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The Ellen G. White Writings

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    Sources of the Prophet’s Information

    The fields of presentation of the inspired writers are broad and diverse. As already observed, the prophet is in possession of many lines of common knowledge, and his mind has been illuminated by the revelations received from God. To a large degree he carries the responsibility, under the impress of the Spirit of God, for the choice of the time and place and content of presentation. He exercises great care that his message shall not be influenced in its basic concepts by his own opinions or the thinking of his contemporaries, yet in its presentation he may use some items of information that are matters of common knowledge, such as the distance between places, the location of a given happening, or the time of a commonly known event.EGWW 23.4

    It is at this point that an understanding of the manner in which information often was given to the prophet is vital. We pause to review. The description of the vision of Moses just before his death is very illuminating:EGWW 24.1

    And now a panoramic view of the Land of Promise was presented to him. Every part of the country was spread out before him, not faint and uncertain in the dim distance, but standing out clear, distinct, and beautiful to his delighted vision. In this scene it was presented, not as it then appeared, but as it would become, with God’s blessing upon it, in the possession of Israel. He seemed to be looking upon a second Eden. There were mountains clothed with cedars of Lebanon, hills gray with olives and fragrant with the odor of the vine, wide green plains bright with flowers and rich in fruitfulness, here the palm trees of the tropics, there waving fields of wheat and barley, sunny valleys musical with the ripple of brooks and the song of birds, goodly cities and fair gardens, lakes rich in “the abundance of the seas,” grazing flocks upon the hillsides, and even amid the rocks the wild bee’s hoarded treasures....EGWW 24.2

    Moses saw the chosen people established in Canaan, each of the tribes in its own possession. He had a view of their history after the settlement of the Promised Land; the long, sad story of their apostasy and its punishment was spread out before him. He saw them, because of their sins, dispersed among the heathen, the glory departed from Israel, her beautiful city in ruins, and her people captives in strange lands. He saw them restored to the land of their fathers, and at last brought under the dominion of Rome.EGWW 24.3

    He was permitted to look down the stream of time and behold the first advent of our Saviour. He saw Jesus as a babe in Bethlehem. He heard the voices of the angelic host break forth in the glad song of praise to God and peace on earth.... He beheld Christ’s humble life in Nazareth, His ministry of love and sympathy and healing, His rejection by a proud, unbelieving nation. Amazed he listened to their boastful exaltation of the law of God, while they despised and rejected Him by whom the law was given. He saw Jesus upon Olivet as with weeping He bade farewell to the city of His love....EGWW 24.4

    He followed the Saviour to Gethsemane, and beheld the agony in the garden, the betrayal, the mockery and scourging—the crucifixion.... He heard Christ’s agonizing cry, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” He saw Him lying in Joseph’s new tomb. The darkness of hopeless despair seemed to enshroud the world. But he looked again, and beheld Him coming forth a conqueror, and ascending to heaven escorted by adoring angels and leading a multitude of captives. He saw the shining gates open to receive Him, and the host of heaven with songs of triumph welcoming their Commander. And it was there revealed to him that he himself would be one who should attend the Saviour, and open to Him the everlasting gates.—Patriarchs and Prophets, 472-476.EGWW 25.1

    The dramatic picture continues, but we need go no further. Enthralled, Moses watched the events take place, seeing, hearing, and participating, and in receiving the message even the sense of smell came into play. In this vivid manner the history of the future was opened up to the prophet. It is very unlikely that dates were revealed to him. It is not likely that all the cities he saw were named. Those were inconsequential details, not of primary importance to the unfolding theme.EGWW 25.2

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