Seventh–day Adventist’s believe that when Revelation 19:10 says ‘the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of Prophesy’; it refers to the writings of Ellen White, who they claim manifested the gift of prophesy. Is this Biblical? Let’s see what the Bible really teaches.
When the Bible uses the phrase ‘the testimony of Jesus’ it simply means ‘the testimony about Jesus‘: He is the subject of the testimony
- John was imprisoned “on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony [Greek: marturia] of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:9). Clearly, it was John’s testimony about Jesus and his spreading of God’s word that resulted in his being imprisoned.
- John 21:24 gives the same idea when it says, “this is the disciple who is testifying to these things [about Jesus] and wrote these things, we know that his testimony [Gr: marturia] is true“.
- “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him (Jesus) to show to His servants (John, and believers), the things which must shortly take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His servant John; who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony [Gr: marturia] of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw” (Revelation 1:1-2)
Testimony of Jesus simply refers to testifying about Jesus, not some sayings of a prophet. It is referring to the believer’s personal witness about the truth of who Jesus is and what He has done and is doing.
Testimony of Jesus cannot be Ellen White’s writings because no one was beheaded because of her writings.
“And when He broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony [Gr: marturia] which they had maintained” (Revelation 6:9)
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God” (Revelation 20:4)
What does the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy mean?
“Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10).
- Adventist’s say the ‘bretheren who hold the testimony of Jesus’ are prophets (hence they include Ellen White); however, this is wrong as the Bible plainly shows that any believer testifying about the truth about Jesus has the testimony ofJesus.
- Besides, in Scripture, prophecy includes more than predictive statements and is often used for teaching or testifying of the truth, especially gospel truth.
- The term “spirit of prophecy” occurs only once in the Bible. Since the testimony of Jesus is nothing but the truth about Jesus, when it says the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, it is simply means ‘the truth about Jesus is the spirit or theme of all prophecy’.
Notice how this verse in Revelation 19:10 is variously translated or paraphrased.
‘Those who bear testimony to Jesus are inspired like the prophets’ (The New English Bible).
‘For the truth revealed by Jesus is the inspiration of all prophecy’ (Weymouth).
‘For the testimony of Jesus is what inspires prophecy’ (Goodspeed).
‘It is the truth concerning Jesus which inspires all prophecy’ (Knox).
‘The purpose of all prophecy and of all I have shown you is to tell about Jesus’ (Living Bible).
- These translators have captured the essence of what John is seeking to communicate. All prophecy, when rightly interpreted, in some way points to the truth concerning Jesus.
- We should be very careful not to follow or rely upon prophetic utterances outside of the Scriptures. Jesus chose to reveal Himself by showing them that the Scriptures teach of Him. Peter framed the gospel in these words:
“…of Him all the prophets bear witness…” (Acts 10:43)
- In our walk with God and our witness to others, let our “testimony of Jesus” be ever linked to the Christ’s finished work and grounded in the Word of God alone.
To say that “the spirit of prophecy” as used in Revelation 19:10 refers to some modern-day prophet creates major problems.
- Ellen White says, “In ancient times God spoke through the mouths of prophets and apostles. In these days he speaks to them by the Testimonies of his Spirit” (Testimonies, Vol. 4, p. 148; Vol. 5., p. 661). By testimonies, she is referring to her writings.
- However, “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son“ (Heb 1:1,2). The phrase ‘has spoken’ in Greek conveys the finality of this superior revelation through Christ. To say that a modern prophet is needed to amplify God’s final word in Christ or to lead people to it is to undermine the content and finality of God’s word. It is a flat contradiction to the above Scripture.
- Moreover, to say that Revelation 19:10 points to the work of a modern prophet usurps the central place of Christ in Scripture. Because ‘the truth about Jesus is the spirit or theme of all prophecy’, and not some writings of a person.
SDA claims about the remnant church falls apart
- SDA fundamental beliefs say, “This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen G. White. As the Lord’s messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide for the church, comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction“.
- Not only is the spirit of prophesy not referring to Ellen White, hence, SDA claims about the remnant church are non-sense; the Bible also says not to add to His word. ‘If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book’ (Revelation 22:18). Not only SDA’s add to Jesus’ finished work, by making Sabbath a final test; they also add to the Bible by taking Ellen White as ‘a continuing and authoritative source of truth’.
- The other sign of the remnant is keeping all the commandments (Revelation 14:12). SDA’s have a habit of thinking “Ten Commandments” or “Sabbath” every time the Bible mentions “The Law.” This is simply not true, and a poor understanding of scriptures. SDA’s take the Ten Commandments to be the high point of morality, but they do not realize that there are other Old Testament laws that have higher moral value. James 2:9 shows that violating a law (don’t discriminate) not found in the Ten Commandments will condemn people as law breakers. Most SDA’s have no clue that God’s law is broad, anything we do without faith is sin, and sin is really falling short of God’s perfection, and not just ten laws. SDA’s fail this mark of the remnant as well as they promote and keep a narrow set of laws.
Let us give thanks to God for His unspeakable gift in Christ, always proclaiming the good news of Scripture via the Scriptures.
- Here is the way that the Apostle Paul stated it:
‘Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures’.
- This is the authentic, new covenant gospel! Christ died for our sins. He died our death. We are saved and changed by His all sufficient sacrifice alone. It is the focal point of the biblical spirit or theme of prophecy!
If spirit of prophesy is interpreted to refer to the Holy Spirit who gives the gift of prophesy to His prophets, Ellen White still does not qualify as she fails the tests of a true prophet
- There is excellent research done exposing Ellen White by Adventists. Many SDA’s try to explain away her failed prophesies by saying they were conditional. However, an honest Bible student will see that there are serious issues concerning her writings that cannot be ignored. Here is a sample.
- Ellen White wrote, “Soon we heard the voice of God like many waters, which gave us the day and hour of Jesus’ coming” (Early Writings, p. 15)
- Ellen White contradicts the Bible because, ‘But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Matthew 24:36)
- “During the year 1845 I met Miss Ellen Harmon several times at my uncle’s house in South Windham. The first of these meetings was in the month of May, when I heard her declare that God had revealed to her that Jesus Christ would return to this earth in June, the next month” (Source: Lucinda Burdick, notarized letter, published in Limboline). Now compare with the following:
- In 1850 Sister White tells us what her angel told her: “My accompanying angel said, ‘Time is almost finished. Get ready, get ready, get ready.’ . . . now time is almost finished. . . and what we have been years learning, they will have to learn in a few months.” (Early Writings, pp. 64-67)
- Well, as of 2015 it has been about one thousand eight hundred and eighty months since Ellen White said only a “few months” remained! She was certainly saying there were not “years” or “decades” left, because she said that recent converts would have to learn in “months.”
- In 1873, Mrs. White remarked that the Lord was “present with his restoring power, to raise Carlstedt, whose sickness was not unto death, but to the glory of the Son of God.” (Source: Three Important Questions for Seventh-Day Adventists to Consider by Charles Lee). Charles Lee, who at that time was a Seventh-day Adventist minister, was at the prayer meeting and was a witness to Mrs. White’s prediction. Sadly, Mrs. White was dead wrong. Carlstedt was dead within one week of her statement. A horrific failed prediction.
- Referring to false prophets, the Bible says, “If the prophet speaks in the Lord’s name but his prediction does not happen or come true, you will know that the Lord did not give that message. That prophet has spoken without my authority and need not be feared” (Deuteronomy 18:20-22).
- Ellen White says “The sign, or seal, of God is revealed in the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, the Lord’s memorial of creation” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 117). However, the Bible says the Holy Spirit is the seal of God, and the Sabbath ritual was a sign between God and Israel under the old covenant, which has now been declared obsolete (Hebrews 8:6-13), when God established a new covenant, which believers are now under (Ephesians 1:13, 14; Eph. 4:30).
- Ellen White wrote, “The blood of Christ, while it was to release the repentant sinner from the condemnation of the law, was not to cancel sin… It will stand in the sanctuary until the final atonement” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 357)
- However, the Bible says when we repent for our sins, we are forgiven and God will not hold our confessed sins against us. ‘He cancelled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross’ (Col. 2:14,15). “I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake”. (I John 2:12). This teaching the blood of Jesus doesn’t really cleanse our sins denies Jesus Christ, and mocks the words of our Savior from the Cross, “It is finished.” (John 19:30). Christ paid fully for our sins, atoning for them fully. No Scripture teaches otherwise. “…the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin”. (1 John 1:7). “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him”. (Romans 5:9)
- Ellen White teaches that Jesus does not intercede for non-Adventists: “I saw that as the Jews crucified Jesus, so the nominal churches (term used to refer to non-Adventist churches) had crucified these messages, and therefore they have no knowledge of the way into the most holy, and they cannot be benefited by the intercession of Jesus there. Like the Jews who offered their useless sacrifices, they offer up their useless prayers to the apartment which Jesus has left; and Satan, pleased with the deception, assumes a religious character, and leads the minds of these professed Christians to himself…” (Early Writings. p. 261).
- However, the Bible says, “I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word”. (John 17:20). “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him”. (1 John 5:1).
- Ellen White said, “Many who are now only half converted on the question of meat eating will go from God’s people to walk no more with them.” —Councils on Diet and Foods, p. 382.
- SDA prophet makes meat eating a salvational matter, when the Bible says not to judge anyone on dietary laws (Colossians 2:13-17). “For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink“ (Rom 14:17-18).
- If a church upholds and promotes the writings of a false prophet, not just the prophet, the church itself is a false church.
“I am against these false prophets. Their imaginary dreams are flagrant lies that lead my people into sin. I did not send or appoint them, and they have no message at all for my people. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Jeremiah 23:32)
Connection between Ellen White and Mormonism
• Without doubt Ellen White wrote some accurate things. However, even in her best books one will find error intermingled with truth. This mixture makes her writings even more dangerous because her deceptions are camouflaged amid details that sound correct.
• Willie White, Ellen White’s son published the following very revealing statement about his mother on February 23, 1984: ‘’In the early days of her work, mother was promised wisdom in the selection from the writings of others that would enable her to select the gems of truth from the rubbish of error. We have all seen this fulfillment, and yet when she told me of this, she admonished me not to tell it to others‘‘.( 3William C. White, Secretary, EGW Estate, Washington, D.C., Review and Herald, February 23, 1984)
• The Mormons moved into Saco Valley in 1832, and into Portland, Maine, in 1835. Ellen Harmon was only a small child when these events transpired; however, by 1842, when she had her first dream about entering a temple, she was a young lady of fifteen. It is a well-known fact that Ellen had a voracious appetite for reading and “borrowing” thoughts, ideas, and words from others. Is there any evidence that the writings, teachings, and practices of Joseph Smith, the prophet of Mormonism, influenced Ellen White?
• Some Adventists would recoil in horror to hear that several of the visions and prophecies of Ellen White were based on the writings of Joseph Smith. Here’s a comparison. You decide.
A sudden light appears
- Joseph Smith (JS): “While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued increase until the room was lighter than at noonday…” JS 2:30
EGW: “While prayer was offered for me, the thick darkness that had encompassed me rolled back, and a sudden light came upon me. My strength was taken way, I seemed to be in the presence of angels.” IT 64
A beautiful person enters
- JS: “…when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside…” JS 2:30
- JS: …his whole person was glorious beyond description… When I first looked upon him, I was afraid; but the fear soon left me. He called me by name, and said…” JS 2:32‑33
EGW: “…Just then the door opened, and a person of beautiful form and countenance entered…” 1T 28EGW: “I tried to shield myself from his gaze, feeling unable to endure his searching eyes, but he drew near me with a smile, and, laying his hand upon my head, said, ‘Fear not.'” 1T 28‑29
The messenger appears again
- JS: “I lay musing on the singularity of the scene… I suddenly discovered the room was again beginning to get lighted, and in an instant, as it were, the same heavenly messenger was again by my bedside.” JS 2:44
EGW: “This same person has appeared to me before in important dreams to instruct me from time to time during the past twenty‑six years.” R & H, November 4, 1875
Fell off path
- JS: (“Vision”) “…I have seen a vision … and I saw…And it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceeding great mist of darkness insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost … and they fell into forbidden paths…” BM 1 Nephi 8: 1;21‑23;28
EGW: (“Vision”) “…God has shown me in holy vision… I saw… The light behind them went out leaving their feet in perfect darkness, and they stumbled and got their eyes off the mark and lost sight of Jesus, and fell off the path down in the dark and wicked world below. It was just as impossible for them to get on the path again and go to the City as all the wicked world which God had rejected. They fell all the way along the path…” EW page 15, 1945.
Dream of pathway to beautiful field
- JS: (“Vision”) “Behold, I have dreamed a dream … And I also beheld a straight and narrow path, which came along by the rod of iron … And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron … And they did press their way forward continually holding fast to the rod of iron…and many were lost from his view, wandering into strange roads … I beheld a large and spacious field … And I also beheld a straight and narrow path, which came along by the rod of iron … unto a large and spacious field…” BM 1 Nephi 8:2;9;19; 20;24;30;32
EGW: (“Vision”) “While in Battle Creek in August, 1868,I dreamed…As the path grew more narrow… small were let down … These we eagerly grasped… exclaiming, ‘We have hold from above! We have hold from above!’ The same words were uttered by all the company in the narrow pathway… Where were such now? They were not in the company. At every change, some were left behind … Before us, on the other side of the chasm, was a beautiful field … Nothing I have seen upon earth could compare in beauty and glory with this field…” 2T 594‑597 (1868)
Not able to speak
- JS: (“Vision”) “…for the space of three nights I could not open my mouth…” BM Alma 36:9‑10
EGW: (“Vision”) “I was struck dumb … my tongue would be loosened in less than twenty‑four hours.” EW 22‑23 (1945)
Garments stained with blood
- JS: (“Vision”) “…how will any of you feel, if ye shall stand before the bar of God, having your garments stained with blood...?”BM Alma 5:22
EGW: (“Vision”) “…I was taken into the presence of Jesus … I looked upon my garments and saw that they were stained with blood.” EW 77 (1945)
More than a prophet
- JS: “Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man…” DC 135:3
EGW: “…my work includes much more than the word ‘Prophet’ signifies … My commission embraces the work of a Prophet, but it does not end there.” Spalding‑Magan MSS unpublished Testimonies, p.146; SM, Book 1 p. 36
Joseph Smith the source of Ellen White’s clichés
At the bar of God
- JS: “…for ye shall see me at the bar of God…” BM Moroni 10:27
- EGW: “…But this they must meet at the bar of God…” 5T 46 (1882)
Minds have been darkened
- JS: “And your minds… have been darkened…” DC 84:54
- EGW: “The minds of many have been so darkened… 5T 62 (1882)
Spirit of prophecy—testimony of Jesus
- JS: “And Alma went and began to declare the word of God unto the church …according to the spirit of prophecy which was in him, according to the testimony of Jesus Christ. . .BM Alma 6:8
- JS: ” … I also had the spirit of prophecy . . .” JS 2:73
EGW: “My dear brethren and sisters, let the commandments of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ be in your minds continually…” EW 58 (1945)
Probation and salvation
- JS: “… work out your own salvation with fear and trembling in the days of your probation…” BM Mormon 9:27‑28
EGW: “Now is the hour of probation … with fear and trembling work out their own salvation.” 2T 102 (1868)
- JS: “And the days of the children of, men were prolonged… their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened … to BM 2 Nephi 2 21
EGW: “…and lengthened the days of their probation.” LS 203 (1880)
- Joseph Smith is the source of Ellen White’s probation doctrine. There is not one Bible text that tells us that anyone is on probation
Another example of copying by Mrs. White
- E.G. White: The judges sat in the open air, upon seats hewn out in the rock, on a platform which was ascended by a flight of stone steps from the valley below. Sketches From the Life of Paul p.93 1883.
- Conybeare and Howson: The judges sat in the open air, upon seats hewn out in the rock, on a platform which was ascended by a flight of steps immediately from the Agora. Life and Epistles of The Apostle Paul p.308 (first edition printed in 1851).
- E.G. White: Had his oration been a direct attack upon, their gods, and the great men of the city who were before him, he would have been in danger of meeting the fate of Socrates p.97 Sketches From the Life of Paul, 1883.
- Conybeare and Howson: Had he begun by attacking the national gods in the midst of their sanctuaries, and with the Areopagites on the seats near him he would have been in almost as great danger as Socrates before him p.310 Life and Epistles of the Apostle Paul p. 310 (first edition 1851).
In the PREFACE of one of Mrs. E.G. White’s book we read this interesting statement: “The writer of this book, having received especial help from the Spirit of God, is able to throw light upon the teachings of Paul and their application to our own time, as no other authors are prepared to do.”
Question: Did the “Spirit of God” lead Mrs. White to “take” the above and much more from a book written 32 years before, with no credit given, and no quotation marks used to show its real origin?
Your Answer, your response must be a glory to God and well pleasing to Jesus Christ.