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  Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. Revelation 1:3
   
 

Gifts of the Spirit

 

Gifts from the Godhead

 

Concerning what subject ought we to be informed?

 

“Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant.”

1 Corinthians 12:1. 

 

When Christ ascended, what did He give to men?

 

“This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” Ephesians 4:8.

 

What were these gifts that Christ gave to men?

 

“It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers.” Verse 11. 

 

How are these gifts elsewhere spoken of?

 

“And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.” 1 Corinthians 12:28. 

 

Purpose of the Gifts

 

For what purpose were these gifts bestowed upon the church?

 

To prepare God’s people for the works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” Ephesians 4:12-15. 

 

What result is to be obtained by the exercise of the gifts of the church?

 

“Until we reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Verse 13.

 

How is unity preserved in the diversities of gifts?

 

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:4.  

For what purpose is the manifestation of this one Spirit given?

 

“Now to each one of the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and still another the interpretation of tongues.” Verses 7-10. 

 

Who controls the distribution of the gifts of the Spirit?

 

“All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.” Verse 11.

 

Was it God’s design that all should possess the same gifts?

 

“Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts.” Verses 29-31.

 

Period of the Gifts

 

Were the gifts of the Spirit to continue forever? 

 

“Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”

1 Corinthians 13:8.  

 

When will the gifts of the Spirit not be needed?

 

But when perfection comes, the imperfect will disappear.” Verse 10.

 

Avenues of Communication

 

How did God communicate with man in Eden?

 

“But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:9.  

 

Since the Fall, by what means has God generally made known His will to man?

 

I spoke to the prophets, gave them many visions and told parables through them.”

Hosea 12:10.

 

What things belong to God, and what to us?

 

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that they may follow all the words of this law.” Deut. 29:29.

How fully and to whom does God reveal His purposes?

 

“Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7.

 

The Gift of Prophecy

 

How does the Lord reveal Himself to His prophets?

 

“He said, “Listen to my words: “When a prophet of the Lord is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams.” Numbers 12:6.

 

Under what influence did the prophets of old speak?

 

“For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:21. (See also 2 Samuel 23:2.)

 

How are both the origin of prophecy and the means of communicating it still further shown in God’s plan?

 

“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John.”

Revelation 1:1.

 

What angel revealed to Daniel his visions and dreams?

 

“While still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have come to give you insight and understanding.” Daniel 9: 21,22. (See also chapter 10, and Revelation 22: 9, 10.)

 

What Spirit was in the prophets dictating their utterances?

 

“Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.”  1 Peter 1:10, 11.   

 

How were the Lord’s words to the prophets preserved?

 

“In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying on his bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream.”

Daniel 7:1. (See also Jeremiah 51:60; Revelation 1:10, 11.)

 

By whom has God spoken to us in these last days?

 

“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.” Hebrews 1:1,2.

 

What was one of the offices to be filled by the Messiah?

 

“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.” Deuteronomy 18:15. 

 

Foretelling the Future

 

Can the wise men of the world foretell the future?

 

“Daniel replied, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he as asked about.” Daniel 2:27.

 

Who did Daniel say that could reveal secrets?

 

“But there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadazzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you lay on your bed are these.” Verse 28.

 

How did prophet Daniel acknowledge the insufficiency of human wisdom?

 

As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than other living men, but so that you, O king, may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.” Verse 30.

 

After revealing and interpreting the dream, what did Daniel say?

 

“This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands – a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces. “The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy.” Daniel 2:45. 

 

How does God show His foreknowledge?

 

“See the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.” Isaiah 42:9.   

 

What was foretold through the prophet Joel?

 

“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people, your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will se visions.” Joel 2:28.

 

When did this prediction begin to be fulfilled?

 

“No, this what was spoken by the prophet Joel: In the last days, I will pour out my Spirit on all people, Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young me will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” Acts 2: 16,17.

 

Prophetic Leadership

 

What were some of the gifts Christ gave to the church?

 

“This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” What doers he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe. It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers.”

Ephesians 4: 8-11.   

 

By what means did God deliver and preserve Israel?

 

“The Lord used a prophet to bring Israel up from Egypt, by a prophet he cared for him.”

Hosea 12:13.

 

When Moses complained of his slowness of speech, what did God say to Aaron should be to him?

 

“He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if you were your mouth and as if you were God to him.” Exodus 4:16.

 

What did God afterward call Aaron?

 

“Then the Lord said to Moses, See, I have made you like a god to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet.” Exodus 7:1.

 

Tests of True and False Prophets

 

“If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.” Deuteronomy 18:22. 

 

What other test should be applied in determining the validity of the claims of a prophet?

 

“If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “And let us worship them,” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere.  Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.” Deuteronomy 13:1-4.

 

Note – From these Scriptures it will be seen that, in the first place, if a prophet’s words do not prove to be true, it is evidence that God has not sent that prophet. On the other hand, even though the thing predicted comes to pass, if the intended prophet seeks to lead others to break God’s commandments, this, regardless of all the signs, should be positive evidence that he is not a true prophet.

 

What rule did Christ give for determining between true and false prophets?

 

“Thus by their fruit you will recognize them.” Matthew 7:20.

 

Attitude Toward God’s Prophets

 

How did God’s prophets anciently use the words of former prophets in exhorting the people into obedience?

 

Are these not the words the Lord proclaimed through the earlier prophets when Jerusalem and its surrounding towns were at rest and prosperous, and the Negev and the western foothills were settled?’” Zechariah 7:7.

 

What was the promised result of believing God’s prophets?

 

“Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and the people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in the prophets and you will be successful.”

2 Chronicles 20:20.

 

What admonition is given regarding the gift of prophecy?

 

“Do not put out the Spirit’s fire, do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 20,21.

 

What will characterize the last, or remnant church?

 

‘Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring – those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” Revelation 12:17.

 

What is the “testimony of Jesus”?

 

“Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:10. 

(See Revelation 1:9.)

 

What results when this gift is absent?

 

“Where there is no revelation, the people cast of restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.” Proverbs 29:18.  (See also Psalm 74:9.)

 

Come, Holy Spirit, come,

Let Thy bright beams arise,

Dispel the sorrow from our minds,

The darkness from our eyes.

 

Convince us all of sin,

Then lead to Jesus’ blood,

And to our wondering view reveal

The mercies of our God.

 

Revive our drooping faith,

Our doubts and fears remove,

And kindle in our breasts the flame

Of never-dying love.

 

Come, Holy Spirit, come,

Our minds from bondage free;

Then shall we know, and praise, and love,

The Father, Son, and Thee.

                                           - Joseph Hart.

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