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The remedy for isms
"The opinions of learned men, the deductions of
science, the creeds or decisions of ecclesiastical councils, as numerous and
discordant as are the churches which they represent, the voice of the
majority--not one nor all of these should be regarded as evidence for or against
any point of religious faith. Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we
should demand a plain "Thus saith the Lord" in its support.
"Satan is constantly endeavoring to attract attention to
man in the place of God. He leads the people to look to bishops, to pastors, to
professors of theology, as their guides, instead of searching the Scriptures to
learn their duty for themselves. Then, by controlling the minds of these
leaders, he can influence the multitudes according to his will.
"When Christ came to speak the words of life, the common
people heard Him gladly; and many, even of the priests and rulers, believed on
Him. But the chief of the priesthood and the leading men of the nation were
determined to condemn and repudiate His teachings. . . .These opponents of Jesus
were men whom the people had been taught from infancy to reverence, to whose
authority they had been accustomed implicitly to bow. "How is it,"
they asked, "that our rulers and learned scribes do not believe on Jesus?
Would not these pious men receive Him if He were the Christ?" It was the
influence of such teachers that led the Jewish nation to reject their Redeemer.
"If light and truth is within our reach, and we neglect
to improve the privilege of hearing and seeing it, we virtually reject it; we
are choosing darkness rather than light." Great Controversy, pp. 595, 596,
The Remedy For Isms
What is an Ism? Webster's dictionary gives the definition as
follows: a doctrine, theory or cult. Let us examine each of these definitions.
A doctrine is something that is taught. Some doctrines are
based upon Scripture and some are not. Today we have just about as many
doctrines as we have denominations. The only reasonable conclusion that one can
come to is that most denominations are "teaching for doctrines the
commandments of men." Mark 7:7. We know that they cannot all be correct as
the Scriptures tell us: "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are
called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God
and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." Eph.
If there is just one Spirit, then why so many doctrines all
based on the same Scripture? If they are all led by the same Spirit, should they
not all agree? Should they not all be of one Faith?
The Scriptures continue to say that the Lord will have only
"one fold." "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one
fold, and one shepherd." John 10:16.
We are also told that all of God's ministers should be in
harmony as the Word of God says: "Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice;
with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the
Lord shall bring again Zion." Isa. 52:8.
300 Denominations today:
According to these Scriptures the Lord only recognizes one
body, one faith, and one baptism as His own, that is not excluding the fact that
He has other sheep that are not of that one fold. See John 10:16. His watchman,
(ministers) are to see eye to eye. How then do we harmonize these Scriptures
with the fact that there are about 300 denominations in Christianity today, and
hardly any of the watchmen see eye to eye? (See World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 16
p, 206, 1977 edition.)
The dictionary tells us that a theory is: "a plausible
or scientifically acceptable general principle offered to explain observed
We believe that all will agree that the reason why there are
so many denominations is that each one has his own theory or doctrine on the
Scriptures. Each one interprets the Scriptures according to his own
"The many contradictory opinions in regard to what the
Bible teaches do not arise from any obscurity in the book itself, but from
blindness and prejudice on the part of interpreters. Men ignore the plain
statements of the Bible to follow their own perverted reason. Priding themselves
on their intellectual attainments, they overlook the simplicity of truth; they
forsake the fountain of living waters to drink of the poisonous stream of
error.--Review and Herald, Jan. 27, 1885."-Counsels on Sabbath School Work,
pp. 23, 24.
The Spirit of Prophecy tells us that even in our own remnant
church some will be shaken out because of the introduction of false theories as
it says: "When the shaking comes, by the introduction of false theories,
these surface readers, anchored nowhere, are like shifting sand. They slide into
any position to suit the tenor of their feelings of bitterness...."
Testimonies to Ministers p. 112.
The Scriptures go on to say: "There is a way which
seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Prov.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your
ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so
are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isa.
It is imperative, therefore, that every Present-truth
believer teach and practice only Present---teach not short of nor beyond what is
published, weave not into it private interpretations or constructions, theories
and ideas, and do nothing less or nothing more than what the message calls for.
Thus putting aside our own thoughts and our own ways and
availing ourselves of the Lord's (Isa. 55:8,9), in exclusive devotion to the
Spirit of Truth, we will really see eye to eye, and speak the same things. Then
only will we be able to dispel the spirit of confusion and to retain the spirit
of love and unity.
And since there is strength and spirituality only where there
is union, no member of a group of people can afford to neglect his duty in
maintaining such Christian unity.
The last section in our definition of the word
"Ism" was the word "cult". A recent newspaper, The San
Bernardino Sun of San Bernardino, California, dated November 25, 1978, reports
that "informed estimates put the number of recently organized cults at up
to 5000" in the U.S.A. Most of them have only a handful of followers,
others with hundreds or thousands. This involves from 20 to 26 million
The dictionary says that a cult is a "faddish devotion;
also: a group of persons showing such devotion."
We have had a prime example of that from the world news media
One of the cults that has received much publicity lately, is
the one called "The Peoples Temple" which was headed by it's leader,
Jim Jones. Evidently a pre-arranged suicide pact had been made between Jones and
his followers just in case the occasion ever demanded it. It was to be carried
out at the specified time as dictated by their leader. On November 18, 1978, the
news media announced to a stunned and shocked world the terrible tragedy that
took place in the "Peoples Temple", a settlement called Jonestown,
located in the jungles of Guyana, South America. In that senseless tragedy Jim
Jones led 912 of his followers to commit suicide. Since then the news media has
warned the general public to beware of the dangers and often fatal results of
putting so much trust in a human being to the extent that another human mind is
allowed to completely control one's life. If only man would follow God's Word
which tells us: "Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for
wherein is he to be accounted of?" Isa. 2:22.
Has the Lord no guide or rule for His people to follow, in
order to avoid all this confusion of doctrines, theories, and cults which are
designed by the prince of darkness to create confusion, and eventually a
complete disregard and disgust of the Scriptures? It is of the utmost importance
to each one of us individually to know for ourselves what God's Word has to say
on this subject, for our very life is at stake. We are happy to announce that
the Lord has outlined for us in His Word a definite system to enable us to
differentiate between truth and error. The Lord does have a remedy for Isms.
Let us start from the very beginning of this world's history
of how God's Word was to be unfolded to man, that he might understand what the
Lord requires of him.
In The Beginning Face
"While they remained true to God, Adam and his companion
were to bear rule over the earth. Unlimited control was given them over every
"The holy pair were not only children under the fatherly
care of God but students receiving instruction from the all-wise Creator. They
were visited by angels, and were granted communion with their Maker, with no
obscuring veil between. They were full of the vigor imparted by the tree of
life, and their intellectual power was but little less than that of the angels.
The mysteries of the visible universe--"the wondrous works of Him which is
perfect in knowledge" (Job 37:16)--afforded them an exhaustless source of
instruction and delight. The laws and operations of nature, which have engaged
men's study for six thousand years, were opened to their minds by the infinite
Framer and Upholder of all. They held converse with leaf and flower and tree,
gathering from each the secrets of its life. With every living creature, from
the mighty leviathan that playeth among the waters to the insect mote that
floats in the sunbeam, Adam was familiar. He had given to each its name, and he
was acquainted with the nature and habits of all. God's glory in the heavens,
the innumerable worlds in their orderly revolutions, "the balancings of the
clouds," the mysteries of light and sound, of day and night--all were open
to the study of our first parents. On every leaf of the forest or stone of the
mountains, in every shining star, in earth and air and sky, God's name was
written. The order and harmony of creation spoke to them of infinite wisdom and
power. They were ever discovering some attraction that filled their hearts with
deeper love and called forth fresh expressions of gratitude.
"So long as they remained loyal to the divine law, their
capacity to know, to enjoy, and to love would continually increase. They would
be constantly gaining new treasures of knowledge, discovering fresh springs of
happiness, and obtaining clearer and yet clearer conceptions of the
immeasurable, unfailing love of God." Patriarchs and Prophets pp. 50,51.
Thus we see that before sin entered, man held communion face
to face with his Creator and the angels. (See Gen. 3:819) As long as man was
obedient to his Creator, there was no veil between.
After Sin God's
"Before the entrance of sin, Adam enjoyed open communion
with his Maker; but since man separated himself from God by transgression, the
human race has been cut off from this high privilege. By the plan of redemption,
however, a way has been opened whereby the inhabitants of the earth may still
have connection with heaven. God has communicated with men by His Spirit, and
divine light has been imparted to the world by revelations to His chosen
servants. "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy
Ghost." 2 Peter 1:21." Great Controversy (Introduction) pp. v.
The Written Word
"During the first twenty-five hundred years of human
history, there was no written revelation. Those who had been taught of God,
communicated their knowledge to others, and it was handed down from father to
son, through successive generations. The preparation of the written word began
in the time of Moses. Inspired revelations were then embodied in an inspired
book. This work continued during the long period of sixteen hundred years--from
Moses, the historian of creation and the law, to John, the recorder of the most
sublime truths of the gospel." Great Controversy (Introduction) pp. v.
"In His word, God has committed to men the knowledge
necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are to be accepted as an
authoritative, infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of
character, the reveler of doctrines, and the test of experience. "Every
scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for
correction, for instruction which is in righteousness; that the man of God may
be complete, furnished completely unto every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16,
17, R.V." Great Controversy (Introduction) pp. vii.
Holy Sprit Spoke Through His Prophets:
After man sinned and could no longer hold open communion with
his Creator, the Lord through His Holy Spirit revealed His will to His chosen
messengers called prophets.
"God has never left His church without a witness. In all
the scenes of trial and proving, of opposition and persecution amidst moral
darkness, through which the church has passed, God has had men of opportunity
who have been prepared to take up His work at different stages and carry it
forward and upward. Through patriarchs and prophets He revealed His truth to His
people. . . .The voice of God was heard by the prophets whom He had appointed to
a special work and to bear a special message." Testimonies to Ministers pp.
"God has been pleased to communicate His truth to the
world by human agencies, and He Himself, by His Holy Spirit, qualified men and
enabled them to do this work. He guided the mind in the selection of what to
speak and what to write. The treasure was entrusted to earthen vessels, yet it
is, nonetheless, from Heaven." Great Controversy (Introduction) p. vi.
The Importance Of The Holy Spirit In The Writing And
Understanding Of The Scriptures
"In harmony with the word of God, His Spirit was to
continue its work throughout the period of the gospel dispensation. During the
ages while the Scriptures of both the Old and the New Testament were being
given, the Holy Spirit did not cease to communicate light to individual minds,
apart from the revelations to be embodied in the Sacred Canon. The Bible itself
relates how, through the Holy Spirit, men received warning, reproof, counsel,
and instruction, in matters in no way relating to the giving of the Scriptures.
And mention is made of prophets in different ages, of whose utterances nothing
is recorded. In like manner, after the close of the canon of the Scripture, the
Holy Spirit was still to continue its work, to enlighten, warn, and comfort the
children of God.
"Jesus promised His disciples, "The Comforter which
is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all
things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto
you." "When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into
all truth: . . . and He will show you things to come." John 14:26; 16:13.
Scripture plainly teaches that these promises, so far from being limited to
apostolic days, extend to the church of Christ in all ages. . . .
"For the believers at Ephesus the apostle prayed,
"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto
you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of
your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His
calling, and . . . what is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who
believe." Ephesians 1:17-19. The ministry of the divine Spirit in
enlightening the understanding and opening to the mind the deep things of God's
holy word, was the blessing which Paul thus besought for the Ephesian
church." Great Controversy (Introduction) pp. viii, ix.
Thus it is clear that the unction of the Holy Spirit was
required in the writing of the Holy Scriptures, as well as to guide us to a
correct understanding of the written Word.
How are we to Understand the Sealed Prophecies and the
Symbols of the Bible?
"The truths most plainly revealed in the Bible have been
involved in doubt and darkness by learned men, who, with a pretense of great
wisdom, teach that the Scriptures have a mystical, a secret, spiritual meaning
not apparent in the language employed. These men are false teachers. It was to
such a class that Jesus declared: "Ye know not the Scriptures, neither the
power of God." Mark 12:24. The language of the Bible should be explained
according to its obvious meaning, unless a symbol or figure is employed."
Great Controversy, pp. 598,599.
How then are we to understand the sealed prophecies and the
symbols of the Bible? Peter gives us the answer:
"We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye
do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until
the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no
prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy
came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were
moved by the Holy Ghost." 2 Peter 1:19-21.
Thus we can see that not only was the sealed prophecies
originally written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit but that they also
must be interpreted in the same manner, through inspiration.
"But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the
book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge
shall be increased." Dan. 12:4.
The question naturally arises, Through whom does the Holy
Ghost reveal these prophecies?
"Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth
his secret unto his servants the prophets." Amos 3:7.
"The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but
those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever,
that we may do all the words of this law." Deuteronomy 29:29.
Because the prophecies, or predictions as given through the
prophets of old, were given to those holy men of God by the Holy Spirit, it is
impossible for private individuals to correctly interpret their prophecies; they
must also be interpreted by the Holy Ghost through inspiration. "All
Scripture is given by inspiration of God." 2 Tim. 3:16. Therefore all
Scripture must be interpreted by Inspiration of God (made plain to us by the
Affirmatively stated, all Scripture, not merely a part of it,
is inspired. Negatively stated, none of it is privately interpreted, for the
reason that it did not come of men but of God; that is, as the Spirit of God
dictated to men the Scriptures, so the Spirit of God must interpret the
Scriptures to men, that no man privately (without inspiration) is capable of
disclosing the sealed prophecies or interpreting any part of them or even
capable of understanding their importance after they are interpreted except it
be by the gift of the Spirit of Truth. "None of the wicked,"
therefore, "shall understand; but the wise shall understand." Dan.
Thus it becomes crystal clear that we as individuals with the
aid of the Holy Spirit, can understand much of the Holy Scriptures but when it
comes to the interpretation of prophecies or symbols that are not already
interpreted we must depend on God's mouthpiece, and of course his interpretation
would have to be in harmony with the law and the Testimony. See: Isa. 8:20.
Please note the beautiful harmony between the Bible and the
Spirit of Prophecy on this subject in the following statements:
"But the Holy Spirit will, from time to time, reveal the
truth through its own chosen agencies; and no man, not even a priest or ruler,
has a right to say, You shall not give publicity to your opinions, because I do
not believe them. That wonderful "I" may attempt to put down the Holy
Spirit's teaching. Men may for a time attempt to smother it and kill it; but
that will not make error truth, or truth error. The inventive minds of men have
advanced speculative opinions in various lines, and when the Holy Spirit lets
light shine into human minds, it does not respect every point of man's
application of the word. God impressed His servants to speak the truth
irrespective of what men had taken for granted as truth." Testimonies to
Ministers p. 70.
"God has never left His church without a witness. In all
the scenes of trial and proving, of opposition and persecution amidst moral
darkness, through which the church has passed, God has had men of opportunity
who have been prepared to take up His work at different stages and carry it
forward and upward. Through patriarchs and prophets He revealed His truth to His
people. Christ was the teacher of His ancient people as verily as He was when He
came to the world clothed in the garments of humanity. Hiding His glory in human
form, He often appeared to His people and talked with them "face to face,
as a man speaketh unto his friend." He, their invisible Leader, was
enshrouded in the pillar of fire and of cloud, and spoke to His people through
Moses. The voice of God was heard by the prophets whom He had appointed to a
special work and to bear a special message." Testimonies to Ministers pp.
"New light will ever be revealed on the word of God to
him who is in living connection with the Sun of Righteousness. Let no one come
to the conclusion that there is no more truth to be revealed. The diligent,
prayerful seeker for truth will find precious rays of light yet to shine forth
from the word of God. Many gems are yet scattered that are to be gathered
together to become the property of the remnant people of God.-- Counsels on
Sabbath School Work, p. 34. (1892)." Counsels to Writers and Editors p. 35.
Thus once the prophecy is revealed, it is no longer a secret,
but is a valuable possession of God's people.
In every crisis for the church or for the world God has
always had His men. In Egypt Joseph was the only one who could interpret
Pharaoh's dreams. In Babylon Daniel was the only one who could reveal and
interpret King Nebuchadnezzar's dream. The wise men of his day were wiser than
the wise men of our day who have by their private, uninspired interpretations
succeeded in dividing Christendom into many pieces.
Let us turn now to the book of Daniel, chapter two, for an
example of how the Lord reveals His secrets unto His servants, the prophets.
You recall how King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that he
couldn't remember, and this bothered him immensely. He called for all of the
wise men, the astrologers, the magicians and the soothsayers in his kingdom and
commanded them to interpret his dream. He promised them great riches and honor
if they could comply with his requests. He also made a decree that they would
all be slain if they could not interpret his dream. They could not even tell him
what his dream was, much less interpret it.
This was a golden opportunity for Daniel to prove the
superior power of the God he served. Daniel tells us how the Lord revealed the
secret unto him.
"Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known
to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: That they would desire
mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows
should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Then was the secret
revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for
wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth
kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to
them that know understanding: He revealeth the deep and secret things: he
knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him." Dan.
After the Lord revealed the dream and its interpretation to
Daniel, he went before the king and said: "... Daniel answered in the
presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot
the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the
king; But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to
the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the
visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these; As for thee, O king, thy thoughts
came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that
revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass. But as for me,
this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any
living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the
king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart." Dan. 2:27-30.
Then Daniel continued on to tell the king about the great
metallic image that he saw in his dream and the interpretation thereof. This
example clearly demonstrates how the Lord reveals His secrets. When the time
comes for the prophecies to be revealed He will reveal them through His own
chosen instruments. It is very clear that much of what Daniel wrote was not for
his day but was to be interpreted in the latter days as he said: "And I
heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of
these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and
sealed till the time of the end." Dan. 12:8,9.
The Spirit of Prophecy continues on to say: "No truth is
more clearly taught in the Bible than that God by His Holy Spirit especially
directs His servants on earth in the great movements for the carrying forward of
the work of salvation. Men are instruments in the hand of God, employed by Him
to accomplish His purposes of grace and mercy. Each has his part to act; to each
is granted a measure of light, adapted to the necessities of his time, and
sufficient to enable him to perform the work which God has given him to do. But
no man, however honored of Heaven, has ever attained to a full understanding of
the great plan of redemption, or even to a perfect appreciation of the divine
purpose in the work for his own time. Men do not fully understand what God would
accomplish by the work which He gives them to do; they do not comprehend, in all
its bearings, the message which they utter in His name." Great Controversy
"The light that Daniel received from God was given
especially for these last days. The visions he saw by the banks of the Ulai and
the Hiddekel, the great rivers of Shinar, are now in process of fulfillment, and
all the events foretold will soon come to pass.
"In the past teachers have declared Daniel and the
Revelation to be sealed books, and the people have turned from them. The veil
whose apparent mystery has kept many from lifting it, God's own hand has
withdrawn from these portions of His word. The very name "Revelation"
contradicts the statement that it is a sealed book. "Revelation" means
that something of importance is revealed. The truths of this book are addressed
to those living in these last days.
". . .The book of Daniel is unsealed in the revelation
to John, and carries us forward to the last scenes of this earth's
history." Testimonies to Ministers pp. 112,113,115.
Many prophecies that were written centuries ago are sealed up
until the Lord wants them revealed. Usually they are revealed just prior to
their fulfillment, like the 2300 day prophecy. Some prophecies are not revealed
until after their fulfillment like the 430 years of Ezekiel 4 as portrayed in
our study titled, "Our Forty Year Wilderness Wanderings."
When one thinks it through, it is only logical to assume that
the 2300 day prophecy would have been of very little value to those living in
the Old Testament period. Neither would it have been of much value for us today
the prophecy concerning the 120 years that Noah preached concerning the flood or
of the 40 days that Nineveh had to repent. We can profit from their mistakes.
The Spirit of prophecy says: "There are many precious truths contained in
the Word of God, but it is 'present truth' that the flock needs now." Early
Writings p. 63.
Two Divisions Of Prophets (Prophetic and Interpretive)
Thus we see that some of God's prophets were inspired to
write prophetic prophecies that they did not understand themselves, (Dan. 8:27;
12:8,9; Ezek. 3:15) which were to be revealed at a later date, while other
prophets were inspired to interpret those same prophecies when the Lord wanted
them revealed. There are also recorded in the Scriptures some instances where
the Lord inspired His prophets to prophesy as well as to interpret.
It is interesting to note that while Christ was here upon the
earth He separated the prophets into a twofold classification---those until John
and those after him as He said: "For all the prophets and the law
prophesied until John." Matt. 11:13. This is speaking of John the Baptist,
not John the Revelator.
Sacred history shows that the prophets in the first division,
those who wrote the Old Testament, received the Word directly from God through
the medium of His Spirit. They were not obliged to prove any part of their
prophecies by the writings of the preceding prophets. Whereas the prophets in
the second division, those after John the Baptist, are appointed by the unction
of the Spirit to interpret the writings of the prophets of the first division.
Some of the New Testament prophets prophesied as well as interpreted prophecies.
The following Scriptures are just a few examples of how the
New Testament prophets interpreted the prophecies of the Old Testament writers.
John the Baptist:
John the Baptist was called even more than a prophet, yet
there is not a single prophetic utterance recorded by him, nor is there any
record that he was ever taken into trance and given visions. He was an
interpreter of the writings of the prophets. Concerning John the Baptist,
Matthew wrote: "In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the
wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at
hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice
of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths
straight." Matt. 3:1-3.
When the Priests and Levites asked John who he was, "He
said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of
the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias." John 1:23.
Thus John was fulfilling or interpreting Isaiah's prophecy.
See: Isaiah 40:3.
Matthew wrote: "All these things spake Jesus unto the
multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: That it
might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth
in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation
of the world." Matt. 13:34,35. David prophesied of this in the book of
Psalms. See: Psalms 78:2.
Jesus Himself referred to the Old Testament prophets when
referring to the prophecies that pertained to Himself as Luke left on record
these words: "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded
unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself." Luke 24:27.
Paul also proved his doctrine from the Old Testament writers
as the Scriptures says: "And when they had appointed him a day, there came
many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of
God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of
the prophets, from morning till evening." Acts 28:23. For an example of
Paul's interpreting some of the Old Testament prophecies, see Romans 9:25,26.
Compare Hosea 2:23.
On the day of Pentecost, Peter referred to the fulfillment of
Joel's prophecy as he said: "...But Peter, standing up with the eleven,
lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell
at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not
drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is
that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;" Acts 2:14-16. See also Joel
2:28-32. For another example see 1 Peter 2-6, and Isaiah 28:16.
These are just a few examples of how the New Testament
writers based their doctrines on the writings of the Old Testament prophets and
how they interpreted many of the Old Testament prophecies. For a more
comprehensive comparison, check the references in your Bible Concordance under
the word "Prophets", and you will be amazed at how many times the New
Testament writers interpreted the prophecies of the Old Testament.
Both Testaments Essential
This all-important distinction and division shows that the
Old Testament Scriptures contain the light of our salvation for both
periods---Jewish and Christian. And when one considers that the former period is
called the "typical" dispensation, and the latter the
"antitypical," then evidence upon evidence rivets the conclusion that
the New Testament gospel is based on the gospel of the Old unfolded.
The Spirit of Prophecy is in complete harmony with this
thought as it says: "The Old Testament is the gospel in figures and
symbols. The New Testament is the substance. One is as essential as the other.
The Old Testament presents lessons from the lips of Christ, and these lessons
have not lost their force in any particular." Counsels to Writers and
"Through the teachings of the sacrificial service,
Christ was to be uplifted before all nations, and all who would look to Him
should live. Christ was the foundation of the Jewish economy. The whole system
of types and symbols was a compacted prophecy of the gospel, a presentation in
which were bound up the promises of redemption." Acts of the Apostles p.
"It is only as the old truths are understood that we can
comprehend the new. When Christ desired to open to His disciples the truth of
His resurrection, He began "at Moses and all the prophets" and
"expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning
Himself." Luke 24:27. But it is the light which shines in the fresh
unfolding of truth that glorifies the old. He who rejects or neglects the new
does not really possess the old. For him it loses its vital power and becomes
but a lifeless form." Christ's Object Lessons pp. 127, 128.
Like the Jews, "There are those who profess to believe
and to teach the truths of the Old Testament, while they reject the New. But in
refusing to receive the teachings of Christ, they show that they do not believe
that which patriarchs and prophets have spoken. "Had ye believed
Moses," Christ said, 'ye would have believed Me; for he wrote of Me.' John
5:46. Hence there is no real power in their teaching of even the Old
Testament." Christ's Object Lessons p. 128.
"Many who claim to believe and to teach the gospel are
in a similar error. They set aside the Old Testament Scriptures, of which Christ
declared, "They are they which testify of Me." John 5:39. In rejecting
the Old, they virtually reject the New; for both are parts of an inseparable
whole. No man can rightly present the law of God without the gospel, or the
gospel without the law. The law is the gospel embodied, and the gospel is the
"The Old Testament sheds light upon the New, and the New
upon the Old. Each is a revelation of the glory of God in Christ. Both present
truths that will continually reveal new depths of meaning to the earnest
seeker." Christ's Object Lessons p. 128.
Since the Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy explain that
the church in all ages has been led into truth only through the gift of
prophecy, the Christian has no choice but to conclude that God's will and plan
for our day is just as it was in times past; that is, that the knowledge of
salvation He imparted through the writings of the Old Testament prophets in
symbols and prophecies was later interpreted, when it was time for them to be
revealed, by the same Spirit by which He moved upon "holy men of God"
"in old time." 2 Peter 1:21. "For I am the Lord, I change not;
therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." Mal. 3:6.
God would have ever kept Christendom unified through
Inspiration, revealed truth, but uninspired men would not humble themselves and
forego their own private interpretations, with the tragic result that they have
brought the present shameful sectarian confusion.
Such an anarchy of opinion on the Scriptures, existing not
only between one denomination and another, but also within the ranks of each one
itself, makes clear that they are not led by the Spirit Whom Christ sent to
"guide...into all truth" so that believers in Him might be as one.
See: John 1 7:2 1 -23 .
The Prophecy Of Zechariah Four
In order for us not to be misled, the Lord in His great mercy
has left on record for us a symbolic prophecy depicting this beautiful truth of
how His prophetic Word is to be interpreted and understood by all of His people.
This precious jewel of truth is found in the fourth chapter of Zechariah.
The servant of the Lord admonished us years ago to:
"Read and study the fourth chapter of Zechariah." Review & Herald
Dec. 22, 1904. She continues on to say: "Just two months after Haggai's
last recorded message was delivered, Zechariah had a most encouraging series of
visions regarding the work of God in the earth. These messages, written out in
the first six chapters of the book of Zechariah, were given in the form of
parables and symbols." Review & Herald Dec. 26, 1907. (Chapter six of
Zechariah was already dealt with in the study entitled "When the Lord takes
The very fact that this prophecy of Zechariah four was
clothed in symbols is positive proof that it was to be revealed or interpreted
after Zechariah's time. The Spirit of Prophecy tells us that: "This chapter
is full of encouragement for those who do the work of the Lord in these last
days." Review & Herald May 16, 1899.
Let us now go into the prophecy of Zechariah four:
"And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked
me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, And said unto me, What seest
thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a
bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the
seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: And two olive trees by it, one upon
the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. So I
answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my
lord?" Zechariah 4:1-4.
Now let us hear the angel's explanation of this symbolism.
How The Word Of The Lord Is Revealed
"Then the angel that talked with me answered and said
unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then he
answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel,
saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of
hosts." Zechariah 4:5-6.
The angel disclosed two things: first he made known that the
symbolism is concerning the Word of the Lord (the Bible) to the servants of God;
second, that His Word is revealed, not by man's might nor by power, but by the
Spirit of God.
Now let us continue on with the prophecy:
"Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two
olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side
thereof? And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive
branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of
themselves? And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I
said, No, my lord. Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by
the Lord of the whole earth." Zechariah 4:11-14.
Briefly stated, Zechariah saw a candlestick with seven lamps
upon it. Above it was a bowl having seven pipes running from it to the lights on
the candlestick. At each side of the bowl stood an olive tree, and from each of
these two trees was a tube connected to the bowl. Through these two tubes oil
flowed into the bowl from the two olive trees. The bowl, candlestick, pipes and
oil were all of gold.
The servant of the Lord tells us that it is very important
for us to understand this symbolization as she says: "This
representation" (Zech. 4:1 1-14) "is of the highest consequence to
those who claim to know the truth. But if we do not practice the truth, we have
not received the holy oil, which the two golden pipes empty out of
themselves." 4 Bible Commentary p. 1179, E.G. White.
The angel told Zechariah that what he saw-the candlestick,
bowl, olive trees and pipes---symbolized the Word of God. Plainly, then, this
symbolism as a whole represents the system by which the Lord transmits His
revealed Word to His people. That we might have a thorough understanding of this
Divinely designed system, we need to know what each component part of the
illustration stands for. Each component part in itself stands for something.
The Golden Candlestick---The Church
Let us first consider the golden candlestick, and its seven
lamps. The purpose of a candlestick is to emit light. Jesus likened His church
as a candlestick, which is to be a light to the world as He said: "Ye are
the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do
men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it
giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in
heaven." Matt. 5: 14-16.
John the Revelator was also shown that a candlestick
represents God's church as he says: "...and the seven candlesticks which
thou sawest are the seven churches." Rev. 1:20 See also: Christ our
Righteousness p. 120 (1941 edition).
God's Church of Tomorrow:
The candlestick Zechariah saw represents God's church of
tomorrow, the church "triumphant." In speaking of the church
triumphant, the Spirit of Prophecy says: "The members of the church
militant who have proved faithful will become the church triumphant.-- Letter
32, 1892." Evangelism p. 707. "The truth is soon to triumph
gloriously, and all who now choose to be laborers together with God, will
triumph with it." Evangelism p. 692. See also: Testimonies to Ministers pp.
This golden candlestick represents the church at the time
when she is "Clad in the armor of Christ's righteousness. .." she
"is to enter upon her final conflict. 'Fair as the moon, clear as the sun,
and terrible as an army with banners' (Song of Solomon 6:10), she is to go forth
into all the world, conquering and to conquer." Prophets and Kings p. 725.
One might ask the question, How do we know that this golden
candlestick applies to the time of the church triumphant? The Spirit of Prophecy
tells us that when the Mark of the Beast is urged, that the gold will be
separated from the dross in the church. (See: Testimonies, Vol. 5 p. 81) Please
note that in the symbolism of Zechariah 4 everything is of pure gold, no dross
is mentioned at all. Therefore it must represent our church after the dross is
taken out, after the church is purified. It will be at this time that those
other sheep which are in those other folds will come into God's purified church.
See: John 10:16 and Great Controversy p. 390.
The Seven Lamps---Entire Laity
Inasmuch as the candlestick represents God's church as a
whole, then the seven lamps or lights on the candlestick must represent the
entire membership, for the number seven denotes completeness. It is into these
lamps (individuals) that the golden oil from the bowl above them flows. This
fact is also proven by the following quotation: "When the anointed ones
empty themselves through the golden pipes, the golden oil flows out of
themselves into the golden bowls, to flow forth into the lamps, the
churches." Testimonies to Ministers p. 337.
As the seven lamps represent the entire church membership, we
see again that this symbolism represents the church at a time when the entire
church is wholly consecrated to God and each member is as a shining lamp as the
Spirit of Prophecy says: "When we have entire, wholehearted consecration to
the service of Christ, God will recognize the fact by an outpouring of His
Spirit without measure; but this will not be while the largest portion of the
church are not laborers together with God.-- Review and Herald, July 21,
1896." Evangelism p. 699.
"It was the golden oil emptied by the heavenly
messengers into the golden tubes, to be conducted from the golden bowl into the
lamps of the sanctuary, that produced a continuous bright and shining
light." Christ's Object Lessons pp. 418,419.
Since the oil enables the lamps to give forth light and thus
fulfill their purpose, the oil therefore must represent God's Spirit, or Truth,
for it is only through revealed Truth that God's church can give forth light in
the dark world. Moreover, we find in 1 John 5:6 that " . . . it is the
Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth." Jesus said:
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all
truth:" John 16:13.
The Spirit of Prophecy says concerning this precious oil:
"Were it not that this holy oil is poured from heaven in the messages of
God's Spirit, the agencies of evil would have entire control over men."
Review & Herald July 20, 1897.
"The golden oil represents the Holy Spirit. With this
oil God's ministers are to be constantly supplied that they, in turn, may impart
it to the church." Review & Herald Dec. 22, 1904.
The Two Olive Trees---Old and New Testament
As all the books of the Bible meet and end in the Revelation,
which is an unfolding of the prophecies, we call the readers attention to a
passage therein, in which John records the office of these olive trees:
These two olive trees are called "witnesses,"
"anointed ones," "prophets." They were to prophesy in
sackcloth for the space of forty-two months. Most Seventh-day Adventists agree
that this time prophecy applied to the 1260 days of the Dark Ages, beginning at
538 A. D. and extending to 1798.
Therefore, we are brought to the consequent conclusion that
whosoever or whatsoever prophesied in "sackcloth" during this period,
is that which is symbolized by these "two olive trees."
The fact that nothing but the Bible Itself did prophesy for
the duration of the 1260 year period,---the Dark Ages of
religion,---automatically shows that the "two olive trees," which the
angel said are the Word of God (Zech. 4:6), are figurative of the Old and New
Testament Scriptures prophesying "in sackcloth." In other words, they
permitted themselves in self-abasement to be tucked away and left unstudied, for
1260 years, although they had power to devour "their enemies," and
even "to shut heaven, that it rain not." See: Great Controversy p.
Why do you suppose the Lord used the Olive Tree as a symbol
in this illustration? Why didn't He use some other fruit tree, such as an apple,
peach or pear tree or perhaps even a grape vine? It is marvellous to note how
consistent the Lord is in the use of His symbols. Oil could not have been
derived from any of these other sources. In Bible times the most common oil used
was the oil derived from the fruit of the olive tree. This oil was used in a
variety of ways. It was used in the preparation of food, as fuel for lamps, as
ointment for treating sores and wounds, and for anointing the body. Olive oil
was also a symbol of prosperity. The oil placed upon a person anointed at God's
direction was apparently symbolic of the endowment of the Holy Spirit. (See:
S.D.A. Bible Dictionary, Vol. 8, pp. 783.)
No other tree could have been used that could have so
perfectly illustrated the truth the Lord wanted to impress upon His people. A
symbol had to be used that had a substance that would keep the lamps lighted.
And just as an olive tree is not of any value unless it is processed, so the
Bible would be of no value to us without the aid of the Holy Spirit to impart to
us the correct understanding of its contents.
Just as the oil is extracted from the fruit of the olive
trees and is deposited in the golden bowl reservoir to keep the lamps supplied
and burning brightly, so God's church on earth today is dependent upon the Holy
Spirit to enable her to be a light to the world.
As the two olive trees stand for the Old and New Testament
Scriptures, naturally the golden oil flowing from them represents "the Word
of the Lord" in the Christian dispensation (after both Testaments were
written), not as it comes directly from heaven, but as it comes from the Bible.
Seven Pipes---Entire Ministry
Please note, the seven lamps (church membership) are fed by
seven tubes which obtain their oil from the golden bowl that sits upon the top
of the candlestick. In order to ascertain who these seven pipes are, is to ask
ourselves the question, Who supplies the laity with truth which enables them to
witness (shine) to others? The logical answer of course, is the ministry, the
guardians of the spiritual interests of the church. The Spirit of Prophecy is in
harmony with this as it says: "The two olive trees empty the golden oil out
of themselves through the golden pipes into the golden bowl from which the lamps
of the sanctuary are fed. The golden oil represents the Holy Spirit. With this
oil God's ministers are to be constantly supplied, that they, in turn, may
impart it to church." Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, pp. 188.
Again it is interesting to note how consistent the Lord is
with His symbols. In Rev. 1:20 the Lord's ministers are likened unto seven stars
(or angels) that had charge of the seven churches (Gospel Workers pp. 13,14).
But in Zechariah's symbolism, the ministers are represented, not by seven
angels, but by seven "tubes." Angels would not be a fitting
representation of God's ministers in Zechariah's vision, so the Lord chose a
symbolization that would perfectly portray an instrument that conveys oil to the
lamps. The seven tubes get the oil from the bowl, and feed it to the seven
The Spirit of Prophecy goes on to say: "The word is the
preacher's light, and as the golden oil flows from the heavenly olive tree into
the bowl, it makes the lamp of life flash with a clearness and power that all
will discern. Those who have the privilege of sitting under such a ministry, if
their hearts are susceptible to the Holy Spirit's influence, will feel an inner
life. The fire of God's love will be kindled within them. The Bible, the word of
God, is the bread of life. He who feeds the flock of God must himself first eat
of the bread which came down from heaven." Testimonies to Ministers pp.
The servant of the Lord shows us that today, some of the
churches are not being fed the pure oil of truth as she says: "The Lord God
of heaven cannot approve much that is brought into the pulpit by those who are
professedly speaking the word of the Lord. They do not inculcate ideas that will
be a blessing to those who hear. There is cheap, very cheap fodder placed before
the people." Testimonies to Ministers p. 337.
The Golden Bowl---The Sprit Of Prophecy
In Zechariah's vision, the seven tubes (the ministers) get
the oil from the golden bowl that sits on the top of the golden candlestick, and
feed it to the seven lamps (church membership).
Clearly then, the bowl in which the golden oil is stored
symbolizes the storehouse of present truth---the Word interpreted. The only
"storehouse" that contains inspired comments on both Testaments is the
books of the Spirit of Prophecy. They Therefore, are the "golden
bowl." Notice that the seven tubes (the Ministers) do not take the oil
directly from the olive trees (the Bible). this is a positive indication that
the bowl in which the oil is deposited represents the container or the
storehouse in which the compilations or keys of inspired interpretations of the
sealed prophecies and symbolic truths or the Bible are stored. From it, not from
the olive trees, the ministers (seven tubes) help themselves to the oil and
carry it to the seven lamps (church memberships).
The Two Golden Pipes---Interpretive Prophets
The seventh and last symbol in our prophecy to define is the
two large golden pipes that carry the oil from the two olive trees and deposit
the oil into the golden bowl reservoir (the Spirit of Prophecy). If the golden
bowl represents the inspired interpretations of the Scriptures, then what else
could the two golden pipes represent but the channels through whom the Holy
Spirit works to interpret the prophecies?
The Spirit of Prophecy in commenting on these two golden
pipes says: " As the olive trees empty themselves into the golden pipes, so
the heavenly messengers seek to communicate all that they receive from God. The
whole heavenly treasure awaits our demand and reception; and as we receive the
blessing, we in our turn are to impart it. Thus it is that the holy lamps are
fed, and the church becomes a light bearer in the world." Testimonies to
Ministers p. 510.
"The inner lamp must be supplied with the oil that flows
from the messengers of heaven through the golden tubes into the golden
bowl." Testimonies, Vol. 7 p. 249.
"From the two olive trees the golden oil flowing through
the golden pipes has been communicated to us." Testimonies to Ministers p.
The Spirit of Prophecy continues on to warn us of the danger
of rejecting the messages that the Lord sends through His messengers (the two
pipes): "God is dishonored when we do not receive the communications which
he sends us. Thus we refuse the golden oil which he would pour into our souls to
be communicated to those in darkness. . . .Through the golden pipes, the golden
oil will be communicated to us.
". . .Opportunities to hear and receive the messages of
God's love are unappreciated and unimproved...." Review & Herald July
"Satan is working with all his hellish power to quench
that light which should burn brightly in the soul and shine forth in good works.
. . .Satan will work to quench the light God has for every soul, by casting his
shadow across the pathway to intercept every ray of heavenly light. He knows
that his time is short. The people of God must cleave to God, else they will
lose their bearings. . . .We must cleave to that which God pronounces to be
truth, though the whole world may be arrayed against it (MS 140, 1901)." 4
Bible Commentary 1179, E.G. White.
The servant of the Lord counseled us years ago how the
ministry (seven tubes) would need the light that the two large golden pipes
(God's messengers) would put into the golden bowl, as she said: "The rebuke
of the Lord will rest upon those who would bar the way, that clearer light shall
not come to the people. A great work is to be done, and God sees that our
leading men have need of more light, that they may unite with the messengers
whom He sends to accomplish the work that He designs shall be done." Gospel
Workers p. 304.
Are There To Be Any Interpretive Prophets In The Last Days?
Let us go to the golden bowl (Spirit of Prophecy) and see if
we can find anything written about the possibility of an interpretive prophet
coming in the last days.
"Again: we are forewarned that there would be false
prophets in the last days, and the Bible gives a test by which to try their
teachings in order that we may distinguish between that true and the false. The
grand test is the law of God, which is applied both to the prophesyings and to
the moral character of the prophets. If there were to be no true prophesyings in
the last days, how much easier to have stated the fact, and thus cut off all
chance for deception, than to give a test by which to try them, as if there
would be the genuine as well as the false.
"In Isaiah 8:19,20, is a prophecy of the familiar
spirits of the present time, and the law is given as a test: 'To the law and to
the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is
no light in them.' Why say, 'If they speak not,' if there was to be no true
spiritual manifestation or prophesying at the same time?
"It has always been a characteristic of false prophets
that they see visions of peace; and they will be saying, 'Peace and safety,'
when sudden destruction comes upon them. The true will boldly reprove sin and
warn of coming wrath." Early Writings pp. 138,139.
Malachi also prophesied that a prophet was to come just
before the great and dreadful day of the Lord as he says: "Behold, I will
send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of
the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the
heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a
curse." Mal. 4:5,6.
The Spirit of Prophecy in commenting on this Scripture says:
"Let Heaven Guide--- Prophecy must be fulfilled. The Lord says: 'Behold, I
will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day
of the Lord.' Somebody is to come in the spirit and power of Elijah, and when he
appears, men may say: 'You are too earnest, you do not interpret the Scriptures
in the proper way. Let me tell you how to teach your message.'" Testimonies
to Ministers p. 475.
The statement "somebody is to come", would be
future tense of the one who made this statement. Also notice that this predicted
Elijah would be of the male gender as it says: "when he appears". It
is very evident that this predicted Elijah was to be an interpretive prophet as
many would not agree with his interpretations of the Scriptures. They will say,
'you do not interpret the Scriptures in the proper way. Let me tell you how to
teach your message.'
"There are among us those who, in actions if not in
words, "say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto
us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: get you out of
the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from
before us." Testimonies to Ministers p. 89.
Evidently, this "somebody" that "is to come in
the spirit and power of Elijah" is not the ancient Elijah himself, but
someone who is to deliver a message that is similar to the message that ancient
Elijah delivered to ancient Israel on the top of Mt. Carmel. In Elijah's day the
camp of Israel was cleansed of all the false prophets. Ancient Elijah's message
was especially directed to God's people, not the world. It was at a time when
God's people had greatly backslidden. Elijah's message therefore was a call for
revival and reformation among God's people. Elijah told them, " If the Lord
be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him." 1 Kings 18:21. In other
words don't serve the Lord, just half way. The Lord is telling Laodicea the same
thing today, don't be lukewarm, be either hot or cold. Rev. 3:15.
It is interesting to note a statement made by Elder A.T.
Jones in 1893 concerning the return of the message he bore in its completed
form. He said: "That (the 1888 experience) however, is but a sample. There
will be things to come that will be more surprising than that was to those at
Minneapolis,---more surprising than anything we have yet seen. And brethren, we
will be required to receive and preach that truth. But unless you and I have
every fiber of that spirit rooted out of our hearts, we will treat that message
and the messenger by whom it is sent, as God has declared we have treated this
other message." General Conference Bulletin, 1893 p. 185.
The Spirit of Prophecy continues on to say: "Light must
come to the people through agents whom God shall choose, who will give the note
of warning, that none may be in ignorance of the purposes of God or the devices
of Satan. At the great heart of the work, Satan will use his hellish arts to the
utmost. He will seek in every possible way to interpose himself between the
people and God, and shut away the light that God would have come to his
children." Review and Herald, Dec. 24, 1889.
"Those who allow prejudice to bar the mind against the
reception of truth cannot receive the divine enlightenment. Yet, when a view of
Scripture is presented, many do not ask, Is it true--in harmony with God's word?
but, By whom is it advocated? and unless it comes through the very channel that
pleases them, they do not accept it....
"The Lord often works where we least expect Him; He
surprises us by revealing His power through instruments of His own choice, while
He passes by the men to whom we have looked as those through whom light should
come. God desires us to receive the truth upon its own merits--because it is
truth." Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 105, 106.
"God never selected as a prophet either the high priest
or any other great personage; but ordinarily He chose low and despised men, once
even the shepherd Amos. In every age, the saints have had to reprove the great,
kings, princes, priests, and wise men, at the peril of their lives." Great
Controversy pp. 142,143.
"When a new view is presented, the question is often
asked, "Who are its advocates? What is the position of influence of the one
who would teach us who have been students of the Bible for many years?" God
will send His words of warning by whom He will send. And the question to be
settled is not what person is it who brings the message; this does not in any
way affect the word spoken....."
"...there are good things to come to the people of God
in a way that we had not discerned; and that there will be resistance from the
very ones we expected to engage in such a work." The Ellen G. White 1888
Materials, pp. 1023, 1024.
From all of the foregoing statements, which are only a few,
compared to all the statements that are available, we must conclude that the
Lord dose have interpretive prophets in the last days.
Let us now summarize our study:
(1 ) We found that today we have many isms among us. Even
though the Scriptures tell us that the Lord only recognizes "one faith, one
baptism and one Spirit"; we have about 300 denominations in Christianity
(2) The reason for this multiplicity of religious sects is
attributed to so many private interpretations of the Scriptures.
(3) In our search to find the Lord's remedy for isms today,
we briefly reviewed our history from creation to our present time.
(4) We found that before man had sinned, he communicated with
His Creator face to face.
(5) After man sinned, a veil was drawn between man and His
Creator. The Lord communicated His Word through the Holy Spirit to His prophets.
(6) In the process of time, beginning with Moses, and ending
with John the Revelator, the Holy Scriptures were written for man under the
guidance of the Holy Spirit. This encompassed a period of 1600 years.
(7) Jesus placed the prophets in two divisions. Those until
John the Baptist, and those after John. It was interesting to note how the
prophets of the Old Testament wrote as the Lord gave them utterance. They were
not obliged to prove any part of the prophecies by the writings of the preceding
prophets. Whereas the New Testament prophets were appointed by the unction of
the Spirit to interpret the writings of the Old Testament prophets. However,
some of the New Testament writers prophesied as well as interpreted.
(8) We found in our study that no prophecy of the Scriptures
can be privately interpreted. That just as the prophecies were originally
written under inspiration, so must they also be interpreted. See: 2 Peter
(9) Let us now summarize the prophecy of Zechariah 4. We
found there are seven symbols in this prophecy. The two olive trees (Old and New
Testament) are the Word of God. Here we see a candlestick (a church all of gold,
the finest of all candlesticks---no "tares" in it). It constitutes the
remnant (those that are left after the sinners are done away with) which indeed
keep the commandments of God, and have the Testimony of Jesus Christ, the Spirit
of Prophecy (Rev. 12:17; 19:10). This fine candlestick is fully trimmed and
burning. The two golden pipes (God's inspired interpreters) store the golden oil
(Holy Spirit in the form of truth) in the golden bowl (Spirit of Prophecy
publications). And the seven tubes (the entire ministry) convey from the golden
bowl the golden oil to the seven lamps (the entire laity).
(10) Note that the golden bowl, the Spirit of Prophecy would
consist not only of the books that we generally refer to as "The Spirit of
Prophecy" but also to any other interpretive prophet or messenger that the
Lord should send in our day. Also in the time of the Loud Cry, we are told that
our sons and daughters and old men will dream dreams. See: Joel 2:28,29 and
Great Controversy pp. ix, 611,612.
(11) Under this perfect system of preparing, and dispensing
the Word of God, "meat in due season," to His people, there need be no
fear that the reservoir will run dry, or that the lamps will grow dim. This is
the only system, moreover, that can make the church perfect, without spot,
wrinkle, or any such thing---a people without guile in their mouths, all seeing
eye to eye, all saying the same thing. Truly "a great people and a strong;
there hath not been ever the like." Joel 2:2. This beyond doubt is the
mighty power that lightens the earth, it is the Loud Cry. Indeed this symbolism
reveals the church at the time she is endowed with the Spirit of Prophecy and
with the righteousness of Christ.
Obviously, the system of Bible interpretation, described by
Zechariah, is the Lord's only system. It is the only remedy for isms and discord
among Christians. Thus it is that His "watchmen shall lift up the voice,
with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the
Lord hall bring again Zion." Isa. 52:8.
Since we should have been expecting a latter day interpretive
prophet, we naturally would expect him to reveal to us prophecies relating to
the last days. We will be happy to share with you in our next study the
prophecies relating to the Middle East Crisis. It is entitled: "The Middle