Autobiographical Sketch of Ellen G. White
Note: Since criticisms about Ellen White's life are dealt with elsewhere on this site,
we here simply let her tell in her own words her life story.—WebMaster
Chapter 7: My First Vision
The Second Coming
It was not long after the passing of the time in 1844 that my first vision was given me. I was visiting a dear sister in Christ, whose heart was knit with mine; five
of us, all women, were kneeling quietly at the family altar. While we were praying, the power of God came upon me as I had never felt it before. I seemed to be
surrounded with light, and to be rising higher and higher from the earth. I turned to look for the advent people in the world, but could not find them, when a
voice said to me: "Look again, and look a little higher." At this I raised my eyes and saw a straight and narrow path, cast up high above the world.
On this path the advent people were traveling toward the
city. Behind them, at the beginning of the path, was a bright light which an angel told me was the midnight cry. This light shone all along the path, that their
feet might not stumble. Jesus Himself went just before His people to lead them forward, and as long as they kept their eyes fixed on Him, they were safe. But
soon some grew weary, and said the city was a great way off, and they expected to have entered it before. Then Jesus would encourage them by raising His
glorious right arm, from which came a light that waved over the advent band; and they shouted: "Alleluia!" Others rashly denied the light behind them, and said
it was not God that had led them out so far. The light behind them went out, leaving their feet in perfect darkness, and they stumbled and lost sight of the mark
and of Jesus, and fell off the path down into the dark and wicked world below.
Soon we heard the voice of God like many waters, which gave us the day and hour of Jesus' coming. The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and
understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake. When God spake the time, He poured upon us the Holy Spirit, and our faces
began to light up and shine with the glory of God, as Moses' did when he came down from Mount Sinai.
The 144,000 were all sealed and perfectly united. On their foreheads were the words God, New Jerusalem, and a glorious star containing Jesus' new name. At
our happy, holy state the wicked were enraged, and would rush violently up to lay hands on us to thrust us into prison, when we would stretch forth the hand in
the name of the Lord, and they would fall helpless to the ground. Then it was that the synagogue of Satan knew that God had loved us, who could wash one
another's feet, and salute the brethren with a holy kiss, and they worshiped at our feet.
Soon our eyes were drawn to the east, for a small black cloud had appeared, about half as large as a man's hand, which we all knew was the sign of the Son of
man. In solemn silence we all gazed on the cloud as it drew nearer, and became lighter, glorious, and still more glorious, till it was a great white cloud. The
bottom appeared like fire; a rainbow was over the cloud, while around it were ten thousand angels, singing a most lovely song; and upon it sat the Son of man.
His hair was white and curly and lay on His shoulders, and upon His head were many crowns. His feet had the appearance of fire; in His right hand was a sharp
sickle, in His left a silver trumpet. His eyes were as a flame of fire, which searched His children through and through.
Then all faces gathered paleness, and those that God had rejected gathered blackness. Then we all cried out: "Who shall be able to stand? Is my robe spotless?"
The angels ceased to sing, and there was a time of awful silence, when Jesus spoke: "Those who have clean hands and pure hearts shall be able to stand; My
grace is sufficient for you." At this, our faces lighted up, and joy filled every heart. And the angels struck a note higher and sang again, while the cloud drew
still nearer the earth. Then Jesus' silver trumpet sounded, as He descended on the cloud, wrapped in flames of fire. He gazed on the graves of the sleeping
saints, then raised His eyes and hands to heaven, and cried: "Awake! Awake! Awake! ye that sleep in the dust, and arise." Then there was a mighty earthquake.
The graves opened, and the dead came up clothed with immortality. The 144,000 shouted, "Alleluia!" as they recognized their friends who had been torn from
them by death, and in the same moment we were changed, and caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air.
We all entered the cloud together, and were seven days ascending to the sea of glass, when Jesus brought the crowns,
and with His own right hand placed them on our heads. He gave us harps of gold and palms of victory. Here on the sea of glass the 144,000 stood in a
perfect square. Some had very bright crowns, others not so bright. Some crowns appeared heavy with stars, while others had but few. All were perfectly
satisfied with their crowns. And they were all clothed with a glorious white mantle from their shoulders to their feet. Angels were all about us as we marched
over the sea of glass to the gate of the city. Jesus raised His mighty, glorious arm, laid hold of the pearly gate, swung it back on its glittering hinges, and said to
us: "You have washed your robes in My blood, stood stiffly for My truth, enter in." We all marched in and felt we had a perfect right there.
Within the city we saw the tree of life and the throne of God. Out of the throne came a pure river of water, and on either side of the river was the tree of life. On
one side of the river was a trunk of a tree, and a trunk on the other side of the river, both of pure, transparent gold. At first I thought I saw two trees; I looked
again, and saw that they were united at the top in one tree. So it was the tree of life on either side of the river of life. Its branches bowed to the place where we
stood; and the fruit was glorious, which looked like gold mixed with silver.
We all went under the tree, and sat down to look at the glory of the place, when Brethren Fitch and Stockman, who had preached the gospel of the kingdom,
and whom God had laid in the grave to save them, came up to us, and asked us what we had passed through while they were sleeping. We tried to call up our
greatest trials, but they looked so small compared with the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory that surrounded us, that we could not speak them out,
and we all cried out, "Alleluia! Heaven is cheap enough," and we touched our golden harps and made heaven's arches ring.
I related this vision to the believers in Portland, who had full confidence that it was from God. The Spirit of the Lord attended the testimony, and the solemnity
of eternity rested upon us. An unspeakable awe filled me, that I, so young and feeble, should be chosen as the instrument by which God would give light to His
people. While under the power of the Lord I was filled with joy, seeming to be surrounded by holy angels in the glorious courts of heaven, where all is peace
and gladness, and it was a sad and bitter change to wake up to the realities of mortal life.
In a second vision, which soon followed the first, I was shown the trials through which I must pass, and that it was my duty to go and relate to others what God
had revealed to me. It was shown me that my labors would meet with great opposition, and that my heart would be rent with anguish, but that the grace of God
would be sufficient to sustain me through all. The teaching of this vision troubled me exceedingly, for it pointed out my duty to go out among the people and
present the truth.
(Testimonies for the Church, pp. 59-61)