The Spirit of Prophecy: The False and the True
A.T. Jones, 1916
In the Western Canadian Tidings of July 26, 1916, there is printed an official communication of the Seventh Day Adventist denomination by Elder F. W. Paap, Home Missions Secretary, N. A. Division, that is of interest to many people beside those of that denomination.
This communication is in promotion of the purpose to have every S.D.A. family to buy a set of "the Testimonies."
First there is quoted Rev. 12:17 and 19:10 thus:
Then upon that, there is said the following:
We wish to emphasize the words, "and have the spirit of prophecy." Yes, they have the volumes of the spirit of prophecy in their homes for the purpose of getting the counsel into their hearts.
That word says that these people "have the spirit of prophecy" by having or because they "have the volumes of the spirit of prophecy in their homes."
And even then this is not in order, or for the purpose, that they shall get the spirit of prophecy into their hearts; but only "for the purpose of getting the counsel into their hearts."
And that is only plainly to say that these "volumes" are "the spirit of prophecy": and that the people and that denomination "have the spirit of prophecy" by, and only by, having "the volumes of the spirit of prophecy in their homes."
Above The Bible
If that be so, then what of the volumes of the Bible In their homes? Are not these the spirit of prophecy too? To this question the S.D.A.'s answer "No." And they have always answered "No."
Now it is indisputable that whatever is the spirit of prophecy, is of a higher order and character than anything that is not the spirit of prophecy.
Therefore, when they say that the volumes of the Bible are not the spirit of prophecy, and that these "volumes" are the spirit of prophecy, then in that, beyond all question, they give to the volumes of "the Testimonies" a higher order and character than they allow to the volumes of the Bible. That fact they never can escape.
They can not shift their hitherto always occupied ground, and now say that the volumes of the Bible are the spirit of prophecy; for that will be only to say that the volumes of the Bible always have been the spirit of prophecy.
And then by their own words it will be admitted that all through the ages those who had these volumes of the Bible, thereby and therein had the spirit of prophecy in their homes, for the purpose of getting its counsel into their hearts.
But for them to take that ground would be to annihilate their claim in behalf of "the Testimonies"; which claim is, that this "spirit of prophecy" is a new and peculiar development that marks a specific time and work, and that distinguishes that denomination as the special and peculiar people of God.
Accordingly, by their own official printed words they are shut up to the fact that they do give to "the volumes of the spirit of prophecy" commonly called "the Testimonies" a higher standing and character than they allow to the volumes of the Bible.
Their Claim Nullified
Further: The basis of their claim that those volumes of "the Testimonies" are the spirit of prophecy, is that they were written by Mrs. E. G. White and that in these times "the spirit of prophecy was manifested through Mrs. E. G. White and through Mrs. E. G. White alone, who was thereby "a prophetess."
But in the autumn of 1915 Mrs. E. G. White died. Then even they could not claim that the spirit of prophecy is manifested through a person who is dead.
Therefore they are now under the necessity of shifting the spirit of prophecy from that person to that person's writings; and even these writings only in a certain "set" of "volumes."
This shift then is assertive of the claim that whoever has the writings of a person who while he lived had the spirit of prophecy, after that person is dead has in his writings still the spirit of prophecy.
But that is again to say that whoever has the writings of the prophets of the Bible, has in those writings the spirit of prophecy; and that all through the ages this has been so. And this destroys the very foundation of their claim as a denomination that because of the spirit of prophecy as manifested through Mrs. E. G. White and now in these "volumes," that denomination has a specific and peculiar standing and character as the true church and people of God.
Again: Till Mrs. E. G. White died their constant claim was that the Scriptures are not the spirit of prophecy, because the spirit of prophecy must be manifested through a living person.
And for them now to publish as in the official words above quoted that they have the spirit of prophecy in having "the volumes of the spirit of prophecy," is positively to shift ground and therein deny what they have always formerly affirmed; and is also to admit that the volumes of the Bible are and always have been the spirit of prophecy, or else still bold that the Scriptures are not the spirit of prophecy while these "volumes" are and thus give to these "volumes" a standing and character above the Bible.
And if to them another "prophet" should arise, the spirit of prophecy would have to be shifted back to the living person. And then "the volumes" as the spirit of prophecy would be completely nullified and stranded. Yet in truth no more than now.
Surer than the Bible
Again: Upon the Scripture "Where there is no vision the people perish," their stock argument has been that in order that the people shall be safe and surely guided, so that they shall not perish, there must be visions: and these the visions of a living prophet.
Now the person is dead in whom "alone" they centered all true or proper visions. And now to them where are the visions without which the people perish?
Will they say that these "volumes" are now the visions without which the people perish? Even this is actually implied, and in fact is almost said, in the following sentence of Elder Paap's article:
And that again gives to these "volumes" a standing and character so far above the Bible that with the Bible alone the people perish: but with these "volumes" they cannot perish because in having "the volumes" they have "the spirit of prophecy in their homes" and so have the "visions" and are safe!
Again: While Mrs. White lived their claim and argument was, "We are the true people of God because we have a prophet."
It mattered nothing to them nor to their argument that repeatedly in public and in private the one whom they claimed to be a prophet asserted that she was "not a prophet" and made "no such claim."
Against her own plain word repeated they insisted that she was a prophet, and that they were the true people of God because they had a prophet.
Now that person is dead: and they themselves must admit that now they have no prophet. And confessedly having no prophet, can they now claim upon that basis that they are the true people of God above any other Christians?
Or will they now claim that these "volumes" are a prophet as they claim that the "volumes" are the spirit of prophecy?
They can claim the one as fairly as the claim the other: and the one claim would be just as true as the other.
The "Infallible" Interpreter
Finally: Since they affirm that now these "volumes" are the spirit of prophecy, above the Bible, and as such spirit of prophecy are necessarily infallible, then it follows that these "volumes" must have an infallible interpreter.
They will not allow that the people are qualified to interpret and apply the "volumes" each one for himself. There is no right of private judgment there.
That final and infallible interpreter must be "the church." And this "the church" simply the few or the one in the church who can gain the position. And whether, this be on occasion or permanently, the principle is the same.
And so that church occupies exactly the corresponding position as to those "volumes," that the church of Rome occupies; as to the Bible.
And that church with these "volumes" stands to the Bible exactly as does the Mormon church with the Book of Mormon and the "Mother church" of Christian Science with the volume of Mrs. Eddy's.
The True Spirit of Prophecy
The Christian truth of the Spirit of prophecy is far better than and or all of that quicksand of error and delusion. And here is that truth: "When He the Spirit of Truth is come, He will guide you into all truth:... and He will show you things to come."
Whoever from God shows things to come is a prophet. And that which is thus, shown is prophecy. Here is the personal Spirit of Truth given, "and He will show you things to come."
There is the Spirit of prophecy. There is the true Spirit of prophecy. And there alone is the true Spirit of prophecy. Whoever has Him showing to him things to come, has the Spirit of prophecy.
And He is the free gift of God to every believing soul. Receive ye Him, the Spirit of Truth: and when He is come to you He will show you things to come.
And He, and He alone, is ever and forever God's own and only given true and infallible Interpreter and Guide.
"My prayers that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the Spirit of ... revelation." Eph. 1:17.
Category: Pioneer Documents
Please SHARE this using the social media icons below