Messenger of the Lord


Chapter 47—Messenger and Message Inseparable

“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.... that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them” (Revelation 14:13). MOL 534.1

As we have noted throughout this book, whenever God has spoken through His communication system, counterfeits soon followed. Satan is unceasing in his skill to follow through the door that truth opens. His messages are always appealing and believable because he knows how to appeal to the religiously inclined yet unconverted heart. He mixes truth with error, always in a way that appeals to human feeling and human authority rather than to a plain “Thus saith the Lord.” MOL 534.2

After the death of Ellen White, counterfeit messengers soon arose. In June 22, 1916, less than a year after Mrs. White died, Margaret Rowen in Los Angeles, California, claimed to have a vision. Her early “testimonies” had a superficial likeness to Mrs. White’s testimonies. In addition to these “messages,” the physical manifestations accompanying her visions were remarkably similar to those of Ellen White. “Both her followers, including several medical doctors, and skeptics agreed that these visions were supernaturally inspired. The question in dispute was: With which supernatural power did they originate?” 1 MOL 534.3

Mrs. Rowen’s attempt to usurp the role of “messenger” to the Adventist Church reached extraordinary lengths when she had a document “planted” in the Ellen G. White vault at Elmshaven, purporting to be a letter written by Mrs. White. This “letter” was intended to prove that she was Ellen White’s designated successor. Even after this scandalous episode was exposed, her followers remained strongly supportive. MOL 534.4

Rowen’s specific but failed predictions culminated in her announcement that Jesus would return on February 6, 1925. This failed prediction caused many followers to wonder, but many accepted her explanation—that she had misunderstood how long it would take Jesus to travel from heaven to earth. Further elements in this strange story may be found in Light Bearers to the Remnant, including her attempt to murder her chief supporter and her jail time in San Quentin Penitentiary. 2 MOL 534.5

We cite the Rowen story only to highlight the often captivating appeal of those who claim to have the prophetic gift. At any given time in the last few decades, at least a dozen people around the world have convinced others that they have been given the gift of prophecy. These include V. T. Houteff, Jeanine Sautron, and those supposedly receiving “thought messages.” 3 MOL 534.6

According to John the Revelator, Satan will be especially furious with last-day representatives of those “who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17). As we noted earlier (p. 3), “the testimony of Jesus” points to God’s communication system whereby the Spirit of Christ inspires selected men and women with divine revelations pertaining to the plan of salvation. MOL 534.7