Selected Messages Book 3


Chapter 5—Experiences in Receiving the Visions

First Vision—While I was praying at the family altar, the Holy Ghost fell upon me.—Early Writings, 14. 3SM 34.1

Five of us, all women, were kneeling quietly at the family altar. While we were praying, the power of God came upon me as I had never felt it before. I seemed to be surrounded with light, and to be rising higher and higher from the earth. At this time I had a view of the experience of the Advent believers, the coming of Christ, and the reward to be given to the faithful.—Testimonies for the Church 5:654, 655. 3SM 34.2

The Experience Recounted—When the gleams of the glory of God came to me first, they thought that I was dead, and there they watched and cried and prayed so long, but to me it was heaven, it was life, and then the world was spread out before me and I saw darkness like the pall of death. 3SM 34.3

What did it mean? I could see no light. Then I saw a little glimmer of light and then another, and these lights increased and grew brighter, and multiplied and grew stronger and stronger till they were the light of the world. These were the believers in Jesus Christ.... 3SM 34.4

I never thought that I should come to the world again. When my breath came again to my body, I could not hear anything. Everything was dark. The light and glory that my eyes had rested upon had eclipsed the light and thus it was for many hours. Then gradually I began to recognize the light, and I asked where I was. 3SM 34.5

“You are right here in my house,” said the owner of the house. 3SM 35.1

“What, here? I here? Do you not know about it?” Then it all came back to me. Is this to be my home? Have I come here again? Oh, the weight and the burden which came upon my soul.—Manuscript 16, 1894. 3SM 35.2

Entirely Lost to Earthly Things—When the Lord sees fit to give a vision, I am taken into the presence of Jesus and angels, and am entirely lost to earthly things. [This accounts for the fact that Ellen White rarely speaks of the physical phenomenon that accompanied many of the visions. She herself had to depend on the testimony of eyewitnesses for a knowledge of these manifestations as she did in 1906 when she referred to evidences of her call and work. See the item closing this chapter.] I can see no farther than the angel directs me. My attention is often directed to scenes transpiring upon earth. 3SM 35.3

At times I am carried far ahead into the future and shown what is to take place. Then again I am shown things as they have occurred in the past.—Spiritual Gifts 2:292 (1860). 3SM 35.4

At Times Visions Received While Conscious—Friday, March 20, I arose early, about half past three o'clock in the morning. While writing upon the fifteenth chapter of John suddenly a wonderful peace came upon me. The whole room seemed to be filled with the atmosphere of heaven. A holy, sacred presence seemed to be in my room. I laid down my pen and was in a waiting attitude to see what the Spirit would say unto me. I saw no person. I heard no audible voice, but a heavenly watcher seemed close beside me; I felt that I was in the presence of Jesus. 3SM 35.5

The sweet peace and light which seemed to be in my room it is impossible for me to explain or describe. A sacred, holy atmosphere surrounded me, and there were presented to my mind and understanding matters of intense interest and importance. A line of action was laid out before me as if the unseen presence was speaking with me. The matter I had been writing upon seemed to be lost to my mind and another matter distinctly opened before me. A great awe seemed to be upon me as matters were imprinted upon my mind.—Manuscript 12c, 1896. 3SM 35.6

Another Vision While Writing—I arose early Thursday morning, about two o'clock, and was writing busily upon the True Vine, when I felt a presence in my room, as I have many times before, and I lost all recollection of what I was about. I seemed to be in the presence of Jesus. He was communicating to me that in which I was to be instructed. Everything was so plain that I could not misunderstand. 3SM 36.1

I was to help one whom I thought I should never be called upon to be troubled with again. I could not understand what it meant, but at once decided not to try to reason about this, but follow the directions. Not an audible word was spoken to my ear, but to my mind. I said, “Lord, I will do as Thou hast commanded.”—Letter 36, 1896. 3SM 36.2

Wonderful Representation While Writing and Speaking—Not only when I am standing before large congregations is special help bestowed upon me; but when I am using my pen, wonderful representations are given me of past, present, and future.—Letter 86, 1906. 3SM 36.3

Ellen White Could Not Control the Visions—It is utterly false that I have ever intimated I could have a vision when I pleased. There is not a shade of truth in this. I have never said I could throw myself into visions when I pleased, for this is simply impossible. I have felt for years that if I could have my choice and please God as well, I would rather die than have a vision, for every vision places me under great responsibility to bear testimonies of reproof and of warning, which has ever been against my feelings, causing me affliction of soul that is inexpressible. Never have I coveted my position, and yet I dare not resist the Spirit of God and seek an easier position. 3SM 36.4

The Spirit of God has come upon me at different times, in different places, and under various circumstances. [Elder J. N. Loughborough reports that the last vision accompanied by physical phenomena was on the campground at Portland, Oregon, in 1884. He was present and he made mention of this in a talk he gave on January 20, 1893, on “the study of the Testimonies,” at the General Conference session, held in Battle Creek. See The General Conference Bulletin, 1893, 19, 20.—Compilers.] My husband has had no control of these manifestations of the Spirit of God. Many times he has been far away when I have had visions.—Letter 2, 1874. 3SM 37.1

Dared Not Doubt—In the confusion I was sometimes tempted to doubt my own experience. While at family prayers one morning, the power of God began to rest upon me, and the thought rushed into my mind that it was mesmerism, and I resisted it. Immediately I was struck dumb.... After that I dared not doubt or for a moment resist the power of God, however others might think of me.—Early Writings, 22, 23. 3SM 37.2

Ellen White Recounts Evidences of Her Call and Work—There is in our world a spirit of belief and also a spirit of unbelief. In the latter days some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. We expect that those who refuse to harmonize with Christ will develop into a warring element; but we should not think that this will do us harm. We must remember that they that are for us are more than they that can be against us. This is my hope and strength and power. I believe in God. I know in whom I believe. I believe the messages that God has given to his remnant church. From childhood I have had many, many experiences that have strengthened my faith in the work that God has given me to do. 3SM 37.3

Enabled to Write—Early in my public labors I was bidden by the Lord, “Write, write the things that are revealed to you.” At the time this message came to me, I could not hold my hand steady. My physical condition made it impossible for me to write. But again came the word, “Write the things that are revealed to you.” I obeyed; and as the result it was not long before I could write page after page with comparative ease. Who told me what to write? Who steadied my right hand, and made it possible for me to use a pen? It was the Lord. 3SM 37.4

When we come into right relation with Him, and give ourselves wholly to Him, we shall see the miracle-working power of God in word and deed. 3SM 38.1

The Visions Confirmed Conclusions From Bible Study—In the early days of the message, when our numbers were few, we studied diligently to understand the meaning of many Scriptures. At times it seemed as if no explanation could be given. My mind seemed to be locked to an understanding of the Word; but when our brethren who had assembled for study came to a point where they could go no farther, and had recourse to earnest prayer, the Spirit of God would rest upon me, and I would be taken off in vision, and be instructed in regard to the relation of Scripture to Scripture. These experiences were repeated over and over again. Thus many truths of the third angel's message were established, point by point. 3SM 38.2

Think you that my faith in this message will ever waver? Think you that I can remain silent, when I see an effort being made to sweep away the foundation pillars of our faith? I am as thoroughly established in these truths as it is possible for a person to be. I can never forget the experience I have passed through. God has confirmed my belief by many evidences of his power. 3SM 38.3

The light that I have received, I have written out, and much of it is now shining forth from the printed page. There is, throughout my printed works, a harmony with my present teaching. 3SM 38.4

While in Vision She Did Not Breathe—Some of the instruction found in these pages was given under circumstances so remarkable as to evidence the wonder-working power of God in behalf of his truth. Sometimes while I was in vision, my friends would approach me, and exclaim, “Why, she does not breathe!” Placing a mirror before my lips, they found that no moisture gathered on the glass. It was while there was no sign of any breathing that I kept talking of the things that were being presented before me. These messages were thus given to substantiate the faith of all, that in these last days we might have confidence in the Spirit of Prophecy. 3SM 38.5

Voice Miraculously Preserved—I thank God that he has preserved my voice, which in my early youth physicians and friends declared would be silent within three months. The God of heaven saw that I needed to pass through a trying experience in order to be prepared for the work he had for me to do. 3SM 39.1

For the past half century my faith in the ultimate triumph of the third angel's message and everything connected with it, has been substantiated by the wonderful experiences through which I have passed. This is why I am anxious to have my books published and circulated in many languages. I know that the light contained in these books is the light of heaven. 3SM 39.2

Study the Instruction—I ask you to study the instruction that is written in these books. To John, the aged apostle, came the message, “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.” The Lord has bidden me write that which had been revealed to me. This I have done, and it is now in printed form.... 3SM 39.3

Amid the error that is overspreading the whole earth, let us strive to stand firm on the platform of eternal truth. Let us put on the whole armor of God; for we are told that in this time Satan himself will work miracles before the people; and as we see these things, we must be prepared to withstand their deceptive influence. Whatever is presented by the enemy as truth, ought not to influence us; for we should be under the instruction of the great Author of all truth.—The Review and Herald, June 14, 1906. 3SM 39.4