The Great Visions of Ellen G. White

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God’s Three Priorities

1. The first vision was given on an unknown day in December 1844. During the balance of the 1840s—especially during 1848-1850—the predominant emphasis and focus of vision content appear to have been the sorting out and developing of a doctrinal framework of the Seventh-day Adventist belief system of “present truth,” as our pioneers were wont to call it. GVEGW 90.4

And not without good reason, for on October 23, 1844, the first day GVEGW 90.5

of the Great Disappointment of the Millerites, they had neither message nor audience. It would take no little time of intensive Bible study and reflection before they would have a coherent understanding of (a) the meaning of their disappointment, (b) the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14 (especially the third), and (c) a rational justification for a renewed emphasis upon evangelism among unbelievers. GVEGW 91.1

Particularly during 1848-1850 their study tended to crystalize into a somewhat formal structure of doctrinal beliefs, aided and abetted as by a series of “Sabbath Conferences”—six in 1848, six in 1849, and 10 in 1850—held in New York and New England. 1 By December 13, 1850, Ellen White could finally write, “We know that we [now] have the truth.” 2 GVEGW 91.2

2. Then God moved to His second priority for the 1850s, the organization of His “remnant” church. Exactly 11 days later, on December 24, 1850, Ellen received her first vision upon this important, necessary subject. Given the substantial impediments that would have to be overcome, it would take a full decade before organization would become a reality. GVEGW 91.3

Finally, in 1860 the first steps in organization were taken: (1) the organization of the “first legally organized” church at Parkville, Michigan, on May 13, 3 (2) the adoption of the corporate name “Seventh-day Adventist,” on October 1, 4 and (3) the subsequent organization of the first Seventh-day Adventist institution, the Advent Review Publishing Association, in Battle Creek that same day. 5 GVEGW 91.4

Within the next two years some eight local (state) conferences would be created, culminating in the organization of the General Conference itself on May 21, 1863. 6 GVEGW 91.5

3. With organization now well on its way, the Lord could now turn His attention more directly and fully to His third priority, the development of a health emphasis (quickly to be dubbed the “health message”) among Seventh-day Adventists. 7 GVEGW 91.6

Significantly, a mere 16 days after the formal organization of the General Conference, in early June, 1863, Ellen White received her first major health reform vision: “It was at the house of Brother A. Hilliard, at Otsego, Michigan, on June 6, 1863, that the great subject of health reform was opened before me in vision.” 8 GVEGW 91.7