LandMarks Magazine      
   

September 2007 Table of Contents

 
    October 7, 2007 - October 13, 2007
 
 

Call to the Prophetic Office

 

Key Text

“And the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.”  Amos 7:15.

 

Study Help:  Patriarchs and Prophets, 589, 590; Prophets and Kings, 407, 408.

 

Introduction

“In giving light to His people anciently, God did not work exclusively through any one class.  Daniel was a prince of Judah.  Isaiah also was of the royal line.  David was a shepherd boy, Amos a herdsman, Zechariah a captive from Babylon, Elisha a tiller of the soil.  The Lord raised up as His representatives prophets and princes, the noble and the lowly, and taught them the truths to be given to the world.”  The Ministry of Healing, 148.

 

1    Who called Isaiah to his important work and gave him his message?  Isaiah 6:8, 9.  Compare 11 Peter 1:21.

note:  “It was under circumstances of difficulty and discouragement that Isaiah, while yet a young man, was called to the prophetic mission.  Disaster was threatening his country.  By their transgression of God’s law the people of Judah had forfeited His protection, and the Assyrian forces were about to come against the kingdom of Judah.  But the danger from their enemies was not the greatest trouble.  It was the perversity of the people that brought upon the Lord’s servant the deepest depression.  By their apostasy and rebellion they were inviting the judgments of God.  The youthful prophet had been called to bear to them a message of warning, and he knew that he would meet with obstinate resistance. . . . His task seemed to him almost hopeless. . . .”  Conflict and Courage, 232.

 

2    How and when was Jeremiah called to the prophetic office?  Jeremiah 1:4-10.

note:  “Among those who had hoped for a permanent spiritual revival as the result of the reformation under Josiah was Jeremiah, called of God to the prophetic office while still a youth, in the thirteenth year of Josiah's reign.  A member of the Levitical priesthood, Jeremiah had been trained from childhood for holy service.  In those happy years of preparation he little realized that he had been ordained from birth to be ‘a prophet unto the nations’; and when the divine call came, he was overwhelmed with a sense of his unworthiness.  ‘Ah, Lord God!’ he exclaimed, ‘behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.’ Jeremiah 1:5, 6.”  Prophets and Kings, 407.

 

3    How early in history was the prophetic gift manifested?  Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21.

note:  “Jesus began with the first book written by Moses, and traced down through all the prophets the inspired proof in regard to his life, his mission, his suffering, death, and resurrection.  He did not deem it necessary to work a miracle to evidence that he was the risen Redeemer of the world; but he went back to the prophecies, and gave a full and clear explanation of them to settle the question of his identity, and the fact that all which had occurred to him was foretold by the inspired writers.  Jesus ever carried the minds of his hearers back to the precious mine of truth found in the Old-Testament Scriptures.”  The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 208, 209.

 

4    According to the Scripture record, what patriarch was first endowed with the prophetic gift?  Jude 14, 15.

note:  “Enoch was the first prophet among mankind.  He foretold by prophecy the second coming of Christ to our world, and his work at that time.  His life was a specimen of Christian consistency.  Holy lips alone should speak forth the words of God in denunciation and judgments.  His prophecy is not found in the writings of the Old Testament.  We may never find any books which relate to the works of Enoch, but Jude, a prophet of God, mentions the work of Enoch.”  “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1088.

 

5    What is said concerning the word of the Lord in the days of Samuel?  1 Samuel 3:1.

note:  “God could not communicate with the high priest and his sons; their sins, like a thick cloud, had shut out the presence of His Holy Spirit.  But in the midst of evil the child Samuel remained true to Heaven, and the message of condemnation to the house of Eli was Samuel’s commission as a prophet of the Most High.”  Patriarchs and Prophets, 581.

“Before receiving this message from God, ‘Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him’ [1 Samuel 3:7]; that is, he was not acquainted with such direct manifestations of God’s presence as were granted to the prophets.”  Ibid., 582.

 

6    How was Elisha called to the prophetic office?  1 Kings 19:15, 16, 19-21.

note:  “As Elijah, divinely directed in seeking a successor, passed the field in which Elisha was plowing, he cast upon the young man's shoulders the mantle of consecration. . . .  To him it was the signal that God had called him to be the successor of Elijah. . . .  Elisha must count the cost¾decide for himself to accept or reject the call.  If his desires clung to his home and its advantages, he was at liberty to remain there.  But Elisha understood the meaning of the call. . . .  Not for any worldly advantage would he forego the opportunity of becoming God's messenger, or sacrifice the privilege of association with His servant. . . .  Without hesitation he left a home where he was beloved, to attend the prophet in his uncertain life.”  Conflict and Courage, 221.

 

7    What gift did God entrust to Daniel?  Daniel 1:17, last part.

note:  “Daniel valued his human capabilities, but he did not trust in them.  His trust was in that strength which God has promised to all who will come to him in humble dependence, relying wholly upon his power. 

“He purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank; for he knew that such a diet would not strengthen his physical powers or increase his mental capability.  He would not use wine, nor any other unnatural stimulant; he would do nothing to becloud his mind; and God gave him ‘knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom,’ and also ‘understanding in all visions and dreams.’  [Daniel 1:17.]”  Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 22.

 

8    By whom was the prophetic gift exercised in early New Testament times?  Luke 2:25-38.  Compare Luke 1:41-55, 67-79.

note:  “The heavenly heralds aroused all the wrath of the synagogue of Satan.  He followed the steps of those who had charge of the infant Jesus.  He heard the prophecy of Simeon in the temple courts, who had long been waiting for the consolation of Israel.  The Holy Ghost was upon him, and he came by the Spirit into the temple.  Taking the infant Saviour in his arms, he blessed God. . . .  Satan was filled with frenzy as he saw that the aged Simeon recognized the divinity of Christ.”  Review and Herald, October 29, 1895.

“Simeon realized that he held in his arms One who was the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  There was at this time nothing in Christ’s outward appearance to give him this assurance, but Simeon had lived in the atmosphere of heaven.  The bright beams of the Sun of righteousness gave him spiritual discernment.  His one desire had been to see Christ.  The purity of his life corresponded to the light he had received, and he was prepared for the revelation of the great truth that this helpless infant was the Lord’s anointed, even the Messiah. Joy and exultation transfigured his face as he held in his arms God’s most precious gift to men.  His illumined mind received the light flowing from the Source of all light.”  Ibid., April 2, 1901.

 

9    How does Paul describe the manner in which he received certain divine revelations?  11 Corinthians 12:1-4.

note:  “The apostle Paul early in his Christian experience was given special opportunities to learn the will of God concerning the followers of Jesus.  He was ‘caught up to the third heaven,’ ‘into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.’  He himself acknowledged that many ‘visions and revelations’ had been given him ‘of the Lord.’  His understanding of the principles of gospel truth was equal to that of ‘the very chiefest apostles.’  11 Corinthians 12:2, 4, 1,

 

 10 He had a clear, full comprehension of ‘the breadth, and length, and depth, and height’ of ‘the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.’  Ephesians 3:18, 19. 

note:  “Paul could not tell all that he had seen in vision; for among his hearers were some who would have misapplied his words.  But that which was revealed to him enabled him to labor as a leader and a wise teacher, and also molded the messages that he in later years sent to the churches.  The impression that he received when in vision was ever with him, enabling him to give a correct representation of Christian character.  By word of mouth and by letter he bore a message that ever since has brought help and strength to the church of God.  To believers today this message speaks plainly of the dangers that will threaten the church, and the false doctrines that they will have to meet.”  The Acts of the Apostles, 469, 470.

 

11  What description of Elijah indicates that the call to the prophetic office does not remove the prophet above and away from his human characteristics?  James 5:17; 1 Kings 17:1.  Compare 11 Corinthians 4:5-7.

note:  “In Elijah we see the natural elements of his character revealed amid the spiritual life, commingling together in strange confusion; the grace of God and the impulses and passions of the natural man, each striving for the supremacy.  The human is being tried in the furnace and the dross is revealed, impurity is brought to the surface, but the trial of Elijah is a scene that all Heaven was looking upon at that time with deep solicitude.  The fine gold appears in his character, the dross is lost sight of and consumed.  This must be our individual experience in God's own way.”  The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, vol. 2, 490.

 

12  Desirous of learning God’s will for Judah, of whom did Hilkiah the priest and his associates seek counsel?  11 Kings 22:12-14.

note:  “Josiah, from his earliest manhood, had endeavored to take advantage of his position as king to exalt the principles of God’s holy law.  And now, while Shaphan the scribe was reading to him out of the book of the law, the king discerned in this volume a treasure of knowledge, a powerful ally, in the work of reform he so much desired to see wrought in the land.  He resolved to walk in the light of its counsels, and also to do all in his power to acquaint his people with its teachings, and to lead them, if possible, to cultivate reverence and love for the law of heaven.

“But was it possible to bring about the needed reform?  From all that he could learn from the reading of the volume before him, Israel had almost reached the limit of divine forbearance; soon God would arise to punish those who had brought dishonor upon His name.  Already the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people.  Overwhelmed with sorrow and dismay, Josiah rent his garments, and bowed before God in agony of spirit, seeking pardon for the sins of an impenitent nation.

“At that time the prophetess Huldah was living in Jerusalem, near the Temple.  The mind of the king, filled with anxious foreboding, reverted to her; and he determined to inquire of the Lord through this chosen messenger, to learn, if possible, whether by any means within his power he might save erring Judah, now on the verge of ruin.”  Ye Shall Receive Power, 268.

“Josiah sent as messengers to the prophetess, the highest and most honored of the people. He sent the first men of his kingdom,—men who occupied high positions of trust in the nation. Thus he conferred honor upon the oracles of God.”  “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1133.

 

13  How were the prophets often treated?  Matthew 23:29-31; 5:11, 12; Acts 7:52.

note:  “Jesus said, ‘Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city.’  [Matthew 23:34.]  This prophecy was literally fulfilled by the Jews in their treatment of Christ and of the messengers whom God sent to them.  Will men in these last days follow the example of those whom Christ condemned?”  Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 79.

“Prophets and wise men full of faith and the Holy Ghost, represented by Stephen, James, Paul, and many others, scribes, men of learning, who understood the Scriptures and could present them in all their bearings as revealed by God, would be scorned and persecuted, condemned and put to death.”  The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 68.

   
   

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