A LITTLE BACKGROUND ON ELLEN G. WHITE
The Bible foretells that in the last days before the coming of the Lord, God will raise up a remnant, a church that will keep all the commandments of God, and that will also have the gift of prophecy. In order to qualify as the remnant church, the church must have the gift of prophecy. It is one of the special marks of identification of the last-day church. The same gift that inspired the prophet Daniel will be duplicated in the end time by a restoration of the gift of prophecy to the church. Has God fulfilled this prediction? Did He send the gift of prophecy to the remnant church after the darkening of the sun in 1780?
In December of 1844, a 17-year-old girl by the name of Ellen Harmon (later to become known as Ellen White by marriage), in frail health, possessing only a third-grade education, received her first vision while kneeling in prayer with a group of women in Portland, Maine. She shrank from the prospect of being called a prophet, yet she dared not be disobedient to the heavenly vision, and so she related what God had shown her. For 69 years she continued to receive visions and dreams from the Lord. She became one of the most prolific female writers in history, with over 50 books still in print today. Was this a genuine or counterfeit manifiestation? Was it a fulfillment of the Biblical promise that the prophectic gift would be restored to the church at the end time?
When she was a little girl attending school, she was hit in the face by a stone thrown by one of the school children. From then on, she had severe headaches and eventually discontinued her education. This left her formally with a 3rd grade education.
Ellen White later in life started having visions. Luckily this was late enough in time that whatever she wrote or said could be recorded and published. There was sufficient scientific knowledge to tell if she was faking or not.
Ellen's White's experience was very similar to that of the prophet Daniel who had visions. How does God communicate to a prophet? "In visions and dreams." [ NUM 12:6 ] Did Daniel have dreams and visions? Yes. [ DAN 7:1, 8:1 ] Physical phenomena accompanied Daniel while in vision.
[ DAN 10:8 ] "there remained no strength in me" [ DAN 10:9 ] "then was I in a deep sleep on my face" [ DAN 10:10 ] "an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands" [ DAN 10:17 ] "neither is there breath left in me" [ DAN 10:18 ] "he touched me"
One of the hardest things to do is to try to accept that someone living in the mid-1800's was a prophet and had visions, dreams, etc. However Mrs. White writes about her accounts in a book entitled "Early Writings" [ ISBN 0-8280-0478-1 ] in which are related notes about Mrs. White, history, her experiences and visions in the first person, and then a section where she explains how she fully expects you the reader to not accept it, She explains in greater detail more information, and then in another section she picks through her vision point by point where critics would say "you said 'A' here and 'B' over here, they conflict." She addresses the context and meanings behind the words and provides scriptual references. She doesn't conflict with the Bible, but you don't have to take it either. Astonishingly, she does provide some fantastic insight which is in-line with the Bible. (see her decription of heaven, transcribed later on)
She did not breathe during her visions. Sometimes her visions lasted for as long as four hours. Physicians who examined Ellen White in vision marveled that she did not breathe, yet still lived.
At times, like Daniel, she experienced a loss of physical strength followed by supernatural strength. During one vision she held a seventeen-pound family Bible outstretched in her hand for thirty minutes as she recited verse-by-verse from it (in the correct context as the prayer group had asked for guidance over). A doctor who was in the room stood on a chair and turned the pages confirming the event. At that time she weighed 97 pounds and was in frail health.
Supernatural phenomena comes from God, or Satan. What is the first Biblical test of a prophect? "To the law and to the testimony." [ ISA 8:20 ] "The law and testimony" was an Old Testament expression for the Bible. "The law" referred to the first five books of Moses, and "the testimony" referred to the testimony of the prophets, the rest of the Old Testament. The basic meaning of the prophet MUST AGREE with Scripture, or he is not a genuine prophet. In every case Ellen White agrees with Scripture.
She typically had compelling insight into many of the scriptures. Yet she always maintained the rule of thumb that one should read and study the Bible first, that it was the authority. Then, if while reading through her works more insight was brought, that was fine. But if ever her work seemed to go contrary to what the Bible taught, her works were to be considered in fault. In all cases no one was to use her works in lieu of the Bible. In fact, her texts harmonize with the Bible.
Her collective, insightful writings, mind you from a 3rd grade education, total a pile in printed text approximately six feet tall.
What is the second test of a prophet? "Every spirit that confesses Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God." [ 1 JOHN 4:2 ] True prophets will attest to the humanity and divinity of Jesus Christ. they will elevate and exalt Jesus Christ. Again, she fulfills this test... and rather well.
What is the third Bible test of a prophet? "By their fruits ye shall know them. [ MATT 7:20 ] The Bible prophets were not perfect, nor is any prophet perfect; they are/were human. But the general tendency of the life must be in harmony with the Word of God. Ellen White lived before the public for over 70 years. She was not perfect, but there was consistency and harmony in her life with what she believed.
What is the fourth Bible test of a prophet? "When the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the LORD hath truly sent him." [ JER 28:9 ]
Incidently, the word LORD in all capitals stands for God's name (translated to 'I AM'); the Jews regarded this name as so Holy that they didn't put vowels in it when they wrote it. Go figure. Additional evidence is found in laws of Greek grammmar. The anarthrous use of "LORD" (used without a definate article). The LXX translates YHWH (Yah-Weh) with an anarthrous KURIOS. Very often, when one finds an anarthrous KURIOS in the New Testament it indicates God (e.g. MAT 7:21; 8:2, 6, 25) A single article qualifies two substantives. Thus, for example, Christ is described as God in the phrases "our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" [ TIT 2:13 ], "the righteous of our God and Savior Jesus Christ." [ 2 PET 1:1 ] When there are two substantives and the second is in the genitive case without an article, for either substantive, the quality of the one is attributed to the other. Thus, in the same way that Romans 1:17,18 speaks of "righteousness of God" and "wrath of God," so Jesus is described as "Son of God." [ LUKE 1:35 ]
The final Biblical test of the prophet is fulfilled predictions. Bible prophets gave prdictions that daelt with the main themes of the great controversy and salvation, not mundane things such as winning elections, astrology, etc. If the prophet predicts the future, it will come to pass. If the prophecy fails, the prophet would not be genuine. Like most Bible prphets, Ellen White did not give a lot of predicitons. Her work was to edify, exhort, and comfort the church. yet there were tiems when she did give prdictions, and on these she can be tested. Like Bible prophets, her predicitons were sometimes conditional upon obedience, but her insights clearly reveal the prophetic voice speaking through her. Ellen White always pointed to the Bible.
The purpose of the gift of prophecy is to edify, exholt, and comfort. [ 1 COR 14:3 ] Not so much to predict the future. Prediction of the future is our verification there is a God.
No one worships Ellen White. No one takes her works over the Bible. No one takes her works as equal to the Bible. She was just someone who had keen insight. She even wrote to churches she had not met about topics they were in heated discussions over, he letters usually arrived hours before issues were brought to vote, making the matter clear. Often she was ministering on another continet when this happened... on multiple occasions. She often wrote specific advice to specific people on accounts and matters that she had no natural way of knowing about. Ellen White didn't run around in robes, cause earth quakes or plagues, or do anything other than providing a little insight.
However, this is not how she, or the church is billed when descriptions are written about it. Only recently has a correction been issued in the "who's who of religions."