The Progressive Years 1862 through 1876

“The Godhead in Black and White” book.

ellen g whiteThe culminating efforts to establish church and conference organizations, with the demands for much writing, traveling, and personal labor, occupied the early years of the 1860s. The climax was reached in the organization of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in May, 1863.

Two weeks after this, James and Ellen White visited Otsego, Michigan, over the weekend, to encourage the evangelistic workers there. As the group bowed in prayer at the beginning of the Sabbath, Ellen White was given a vision of the relation of physical health to spirituality, of the importance of following right principles in diet and in the care of the body, and of the benefits of nature’s remedies–clean air, sunshine, exercise, and pure water.

During 1865-68 Ellen White undertook the presentation of the conflict story as it had been shown to her more fully in further revelations. In 1870, The Spirit of Prophecy, volume 1, was published, carrying the story from the fall of Lucifer in heaven to Solomon’s time. Work with this series was broken off, and it was seven years before the next volume was issued. The winter of 1872-1873 found James and Ellen White in

California in the interests of strengthening church projects on the Pacific Coast. This was the first of several extended western sojourns during the next seven years. Ellen White accompanied her husband on his journeys, doing her full share of preaching and personal work, and, as time permitted, pushed forward with her writing. An important vision was given to Ellen White on April 1, 1874, while in the West, at which time there was opened up to her the marvelous way in which the denomination’s work was to broaden and develop not only in the western States but overseas. A few weeks later, tent meetings were opened in Oakland, California, and in connection with this public effort Elder White began the magazine Signs of the Times.

In the fall of 1874 the Whites were back in Michigan, assisting with the Biblical Institute, leading out in Sabbath services, and taking a prominent part in the dedication of Battle Creek College on January 4, 1875. As Ellen White stood before the group who had gathered from a number of states to dedicate this, the denomination’s first educational institution, she related what had been shown to her the day before in a vision. The picture she presented of the international work that must be accomplished by Seventh-day Adventists impressed the assembled workers and believers with the importance and need of the college. Among other things, she told of having been shown printing presses operating in other lands, and a well-organized work developing in vast world territories that Seventh-day Adventists up to that time had never thought of entering.

Examining the writings 1862-1876

As the church grew and expanded, so also did the divine revelations grow and expand. The ongoing revelations and messages given served to strengthen the foundation of truth upon which the church was built. Examining the topic of the Godhead in the writings of this period will shed a flood of light upon this rich field of study. Far from denying the previously revealed truths, the revelations in this period served to confirm and enhance what was previously given.

Who is the Lawgiver and what is His name?

God is a moral governor as well as a Father. He is the Lawgiver.” {E. G. White, Manuscript Releases Volume 12, p. 208} 1876

“Those who trample upon God’s authority, and show open contempt to the law given in such grandeur at Sinai, virtually despise the Lawgiver, the great Jehovah.” {E. G. White, Spiritual Gifts Volume 3, p. 294} 1864

Who was next in authority to the great Jehovah, the Law-giver?

The Son of God was next in authority to the great Lawgiver. He knew that his life alone could be sufficient to ransom fallen man. He was of as much more value than man as his noble, spotless character, and exalted office as commander of all the heavenly host, were above the work of man. He was in the express image of his Father, not in features alone, but in perfection of character.” {E. G. White, Review and Herald, December 17, 1872 par. 1}

“[…] Christ was above all. He was the commander of all Heaven. He imparted to the angelic family the high commands of his Father.” {E. G. White, Spiritual Gifts Volume 3, p. 36} 1864

“The great Creator assembled the heavenly host, that he might in the presence of all the angels confer special honor upon his SonThe Son was seated on the throne with the Father, and the heavenly throng of holy angels was gatheredaround them. The Father then made known that it was ordained by himself that Christ, his Son, should be equal with himself; so that wherever was the presence of his Son, it was as his own presence.

The word of the Son was to be obeyed as readily as the word of the Father. His Son he had invested with authority to command the heavenly host.

Especially was his Son to work in union with himself in the anticipated creation of the earth and every living thing that should exist upon the earth. His Son would carry out his will and his purposes, but would do nothing of himself alone. The Father’s will would be fulfilled in him.” {E. G. White, The Spirit of Prophecy Volume One, pp. 17, 18} 1870

Who was next in honor to the Son of God?

“Satan in Heaven, before his rebellion, was a high and exalted angel, next in honor to God’s dear Son.” {E. G. White, The Spirit of Prophecy Volume One, p. 17} 1870

“Satan, the chief of the fallen angels, once had an exalted position in Heaven. He was next in honor to Christ.” {E. G. White,Review and Herald, February 24, 1874 par. 33}

“Christ had been taken into the special counsel of God in regard to his plans, while Satan was unacquainted with them.  He did not understand, neither was he permitted to know, the purposes of God. But Christ was acknowledged sovereign of Heaven, his power and authority to be the same as that of God himself.” {E. G. White, The Spirit of Prophecy Volume One, p. 18} 1870

Was Satan unaware of Christ’s position and identity?

“Satan was well acquainted with the position of honor Christ had held in Heaven as the Son of God, the beloved of theFather.” {E. G. White, Review and Herald, March 3, 1874 par. 21}


“There was contention among the angels. Satan and his sympathizers were striving to reform the government of God. They were discontented and unhappy because they could not look into his unsearchable wisdom and ascertain his purposes in exalting his Son Jesus, and endowing him with such unlimited power and command. They rebelled against the authority of the Son.” {E. G. White, The Spirit of Prophecy Volume One, p. 19} 1870

“Angels that were loyal and true sought to reconcile this mighty, rebellious angel to the will of his Creator. They justified the act of God in conferring honor upon Jesus Christ, and with forcible reasoning sought to convince Satan that no less honor was his now than before the Father had proclaimed the honor which he had conferred upon his Son. They clearly set forth that Jesus was the Son of Godexisting with him before the angels were created; and that he had ever stood at the right hand of God, and his mild, loving authority had not heretofore been questioned; and that he had given no commands but what it was joy for the heavenly host to execute.” {E. G. White, The Spirit of Prophecy Volume One, p. 19} 1870

“Many of Satan’s sympathizers were inclined to heed the counsel of the loyal angels, and repent of their dissatisfaction, and be again received to the confidence of the Father and his dear Son.” {E. G. White, The Spirit of Prophecy Volume One, pp. 20, 21} 1870

“The loyal angels hasten speedily to the Son of God, and acquaint him with what is taking place among the angels. They find the Father in conference with his beloved Son, to determine the means by which, for the best good of the loyalangels, the assumed authority of Satan could be forever put down.” {E. G. White, The Spirit of Prophecy Volume One, p. 21} 1870

Who is the only one to whom God’s secret purposes were revealed?

“God informed Satan that to his Son alone he would reveal his secret purposes, and he required all the family in Heaven, even Satan, to yield him implicit, unquestioned obedience; but that he (Satan) had proved himself unworthy a place in Heaven.” {E. G. White, The Spirit of Prophecy Volume One, p. 22} 1870

Who were the parties engaged in the heavenly war?

“Satan had sympathizers in heaven, and took large numbers of the angels with him. God and Christ and heavenly angels were on one side, and Satan on the other. Notwithstanding the infinite power and majesty of God and Christ,angels became disaffected. The insinuations of Satan took effect, and they really came to believe that the Father and the Son were their enemies and that Satan was their benefactor.” {E. G. White, Testimonies Volume 3, p. 328} 1873

“Satan was warring against the government of God, because ambitious to exalt himself and unwilling to submit to the authority of God’s Son, Heaven’s great commander.” {E. G. White, Spiritual Gifts Volume 3, p. 37} 1864

“Then there was war in Heaven. The Son of God, the Prince of Heaven, and his loyal angels, engaged in conflict with the arch rebel and those who united with him.” {E. G. White, The Spirit of Prophecy Volume One, p. 23} 1870

“He who could influence the angels of God against their Supreme Ruler, and against his Son, their loved commander, and enlist their sympathy for himself, was capable of any deception.” {E. G. White, Review and Herald, August 18, 1874 par. 10}

Who were engaged in the mighty work of creation?

The Father and the Son engaged in the mighty, wondrous work they had contemplated, of creating the world.” {E. G. White,The Spirit of Prophecy Volume One, p. 24} 1870

Jesus had united with the Father in making the world.” {E. G. White, Testimonies Volume 2, p. 209} 1869

Who purposed to make man in their own image?

“After the earth was created, and the beasts upon it, the Father and Son carried out their purpose, which was designed before the fall of Satan, to make man in their own image. They had wrought together in the creation of the earth and every living thing upon it. And now God says to his Son, “Let us make man in our image.”” {E. G. White, The Spirit of
Prophecy Volume One, pp. 24, 25} 1870

God, in counsel with his Son, formed the plan of creating man in their own image.” {E. G. White, Review and Herald, February 24, 1874 par. 3}

“Before the fall of Satan, the Father consulted his Son in regard to the formation of man. They purposed to make this world, and create beasts and living things upon it, and to make man in the image of God, to reign as a ruling monarch over every living thing which God should create.” {E. G. White, Spiritual Gifts Volume 3, p. 36} 1864

Who did Adam and Eve (created in the image of the Father and Son) love, praise and adore?

“Adam and Eve were charmed with the beauties of their Eden home. They were delighted with the little songsters around them, wearing their bright yet graceful plumage, and warbling forth their happy, cheerful music. The holy pair united with them and raised their voices in harmonious songs of love, praise and adoration, to the Father and his dear Son, for the tokens of love which surrounded them.” {E. G. White, The Spirit of Prophecy Volume One, pp. 26, 27} 1870

“Adam and Eve assured the angels that they should never transgress the express command of God; for it was their highest pleasure to do his will. The angels united with Adam and Eve in holy strains of harmonious music; and as their songs pealed forth from blissful Eden, Satan heard the sound of their strains of joyful adoration to the Father and Son.” {E. G. White, The Spirit of Prophecy Volume One, pp. 34, 35} 1870

Who was the fallen foe an enemy to?

“They told Adam and Eve that the most exalted angel, next in order to Christ, refused obedience to the law of God which he had ordained to govern heavenly beings; that this rebellion had caused war in Heaven which resulted in the rebellious being expelled therefrom, and every angel was driven out of Heaven who united with him in questioning the authority of the great Jehovahand that this fallen foe was now an enemy to all that concerned the interest of God and his dear Son.” {E. G. White,The Spirit of Prophecy Volume One, pp. 33, 34} 1870

While Lucifer was still in heaven, who was praised and honored by the heavenly choir?

The hour for joyful, happy songs of praise to God and his dear Son had come. Satan had led the heavenly choir. He had raised the first note, then all the angelic host united with him, and glorious strains of music had resounded through Heaven in honor of God and his dear Son. But now, instead of strains of sweetest music, discord and angry words fall upon the ear of the great rebel leader.” {E. G. White, The Spirit of Prophecy Volume One, p. 28} 1870 13

Who was Satan determined to defy after his banishment from heaven?

“Satan cast off his feelings of despair and weakness, and, as their leader, fortified himself to brave out the matter, and do all in his power to defy the authority of God and his Son. He acquainted them with his plans. If he should come boldlyupon Adam and Eve and make complaints of God’s own Son, they would not listen to him for a moment, but would beprepared for such an attack.” {E. G. White, The Spirit of Prophecy Volume One, p. 32} 1870

Who alone in heaven could accomplish fallen man’s redemption?

The divine Son of God saw that no arm but his own could save fallen man. He determined to help man.” {E. G. White, Review and Herald, February 24, 1874 par. 33}

The divine Son of God was the only sacrifice of sufficient value to fully satisfy the claims of God’s perfect law.” {E. G. White,Review and Herald, December 17, 1872 par. 4}

The Son of God was next in authority to the great Lawgiver. He knew that his life alone could be sufficient to ransom fallen man.” {E. G. White, Review and Herald, December 17, 1872 par. 1}

“The glorious plan of man’s salvation was brought about through the infinite love of God and Father. In this divine plan is seen the most marvelous manifestation of the love of God to the fallen race. Such love as is manifested in the gift of God’s beloved Son amazed the holy angels. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” This Saviour was the brightness of His Father’s glory and the express image of His person. He possessed divine majesty, perfection, and excellence. He was equal with God. “It pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell.” [Philippians 2:6-8 quoted]” {E. G. White, Testimonies Volume 2, p. 200} 1869

“A council was held in Heaven, which resulted in God’s dear Son undertaking to redeem man from the curse and from the disgrace of Adam’s failure, and to conquer Satan. Oh, wonderful condescension! The Majesty of Heaven, throughlove and pity for fallen man, proposed to become his substitute and surety. He would bear man’s guilt. He would take thewrath of his Father upon himself, which otherwise would have fallen upon man because of his disobedience.” {E. G.White, Review and Herald, February 24, 1874 par. 21}

“What condescension in the Majesty of Heaven! What amazing love for sinful man, that God’s dear Son should leave the heavenly courts and come to a world polluted with sin, to save from ruin the guilty sinner!” {E. G. White, The Youth’s Instructor, February 1, 1874 par. 1}

Who was leading the Israelites?

“Israel had been preserved by a miracle of God’s mercy during every day of their travels in the wilderness. The mighty Angel who went before them was the Son of God.” {E. G. White, The Spirit of Prophecy Volume One, p. 318} 1870

At the baptism of Christ, how many divine individuals were involved?

“Never before had angels listened to such a prayer as Christ offered at his baptism, and they were solicitous to be thebearers of the message from the Father to his Son. But, no! direct from the Father issues the light of his glory. The heavens were opened, and beams of glory rested upon the Son of God and assumed the form of a dove, in appearance like burnished goldThe dove-like form was emblematical of the meekness and gentleness of Christ. While the people stood spell-bound with amazement, their eyes fastened upon Christ, from the opening heavens came these words: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” The words of confirmation that Christ is the Son of God were given to inspire faith in those who witnessed the scene, and to sustain the Son of God in his arduous work. Notwithstanding the Son of God was clothed with humanity, yet Jehovah, with his own voice, assures him of his sonship with the EternalIn this manifestation to his Son, God accepts humanity as exalted through the excellence of his beloved Son.” {E. G. White, Review and Herald, January 21, 1873 par. 5}

Whose spirit are we to receive?

“We want to hear shouts of victory from those that have been overcome. We want to have the sweet Spirit of Christ come freely into our midst. We want the waters of salvation to flow here. […] Get away from the chilling influence, andspirit of earth. Get a little higher. “Upward to God be the heart’s adoration.” A little nearer to God, to Jesus, and to angels. Get the heavenly unction; and then you can take it home with you.” {E. G. White, Review and Herald, August17, 1869 par. 10}

If the ministers of Christ will imitate this pattern, they will be imbued with His spirit, and angels will minister unto them.” {E. G. White, Testimonies Volume 2, p. 509} 1870

What was said regarding the truths that the church held to in that time period?

“We have no doubt, neither have we had a doubt for years, that the doctrines we hold today are present truth, and that we are nearing the judgment.” {E. G. White, Testimonies Volume 2, p. 355} 1870

“We are, as a people, triumphing in the clearness and strength of the truth. We are fully sustained in our positions by an overwhelming amount of plain scriptural testimony.” {E. G. White, Review and Herald, September 16, 1873 par. 7}

What was the position of the church regarding the Godhead at that time?

From James White we get a glimpse of the church’s position at that time:

“Jesus prayed that his disciples might be one as he was one with his Father. This prayer did not contemplate one disciple with twelve heads, but twelve disciples, made one in object and effort in the cause of their master. Neither are the Father and the Son parts of the “three-one God.” They are two distinct beings, yet one in the design and accomplishment of redemption. The redeemed, from the first who shares in the great redemption, to the last, all ascribe the honor, and glory, and praise, of their salvation, to both God and the Lamb.” {J. S. White, Life incidents, p. 343} 1868

“Paul affirms of the Son of God that he was in the form of God, and that he was equal with God. ‘Who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God.’ Phil. 2:6. The reason why it is not robbery for the Son to be equal with the Father is the fact that he is equal… The inexplicable Trinity that makes the Godhead three in one and one in three, is bad enough; but that ultra Unitarianism that makes Christ inferior to the Father is worse. Did God say to an inferior, “Let us make man in our image”?” {J. S. White, Review & Herald, November 29, 1877}

This same position regarding the Godhead was clearly outlined in the statement of beliefs that was penned in 1872 and appeared in the first Signs of the Times in 1874.


From this concise sample of the writings during this period we found:

God the Father, the great Jehovah, is the Lawgiver.
The Son of God was next in authority to the great Lawgiver.
Only to His Son does God reveal His secret purposes, no one else.
Lucifer was next in honor to God’s dear Son.
Lucifer knew Christ’s position as the Son of God, the beloved of the Father.
The loyal angels knew Christ was the Son of God, and sought to remind Lucifer.
The fallen angels were dissatisfied with the Father and His dear Son.
The heavenly war involved: The Father, Son, loyal angels, Lucifer and his angels.
The work of creation was performed by the Father and the Son.
Mankind was created in the image of the Father and the Son.
Adam, Eve and loyal angels worshipped and praised the Father and His dear Son.
Lucifer, before he fell, had led the heavenly choir in praise to God and His dear Son.
Satan determined to defy the authority of God and His Son.
Only the Son of God could become man’s redeemer. No one else could.
The Father consented to give His dear Son, to the amazement of the angelic host.
At Christ’s baptism, His Father’s glory rested upon Him in the form of a dove.
Believers in Christ are to receive the sweet spirit of Christ (imbued with His spirit).



The Godhead in Black and White

The Early Years 1827-1862

The Progressive Years 1862-1876

The Lonely Years 1876-1891 

The Australian Years 1891-1900

The Crisis Years 1900-1905

The Final Years 1905-1915 

Appendix – (Dr. Kellogg & the Trinity)

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