Objections to the Visions

By W.H. Ball, Review & Herald Vol. 19, January 21, 1862

BRO. WHITE: If the visions are to be made a test of christian fellowship, as appears from Bro. Loughborough’s remarks in reply to Bro. L., Vol. xviii, No. 23, then I deem it necessary to ask a few questions, also a little explanation upon one or two points, in order if possible that some objections may be removed from my mind. Otherwise it seems that I shall be compelled to remain outside. In relation to the visions I would say that I have never opposed them, neither have I believed them fully, for the following reason, viz., I fail to discover in some instances a harmony between them and the Bible.

Permit me to give one or two extracts from sister White’s Experience and Views, which have been, and still are, stumbling-blocks in the way, not only with myself, but with others, of receiving the visions as of heavenly origin. On page 27 is the following: “My accompanying angel bade me look for the travail of soul for sinners as used to be. I looked, but could not see it; for the time for their salvation is past.”

The sentiment contained in these three short lines has served as a preventive against my receiving the visions. It is plain that according to the above view there have been no true conversions for the past twelve years, at least. I find upon examination that this view was in perfect harmony with the views of many of the leading men in the Advent ranks at that time, who believed in the shut door. I will here give an extract from the pen of Wm. Miller:

“We have done our work in warning sinners, and in trying to awake a formal church. God in his providence has shut the door; we can only stir one another up to be patient, and be diligent to make our calling and election sure. We are now living in the time specified in Malachi 3:18; also Daniel 12:10; Revelation 22:10-12. In this passage we can not help but see that a little while before Christ should come there would be a separation between the just and unjust, the righteous and wicked, between those who love his appearing and those who hate it. And never since the days of the apostles has there been such a division line drawn as was drawn about the 10th or 23rd day of the 7th Jewish month. Since that time they say they have no confidence in us. We have now need of patience after we have done the will of God that we may receive the promise.” Advent Herald, Dec. 11, 1844.

Now it is not strange that men should err in relation to this matter, being human; but it is strange that a divine revelation from heaven should prove untrue. If you, or any other one, can give a satisfactory explanation of the above view, you will by so doing remove one great objection from my mind.

I wish to notice one point more. On page 34, same book, I read thus: “Then the saints used their wings and mounted to the top of the wall of the city,” etc. Here the saints are represented as having wings. Now if this is in harmony with the word, I say, Amen; but what saith the Lord? Genesis 1:26, 27. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them.” See also Genesis 5:1; 9:6; Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:15.

Here then is positive proof that God has no wings, and it is quite certain that Christ had no wings while here upon earth, and he is to come in like manner as he went away. Now if the Father and Son have no wings, will the saints be like them, or will they have wings and be unlike them? Let the apostle answer. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." 1 John 3:2. In conclusion I wish to ask the following questions:

1. Has not God always had a true church upon earth? If so, have the signs spoken of in Mark 16:17, 18, followed true believers since the days of the apostles?

2. If the gifts which were placed in the church more than eighteen hundred years since were to continue to the end, how does it happen that in following the history of the church from the apostles’ days down to the present time, we find no record of the gifts being manifest among God’s people? Have we any account of there being any workers of miracles since the days of the apostles? As I claim to be an honest seeker after truth, I trust you will esteem it a privilege to notice the points herein mentioned through the Review.

Yours in search of light and truth.
Washington, N. H.

Category: Pioneer Letters
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