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An interesting thought


Can a Prophet Re-write His Own Testimony?

S. N. Haskell

From Bible Training School [Periodical], December, 1912,
contained in "Periodical Resource Collection", Volume Two, page 140,
published by Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1990.

Can a prophet re-write his own testimony, make changes in it, and yet it be verbally inspired? That depends altogether on what is called changes.

The Bible is a book compiled from many inspired writers, and each tells the same story, preserving his own individuality all the while. There are but a few instances where the same words are used by each of these different inspired writers. Each one expresses the thoughts in his own peculiar way, thus giving the same thoughts in many different settings.

It is the same when a prophet re-writes his own testimony. There are no definite rules that govern the workings of God’s Holy Spirit. Unity in diversity is a characteristic of the Deity. The writings of Moses illustrate this principle.

Deuteronomy is a recapitulation of the law. Scarcely one point in this book is stated in the same words as when it was first written. In some instances it is more fully developed; in others it is stated more briefly. In a few instances points are mentioned for the first time, and yet the principles are all found in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. We give a few instances to illustrate many that might be given:–

In Exodus 18:13-23 we have an account of Moses’ father-in-law visiting Moses and suggesting to him that he appoint rulers over tens, hundreds, thousands, etc. In Deuteronomy 1:9-18 is a repetition of this account, but Jethro is entirely left out. He is not even mentioned, but some other things are added.

In Leviticus 7:28-34, it is stated that the shoulder and the breast of the wave, or thank offering, was to be given to the priest. In Deuteronomy 18:3, it is stated that the cheeks and the maw were also given to the priests. This is the first time that cheek is mentioned in the Bible. Other writers use the word in both the Old and New Testaments, and the gospel lessons drawn from it are quite important. Was it a mistake that Moses did not mention it before? – None would say it was.

But what is still more remarkable is the record that was written about the wanderings of Israel in the wilderness. In Numbers 14:32-35, the language strongly implies that the forty years began at the time the death sentence was pronounced upon the men of war, because they partook of the spirit of the ten spies. This was after they had been in the wilderness two years.

But Moses, thirty-eight years later, says: "And the space in which we came from Kadesh-barnea, until we were come over the brook Zered, was thirty-and-eight years; until all the generation of the men of war were wasted out from among the host, as the Lord sware unto them." Deuteronomy 2:14.

These references carefully studied show that a prophet can re-write his own testimonies and further develop them, or condense them, and even make additions to what they have previously written – yet it all be inspired of the Lord.

[This is all of the article which appears on the back of a facsimile
containing E G White’s writings in the Bible Training School.]


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