the Lesser and Greater Light - Part 2)
In Part 1, we spoke of two brief
quotations from the Spirit of Prophecy that are often taken out of context,
misunderstood, and therefore misused. The one we presented is found in the
Review & Herald, June 20, 1903. It reads:
Little heed is
given to the Bible and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and
women to the greater light.
In Part 1 we read references where
Ellen White clearly defines for us the meaning of these two terms: All
prophets, she clarifies (including Bible prophets and Ellen White) are
"lesser lights," leading us to Christ who alone is the
"greater light." As the moon reflects light from the sun, so a
prophet having no light in himself or herself, can only reflect light from
the Sun of Righteousness. Who is Christ? —the light of life! (See Spirit
of Prophecy, Vol. 2, pp. 83, 84.)
Before I introduce you to the second
brief passage, let us pray:
Oh, loving Father, we beseech Thee to
open our understanding to Thy heavenly truth. Fill us with Thy Holy Spirit
with an unquenchable thirst to be fed from Thy "lesser
lights," and be prepared to meet the "greater
light"—Jesus, our Sun of Righteousness. May we thus be ready to
meet Thy soon-coming without fear. This we ask in the name of Jesus. AMEN
Now let us identify the inspired
statement under consideration. I will quote it as it is found in Prophets
and Kings, p. 626:
The words of
the Bible, and the Bible alone, should be heard from the pulpit.
As we near the end in this Final
Crisis, Satan seems more determined than ever before to keep the
Spirit of Prophecy from being presented to God’s remnant people! An
examination of this sentence in its context clearly reveals
that she is not here referring to the pulpits of Seventh-day
Adventist churches, but to those times when SDA ministers/workers
stand before the professed Christians of the world. Read for yourself in Prophets
and Kings, pp. 623-627, and it will become very apparent which pulpits
are referred to.
Time will permit us to read but a few
thoughts from pp. 625, 626:
laws of men and the precepts of Jehovah will come the last great conflict
of the controversy between truth and error. Upon this battle we are now
entering.… Many have come to deny doctrines which are the very pillars
of the Christian faith. The great facts of creation as presented by
the inspired writers, the fall of man, the atonement, the perpetuity of
the law—these all are practically rejected by a large share of the
professedly Christian world.…
I continue reading:
should be preparing for what is
soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise, and this
preparation they should make by diligently studying the word of God and
striving to conform their lives to its precepts.… God calls for a
revival and a reformation. The words of the Bible and the Bible alone,
should be heard from the pulpit. But the Bible has been robbed of its
power, and the result is seen in a lowering of the tone of spiritual life.
In many sermons of today there is not that divine manifestation which
awakens the conscience and brings life to the soul.… Let the word of God
speak to the heart. Let those who have heard only tradition and human
theories and maxims, hear the voice of Him who can renew the soul into
We might ask: Was Ellen White speaking
of SDA churches when she said, "Many have come to deny doctrines
which are the very pillars of the Christian faith?" She proceeds to
name which pillars she is referring to:
facts of creation as presented by the inspired writers, the fall of man,
the atonement, the perpetuity of the law —these all are practically
rejected by a large share of the professedly Christian world.
She cannot be including the Seventh-day
Adventist Church, because true SDAs do believe in "the great
facts of creation as presented by the inspired writers, in the fall of
man, the atonement, and the perpetuity of the law." "God calls
for a revival and a reformation." To accomplish this, when teaching
these professed Christians, she says, "The words of the Bible and
the Bible alone, should be heard from the pulpit." Please note
that Ellen White does not say from our pulpits, but "from the
How sad that some pastors of large
churches have used this brief sentence to keep God’s people from hearing
the Spirit of Prophecy. After retiring, I was once a church elder of a
very large church in Southern California. In this church of some 1,200
members the pastor instructed his board of elders that they were never to
use the Spirit of Prophecy from his pulpit. He then quoted this statement
we have just read.
Certainly, when speaking before an
audience made up of professed Christians and unbelievers, it is not
proper to use the writings of Ellen White. We have this counsel in Testimonies,
Vol. 5, p. 669:
I stated that
some had taken an unwise course; when they had talked their faith to
unbelievers, and the proof had been asked for, they had read from my
writings, instead of going to the Bible for proof. It was shown me that
this course was inconsistent, and would prejudice unbelievers against the
truth. The Testimonies can have no weight with those who know nothing of
their spirit. They should not be referred to in such cases.
So, as a pastor, when I give Bible
studies to non-believers, and in my evangelistic meetings when I preach, I
have always proved every statement from the Bible. This is in
keeping with Selected Messages, Vol. 3, p. 29:
labor do not make prominent, and quote that which Sister White has
written, as authority to sustain your positions. To do this will not
increase faith in the testimonies. Bring your evidences, clear and plain,
from the Word of God. A "Thus saith the Lord" is the strongest
testimony you can possibly present to the people.
We might also mention that when
speaking before "professed Christians of the world [or before any
other group for that matter], ministers should never deliver sermons
consisting of stories or anecdotes, or the gospel according to Time
Magazine, etc., just to entertain them. Ellen White declares, "Let
those who have heard only traditions and human theories and maxims"
hear "the words of the Bible and the Bible alone!" —Christ’s
Object Lessons, p. 40.
We conclude that for very good
reasons it is improper to use the writings of Ellen White in public
meetings, such as evangelistic campaigns or when giving someone a Bible
study, or even when having a discussion with unbelievers or members of the
Now that we have noted when it is not
proper to use the Spirit of Prophecy, let us find the answer to the
question: When is it proper?
Turning to the pages of the Spirit of
Prophecy, we will quickly observe that on many occasions the Lord
instructed Ellen White to send testimonies to be read from our
pulpits, not only in our churches, but in our camp meetings.
Let me list a few examples:
Speaking of the Illinois camp meeting,
from Battle Creek Letters, p. 49 (also in Selected Messages,
Vol. 1, p. 27), I quote:
When I went to
Colorado I was so burdened for you that, in my weakness, I wrote (in
September 1881) many pages to be read at your camp meeting. Weak and
trembling, I arose at three o’clock in the morning to write to you. God
was speaking through clay.…
document was entirely forgotten; the camp meeting passed, and it was not
read until the General Conference.
In his biography of Ellen White, Arthur
White comments that this testimony arrived from Ellen White during the
middle of the Illinois camp meeting, and that there was no excuse for
the leaders having neglected to read it as requested.
Thus we recognize that it is not
only in our day that some SDA leaders avoid, if possible, the reading
of the testimonies of God’s Spirit from the pulpits of our churches.
Ellen White faced this same problem. Please note that she had felt such a
great urgency that this testimony be read in that camp meeting that,
though ill, she arose at 3:00 A.M. to write it. But, alas, it was not
It is recorded in Manuscript 8,
pp. 250 and 296, that she sent two large manuscripts to be read at
the Avondale, Australia, camp meeting. So this was not a singular practice
In addition to sending testimonies to
the camp meetings, the Lord instructed her to send testimonies to the churches
to be read to the congregations. Two such testimonies which she sent to
the Battle Creek, Michigan, church are preserved for us today in Testimonies,
Vol. 5, pages 45-84. Even though the Lord instructed her to send these
testimonies, once again she had some problem. Her request was
ignored for several weeks. I quote from Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 62:
and Sisters in Battle Creek:
that the testimony which I sent to Bro. _______, with the request that it
be read to the church, was withheld from you for several weeks after it
was received by him. Before sending that testimony my mind was so
impressed by the Spirit of God that I had no rest day or night until I
wrote to you.
Once again she felt such a great
urgency to get this testimony to the church that she had no rest
day or night. But alas! Despite her feelings of urgency, her first
testimony was withheld for weeks. Among other things it contained the
following counsel found in Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 61. She points
out here that there was a problem in the church. I quote:
Many of our
younger ministers, and some of more mature experience, are neglecting the
word of God, and also despising the testimonies of his Spirit. [And
I add, we can surely see this today.] They do not know what the
testimonies contain, and do not wish to know. They do not wish to discover
and correct their defects of character.
The next testimony she sent to Battle
Creek to be read to the church, contained a variety of counsels. Her main
burden was to call them to repentance. She told them they were spiritually
dead, needed to crucify self, repent and be converted. That the church
was corrupt. Speaking directly to them, she continued, "‘Your
sins have separated you from God.’ You must lay aside every besetting
sin." Then she warned: "If you continue on in your present
spiritual state, nothing but evil can be prophesied against you."
These testimonies from Ellen White
answer our question, Is it
proper to use the Spirit of Prophecy in our pulpits?
If the Lord requested that the
testimonies of the Spirit of Prophecy rebuking sin, etc., be read from the
pulpits in our churches in her day—surely it is equally proper in
our day! Why would it not be proper to read counsel from the
Lord in our churches and at our camp meetings—NOW—when it is
undoubtedly even more urgently needed than it was in the 1880s?
We conclude that it is proper to use
the writings of the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy together in our church,
(1) in the Sabbath School
(2) in the divine service
(3) in prayer groups
I quote: "Additional truth is not
brought out; but God has through the Testimonies simplified the
great truths already given, and in his own chosen way
brought them before the people, to awaken and impress the mind with them,
that all may be left without excuse." (Testimonies, Vol. 5, p.
So let us not be fearful to stand
behind the pulpit and read from the Spirit of Prophecy. Who knows
better how to give counsel than does the Lord?
Now we turn from these illustrations in
modern Israel to a similar illustration from ancient Israel. For the
purposes of this illustration, however, we will not consider Jeremiah as
an ancient prophet, but as a modern living prophet—which indeed he was
at the time of this graphic illustration which is recorded in Jeremiah
And it came to
pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that
this word came unto Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Take thee a roll of a
book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against
Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I
spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day. It may be
that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto
them; and they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive
their iniquity and their sin.
called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of
Jeremiah all the words of the Lord, which he had spoken unto him, upon a
roll of a book. And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am shut up: I
cannot go into the house of the Lord: therefore go thou, and read in the
roll, which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of the Lord in the
ears of the people in the Lord’s house upon the fasting day: and also
thou shalt read them in the ears of all Judah that come out of their
cities. It may be they will present their supplication before the Lord,
and will return every one from his evil way: for great is the anger and
the fury that the Lord hath pronounced against this people. And Baruch the
son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded
him, reading in the book the words of the Lord in the Lord’s house.
I quote again, beginning with verse 18:
answered them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth, and I
wrote them with ink in the book. Then said the princes unto Baruch, Go,
hide thee, thou and Jeremiah; and let no man know where ye be. And they
went in to the king into the court, but they laid up the roll in the
chamber of Elishama the scribe, and told all the words in the ears of the
So the king
sent Jehudi to fetch the roll: and he took it out of Elishama the
scribe’s chamber. And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the
ears of all the princes which stood beside the king.
Now the king
sat in the winter house in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the
hearth burning before him. And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read
three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the
fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire
that was on the hearth.
These verses have illustrated two
points: that the Lord commissions a prophet to write a message, with the
request that it be read in the church in the ears of the people (in this
case, the church was the temple). It also reveals the attitude of this
leader as he rejected the testimony God had sent to awaken himself and
his people to repentance that they might receive forgiveness and
salvation. In anger, the king burned Jeremiah’s testimony in the fire!
There is a very startling statement
concerning our church pastors which the Lord has sent to us today—to His
modern Israel. It is found in Testimonies to Ministers, pp.
409, 410. Let us not overlook that there are times when apostasy is so
great that such startling pronouncements as this are needed. I quote:
ministers are arraying themselves against God. They are praising Christ and
the god of this world in the same breath.… Let the sin of deceit and
false witness be entertained by a church that has had great light,
great evidence, and that church will discard the message the Lord
has sent, and receive the most unreasonable assertions and false
suppositions and false theories. Satan laughs at their folly, for
he knows what truth is.
stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their
hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan. If doubts and unbelief are
cherished, [then note what will happen:] the faithful ministers will be
removed from the people who think they know so much.…
In Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 77,
we will read a passage that continues this same subject:
whether God will not give you up to the deceptions you love? Who knows but
that the preachers who are faithful, firm, and true may be the last
who shall offer the gospel of peace to our unthankful churches? It
may be that the destroyers are already training under the hand of Satan
and only wait the departure of a few more standard-bearers to take
their places, and with the voice of the false prophet cry, Peace, peace,
when the Lord hath not spoken peace. I seldom weep, but now I
find my eyes blinded with tears; they are falling upon my paper as I
write. It may be that ere long all prophesying among us will be at an
end, and the voice which has stirred the people may no longer disturb
their carnal slumbers.
What a picture! Are not these
predictions being fulfilled today?
If Ellen White were shown in vision
some of the new SDA churches that are being "planted" by the NAD—NOW—how
could she keep from weeping? How could she keep the tears from blinding
her eyes? Many of these new churches are typical celebration churches.
Church leaders may deny this fact, but nonetheless they have all the right
earmarks of such apostasy. The noise they make with their
"music" and shouting and dancing would surely make Jesus Himself
There is no doubt about it; through the
servant of the Lord, God had predicted that this very type of satanic
influence would be brought into our midst "just before the close of
probation." Consider the following sad prediction from Selected
Messages, Vol. 2, p. 36:
thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting, with drums, music, and
dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they
cannot be trusted to make right decisions. And this is called the
moving of the Holy Spirit! [Did you get that?]
Spirit never reveals itself in such methods, in such a bedlam of noise.
This is an invention of Satan to cover up his ingenious methods for
making of none effect the pure, sincere, elevating, ennobling, sanctifying
truth for this time. Better never have the worship of God blended with
music than to use musical instruments to do the work which last January
was represented to me would be brought into our camp meetings. The truth
for this time needs nothing of this kind in its work of converting souls.
A bedlam of noise shocks the senses and perverts that which if conducted
aright might be a blessing. The powers of satanic agencies blend
with the din and noise, to have a carnival, and this is termed the Holy
Speaking of our present celebration
churches, not only is their "bedlam of noise" that they call
"music" an abomination, but also their senseless dramatic
skits and other drama that are a part of their so-called
"worship" services. All such drama is plainly condemned in the
word of the Lord! God has counseled: "Let nothing of a theatrical
nature be introduced." (Review & Herald, February 14,
If we had read these startling warnings
personally, and also to the people from the pulpits of our churches and at
our camp meetings, we may have been spared from engaging in this terrible
apostasy! By our neglect do we not, as did the king of Israel,
virtually burn the writings sent from God in the fire?
While we have had celebration churches
in our midst for several decades by "planting" such
churches, it seems that the leaders are now making a more determined
effort than ever to promote this type of worship.
In an official church paper, the North
Pacific Union Gleaner, August 1999, we find the following
advertisement for the OASIS CHRISTIAN CENTER in Vancouver, Washington. I
quote: "A refreshing place for people who have given up on the
church, but not on God. Great Kid’s Programs; Dramatic Skits; No-Jive
Band, etc. Not your typical church. Check it out." The Oasis
Christian Center that is being advertized is one of the "planted"
SDA celebration churches.
From Selected Messages, we just
read that such exercises as these are an invention of Satan, and that
"the powers of satanic agencies blend with the din and noise to have
It’s hard to realize that we are
condoning and conducting "Adventist carnivals" in church! Could
this be the work of the "destroyers" who have been trained
"under the hand of Satan?" In this connection let us turn to Testimonies
to Ministers, pp. 109, 110, and read again that frightening
stand in our PULPITS with the torch of false prophecy in their hands,
kindled from the hellish torch of Satan!"
Just one more passage from the
testimony that was sent to be read to the Battle Creek Church which surely
applies to us today—to the leaders of God’s Remnant Church:
There are men
among us in responsible positions who hold that the opinions of a few
conceited philosophers, so called, are more to be trusted than the
truth of the Bible, or the testimonies of the Holy Spirit.—Testimonies,
Vol. 5, p. 79.
Now I’m going to ask you a very
thought-provoking question, and to some it may be disturbing: Which would
you choose to hear from your church pulpit—the voices of the "Many
[who] will stand in our pulpits," teaching doctrines of
devils and conducting services whose spirit is "kindled from the
hellish torch of Satan?" Or would you prefer to hear the voices of
faithful ministers standing behind the "pulpit" teaching
biblical truths and, when appropriate, quoting from the Testimonies
that are inspired by the Holy Spirit of God? Think it over.…
The Lord pronounces a woe upon all
Woe be unto
the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the
saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye
have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them:
behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord.
(Jeremiah 23:1, 2)
Then again in Jeremiah 34:18, 19:
Seemeth it a small
thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread
down with your feet the residue of your pastures? And to have drunk of the
deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet?
And as for my
flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they drink
that which ye have fouled with your feet.
Thus God will bring woe unto the false
At such a time as this,
what is the duty of God’s faithful ministers? Isaiah shouts:
spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their
transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." (Isaiah 58:1)
In Testimonies, Vol. 1, p. 321,
the servant of the Lord admonishes:
fearful time, just before Christ is to come the second time,
God’s faithful preachers will have to bear a still more pointed
testimony than was borne by John the Baptist. A responsible, important
work is before them; and those who speak smooth things, God will not
acknowledge as his shepherds. A fearful woe is upon them.
Thus, to the congregations and the
laymen of modern Israel, I quote this from Testimonies to Ministers,
Let no soul
complain of the servants of God who have come to them with a heaven-sent
message. Do not any longer pick flaws in them, saying, "They are too
positive; they talk too strongly." They may talk strongly; but is
it not needed? God will make the ears of the hearers tingle if they will
not heed His voice or His message. He will denounce those who resist the
word of God.
As we face the final crisis, we read in
Selected Messages, Vol. 3, pp. 83, 84:
Men may get up
scheme after scheme, and the enemy will seek to seduce souls from the
truth, but all who believe that the Lord has spoken through Sister White
and has given her a message, will be safe from the many
delusions that will come in these last days.
How sad that Ellen White had to write
the following letter, written to those who would diminish her work which
was authored by the Holy Spirit!
I have tried
to do my duty to you and to the Lord Jesus, whom I serve and whose cause I
love. The testimonies I have borne you have in truth been presented to me
by the Lord. I am sorry that you have rejected the light given.…
betraying your Lord, because, in His great mercy, He has shown you just
where you are standing spiritually? He knows every purpose of the heart.
Nothing is hid from Him. It is not me that you are betraying. It is
not me that you are so embittered against. It is the Lord, who has
given me a message to bear to you.—Manuscript Releases, Vol. 5,
In the same year, 1903, she wrote those
who would give up their faith in the Testimonies:
One thing is
certain: Those Seventh-day Adventists who take their stand under Satan’s
banner will first give up their faith in the warnings and reproofs
contained in the Testimonies of God’s Spirit.—Selected Messages,
Vol. 3, p. 84.
Rather than neglecting the Bible and the Testimonies, let us eagerly ask:
"Is there any word from the Lord?" (Jeremiah 37:17)
The following words from the Lord are
found in Ezekiel 33:11 and Jeremiah 22:29:
Say unto them,
As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the
wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn ye, turn ye
from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord.
Let us pray:
Our loving Father, forgive thy people
who have invited the power of Satan to enter our church through celebration,
with so-called Christian rock music and drama, with the use of
drums and even dancing.
Open the eyes of our leaders who are
determined to force their devilish inventions upon Thy dear people!
Please help the faithful as they strive
for a spirit of holy reverence, so all may feel Thy divine presence
as we worship. Give us, O God, a ministry that will preach end-time
messages from Thy word, the Bible, and the Spirit of Prophecy.
Awaken our pastors to give us sermons that will help us to prepare and be
ready for the coming crisis!
This we ask in the name of Jesus. AMEN