Revelation 12 - The True Church

Updated: Jan 10, 2020

Revelation speaks of two women, one pure, (Rev 12) the other a whore (Rev 17). These two women represent the true and false Christian churches in the world today. This chapter will identify the true... "which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."


"All need wisdom carefully to search out the mystery of iniquity that figures so largely in the winding up of this earth’s history.... In the very time in which we live, the Lord has called His people and has given them a message to bear. He has called them to expose the wickedness of the man of sin who has made the Sunday law a distinctive power, who has thought to change times and laws, and to oppress the people of God who stand firmly to honor Him by keeping the only true Sabbath, the Sabbath of creation, as holy unto the Lord." { Testimonies to Ministers 117.5}




"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."


Revelation Chapter 12

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and [to] his throne.

6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days.

7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

12 Therefore rejoice, [ye] heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man [child].

14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.

16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.

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.


The true remnant church of Christ (the pure woman) keeps the commandments of God (all ten of them including the Seventh Day Sabbath which is Saturday) and have the testimony of Jesus Christ which is the Spirit of prophecy (Rev 19:10).


OVERVIEW

God presents the history of His church under the symbol of a pure woman and her experience. Satan and the kingdoms he has used to oppose God and His church are symbolized by a seven-headed dragon. This chapter includes many things that occurred before Johnʼs time showing that not all of Revelation was future of Johnʼs day.


  • Revelation 12 identifies the true church (the pure woman) which keeps the law of God

  • Revelation 12 identifies the originator of the true church (the man-child, Jesus Christ, the seed of the woman)

  • Revelation 12 identifies the remnant church's great enemy (the dragon=the devil / Satan)

  • Revelation 12 shows the dragon trying to rid the earth of the man-child (Jesus) using the empire of Rome

  • Revelation 12:17 shows the unrelenting attack on the true church by the dragon (Devil / Satan)

  • Revelation 12 shows the earth swallowing up the flood sent by the dragon as the woman flees to the new world - the USA.

  • Revelation 12, therefore, shows that the true remnant church, the remnant of her seed which keeps all the commandments of God and has the spirit of prophecy could only have arisen in the land of the free - the USA.


verse 1 A great wonder in heaven

Heaven = Gr. ouranos - heaven, air, sky, where God dwells. Here the region occupied by the Sun, Moon and stars, not the heaven where God dwells for the things described in this vision did not occur in heaven but on earth.


Revelation 12 and13 present the unholy trinity:

  • The Dragon seen in heaven

  • The Beast which comes from the sea

  • The False prophet comes from the earth.

The places remind us of the Sabbath commandment which says, “For [in] six days the LORD made HEAVEN and EARTH, the SEA, and all that in them [is]” (Exo 20:8- 11).


verse 1 The Woman

Woman = The pure or true church. In the both the Old and New Testament a pure woman symbolises a pure church (Isa 54:5, 6; Jer 6:2; 2Cor 11:2; Eph 5:25-32); a corrupt woman symbolises a corrupt church (Jer 3:20; Eze 23:2-4; Rev 17:1-3). The pure woman of Rev 12 represents the true church because she gives birth to Christ (v 5) and is clothed with Heavenʼs lights (v 1).

The true church in the Old Testament is one with the true Church in the New Testament. Christ is not going to marry two women, Israel and the church, but one, because they are one church.


Acts 7:38 refers to Israel as the “CHURCH (ekklesia) in the wilderness.” The “congregation,” “gathering” and “assemembly,” of ISRAEL in the Old Testament is translated “ekklesia (CHURCH),” in the LXX (Greek Bible).


2Cor 11:2 refers to the true church as a “VIRGIN.” Does the fact that this woman in Rev 12 is pregnant prove that she is not the church? Not at all, because virgins can conceive.

This symbolic woman gives birth to Christ, the “man child,” (v 5). Therefore this symbolic woman is symbolically the mother of Jesus. Who is Jesusʼ Mother symbolically speaking? Jesus said, “...My MOTHER and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.” (Luke 8:20-21).


This woman in Rev 12 cannot be Christʼs literal mother Mary because: (a) This vision is symbolic, not literal. Mary did not give birth to Jesus in heaven, no literal dragon was present at the birth, Mary was not clothed with the Sun, moon and stars, etc. (b) Mary did not flee into the wilderness for 1260 days following Christʼs ascension as this woman did (v 6).

The woman is represented as fully organized with the 12 apostles before the birth of Christ is described.



verse 1 Clothed with the Sun, Moon, Stars

Clothed with the Sun = The glory of the New Testament dispensation. Christ revealed in the New Testament (Mal 4:2; John 8:12). She (the true church) is clothed with the great light of the New Testament.


Standing upon the Moon = The Mosaic dispensation. She stands on the types of the Old Testament (moon) - Christ reflected in the Old Testament and type of the Sanctuary service. As the Moon foretells of the coming sun, so the Old Testament foretold of the coming the Sun of righteousness. (2Cor 3:7-9). They had types and shadows, we have antitype and substance.


Wearing a crown of 12 Stars = Christ revealed in his people (Dan 12:3). Crown of 12 stars = 12 tribes in the Old Testament. 12 disciples in the New Testament.


Sun. Moon & Stars are all the heavenly lights. The church is “throughly furnished unto all good works.” 2Tim 3:17.

Without the light of truth we would not be able to see the dragon! The woman (Church) is introduced as longing for the appearance of the man child - Christ.

The Sun, Moon and eleven stars are seen in a symbolic vision in Gen 37:9. The Sun - Josephʼs father. The Moon - his Mother

The 11 stars - his brethren. If these symbols are used in Rev 12 then the woman is not Israel, but clothed with him, standing on Josephʼs mother etc.


verse 3 The 7-headed Great Red Dragon = the Devil or Satan Rev 12:9

Red symbolizes sin & blood (Isa 1:18).

Dragon = A Kingdom or a king. God called Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, a great dragon (Eze 29:3). Egypt is a “whale [tanniym - dragon] in Eze 32:2. The dragon is Egypt in Isa 59:1-2.

Babylon is likened to a dragon (Jer 51:34) Leviathan is a dragon (Isa 27:1).

The dragon in Rev 12 primarily symbolises Satan (v 9). Secondarily it symbolizes the Roman Empire because it was through Rome that Satan tried to kill Jesus at His birth as described in verse 4. Compare Matt 2:16. Herod was a Roman appointed ruler who tried to kill baby Jesus. So was Pilate who delivered up Jesus to death.

Incidentally the Roman Empire even used the red dragon as their symbol.

As the seven-headed dragon existed in Christʼs time (v 1-4), and persecutes the end-time remnant (v 17), it obviously symbolizes more than just the Roman Empire.

As Egypt was the superpower at the time Israelʼs deliverer was born, so Rome was the superpower at the time when the Christ the Deliverer, was born. See Chart


Seven crowned heads

The crowns upon the seven heads show that the heads symbolise seven different beasts which represent seven political kingdoms or nations through which Satan has opposed Godʼs work on earth. These figure in other prophecies:


Beast = Kingdom - Daniel 7:23. Excluding the Ram and He-Goat which are sacrificial animals used in the sanctuary service, there are only 7 beasts in Daniel and Revelation representing the seven kingdoms of Bible prophecy.


1. Babylon - the Lion of Daniel 7

2. Medo-Persia, - the Bear of Daniel 7

3. Greece, - the Leopard of Daniel 7

4. Pagan Rome, - the Terrible beast of Daniel 7

5. The Papal State, - the Beast of revelation 13:1-10

6. The atheistic State, (Atheism) - the Beast from the Bottomless Pitt of Revelation 11

7. The Apostate Protestant State. - the Second beast of Revelation 13:11-17


The 10 horns symbolically represent the nations of Europe which give their power to the beast. (See on Rev 17).


verse 4 The dragonʼs tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven and did cast them to the earth

As we are dealing with a symbolic dragon, the stars which his “tail” drew are symbolic stars.

Tail = The lies of a false prophet. (Isa 9:15). Those who do not keep the commandment of the Lord are likened to tails (Deut 28:13).

Stars = Angels. (Job 38:7)

Satan was cast out of heaven (Isa 14:12) as a sinner. “Sin is the transgression of the law.” 1John 3:4.

Satan rebelled against the eternal law of God, which is a transcript of Godʼs character of love (Rom 13:8-10). Deceived by his lies 1/3 of the angels (“stars”) sided with Satan and were cast out of heaven with him.

Incidentally the Jews had three rulers, Kings, Priests and Sanhedrin. Rome took away 1/3 when they removed the Jewish kings.


verse 4 To devour her child at birth

Satan moved on Herod, a representative of Pagan Rome, to kill Christ as soon as He was born (Matt 2:16).


verse 5 The man child

The man child = Christ, the “Son of man.” The man child literally “a son, a man,” is an unusual expression which points to Christ. “Son of man” was the title Christ most often used for Himself.

Christ will “rule” (destroy) all nations with a rod of iron (Rev 19:15; Ps 2:7-9).

Christ was caught up to Godʼs throne (Rev 3:21; Heb 1:12; 10:12).


verse 6 Woman fled into the wilderness

After Christʼs ascension Satan “persecuted the woman which brought forth the manchild.” (v 13). Through Pagan Rome Satan attempted to exterminate the church but she survived. The power of Pagan Rome which had withheld the rise of “that wicked,” was eventually “taken out of the way,” and the “man of sin” was revealed taking Godʼs place as lord over the chuch. (2Thess 2). This apostate organisation, Papal Rome, continued to persecute the true church causing her to flee into the wilderness areas of Europe. There for over 1000 years faithful saints, such as the Waldenses, maintained the ancient faith.

See Appendix.


verse 6 That they should feed her

Verse 13 says that the church was “nourished.” The Church feeds on and is nourished with, “every Word of God” (Mattt 4:4), both the Old & New Testaments.

Verse 14 says that the woman fled into the wilderness on eagleʼs wings. This symbolism is drawn from the Exodus (Exo 19:4). As God “fed” literal Israel in the wilderness with manna (Deut 8:16), so He fed the church in the wilderness with the word of God (John 6:49-63). “THEY” which fed her are the two witnesses, the Old & New Testaments which testify of Christ (See on Rev 11).

The church in the wilderness during the period of Papal supremacy had the word of God unadulterated. This made them special objects of Satanʼs hatred.

Of all English versions the KJV is the most similar to the unadulterated word of God possessed by the church of the wilderness. The manuscripts from which the KJV was translated are in harmony with the manuscripts held by the church in the wilderness and with about 95% of all known Bible manuscripts! Many newer versions are not.

verse 6 The 1260 days

This is a symbolic prophecy, and as a symbolic day = a year (Eze 4:6; Num 14:34). the 1260 days = 1260 years. For 1260 years the apostate church had power - (538 - 1798. See on Dan 7:25). During this time Satan used the apostate church to “make WAR,” on God's faithful saints. The Waldenses and Albigenses in the wilderness areas of Europe maintained the true faith observing ALL of Godʼs ten commandment, including the seventh day Sabbath. It is those who keep ALL of Godʼs commandments that Satan hates most (See v 17).

See Appendix - Waldenses. See General Introduction - Time periods.


verses 7-11 War in heaven

The RSV says, “NOW war arose in heaven,” as if the war followed the 1260 days. However in the underlying Greek there is no word for “now.” The KJV, NASB, NIV are all truer to the Greek on this verse.

Verses 6 -7 contain a transition from events on earth to events in heaven. Verse 6 described the 1260 years during which the little horn/beast, “made WAR” on Christʼs saints (See Dan 7:21; Rev 13:7). Rev 12:7 then takes us back to the very BEGINNING of the great controversy between Christ and Satan when “WAR” broke out in heaven.

“Michael” is a transliteration of the Heb. Mikael, which means “Who is like God?” It is one of Christʼs names.


verses 8-9 Satan and his angels CAST OUT

The heaven in v 1 was the sky. The heaven here is the place where God dwells and the place from which Satan fell. Michael and His angels cast Satan and his angels OUT of heaven before the creation of the world. “Cast out of heaven, Satan set up his kingdom in this world, and ever since, he has been untiringly striving to seduce human beings from their allegiance to God.” E.G. White, 7 Manuscript Release, p63.


verse 9 That old serpent called the Devil and Satan

Verse 9 calls the dragon, “that old SERPENT.” This brings to mind the events

long ago in Eden. After being thrown out of heaven (v 8) Satan entered Eden and, through the medium of a SERPENT, he managed to get mankind to follow him into sin. Satan thus became the “prince of this world,” and the “whole world” has been deceived into sin.


verse 10 Accuser cast DOWN

As the “prince of this world” Satan regained access to certain councils in heaven as the representative head of this planet (See Job 1:6-7; John 12:31). There Satan ACCUSED the brethren. None had lived a sinless life until the Messiah came.

In carrying out his enmity toward Christ till he crucified Him, Satan completely uprooted himself from the affections of the universe. Christʼs death silenced forever Satanʼs claims that with God self-denial was impossible. It was seen that God denied Himself because of His love for mankind. He who had been accusing the brethren since he had lured mankind into sin, was, at Calvary, cast DOWN to the earth, the only place in the universe where he still finds a welcome.

At Christ's birth the angels had rejoiced and when Christ defeated Satan on Calvary the inhabitants of heaven declared as one voice, “Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” Wonderful thought, that those in heaven regard us as their brethren.

Salvation - Salvation is sure. Strength - The strength of Christ to save is His love seen in glory on Calvary.

Kingdom - Christ kingdom is sure. His power or authority is come.


verse 11 They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony

“Christ has made it possible for every member of the human family to resist temptation.”

By the blood of the lamb, and Christ who is the “WORD” of the Christians testimony. “If ye abide in me, and my WORDS abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”

“Ye shall be WITNESSES unto me.”


verse 11 They loved not their lives unto the death

All must die to self. Many, especially during the 1260 years, literally gave their lives rather than dishonour Christ by sinning.


verse 12 Rejoice ye heavens, and ye that dwell in THEM

There is the heaven where God dwells. There is also the heaven where the stars shine. In these “heavens” there are those who rejoice in Christʼs victory and the certain end of Satan and evil.

1Cor 4:9 speaks of mankind being a spectacle to the “worlds,” Gr. kosmos, where unfallen beings dwell.

Satan was CAST OUT of heaven before the creation of the world (v 9), he was CAST DOWN at Calvary (v 10), he will soon be CAST INTO the bottomless pit (Rev 20:1-3) and he knows that he will soon be CAST INTO the lake of fire (Rev 20:10). He is full of wrath knowing that he hath but a short time left.

“Short” time, Gr. oligos, means “few, small, little,” but its size is dependant upon that with which it is compared. James speaks of a manʼs life as a “little time (a little oligos).” James 4:4.

In Rev 12:12 oligos refers to a period that is “short (oligos),” compared with the more than 4000 years Satan has been doing evil.


verse 13 Persecuted the woman

Having failed to kill Christ, the man child who ascended to heaven, Satan turned his wrath upon Christʼs church.


verse 14 Church in the wilderness

Verse 14 brings us back to the period during which the true church was in seclusion, hiding from her foes in the wilderness (See on verse 6).

The faithful fled into the wilderness on eagleʼs wings (cf. See on v 6; Exo 19:4), and was “nourished” with the Word of God (cf. John 6:31, 49-51).

1Tim 4:6 “ ...nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine.”

The 3 1/2 times = 1260 days (v 6) which symbolize 1260 years, “each day for a year,” Eze 4:6; Num 14:34. The exact term is used in Dan 7:25, the period during which the little horn power, that arose from among the 10 nations of Europe, persecuted he church.


verse 15 The serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood

The Mouth suggests words. Waters symbolize many People (Rev 17:15; Isa 59:19).

The earth, in contrast to waters, symbolizes unpopulated areas. Satanʼs lies caused a flood of evil people to pursue the church but the earth helped the woman. An estimated 50-100 million perished in the “flood” but the church was not entirely swallowed up. The earth helped the woman, opened itʼs mouth and swallowed up the flood.


verse 16 The earth helped the woman

The sparsely populated wilderness areas of Europe became a hiding place for the faithful. Toward the end of this period of flight the discovery of that vast wilderness known today as America also provided a haven for the persecuted where they could worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences.


verse 17 The dragon goes to make war on those who keep Godʼs commandments

Having failed to destroy the church in the wilderness Satan is wrath. In his final efforts Satan will deceive the world into condemning to death the remnant (the last part), of the faithful who follow Christʼs example and keep ALL of Godʼs ten commandments. (See Rev 13:15). These ten commandments are the foundation of Godʼs government and are enshrined beneath Godʼs throne in the ark in heaven (Rev 11:19).

The fact that the remnant are described as commandment keepers shows that the commandments of God will be especially controverted in the last days.


Papal Rome can only "think" to change Godʼs commandments by substituting the first day, Sunday, in place of the Lordʼs seventh day Sabbath (See on Dan 7:25). The remnant however keep ALL of Godʼs law. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one [point], he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10). Those with a carnal heart make excuses for failing to remember to keep ALL of Godʼs commandments (Rom 8:7). God could not change one part of His commandments for they are the foundation of His government. It was because of this that Christ died to save us and this shows the unchangeable nature of Godʼs law.


verse 17 Testimony of Jesus

Johnʼs brethren the prophets had the testimony of Jesus (Rev 22:9). “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” Rev 19:10. How natural that this gift is given to the commandment keepers as the Holy Spirit is only given “to them that obey Him [God].” Acts 5:32.

Many claim to have prophets but in virtually every case they do not keep all the commandments of God. They are therefore “false prophets.” Matt 24:24.

Mosesʼ prayer will be answered when God seals His end-time people and pours out His spirit on them, “would God that ALL the LORDʼS people were PROPHETS, [and] that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!” (Num 11:29).

Joel foretold “And it shall come to pass afterward, [that] I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:” Joel 2:28-30. This was partially fulfilled at Pentecost but a greater fulfillment awaits.


WHAT CAN WE LEARN?

To know the future look at the past. As the church fled from apostate Christian persecutors in the past so the faithful will have to flee into wilderness areas again. Satan, angry with those who keep all of Godʼs commandments, and knowing that he has a short time, will come down personating Christ (Matt 24:23-27) and lead his followers to make war on the faithful, but he will be defeated at the last great battle.


APPENDIX


Rev 12 identifies the end-time Remnant Church:

  • 1. The remnant Church appeared AFTER the 1260 year wilderness period. i.e. after 1798.

  • 2. It is a minority group. A “remnant.”

  • 3. Teaches the same as the Apostles for it is the remnant of the original church.

  • 4. Is Worldwide because it must take the true gospel to all the world.

  • 5. Teaches salvation through faith in Christ.

  • 6. Keeps ALL of Godʼs ten commandments including the Lordʼs seventh day Sabbath, the commandment that virtually all churches have forgotten.

  • 7. Is an “Adventist” Church hastening the Second “Advent” (Coming) of Christ.

  • 8. Has been given the gift of prophecy.

Only the Seventh-day Adventist church fits all seven points. It is worldwide, established in more countries than any other Protestant denomination. As of 2007 it has about 16,000,000 members baptizing over 1000 every day from all races, cultures, and religions in preparation for the Lordʼs soon return. This Movement, like the early church, arose after disappointment and was raised to finish the work that the apostles began (See Rev 10). To this Movement God has given the spirit of prophecy gift through a frail woman, Mrs. Ellen G. White. Without formal education this woman wrote more than 50 books of Inspired instruction to the Remnant people of God. As well as being the most prolific woman writer of all time she led out in establishing hospitals, schools, health food factories, and missionary programs all over the world. Through her Christ has given precious instruction to His people in every area of life: Christian service, health, education, home and church activity. These Inspired counsels do not add to the Bible and are not the basis for any doctrine but amplify the Word of God that all might fulfill their high calling in Christ.


A Call

The various denominations contain many loving Christians but denominations that do not keep ALL of Godʼs commandments, and those which have not the genuine gift of prophecy, cannot be the true remnant church into which Jesus is calling His people. Jesus accepts as His, many who have died in these denominations because Jesus can save people who sin in ignorance. However, when He reveals new truths those who knowingly continue in error cannot be saved unless they turn from sin.


“There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Eph 4:5. Christ says, “Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” John 10:16.


Revelation 12 describes the true fold (church) as a pure woman. Revelation 17 describes the false church as the whore of Babylon. Today God is calling His people out of Babylon (Rev 18:2-4) into the true church before itʼs too late. Sadly Jesus said, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity [sin].” Matt 7:22-23.


The Waldenses

The Waldenses lived in the Cottian Alps 30 miles west of Turin, in northern Italy. It is often claimed that the Waldenses began with Peter Waldo in the 12th century but they existed long before him.

“Their [the Waldenses] beginning we have fixed according to the common reckoning of ancient writers , A.D. 1170; but it appears that they existed long before.”Thieleman J. van Braught, Martyrs Mirror, p 290.


“He [Peter Waldo] and his followers formed a centre around which gathered the Arnoldisti and the Humiliati of Italy, the Petrobrusion and Albigensians of France, and perhaps the Apostolics of the Rhine Valley...Some claimed Claude, Bishop of Turin (822-839) as their founder; others held that they were the successors of a small group of good men who had protested against the degradation of the Church in the days of Sylvester I [Pope 314-335] and [Emperor] Constantine [280-337]...It is certain, at all events, that the Waldensians of Piedmont were a fusion of various sects.” Ellen Scott Davison (died 1921), Forerunners of St. Francis and other Studies, Edited by Gertrude R.B. Richards, Houghton Miffen Company, Boston, 1927, pp237, 252, 253.


“One of their [the Waldensesʼ] opinions, that the ...keeping of the Sabbath...ought to take place.” Peter Allix, The Ancient Churches of Piedmont, Richard Chiswell, London, 1690, p 154.


“Observance of the Sabbath...is enjoined [by the Waldenses].” Adam Blair, History of the Waldenses, Adam and Charles Black, Edinburgh, 1833, Vol. 1, p 220.


“...not a few [Waldenses of the fifteenth century] celebrated the Sabbath with the Jews.“ Beitrage zur Sektengeschichte des Mittelalters [Reports on the Hostory of the Sects in the Middle Ages], Munich, 1890, second part, p661.


“Behind the lofty bulwarks of the mountains...the Waldenses found a hiding place. Here the light of truth was kept burning amid the darkness of the Middle Ages. Here for a thousand years, witnesses for the truth maintained the ancient faith.” E.G. White, Great Controversy, p 65-66.


“...the Waldenses, some of whom were observers of the Sabbath.” E.G. White, Great Controversy, p 577


THE PERPETUITY OF THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT

We should understand spiritual gifts

1Cor 12:1 “Now concerning spiritual [gifts], brethren, I would not have you ignorant.”


The gifts were given and will continue to be given until “we,” i.e. Christians, are perfected.

Eph 4:8-13 “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men...And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till WE all come in 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 fulness of Christ:”


The gifts of prophecy, tongues and knowledge will pass away when we see God and all the heavenly things the Bible describes, “face to face.”

The gifts will cease “when that which is perfect is come,” when we see “face to face” and when we “know even as also I [we] are known.” (1Cor 13:8-12).

This confirms that the gifts will continue to be given until the Second Coming when, instead of seeing “darkly,” (v 12) through the Scriptures, we will see “face to face.”


The gifts are given to accomplish the churchʼs mission, and maintain unity.

Matt 28:18-19 “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations...”

Eph 4:11-12 “...gave gifts unto men...For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (See also 1Cor 14:22).

The gifts continue to benefit the ministry.


Every true believer receives a gift.

1Cor 12:8-14 “...But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to EVERY man severally as he will...For the body is not one member but many”

Each church member is given a gift to play their part in the church “body.”


God set the gifts in the church body as it hath pleased Him.

1Cor 12:18 “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body as it hath pleased him.”

1Cor 12:28 “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.”

Nowhere is God said to have ʻun-setʼ them.


Not all have the same gifts

(1Cor 12:29-30; 12:4-10). Not all believers work miracles or speak in tongues etc.


The gifts are given as and how the Holy Spirit chooses

1Cor 12:11 “...dividing to every man severally AS HE WILL.” (also 2Pet 1:21). At times the gifts were bestowed at the laying on of the apostlesʼ hands (Acts 8:18). At other times they were not (Acts 2:3-4). The death of the apostles is nowhere said to have ended the bestowal of spiritual gifts. The gifts are to continue in the church until the church is perfected (Eph 4:8-13).


The parable of the talents includes spiritual gift/s given to every believer

(Matt 25:14-30). All believers are to be tested on the use of their talents - gifts.


Jesus said the gifts would be seen in the true church.

Mark 16:17-18 “And these signs shall fol- low them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”


The gifts have special reference to the last days and will be seen unto the end

1Cor 1:6-8 “Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that ye come be- hind 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.”


The true end-time church has the testimony of Jesus which is the Spirit of prophecy.

Rev 12:17 “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the com- mandments of God, and have the TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST.”

Rev 19:10 “...I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS IS THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY.” Rev 22:9 “I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets...” The prophets have the testimony of Jesus.

As the prophetic gift was given to the church in the Exodus (Hos 12:13; Acts 7:38) it is no surprise, then, to find the prophetic gift among those who are involved in the ultimate Exodus from the world.


We are warned that in the end times there will be “false” prophets.

(Rev 16:13; 19:20; 20:10; Matt 24:24). The end-time warning is not against all prophets only false prophets. The counterfeit clearly indicates the existence of the true.


We are to test prophets

(1John 4:1) We test them according “to the law and the testimony” (Isa 8:20) rather than reject them all. Some will be genuine. 1Thess 5:19-21 “Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”

This is given in reference to the last days (v 2-4, 23). We are to prove which prophets in the last days are genuine.


Joel prophesied that the prophetic gift would be given in the last days, in association with the great and terrible day of the Lord

(Joel 2:28-32). The “former rain,” or outpouring of the Spirit, was given “moderately” (Joel 2:23) on the day of Pentecost. This occurred at the beginning of the New Testament church to cause the gospel seed to germinate and take root (Acts 2:16-21). The “latter rain” is to come in the latter days of the church to ripen the harvest prior to the reaping (Joel 2:23; James 5:7- 8). Take care lest unbelief in you quench the Spirit, and shut you away from this coming blessing.


Why do we not see many spiritual gifts in operation today?

(a) God does not always choose to work miracles to heal (2Tim 4:20; 1Tim 5:23).

(b) Some gifts are not perceived as gifts.

(c) A lack of faith.

(d) Church creeds have replaced the gifts of the Spirit as a means of creating unity.


We are to desire the prophetic gift

(1Cor 14:1-5). Clearly it is available to us. Nothing limits this to apostolic times.


THE GIFT OF PROPHECY

The gift of prophecy is very important

1Cor 12:28 “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.”


Why are prophets still given now the Bible is complete?

Nathan, Gad, Asaph, Shemaiah, Azariah, Eliezer, Ahijah, Obed, Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, Simeon, John the Baptist, Agabus, Silas, Anna, and Philipʼs four daughters never had their testimonies added to the Bible. (2Chron 9:29; 2Chron 20:34; Luke 1:67-79; Acts 21:9; Acts 11:27-28; Acts 13:1; 15:32; 19:6). Extra-Biblical prophets do not supersede or add salvational truths to the Bible but uphold it and apply its principles to specific present situations.


Women may be prophets

(Acts 21:9; Luke 2:25-35; Joel 2:28).


The Testimony of Jesus

In the beginning God communicated with man face to face. After the fall God spoke through a mediator, either the Son of God (1Tim 2:5) or chosen prophets.

“Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7.


The Prophetic Gift

Prophets (Heb. Nabhi “spokesman”) re- ceive messages from God and share them with the church. (2Pet 1:21). “Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you,

[I] the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, [and] will speak unto him in a dream.” Num 12:6; cf. Job 33:15-16.


Seer, Messenger, Prophet, Watchman, Spokesman Prophets were sometimes called “Seers.” (1Sam 9:9). They saw visions, the future, menʼs hearts, coming dangers etc. Prophets are also called “messengers.” (2Chron 36:15; cf. Hag 1:1 and 1:13). John the Baptist was a prophet and a messenger (Luke 7:26-28). The prophet was also a “watchman” (Eze 3:17) warning of coming judgments and pointing the way of escape. Prophets may also relate past, present and future events (Rev 1:19). Prophets deal with eternal truths and especially that which concerns their own times (present truth). They deal with fundamental principles and as such their messages have a timeless usefulness.


God did not dictate (word for word) His revelations to the prophets

Prophets express revelations from God in their own style and choice of words, except for a few rare instances where the Lord or angels are quoted. Each book of the Bible bears the peculiarities of the prophetʼs style of expression. The Bible, like Christ, is therefore a union of the Divine and the Human. An infallible revelation of Godʼs will, through the weakness of a human channel.


Why the prophetic gift was removed

The withdrawal of the prophetic gift was associated with forgetting Godʼs law, (Eze 7:26; Eze 20:1-3, 16; Prov 29:18; Lam 2:9) in particular forgetting the Sabbath (Eze 20:12-19).

As a result of the falling away (2Thess 2) pagan practices and holy days were incorporated into the services of the church and misguided men replaced the Sabbath with Sunday, the first day of the week (See on Dan 7:25). The Protestant Reformation began to restore truths lost during the long Dark Ages. Around the time the forgotten Sabbath day was being revived the “testimony of Jesus” was also restored, and “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Rev 19:10. Two great characteristics of the end-time church are (Rev 12:17): 1. Keep the commandments of God. 2. Have the testimony of Jesus (the spirit of prophecy. Rev 19:10).


Doctrinal tests of a true Prophet:

1. They must confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. (1John 4:2-3). 2. They must speak according to Bible truth. (Isa 8:20; Jer 28:8-9).

3. Their predictions must be fulfilled. (Deut 18:20-22; Jer 28:9). At times prophecies may be conditional. e.g. Jonahʼs prophecy concerning Nineveh (Jon 3:4). Nineveh was not destroyed because Jonahʼs prophecy was conditional. Though Jonah is not recorded as having said it was conditional Jeremiah does (Jer 18:7-10).

4. Their lives must be holy. (Jer 7:8-10; 2Pet 1:21).


Physical Tests of a true Prophet

1. In vision a prophet may enter a trance- like state with eyes open. (Num 24:2-4, 15-16). 2. The initial condition of a true prophet in vision is weakness. (Dan 10:7-9; cf. Rev 1:17) followed by supernatural strength (Dan 10:17-19).

3. During the period of the vision a true prophet will often cease to breathe. (Dan 10:17). 4. When in vision a prophet is also totally unconscious as to what is going on around them. To the prophet the vision is indistinguishable from reality (2Cor 12:1-4).


We cannot properly represent God without sharing correct doctrine. Can doctrine be seperated from preaching Christ?


ELLEN WHITE

Introduction

The testimony of Jesus Christ (Rev 12:17) which is the spirit of prophecy (Rev 19:10) was manifested profoundly manifested in the life and work of Ellen Gould White. She was a prolific writer and the counsels from her pen encompass every facet of life. She never claimed to be a prophet, only a messenger.


This study addresses such questions as:

  • What authority does Ellen White have?

  • What is her relationship to the Bible?

  • Can we accept some of her writings while rejecting others?

  • What claims does she make for herself?

What did Ellen White claim regarding her testimonies?

“I do not write one article in the PAPER expressing merely my own ideas. They are what God has opened before me in vision...In these LETTERS which I write, in the TESTIMONIES I bear, I am presenting to you that which the Lord has presented to me” E.G. White, Testimonies, Vol. 5, p67.


“The Bible must be your counselor. Study it and the testimonies God has given; for they never contradict His word.” E.G. White, Selected Messages, book 3, p32.

“There is one straight chain of truth, without one heretical sentence, in that which I have written.” - Ibid., p52.

Her claim is that her writings in the paper, letters, and testimonies are not merely her own ideas but that which the Lord revealed.


Are some of her counsels divine and some faulty and human?

“Do not by your criticisms take out all the force, all the point and power, from the Testimonies. Do not feel that you can dissect them to suit your own ideas, claiming that God has given you ability to discern what is light from heaven and what is the expression of mere human wisdom. If the Testimonies speak not according to the Word of God, reject them. Christ and Belial cannot be united.” E.G. White, Testimonies Vol. 5, p691.


“If the preconceived opinions or particular ideas of some are crossed in being reproved by testimonies, they have a burden at once to make plain their position to discriminate between the testimonies, defining what is Sister Whiteʼs human judgment, and what is the word of the Lord. Everything that sustains their cherished ideas is divine, and the testimonies to correct their errors are human--Sister Whiteʼs opinions. They MAKE OF NONE EFFECT the counsel of God by their tradition.” E.G. White, Manuscript 16, 1889.


“It is Satanʼs plan to weaken the faith of Godʼs people in the Testimonies.” “Satan knows how to make his attacks. He works upon minds to excite jealousy and dissatisfaction toward those at the head of the work. The gifts are next questioned; then, of course, they have but little weight, and instruction given through vision is disregarded.” “Next follows skepticism in regard to the vital points of our faith, the pillars of our position, then doubt as to the Holy Scriptures, and then the downward march to perdition. When the Testimonies, which were once believed, are doubted and given up, Satan knows the deceived ones will not stop at this; and he redoubles his efforts till he launches them into open rebellion, which becomes incurable and ends in destruction.” E.G. White, Testimonies for the Church Vol. 5, p672.


There are only three possible responses to the writings of Ellen White:

1. Accept her testimonies fully as from God and thus 100% truth.

2. Reject ALL her testimonies as having no authority. 3. Claim that some of the testimonies are from God and some her opinion.

Those who claim that any part of the testimonies are untrue makes all her testimonies of NONE effect, untrustworthy and of no authority.


Does E.G. Whiteʼs statement that she never claimed to be infallible mean her writings contain mistakes?

“In regard to infallibility, I never claimed it; God alone is infallible. His word is true, and in Him is no variableness, or shadow of turning. (Letter 10, 1895), E.G. White, Selected Messages Book 1, p37.


None of the Bible prophets were infallible BUT their writings (the Bible) is infallible.

“Man is fallible, but Godʼs Word is infallible.” E.G. White, Selected Messages Book 1, p416.

“The Bible presents a perfect standard of character; it is an infallible guide under all circumstances, even to the end of the journey of life. ” Testimonies Vol. 5, p264.


All prophets, even true prophets, can have wrong concepts of truth and incomplete understanding. Daniel had misconceptions and misunderstandings (Dan 9:19; 12:8). However the inspired counsel given by true prophets is infallible. The men who wrote the Bible were not infallible but the Holy Spirit Who inspired them is. The infallible truth in the Bible is not the work of fallible men, but of the infallible Spirit of God.

Though a true prophet may not understand all things and even hold erroneous views, they proclaim no falsehood. There is no falsehood in their inspired writings or revelations. By the presence of falsehood we discern a false prophet. False prophets proclaim some truth and some error. If any of a prophets message is error they must be identified as a false prophet.

Either Ellen White's writings are a 100% true and we must accept all her messages as from God OR we must identify her as a false messenger and reject all her writings. This also has implications for our church because the true end-time church has the gift of prophecy (Rev 12:17; 19:10).