What are the two characteristics of the end-time church?

Author: BibleAsk Team

The Two Characteristics of the End-Time Church

The end time church will have two characteristics. They will keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus. “And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17 also 14:12).

The Testimony of Jesus

The Bible gives us the answer in Revelation 19:10, “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”  The word “prophecy” means any inspired message given by God through a prophet (Matthew 11:9). Prophecy means foretelling of future events, though more generally it is not. The phrase “spirit of prophecy” points mainly to the “manifestation of the Spirit” in the form of a specific gift of the Holy Spirit that stirs the receiver and helps him to speak authoritatively as a messenger of God (1 Corinthians 12:7–10) when “moved by the Holy Ghost” to do so (2 Peter 1:21). The context of the phrase in Revelation 19:10 describes “the testimony of Jesus” and “the spirit of prophecy” in this sense.

The Spirit of Prophecy

Revelation 12:17 precisely points to the church after the close of the 1260 prophetic days of verses 6 and 14, that is, after 1798 (Daniel 7:25). Revelation 12:17 is an obvious prophecy of the unique revelation of the “spirit,” or “gift,” of prophecy in the church in our day. Seventh-day Adventists believe the ministry of Ellen G. White fulfills the conditions of Revelation 12:17 in a special way. https://bibleask.org/who-is-ellen-g-white/

Bible authors point to more than 20 of their contemporaries who had the gift of prophecy, though their messages were not included in the Bible. Such were Nathan, Gad, Iddo, Agabus, and others (2 Samuel 7:2; 1 Chronicles 29:9; 2 Chronicles 9:29; Acts 11:27, 28; 21:10). It is clear, that the gift of prophecy was not restricted to males, either in Old Testament or in New Testament times, for there were female prophets such as Deborah (Judges 4:4), Huldah (2 Chronicles 34:22), and the four daughters of Philip (Acts 21:9).

End-Time Prophets

New Testament authors nowhere propose that the gift of prophecy was to end with the New Testament church. On the contrary, Paul preached that, with the other gifts of the Spirit he lists in Ephesian 4:11, it was to stay “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” (verse 13). All of the other unique gifts listed in verse 11 are still required in the church, and men and women are still fit by the Holy Spirit to have them. And thus, the office of a prophet is no exception to that.

Christ warned Christians of the rise of false prophets, especially at the end of time (Matthew 24:11, 24). If it was possible, these false prophets would “deceive the very elect.” So, how can we test those who claim to have been given spiritual gifts (1 John 4:1), to know whether these gifts are true or not?

The Test of a True Prophet

The Bible gives us certain standards by which those who claim to speak for God are to be tested:

  1. The personal life of the prophet will be in harmony with the doctrines and teachings of Scripture (Mathew 7:15–20).
  2. The messages will likewise be in harmony with Scripture.
  3. The ministry will lift Christ as the Son of God and the Redeemer of mankind (1 John 4:2).
  4. The ministry will be affirmed by fulfilled predictions (Jeremiah 28:9; 1 Samuel 3:19).

Advent Christians see that the life, ministry, and writings of Ellen G. White fulfill these four standards. The church does not consider the writings of Ellen G. White as either a substitute for or an addition to the Scriptures. For Adventists, the Bible stands alone as the test of Christian faith while the writings of Ellen G. White assist, in her own words, as “a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light” (EGW RH Jan 20, 1903) which is the Scriptures. The writings of the Spirit of prophecy do not offer a new path of salvation, but are there to lead people to the Bible.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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