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The Gift of Prophecy (The Role of Ellen White in God’s Remnant Church)

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    The spirit of prophecy

    What is “the spirit of prophecy”? This phrase occurs only once in the Bible—only in this text. The closest parallel to it in the Bible is found in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10. There Paul refers to the Holy Spirit, who gives the gift of prophecy among other gifts. The person who receives this gift is called a prophet (see 12:28; Ephesians 4:11). Just as in 1 Corinthians 12:28, where those who have the gift of prophecy (verse 10) are called prophets, so in Revelation 22:8, 9, those who have the Spirit of prophecy (compare 19:10) are called prophets. The parallelism between the two texts (Revelation 19:10 and 22:8, 9) is significant:GP 43.1

    19:10 22:8, 9
    And I fell at his feet to worship him. I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things.
    But he said to me, Then he said to me,
    “See that you do not do that! “See that you do not do that.
    I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”
    GP 43.2

    The situation in both passages is the same. John falls at the feet of the angel to worship him. The angel’s responses are almost identical, yet the difference is significant. In 19:10, the “brethren” are identified by the phrase “who have the testimony of Jesus.” In 22:9, these brethren are simply called “prophets.” If the Protestant principle of interpreting Scripture by Scripture means anything, this comparison must lead to the conclusion that “the spirit of prophecy” in 19:10 is not the possession of all church members in general but only of those whom God has called to be prophets.GP 43.3

    This interpretation is not purely an Adventist one, as can be seen from the writings of other scholars. The Lutheran scholar Hermann Strathmann, for example, says, “According to the parallel 22:9 the brothers referred to are not believers in general but the prophets. Here, too, they are characterised as such. This is the point of v. 10c. If they have the marturia Iesou [testimony of Jesus], they have the spirit of prophecy, i.e., they are prophets, and as such they stand alongside the divine, who is himself a prophet, like the angel, who simply stands in the service of the marturia Iesou (cf. 1:1).” 5Hermann Strathmann, “Martus ktl.,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, G. Kittel, ed., G. W. Bromiley, trans. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1967), 4:501.GP 43.4

    Similarly, James Moffat explains, ” ‘for the testimony . . . of . . . Jesus is . . . the spirit of prophecy.’ This prose marginal comment . . . specifically defines the brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus as possessors of prophetic inspiration. The testimony of Jesus is practically equivalent to Jesus testifying.” 6Moffat, 5:465.GP 44.1

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