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.
Chapter 8—Call to Travel
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.
My health was so poor that I was in constant bodily suffering, and, to all appearance, had but a short time to live. I was but seventeen years of age, small and frail, unused to society, and naturally so timid and retiring that it was painful for me to meet strangers. I prayed earnestly for several days, and far into the night, that this burden might be removed from me and laid upon someone more capable of bearing it. But the light of duty did not change, and the words of the angel sounded continually in my ears: “Make known to others what I have revealed to you.”
I was unreconciled to going out into the world, and dreaded to meet its sneers and opposition. I had little self-confidence. Hitherto when the Spirit of God had urged me to duty, I had risen above myself, forgetting all fear and timidity in the thought of Jesus’ love and the wonderful work He had done for me. The constant assurance that I was fulfilling my duty and obeying the will of the Lord gave me a confidence that surprised me. At such times I felt willing to do or suffer anything in order to help others into the light and peace of Jesus.
But it seemed impossible for me to perform this work that was presented before me; to attempt it seemed certain failure. The trials attending it appeared more than I could endure. How could I, a child in years, go forth from place to place, unfolding to the people the holy truths of God? My heart shrank in terror from the thought. My brother Robert, but two years older than myself, could not accompany me, for he was feeble in health and his timidity greater than mine; nothing could have induced him to take such a step. My father had a family to support, and could not leave his business; but he assured me that if God had called me to labor in other places, He would not fail to open the way for me. But these words of encouragement brought little comfort to my desponding heart; the path before me seemed hedged in with difficulties that I was unable to overcome.
I coveted death as a release from the responsibilities that were crowding upon me. At length the sweet peace I had so long enjoyed left me, and despair again pressed upon my soul. My prayers all seemed vain, and my faith was gone. Words of comfort, reproof, or encouragement were alike to me; for it seemed that no one could understand me but God, and He had forsaken me. The company of believers in Portland were ignorant concerning the exercises of my mind that had brought me into this state of despondency; but they knew that for some reason my mind had become depressed, and they felt that this was sinful on my part, considering the gracious manner in which the Lord had manifested Himself to me.
I feared that God had taken His favor from me forever. As I thought of the light that had formerly blessed my soul, it seemed doubly precious in contrast with the darkness that now enveloped me. Meetings were held at my father’s house, but my distress of mind was so great that I did not attend them for some time. My burden grew heavier until the agony of my spirit seemed more than I could bear.
At length I was induced to be present at one of the meetings in my own home. The church made my case a special subject of prayer. Father Pearson, who in my earlier experience had opposed the manifestations of the power of God upon me, now prayed earnestly for me, and counseled me to surrender my will to the will of the Lord. Like a tender father he tried to encourage and comfort me, bidding me believe I was not forsaken by the Friend of sinners.
I felt too weak and despondent to make any special effort for myself, but my heart united with the petitions of my friends. I cared little now for the opposition of the world, and felt willing to make every sacrifice if only the favor of God might be restored to me. While prayer was offered for me, the thick darkness that had encompassed me rolled back, and a sudden light came upon me. My strength was taken away. I seemed to be in the presence of the angels. One of these holy beings again repeated the words: “Make known to others what I have revealed to you.”
One great fear that oppressed me was that if I obeyed the call of duty, and went out declaring myself to be one favored of the Most High with visions and revelations for the people, I might yield to sinful exaltation and be lifted above the station that was right for me to occupy, bring upon myself the displeasure of God, and lose my own soul. I had before me several cases such as I have here described, and my heart shrank from the trying ordeal.
I now entreated that if I must go and relate what the Lord had shown me, I should be preserved from undue exaltation. Said the angel: “Your prayers are heard and shall be answered. If this evil that you dread threatens you, the hand of God will be stretched out to save you; by affliction He will draw you to Himself and preserve your humility. Deliver the message faithfully. Endure unto the end, and you shall eat the fruit of the tree of life and drink of the water of life.”
After recovering consciousness of earthly things, I committed myself to the Lord, ready to do His bidding whatever that might be. Providentially, the way opened for me to go with my brother-in-law to my sisters in Poland, thirty miles from my home. I there had an opportunity to bear my testimony.
For three months my throat and lungs had been so diseased that I could talk but little, and that in a low and husky tone. On this occasion I stood up in meeting and commenced speaking in a whisper. I continued thus for about five minutes, when the soreness and obstruction left my throat and lungs, my voice became clear and strong, and I spoke with perfect ease and freedom for nearly two hours. When my message was ended, my voice was gone until I again stood before the people, when the same singular restoration was repeated. I felt a constant assurance that I was doing the will of God, and saw marked results attending my efforts.
The way providentially opened for me to go to the eastern part of Maine. Brother William Jordan was going on business to Orrington, accompanied by his sister, and I was urged to go with them. As I had promised the Lord to walk in the path He opened before me, I dared not refuse. At Orrington I met Elder James White. He was acquainted with my friends, and was himself engaged in the work of salvation.
The Spirit of God attended the message I bore; hearts were made glad in the truth, and the desponding ones were cheered and encouraged to renew their faith. At Garland a large number collected from different quarters to hear my message. But my heart was very heavy; I had just received a letter from my mother begging me to return home, for false reports were circulating concerning me. This was an unexpected blow. My name had always been free from the shadow of reproach, and my reputation was very dear to me. I also felt grieved that my mother should suffer on my account; her heart was bound up in her children, and she was very sensitive in regard to them. If there had been an opportunity, I should have set out for home immediately; but this was impossible.
My sorrow was so great that I felt too depressed to speak that night. My friends urged me to trust in the Lord; and at length the brethren engaged in prayer for me. The blessing of the Lord soon rested upon me, and I bore my testimony that evening with great freedom. There seemed to be an angel standing by my side to strengthen me. Shouts of glory and victory went up from that house, and the presence of Jesus was felt among us.
In my labors I was called to oppose the course of some who by their fanaticism were bringing reproach upon the cause of God. These fanatical ones seemed to think that religion consisted in great excitement and noise. They would talk in a manner that would irritate unbelievers, and cause them to hate them and the doctrines they taught; then they would rejoice that they suffered persecution. Unbelievers could see no consistency in their course. The brethren in some places were prevented from assembling for meetings. The innocent suffered with the guilty. I carried a sad and heavy heart much of the time. It seemed cruel that the cause of Christ should be injured by the course of these injudicious men. They were not only ruining their own souls, but placing upon the cause a stigma not easily removed. And Satan loved to have it so. It suited him well to see the truth handled by unsanctified men; to have it mixed with error, and then all together trampled in the dust. He looked with triumph upon the confused, scattered state of God’s children.
One of these fanatical persons labored with some success to turn my friends and even my relatives against me. Because I had faithfully related that which was shown me respecting his unchristian course, he circulated falsehoods to destroy my influence and to justify himself. My lot seemed hard. Discouragements pressed heavily upon me; and the condition of God’s people so filled me with anguish that for two weeks I was prostrated with sickness. My friends thought I could not live; but brethren and sisters who sympathized with me in this affliction met to pray for me. I soon realized that earnest, effectual prayer was offered in my behalf. Prayer prevailed. The power of the strong foe was broken, and I was released, and immediately taken off in vision. In this view I saw that if I felt a human influence affecting my testimony, no matter where I might be, I had only to cry to God, and an angel would be sent to my rescue. I already had one guardian angel attending me continually, but when necessary, the Lord would send another to raise me above the power of every earthly influence.
Chapter 9—Vision of the New Earth
[This vision describes events to take place at the close of the one thousand years after Christ’s second advent. Revelation 20; 21; 22; Zechariah 14:4 .]
With Jesus at our head, we all descended from the city down to this earth, on a great and mighty mountain, which could not bear Jesus up, and it parted asunder, and there was a mighty plain. Then we looked up and saw the great city, with twelve foundations, and twelve gates, three on each side, and an angel at each gate. We all cried out: “The city, the great city, it’s coming, it’s coming down from God out of heaven,” and it came and settled on the place where we stood. Then we began to look at the glorious things outside of the city. There I saw most beautiful houses, that had the appearance of silver, supported by four pillars set with pearls, most glorious to behold, which were to be inhabited by the saints, and in which was a golden shelf. I saw many of the saints go into the houses, take off their glittering crowns and lay them on the shelf, then go out into the field by the houses to do something with the earth; not as we have to do with the earth here; no, no. A glorious light shone all about their heads, and they were continually offering praise to God.
And I saw another field full of all kinds of flowers, and as I plucked them, I cried out: “They will never fade.” Next I saw a field of tall grass, most glorious to behold; it was living green, and had a reflection of silver and gold, as it waved proudly to the glory of King Jesus. Then we entered a field full of all kinds of beasts—the lion, the lamb, the leopard, and the wolf, all together in perfect union. We passed through the midst of them, and they followed on peaceably after. Then we entered a wood, not like the dark woods we have here; no, no; but light, and all over glorious; the branches of the trees waved to and fro, and we all cried out: “We will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.” We passed through the woods, for we were on our way to Mount Zion.
As we were traveling along, we met a company who were also gazing at the glories of the place. I noticed red as a border on their garments; their crowns were brilliant; their robes were pure white. As we greeted them, I asked Jesus who they were. He said they were martyrs that had been slain for Him. With them was an innumerable company of little ones; they had a hem of red on their garments also. Mount Zion was just before us, and on the mount was a glorious temple, and about it were seven other mountains, on which grew roses and lilies. And I saw the little ones climb, or, if they chose, use their little wings and fly to the top of the mountains, and pluck the never-fading flowers. There were all kinds of trees around the temple to beautify the place—the box, the pine, the fir, the oil, the myrtle, the pomegranate, and the fig tree bowed down with the weight of its timely figs; these made the place all over glorious. And as we were about to enter the temple, Jesus raised His lovely voice and said, “Only the 144,000 enter this place,” and we shouted, “Alleluia!”
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1 pp. 59-68
Discussion Questions — Day 6:
- What two things are necessary for us to stand in the great day of the second coming? Where is this truth found in the Bible?
- What impressed you about the heavenly scene in the first vision?
- How did the believers at Portland perceive Ellen’s despondency?
- What preceded the thick darkness rolling back from her? What lessons can we draw from this?
- What can we learn from the miraculous intervention of God for Ellen’s voice and strength when she attempted to give her testimony?
- What were some of the evil results of fanaticism which she was called to oppose?
- How can we apply the principle of prevailing prayer which is a keynote in the experience of Ellen and the Advent people?
- What impressed you about the second vision about the New Earth?