Ellen Harmon

Prophet of the End


Chapter Twenty

Three Score and Ten

 The girl that was supposed to die before spring of 1845 did not do so. God had called her to the work of a prophet.

The years passed and they were filled with exhaustive traveling and writing. In 1881 her husband, James, passed away. Ellen kept at her work and the years continued on. And the years brought article after article, book after book. Gradually, 100,000 pages of handwritten  manuscripts were produced: This amounted to 25 million handwritten words (for she never used a typewriter or shorthand). She wrote 4,500 magazine articles. Over 100 books were published. Her first vision took place in December 1844; her last-known vision concerned the welfare of youth and was given on March 3, 1915. She received about two thousand visions and prophetic dreams during seventy years of public ministry (1844 to 1915).

After her husband's death on August 6, 1881, she was a widow for thirty-four years. Not only did she encourage Christians in North America, but she spent two years in Europe (summer of 1885 to the summer of 1887) and nine years in Australia (1891 to. 1900) doing the same.

Many of her books were translated into foreign languages. "Steps to Christ," telling the simple story of how to come to Christ and remain close by His side, has been translated into 117 languages. We mentioned earlier that she wrote more than any other woman in history. But in regard to the large number of her books that were translated: "She is the fourth most translated author [man or woman] in the history of literature, its most translated woman writer, and the most translated American author of either sex."—Roger W. Coon, A Gift of Light, page 21. *

*In careful research at the Library of Congress, in Washington D.C., Roger Coon was able to tentatively identify the ten most translated authors in the history of literature: [1] Vladimir I. Lenin (Russian communist leader)—222 languages. [2] Georges Simenon (Franco Belgian detective-story writer)—143 languages. [3] Leo Tolstoy (Russian novelist)—122 languages. [4] Ellen G. White (American religious figure and writer)—117 languages. [5] Karl Marx (German socialist philosopher)—114. [6] William Shakespeare (English playwright)—111. [7] Agatha Christie (English mystery writer)—99. Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm (German fairy-tale writers)—"'97. Ian Fleming (British author of "James Bond" novels)—95. [10] Earnest Hemingway (American novelist)—91. See Roger Coon, "A Gift of Light," page 30-31.

Yes, the years passed; but they were exciting years. Full of help to thousands, full of concern for many who refused to be helped. And the girl that was supposed to die in the 1840s, lived on past the turn of the century. Although frequently weary, yet God helped her continue on. The following experience took place on the night of March 2, 1907. She was then 79 years of age:

"I was weary and retired early. I was suffering from rheumatism in my left side and could get no rest because of the pain. I turned from side to side, trying to find ease from the suffering. There was a pain in my heart that portended no good for me. At last I fell asleep.

"About half past nine I attempted to turn myself, and as I did so, l became aware that my body was entirely free from pain. As I turned from side to side, and moved my hands, I experienced an extraordinary freedom and lightness that I cannot describe. The room was filled with light, a most beautiful, soft, azure light, and I seemed to be in the arms of heavenly beings.

"This peculiar light I have experienced in the past in times of special blessing, but this time it was more distinct, more impressive, and I felt such peace, peace so full and abundant no words can express it. I raised myself into a sitting posture, and I saw that I was surrounded by a bright cloud, white as snow, the edges of which were tinged with a deep pink. The softest, sweetest music was filling the air, and I recognized the music as the singing of the angels.

"Then a Voice spoke to me, saying, 'Fear not; I am your Saviour. Holy angels are all about you.'

" 'Then this is heaven,' I said, 'and now I can be at rest. I shall have no more messages to bear, no more misrepresentations to endure. Everything will be easy now, and I shall enjoy peace and rest. Oh, what inexpressible peace fills my soul! Is this indeed heaven?—Am l one of God's little children? and shall I always have this peace?'

"The voice replied, 'Your work is not yet done.'

"Again I fell asleep, and when I awoke I heard music, and I wanted to sing. Then someone passed my door, and I wondered if that person saw the light. After a time the light passed away, but the peace remained." Ellen G. White, Testimonies, Volume 9, page 65-67.

Her work was not done. More years continued, and more manuscripts and books were prepared. Her last talk given before a large gathering of missionaries from allover the world field occurred in 1909. Among her concluding words were these: "We do not have half faith enough. Let us do our part in warning these cities I all over the world the warning message must come to the people who are ready to perish, unwarned . . How can we delay?" Life Sketches, page 424.'

Leaving the podium to sit down, she returned to it, and holding up a Bible, said, "Brethren, I commend to you the Word of God."

An uplifting of Christ, a concern for the salvation of souls, warnings against sin, a pointing to Scripture: this was the work of Ellen G. White, as it had been the work of all the prophets before her time.

Some time after this experience, Ellen White visited a small Christian college located in the hills behind her home in Northern California. Alma McKibbin relates what took place:

"There came a time when she didn't come [to visit us] for quite a while. And we became a little anxious about it and were asking for her. So Professor Irwin told her that we were all very anxious to have her come once more. So she was brought up the night before and put to bed in the dormitory. The next morning they brought her over. We were still having chapel. . and Professor Irwin [the president of the college] and Elder W. C. White, her son, just picked her up and carried her. She was so feeble and there were awkward steps up to the rostrum. And Brother White stood by her and supported her while she spoke. I don't think she spoke more than ten minutes. She wasn't able. But this was what she said, as nearly as I can remember.

"She said, 'My dear young people, I am grateful to God that He has given me strength to come and speak to you once more. You have a rare privilege of establishing a new school: You may have some inconveniences, but yours is a great privilege to found a school on right principles. . I was young like you when God called me to this work. And I've put my armor on—and I've never taken it off. And I never shall till my work is done. Dear young people, when you put your hands to the plow, never turn back! I hope each one of you has consecrated his life to God. Count the cost, my young friends, and when you have determined to do that, don't let anything hinder you. Don't be discouraged.'

"And then she said, 'I know what the evil one does; I know by what he has tried to do to discourage me, through seventy long years. But I put my armor on, way back when I was a girl, and I've never taken it off—and l never shall, till my work is done.'

“Then she paused: 'And it's almost done. My secretaries, are busy these days, gathering the material from my earlier papers for another book. You know, God has helped me to write a series of books [the "Conflict of the Ages" Series],  but there is one yet lacking: I haven't a book on the latter part of the Old Testament. But have written a good deal on that here and there, and my secretaries are gathering it together. And I help them as I can. . God will help me finish this book. I know He will [The book was completed the year of her death, using current and past materials that she had written.]

" . . Then she said, 'I think that I cannot speak to you more today, but remember: Put your armor on—and never take it off.'

"Then they took her away; took her out and put her in a chair on, the porch [just outside of the chapel] . Brother White went for the carriage. We could see her through the glass doors. I think we were all weeping. And, do you know, as she sat there, she began to sing. She loved to sing. And they told me that it was an old [second] advent hymn. The only words I remember are 'Jesus is coming again; coming again, coming again.' Then they took her away. And we knew that we had seen her for the last time. And I don't think anyone who was there will ever forget her last words: 'I put my armor on, and I'll never take it off till my work is done.' "Alma McKibbin, Statement, c. 1965.

Ellen White had earlier hoped to live through to the Second Coming of Christ. Then she had a dream one night in which she awoke from the grave with her husband, James. "Were we both here?" she asked in her dream. From then on, she knew she was to pass through the grave before Jesus returned for His own. Again and again, during the earlier weeks of her [final] illness, her voice was lifted in song. The words oftenest chosen were: 

We have heard from the bright; the holy land,
We have heard, and our hearts are glad;
For we were a lonely pilgrim band,
And weary, and worn, and sad.
They tell us the saints have a dwelling there
­No longer are homeless ones;
And we know that the goodly land is fair,
Where life's pure river runs.
We'll be there, we'll be there, in a little while,
We'll join the pure and the blest;
We'll have the palm, the robe, the crown,
 And forever be at rest."*

Life Sketches, page 446.

*This song, written in 1845 by William Hyde, can be found in its entirety in 1 Testimonies, page 70, and in the "Church Hymnal," number 305. It was an early Advent hymn and was included in James White's first hymnbook, published in 1849.

A few weeks before her death, she said to her son:

"I am very weak. I am sure that this is my last sickness. I am not worried at the thought of dying. I feel comforted all the time that the Lord is near me. I am not anxious. The preciousness of the Saviour has been so plain to me. He has been a friend. He has kept me in sickness and in health.

“l do not worry about the work I have done. I have done the best I could. I do not think that I shall be lingering long. I do not expect much suffering. . Do not worry. I go only a little before the others." Life Sketches, page 444-445.

Her last weeks were spent in a comfortable room on the second floor of "Elmshaven," her Northern California home. It was light and airy, with a large bay window through which the cheery sunlight entered and lit up the entire room. Frequently, she was lifted by loving hands and placed in a chair on the veranda. From this balcony she could gaze out upon the beauties of nature as it bloomed from spring into summer. Often she would have a Bible or one of her books in her lap when visitors came. Laying one down that she had been reading, she said, "I appreciate these books . . They are truth, and they are righteousness, and they are an everlasting testimony that God is true." Life Sketches, page 445.

Then, in mid-July, the end came.

"AII her trust was in the unmerited grace of Christ, the one hope of every believer. 'I am guarding every moment,' she said in last hours with the family, 'so that nothing may come between me and the Lord. . There will be a glorious meeting soon.' " William A. Spicer, The Gift of Prophecy, page 64.

How thankful we can be that God cares for His little ones. Just as He cared for little Ellen, so He will care for us.

“The end came on Friday, July 16, 1915, at 3:40 p.m., in the sunny upper chamber of her 'Elmshaven' home where she had spent so much of her time during the last happy, fruitful years of her busy life. She fell asleep in Jesus as quietly and peacefully as a weary child goes to rest. . The last words that she spoke to her son were, 'I know in whom I have believed.'

“ 'God is love.' 'He giveth His beloved sleep.' To them the long night of waiting until the morning of the resurrection is but a moment; and even to those who remain the time of waiting will not be long, for Jesus is coming soon to gather His loved ones home. As our beloved sister [Ellen] herself declared to those about her one Sabbath day during her sickness, 'We shall all be home very soon now.' " Life Sketches, page 449.

Ellen White was eighty-seven at the time of her death. A ministry of seventy years, since the first vision had been given to her, was ended. The lives of many thousands have been changed for the better because of that ministry. For she being dead yet speaketh—through the track of light which she left behind: her many books and papers which are ours to read today.

"Not only did she foretell the future, but she also gave wise counsel in the present. Certainly she was a spokesman for God. Like the prophets of old, her life was marked by humility, simplicity, austerity, divine learning, and devotion. And like them, she turned to God for healing and help. . [In all her books] which reached a circulation running into millions . . she represents the Bible as the Book of all books, the supreme guide for the whole human family". Edith Deen, Great Women of the Christian Faith, 1959 edition (Harper & Brothers), pages 230-236:

Next: Conclusion