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Heavenly Visions

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    GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT.-NO. 2

    J. N. LOUGHBOROUGH.

    COMPARED with the whole six thousand years of our world’s history, this last dispensation, fully ushered in on the day of Pentecost, may well be called the last days. The last days, however, must include the very last day of probationary time. The last leaves of a book must include the last leaf, with more or less past the middle of the book. So the last days, when referred to by the Old Testament writers refers either to the last dispensation as a whole, or to the last days of dispensation. The New Testament writers speak of the closing period of the gospel dispensation as the last days. In either case, however, the last days take in the last day.HEVI 17.1

    That the prophet Joel’s prediction reaches down to the end of probationary time is evident from the fact that, in this very prediction under consideration, he refers to the signs in the sun and moon which our Saviour gives, in Matthew 24, as definite tokens that his coming is “near, even at the doors.”HEVI 17.2

    Joel’s prophecy also reaches down to “the great and the terrible day of the Lord.” The first advent of our Saviour to the world surely was not the great and the terrible day; for the angels announced that event with the song, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14.HEVI 17.3

    In the same prophecy of Joel we have the signs in the sun, moon, and stars, connected with what is called “the great and the terrible day of the Lord.” He says that day is “great and very terrible; and who can abide it?” Joel 1:11. Similar language is used in describing the Lord’s coming, under the opening of the sixth seal: “Who shall be able to stand?” Revelation 6:17. Joel also speaks of that time as the harvest and the judgment. Joel 3:12, 13.HEVI 17.4

    That the prophecy of the outpouring of the Spirit, as mentioned in Joel, relates to the whole of the gospel dispensation, and not simply to the manifestation on the day of Pentecost, is evident from the fact that no one is mentioned on the day of Pentecost as “seeing visions” or “dreaming dreams.” They spoke “with other tongues.” This is one of the manifestations of the Spirit of God, but not the one directly specified in Joel’s prophecy. We may, then, understand Peter as saying, “This is the outpouring of the Spirit as spoken of by the prophet Joel,” and not that its fulfilment in its entirety took place upon that day. The manifestation seen upon the day of Pentecost marked the beginning of the fulfilment of the prediction which is to cover the whole dispensation.HEVI 17.5

    The working of the Spirit, through the manifestation of the gifts, is very fully set forth by the apostle Paul, when writing to the Corinthians. He says: “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 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 selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.HEVI 17.6

    In the same chapter the apostle, speaking still further upon this subject, says: “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. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way.” Verses 28-31.HEVI 17.7

    These gifts God set in the church, and we have no testimony in the Scripture record that he ever set these gifts out of the church, or even that they would be no more, until “that which is perfect”-the perfect day-shall come. 1 Corinthians 13:9, 10. As these gifts are the ways of the working of the Comforter,-the Holy Spirit that was to abide with the church forever,-why not let our faith grasp the fact that the Lord still manifests these gifts in the church when and as it pleases him?HEVI 17.8

    “THE heart whose attitude is trust,
    At his dear feet will listen;
    Until the path his love doth choose,
    With his own light will glisten.
    The atmosphere that’s nearest him,
    To loyal hearts is never dim.”
    HEVI 18.1

    The Review and Herald, April 25, 1899.HEVI 18.2

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