Unrolling of the Scroll

We can imagine the old biblical days, a teacher or religious leader preparing to read and discuss God’s word. He would grab hold of the scroll and then proceed to “unroll” it and then start his discussion. This proverbial “unrolling of the scroll” has much more meaning that the simple act of it. Let us look at the term’s meaning for us today.

As the Bible continued to be added to, the latest word from the prophets (God’s spokesmen) were added to the end of the scroll. This was to be the present truth for that particular generation.

Ellen White says much on present truth–

“There are many precious truths contained in the Word of God, but it is “present truth” that the flock needs now.” (Early Writings, p.63)

” I saw that the saints must get a thorough understanding of present truth, which they will be obliged to maintain from the Scriptures…. Our minds must not be taken up with things around us, but must be occupied with the present truth and a preparation to give a reason of our hope with meekness and fear. We must seek wisdom from on high that we may stand in this day of error and delusion” (Early Writings, p. 87).

So in order to understand the unrolling of the scroll, we must understand that the latest word from God is  the most needed. Allow us to make some examples.

We know back in Moses day, the people were given many laws and commands during their exodus from Egypt. One of them was the “stoning” of the man who broke the Sabbath. That was present truth for that time. Does that mean that this is true for us today? Ofcourse not. This was spoken of for that time and place to God’s people.

Likewise Joshua was told to go in and kill all the people in villages that God wanted conquered. Is that our truth for today? Ofcourse not. You see, unlike the prior prophets,  the “latest” prophet is the latest word from God . This is our cutting edge truth, our hope, our gift, our joy from the all-seeing and knowing Lord.

Granted those are rather extreme examples, the main point being that not all truth given for one generation is applicable to the next and thereafter. Contrarily, much truth is often applicable for future generations as well. The 10 Commandments were present truths for the people in Moses’ generation yet they are also true for us today.

Last week we posted on the original SDA system of paying tithes. To give a more contemporary example of the scroll unrolling with further truth, and more applicable truth,  let’s look at the following.

We saw that the system was made up so that the church members were to gather the tithes “quarterly”, four times a year. Today with our faster moving world and with bills coming at us at a far more rapid pace, we know that their truth (paying quarterly) would not be present truth for us today. So we must understand that, with the “spirit of Truth” guiding us (John 16:13), we shall be able to discern the truth as it unrolls to our specific time.

We now come to the latest messengers from God, particularly our beloved Ellen G. White. We as SDA, are truly amazed and thrilled to have been privileged to read her writings. Yet we must, as truth seekers know that she was not the last prophet sent from the Lord to us. So knowing this, it stands to reason that her writings, as beautiful and true as they are, they do not encompass all our present truths for today. From the explanations from above we can see this but even more importantly we can see what she herself said concerning a future messenger of God to come.

“Prophecy must be fulfilled. The Lord says: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” Somebody is to come in the spirit and power of Elijah, and when he appears, men may say: “You are too earnest, you do not interpret the Scriptures in the proper way. Let me tell you how to teach your message.”(Test. to Min. p.475)

Then we find Scripture that shows a last prophet to come “before the great and dreadful day of the Lord”. (Mal. 4:5)

As the scroll unrolled, our Divine King made it clear He would have a last day prophet bring the last words of importance to our generation. This is where we must make one of two decisions. The great fork in the road is before us. One leads to this–

“I am satisfied that I have all I need in the truth, and have no need of any new messages from the Lord”. This very well could be what the Lord had in mind when he said, “Because you say, ‘ I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing…” (Rev. 3:17)  One path is our decision to say we “have need of nothing”. Meaning we don’t need His last day messages.

The second fork in the road leads to this–  ” I am willing to follow you Lord wherever you go. You sent a prior prophet to us and had her prepare us for your last prophet (Test. to Min. p.475-476). This latest unrolling of the scroll, I will learn and take heed.”

This last prophet makes mention of the scroll,  “..since Elijah is to herald the great day, he can therefore be the only one who will rightly interpret the prophecies of the day, which are still mysteries to Christendom, and even to our own Denomination!  Indeed, to reiterate, it is for this very reason that the prophet is sent.  He is to unroll the scroll to explain what the day of the Lord is like, what the Lord will do then, and how we may survive His judgments. 

To re-emphasize the fact, let it be said again that being the last of the prophets Elijah is, therefore, the only one who can open to our understanding all the prophecies of the Scriptures pertaining to the great and dreadful day of the Lord — prophecies which heretofore have been only mysteries to all.  Thus he is, as the Scriptures say, to blow the trumpet in Zion, and to sound an alarm in God’s holy mountain, in the church.”(General Conference Special, p.19)

As the scroll as unrolled down through time, has there ever been a time when the God’s people ignored the messages and warning of His prophets, and God’s blessings and saving grace came upon them? Ofcourse not.

Brother Houteff says, “It is a fact, that in every age where God demonstrated His truth and purpose in clear lines, after being rejected, that people suffered the vengeance of the all-powerful and great God. For instance, the anti-diluvians, cities of Sodom, Egypt, Canaanites, Babylon, and ancient Jerusalem.” (Shep. Rod, Vol. 1, p.129)

Will it not be the same for us in this generation? Are we, the Laodiceans, to be exalted above all the other generations of God and therefore get a free pass to ignore His present truth prophet? As we view history, the answer should be clear.

Let us not make the same mistake that the Pharisees made in Christ’s day. Our Lord was THE PRESENT TRUTH. Yet the prideful leaders denied that He was. His message was not the further unrolling of the scroll. They stopped the scroll at Malachi!  The prior prophet. Are we as SDA also stopping the scroll at Ellen White? Are we grabbing the Lord’s hand and saying, “Stop this unrolling, we don’t need any more from You.”?

In closing, we have a great decision to make. It’s ours and ours alone. Each must take one of those forks in the road. The Elijah messengers are calling out to the people of God, “The Lord’s voice cries to the city–Wisdom shall see Your name: “Hear ye the rod! And Who has appointed it.” (Micah 6:9)

My beloved, there has only been one “rod” that has ever spoke. The unrolling of the scroll has now exposed the “rod” that speaks –the Shepherd’s Rod. May we heed our present truth for right now–today.

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