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    Paul in 2 Corinthians 3, calls this dispensation, in comparison with the former, the “ministration of the Spirit.” From this it appears that this dispensation was to be characterized by the outpouring and influence of the Spirit of God. In the prophecy which brings it to view, Joel 2:28, quoted by Peter on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2:17, the Lord says: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh.” The last days here signify the whole gospel dispensation; and they are the last when taken in connection with the whole history of the world from the time of its creation, six thousand years agoTBI 281.1

    The effect of this outpouring of the Spirit on all flesh was to be seen in the following results: “Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.”TBI 281.2

    1. What is this dispensation called by the apostle?
    2. By what is it to be characterized?
    3. What prophecy brings it to view?
    4. What does the prophecy declare?
    5. What do the last days here signify?
    6. How can this whole dispensation be called the last days?
    7. How was the effect of this outpouring of the Spirit to be seen?
    8. What is meant by the doctrine of the gifts of the Spirit?

    When we speak of the doctrine of the gifts of the Spirit, we simply mean the operation of the Spirit in the ways here indicated; and that the Spirit was designed to operate in this manner through this dispensation, much proof can be found in the New Testament. In his last commission to his disciples, Jesus said: “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Mark, in recording this, shows the manner in which he would be with them: “And these signs shall follow them that believe.” Verse 17. And again, verse 20: “And they went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following”TBI 281.3

    This was the way in which our Lord continued with his disciples, by the influence and operations of the Holy Spirit; and that this was to continue to the end, is certain from his own promise: “Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world.”TBI 282.1

    Peter, on the day of Pentecost, said to those who were convicted: “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. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” This shows again that the promise of the Holy Ghost covers the whole dispensation and was to continue to the end.TBI 282.2

    9. What did Christ in his last commission say to his disciples?
    10. What does Mark’s record show?
    11. How was Christ with his disciples?
    12. How long was he to continue to be with them in this manner?
    13. What did Peter say to those convicted on the day of Pentecost?
    14. What do Peter’s words show?
    15. Where does Paul take up the subject at length?
    16. What source do all the diversities of gifts have in common?

    Paul, in 1 Corinthians 12, dwells upon this subject in full. He says: “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.” Verse 1. In verse 4, he continues: “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.” Verse 6: “And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues. But all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.”TBI 282.3

    Here it is very clearly stated that all the operations are the work of the same Spirit; they are simply the different channels through which it manifests its presence. Paul proceeds to illustrate this by reference to the human body, speaking of its different members, and the particular offices which these members are to perform; and in making this application at the conclusion of the chapter, he says: “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.”TBI 283.1

    That these gifts were once in the church, all admit, for we are assured that God formally and officially set them in the church. And who has taken them out of church? If God has done this should it not be recorded in as explicit a manner as that he once established them therein?TBI 283.2

    17. What different operations are here mentioned?
    18. By what does Paul now illustrate his subject?
    19. What application does he make?
    20. What conclusion follows from the statement that God has set these gifts in the church?
    21. What does Paul say in Ephesians 4:11?

    In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul again takes up the subject. He says, Ephesians 4:11 : “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.” These gifts are called in verse 8, gifts which he gave unto men, “when he ascended up on high.” Now he states that the object of these gifts was for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.TBI 283.3

    He states how long they are to continue. “Till we all come into the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”TBI 284.1

    From the end and object of these gifts, as here stated, it will be seen at once that they are just as much needed at one point in this dispensation as another; just as necessary in the closing up as in the beginning. Some say these gifts were needed when the gospel was first introduced, but the necessity having passed away, they are no longer demanded; but is not the unity of faith, the knowledge of the Son of God, and the attainment unto the measure of stature and the fullness of Christ, still desirable in the Christian dispensation?TBI 284.2

    22. What are these things called?
    23. What does he
    state as the object of these gifts?
    24. To what time does he say they were to continue?
    25. What follows from this?
    26. What objection is raised by some?
    27. How is it answered?
    28. What does the practice of the Christian world show?
    29. What gifts do they still employ?
    30. What is their authority for this?
    31. What else was promised?

    But if we may judge from the practices of the whole Christian world, they believe in only a partial abolition of these gifts of the Spirit. Do they not have evangelists? Do they not ordain pastors? Do they not believe in teachers? On what ground? Because Christ commanded his disciples to go forth and teach all nations and to continue this work even to the end of the world. But the commission did not limit the work to these branches, but promised the gift of the Spirit as we have already shown in its diversities of operations to the end of the world. If we take this ground, that the gifts have been taken from the church, that the operation of the Spirit in these special methods was designed to cease, and has ceased, then we must no longer plead for evangelists, pastors, teachers, nor sustain by any special means, the work of the ministry.TBI 284.3

    If these gifts were to continue through the Christian dispensation, it is asked, why we have not examples of their manifestations. We answer that there have been instances in every age of the operation of the Spirit in some of these marked and special ways. The reason of their being no more frequent is found in the occurrence of the great apostasy so plainly predicted in the Christian church. Men have departed from God. All Christendom has been sunk in the darkness of error and superstition with which the world has been flooded by the Romish church. The true children of God have been few and obscure.TBI 285.1

    For examples of the manifestations of these gifts in the Gospel age the reader is referred to books entitled “Miraculous Powers,” and the “Spirit of God,” published at the Review and Herald Office, Battle Creek, Mich.TBI 285.2

    32. If the gifts have ceased, what position must we take in reference to pastors, evangelist, and teachers?
    33. Have there been examples of the gifts in every age?
    34. Why have they not been more frequent?
    35. In what works is found abundant testimony showing instances of their manifestation?
    36. What kind of opposition might be expected?
    37. What instructions are therefore given us?

    It might be expected that so important an agency in the Christian church would be counterfeited by the powers of darkness; hence we have the injunction, “Try the spirits,” and the warning that many false prophets have gone out into the world. We are called upon to discriminate carefully between the true and false. We are not to reject all gifts because some of them are counterfeited. We do not throw away money, or refuse its use, because there are counterfeits in the land. Everything valuable we must expect to be counterfeited. We guard ourselves by learning how to test the false by the true.TBI 285.3

    On the subject of the gifts our Lord gives us an infallible rule: “By their fruits ye shall know them.” See Deuteronomy 13:1;18:21. If that which is predicted by the prophet comes not to pass, it is proof that he is not sent of God; but even if it does come to pass, if its tendency is to lead away from God, it is to be rejected as false. The spiritualists of these modern times, and the Mormons, furnish remarkable instances under both these heads.TBI 286.1

    We have referred to a prophecy which speaks of this dispensation in general, and proves the existence of the gifts throughout the Gospel age. We have seen why they have been so little manifested; it is because of the great apostasy. Now as the Church comes out from the wilderness and the errors of the dark ages by true and genuine reformation, we naturally conclude that the gifts will be restored and that this dispensation will close, as it commenced, with remarkable manifestations of the work of the Spirit of God.TBI 286.2

    38. How are we to guard ourselves against deception in this matter?
    39. What rule does our Lord give us by which to test those manifestations which claim to be gifts of the Spirit?
    40. If an event predicted does not come to pass, what is the conclusion?
    41. If what the prophet says does come to pass, but he leads away from the true God, what is the conclusion?
    42. What two great religious movements of these days furnish examples under both these heads?
    43. What should we naturally conclude would take place in the last days?
    44. What do we have to sustain this idea?
    45. What is the testimony of Revelation 12:17.
    46. What is meant by the woman?

    In accordance with this we have prophecies which plainly point to the revival of the gifts in the closing days of this dispensation. See Revelation 12:17 “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” By the woman we are to understand the church; by her seed, the members of the church throughout this dispensation. Therefore the remnant of her seed can refer to only one body of people, the last generation of Christians upon the earth. These are characterized by keeping the commandments of God, and having the testimony of Jesus Christ. In Revelation 19:10, we have the definition of what is here called the “testimony of Jesus Christ.” Said the angel to John, “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” This the reader will at once recognize as one of the gifts set in the church.TBI 286.3

    47. What by her seed?
    48. Where, then, do we look for the remnant of the woman’s seed?
    49. By what is this remnant characterized?
    50. What is the testimony of Jesus defined to mean, and where?
    51. What is shown by 1 Corinthians 1:6-7?
    52. To whom is the 5th chapter of 1 Thessalonians addressed?
    53. What instruction do we there find?
    54. What is shown by this?
    55. What may we reasonably expect as we draw near to the great day of the Lord?
    56. What works show that the spirit of prophecy is manifested in connection with the third angel’s message?

    1 Corinthians 1:6, 7, shows that the church that are waiting for the coming of Christ are to come behind in no gift. The 5th chapter of 1 Thess is evidently addressed to the church when the day of the Lord is about to come. In that chapter we have this instruction from the apostle: “Despise not prophesyings;” showing that these will then appear in the church. And we may reasonably infer that the prophecy of Joel 2:1, 28, 31 quoted by Peter in Acts 2, being given in reference to the coming of the great day of the Lord would be fulfilled in as remarkable a manner as we draw near to that day, as it had been in any part of the Gospel dispensation. That the gift of prophecy is manifested according to the Scriptures in connection with the third angel’s message we refer the reader to works published at the /Review and Herald// Office, entitled the “Spirit of Prophecy,” and the “Testimony to the Church.”TBI 287.1

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