The Great Disappointment of 1844:
The History Of The Advent Message Proclaimed by William Miller and Ellen G. White:
Envision life in America during the the time of The Great Disappointment, in the late 18th through early 19th Centuries:
● One day, the sun refused to shine.[i]
● That night, the moon turned to blood.[ii]
● Then, stars fell from the sky.[iii]
These were the days of awe and wonder. People were perplexed by the strange heavenly signs. Ministers were quick to connect the mysterious events[iv] to prophecies[v] in the bible. Bible scholars determined that, as of 1799, six of Revelation’s seven trumpets had already sounded,[vi] and the rapture of the church would occur during the sounding of the seventh.
In reality, the dark day was caused by the build-up of soot in the upper atmosphere from large forest fires. Thick fog and cloud cover contributed to the darkness[vii] and, it mostly just affected the northeastern United States. The red moon which followed was due to the same atmospheric conditions. In 1799, what appeared to be stars falling was actually a prolific meteor shower[viii] which occurs every 33 years. Yet, few people could remember anything like this happening before; neither did they understand the underlying science involved.
A New England farmer named William Miller, believing there was little time left, searched the scriptures looking for answers.
William Miller (1782–1849), Founder of a Movement that Branched Into the Seventh Day Adventists:
The eldest of sixteen children, William Miller was a sincere man, he achieved[ix] the highest degree of Masonry given in the region of Massachusetts where he lived; then[x] he became a Baptist preacher. Miller made it into the history books by predicting the year Jesus Christ would return and the end of the world would come. Miller made it clear that he found out about the “Time” through a study[xi] of Daniel 8:14 and certain verses in The Book of Revelation. After exhaustively researching the chronology of Daniel for years, Miller became convinced that the second coming of Jesus Christ was likely to occur about the year 1843.[xii]
This discovery overwhelmed Miller. At first, he published his warning anonymously, and then he prayed that God would raise up qualified ministers to proclaim the advent message. A short time later Miller started hearing a voice continually ringing in his ears, telling him to,
“Go and tell the world of their danger.”[xiii]
Is it possible that Miller’s association with the occult[xiv] practices of Freemasonry opened up a door which led him to hearing voices? One thing is certain, in Miller’s mind, God raised him up as watchman; and, God was holding him personally responsible for the fate of the wicked.
“This text [Ezekiel 33:8, KJV] was constantly occurring to me, ‘When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thy hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.'”[xv]
Warn the wicked is exactly what William Miller did. History does not agree on the year he started his public speaking ministry; in 1845 looking back on his ministry, Miller recorded that he gave his first public lecture on the first Sunday of August, 1833.[xvi] Yet, it could[xvii] have been as early as 1831.[xviii] One thing is clear: Miller’s lectures were convincing!
William Miller had the amazing knack of leading his audience, step-by-step on a journey, which ended with them witnessing,
“the end of the world.”[xix]
His speaking style was calm and steady. Yet, the content of his lectures were nothing less than spectacular:
“‘Hark!–hear those dreadful bellowings of the angry nations! It is the presage of horrid and terrific war. Look!–look again! See crowns, and kings, and kingdoms tumbling to the dust! See lords and nobles, captains and mighty men, all arming for the bloody, demon fight! See the carnivorous fowls fly screaming through the air! See–see these signs! Behold, the heavens grow black with clouds; the sun has veiled himself; the moon, pale and forsaken, hangs in middle air; the hail descends; the seven thunders utter loud their voices; the lightnings send their vivid gleams of sulphurous flame abroad; and the great city of the nations falls to rise no more forever and forever! At this dread moment, look! look!–O, look and see! What means that ray of light? The clouds have burst asunder; the heavens appear; the great white throne is in sight! Amazement fills the universe with awe! He comes!–he comes! Behold, the Saviour comes! Lift up your heads, ye saints,–he comes!–he comes!–he comes!”[xx]
Because Miller had painted such a stunning picture of the powerful second coming of Christ, men and women were often left shaking in their pews; now they had to come to grips with whether they were spiritually ready to meet the Lord. At first, churches flew open their doors just to hear Miller speak. Tens of thousands were converted through his message.
One minister who helped William Miller immensely was Joshua V. Himes. He launched Miller to his place in history as one of the most successful public speakers of his day, by arranging for Miller to speak in big cities. No longer was Miller limited to lecturing in rural congregations.
The expected return of Jesus Christ became known as “the Advent;”[xxi] it was also called, “the Second Advent.”[xxii]
Miller made up charts[xxiii] with mathematical calculations. He also authored several written works, which Himes published.
Then, just as Miller’s message[xxiv] was gaining momentum, the earth passed through the tail of that reoccurring comet one more time:
“We pronounce the raining of fire which we saw on Wednesday morning last, an awful type, a sure forerunner – a merciful sign of the great and dreadful day which the inhabitants of the earth will witness when the Sixth Seal shall be opened. The time is just at hand described, not only in the New Testament, but in the Old. A more correct picture of a fig tree casting its leaves when blown by a mighty wind is not possible to behold.” (Connecticut Observer, November 25, 1833)
The stars falling were actually,
“a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Tempel-Tuttle…”[xxv]
This phenomenon occurs every 33 years; yet, sometimes it is not[xxvi] nearly as spectacular as it was in 1833:
“… some time before dawn on November 13, 1833, thousands upon thousands of brilliant stars were seen falling toward the earth, and strange, shimmering lights shot upward against the background of a cloudless sky… balls of fire blazed… and exploded in the air… Throughout the districts where William Miller had been sounding the alarm of approaching doom, the excitement was intense, and wherever his word had spread, this awe-inspiring spectacle produced a profound sensation, and brought many heretofore scoffers to join those who believed in his prophecy.” (Days of Delusion, Chapter 3, Clara Endicott Sears, 1924)
For many, this event took away any doubt that Miller’s message was true. This greatly encouraged Miller. He redoubled his efforts[xxvii] stating publicly that between March 21, 1843, to March 21, 1844, which was the beginning and ending of the Jewish year, a great trumpet from heaven would sound; Jesus Christ would catch up the faithful, and those left behind would be destroyed by fire. Miller used the fear of Christ’s imminent return to stir people up to the point of conversion.
Adventist leaders claimed:[xxviii]
■ “This is God’s truth; it is as true as the Bible.”
■ “There is no possibility of a mistake in this time.”
■ “Those who reject this light will be lost.”
Toward the end of Miller’s ministry, a tent was constructed which was larger than any other tent in America. From 1842 to 1844 the tent was in use; it seated more than 3,000 people:
“… dozens of camp meetings were held with attendances overflowing the capacity of the great tent.”[xxix]
A Small Slip-Up:
March 21st, 1844, passed without the anticipated results. Obviously there had been a slip-up. The wicked made it though the “Time” without a hitch. The righteous followers still firmly on the ground were disappointed. Adventists tried to make sense out of this failure. They soon reasoned that Christ’s second coming[xxx] is an event clearly prophesied in scripture; therefore, many came to believe that since it did not occur at the time when they first expected it to, surely it would occur soon thereafter. Multitudes still believed they were living in the time of the end;[xxxi] and, that Christ’s Kingdom would soon be ushered in.[xxxii]
After the initial disappointment, Miller lost control of the movement he started; people were re-grouping and new leaders were emerging. One of Miller’s associates, Samuel Snow, pored over the prophecy in Daniel one more time; he came to believe that Miller was off by one year in his calculations; figuring that from the beginning of the decree spoken of in Daniel to rebuild Jerusalem, to 1843, only 2,299 years would have passed. Snow became certain that Miller’s math was wrong, because Miller forgot to include a “zero year” in his calculations. Meaning, 1843 would be one year shy of the 2,300 years needed to fulfill Daniel’s prophecy. Now, Snow was convinced that Christ would return on October 22, 1844, which he considered the Jewish Day of Atonement. This new understanding became known as “The Seventh Month Movement”[xxxiii] based upon the Jewish calendar.
Miller eventually endorsed this new “Time,” explaining:
“I therefore had no fellowship with that movement until about two or three weeks previous to the 22d of October, when seeing it had obtained such prevalence, and considering it was at a probable point of time, I was persuaded that it was a work of God…” (William Miller, Apology and Defense, August, 1845)
On the Road Again:
“As this new light spread among the Adventist believers, it seemed there was an irresistible power attending its proclamation… It swept over the land with the velocity of a tornado and it reached hearts in different and distant places almost simultaneously, and in a manner which can be accounted for only on the supposition that God was in it.”[xxxiv]
To the uninitiated, the signs of Christ’s coming were too plain to be doubted. Magazines were printed, heralding the event. Newspaper reporters attended and covered Adventists’ speaking engagements. Fifteen hundred Millerites traveled across the United States, going from town to town, proclaiming,
“the Advent near.”
During the final year of the movement, with the established churches increasing their opposition to the message, some of the Adventist leaders identified those churches as “Babylon,” citing a verse from the Bible:
“Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” (Revelation 18:4)
This caused a deep division between Adventist believers and their Christian peers.
The Midnight Hour:
When October 22nd came, the Millerites watched and prayed. Many, with white ascension robes on, stood upon rooftops anticipating a heavenly ride. As the midnight hour approached, the faithful were at peace with God. They spent the last hours in quiet solitude:
Standing on the brink of eternity. The summer was over; the harvest[xxxv] was in the barns. It was time for the laborers to reap their rewards. Now was the time to flee from Egypt and enter Canaan’s land.
Now was the time!
Nothing happened on October 22nd, 1844! For the faithful, heavy depression set in. This day was perhaps the greatest disappointment to befall the church in the history of the New Dispensation. Fifty thousand of Miller’s followers had found it impossible to stay in fellowship with their former congregations. They left those churches when their peers failed to accept William Miller’s delusion. These fifty thousand now had to face the truth. They hadn’t been taken into glory. The wicked still weren’t destroyed by fire. One by one they retreated from their housetops and places of worship and went to bed.[xxxvi]
Miller penned a letter for the faithful:
“Brethren hold fast; let no man take your crown. I have fixed my mind on another time, and here I mean to stand until God gives me more light, and that is today, today, and today, until he comes.”[xxxvii]
Could a movement that spanned over twelve years and had over fifty thousand believers be wrong? The faithful had been living in a revival-like atmosphere for years. Many had quit their jobs and given all of their possessions to nonbelievers in the days before October 22, as a testimony to their faith. In the days following The Great Disappointment, the unwavering followers were convinced that this was merely the final test. Surely something significant happened on October 22, 1844.
Shut Door Doctrine:
In the weeks and months following The Great Disappointment, Miller thought the reason why so many people had not received the Advent message, was because deep in their hearts they hated[xxxviii] the thought of Jesus Christ appearing.
“We have done our work in warning sinners… God, in his providence has shut the door… We are now living in the time specified by Malachi 3:18, also Daniel 12:10, Rev. 22:10-12. In this passage we cannot 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.” (William Miller, letter of Nov. 18, 1844, quoted in The Advent Herald, Dec. 11, 1844, p. 142)
After thinking over what became of the movement he started and having a crisis of conscience, in August of 1845, Miller apologized for being wrong about the time of the Savior’s coming. He also denounced all of the new theories which had grown out of the movement since The Great Disappointment of October 22nd, 1844.
“… in the fall of ’43, some of my brethren began to call the churches Babylon, and to urge that it was the duty of Adventists to come out of them. With this I was much grieved, as not only the effect was very bad, but I regarded it as a perversion of the word of God, – a wresting of Scripture. But the practice spread extensively; and from that time the churches, as might have been expected, were closed against us. It prejudiced many against us so that they would not listen to the truth. It created a deep feeling of hostility between Adventists and those who did not embrace the doctrine; so that most of the Adventists were separated from their respective churches. This was a result, which I never desired, nor expected; but it was brought about by unforeseen circumstances. We could then only act in accordance with the position in which we were thus placed.
I have no confidence in any of the new theories… that Christ then came as the Bridegroom, that the door of mercy was closed, that there is no salvation for sinners, that the seventh trumpet then sounded, or that it was a fulfillment of prophecy in any sense.” (William Miller, Apology and Defense, August, 1845, p. 28)
With that apology submitted to his peers, and due to his failing health, Miller basically walked away from the Advent Movement, yet the movement continued on without him. It really gained momentum after a teen-age girl named Ellen White began falling into trances[xxxix] and receiving visions.
Ellen G. White (1827-1915), Co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church along with her husband John White and associate Joseph Bates
Ellen White was raised when the Advent movement was at fever pitch. Her and her family were among the faithful who experienced the Great Disappointment of 1844. Immediately afterward, Ellen along with her family were left searching for answers as to why God’s people did not ascend to heaven and the world did not end. Then in December of 1844, when Ellen was 17 years old, she experienced her first vision. This vision confirmed that the 2,300 days mentioned in Daniel ended on October 22, 1844. Ellen now understood that the 1844 Advent message was in reality God’s message to the world:
“… 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.” (Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, pp. 57-59)
Thirty-nine years after the Great Disappointment, Ellen explained,
“… I was shown in vision, and I still believe, that there was a shut door in 1844. All who saw the light of the first and second angels’ messages and rejected that light, were left in darkness. And those who accepted it and received the Holy Spirit which attended the proclamation of the message from heaven, and who afterward renounced their faith and pronounced their experience a delusion, thereby rejected the Spirit of God, and it no longer pleaded with them. … These might have a form of godliness, and profess to be followers of Christ; but having no living connection with God, they would be taken captive by the delusions of Satan.” (Ms. 4, 1883; Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 63-64)
In her first vision, an angel showed Ellen that faith in the year 1844 was crucial; it was the “present truth” necessary for followers of Christ to remain on the pathway to glory.
“… the shut door and the Sabbath are the present truth. These truths will form and keep up the same mark of distinction between us and unbelievers as God made in 1844.” (White Estate Record Book No. 1, pp. 18-20)
Ellen and her associates maintained that probation for man’s salvation had closed, at, or shortly before the Second Advent of October 22nd, 1844. They went as far as claiming that after October 22nd, 1844, there could be no new converts to Christ, a heavenly door had been shut; man’s fate was sealed.
Scriptures were used to maintain this teaching; here is one example:
“He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” (Revelation 22:11)
Eventually, Ellen reinterpreted her vision. Then, she and the other Adventist leaders changed their teaching, explaining that the heavenly door was only shut to those who previously heard, and then, later rejected the Advent message. Those people went into darkness[xl] due to their disbelief. This included all the Adventists who lost faith in the significance of the year 1844 after The Great Disappointment. Obviously, Ellen’s statement about the Spirit of God no longer pleading with people who received and then later renounced faith in the 1844 date, would include[xli] William Miller. Because, after the Great Disappointment, Miller apologized to the world, maintaining that on October 22nd 1844, nothing of spiritual significance took place.
New Light—A New Understanding of Daniel’s Vision:
Many Adventists accepted all of Ellen’s visions as being from God, including her first vision in which she saw that the numbers in the 1844 prophecy were correct. Based upon Ellen’s visions, Adventists maintained that the 2,300-day period mentioned in Daniel did end in 1844, on October 22, at Midnight. But, they now believed Miller had made a few mistakes. The Adventists came to understand that Christ was not supposed to come to earth in October 1844 as was first thought. They concluded that Miller had made an error in the interpretation of the sanctuary, or temple, mentioned in Daniel’s prophecy:
“They argued that if the prophetic days had ended in 1844, Christ would then have come to cleanse the sanctuary by the purification of the earth by fire; and that since He had not come, the days could not have ended… With earnest prayer they reviewed their position, and studied the Scriptures to discover their mistake. As they could see no error in their explanation of the prophetic periods, they were led to examine more closely the subject of the sanctuary.” (Cosmic Conflict, Ellen G. White, ch. 18)
Let’s look at the sanctuary in Dan. 8:
“He said to me, ‘It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be re-consecrated’” (Daniel 8:14).
Miller had substituted the days in Daniel for years. Miller taught that Daniel’s 2,300-year period started in 457 B.C., with the decree of Artaxerxes to rebuild Jerusalem; he simply added 2,300 years to 457 B.C. and arrived at A.D. 1843-4. He taught that the “sanctuary” in Daniel was the earth. Miller had taught that when the sanctuary, or earth, was cleansed, Christ would return.
The Adventists came to believe that when God gave Moses the pattern for the tabernacle in the Old Testament, it was the representation of a heavenly temple, or sanctuary.
They found that in prophetic scripture the Bible spoke of only two temples, and, that one of them was the earthly temple in Jerusalem, which had been destroyed in 70 A.D. So, they understood the only temple left for Christ to come to was the one in heaven.
Instead of thinking that a temple in Jerusalem may be built in the future, or, that the temple spoken of in prophetic scripture could represent God’s chosen people, or, thinking that a heavenly temple could merely be an illustration of a spiritual truth; the Adventist’s came to believe that this temple was a heavenly structure.
They maintained that according to the Old Testament, Israel’s high priest entered the Holy of Holies in the temple once a year to make intercession for the sins of Israel. It’s also written in the New Covenant that Jesus now holds the position of high priest. The Old Covenant design of the high priest making atonement for man’s sins was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
Building upon this model, the Adventists began to teach that even as the earthly high priest entered an earthly temple on the Day of Atonement, on October 22, 1844, the heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ, stepped through the heavenly temple’s veil, moving from the holy place to the Holy of Holies. Having entered the most holy place in the heavenly temple, Christ had now, as of October 22, 1844, allegedly cleansed the sanctuary in fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy. This is the position of the Seventh-day Adventists today. See statement of faith
In the 1840s, William Miller’s message was mostly confined to the northeastern United States. It did make it to Europe and Great Britain; however, Miller’s teachings didn’t have much impact overseas, possibly because there was a lack of apparatus for spreading Miller’s message back then. The first public telegram wasn’t sent until 1844, and the telephone wasn’t invented for another thirty years.
However, Miller’s ministry had produced fruit in Brother George Storrs, Joshua V. Himes, Ellen G. White, and Nelson H. Barbour. These men and women kept the Advent faith alive for years.
Advent fever[xlii] was not going away. Ellen and her husband fanned the fire.[xliii] The number of Adventists were growing steadily at the time our next subject, Charles Russell, was coming of age.
■ Charles Russell, Watch Tower History — Rich Kelsey
[i] “May 19, 1780, stands in history as “The Dark Day.” Since the time of Moses no period of darkness of equal density, extent, and duration, has ever been recorded. The description of this event, as given by eyewitnesses, is but an echo of the words of the Lord, recorded by the prophet Joel, twenty-five hundred years previous to their fulfillment: “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.” Joel 2:31. Christ had bidden His people watch for the signs of His advent and rejoice as they should behold the tokens of their coming King…” (The Great Controversy, Ellen White, chapter 17, p. 308)
[ii] “The moon which was at its full, [May 19th, 1780] had the appearance of blood.” (Statement from Milo Bostick in Stone’s History of Massachusetts)
[iii] “Those who choose might without inconsistency say that the century or generation might as properly reckon from the last sign, the falling of the stars, as from the first, the darkening of the sun and moon: and a century beginning 1833 would be still far from run out. Many are living who witnessed the star-falling sign. Those who are walking with us in the light of present truth are not looking for things to come which are already here, but are waiting for the consummation of matters already in progress…” (C.T. Russell, Studies in the Scriptures IV – Battle of Armageddon, pp. 604-5)
[iv] “And there shall be signs in’ the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars… And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads for your redemption draweth nigh.” 13. Christ gives another sign in Matt. xxiv.. 23, 24, ” Then, if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there, believe it not; for there shall arise false Christs and false prophet?, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. There can be no doubt of this sign being fulfiled. 14. The fulfilment of the parable of the ten virgins—the midnight cry has gone forth from every quarter of God’s moral vineyard…” (Signs of the Times, Mar. 1840)
[v] “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.” (Luke 21:25-26)
[vi] “…Sir Isaac Newton, [Adam] Clarke, and all commentators of note agree that five or six of these trumpets are in the past. They have been fulfilled in events upon the Earth, each covering a period of time. They certainly must all sound before the resurrection, for that is under the seventh. The writer believes that we are now living under the sounding of the Seventh, that it has been sounding for more than thirty years,  and continues during the time of trouble, and until the Kingdom of the Lord is Universal Empire.” (Object and Manner of our Lord’s Return, 1877, Charles Russell, p. 46)
[vii] “New England’s Dark Day refers to an event that occurred on May 19, 1780, when an unusual darkening of the day sky was observed over the New England states and parts of Canada. The primary cause of the event is believed to have been a combination of smoke from forest, a thick fog, and cloud cover. The darkness was so complete that candles were required from noon on. It did not disperse until the middle of the next night.” (Wikipedia, New England’s Dark Day)
[viii] “…the King of Meteor Showers which peaks on a day near 17 November. Approximately every 33 years the Leonid shower [associated with the comet Tempel-Tuttle] produces a “meteor storm”, peaking at rates of thousands of meteors per hour. These Leonid storms gave birth to the term “meteor shower”, when it was first realised during the November 1833 storm that the meteors radiated from near the star Gamma Leonis. The last Leonid storms were in 1999, 2001 (two), and 2002 (two). Before that, there were storms in 1767, 1799, 1833, 1866, 1867, and 1966.” (Absolute Astronomy on-line article: Meteor Shower, taken from Wikipedia)
[ix] “…Mr. Miller became a member of the Masonic fraternity, in which his perseverance, if nothing else, was manifested; for he advanced to the highest degree which the lodges then in the country, or in that region, could confer.” (Memoirs of William Miller, by Silvester Bliss, Published by Joshua V. Himes: 1853, pp.21, 22)
[x] Even after becoming a Baptist, William Miller remained a Freemason for about 15 years. It wasn’t until September 10, 1831 that he wrote a letter of resignation to the Lodge; probably not because there was anything wrong in his mind about being a Freemason, but according to him: “to consilliate the feelings of my Brethren in Christ” and to avoid “fellowship with any practice that may be incompatible with the Word of God among masons”. (David L. Rowe, God’s Strange Work, William Miller and the End of the World, Rowe: 2008, pp. 93-94)
[xi] “For upwards of fourteen years William Miller’s whole time was spent thus – working on his farm and in his leisure hours drawing up charts covered with a network of mathematical calculations, all tending to prove the accuracy of his system of interpreting the prophecies according to his own personal methods. And all these calculations showed that the year 1843 would usher in the Millenium. The more he worked out his theory, the more convinced he became of the truth in it.”
[xii] “With intense interest [William Miller] studied the books of Daniel and the Revelation, employing the same principles of interpretation as in the other scriptures, and found, to his great joy, that the prophetic symbols could be understood. …he traced down the great lines of prophecy, until he reached the solemn conclusion that in a few years the Son of God would come the second time, in power and glory, and that the events connected with that coming and the close of human probation would take place about the year 1843.” (Cosmic Conflict, Ellen White, ch. 13)
LECTURES IN NEW YORK,
On Thursday and Friday evenings of last week, Brother Whiting lectured to very large audiences at the Baptist Tabernacle in Mulberry street. He gave a very clear proof that the 2300 days of Daniel end in 1843. Many doubters were convinced. On Saturday evening, Brother Storrs commenced a course of lectures at the corner of Grove and Hudson streets. Notwithstanding the evening was one in which people in the city very seldom attend meeting, the house was crowded to excess. The crowd was still greater on the Sabbath. (THE MIDNIGHT CRY!, Vol. II, New York, Jan. 20th, 1843, p. 1)
[xiii] (William Miller and the Advent Crisis, p. 8–9).
[xiv] MASONIC APRON OF ESOTERIC KNOWLEDGE
[xv] “I continued to study the Scriptures, and was more and more convinced that I had a personal duty to perform respecting this matter. When I was about my business, it was continually ringing in my ears, ‘Go and tell the world of their danger.’ This text was constantly occurring to me, ‘When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thy hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.’ – Ezek.xxxiii.8,9. I felt that if the wicked could be effectually warned, multitudes of them would repent; and that if they were not warned, their blood might be required at my hand. I did all I could to avoid the conviction that any thing was required of me; and I thought that by freely speaking of it to all, I should perform my duty, and that God would raise up the necessary instrumentality for the accomplishment of the work. I prayed that some minister might see the truth, and devote himself to its promulgation; but still it was impressed upon me, ‘Go and tell it to the world: their blood will I require at thy hand.’ (Apology and Defense by William Miller, 36 page tract dictated to Sylvester Bliss and published by Joshua V. Himes – 1845)
[xvi] “The next day, which, as nearly as I [William Miller] can remember, was about the first Sabbath in August, 1833, I delivered my first public lecture on the Second Advent.” (Apology and Defense by William Miller – 36 page tract dictated to Sylvester Bliss, and published by Joshua V. Himes in 1845)
[xvii] “By an examination of his correspondence, it appears that he must have begun to lecture in August 1831. So this date  is a mistake of the printer or an error in Mr. Miller’s memory.” (Wikipedia – Millerism, 2011)
[xviii] “‘The next day, which, as nearly as I [William Miller] can remember, was about the first Sabbath in August, 1831, I delivered my first public lecture on the second advent.’” (Sketches of the Christian Life and Public Labors of William Miller – Elder James White, 1875, chapter IV)
[xix] “[William Miller] “- with a personality that baffled even those bitterly opposed to his convictions – chastened in spirit; more or less broken in health; repentant of past scepticism, and calling upon those spiritually asleep to awaken and repent, for the end of the world was at hand!” (Days of Delusion — Clara Endicott Sears, 1924, Chapter 1)
[xx] (Taken from a letter to Joshua V. Himes, Sketches of the Christian Life and Public Labors of William Miller – Elder James White, 1875, Chapter IV)
[xxi] (36 page tract – Apology and Defense by William Miller, p. 1, 1845)
[xxii] “If the door (represented by the door in the parable) is not to be shut until Jesus descends from heaven in flames of fire, then where will be the knocking, and saying ‘Lord, Lord, open unto us’? It is evident that the door is shut prior to the second advent, and that unbelievers are ignorant of the fact of its being shut; therefore they knock at the shut door, and say, ‘Lord, Lord, open unto us.’ When the great day of God’s wrath is come, and unbelievers are apprised of their lost situation, they will not knock, with a hope of being admitted, no, no; but they will flee to rocks and mountains for shelter. See Isa. ii. 19-21; Rev. vi, 15-17. Now their prayer is, ‘Lord, Lord, OPEN UNTO US;’ but then their prayer will be to ‘rocks and mountains,’ ‘FALL ON US, and HIDE us FROM the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.’” (The Present Truth, May, 1850, p. 79)
[xxiii] “I have seen that the 1843 chart was directed by the hand of the Lord, and that it should not be altered; that his hand was over and hid a mistake in some of the figures.” (Early Writings, Ellen White, page 64.) (Facsimle of the original 1843 chart)
[xxiv] He wrote to Himes on February 4, 1844: “Jesus Christ will come again to the earth, cleanse, purify, and take possession of the same, with all his saints, some time between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844. I have never, for the space of more than twenty-three years, had any other time preached or published by me; I have never fixed on any month, day, or hour, during that period.” (MEMOIRS OF WILLIAM MILLER p. xiv)
[xxv] “The Leonids … are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Tempel-Tuttle. The Leonids get their name from the location of their radiant in the constellation Leo: the meteors appear to radiate from that point in the sky. They tend to peak in November. Earth moves through the meteoroid stream of particles left from the passages of a comet. The stream comprises solid particles, known as meteoroids, ejected by the comet as its frozen gases evaporate under the heat of the Sun when it is close enough – typically closer than Jupiter’s orbit. The Leonids are a fast moving stream which come close to or cross the path of the Earth and impact the Earth…” (Wikipedia on-line article, The Leonids, 2011)
[xxvi] “The Leonids have been seen to have very brief periods when hundreds of meteors can be seen. This does not happen every year but seems to come to a peak every 33 years, which is the period of Comet Tempel-Tuttle. These storms of shooting stars were seen in 1799, 1833, 1866 and, most recently in 1966. The expected storms in 1899 and 1933 were very disappointing.” (The Leonid Meteors, Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council, Royal Greenwich Observatory, 2007)
[xxvii] “I labored extensively in all the New England and Middle States, in Ohio, Michigan, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and in Canada East and West, giving about four thousand lectures in something like five hundred different towns.” (William Miller, Apology and Defense, August, 1845)
[xxviii] (History of Advent Message, p. 596)
[xxix] “It was at a campground in East Kingston, New Hampshire, in early July 1842 that the decision was made to purchase a large tent that seated more than 3,000 people. By August the tent was in use. During the next couple of years, dozens of camp meetings were held with attendances overflowing the capacity of the great tent.” (MEMOIRS OF WILLIAM MILLER p. xiv)
[xxx] Jesus said: “I am coming again” (John 14:3)
[xxxi] “…1799 definitely marks the beginning of ‘the time of the end’…. ‘The time of the end’ embraces a period from A.D. 1799, as above indicated, to the time of the complete overthrow of Satan’s empire….we have been in ‘the time of the end’ since 1799” (The Harp of God, 1928 ed., pp. 235-36, 239).
[xxxii] “And note, further, that both of these measures are given in answer to Daniel’s question as to what would occur to God’s holy ones after their power (the truth) would be released from Papal crushing, (that is, after 1799), and before the setting up of the kingdom of Messiah – Michael. The reply in substance is that Daniel need not hope to understand further, but that in thirty years after the beginning of the Time of the End (1260 + 30 = 1290), a purifying, cleansing, refining work would begin among the holy people… it would be deficient in some of its chief elements until 45 years later (1290 + 45 = 1335), or 75 years after the beginning of the Time of the End, A.D. 1799 (1260 + 75 = 1335). This is clearly indicated by the Hebrew text, which represents the matter as though the watchers, who already have seen something, and are waiting patiently, would suddenly (when ‘1335 days’ had passed) get a full, clear view, far beyond their expectations. ‘Oh! the blessedness of him!’. Reckoning from A.D. 539, the 1290 symbolic days ended in 1829 .. A religious movement .. generally known as ‘Second Adventists’ and ‘Millerites,’ .. began about 1829.. Thus it will be seen that the separating work of the ‘Miller movement’ had its beginning at the time foretold – at the end of the 1290 days, 1829.” (Thy Kingdom Come, 1891)
[xxxiii] “His [Miller’s] original concluding date for the 2300 Days of Daniel 8:14 was 1843. Miller overlooked the fact that there was no year zero. This was finally pointed out to Miller by Samual Snow, the one who began “the seventh month” movement (Lev. 23:27) after the disappointment in the Spring of 1844. Following this disappointment, Miller was no longer in control of the direction of the Movement. The tenth day of the seventh month as the day for the coming of Jesus based in Hebrew sanctuary typology was not Miller’s exegesis but rather that of Snow and Storrs.” (Arasola, op. cit., p. 148) The birth of Seventh-day Adventism is rooted in this Seventh-month movement. (See SDA Encyclopedia, RV edition, “‘Midnight Cry,”‘ p. 885; “Seventh-Month Movement,” p. 1337)
[xxxiv] (Advent Herald in Portsmouth Journal, November 9, 1844)
[xxxv] “‘I have just come from a prayer-meeting this morning, at our school-house, at sunrise. We are praying for the second coming of our dear Redeemer, when the “sanctuary will be cleansed.” Pray with us, my brother. I am more and more satisfied that the end of the world is at hand. The evidence flows in from every quarter “The earth is reeling to and fro, like a drunkard.” One short year ago, and Zion was rejoicing with her multiplied converts; now she is down “by the cold streams of Babylon.” One year since, and we were enjoying a plentiful harvest; now we are sleeping in the cold, and the staff of life is neglected. Is the harvest over and past? If so, soon, very soon, God will arise in his anger, and the vine of the earth will be reaped. See, see!–the angel with his sharp sickle is about to take the field! (Sketches of the Christian Life and Public Labors of William Miller – Elder James White, 1875, Chapter IV)
[xxxvi] “At midnight on the 22nd, the Bridegroom was to come, and a rain of fire was to descend from the heavens, and the Saints were to be gathered up in a whirlwind. There they stood on that black, tempestuous October night, shivering with cold and fear – their faces upturned, and every eye strained to catch a beam of the awful light piercing the clouds. The morning broke, and with it came the end of the delusion. The assemblage dispersed in despair, and slunk away silently and downcast to their houses.” (Days of Delusion, Clara Endicott Sears, Chapter 9, 1924)
[xxxvii] (Bliss, Memoirs, p. 278)
[xxxviii] “I am strong in the opinion that the next will be the last Lord’s day sinners will ever have in probation. And within ten or fifteen days from thence, they will see Him whom they have hated and despised, to their shame and everlasting contempt” (Letter from William Miller to Elder J. V. Himes, October 6, 1844).
[xxxix] “White was only 17 when she began her mission as God’s messenger. She experienced some 2,000 visions in her lifetime. Without warning, she would go into a trance, which began when she shouted “Glory!” three times. If no one caught her, she then swooned to the floor. The trances lasted from a few minutes to several hours, during which time her eyes were open and her heart and respiration rate slowed to an almost imperceptible level. Sometimes she exhibited extraordinary physical strength during the trance. When she came out of it, she sometimes remained blind for a few days. In later years, White’s daytime trances stopped and her visions occurred in nighttime dreams.
Skeptics offered various explanations for White’s visions. Some believed they were the result of hypnotism. Others thought she suffered from hysteria or other mental disorder. But most Adventist followers accepted her as a prophet who received messages from God. White believed it was her mission to relay the messages she received, although she was somewhat uncomfortable with the responsibility. Although she was young and frail, suffering from breathing difficulties, fatigue, and fainting spells, she traveled to churches and camp meetings, where she was accepted as a messenger of God.” (Encyclopedia.com, Ellen Gould Harmon White, 2011)
[xl] “I saw that in ’44  God had opened a door and no man could shut it, and shut a door and no man could open it. Those who rejected the light which was brought to the world by the message of the second angel went into darkness, and how great was that darkness.” (Letter 2, 1874; Selected Messages, book 1, p. 74)
[xli] “Said the angel, The desolations of Zion are accomplished. I saw He took away the first and established the second; that is, those who were in the faith would become rebellious and be purged out and others who had not heard the Advent doctrine and rejected it would embrace the truth and take their places. (Ellen G. White Ms. 5, July 29, 1850, pp. 3-4)
[xlii] “Some are looking too far off for the coming of the Lord. Time has continued a few years longer than expected; therefore they think it may continue a few years more, and in this way their minds are being led from present truth . . .In a view given June 27, 1850, my accompanying angel said, Time is almost finished, get ready, get ready, get ready.” (Early Writings, pp. 58 and 64, respectively).
[xliii] Ellen White Saw That People Must Be “Baptized in the Faith of the Shut Door:”
“Said the angel, Can ye stand in the battle in the day of the Lord? Ye need to be washed and live in newness of life. Then I saw that those whose hands are now engaged in making up the breach and are standing in the gaps that have formally since ’44 broken the commandments of God and have so far followed the Pope as to keep the first day instead of the seventh, would have to go down into the water and be baptized in the faith of the shut door and keeping the commandments of God and in the faith of Jesus … and all who have not been baptized since ’44, will have to be baptized before Jesus comes. Some will not gain progress now until that duty is done and then they must live anew unto God and serve Him faithfully.” (Ellen G. White Ms. 16, 1850, p. 2. — July 20, 1850)
Note: Ellen said that that during her vision she saw that baptisms before 1844 were no longer sufficient, and for some, it was necessary to be “baptized in the faith of the shut door.”
One might wonder:
● Was this message really from God?
● Was Ellen suffering from some sort of delusion?
● Were other forces involved?
The bible admonishes Christians:
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1, NIV)