As was true for the biblical prophets, certain supernatural physical phenomena accompanied Ellen White during her visions. Like the prophet Daniel, she did not breathe while in vision and often initially lost physical strength (Daniel 10:8, 17). Some of her visions lasted as long as four hours, but she did not breathe the entire time. Doctors who examined her while she was in vision attested to this fact.
At other times, she was also given supernatural strength (Daniel 10:18, 19). Though Ellen weighed only 95 pounds, witnesses saw her hold a 17-pound family Bible in her outstretched hand for 30 minutes while in vision. These and other physical phenomena indicate that there is something supernatural about the experience of a prophet. However, they do not tell us whether the prophet is from God or from Satan. When faced with a supernatural claim to the prophetic gift, Christians must test the claim by the Bible to see if it is true.
Applying the Four Biblical Tests
Let's look together to see whether or not the life and ministry of Ellen White meet the four biblical tests of a true prophet.
First Test--Harmony with Scriptures
Read any one of Ellen White's books, and you will discover that it consistently leads you to the Bible and is in total agreement with Scripture. However, she did not regard her writings as an addition to Scripture. Their purpose was to call the attention of God's people to the Bible and bring them back to the Bible as the only source of truth. Notice Ellen White's emphatic declaration that the Bible is the only rule of faith: "In our time there is a wide departure from their doctrines and precepts, and there is need of a return to the great Protestant principle--the Bible, and the Bible only, as the rule of faith and duty."1
She also wrote: "The written testimonies are not to give new light, but to impress vividly upon the heart the truths of inspiration already revealed. Man's duty to God and to his fellow man has been distinctly specified in God's word; yet but few of you are obedient to the light given. Additional truth is not brought out; but God has through the Testimonies simplified the great truths already given and in His own chosen way brought them before the people to awaken and impress the mind with them, that all may be left without excuse."2
Although Ellen White emphatically stressed that her writings were never to be considered part of the Bible, they are nonetheless inspired. Many of God's greatest prophets--such as Elijah, Elisha, and John the Baptist--were inspired, yet they did not write any books of the Bible. Ellen White's writings may be described as a lesser light to lead to the greater light, the Bible. They act as an inspired commentary on Scripture, but the Bible is still the supreme authority.371d36d75e05eda735858f8e467be99cSecond Test--Teach the Truth About Jesus
Ellen White's books--such as The Desire of Ages, Christ's Object Lessons, Steps to Christ, and Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing--all testify to her fulfillment of this test. She says nothing of herself in these volumes, but constantly points others to Jesus.
Third Test--A Godly Life
The press, commenting on the death of Ellen White, said: "The life of Mrs. White is an example worthy of emulation by all. ... She was a humble, devout disciple of Christ, and ever went about doing good. ... She was honored and respected by all who appreciate noble womanhood consecrated to unselfish labor for the uplifting and betterment of mankind. Her death marks the calling of another noted leader of religious thought and one whose almost ninety years were full to overflowing with good deeds, kind words, and earnest prayers for all mankind."3
Fourth Test--Accurate Prophecies
The few prophecies of the future made by Ellen White can be easily validated. The following prediction reads like this morning's newspaper, but was written before most modern means of travel were invented. "Disasters by rail will become more and more frequent; confusion, collision, and death without a moment's warning will occur on the great lines of travel."4
Ellen White lived during a time when doctors advocated smoking to benefit the lungs. Varying medical opinions existed, but no real scientific proof was available. Nutrition was an unknown science. Yet in this setting, Ellen White wrote volumes in the field of health and nutrition. Dr. Clive McCay, former professor of nutrition at Cornell University, confirmed the accuracy of Ellen White's writings in the field of nutrition: "In spite of the fact that the works of Mrs. White were written long before the advent of modern scientific nutrition, no better overall guide is available today."5
The Bible predicted that in the last days the prophetic gift would appear. Evidence declares that Ellen White met every Bible specification for a true prophet. We would encourage you to obtain and read some of her writings and follow the biblical injunction to "despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." 1 Thessalonians 5:20, 21.
1The Great Controversy (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press, 1950), p. 204, 205.
2Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press, 1949), Vol. 2, p. 605.
3Star (St. Helena, California), July 23, 1915.
4Messages to Young People (Washington, DC: Review and Herald, 1930), p. 90 (reprinted from article in The Signs of the Times, April 21, 1890).
5 Clive M. McCay, "A Nutritional Authority Discusses Mrs. E.G. White," Review and Herald, February 26, 1959, p. 10.
The dictionary defines an ambassador as "a diplomatic official of the highest rank appointed and accredited as representative in residence by one government or sovereign to another, usually for a limited length of time."
Ambassadors are just as important in the spiritual realm as they are in the political realm. Citizens of the kingdom of heaven are not like the citizens of this world. We have been sent into the world to demonstrate who Jesus is and what He is like. Through the Holy Spirit, we become His representatives--to reflect His image in everything from the way we talk and work to the way we eat and dress. In other words, when we become part of God's spiritual kingdom, we should be living demonstrations of the government we represent. In 2 Corinthians 3:18, the Scriptures say that "we all ... are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
We, the Church, are the hands and feet, the eyes and mouth, and yes, even the ears of Jesus in the world today. We are the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22, 23; 5:29, 30; Colossians 1:18). Before He ascended to heaven, Jesus told us, "As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you." John 20:21.
Every facet of our lives should be a reflection of the life and person of Jesus. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:16.371d36d75e05eda735858f8e467be99c
However, each time the sheet came down and Peter was asked to kill and eat the unclean animals, he responded, "Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean." Acts 10:14. Notice that even after three and a half years of listening to Jesus' teaching, Peter had not received the slightest hint or impression that eating unclean food was permissible. It is also interesting to note that in his vision, Peter never took anything to eat from the sheet.
Peter's vision of the sheet was never intended to sanctify the eating of unclean animals. Peter himself explains the meaning of the vision in verse 28: "God hath showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean." Again in verse 34, Peter summarized the point of the vision when he said, "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons."
God's message to Peter had to do with cleansing people, not animals. This vision was given to impress the Jewish disciples that they should not call the Gentiles unclean, and that the gospel was to be freely proclaimed to all peoples of the world.
Does Prayer Purify Food?
The warning in 1 Timothy 4:1-5 against a latter-day apostasy involves a number of heresies--following devils, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from certain foods. Perhaps the greatest misunderstanding has arisen over verse 4, where it is stated that "every creature of God is good." This verse means that every created thing has been made for a purpose. But some suppose it means that every animal is fit to be eaten if it is earnestly prayed over and blessed by the prayer of thanksgiving. This would mean that praying over a buzzard, cockroach, mole, or bat would make it good for food. Such an interpretation would be absurd and dangerous. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." Galatians 6:7.
To prevent us from drawing any wrong conclusions, Paul hastened to add: "For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer." Verse 5. So the Word of God must first approve it, and then the prayer of thanksgiving will sanctify it to be eaten.
It is helpful to note that the word "meats" in the original language is not limited to flesh foods. The Greek word "broma" simply means "food." We can know that Paul's discussion does not involve biblically unclean animals, because the meats that some had forbidden were foods "which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth." Verse 3.
It is easy to find in the Scriptures a description of the food God created to be received with thanksgiving (Genesis 1:29; 3:18; Leviticus 11:1-22). This passage was written to those who "believe and know the truth." God's Word is the truth. Only those who "believe and know" His Word will be led to those things that are "sanctified" and created to "be received with thanksgiving." Those who "sanctify themselves" while continuing to eat unclean meats will be destroyed at Christ's second coming (Isaiah 66:15-17).371d36d75e05eda735858f8e467be99c
Revelation chapter 13 points out that in the end-time, the papacy and the United States will team up to influence the entire world to worship the beast. Are these entities powerful enough to accomplish this?
The papacy is by far the strongest religio-political power in the world. Nearly every leading country has an official ambassador or state representative at the Vatican. The pope is revered and welcomed by virtually all countries. Former U.S.S.R. leader Mikhail Gorbachev said, "Everything which took place in Eastern Europe in recent years would have been impossible without the Pope's efforts and the enormous role, including the political role, which he played in the world arena."1 The pope has made more than 50 world trips to achieve his goal of unifying the religious world under the papacy's leadership.
America is now looked upon as the number one military power and center of influence. "[America is] the planet's sole remaining superpower."2
"America's power will now determine all major global events."3 Bible prophecy predicts with clarity that the United States of America and the papacy will join hands, and world events clearly show that the coalition is being formed.
1Toronto Star, March 9, 1992, p. A-1.
2"The UN Obsession," Time, May 9, 1994, p. 86.
3Jim Hoaglad, "Of Heroes ...," The Washington Post, August 21, 1991, p. A-23.371d36d75e05eda735858f8e467be99c
The secret rapture theory is based on eight premises that have been so widely embraced that most people accept them as fact without pausing to investigate. However, our only safety is to search the Scriptures daily to determine whether those things are so (Acts 17:11). The eight points of the secret rapture theory are as follows:
To examine these points fully is beyond the scope of this limited supplement, but we will briefly cover each point here. Points one and two were covered in this lesson, but they are mentioned again for emphasis. Prepare for some surprises!
1. The rapture is not silent, but rather is extremely noisy. The Scriptures say Jesus will descend "with a SHOUT, with the VOICE OF THE ARCHANGEL, and with the TRUMP OF GOD." 1 Thessalonians 4:16, emphasis added. David says, "Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: ... it shall be very tempestuous [violent, whirling] round about him." Psalms 50:3. And Jeremiah says, "The Lord shall roar from on high, ... he shall mightily roar ...; he shall give a shout. ... A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth." Jeremiah 25:30, 31. Nothing about it is quiet! Christ will come with a noise heard around the world. Mark this well. If you are living when Jesus returns, you will hear Him come. Your ears will ring with catastrophic noise.
2. The rapture is not invisible; it will be seen by all. All of the angels will come with Jesus (Matthew 25:31). One lone angel appeared at Jesus' resurrection, and his brightness was so overpowering that the entire Roman guard fell to the ground as dead men (Matthew 28:2-4). Consider the staggering brightness of all the angels of heaven! Added to the glory of the angels will be Jesus' own glory (Matthew 25:31) and the glory of His Father (Matthew 16:27). The brightness will be overwhelming. Jesus added, "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." Matthew 24:27. Secret? By no stretch of the imagination. In fact, the Bible forever settled this by saying, "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him." Revelation 1:7. Rest assured, if you are living at Jesus' second coming, you will see Him come!
3. The rapture does not leave the wicked alive. They are slain at the Lord's coming (Isaiah 11:4; Malachi 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:8).
4. God does not remove the righteous from the tribulation, but rather protects them through it (Psalms 91:5-12).
5. Christ's second coming will not be in two stages--one secret and the other seen by all. There is only one second coming, and it will be seen by every living person on earth. There is no Scripture to support a two-phase second coming.
6. The secret rapture teachers claim that there is a seven-year period between the two second comings of Christ. This is not scriptural.
7. Antichrist does not appear three and one-half years after the second coming of Jesus. He has been active for centuries (1 John 4:3) and is doing his nefarious work even now.
8. The wicked will not have a second opportunity to be saved after the second coming. All sinners will be destroyed at the second coming. There is no second opportunity for anyone after Jesus' second coming.371d36d75e05eda735858f8e467be99c
The 1,260 years of tribulation is repeatedly mentioned in the Bible, because historically it was the worst ever to face God's people (Matthew 24:21). It is referred to as 1,260 days, 42 months, and three and one-half times, or years (Revelation 12:6, 14; 13:5; Daniel 7:25). Using the Jewish calendar, which had 360 days in a year, all three add up to the same amount of time--1,260 years. One prophetic day equals one literal year (Ezekiel 4:6; Numbers 14:34).
History clearly shows that the papacy was the power which persecuted for 1,260 years. The period began in A.D. 538, when papal power became supreme in Christendom according to the decree of Roman Emperor Justinian. In it, he acknowledged the bishop of Rome as the head of all churches. This letter became a part of Justinian's Code, the fundamental law of the empire. The period ended in 1798 when Napoleon's general, Alexander Berthier, took the pope captive. At least 50 million Christians died for their faith during this period of persecution.
Three Crucial Points
Three facts of utmost importance to God's people are established in Revelation 12:10-12. These facts are:
1. Jesus defeated Satan, the accuser of the brethren, at the cross.
2. All of us can overcome him through the blood of Jesus and by sharing our testimonies.
3. The devil is infuriated because he knows that his time is short. We cannot expect him to behave like a gentleman. He is our bitterest enemy.
The message is that Jesus, who has defeated Satan, offers His matchless power to us as a free gift. With Jesus' power in our lives, we cannot fail. Satan's fury need not affect us. He is a defeated foe. He was defeated in the war in heaven and cast out. He was defeated by Jesus at the cross and lost his dominion. He will be defeated legally in his case in the judgment, and he will again be defeated when he attacks God's holy city. Finally, he will suffer the defeat of being blotted from the face of the earth in the lake of fire. And, most wonderful of all, Jesus promises that he will be defeated in his bitter fight to destroy you and me. What a tremendous message of hope from Jesus!
Events that begin the 1,000 years:
1. Jesus returns FOR His saints, and the righteous dead are resurrected.
2. Wicked are slain by the Lord's coming, plus devastating earthquake and hail.
3. Living righteous are changed, then caught up to meet the Lord in the air.
4. Cloud carries the righteous to heaven.
Conditions and events during the 1,000 years:
1. Saints in heaven participate in judgment of the wicked.
2. Satan and his angels are forced to remain on earth in total devastation and darkness.
3. No people are alive on earth.
Events at the close of the 1,000 years:
1. Jesus returns WITH His saints, and the holy city descends upon the Mount of Olives.
2. Wicked are resurrected, and Satan persuades wicked to attack the holy city.
3. Wicked are judged, then punished by fire from heaven that eventually devours the lost.
4. God creates new heaven and a new earth on ashes of a purified earth.
The Bottomless Pit
The term "bottomless pit" from Revelation 20:1 is often misunderstood. It is translated from the Greek word "abusos," the root of the English word "abyss." In the Greek Old Testament, this word is used to refer to the formless, dark earth as it was before Creation. "And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep." Genesis 1:1, 2. The word "abusos" is used again in Luke 8:31 to illustrate a condition where demons have no one to possess or manipulate.
During the 1,000 years, the devil is chained by circumstances, "that he should deceive the nations no more." Revelation 20:3. A literal chain could never chain a spiritual being. Only one thing would prevent him from tempting people, and that is if there were no people alive! When Jesus comes, the wicked are all slain and the righteous taken to heaven, so Satan and his angels are confined to this planet with no one to tempt. For 1,000 years they will roam and behold the fruit of their rebellion. No more galling chain of circumstances has ever been forged. It is in this manner that Satan and his angels are bound. "And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited." Isaiah 24:22.
Jesus was not baptized because He needed cleansing from sin, for He was sinless (1 Peter 2:22). This is why John the Baptist was so perplexed when Jesus came to the Jordan River, asking to be baptized by him. John said, "I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?" Matthew 3:14
So why was Jesus baptized? There are three main reasons. First, He was baptized in behalf of those who cannot be baptized themselves. Sometimes when people accept the Lord in prison or in a hospital, circumstances do not allow them to be baptized. Jesus give them credit for His baptism. The thief on the cross was one example (Luke 23:43). Second, Jesus was baptized as an example, that we should follow in His steps (1 Peter 2:21). And third, Jesus was baptized so we can, by studying His experience, know what to expect by faith.
To illustrate, let's take the following verses word by word and see what we can expect from our baptism. Matthew 3:16 and 17 reads: "And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my belived Son, in whom I am well pleased."
"The heavens were opened" = We receive access to God.
"He saw" = Our spiritual eyes are now opened, giving us new understanding and perception.
"The Spirit of God" = We recognize His leading.
"Descending like a dove" = Peace gently enters our hearts.
"A voice from heaven" = We will begin to hear that still, small voice.
"My beloved son" = We are adopted into His royal family and become citizens of a different country.
"I am well pleased" = God gives us complete acceptance and forgiveness.371d36d75e05eda735858f8e467be99c