The church needs special direction from the Lord as the culmination of history draws near.
The book of Revelation predicts that the end-time remnant church would have the gift of prophecy. Its members are those “who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 12:17).
What is “the testimony of Jesus”? The angel explained to John that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10), which manifests itself in the prophets (Rev. 22:6, 9).
An Authentic Gift
Satan always tries to counterfeit what the Lord does. The enemy, who knows the importance of the Spirit of prophecy, has raised up false prophets in order to create confusion and hinder the work of God. One of the signs of the time of the end is the presence of “many false prophets” (Matt. 24:11) who “will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (verse 24). It is highly important to know how to evaluate whether those who claim to be prophets have really been sent by God.
Fortunately, the Bible establishes four proofs to clearly distinguish true prophets from false ones. The teachings of authentic prophets must be in accordance with the law of God and the testimony of the previous prophets (Isa. 8:20). Genuine prophets consistently exalt the Son of God, who became flesh and gave His life for us (1 John 4:1-3). The predictions of true prophets must be fulfilled, bearing in mind the principle of conditionality (Jer. 28:9). Finally, the life and work of authentic prophets should bear fruit for eternal life (Matt. 7:15, 16).
We Seventh-day Adventists believe, on the basis of the biblical teaching about spiritual gifts, that God called Ellen G. White as His messenger. Her life and writings fully meet the biblical criteria of true prophets.
A Practical Gift
Just as ship captains need more detailed maps when their vessels approach port, so the church needs special direction from the Lord as the culmination of history draws near. That direction is provided well by the writings of Ellen White, inspired by God to guide the end-time remnant.
Ellen White’s books do not replace the Bible. But like a magnifying glass, they amplify the messages of the Holy Scriptures so that we may understand them better and apply their teachings to our present complex times.
Her writings narrate the history of the universe, from the origin of evil to the final restoration of all things and the ultimate eradication of sin. Furthermore, they cover essential aspects of the Christian life, such as the plan of salvation in Jesus Christ; the best way to care for our health; the development of happy families; the education of our children and young people; loving Christian service to fellow humans; methods to reach out to our neighbors with the gospel; and our preparation for the final events and the second coming of Christ.
Reading Ellen White’s writings strengthens our spiritual lives. They lead us to deepen our relationship with Jesus and increase our confidence in the Word of God. The more we read and apply their principles the more we become like Jesus, imitating His life and character.
A Relevant Gift
It is a widely recognized fact both inside and outside the Seventh-day Adventist Church that Ellen White’s writings have been and are one of the key factors for the development of the doctrinal, administrative, and missionary unity of the church. Ellen White’s writings contribute to our identity as members of the remnant church. In addition, some have observed that church members’ participation in the spiritual and missionary life of the congregation is directly related to the regular reading of Ellen White’s books.
We could hardly imagine what direction the Seventh-day Adventist Church would have taken in such areas as education, health, and publishing had it not been for the timely guidance of the Lord through His messenger. We would certainly not be what we are today as a movement without the ministry of Ellen White.
A Personal Gift
While I was studying theology, a friend suggested that we read Ellen White’s book Steps to Christ together every morning. We met under a tree on campus to read, share our reflections, and pray together. It was an unforgettable spiritual experience. Although more than 40 years have passed, I still keep that worn little book with many underlined sentences and notes in its margins. I have read it again and again, always with the same result: spiritual renewal.
When I read Ellen White’s writings, I sense God speaking directly to me. Sometimes in my devotional readings I clearly perceive God’s gentle, loving rebuke. I feel He knows everything about me, including my fears and shortcomings. I often rejoice as I gain a deeper glimpse into God’s unsurpassable love as He assures me of His complete forgiveness, His unconditional acceptance, and His power to transform my life into His image. I have found many divine promises in these writings that encourage me as I face everyday challenges.
God’s promise is as valid as it was in the past: if we believe in Him, we will be established; if we believe His prophets, we will prosper (2 Chron. 20:20). Let’s appreciate, read, apply, and share the wonderful treasure given us through the writings of Ellen White, the Spirit of Prophecy.