After Christ’s ascension, and after the disciples had surrendered themselves fully to God, through faith and prayer, and after they had come into perfect unity, the Holy Spirit was poured out on them in fullness. Luke 24:49; Acts 2:1-4. Spiritual gifts were then committed to them, to be used for the common good of the church and for the advancement of the work of God. The gifts that were bestowed on the early Christians, by the Spirit, included apostleship, the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, healing, prophecy, discerning of spirits, miracles, tongues, interpretation of tongues, teaching, administration, and charity (pure love in action). Amos 3:7; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, 28; Ephesians 4:7, 8, 11; 1 Peter 4:10, 11.
While advising the church to “covet earnestly the best gifts,” the apostle Paul put emphasis on “a more excellent way”—charity. 1 Corinthians 12:31; 13:1-8, 13. Then he added: “Desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.” 1 Corinthians 14:1. The sure word of prophecy is the basis of our faith. Proverbs 29:18; Hosea 12:10, 13; 2 Chronicles 20:20; Matthew 10:41; 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:19-21.
The gifts of the Spirit are to be restored to the faithful remnant before the second coming of Jesus. 1 Corinthians 1:7, 8.
In keeping with the promise of God, the gift of prophecy was restored to the true church in these last days. Joel 2:28; Acts 2:14-21; Revelation 12:17 (cf Revelation 19:10). Soon after the second great disappointment in 1844, Ellen G. White was called of God to the prophetic ministry among the early Adventists, and her work has stood the test of Isaiah 8:20 and Matthew 7:16, 20.
The main purpose of Ellen G. White’s writings is to bring men and women back to the neglected Word of God, impressing upon their hearts the truths already revealed in the Bible, and to keep believers from drifting away from these truths.
“God has, in His Word, promised to give visions in the ‘last days’; not for a new rule of faith, but for the comfort of His people, and to correct those who err from Bible truth.”—Early Writings, p. 78.
“In ancient times God spoke to men by the mouth of prophets and apostles. In these days He speaks to them by the testimonies of His Spirit. There was never a time when God instructed His people more earnestly than He instructs them now concerning His will and the course that He would have them pursue. ” —Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 147.
“In His word the Lord has plainly revealed His will to those who have riches. But because His direct commands have been slighted, He mercifully presents their dangers before them through the Testimonies. He does not give new light, but calls their attention to the light that has already been revealed in His word.” —Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, pp. 660-661.
“If you had made God’s word your study, with a desire to reach the Bible standard and attain to Christian perfection, you would not have needed the Testimonies. It is because you have neglected to acquaint yourselves with God’s inspired Book that He has sought to reach you by simple, direct testimonies, calling your attention to the words of inspiration which you had neglected to obey, urging you to fashion your lives in accordance with its pure and elevated teachings.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 605.
“The word of God is sufficient to enlighten the most beclouded mind and may be understood by those who have any desire to understand it. But notwithstanding all this, some who profess to make the word of God their study are found living in direct opposition to its plainest teachings. Then, to leave men and women without excuse, God gives plain and pointed testimonies, bringing them back to the word that they have neglected to follow.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, pp. 554-455.
“The volumes of Spirit of Prophecy and also the Testimonies should be introduced into every Sabbathkeeping family, and the brethren should know their value and be urged to read them.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 390.
“God’s Word is the unerring standard. The Testimonies are not to take the place of the Word. Great care should be exercised by all believers to advance these questions carefully, and always stop when you have said enough. Let all prove their positions from the Scriptures and substantiate every point they claim as truth from the revealed Word of God.”—Evangelism, p. 256.
“Satan is . . . constantly pressing in the spurious—to lead away from the truth. The very last deception of Satan will be to make of none effect the testimony of the Spirit of God.”—Selected Messages, bk 1, p. 48