We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.” General Conference Daily Bulletin, January 29, 1893. Today, some people cannot remember what Ellen White was writing about—not because they have forgotten but because they never knew. It is our purpose in these editorials to review very briefly some of the evidence about the way God has led in the second advent movement which was predicted to take place in the last days. (See Revelation 10 and Revelation 14:6–12.)
In 1844, the Lord gave a vision to a young man by the name of Hazen Foss who believed that the Lord would come on October 22, 1844. In this vision, he was shown the journey of the advent people to the city of God with their dangers. Some messages of warning were also given to him to deliver. In addition, he was shown the trials and persecution that would follow, if he was faithful in relating what had been shown him.
He was shown three steps by which the people of God were to come fully upon the pathway to the holy city. Being a firm believer in the Lord’s return in just a few days, the part of the vision relating to the three steps onto the pathway was to him unexplainable, and he refused to relate it. The vision was given to him a second time, and he was told that, if he still refused to relate what he had been shown, the burden would be taken from him and be given to one of the weakest of the Lord’s children, one who would faithfully relate what God would reveal. He again refused. He was then told that he was released. A voice said, “You have grieved away the Spirit of the Lord.”
This frightened Foss. Deciding to relate what had been shown him, he called a meeting of Adventists, but when the people came and he tried to tell what had been shown to him, he could not call it to mind. It was too late. From that time he lost hope in Christ, never attended an Adventist meeting again, had no personal interest in religious things, and, in this condition of mind, died in 1893.
Early in 1845, Foss talked with Ellen Harmon and told her that although he had not gone into the chapel where she had spoken the evening before, he had stood outside the door and heard every word that she had said. He said that the vision she related was as near like that shown him as two persons could relate the same thing. He declared to her: “Do not refuse to obey God, for it will be at the peril of your soul, I am a lost man. You are chosen of God; be faithful in doing your work, and the crown I might have had you will receive.” Arthur L. White, Ellen G. White: The Early Years, vol. 1, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington, D.C., 1985, 67. (See also F. C. Gilbert, Divine Predictions, South Lancaster Publishing Co., South Lancaster, Massachusetts, 1922; Emma E. Howell, The Great Advent Movement, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington, D.C., 1935.)
The visions of Ellen Harmon White were supernatural phenomena and therefore were either from God or the devil. (She herself acknowledged this.) It is up to each individual believer to prove all things and hold fast to that which is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21.)
The Bible predicted that our time, the last days, would be a time of great unbelief. (See Matthew 24:37–39; 11 Peter 3:3–7.) Millions do not believe in the Bible as the Word of God, and millions more do not believe that the visions of Ellen White were from God. In the future, we will examine some of the questions of the unbelievers. As for ourselves, we choose to be in the following group: “All who believe that the Lord has spoken through Sister White, and has given her a message, will be safe from the many delusions that will come in in these last days.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 8, 320.