How did God communicate with man in the Eden?
"And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?" Gen. 3:9.
Since the fall, how has God made known His will?
"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets." Heb. 1:1.
What was the object of speaking "by the prophets?"
"Surely the Lord God will do nothing but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets." Amos 3:7.
By what influence did the prophets reveal God's will?
"For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. " 2 Peter 1:21 (2 Sam. 23:2).
Then what may the gift of prophecy be called?
A gift of the Holy Spirit, or a spiritual gift.
What was said regarding the words of God's prophets?
"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.
How were the Lord's words preserved to the people?
"Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters." Dan. 7:1 (Jer. 51:60, 61).
What had these writings to do with the people's understanding future events?
"I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem." Dan.9:2.
How did God's ministers use the words of the prophets in exhorting the people to obedience?
"Should ye not hear the words which the Lord hath cried by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity?" Zech. 7:7 (2 Chron. 20:20).
How were people to know whether or not the words of prophets were from the Lord?
"When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously; thou shalt not be afraid of him." Deut. 18:22.
What was considered a still better test on this point?
"If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul." Deut. 13:1-3.
NOTE: It will be seen by these scriptures, that, in the first place, if a prophet's words did not prove to be true, it was evidence that God had not sent that prophet. On the other hand, even though the thing predicted did come to pass, if the pretended prophet did not keep God's commandments, but instead led others to break them, then it would be positively known that he was not a true prophet. To obey God is the first duty of all; hence he who does not obey Him cannot know the mind of God, to teach it to the people. God sometimes suffers the predictions of such to come to pass, to see whether or not the people will follow His word. See Deut. 13:4, 5.
"God permits such impostors to arise to try the faith of His followers, and to put their religious experience to the test; for he who experimentally knows God, cannot be drawn away after idols." -- Dr. Clarke, on Deut. 13:3.
What was predicted concerning the spirit of prophecy in the last days?
"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.
When did this prediction commence to be fulfilled?
"But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams." Acts 2:16, 17.
To whom was this promise to extend?
"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." Acts 2:38, 39.
What relation should the Christian church sustain toward these spiritual gifts?
"Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant." 1 Cor. 12:1.
What is the object of these gifts?
"But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal." 1 Cor. 12:7.
What are some of these gifts?
"For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom;... to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of Spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues." 1 Cor. 12:8-10.
Which one of these does the apostle say is especially desirable?
"Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy." 1 Cor. 14:1.
NOTE: "This refers not to ordinary religious discourses for the edification of the church, but to such a forthspeaking of the mind of God in relation to truth, duty, or coming events as the inward action of the Holy Spirit on the mind may produce." --M'Clintock and Strong's Biblical Cyclopedia, art. Spiritual Gifts.
"The gift of prophecy was that charism which enabled its possessors to utter, with the authority of inspiration, divine strains of warning, exhortation, encouragement, or rebuke; and to teach and enforce the truths of Christianity with supernatural energy and effect." -- Conybeare and Howson's Life of Paul, p. 375, people's edition.
Whom was this gift designed to benefit?
"Prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe." 1 Cor. 14:22.
What effect is the exercise of these gifts to have upon the church?
"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 fullness of Christ." Eph. 4:11-13.
Where did God place these gifts?
"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." 1 Cor. 12:28.
Who came down from Judea to Ceasarea while Paul was there?
"And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus." Acts 21:10.
What did he do as soon as he saw the apostle?
"And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles." Acts 21:11.
NOTE: The verses immediately following this last quotation show that while Paul did not disbelieve the testimony of Agabus, he would not be dissuaded from going on his mission to Jerusalem. It is, then, very evident that God desired him to go, and sent this warning to him to prepare his mind for the trials he was sure to meet.
At a later period, what did Paul say these trials had wrought?
"But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel." Phil. 1:12.
How long was it designed that these gifts should last?
"For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away." 1 Cor.13:9, 10.
NOTE: "It will not do to say that these gifts were restricted in their bestowment to the apostles and early Christians. All will allow that what Paul says of 'charity' or love, 'the more excellent way,' in 1 Cor. 13, applies to Christians in all subsequent time, and yet he immediately exhorts to 'covet earnestly the best gifts.' The truth is, the church needs these gifts at this day to battle against error in its various forms. She needs them to preserve in her own mind the idea of the spiritual, the supernatural. She needs them as ornaments to supersede her jewelry. Let her 'covet earnestly' these gifts, and there would be less covetousness of worldly riches and honor; less covetousness of worldly display." -- Wm. Eddy, in Northwestern Christian Advocate, 1855.
What admonition does Paul give respecting the gift of Prophecy?
"Despise not prophesyings." 1 Thess. 5:20.
What is the "testimony of Jesus?"
"The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." Rev. 19:10.
Why is it necessary for the church now to have confirmed in it the testimony of Christ?
"Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that ye come behind in no gift, waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Cor. 1:6, 7.
What will characterize the last, or "remnant," church?
"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." Rev. 12:17.