Ellen G. White: The Early Years: 1827-1862 (vol. 1)


Troubles in Europe and Their Supposed Significance

Quite naturally, those expecting the near advent of Christ, being students of prophecy, kept a close eye on world events. This was particularly so through 1848 as troubles involving many nations suddenly broke out in Europe. The sweeping, prophetic review given by Jesus on the Mount of Olives, recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, led to an interpretation of the troubles in Europe as an immediate precursor of the Second Advent. The words recorded in Matthew 24:29, 30, with reference to the shaking of the powers in heaven, seemed coercive: 1BIO 153.2

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven. 1BIO 153.3

J. N. Loughborough, who was 16 in 1848, was an Adventist but not a part of the Sabbathkeeping group. He later wrote: 1BIO 153.4

Many of the Adventist ministers who had not as yet heard the third angel's message saw this confusion [in Europe], and supposed it must be the rallying of the nations for “the battle of that great day of God Almighty.”—GSAM, p. 272. 1BIO 153.5

But the Adventists who had clung to their confidence in the fulfillment of prophecy on October 22 and who were now accepting the Sabbath of the fourth commandment as the sign or seal of the living God were devising ways and means of presenting their message to the world. “You are too late with your sealing message,“ their fellow believers of earlier days asserted, “for the battle of the great day and the Lord's actual coming are right upon us.”— Ibid. 1BIO 153.6

In the vision in Dorchester on November 18 there was a call for publishing the third angel's message. Now three weeks later, on the evening of the Sabbath, at Rocky Hill, Connecticut, Ellen White was again in vision. This one clarified an interpretation of Matthew 24:29, 30. 1BIO 154.1

December 16, 1848, the Lord gave me a view of the shaking of the powers of the heavens. I saw that when the Lord said “heaven,” in giving the signs recorded by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, He meant heaven, and when He said “earth” he meant earth. The powers of the heavens are the sun, moon, and stars. They rule in the heavens. The powers of the earth are those that rule on the earth. The powers of heaven will be shaken at the voice of God. The sun, moon, and stars will be moved out of their places. They will not pass away, but be shaken by the voice of God. 1BIO 154.2

Dark, heavy clouds came up and clashed against each other. The atmosphere parted and rolled back; then we could look up through the open space in Orion, whence came the voice of God. The Holy City will come down through that open space. 1BIO 154.3

I saw that the powers of earth are now being shaken and that events come in order. War, and rumors of war, sword, famine, and pestilence are first to shake the powers of earth, then the voice of God will shake the sun, moon, and stars, and this earth also. I saw that the shaking of the powers in Europe is not, as some teach, the shaking of the powers of heaven, but it is the shaking of the angry nations.—Letter 2, 1848, addressed to “The Scattered Remnant” (see also Early Writings, 41). 1BIO 154.4

Ellen White was pregnant again. Through the winter months she and her husband traveled among the believers, bringing courage to their hearts and urging them to hold fast their faith. On Friday evening, January 5, Ellen was given a view of the “sealing” of God's people. She wrote: 1BIO 154.5

At the commencement of the holy Sabbath, January 5, 1849, we engaged in prayer with Brother Belden's family at Rocky Hill, Connecticut, and the Holy Ghost fell upon us. I was taken off in vision to the most holy place, where I saw Jesus still interceding for Israel.... Then I saw that Jesus would not leave the most holy place until every case was decided either for salvation or destruction.—Ibid., 36. 1BIO 154.6

In quick succession last-day events were reviewed before her—the seven last plagues, the death decree, the deliverance at the voice of God, and then a scene she did not understand. 1BIO 155.1

I asked my attending angel for an explanation of what I saw. He told me that I could see no more then, but he would shortly show me what those things that I then saw meant.—Ibid., 27. 1BIO 155.2

The explanation came the next afternoon in another vision. 1BIO 155.3

I saw four angels who had a work to do on the earth, and were on their way to accomplish it. Jesus was clothed with priestly garments. He gazed in pity on the remnant, then raised His hands, and with a voice of deep pity cried, “My blood, Father, My blood, My blood, My blood!” 1BIO 155.4

Then I saw an exceeding bright light come from God, who sat upon the great white throne, and was shed all about Jesus. Then I saw an angel with a commission from Jesus, swiftly flying to the four angels who had a work to do on the earth, and waving something up and down in his hand, and crying with a loud voice, “Hold! Hold! Hold! Hold! until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.”—Ibid., 38. 1BIO 155.5

Still perplexed as to the full significance of what was passing before her, she again made inquiry: 1BIO 155.6

I asked my accompanying angel the meaning of what I heard, and what the four angels were about to do. He said to me that it was God that restrained the powers, and that He gave His angels charge over things on earth; that the four angels had power from God to hold the four winds, and they were about to let them go; but while their hands were loosening, and the four winds were about to blow, the merciful eye of Jesus gazed on the remnant that were not sealed, and He raised His hands to the Father and pleaded with Him that He had spilled His blood for them. Then another angel was commissioned to fly swiftly to the four angels and bid them hold, until the servants of God were sealed with the seal of the living God in their foreheads.—Ibid. 1BIO 155.7