God Speaks



Prophets of God were far from automatons. Through many visions their minds were enlightened, sometimes in direct instruction, sometimes through symbols and figures. They were often carried ahead into the future, shown what will take place, and given a line of instruction that would give direction for that situation when the time came. Again, based upon the wealth of the visions given over a period of many years, prophets were often called upon to speak, basing their messages on principles, giving approval to certain proposals and procedures, and pointing out the perils and hazards of other proposals and procedures. This was true with the prophets in Bible times, and it was true in Ellen White’s experience.

She exercised great care in refraining from expressing her own viewpoints in matters relating to the development of the cause of God and in spiritual lines. Often she remained silent when matters were brought before her concerning which she had no foundation in the visions to provide an adequate answer. In a later year when a theological question was placed before her, she remarked, “‘I have no light on the subject.... Please tell my brethren that I have nothing presented before me regarding the circumstances concerning which they write, and I can set before them only that which has been presented to me.”’ Quoted in a letter from C. C. Crisler to E. E. Andross, December 18, 1914.   

On the other hand, many times she was called upon to deal with matters so similar in nature to others that had been clearly revealed to her that she was able to speak promptly and with confidence. Thus at one time she wrote: “This matter has been brought before my mind in other cases.”—Letter 16, 1893Selected Messages 2:63, 64). 

And so with careful consideration Ellen White gave words of counsel based firmly on principles set forth in many visions given to her through her lifetime. And it must be noted that the Lord did not intend to give special light for every particular case or situation. This was made clear to her in 1868: 

Since the warning and instruction given in testimony for individual cases applied with equal force to many others who had not been specially pointed out in this manner, it seemed to be my duty to publish the personal testimonies for the benefit of the church. In Testimony 15, speaking of the necessity for doing this, I said: “I know of no better way to present my views of general dangers and errors, and the duty of all who love God and keep His commandments, than by giving these testimonies. Perhaps there is no more direct and forcible way of presenting what the Lord has shown me.”—Testimonies for the Church 5:658, 659. 

Or, stated succinctly: “In rebuking the wrongs of one, He designs to correct many.”—Ibid., 5:659. 

 5BIO 187-188