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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Prophesying again

“And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.” (Rev. 10:11).

I’ve looked closely at the prophecies of Revelation. I see a continuing story line from chapter 4 until this point in chapter 10. And I want to understand the above command to prophecy “again”. Why did He say “prophecy again?” The word “again” adds a detail that helps locate the literal timeframe of the chapter ten scene. It also points to a great preaching in the near future.

If we know the literal timeframe of chapter ten, we can confirm the chapter’s significant seventh verse, that there would be no more delay to reveal the character of God when the 7th trumpet sounds. I’m trying to understand this chapter from a Bible student’s point of view, not a Spirit of Prophecy student’s point of view. I’m no enemy of Ellen White. I revere her writings. But they are not the ultimate standard of God’s character and will, or the ultimate commentary on His scriptures. He wants us to study the Bible, to lift our voice for its wisdom, to decipher its cloaked truths and grapple with its hidden revelations.

It isn’t fair to interpret the Bible only by the Spirit of Prophecy. We must decipher the Bible by the Bible. And in doing so, should we expect to deviate from the Spirit of Prophecy? No, we should not plan on it; but some deviation from the Spirit of Prophecy may nonetheless come. In other words, we should not examine scripture and do our own biblical exegesis for the purpose of disagreeing with Mrs. White. Of course, it’s easy to suspect a person of seeking to find something in the Bible that destroys the work of Sr. White. But, I’m not in that line of work.

Contrariwise, I have discovered her insight of the story of the great controversy hidden in Revelation chapters 4 and 5, and her message of the Latter Rain of the Holy Spirit found in Revelation 11:11-13; the dispensation of the gift of prophecy to the Advent movement I’ve seen in Revelation chapter 8:5-7. I’ve been very pleased to see the Bible confirm the things the modern gift of prophecy gave us long before anyone, including Mrs. White herself, knew Revelation spoke of them.

So, rather than looking for reason to undo the validity of Ellen White’s genuine gift, I’ve found much from an exegetical study of Revelation to substantiate her role as a true, modern prophet of God.

But, having said that, while exegetically interpreting Revelation, I’ve also found mistakes in some of her interpretations of it. When she interpreted Revelation 10:6, she and the Advent founding fathers accepted the King James translation of the Greek word, Chronos, to mean “time prophecies,” as in the 1260 day prophecy, the 2300 day prophecy, etc., and more specifically, she interpreted that verse to mean the end of all fulfillments of biblical prophecies relating to definite time.

The people will not have another message upon definite time. After this period of time [Revelation 10:4-6], reaching from 1842 to 1844, there can be no definite tracing of the prophetic time. The longest reckoning reaches to the autumn of 1844.--7BC 971 (1900). Last Day Events, p. 36.

On the contrary, verse 6 did not mean “time prophecies”; but rather, it meant “time” as we use the word and also in reference to the great controversy as we see in chapter 5; or “time” means, as some Bible versions use it, the word “delay”. Verse 7 counters her interpretation of verse 6. It modifies verse 6 and places “time no longer” in the future, not in the past, where Mrs. White wrongly placed it (1842 to 1844). The “But” beginning verse 7 conjoins the “time no longer” statement of verse 6 with the future “voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound,” thus defining the fulfillment of the “no more time” phrase and placing it in the future, immediately following the Latter Rain.

The exact word-for-word translation of Rev. 10:6,7 reads thus, “Delay no shall be longer; but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound [the] trumpet, also should be completed the mystery of God, as He did announce the glad tidings to His bondmen the prophets (sic).” (Rev. 10:6,7). Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, George Ricker Berry.

The prophets preached, or prophesied, the glad tidings of God’s mercy which was sweet in their mouth, and the bad tidings of His justice which made their stomach bitter. This will happen again in the very last days.

The 7th trumpet is the ending of the Latter Rain of the Holy Spirit when probation closes on the wicked race of humanity which has rejected the gospel that is preached the last and final time. As stated above, the Latter Rain happens in Revelation 11:11-13 when the Seventh-day Adventist church comes to life again and the Advent movement turns from its steady march toward Egypt and begins moving again toward the light of the heavenly Canaan. To many Adventists who take pride in our church today, Mrs. White wrote candidly of our spiritual condition in her day, and an honest assessment of our spirituality would show that her candor would apply to us even more so today.

I am filled with sadness when I think of our condition as a people. The Lord has not closed heaven to us, but our own course of continual backsliding has separated us from God. Pride, covetousness, and love of the world have lived in the heart without fear of banishment or condemnation. Grievous and presumptuous sins have dwelt among us. And yet the general opinion is that the church is flourishing and that peace and spiritual prosperity are in all her borders.

The church has turned back from following Christ her Leader and is steadily retreating toward Egypt. Yet few are alarmed or astonished at their want of spiritual power. Doubt, and even disbelief of the testimonies of the Spirit of God, is leavening our churches everywhere. Satan would have it thus. Ministers who preach self instead of Christ would have it thus. The testimonies are unread and unappreciated. God has spoken to you. Light has been shining from His word and from the testimonies, and both have been slighted and disregarded. The result is apparent in the lack of purity and devotion and earnest faith among us.

Let each put the question to his own heart: “How have we fallen into this state of spiritual feebleness and dissension? Have we not brought upon ourselves the frown of God because our actions do not correspond with our faith? Have we not been seeking the friendship and applause of the world rather than the presence of Christ and a deeper knowledge of His will?” Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, p. 217.

Despite Adventism’s paltry constitution today, it will yet accomplish the prophesying “again” to peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings, as written in Rev. 10:11. The prophesying “again” must be the Latter Rain of the Holy Spirit upon those Adventists—and only those Adventists—who remained loyal to a daily friendship with Jesus and followed Him through whatever crucibles He took them.

“And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them [Christ’s sleeping church], and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon” “the people and kindreds and tongues and nations…they that dwell upon the earth….”
“And they [God’s newly revived people] heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.” (Rev. 11:11,9,10,12,13).

“Delay no shall be longer; but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound [the] trumpet, also should be completed the mystery of God, as He did announce the glad tidings to His bondmen the prophets.” (Rev. 10:6,7). Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, George Ricker Berry.

Thus, according to the original Greek, the prophesying “again” will follow the pattern of the earlier prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and all the minor prophets. It will mimic the Early Rain when the apostles preached to ready multitudes. “What shall we do to get ready for Jesus to return?” will cry out from many hearts.

“Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?
He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.
Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?
And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.
And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.” (Lk. 3:7-14).

“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:37,38).

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit.
And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.” (Joel 2:28-32).

“Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain.” Joel 2:23. “In the last days, saith God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh.” “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Acts 2:17, 21.
The great work of the gospel is not to close with less manifestation of the power of God than marked its opening. The prophecies which were fulfilled in the outpouring of the former rain at the opening of the gospel are again to be fulfilled in the latter rain at its close. Here are “the times of refreshing” to which the apostle Peter looked forward when he said: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus.” Acts 3:19,20. Great Controversy, p. 611.

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