Who Visited Ellen White?

WHO VISITED ELLEN WHITE? WAS IT CHRIST OR WAS IT ANOTHER BEING?

It is a well-documented fact, according to Ellen White’s own testimony, that on numerous occasions, she was visited by the Spirit of Christ, who impressed upon her mind what she ought to write.

After reading many of her accounts as to how she was visited by Christ, I pondered how Ellen White’s experience might have been no different than the prophets of old and the writers of the New Testament in that they were both inspired by the same Spirit--the Spirit of Christ.

Please be advised that this article is not attempting to equate the writings of Ellen White with the Canon of Scripture, but leaves this caveat: The Spirit is never given--nor can it ever be bestowed--to supersede the Bible… But while the Scripture is the standard by which all teaching, spirit and experience must be tested, the writer of this article regards the writings of Ellen White to be in harmony with the Scripture as the direct Testimony of Jesus Christ Himself (Revelation 19:10) and therefore carries with it no less divine authority than the writings of the Bible prophets.

She has said,

"In ancient times God spoke to men by the mouth of prophets and apostles. In these days He speaks to them by the testimonies of His Spirit. There was never a time when God instructed His people more earnestly than He instructs them now concerning His will and the course that He would have them pursue... {4T 147.4}
"The Holy Ghost is the Author of the Scriptures and of the spirit of prophecy... {Lt92-1900.12}
"The Bible must be your counselor. Study it, and the testimonies God has given; for they never contradict His Word... {Lt106-1907.1}
"Sister White is not the originator of these books. They contain the instruction that during her life-work God has been giving her. They contain the precious, comforting light that God has graciously given his servant to be given to the world... {RH January 20, 1903, Art. B, par. 8}
“I am instructed that I am the Lord's messenger; that he called me in my youth to be his messenger, to receive his word, and to give a clear and decided message in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Review and Herald, July 26, 1906

“The messages that God has given me have been communicated to His people both by word of mouth and in printed form. Thus my work has been made doubly sure. I am instructed that the Lord, by His infinite power, has preserved the right hand of His messenger for more than half a century, in order that the truth may be written out as He bids me write it for publication, in periodicals and books. Why?—BECAUSE IF IT WERE NOT THUS WRITTEN OUT, WHEN THE PIONEERS IN THE FAITH SHALL DIE, THERE WOULD BE MANY NEW IN THE FAITH WHO WOULD SOMETIMES ACCEPT AS MESSAGES OF TRUTH TEACHINGS THAT CONTAIN ERRONEOUS SENTIMENTS AND DANGEROUS FALLACIES... {Lt136-1906.8}
"Although I am as dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord in writing my views as I am in receiving them, yet the words I employ in describing what I have seen are my own, unless they be those spoken to me by an angel, which I always enclose in marks of quotation." Selected Messages, book 1, p. 37.
“There are some, who upon accepting erroneous theories, strive to establish them by collecting from my writings statements of truth, which they use, separated from their proper connection and perverted by association with error.” Letter 136, April 27, 1906, to Brethren Butler, Daniels, and Irwin

The Scripture tells us, “All scripture is given BY INSPIRATION OF GOD, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” 2 Timothy 3:16

But notice what Peter wrote how it was really Christ Himself who inspired the holy men of old to write:

“Searching what, or what manner of time the SPIRIT OF CHRIST WHICH WAS IN THEM did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” (1 Peter 1:11)

The same author (Peter) also wrote, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Peter 1:21)

Thus, one can reasonably conclude that it was Christ Himself by His Spirit (Holy Ghost), who moved the holy men of God to ‘spake’ (‘beforehand’) the prophecies regarding the “sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.”

Ellen White affirms this:

“By the inspired testimony of Moses and the prophets he clearly proved the identity of Jesus of Nazareth with the Messiah and showed that FROM THE DAYS OF ADAM IT WAS THE VOICE OF CHRIST WHICH HAD BEEN SPEAKING THROUGH PATRIARCHS AND PROPHETS.”– {AA 221.2}

"IT WAS THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST THAT SPOKE THROUGH ENOCH; that Spirit is manifested, not alone in utterances of love, compassion, and entreaty; it is not smooth things only that are spoken by holy men. God puts into the heart and lips of His messengers truths to utter that are keen and cutting as a two-edged sword." {PP 86.2}

IT WAS ALSO CHRIST HIMSELF WHO CAME TO JOHN THE REVELATOR AND TOLD HIM WHAT TO WRITE:

Revelation 1:1 says, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God [the Father] gave unto him [Christ], to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass” (words in brackets are inserted for amplification and emphasis).

And the Spirit of Prophecy confirms this; notice what Ellen White says about who came to John to tell him what to write:

“The revelation of Christ to John is a wonderful, dignified, exalted, solemn message. To present this message with decided emphasis demands all the talents of capabilities that God has given to man. When John received it, HE WAS WORKED (UPON) BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, FOR CHRIST HIMSELF CAME FROM HEAVEN and told him what to write.” (UL 310.5) (The Upward Look)

Note: John was “worked (upon) by the Holy Spirit” and yet it was Christ Himself who “came from heaven and told him what to write.” Thus, we see that the Holy Spirit is no other than Christ Himself. This affirms what we are told by the same author (John) that the Spirit of truth is to show us what things are to come (“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come... he will show you things to come.” John 16:13), and we find in Revelation 1:1 that it was Christ Himself (the Spirit of Truth) who revealed to John the things “which must shortly come to pass;”

Very few have had an intimate relationship with Christ as did Ellen White and she clearly understood who visited her and who communicated with her when she was in the presence of the Heavenly Visitor. Take a look at a few of her statements as she recounts her encounter with Christ:

“Friday, March 20, I arose early, about half past three o’clock in the morning. While writing upon the fifteenth chapter of John, suddenly a wonderful peace came upon me. The whole room seemed to be filled with the atmosphere of heaven. A holy, sacred Presence seemed to be in my room. I laid down my pen and was in a waiting attitude to see what the Spirit would say unto me. I SAW NO PERSON. I HEARD NO AUDIBLE VOICE, but a heavenly Watcher seemed close beside me. I FELT THAT I WAS IN THE PRESENCE OF JESUS. The sweet peace and light which seemed to be in my room it is impossible for me to explain or describe. A sacred, holy atmosphere surrounded me, and there were presented to my mind and understanding matters of intense interest and importance. A line of action was laid out before me AS IF THE UNSEEN PRESENCE WAS SPEAKING WITH ME. The matter I had been writing upon seemed to be lost to my mind and another matter distinctly opened before me. A great awe seemed to be upon me as matters were imprinted upon my mind.” {Ms12c-1896.1}

“I arose early Thursday morning, about two o’clock, and was writing busily upon the True Vine, when I FELT A PRESENCE IN MY ROOM, as I have many times before, and I lost all recollection of what I was about. I SEEMED TO BE IN THE PRESENCE OF JESUS. HE WAS COMMUNICATING TO ME THAT WHICH I WAS TO BE INSTRUCTED. EVERYTHING WAS SO PLAIN THAT I COULD NOT MISUNDERSTAND. I was to help one whom I thought I should never again be called upon to be troubled with again. I could not understand what it meant, but at once decided not to try to reason about this, but follow the direction. Not an audible word was spoken to my ear, but to my mind. I said, “Lord, I will do as Thou hast commanded.” {Lt36-1896.3}

“Friday morning I awoke at half past three. I had been sitting writing when a sweet peace beyond explanation or understanding came to me. I FELT THAT I WAS IN THE PRESENCE OF JESUS. A sacred, holy atmosphere surrounded me, and there was presented to me a line of action that I should pursue. All the previous feelings and the matter that I was writing upon seemed to be removed from me, and another matter was presented. I must take heed. I HEARD NO VOICE, BUT THE POINTS PRESENTED WERE CLEARLY LAID OUT BEFORE ME.” {Lt131-1896.3}

“I have not time to give full particulars of this meeting, which was a very important one. Oh, how my heart yearned for those before me. I DISCERNED THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST and the heavenly angels in the assembly as clearly as though they had stood before me in visible form. I closed my discourse with a feeling of sacred awe; FOR I KNEW THAT WE WERE IN THE PRESENCE OF JESUS and the ministering angels.” {GH January 1, 1901, Art. A, par. 11}

“It was indeed a precious season to all our souls. I WAS AS SURE THAT THE PRESENCE OF JESUS WAS WITH US AS IF I COULD SEE HIM IN PERSON. The Lord blessed His people. There is a goodly number of intelligent, noble-minded souls who have embraced the truth and are made to feel what it means to deny self and lift the cross and follow Jesus.” {Lt109-1890.1}

"...While I am writing out important matter, He is beside me, helping me. He lays out my work before me, and when I am puzzled for a fit word with which to express my thought, He brings it clearly and distinctly to my mind. I feel that every time I ask, even while I am still speaking, He responds, “Here am I.” {Lt127-1902.10}

Note: These accounts should dispel any notion (held by most Trinitarians) that because Christ is “cumbered with humanity” He cannot be with us even in His Spirit. As you can see from the few statements above, the way sister White interacting indicate that the unseen presence of Christ or I should say, the Spirit of Christ was distinctly Him. It is no wonder why Ellen White would, in so many of her writings, describing the Holy Spirit as a Person, though “unseen” and yet a real personal presence of Christ in His Spirit:

“Remember the words of CHRIST, remember that HE [CHRIST] is an UNSEEN PRESENCE in the PERSON of the Holy Spirit.” — (E.G. White, DG 185.2, 1897)

“CHRIST WALKS UNSEEN THROUGH OUR STREETS. With messages of mercy He comes to our homes.” — (E.G. White, MH, p. 107)

“How few realize that JESUS, UNSEEN, IS WALKING BY THEIR SIDE! How ashamed many would be to hear His voice speaking to them, and to know that HE HEARD ALL THEIR FOOLISH, COMMON TALK!” — (E.G. White, 14MR 125.3)

“The human agent, the seen instrument, is to preach the Word, and the LORD JESUS, THE UNSEEN AGENCY, BY HIS HOLY SPIRIT is to make the Word efficacious and powerful.—Letter 105, 1900.” — (E.G. White, 2SM 18.3)

“When trials overshadow the soul, remember the words of Christ, remember that HE IS AN UNSEEN PRESENCE IN THE PERSON OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, and He will be the peace and comfort given you, manifesting to you that He is with you, the Sun of Righteousness, chasing away your darkness. ‘If a man love me,’ Christ said, ‘he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.’ Be of good cheer; light will come, and your soul will rejoice greatly in the Lord.—Letter 124, 1897.” {DG 185.2}

“Though the ministration was to be removed from the earthly to the heavenly temple; though the sanctuary and our great high priest would be INVISIBLE TO HUMAN SIGHT, yet the disciples were to suffer no loss thereby. They would realize no break in their communion, and no diminution of power because of the Saviour's absence. WHILE JESUS MINISTERS IN THE SANCTUARY ABOVE, HE IS STILL BY HIS SPIRIT THE MINISTER OF THE CHURCH ON EARTH. He is withdrawn from the EYE OF SENSE, but his parting promise is fulfulled, ‘LO, I AM WITH YOU ALWAY, even unto the end of the world.’ Matthew 28:20. While He delegates His power to inferior ministers, HIS ENERGIZING PRESENCE IS STILL WITH HIS CHURCH.” {DA 166.2}

“...the Holy Spirit is the comforter, AS THE PERSONAL PRESENCE of CHRIST TO THE SOUL.” (Review & Herald, Nov 29, 1892, Vol. 2, p. 617, col. 3.)

“When God's people take the position that they are the temple of the HOLY GHOST, CHRIST HIMSELF ABIDING WITHIN, they will so clearly reveal Him in spirit, words, and actions, that there will be an unmistakable distinction between them and Satan's followers. . . ." {3SM 211.2}

Thus, when we read such statements as below, it would be a mistake to understand Ellen White’s expression “person” to mean that the Holy Spirit is another being other than Christ Himself:

“We need to realize that the Holy Spirit, who is as much a person as God is a person, is WALKING THROUGH THESE GROUNDS, UNSEEN BY HUMAN EYES; ... HE HEARS EVERY WORD WE UTTER and knows every thought of the mind.” — (E.G. White, 2SAT, pp. 136, 137, 1899) (Trinitarians use this statement to argue that Holy Spirit is a separate being not unlike Christ and the Father.)

Remember, when Christ comes to us as Himself (as His Holy Spirit) it is not devoid of personality. It is not just some impersonal force or essence. No. It is Christ’s own person, having Christ’s very own personality; the Holy Spirit is imbued with the very mind, power and presence of Christ with a distinct personality. Therefore, it would make perfect sense why she would describe the Holy Spirit as a person (but not to be understood as another separate being as the Trinity doctrine claims). Therefore, it is quite appropriate to just insert “Spirit of Christ” in place of “Holy Spirit” in the above statement and you will see exactly what she means when she refers to the Holy Spirit as being a person.

Keep in mind that Ellen White has said in numerous statements that the Spirit of Christ is the Holy Spirit; I will list just a few below:

“We want the HOLY SPIRIT, which is JESUS CHRIST.” — (E.G. White, Lt66, April 10, 1894)

“but it is the leaven of the SPIRIT of JESUS CHRIST, which is sent down from heaven, called the HOLY GHOST, and that Spirit affects the heart and the character.” — (E.G. White, Ms36-1891)

“The HOLY SPIRIT is the SPIRIT of CHRIST, which is sent to all men to give them sufficiency,” — (E.G. White, 14MR 84.3)

“The Holy Spirit is the SPIRIT of CHRIST; it is HIS REPRESENTATIVE. Here is the divine agency that carries conviction to hearts. When the power of His Spirit is revealed through the servants of God, we behold divinity flashing through humanity.” — (E.G. White, 13MR 313.3, 1895)

“The reason why the churches are weak and sickly and ready to die, is that the enemy has brought influences of a discouraging nature to bear upon trembling souls. He [Satan] has sought to shut Jesus from their view as the Comforter, as one who reproves, who warns, who admonishes them, saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it.’ ” –Review and Herald, August 26, 1890 par. 10
— Ellen White