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Archive for the ‘prophets’ Category

EllenGWhite_aEllen G. White (1827-1915) was an American prophet who helped to establish the Seventh Day Adventist church, a Protestant church which now has 14 million believers worldwide. She was not its founder, but its first leading light. Adventists interpret the Bible according to her writings.

God sent White more than 2,000 visions so that she could tell Christians that Jesus will soon come back. That is what the Advent of “Adventist” means: when Jesus Christ will come back to judge the living and the dead on Judgement Day.

She was born in Maine at the north-eastern end of America, one of two twin sisters. When she was eight a stone struck her in the nose and she lay unconscious for three weeks. When she recovered she did not go back to school – she no longer seemed to have enough  intelligence.

Three years later she went with her parents to hear William Miller. He said that Christ would return in a few years on Tuesday October 22nd 1844. They became his followers.

The day came and went. Nothing happened. This was called the Great Disappointment. Miller lost most of his followers, but Ellen remained. She tried to make sense of what had happened. She prayed and read the Bible. Then one morning in December she received her first vision. She saw the Adventists on a journey to the City of God. Other visions followed. It helped to hold some of the Adventists together, the ones who later became the Seventh Day Adventists.

Other Adventists interpreted the Great Disappointment differently. Some of these became the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

So how did the Adventists become the Seventh Day Adventists? Ellen married an Adventist preacher, James White. They both read “The Seventh Day Sabbath” by Joseph Bates and were persuaded that Christians, not just Jews, should observe the seventh day of the week, Saturday, as a day of rest and worship. Six months later God told her she was right in a vision.

Most Christians go to church on Sunday and see that as the day of rest. Sunday was when Jesus rose from the dead. But Bates pointed out that this change from Saturday to Sunday is no where mentioned in the Bible. Therefore it was instituted by man, not by Christ.

Her husband led the new church while she helped to guide it through her visions and writings. She saw the church grow from a few thousand to over 136,000. It now has over 14 million, most of them now outside of North America.

Of her many books the one to read, or read first, is “The Great Controversy” (1858). It is both history and prophecy: it details the history of the world from the year 70 to Judgement Day. It is her reading of Christian history and the book of Revelation in the Bible, painting history as a war between Satan and God. Like it or not, she says, we are fighting on one side or the other.

– Abagond, 2007.

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Muhammad

The Prophet Muhammad (570-632) was an Arab prophet who founded Islam, today the religion of a fifth of mankind. He wrote its holy book, the Koran. Islam says he is the Final Prophet and the Perfect Man, but he is in no way divine. He is the Paraclete promised by Jesus Christ in the Bible.

Unlike the founders of world religions, he fought battles and founded an empire. This has made Islam a very political religion.

He worked no miracles, but God spoke to him through the angel Gabriel. He wrote it all down word for word. That became the Koran. It is itself a miracle: no mere man could have written it. The Hadith has the sayings and deeds of Muhammad.

Islam says he is the Final Prophet and the Koran the perfect Word of God. The prophets that came before, like Noah, Abraham, Moses, Isaiah and Jesus, had their prophecies put in the Bible. But the Bible has been corrupted by men who, for example, made Jesus into the Son of God.

So Islam is not so much a new religion, but religion purified. It is Christianity, for example, without the priests, holy bread or Jesus as one of three gods.

Yet Muhammad did keep some of the old Arab religion, like the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Muhammad was a businessman from Mecca. Every year during the month of Ramadan (then always in summer) he went to the mountain to pray and fast. In 610 the angel Gabriel began to speak to him. It sounded at first like ringing, but in time he heard the words. Gabriel spoke to him till his death. Gabriel’s words have become the Koran.

When Muhammad got back to Mecca he told people what happened and gathered followers. They became the first Muslims.

In those days Arabs fought each other in an endless this for that. Arabs were divided by bloodlines into tribes and worshipped many gods. The Muslims were something new: a community based not on kin but on faith. They seemed like strange sort of tribe.

The Muslims soon became a threat to Mecca and its old ways of tribes and gods. They had to leave. Their flight to Medina, in the following summer in 622 is called the Hegira. This began the Muslim calendar. In Medina they built the first mosque, where they could pray.

In Medina the Muslims attacked traders on the way to Mecca. This led to war, which Muhammad won. By 630 Muhammad ruled Mecca and Medina.

Because Muslims promised not to fight each other, the Muslim part of Arabia was a region of peace. This made it stronger than the rest of Arabia, which was divided and consumed by countless little wars. So in time all of Arabia became Muslim and by Muhammad’s death it was united into one country.

In the hundred years after his death, Arabs went on to conquer lands from Spain to India. It was the start of the Arab Empire and the Muslim world.

– Abagond, 2006.

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