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Heavenly Visions

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    THE GIFT OF PROPHECY

    J. N. LOUGHBOROUGH

    “FOLLOW after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.” 1 Corinthians 14:1. In the enumeration of the gifts, as the Lord places them in the church, the gift of prophecy is the second in order, as is seen by reading 1 Corinthians 12:28: “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets.” As we look still further in Paul’s writings, we see in his comparison of the gifts why this order is observed: “Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.” 1 Corinthians 14:22. The work of an apostle is to lead out in raising up companies of believers, and in planting the standard of truth, in various fields; then follows instruction through the gift of prophecy, for the counsel, encouragement, and building up of the church.HEVI 24.5

    As we look at the apostle Paul’s writings concerning the second coming of Christ, it will be observed that he connects the gift of prophecy with the heralding of that event. In the Thessalonian letter he says: “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.... But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” 1 Thessalonians 5:2-5.HEVI 24.6

    To that people who are not in the dark concerning the coming of the Lord the apostle gives the following weighty exhortations: “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesying. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-21. It is evident from this language that if the Spirit of the Lord is left to work as God designs, there will be among the believers of the second advent, good and true manifestations of the prophetic gift. Murdock’s Syriac translation of this text reads: “Despise not prophesying.” Greenfield, in his Greek lexicon, gives as the meaning of the word here rendered “prophesyings,” “the exercise of the gift of prophecy, in this sense. 1 Thessalonians 5:20.” With this also agree the lexicons of Parkhurst, Robinson, and Liddel and Scott.HEVI 24.7

    In the writing to the Corinthians concerning the day of the Lord, and the end of all things, the apostle teaches the same great truth respecting the exercise of the gifts of the Spirit of God. He says, “I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that in everything ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you [“among you,” Syriac and Boothroyd]: so that he come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:4-8.HEVI 25.1

    From this scripture we learn that those who are waiting for Christ’s coming, and who are to be confirmed to the end, and who are found “blameless” at his coming, are to be favored with all the gifts of the Holy Spirit.HEVI 25.2

    That which prepares the way for this desirable condition is the confirming of “The testimony of Christ.” What is this “testimony of Jesus” which is “confirmed in” them, and “among” them?-This is clearly defined in Revelation 19, where we have record of John in vision on the Isle of Patmos. As he saw the glory of the angel who showed him those wonderful things, he took him to be an object for his worship, and he said: “I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of they brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”. Revelation 19:10. This being an inspired explanation of the “testimony of Jesus,” let us read the text given in 1 Corinthians 1, with this definition inserted: “The spirit of prophecy” was confirmed in you or among you: so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Review and Herald, June 27, 1899HEVI 25.3

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