Ellen White often felt her own weakness, asked God's help to forcefully present the light He had given her. She often exclaimed, "Who is sufficient for these things?" 2 Cor 2:16) The Lord taught her to search in many books for buried truths. She wrote:
"Jesus is the Originator of all truth. By the work of the enemy, the precious gems of truth had been torn from their setting and placed in a frame-work of error. Christ came to replace the jewels of truth in their rightful position. He rescued them from the rubbish of error, gave them a new power, and bade them stand fast forever." Signs of the Times, May 1, 1901.
1) Can you give us an example of "finding jewels of truth in the rubbish of error?"
Answer: Acts 17:28 is an example. Apostle Paul introduced the true God to the Athenians, saying, "For in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.'" The "his" in the poetry of the Greek authors Aratus and Cleanthes, referred to the pagan god Zeus, the highest deity in their pantheon, but in the words of Paul it was used to refer to the true God. This statement is a gem, and should be rescued from its false setting, and restored by the Holy Spirit to its original frame-work.
1 Cor 15:33 says, "Evil company corrupts good habits." This was originally a Greek proverb. Being quoted by Paul, it has become a truth inspired by the Holy Spirit. Why not? Jesus is the Originator of all truth, so all truth is at His disposal to serve the gospel cause. In view of the fact that Ellen White read widely, her choice of jewels must have been very selective. It should also be observed that many authors of the life of Jesus were humanists who did not believe in the divine inspiration of Scripure. One writer of note---Alfred Edersheim---felt that the truth of Jesus' transfiguration was difficult to accept. He wrote:
"It could not have been intended to prepare the Jews for the Crucifixion of the Messiah, since it was to be kept secret till after the Resurrection; and after that event, it could not have been necessary for the assurance of those who believed on the Resurrection, while to other it would carry no weight. . . .the most tenable theory seems that which imputes intentional fraud to their narratives, or, to put it otherwise, non-belief on the part of what they related.
"But can we suppose, if not fraud, yet mistake on the part of these witnesses, so that an event, otherwise naturally explicable, may through their ignorance or imaginativeness, have assumed the proportions of this narrative." Life and Times of Jesus, Vol 2, p. 99. Is what this author has written worth copying?
Another well-known writer of the life of Jesus is Cunningham Geikie. He had read 176 books on that subject, but his view of the devil taking Jesus to a high mountain was that the devil had "raised, within the soul of Jesus, a vision most seductive, to enforce his subtelty. . . He resisted the dazzling vision." The Life of Christ, Vol. 1, p. 444. So Geikie thinks it was just a vision, not reality.
2) I can see that it was not easy for Ellen White to find jewels in all such rubbish.
Answer: In the book Desire of Ages there are several gems found on every page, mostly inspired by the Holy Spirit and not digged out of rubbish. From stories of Jesus' birth, the visit of the magi, down to His agonies in Gethsemane and Calvary, are many moving scenes that could have been written only by an eye-witness. Any other writer could not, and dared not write those words. Another feature of Ellen White's work is the certainty of her language. Whether she wrote on the life of Christ, church history or spiritual exhortation, she wrote as "one having authority" Mark 1:22. She made no conjectures, used no vague language, spoke not in parables.
3) Please tell us how the truths of theBible were revealed and recorded, as well as the standards and the authority of the Bible.
Answer: God has revealed truth in three ways. a) direct speech, b) through prophets, 3) by Christ. Heb 1:1,2 says: "God, who at various times and in different ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son." "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14.
God first communicated directly with Adam and Eve. The ancients had strong memories and had no need ot written records, about 2000 B.C. God said, "Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws." Gen. 26:5 This proves that in ancient times God's laws were given orally. Around 1450 B.C., God personally proclaimed and wrote the Ten Commandments. "When He had made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God." Exod 31:18 That was the first written revelation from God given to men.
All revelation given before this may be called fluid revelation. The Ten Commandments on stone, and the five books of Moses---the Torah---may be called solid revelation. The tablets of God's law were placed in a gold-lined chest or ark; the Torah was placed beside the ark. This physical position marks the relative rank of authority of the two records. The tables of God's law is the earliest written revelation, it must naturally be the highest standard used to verify all succeeding revelations. The Torah includes the law of God, and is of course to be verified by it.
4) Is it true that the Torah, the five books, or Pentateuch of Moses, was the recognized Bible of the Jews for a thousand years?
Answer: Yes. During that time God chose prophets to write over 30 volumes of Scripture, which after many centuries of circulation, were gathered together by Ezra the scribe. They were eventually recognized by the Jews as their Bible, then the canon of Holy Scripture was declared closed. They accepted no more additions. God's mouth was virtually sealed by them. So when John the Baptist appeared, the religious authorities would not admit him as a prophet. Christ was also rejected by them and nailed to the cross.
But God's mouth could not be sealed. Copies of the four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, the epistles written by the apostles and the Revelation written by John, were circulated among the churches and preserved by them. About three centuries later, the 27 books of the New Testament Bible were bound together, marking the third stage of solidification of fluid revelation. Ecclesiastical authorities again declared that the canon of Holy Scripture was closed. After this they would not accept any new revelation. Yet the very canonical Bible declared that the gifts given to the church by the Holy Spirit included the gift of prophecy. See 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11. The early church had a number of prophets. See Acts 11:28; 21:9,10.
5) The three stages of God's revelation to men exposes a common weakness of men: they believe in the truth of the ancients, but are prone to deny present truth. Is that right?
Answer: A saying of the Jews is typical of this mentality. They said, "We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from." John 9:29. Since the Bible affirms that in the church of New Testament times, the Holy Spirit continues to speak through prophets in the church, then it is correct to conclude that fluid revelation continues to exist today. It is still possible that individuals chosen of God would "speak as they are moved by the Holy Spirit." None is authorized to say that truths revealed by God have reached their crest, so He will no longer speak to men through a prophet. But in testing the words of a prophet The standard of authority still follows the original ranks: 1) The Ten Commandments, 2) the Pentateuch, 3) the Old Testmaent books, 4) the New Testament books, 5) the writings of the Spirit of prophecy. This does not place the Ellen White writings on an equality with Scritpure, but uses Scripture to test the correctness of her writings.
6) What is the guiding principle in God's revelations to men?
Answer: Our Lord is the living God and also the God of wisdom. He wants "all people see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places." Eph 3:9,10. The manifold wisdom of God is seen in the way He deals with His church. The church is chosen of God "for His special treasure." Ps 135:4. During Old Testament times, the Jewish nation was His church. See Acts 7:38. In New Testament times all that are born again of the Spirit are "fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ." Eph 3:6. The truth in Exodus is "the church in the wilderness", "the living oracles" and "the tabernacle of witness." Acts 7:38,44. KJV. They all reveal Christ. By the miracle of giving manna, God said, "that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not." Exod. 16:4. By this also God taught them to resume the habit of Sabbath-keeping.
That was when the remnant church was established. Today the remnant church is preparing for translation. The great truths involved are a) the living oracles of the Ten Commandments, b) the tabernacle of witness, where the sin offering is a type of Christ the "Lamb of God." c) We are to "build the old waste places" of the Sabbath day. "You shall be called the Repairer of the Breach." Isa 58:12. d) To the church is restored the gift of prophecy. "By a prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, by a prophet was he preserved." Hos. 12:13.
"Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established, believe His prophets, and you shall prosper."
7) Since God's revelation advances from small to greater depth, we have reason to expect that at the eve of Christ's return, there should be a full blossoming of truth, a period of unprecedented spiritual knowledge.
Answer: The God that the Bible reveals is a God of greatest wisdom. The strategy of His war against Satan embraces both head and tail. Just as the three and half years of famine in Israel was followed by the "sound of abundance of rain," 1 Kg 18:41, so the close of the Dark Ages was followed by an outpouring of the "latter rain" in the form of Christ's testimonies to His church, to arm them spiritually for the last great conflict. A protracted period of silence brought on an extensive famine; the final revelation resulted in an abundant harvest. In the 45 volumes written by Ellen White in her 70 years of service, she wrote on all subjects that had to do with the spiritual life of the Christian and the eternal truths taught by the church. Her style was consistently earnest, and she never uttered one idle word. In this way the arid years of the Middle Ages were made up for by the abundance of this "latter rain." Christ says, "Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear." Matt 13:16. The bride of Christ is now preparing to meet Him, and He would "sanctify it and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish." Eph 5:26. If this is not attained, then the plan of salvation would be a failure, His blood would have been shed in vain. But God's ideal will be surely reached, and the bride will attain to holiness.
"Washing of water by the word," is the task of the Spirit of prophecy. "Water" represents the word of God. Christ said, "You are already clean because of the word that I have spoken to you." John 15:3. The Spirit of prophecy applies the word of God to practical problems met in the individual and corporate lives of the church, and has a cleansing effect. The word of God is truth. He prayed saying, "Sanctify them by the truth. Your word is truth." John 17:17. Jesus' mission to the world was to bear witness to the truth. Now this work has reached its final stage. The truth has come to full blossom in the writings of the Spirit of prophecy. Many people are living in the midst of God's blessings and don't realize it. They have no faith, and are like the officer on whose hand the king leaned. He said, "If the Lord would make windows in heaven, could this thing be?" Elisha answered, "You shall see it with your eyes, but you shall not eat of it." 2 Kg 7:2.
8) Rev 22:11 says, before the second advent, as probation closes, God proclaims, "He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still." Then will there be a group of people whom God regards as righteous and holy?
Answer: Yes. This indicates that Christ's work of witnessing for the truth will have closed successfully. This group of saints will comprise Christ's bride, "These are the ones that follow the Lamb wherever He goes.These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits of God and the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile, for they are without fault before the throne of God." Rev 14:4,5. "No guile" indicates that their mouths were full of truth. They who deny that the remnant church has the gift of prophecy, say that God gave truth only to the ancients, and then closed the door of revelation for ever. Our God who spoke through prophets in olden days has spoken no more in the last 2000 years! This is not like the God of the Bible.
Rev 1:1 gives the order of revelation: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants--things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John." We note four stages: God the Father, the Son, angels, prophets. Some say, "The Bible is enough, we don't need the Spirit of prophecy." They who say this don't believe what the Bible says: prophets are gifts of the Holy Spirit to the church. Without this gift, we cannot "come to the unity of the faith." Eph 4:13.