Messenger of the Lord


Purpose of the Visions

No one can read very far into the writings of Mrs. White without becoming aware of her profound veneration for the Bible. She was a champion of Bible study, and in the strongest words urged consistent and thorough Bible study. 7 MOL 135.1

In fact, one of the signs of false prophets is their attempt to make of none effect the work of former prophets (Isaiah 8:20). One of the prime signs of genuine prophets is their constant reference to former prophets. The coherency and unity of the Bible rest on this simple fact borne out through the years. One of the common observations made regarding Ellen White is that she made extensive use of Scripture in her sermons and in her voluminous writings. MOL 135.2

But if the Bible is “the only true guide in all matters of faith and practice,” 8 why were the messages of Ellen White necessary? What is the purpose of her prophetic role? MOL 135.3

She explained why her messages were needed: “I took the precious Bible and surrounded it with the several Testimonies for the Church, given for the people of God. Here, said I, the cases of nearly all are met. The sins they are to shun are pointed out. The counsel that they desire can be found here, given for other cases situated similarly to themselves. God has been pleased to give you line upon line and precept upon precept. But there are not many of you that really know what is contained in the Testimonies. You are not familiar with the Scriptures. If you had made God’s Word your study, with a desire to reach the Bible standard and attain to Christian perfection, you would not have needed the Testimonies. It is because you have neglected to acquaint yourselves with God’s inspired Book that He has sought to reach you by simple, direct testimonies.” 9 MOL 135.4

Only when their purpose is clearly understood will Ellen White’s writings be properly appreciated. She explained why God saw the need to speak through her: “To bring the minds of His people to His Word” 10; to simplify “the great truths already given” 11; to call attention to “Biblical principles for the formation of correct habits of living” 12; to specify “man’s duty to God and to his fellow man” 13; and “to encourage the desponding.” 14 MOL 135.5

In essence, the messages of Ellen White were given not “for a new rule of faith, but for the comfort of His people, and to correct those who err from Bible truth.” 15 MOL 135.6