Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"The Blessings of the Prophetic Gift"

God's prophetic gift brings many blessings to all mankind, and this is especially true for God's people. An example of blessings extending to someone outside the nation of Israel was Naaman, commander of the Syrian army. Sick with leprosy, he learned that God's prophet Elisha could help him. In spite of Naaman's anger and reluctance to accept God's remedy he finally submitted to the instruction given by the prophet (see 2 Kings 5:1-14).

Naaman's glory was laid in the dust and God did for him that which was impossible to do for himself. His case is symptomatic of the determination of mankind to secure its own physical and spiritual healing, even though all such efforts have proven futile. Only when Naaman finally submitted to God's remedy did he receive the available healing.

Another blessing of the prophetic gift is the case when Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, listened and followed the instruction of Jahaziel, God's prophet at that time (see 2 Chron. 20:1-25). This was a time when enemy armies were about to engage Judah in war. Jahaziel told the king to stand still and see the salvation of God, that the battle was His. A choir was chosen and commissioned to go in advance of Judah's army. When the choir began to sing and praise God, the enemies were routed by heavenly soldiers sent from God.

Jehoshaphat encouraged his people with this declaration, "Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper [succeed]."

The blessings in both cases (of Naaman and of Jehoshaphat) came as a result of believing and following what each prophet said. In both cases man's glory was laid low. As each leader humbled himself, God worked mightily in their behalf and lifted them up (see James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6). In both cases the power of God was witnessed to the nations of the referenced regions of the world. It is worth mentioning that neither Elisha nor Jahaziel are considered as "canonical" writers. In other words, no books of theirs were used in the formation of the biblical canon. Nevertheless, those who accepted their messages and followed them became established and built up in the Word of God. So it is in these last days.

Likewise, in our day, God chose to send a non-canonical prophet, a messenger, to bless His people along with the people of the world. Some of the blessings given include principles of education, of health, of government for household and state, of philosophy and of theology. Eternity will tell of the influence of the prophetic gift given by God to Ellen White to be shared with His people and with all the inhabitants of earth. Central to these principles is the restoration of God's image in man.

Especially is this true of her theology. She presented the uplifted Christ as the only hope for mankind. She dwelt much on the grand central theme of he Bible--the plan of redemption which involves the restoration of the image of God in the soul of man. Those who humble themselves, who believe and follow her counsel will become established in the Word of God and will be saved eternally. Those who refuse to believe and who reject the prophetic gift reject the inherent blessings within the gift.

One of the greatest gifts to us is found in the message of righteousness by faith given in the setting of the end time (in which we live). The message came to us through God's choice of two young men, Alonso T. Jones and Ellet J. Waggoner. These two are mentioned in Thursday's lesson, along with Ellen White's role, in combating legalism within the church.

We are told that much of the preaching, previous to the message given at Minneapolis in 1888, was as "dry as the hills of Gilboa, without dew or rain" (The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 557). Nevertheless, God sent a few drops of the "Latter Rain" and the beginning of the "Loud Cry" in the message of Minneapolis (Review and Herald, Nov. 22, 1892). Today we need to believe and follow what the prophet has said concerning this message. God commanded us to take it to the world. He still waits for this command and that message to be believed and acted upon.

"This is the message [proclaimed by Jones and Waggoner] that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel's message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure" (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 92).

The publishing work will be involved "in a large degree" by presenting this message to the world as depicted in Rev. 18:1 (see Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, p. 140). This message will illuminate earth with God's glory.

I wish to end on a personal note. While attending an Adventist church, before becoming a member, I thought I heard (this is not what the pastor said) that there was going to be a woman (Ellen White) coming to the church on the following Wednesday evening and that she would give to us a prophetic message. To me, this was something new. I was curious. I decided to attend. What I misunderstood was, beginning on that Wednesday evening, the church members were going to study the prophetic gift of Ellen White.

From one of the members of that church I received some books written by her. The first two were Steps to Christ and Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing. I can testify to the blessings I received, and continue to receive, from reading these and other materials by Mrs. White. With my heart overflowing with gratitude I would, at times, break into singing and praising God with thanksgiving. May this experience continue with me and with you.

"Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper [succeed]" (2 Chron. 20:20).

--Gerald L. Finneman