Greetings, friends! Today in our video time together, I would like to share a story with you. It’s a personal story—one that has helped me to understand in a very real way a treasure that God has given to His last day remnant people.
There was a man named William who was an engineer, farmer, and businessman. Born in Ireland, he immigrated to the United States around 1870. He and his wife, Isabella, lived in Philadelphia where he worked as an engineer building locomotive. Eventually, they headed west, in the United States, to the Redwoods of northern California to do logging, before settling near Healdsburg where William became a fruit and cattle rancher and owned a country store.
Eventually the couple had four sons—William (Jr.), Ray, Nathaniel, and Walter. At some point, Isabella became a Seventh-day Adventist, but her husband was not so interested in religion. He was a good man, he was willing to be a good citizen, but wasn’t so interested in religion.
In 1905, tents were erected near Healdsburg, California, for a Seventh-day Adventist camp meeting. Isabella and the boys attended, and she invited her husband to join them for the Sabbath service. To her delight, he did.
As William sat under the tent, the speaker that morning began to unfold the wonderful truth about Jesus, sharing the need of all sinners to have a Savior and to allow Him, Jesus, to change their lives. The speaker made an earnest appeal and, much to the surprise and joy of Isabella and the family, William stood up and went to the front, giving his heart to the Lord. He studied this precious Advent message for a year. He closed his store on Sabbath and trusted God for the future. He was baptized and later became the head elder of the Healdsburg Seventh-day Adventist Church. Christ changed his life.
William and Isabella Wilson were my great-grandparents and the speaker who preached so earnestly about Jesus was Ellen G. White. After James White died, she moved to Healdsburg and was living near Healdsburg College—the forerunner to Pacific Union College.
My grandfather, Nathaniel, the third brother in that group of four, remembered Ellen White coming to their home when he was a small boy, and how she lovingly told stories to him and his brothers as they sat at her feet.
The Wilson family owes so much of its knowledge of this precious Advent message to the direct, practical, evangelistic activity of Ellen White. In fact, I want to tell you, it warms my heart, even makes me emotional, to think about the impact of Ellen White on the Wilson family, not just because her prophetic role, but because she allowed Jesus to speak through her to draw my great-grandparent to the foot of the cross. And for us as a family, the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy take on an even more personal value because of that experience.
And today, I wholeheartedly believe in the prophetic ministry of Ellen White for many reasons, but especially because her wittings uplift Jesus and the Word of God, and they’are so practical, they’re so balanced. I love God’s Word and I love the Spirit of Prophecy.
“Our faith increases by beholding Jesus, who is the center of all that is attractive and lovely,” she wrote. “The more we contemplate the heavenly, the less we see desirable and attractive in the earthly. The more continually we fix the eye of faith on Christ, in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered, the more our faith grows” (In Heavenly Places, p. 127).
This is just one of so many examples where Ellen White uplifts Christ. Her writings are filled with hopeful, encouraging messages.
But who was Ellen White? In brief, she was a woman of remarkable spiritual gifts who lived most of her life during the nineteenth century, yet through her writings she is still making a revolutionary impact on millions of people around the world, including me. During her lifetime she wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books; but today, including compilations from her 50,000 pages of manuscript, more than 100 titles are available in English, and many others in multiple languages. In fact, she is the most translated woman writer in the entire history of literature, and the most translated American author of either gender.
Her writings cover a broad range of subjects, including religion, education, social relationships, evangelism, prophecy, publishing, nutrition, family activities, young people, management; all kind of things. Her life-changing masterpiece on successful Christian living, Steps to Christ, has been published in more than 140 languages. In fact, I have to tell you Steps To Christ is one of my favorite books, it was my father’s favorite Spirit of Prophecy book.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that Mrs. White was more than a gifted writer; we believe she was appointed by God as a special messenger to draw the world’s attention to the Holy Scriptures and help prepare people for Christ’s second advent. I want to tell you I believe it is very soon. From the time she was 17 years old until she died 70 years later, God gave her approximately 2,000 visions and dreams. The visions varied in length from less than a minute to nearly four hours. The knowledge and counsel received through these revelations she wrote out to be shared with others. Thus, her special writings are accepted by Seventh-day Adventists as inspired, and their exceptional quality is recognized even by casual readers.
However, as stated in the book, Seventh-day Adventists Believe . . . , “The writings of Ellen White are not a substitute for Scripture. They cannot be placed on the same level. The Holy Scriptures stand alone, the unique standard by which her and all other writings must be judged and to which they must be subject” (p. 227).
And as Ellen White herself noted in the book The Great Controversy, “The fact that God has revealed His will to men through His Word, has not rendered needless the continued presence and guiding of the Holy Spirit. On the contrary, the Spirit was promised by our Saviour to open the Word to His servants, to illuminate and apply its teachings” (p. vii).
Ellen G. White was truly a remarkable woman who, meeting all the tests of a true prophet as set forth in the Holy Scriptures, helped found the Seventh-day Adventist church. And through the counsels given through this special messenger, God has blessed us immensely. And, again, I include myself personally. Every day I try to read from the Scripture and from the Spirit of Prophecy. It is a great blessing to me personally and will be to you. As we read in 2 Chronicles 20:20, the last part. It says:
Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.
My dear friend, I invite you to embrace this incredible blessing that God has gifted to His Church. I have found the more I read the Spirit of Prophecy, the most blessed I am. And today, all of her writings are available, not only in hard copy, but online. Just go to egwwritings.org, choose your language, and start reading today. I am sure you will be blessed, as you read God’s Holy Word and as you read the inspired writings and the Spirit of Prophecy through God’s servant Ellen G. White.
Let’s pray together
Our father in heaven. Thank you for sending at crucial and important times throughout history prophets, who were able to connect your people directly with instructions from the throne room of heaven. We thank you for the writings found in the word of God, our foundation of faith. We thank you for the Bible that is so central to our lives.
We thank you for it’s instruction, it’s prophetic understanding, it’s illumination of how to live life abundantly. It’s recounting of Christ’s marvelous works while he was here on this earth and the promise of his soon second coming. We thank you for the Bible and Lord, we thank you for the inspired writings through Ellen white in the spirit of prophecy. Thank you for giving us instruction on so many subjects, practical instruction, spiritual instruction, understanding that will guide us in these very last days of Earth’s history.
So Lord, thank you for these wonderful gifts. We commit ourselves into your care asking that you will lead us through the reading of your Word through instruction and reading of the Spirit of Prophecy, through the guidance of the Holy spirit in our lives, through our prayer life in connection with you. So that we might witness to others the marvelous salvation in Christ, His wonderful sanctuary service, His wonderful righteousness, His wonderful health message, His wonderful three angels messages and the wonderful truth and hope that Jesus is coming soon. All of this we ask in the powerful, wonderful name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen!