity and preexistence, His virgin birth, true humanity, sinless life, atoning sacrifice, resurrection, ascension, intercessory ministry, and second advent.

So while Islam’s prophet Mohammad believed in Jesus’ true humanity and his virgin birth, he did not recognize his resurrection, ascension, return or anything like his deity and preexistence. Jesus was just another prophet like him. His teachings cannot be accepted.

Q9:      Why is it so important that true prophets exalt Jesus Christ? / Why should you discard any teaching I might give you that does not emphasize the saving work of Jesus?

  • Acts 4:12 – And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
  • The whole point of the gospel, and the work of all the prophets is to share the good news of our salvation, if you take Christ out of the equation, salvation is reduced to nothing.
4. Prediction will come true, unless the prediction is tied to a condition

READ – Jeremiah 28:9As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet.

Q10:    What is the fourth test?

Consider Jonah’s message in Jonah 3:4-5, 10 – Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” and the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them…When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.

Q11:    Jonah was by no means a false prophet, but his prediction did not come true, what does that tell us? / What must be taken into consideration in applying the test of fulfilled prophecy?

–          The fulfillment of most prophecies (exceptions are the end-time prophecies of Daniel and Revelation) is dependent on the actions and attitudes of the people concerned

Q12:    Then there are really freaky people in TV who claim predict the future. And then things they predict do happen. How would you explain that?

Q12.5  Are people who dabble into the occult and fortune-tellers legit prophets if their prophecies came true?

1 Samuel 28: One of the most sinister episodes in the Bible occurs when Saul sought prophetic word with a medium. The medium “prophesied” that Saul would die the next day in the battlefield.

  • Saul was under the control of the devil, who is the cause of evil things
  • Deut 18:9-12– prohibited methods which God will never use to transmit the message of God, which include horoscope reading, psychics, mediums, fortune-tellers, and the like.

A Prophet in Crucial times of History

In each moment critical of the earth God had prophets…

Q13:    What are some of the prophets you can think of? More likely than not they had a message to give during a crucial time in the history of God’s people.
Enoch – Jude 14:15 – an example of a godly life in the middle of sin.
Noah – announced the flood – obviously a major event.
Abraham – the birth of the Israelite nation Gen15:13-15, John 8:56
Moses – deliverance of the Israelite nation
David – in the beginning of the time of the Kings – psalm 16, psalm 22 of the messiah,
Daniel, Jeremiah – during and before the exile.
Haggai, Zaccariah, Joshua, Zorobabel – in the reconstruction of Jerusalem
John the Baptist – the arrival of Jesus

Q14:    Is the End of the world and Jesus’ return a crucial event?

Q15:    Does it then follow that as we are living in the end of times, will God would also speak through a prophet?

  • READ Rev 12:17 – then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring. On those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.

This passage mentions the remnant, or the rest of her offspring.

Q16:    There are two characteristics of the remnant What are they? / What are some characteristics that the Bible says the remnant need to have?

  • Keep law. Hold the Testimony of Jesus.

Q17:    What is the testimony of Jesus?

  • READ Rev 19:10 – Then I fell won at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You most not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

The Statement from the Fundamental Beliefs says the following:

The prophetic gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen. G. White. As the Lord’s messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction. They also make clear that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested.

 Ellen G. White

Seventh-day Adventists believe that the Bible prediction of a last-day gift of prophecy has been fulfilled in a remarkable way through the Holy Spirit’s work in the life and ministry of Ellen G. White. Concerning her gift, Ellen White testifies: “Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light.

Her ministry extended over a period of 70 years until her death in 1915. During that time she received approximately 2,000 visions and wrote approximately 25 million words. One of the most remarkable aspects of her ministry is the immense variety of topics on which she wrote: education, health, prophecy—just to mention a few.

It is true that to become an SDA you don’t need to believe in the writings of EGW, but if you discard them without having read them and compared them against Bible truth then you really are missing out.

Q18:    What are the advantages to the church and to you personally in accepting Ellen White’s messages? Give some examples

  • Proverbs 29:18where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restrain, but blessed is he who keeps the law.
  • 2 Chronicles 2:20 – And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehosaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.”

STORY: Imagine a man receiving a letter that makes him so upset that he bangs on the door of the post office demanding that the postman explain why he delivered such a frightening and allegedly unreasonable letter. He loses his temper and gives the postman a hard kick. That wouldn’t be either Christian or rational.

Yet in recent years some have been kicking the postman—Ellen White—just because they don’t like what she wrote. Of course, there’s the fact that she also is blamed for things that she never actually wrote.(Source, Sabbath School- The Uniqueness of the Gift of Prophecy)

READ – 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.

God has given clear instructions on how to see who is a prophet or not because he wants to raise people in the last days to guide and preach and unmask sin so the people can get ready for the second coming. He did it for his first coming, and so he will do for his second coming.

Final Prayer

 

 

– – – – APPENDIX – RANDOM STUFF

Joel 2:28-32—Partially fulfilled at Pentecost (see Acts 2:16-21), but the major fulfillment takes place in the last days when the signs mentioned in verses 30, 31 will be seen. The manifestation of the Spirit at Pentecost involved tongues, whereas the last-day promise involves prophecy.

* * *

Opposition or indifference to the writings of Ellen G. White usually is the result of:
  • failure to read enough of her writings to recognize and understand her overall and well-balanced instructions;
  • a failure to understand the proper relationship of her writings to Scripture;
  • a failure to recognize the true nature of divine inspiration;
  • a failure to recognize the principle of time and place in connection with the counsel she has given;
  • a failure to acknowledge that her counsels are still relevant today;
  • a failure to recognize that while sufficient evidence is given to convince the honest in heart, the Lord does not remove the opportunities for doubt;
  • an unwillingness to make a personal sacrifice of some cherished habit or practice that seems out of harmony with the counsels given in the writings of Ellen G. White.
 Most opposition to the Spirit of Prophecy would disappear:
  • if people would stop using some pet sentence or paragraph as a club with which to hit somebody else;
  • if everyone would apply the counsels to themselves instead of trying to apply them to someone else;
  • if we would not quote her without knowing where the quote is found (there are too many apocryphal sayings in existence);
  • if we would not discuss something she wrote without having studied everything she wrote on a particular topic (partial knowledge can be more dangerous than no knowledge at all);
  • if we would recognize that people’s failure to live up to or carry out the counsels that Ellen White has given has nothing whatsoever to do with the reliability of the visions and instructions.

—Based on Denton E. Rebok, Believe His Prophets (Washington, D.C.: The Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1956), pp. 309-312.

* * *

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