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Did Ellen White's Predictions Come True?
Publish date: Sep 11, 2009
Summary: The second test of a true prophet is whether or not their predictions come to pass.
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Most of Ellen White's predictions are related to Biblical prophecy, which is to be fulfilled in the last days. She wrote extensively on events as they would unfold in the future, and also issued some personal warnings as to disasters that would strike the inhabitants of the world. She also wrote on issues of health and made astounding predictions in this field—way ahead of the time she lived in. Most of her prophetic words are only being fulfilled at present.
Disasters and Wars
In 1902, she warned that the cities around the bay area of California would suffer disaster. She wrote this:
Not long hence, these cities will suffer under the judgment of God. San Francisco and Oakland are becoming as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Lord will visit them in wrath (Evangelism, 403-404).
Those who heeded Ellen White’s warning left this area and avoided the earthquake of April 18, 1906, which devastated the cities mentioned! In 1890, when peace was prevalent, she wrote this:
The tempest is coming.... We shall see trouble on all sides. Thousands of ships will be hurled into the depths of the sea. Navies will go down and human lives will be sacrificed by millions (Signs of the Times, April 21, 1890).
In 1904, she wrote this:
Soon great trouble will arise among nations—trouble that will not cease until Jesus comes (Review and Herald, February 11, 1906).
The world has seen two world wars and numerous skirmishes since then. Currently, it is a sad fact that over 200 wars between ethnic nations are raging across the globe, leading to what is often called “ethnic cleansing.” Besides these global warnings, Ellen White made a number of personal predictions regarding individual church members who refused to heed the counsel of God. These too were all fulfilled to the letter.
Regarding the establishment of the health ministry, Ellen White received numerous visions with detailed instructions as to what constitutes a healthy lifestyle. The information that was brought to light was way ahead of its time, mostly contradictory to the views held by the scientific fraternity of her time. Her predictions concerning future health hazards are currently unfolding.
The health message was designed to lift humanity out of the quagmire of erroneous ideas on the issue of health and to provide a bulwark against disease. The health message was also designed to prepare a people spiritually to withstand the stresses and spiritual warfare predicted for the time of the end. God intends, through the health message, to lead humanity step by step back to that lifestyle that He had originally intended for us.
When God called the Israelites, through His prophet Moses, out of Egypt and led them to Canaan, He also changed their lifestyle and diet so that they would be prepared for the rigours of this experience. Many were dissatisfied and rebelled against God’s plan, even wishing to return to Egypt. Those that rebelled turned from their allegiance to God and by their own choice severed their connection with their Creator.
When God called His remnant out of the slavery of sin to prepare them for their journey to the heavenly Canaan, He also used a prophet to communicate His will to His people. God in His wisdom provided the information that would fit His people physically and spiritually for the journey, and we are free to accept or reject His counsel.
Ellen White was herself very frail and ill when she received her first visions on health, but by adopting the counsels given, was gradually restored to health and lived to a ripe old age. Space does not allow a detailed discussion on her health counsels, but a few issues are worthy of note. As far back as 1864, when the medical world was unaware of the dangers of tobacco, and indeed often prescribed it as a cure or preventative measure against certain lung ailments, Ellen White wrote this:
Tobacco is a poison of the most deceitful and malignant kind, having an exciting, then a paralysing influence upon the nerves of the body. It is all the more dangerous because its effects upon the system are so slow, and at first scarcely perceivable. Multitudes have fallen victims to its poisonous influence (Counsels on Health, 84).
Not until 1957 did a committee of scientists appointed by the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association conclude that smoking was a causative factor in lung cancer. Counseling physicians on how to regard the issue of smoking, she wrote this:
The physician should be a strictly temperate man. The physical ailments of humanity are numberless, and he has to deal with disease in all its varied forms. He knows that much of the suffering he seeks to relieve is the result of intemperance and other forms of selfish indulgence. He is called to attend young men and men in the prime of life and in mature age, who have brought disease upon themselves by the use of the narcotic tobacco (Counsels on Health, 321-322).
The fact that Ellen White calls tobacco a narcotic is indeed surprising, since the narcotic effects of nicotine have only been established in recent times. Given this fact, and the present knowledge that the use of tobacco is a recognized precursor for the development of cravings for stronger stimulants such as drugs, to which the youth is particularly susceptible, it is indeed astounding that she wrote about these issues in her time.
The use of tobacco and strong drinks has a great deal to do with the increase of disease and crime. Tobacco is a slow, insidious, but most malignant poison, and its use is working untold harm...Boys begin the use of tobacco at a very early age. The habit thus formed, when body and mind are especially susceptible to its effects, undermines the physical strength and corrupts the morals (Manuscripts Releases, 115).
The Bible teaches that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and that we are admonished to preserve our bodies as living sacrifices:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:1-2).
This call would include the avoidance of harmful substances, as Ellen White explains:
Men can do much more for God and his fellow-man, if he is in the vigour of health, than if he is suffering from disease and pain. Tobacco using, liquor-drinking, and wrong habits of diet, induce disease and pain which incapacitate man for the use he might be in the world (Health Reformer, October 1, 1877).
Ellen White counseled that the use of animal products in the diet was harmful and that their use would become even more harmful as time progressed. The following statements, so contradictory to the views of her day, are a brief extract of what she wrote on the issue.
The meat diet is the serious question. Shall human beings live on the flesh of dead animals? The answer, from the light that God has given, is No, decidedly No. Health reform institutions should educate on this question. Physicians who claim to understand the human organism ought not to encourage their patients to subsist on the flesh of dead animals. They should point out the increase of disease in the animal kingdom. This testimony of examiners is that very few animals are free from disease, and that the practice of eating largely of meat is contracting diseases of all kinds— cancers, tumours, scrofula, tuberculosis, and numbers of other like affections (Counsel for Diet and Foods, 338).
This counsel is only now being proved by the scientific fraternity. The link between meat consumption and the diseases listed is well documented. Worldwide, and in my own laboratory, this link has been established beyond doubt.i
Vegetarian societies have a much lower risk of contracting the diseases listed than omnivorous societies. Ellen White also warned that the time would come when, for the sake of health, one would have to dispense with all animal products, including milk and eggs. Never did she, however, advocate fanatical views on this issue and even cautioned that circumstances should be taken into account when counseling those who did not always have access to alternative foods. In 1901, she wrote this:
We see that cattle are becoming greatly diseased, the earth itself is corrupted, and we know that the time will come when it will not be best to use milk and eggs. But that time has not yet come. We know that when it does come, the Lord will provide. The question is asked, meaning much to all concerned, Will God set a table in the wilderness? I think the answer may be made, Yea, God will provide food for His people (Counsel for Diet and Foods, 359).
Milk, eggs, and butter should not be classed with flesh meat. In some cases, the use of eggs is beneficial. The time has not come to say that the use of milk and eggs should be wholly discarded. There are poor families whose diet consists largely of bread and milk. They have little fruit, and cannot afford to purchase the nut foods. In teaching health reform, as in all other gospel work, we are to meet the people where they are. Until we can teach them how to prepare health reform foods that are palatable, nourishing, and yet inexpensive, we are not at liberty to present the most advanced propositions regarding health reform diet (Counsel for Diet and Foods, 351).
She counseled that God would prepare the way for the substitution of harmful foods with healthier alternatives. This prediction has been fulfilled with the introduction of new cultivars, such as the soybean and its by-products, as well as the expansion of trade and communication routes.
In all parts of the world, provision will be made to supply the place of milk and eggs. And the Lord will let us know when the time comes to give up these articles. He desires all to feel that they have a gracious heavenly Father who will instruct them in all things. The Lord will give dietetic art and skill to His people in all parts of the world, teaching them how to use, for the sustenance of life, the products of the earth (Counsel for Diet and Foods, 359).
The time will come, however, come when these items were to be discarded from the diet:
Soon butter will never be recommended, and after a time, milk will be entirely discarded, for disease in animals is increasing in proportion to the increase of wickedness among men. The time will come when there will be no safety in using eggs, milk, cream or butter (Manuscript Releases Volume 8, Letter 14, 1901, 3).
In our time, these predictions have been fulfilled in a manner that has astounded both the scientists and the general public. Indeed, even governments are in a panic over the modern flood of diseases striking the farming industry.
In Britain, the entire stock of cattle needs to be exterminated in view of BSE (mad cow disease). The chicken and egg industry has been reeling under the exponential increase in transferable infectious diseases caused by bacteria such as Salmonella, forcing governments to introduce legislation restricting the sale of uncooked eggs in restaurants.
The modern animal husbandry industry has produced a new breed of antibiotic resistant bacteria that are threatening the outbreak of worldwide epidemics of food poisoning from the consumption of animal products. The outbreak of food poisoning is no longer confined to countries or institutions with poor hygiene, but has become universal.
The predictions made by Ellen White regarding political, personal, religious, and health issues have been so accurately fulfilled that she certainly satisfies the prophetic criterion that the prophet’s predictions must come true. Moreover, her counsels are not given to satisfy idle curiosity, but are given for the benefit of not only the Church, but the whole of humankind.
i. Walter Veith, Diet and Health: New Scientific Perspectives (Cape Town: Southern Publishing Association, 1993).
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