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Adventist Writers on the Subject of Prophecy

Posted by Ez1 Realty on September 17, 2008

Long has the church awaited the coming of this volume, and long has it been needed. Dealing, as it does, in a unique and larger way with the divine provision for the abiding of the gift of prophecy in God’s true church in all ages and dispensations, it presents a full-rounded survey of the most misunderstood and maligned of the three great identifying marks of the true church of the last days. These are “the commandments of God,” “the faith of Jesus,” and “the’spirit of prophecy.” It is this remnant church which completes the arrested Reformation of the sixteenth century, which restores the fullness of apostolic faith and practice, and which, significantly enough, is to have as one of its distinguishing characteristics, the manifestation of the promised gifts of the Spirit. 



Hear now My words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make Myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.” Num. 12 :6.

This statement explains the operation of what the Scriptures elsewhere call “the gift of prophecy.” 1 Cor. 13 :2. It also explains the following scripture: “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 1:21.

“The gift of prophecy” is one of the special gifts of God extended through the Holy Spirit to the human family. 1 Cor. 12:4-l1. This gift is also called “the testimony of Jesus” (Rev. 12:17), which is denned by the same inspired writer to be “the spirit of prophecy.” Rev. 19:10. The term, the prophetic gift, which we shall constantly employ, is thus clearly identical in meaning with the several Biblical expressions here cited.

God’s purpose in providing and bestowing the prophetic gift is clearly to re-establish and maintain communication with man, who has been estranged and separated from Him through sin. This gift operates through prophets, by means of visions, dreams, inspiration, and revelation. The product, prophecy, is a divine message from God to the human family. The great Book called “the word of God” (Heb. 4:12) and the “Holy Scriptures” (Rom. 1:2) came to mankind through the gracious operation of the prophetic gift (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21).



Here it is declared that it was the Spirit of Christ in the prophets that revealed to them the prophecies they had written regarding the wonderful salvation Christ was to bring to the world, together with the plan of salvation that would follow. In harmony with this, the apostle further states that “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 1:21. These passages, and many others, show that the Spirit of God was the active agent in giving the instruction through this gift.



Thus this man of God, guided by the spirit of prophecy, led the whole nation from idolatry back to the true God, and to national freedom from all their oppressors. Who can adequately estimate the value of this service for the people and cause of God? The spirit of prophecy, if followed today, will accomplish like results for the church of God, for with God there is no difference in time.

Perhaps the greatest service rendered by Samuel during his long and eminent leadership in the nation was the founding of the institutions known as “the schools of the prophets.”



But that does not mean that God ceased to be the leader of those among His people who accepted Jesus as their personal Redeemer. Theirs was still the promise, ” Lo, I am with you alway.” Through the Dark Ages of persecution He was with them. In the great Reformation of the sixteenth century He led and blessed. As one writer has said, ” There were some wonderful displays of the Lord’s power and manifestations of the gift of prophecy during the Reformation of the sixteenth century, and in the times following.”



Many of the prophets after David foretold the coming of the Deliverer, but always they spoke of Him as Ruler and King. Even Isaiah, who prophesied of Christ as the Seed of the virgin, saying, “Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given,” thus bringing the promise down to an individual, spoke of Him as a Prince upon whose shoulders the government would be. Isa. 9:6. Micah, who in prophecy located the place where this Son would be born, revealed Him as ruler in Israel: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Micah 5:2.

The Atoning Work of Christ Page 16

The age in which John lived was a most interesting one. In point of time he touched with one hand the dispensations that stretched back through the ages to the beginning. With the other he reached out to a new era that would fulfill all prophecy and finish the work of saving sinful men, which type and prophecy alike had foreshadowed. There it was, between the dispensations, and of equal import to both dispensations, that John pointed out Jesus with the words, “Behold the Lamb of God.”

The Atoning Work of Christ Page 19

All through the centuries, as word upon word, line upon line, and prophecy after prophecy were added to the Scriptures, they continued, by prediction and promise and service and sacrifice, to point forward to something better, something in which the promises of God would reach their finality through One who in Himself would confirm all that God had covenanted to do, and who would save His people and would reign as Priest and King forever.

The Atoning Work of Christ Page 31

These three annual feasts, trumpets, atonement, and taber nacles, were in the time of the harvest. They find their antitypes in the events of the end, namely, the last proclamation of the gospel, the judgment, and the second advent of our Lord.

According to the prophetic Scriptures, these events are to follow each other closely. By reading Revelation 14:6, 7, we discover that the final proclamation of the gospel begins when “the hour of His judgment is come.” Examining Revelation 22: 11, 12, we learn that the second coming of Christ does not take place till the investigative judgment has closed. By the same scripture we are taught that it does occur “quickly” after that event takes place. By these two scriptures we discover that the event which occurs between the beginning of the final proclamation of the gospel and the coming of the Lord is the first phase of the judgment.

Now this is exactly as it was prefigured in the feasts of the sanctuary. The last three of the six annual feasts followed closely one after another. On the first day of the seventh month the blowing of trumpets began, and on the fifteenth day of the same month the Feast of Tabernacles began. Between these two the Day of Atonement came on the tenth day of the month, and the Day of Atonement was the time when the sanctuary was cleansed. It typified the judgment.

Now let us see how this agrees with the time prophecy of Daniel concerning the cleansing of the sanctuary, which is the antitype of the Day of Atonement.

In Daniel 8:14 the time for this to take place is given thus: “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”

The Atoning Work of Christ Page 127

IN the prophecy of Isaiah there is a remarkable statement concerning the second advent of our Lord. It not only fore tells the event, but it calls upon God’s people to make it known among the nations, and thus to herald His coming. Observe the directness of the call, and notice ‘what it is that the people are to say:

“O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him: behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.”

Isa. 40:9, 10.

Four very definite things are here required to be stated in heralding the Lord’s appearing, namely, “Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand,” “His arm shall rule for Him,” “His reward is with Him,” “His work [is] before Him.”

It is to the third of these, “His reward is with Him,” to which I invite the reader’s attention. This is not merely some thing that is prophesied of Him, but it is also what the church is required to proclaim as from the mountain tops, concerning Him. He is not only coming, He is not only coming to rule, but He is coming to give rewards that are with Him. The church is bidden to preach this message as good tidings with strength of voice and courage.

The Atoning Work of Christ Page 165

Well, indeed, might the Saviour also judge us slow of heart and unbelieving in regard to this important truth, for it stands out in the Old Testament prophecies with startling clearness. In the very first prophecy concerning the coming of the Saviour, it is clearly shown that preliminary to the bruising of the serpent’s head is the bruising of the heel of the Seed of the woman by the serpent. The bruising of the serpent’s head by the Seed of the woman without the bruising of the heel of the woman’s Seed by the serpent, would have accomplished nothing for our deliverance from the power of sin.

The Atoning Work of Christ Page 209

In his discourses Miller frequently referred to the rules by which his conclusions were reached. He firmly believed that only if correct principles of interpretation are applied can correct conclusions be arrived at.

A discussion of Miller’s rules appears in his introduction to his printed lectures Evidence from Scripture and History of the Second Coming of Christ, about the Year 1843. His 1836 edition contained 16 lectures; his 1840 edition, 19. Following is a summary of his rules:

1. Much of the message of prophecy is communicated by symbols. For example, beasts represent kingdoms; and water, people.

2. All figures have both a literal and a metaphorical meaning. Thus, literally, a beast would represent a kingdom; but metaphorically, for example, if it were a lion, the power to rule.

3. The literal meaning of a figure is discovered by finding other Scriptures to explain the figure. Scripture must be compared with Scripture.

4. There is unity in the Scriptures. One prophecy complements another. “There never was a book written that has a better connection and harmony than the Bible.”

5. The biblical student must select and bring together every part of the subject he wishes to investigate.

6. The smallest unit, the word, must be given its scripture meaning.

7. The larger unit, the sentence, must have its proper bearing.

8. The word and sentence must have their proper bearing in the grand whole.

How did the Millerites in particular or how do historicists in general determine which events in history are fulfillments of specific prophecies? They examine closely the specifications of prophecy, then study secular and religious history to find a corresponding event. To verify whether the true historical event has been discovered Miller suggested the following:

“If you find every word of the prophecy (after the figures are understood) is literally fulfilled, then you may know that your history is the true event. But if one word lacks a fulfillment, then you must look for another event or wait its future development. For God takes care that history and prophecy doth agree, so that the true believing children of God may never be ashamed.”—Views of the Prophecies and Prophetic Chronology,

Selected from Manuscripts of William Miller with a Memoir of His Life; by Joshua V. Himes, 1841, p. 22.

Besides requiring a thorough knowledge of Scripture, the historicist method demands also a thorough knowledge of history. Group effort bringing together minds skilled in various disciplines is important. But it should be remembered that by the time Miller did his work the basic interpretations of the books of Daniel and Revelation had already been set forth by various expositors in commentaries or in works on prophecy. After his initially independent study, Miller criticized his own conclusions and examined all objections. On the basic outlines of prophecy, for example, the four beasts of Dan 7, he found himself in agreement with the expositors. But he reached certain independent conclusions. Thus he stood on the shoulders of his predecessors. His associates in turn stood on his shoulders and corrected and clarified some of his positions.


Edited by Gordon M. Hyde pages 112-113

At the heart of Christian faith is the certainty that God Himself has spoken in Scripture. Thus the Bible contains the divine revelation of God’s will and purpose in words and deeds recorded in human language over a period of some 1,500 years. As inspired revelation the Bible has God as its Author. This divine origin is attested by the testimony that “no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Pe 1:21, RSV). Paul has written that “all scripture is inspired by God” (2 Ti 3:16, RSV). The divine origin of the Bible is the most basic fact and fundamental reality of Christian faith.

God has chosen to unfold truths about Himself in human language despite its dimensions and limitations in order to speak to us. This twofold origin with its divine and human dimensions requires of the interpreter of the Bible that he develop and employ sound and adequate principles of interpretation based on this two fold origin of Scripture.

The self-revelation of God as embodied in Scripture possesses an authority superior to any other source of knowing God. This fact has definite implications regarding biblical interpretation. The nature of biblical inspiration and scriptural authority demands that the Bible be regarded as the “unerring standard” (ME, 462) by which human ideas—whether in the realms of philosophy, science, or tradition—are tested. Although it is true that modern critical study of the Bible could not have arisen without the radical break of the Reformers from medieval principles of interpretation, it is equally true that the methods of modern critical interpretation of Scripture have come into existence in the age of rationalism, and thus have broken away from the Protestant principle of sola sariptura. By the end of the 18th century the rational-critical study of the Bible was fully developed, and it led to full-fledged historical criticism under philosophical presuppositions that in one way or another determined and determine to this day the methodologies of critical investigations of the Scriptures.

Modern rational-critical study of the Bible employs admittedly external keys that deny in principle the self-interpretation of Scripture, and thus undermine the authority of the Bible. Proper recognition of the uniqueness of the Bible with its divine author ship and human writers demands that it not be interpreted by external means such as tradition, philosophy, science, and the like but be allowed to function as its own interpreter.


Edited by Gordon M. Hyde pages 164-165

“The Lord shall bring a, nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth,, as swift as the eagle flietb; a nation whose tongue thou1 shalt not understand. . . , And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come clown, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, throughout all thy land, which the Lord thy God hath given thee. And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the Lord thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee.” Deuteronomy 28:49,52,53.

The Roman ensign was an eagle, and the Romans spoke the Latin language, which the Jews did not understand, thus fulfilling the first part of the above prophecy- to the letter. To the other horrors of war was added that of famine. Josephus’says that mothers would snatch the food from their children in their distress, and that many houses were found full of women and children who had died of starvation. Human flesh was sometimes eaten; and the same author tells of a lady of rank who killed, roasted, and ate her own son, thus fulfilling the latter part of the prophecy of Moses.

The Coming King James Edson White and Alonso L. Baker page 103

And that the mission of the Revelation should not be belittled or misunderstood, the promise is given, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Revelation 1: 3. We cannot avoid the conclusion that the teachings of this book are of the utmost importance, and especially to us who live so near the coming of our Lord.

But to impress our minds more fully, the last chapter states, “These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord

God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show unto His servants the things which must shortly be done. Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” Revelation 22: 6, 7.

It is true that much of the book of Revelation is symbolic. So also are many of the important prophecies of the Old Testament. Our Saviour taught in parables, and so pronounced was this method of teaching that on one occasion it is said that “without a parable spake He not unto them.” (Matthew 13:34.)

The Coming King James Edson White and Alonso L. Baker page 223

In prophecy the seas, or waters, are used as symbols of peoples and nations of the earth. (See Revelation 17: 15.) A beast represents a worldly power or kingdom. (See Daniel 7.) Usually a political, or civil power is thus symbolised, but sometimes a beast represents a power both civil and religious, or a government in which church and state are united.

The beast of our text must symbolize a power in which the religious element predominates. It binds upon its followers a system of worship contrary to God’s commands, for the wrath of God and awful punishments are pronounced against those who participate in that worship.

The Coming King James Edson White and Alonso L. Baker page 267

In order to present the development of prophetic interpretation in its proper historical setting, it was necessary, of course, first to collect, so far as possible, all the available books, manuscripts, and other materials bearing on the subject, for study and evaluation. It was no small task even to discover many of the rarer items. Prophetic interpretation has for, decades been a neglected study, and all too many of its source materials have been untouched for a long period of time.

Many a gem of prophetic interpretation has been reposing for scores of years, if not for centuries, on the dusty shelves of the great book collections of the Old World and the New. These jewels of prophetic exposition are scattered among the extensive holdings of great national libraries and large universities, the archives of smaller colleges and old theological schools, and the libraries of ancient churches and monasteries, as well as notable private collections. Some, indeed, are in the possession of rare book collectors, or, perchance, in quaint old bookshops.

It was to seek out these expositions from among the musty tomes that clutter the crowded shelves of the world’s great archives, and to make them available to all students of prophecy in usable, documented form that three research trips to Europe were undertaken—in 1935, in 1938, and again in 1948. This search for the prophetic interpretations of the centuries was consequently undertaken in the favoring lull between the two world wars. And fortunate—or providential, it would surely appear to be—was the timing.


The Historical Development of Prophetic Interpretation


Mankind greatly needs the beacon light of prophecy, for there is a divine purpose and blessing in prophecy. Mankind needs its guiding rays, and its inspiring hope and steadying assurance, in order to find the harbor of eternity in safety. Without the light of prophecy the future is a vast and impenetrable unknown, a trackless desert, an uncharted sea. But prophecy is God’s index finger pointing the way out for a world engulfed in growing confusion, disillusionment, and despair. The general quest for knowledge and certainty concerning the future of the world, the church, and the individual is pathetic. Prophecy is God’s answer to man’s anxious questioning. Yes, mankind needs prophecy and the reverent interpretation of the centuries. Only thus does the darksome journey across the years become the lighted way.


The Historical Development of Prophetic Interpretation

by LEROY EDWIN FROOM page 15-16

Christ Himself was recognized by His contemporaries as a prophet, and so acknowledged Himself. He personally exercised the gift of prophecy in a remarkable way. (Luke 7:16; 13:33; 24:19; Matt. 13:57; 21:11; John 4:19; 6:14; 7:40; Eph. 2:20.) But He was, of course, infinitely more than a prophet; He was at once the Son of God and the Son of man—the matchless Saviour of men. And His life on earth was bound up with the miracle of prophecy by a multiple cord of fulfillment. Indeed, Jesus Christ constitutes the greatest single witness of all time to the verity and precision of inspired prophecy. Not only was He the Interpreter of the Old Testament prophets—the Fulfillment of their predictions and the Embodiment of their spiritual message—but He was also the Reality to which the impressive Mosaic shadows and symbols pointed.2 Further, He was both the divine Foreteller and the Forthteller for God; He was the revelation of the very thought of the Father, for He was the Word of God incarnate.


The Historical Development of Prophetic 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.” 1 Peter 1:2.

Through this channel God has instructed man. Our Bible, which is the revelation of God’s will to man, was dictated by the Spirit of God to the prophets of old. These revelations have been left on record for our benefit ” upon whom the ends of the world are come.” 1 Cor. 10:11. It is through this channel that the plan of salvation is revealed, and the only road to eternal life pointed out.

Different Methods of Communication.

The methods of communication have differed with the times, the men, and the circumstances under which the revelations have been given.

To the child Samuel it was the audible voice of God in the night. See 1 Sam. 3 : 2-18.

To Abraham, Moses, Joshua, and Paul, the Son of God at times appeared in person and instructed them.

To Ezekiel, Zechariah, John, and others were given panoramic views of scenes which have deep significance to the people of this world. Sometimes these presentations have been explained, and again God’s people have been left to apply them to events as they transpired.

To Daniel, the fate of kingdoms and the great events of history were represented by symbols, many of which were explained.

To others God speaks in His own way in times of emergency. Our Saviour promised to put words into the mouths of His servants when they should be brought before kings and rulers for conscience’ sake. ” Take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say : for the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what – ye ought to say.” Luke 12:11, 12.

And so, in His own way, God teaches us, leads us, and reveals to us the true mysteries of this life and of the great beyond. By His Word He has bridged the chasm between this sinful earth and the glorious home of the blest which our Saviour has gone to prepare.

And by the loving care of the ever-watchful angels of light, we are made to. ” lie down in green pastures,” and are led ” beside the still waters.”

Through the ministration of angels there is wrought out in the lives of the true, the faithful, the obedient of earth, the fulfilling of the beautiful song of the heavenly musicians on the plains of Bethlehem, ” Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

Thus God reaches man through spiritual, heavenly beings, whom He sends to earth to minister to those who are ” heirs of salvation,” and citizens of the kingdom of Christ on earth. Through them are given manifestations from the very home of the great Jehovah. Sinless angels are the messengers, and their messages are true and ennobling. How wonderful ! how dignified ! how perfect ! how beautiful is the whole history of this angelic ministration!

PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE by James White page 199-200

Satan has ever endeavored to counterfeit the work of God. Every prophecy of the Bible he fulfils, if possible, in his own way. Any method to lead the world into darkness, and away from God’s true light, is employed by himself and his angels.


by James White page 337

PROPHECY is often considered dark and mysterious. The Lord describes how prophecy given in vision, will be looked upon by many people. ” And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee ; and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: and the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee; and he saith, I am not learned.” The book of Revelation was never sealed ; for the angel~said to John, “Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.”

God has given the book of Revelation a title different from any other book in the Bible, signifying that it is open to all. It is the “revelation of Jesus Christ.” He has pronounced a blessing upon every one who reads it, or even hears it read. ” Blessed is he that readeth, and theyxthat hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things

which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” It is adapted to every mind, and is full of choice illustrations and symbols, which will not only interest, but instruct the reader. It is a complete book in itself; for John was told “What thou seest, write in a book.” He then said that he bear record of the Word of God, and “of all things that he saw.”

The prophecies of Revelation cover the period of the time from the first advent of Christ to the earth made new. The history of the Christian church is repeated four times in different figures, illustrating almost every phase of experience the church will pass through. Portions of the history are repeated several times. The book of Revelation opens the portals of the city of God, and presents to the readers, Eden restored, with its tree of life bearing twelve manner of fruit.

The study of prophecy, by many, is considered uninteresting, and much that is written upon this subject is given in an argumentative style, which is unattractive to many minds. The ” Story of the Seer of Patmos ” is a treatise on the book of Revelation, given in a narrative style, interesting alike to old and young.






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