Do God’s Prophets Take Advice from the Dead?
By Pastor Sydney Cleveland
Most Seventh-day Adventists are horrified when they hear of people trying to communicate with the dead. The reason is Seventh-day Adventists are well aware of what the Bible says about going to the dead for advice:
"When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn." – Isaiah 8:19-20 (NIV)
"Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead (necromancy). Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you." – Deuteronomy 18:10-12 (NIV)
"'A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.'" – Leviticus 20:27 (NIV)
Ellen White Talks with her Dead Husband!
Seventh-day Adventists are very comfortable in the false belief that their "prophet," Ellen G. White received direction from God through dreams and visions. But when Seventh-day Adventists are informed that their prophet spoke with the dead and received guidance from her dead husband in one of her dreams (necromancy), they quickly shut their ears and loudly deny the truth!
But the problem for Seventh-day Adventists is that Ellen White was a prolific writer, and she wrote out her dream in a letter she sent to her son W. C. White. Let’s consider what she wrote (in bold type) along with my observations (in red type). Here are the pertinent paragraphs of her letter::
"A few days since I was pleading with the Lord for light in regard to my duty. [Notice Ellen White specifically stated she was asking God for direction and information.] In the night I dreamed I was in the carriage, driving, sitting at the right hand. [Ellen White believed this dream came from God and contained the very information she had just asked God to reveal to her – as we shall see.] Father was in the carriage, seated at my left hand. He was very pale, but calm and composed. [Ellen White generally used the term "Father" when speaking about her husband James White. James had died on August 6, 1881 – just five weeks before Ellen White wrote this letter to her son on September 12, 1881]. ‘Why, Father,’ I exclaimed, ‘I am so happy to have you by my side once more! I have felt that half of me was gone. Father, I saw you die; I saw you buried. Has the Lord pitied me and let you come back to me again, and we work together as we used to?’
"He looked very sad. He said, ‘The Lord knows what is best for you and for me. [Notice in this "divinely inspired" dream, Ellen White is having a conversation with her dead husband – something the Lord said in His Word is "detestable" and worthy of being "stoned to death." Worse, dead James White pretends to speak for the Lord and advises Ellen about her duty!] My work was very dear to me. We have made a mistake. We have responded to urgent invitations of our brethren to attend important meetings. We had not the heart to refuse. These meetings have worn us both more than we were aware. Our good brethren were gratified, but they did not realize that in these meetings we took upon us greater burdens than at our age we could safely carry. They will never know the result of this long-continued strain upon us.
"‘God would have had them bear the burdens we have carried for years. Our nervous energies have been continuously taxed, and then our brethren misjudging our motives and not realizing our burdens have weakened the action of the heart. I have made mistakes, the greatest of which was in allowing my sympathies for the people of God to lead me to take work upon me which others should have borne. Now, Ellen, calls will be made as they have been, desiring you to attend important meetings, as has been the case in the past. [Notice that here dead James White predicts the future for his wife, Ellen, and advises her on what she should do – remember, this advice is coming from a dead man in her dream!] But lay this matter before God and make no response to the most earnest invitations. Your life hangs as it were upon a thread. You must have quiet rest, freedom from all excitement and from all disagreeable cares. We might have done a great deal for years with our pens, on subjects the people need that we have had the light upon and can present before them, which others do not have. Thus you can work when your strength returns, as it will, and you can do far more with your pen than with your voice.’
"He looked at me appealingly and said, ‘You will not neglect these cautions, will you, Ellen? Our people will never know under what infirmities we have labored to serve them because our lives were interwoven with the progress of the work, but God knows it all. I regret that I have felt so deeply and labored unreasonably in emergencies, regardless of the laws of life and health. The Lord did not require us to carry so heavy burdens and many of our brethren so few. [Dead James now gives Ellen a wonderful opportunity to chastise the "brethren" for shirking their duties and thereby working him to death. Remember, all this comes to her in one of her "divinely-inspired" dreams as she communicates with her dead husband! Read on as dead James continues advising Ellen.] We ought to have gone to the Pacific Coast before, and devoted our time and energies to writing. Will you do this now? Will you, as your strength returns, take your pen and write out these things we have so long anticipated, and make haste slowly? There is important matter which the people need. Make this your first business. You will have to speak some to the people, but shun the responsibilities which have borne us down.’ [Dead James’ advice is very clear, telling his wife what to do as well as what not to do.]
"’Well,’ said I, ‘James, you are always to stay with me now and we will work together.’ [Here Ellen makes a pact with dead James – he will always stay with her, and they will work together! This a pact with a dead man! But it gets worse. Read on.]
"Said he, ‘I stayed in Battle Creek too long. I ought to have gone to California more than one year ago. But I wanted to help the work and institutions at Battle Creek. I have made a mistake. Your heart is tender. You will be inclined to make the same mistakes I have made. Your life can be of use to the cause of God. Oh, those precious subjects the Lord would have had me bring before the people, precious jewels of light!’
"I awoke. But this dream seemed so real. Now you can see and understand WHY I FEEL NO DUTY TO GO TO BATTLE CREEK for the purpose of shouldering the responsibilities in General Conference. I have NO DUTY to stand in General Conference. THE LORD FORBIDS ME. That is enough."
Letter 17, 1881, pages 2-4 (written to W. C. White, September 12, 1881), the White Estate, Washington, D.C., March 25, 1980. (You may verify this letter in Arthur White’s book Ellen G. White, The Retirement Years, pages 161-162, or go to the Ellen White Estate web site and search for any key phrase in the letter.)
Issues Raised by this Letter
Now let’s briefly outline the major issues Ellen White’s letter raises:
- Ellen White prayed to God specifically asking Him to direct her in her duty.
- Ellen White received a "dream" in which she believed the Lord communicated her duty to her. This is fully in line with her many claims to have received 200 "divinely-inspired" dreams and visions over her lifetime.
- In this dream Ellen White communicated with and received advice from her dead husband, James White – even though God said communicating with the dead (necromancy) is "detestable" to Him, and worthy of being stoned to death. Thus Ellen White’s dream is in direct contradiction to Scripture. Surely a genuine Christian would have immediately rejected the "advice" given by a dead person! But not so with Ellen White – she fell for this deception.
- Also in this dream Ellen White made a pact with her dead husband, that he would stay with her and work with her. Notice she wanted this dead man’s influence to continue in her life.
- When Ellen awoke from this dream she followed the advice her dead husband had given her. Worse, she claimed the "LORD" had spoken to her through her dead husband! Thus it was Ellen White’s belief, that in this dream, the Lord had communicated her "duty" to her through the dead! Don’t you think Ellen White should have instantly known that any communication with the dead is prohibited in Scripture – especially when she wrote widely on this topic? If Ellen White was actually inspired by God, why would she take advice from a dead person, thinking it came from the Lord? And why would she want to continue working with that dead person for the rest of her life?
Now, I ask you, can you trust Ellen White when she repeatedly contradicted God’s Word – even in her "divinely" inspired dreams? Can you believe the so-called "light" she presents in her books, when she is guilty of communicating with the dead and receiving advice from the dead? And can you trust her judgment in spiritual things when she believes God spoke to her through a dead person and does what God says is "detestable" and worthy of death?
The truth about Ellen White is this: she was a false prophet. There is no light in her whatsoever, because a lie cannot be made into the truth, and a false prophet cannot be made true.
If you want to know truth, then look to Jesus Christ and study His Word. There is absolutely no need for anyone to read or study the errors, heresies and "inspired writings" of the Seventh-day Adventist’s false prophet, Ellen G. White. Jesus Christ is the author of truth, the author of the Bible, and the Savior of His people. True Christians need nothing more!