Case By Casebolt: Non-Contextual Eisegesis Is Not Plain, Literal Exegesis

“Case by Casebolt” is an ongoing series examining the prophetic interpretations that Ellen White appropriated from William Miller.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at
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Hindsight is better than foresight

The pioneers struggled while in the midst of the fulfillment of the 2300 day prophecy They can be forgive for mistakes. The disciples struggled at the time of the crucifixion as well.

A bit of an overstatement here. 1844 is the end of the 2300 day prophecy, and if a day is a year, and 457 BC is accurate, and it is is, it is accurate. But it is not on par with the Crucifixion.

Some claim nothing happened in 1844, but something did, a movement to proclaim the beginning of the judgement and the end of time started. And it has not just disappeared, but grown since that time.

1844 confirms that the Historicist reading of prophecy is the correct method. The three angels messages are being proclaimed, and were not before then.

The other schools, the Preterists, the Futurists, and the Idealists do not do justice to Revelation…

Indispensable? I do not know that I would say that. They do fit into the overall interpretation, but Historicism does not depend on them. A bit of a bridge to far

Wow. Casebolt thinking he has demolished the whole system calls for abandonment. Maybe we should think about that for a minute. I have been an SDA for many years, and have studied these things as well. I know of the foibles of he founders, but they had some pretty acute insights as well. From my vantage point decades after they lived, I think in spite of their weaknesses, they did a pretty good job.

Better than Casebolt’s analysis. And 2300 years from 457 BC to 1844 AD is a true statement, and confines Historicism.

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Don Casebolt has greatly illumined our understanding of the mindset of William Miller and his interpretation of Scripture. However, Casebolt’s drawing of bright lines and implicit questioning of motivation is less helpful. Don contends that eisegesis is unbiblical, whereas exegesis is biblical. Not so quick, Don. In Gal. 4:24, Paul states, “Now this is an allegory,” and he proceeds to liken the “two covenants” to Hagar and Sarah. Is St. Paul engaging in eisegesis or exegesis? I suggest this stark contrast is helpful, but it can finally distract the serious student of biblical interpretation from grappling with deeper issues related to the interpreter: a) psycho/social background, b) honest/dishonest intent, c) hermaneutical practices of the interpreter’s community. In regard to Paul’s open use of allegory, he was doing his honest best to understand what his God was doing in and through the Christ-event. Similarly, William Miller and his associates and followers should be given the benefit of the doubt in that they too were doing their best to understand what their God was doing in their time and place. Understanding and being sympathetic to St. Paul’s and William Miller’s methodology doesn’t mean aping their methodologies.


Perhaps unknowingly, they were following what we may call typological or analogical rather than contextually historical.

I Corinthians 10:11 These things happened to them to serve as an example [τυπικῶς (typikōs)] and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come.

Identifying Adventists as “those who keep the commandments” because we “alone” keep the Sabbath is a mistake - an ignorant mistake. Sabbath keeping began [again] in England in 1617! And in America, it began in 1672. (Read about the history of the Seventh-day Baptist Church if you want to document this.) Seventh-day Baptists in America preceded Sabbath-keeping Adventists by about 75 years!

Why can’t SDAs admit that mistakes were made by our early influencers / founders rather than continuing to preach/teach their mistakes?


Actually, rather than an overstatement, it could be an understatement. When, as a young Adventist, I explored the gospel I was surprised to realise that the second coming wasn’t the focus of salvific history. The main event has already happened in Jesus. The second coming - not to discount how significant that will be - is consequential to the gospel.

But we hold on to 1844, not willing to let it go, even though it continues to fester new iterations of the close of probation in our imaginations. Even though it continues to drain the confidence of having our High Priest ministering for us beside God’s throne for 2000 years. Even though it makes us discount all that is good in the world and insist that Jesus must come back in our lifetime (“The world is so corrupt, Jesus must return soon.”)

This is, perhaps, our poorest doctrine. We substitute Ellen White as the ‘testimony of Jesus’, rather than reading that, “giving witness to Jesus has always inspired prophecy.” That is, the testimony of Jesus is just that, bearing witness to the impact of the gospel in our lives.

In reading our identity into this text we make the story about us, rather than about God. It is idolatrous, and our church becomes the idol.

Likewise, we fail to cross reference the commandments in Revelation to John’s other writings, which land on the command to love as the crystallisation of God’s instruction.

As such, our self identification in Revelation reinforces legalism and makes Jesus obligated to return at a time that suits our egos.


I think we are pretty open about where we got our beliefs about the Sabbath. Bates came under conviction after hearing about the Sabbath from a Seventh-day Baptist, Rachel Oakes or her converts fo Sabbath keeping, Williams. I know of it. As do plenty of others. Sabbath keeping did not come to us from EGW, but a SDB.

However there are only about 45K of them now. There are more SDA’s keeping Sabbath than there are Jews doing it, or Messianic Jews. So, we are the main group keeping the Sabbath in the world today.

The Sabbath, however, is not the most important commandment, but the one to love God and love our neighbors an ourselves. Love as described in I Cor 13 is most important. That does not denigrate the Sabbath Commandment, but elevates it: it is God’s gift of love to us, commanding that we cease our drive for money or other idols to rest in him.

I don’t think I know of one who focuses more on Jesus than Ellen. Her writings drip with his beauty, sacrifice and his lovely character. I was converted reading DofA. If we would do as she has suggested, spending a thoughtful hour each day contemplating the cross and the events leading up to it, we would be a stronger and more devoted church, glorying in the gift of God to us of his only Son, the wealth of the universe. Concentrating on the husks of others weaknesses only leads to bitterness and a critical spirit. Maybe concentrating on Jesus would be better.

Ellen is not our idol, nor is the church. I don’t know of anyone who thinks that. So many more are critical of is, as you are. You and your ilk far outnumber any who idolize it. Your position is akin to Biden’s assertion that the main threat facing our country is White Supremacy, when you could get all the White Supremacists in a hight school gym with room left over. ,

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The most remarkable thing about 1844 is that it was preceded by 1843, and followed by 1845.


According to the founders of the cult, Adventist eschatology is not hand grenadines and horse shoes.

It’s either right or wrong and “pretty close” is no where near good enough because it purportedly came directly-okay sorta directly-from some supposedly divine source.

For my part, I’d go elsewhere if a plastic surgeon assured me that he could do a “pretty good job” on a face lift.

Similarly, when it comes to questions of how I should conduct my earthly affairs, I disinclined to accept the recommendations of a group of people I’ve never met, made tons of errors regarding scriptural interpretation and cannot be questioned because they are dead, but who also assure me that their interpretation of biblical mythology is not just “in the ballpark”, it’s the only way to live.

Further, if Adventist doctrine were absolutely right, there’d be no need to defend it, as it would be as irrefutable as the law of gravity and the reality of sunburns.

Who can argue that it is anything other than idolatrous symbolism to see much the publicized photos of the SDA leaders of the cult kneeling in front of a tower fabricated from EGW’s fictitious babbling on?

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For one who believes that matter can self organize with, well, very little evidence, “pretty close” should be perfectly adequate. The Divine Source, Scripture, has been around for some time, and has many endorsements. The test of time has something to say for it.

I’m not sure about the “tons of errors” shtick, but I think you accept the statements of plenty of people you have not met, and who have made some errors as well. Einstein, Darwin, etc. All made errors, and you don’t know them. And last I checked, they were dead. Seems you are willing to cherry pick a bit. But we all decide to whom we will listen. And we make our own judgements. To criticize for that is not reasonable. Give your follow travelers a bit of slack.

Hmmm…. As I recall from the hymnal, “Truth is always on the scaffold.” Even Darwin has been disputed from the beginning. You may accept him, but his followers have been “defending” his ideas for about 150 years. That something needs defending does not imply error.

This is totally circular reasoning. 1844 is the result of an Adventist historicist reading (and actually demonstrable eisegesis), but the result, which is not demonstrable outside of the calculations of the method itself, demonstrates the correctness of the method?? It’s like saying the Bible is true because it says it’s true.

You need to try again…



I have to disagree on this one, @robelle.

The most important thing that happened in 1844 was that Joseph Smith, from whom EGW copied much of her material, ran for president, was charged with treason, got shot in the back a few times during an apparent escape attempt, and fell out a window to his death.


Don’t try to tell me what to do, dad.

As an adult, I “give slack” as I see fit and only to those who don’t claim to speak for a god whom has not been shown to exist nor a purported savior who never claimed in writing to be such.

You complained once that I don’t even respond to many of your arguments.

My response to that is that you clearly include meaningless statements that prove nothing in your comments and which do not merit serious consideration.

In this case, for example, you clearly would not agree that panpsychism has been around for longer than Christianity, and that the former is therefore the “truer” of the two.

So I’ll make you a deal, the next time you make a valid argument rather than offering idle assertions, stop trying to put words in my mouth, or avoid providing irrelevant rationalizations just to “see what sticks”, I’ll assume you’re not a troll who wants nothing other than to provoke a response and will do my best to formulate a reasonable reply.


I stand corrected, again.

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Indispensable? I do not know that I would say that. They do fit into the overall interpretation, but Historicism does not depend on them. A bit of a bridge to far

I do not assert that 1755, 1780, and 1833 are indispensable. I merely observe that the fact that they are still included in the FUNDAMENTAL BELIEFS document demonstrate that the consensus of the organized SDA church is that they are otherwise: Why would they continue to cling onto them despite the fact that they have been debunked and antiquated. The simple answer is that it is because EGW claimed they were prophetic fulfillments and, in practice, if not in theory, she is treated as an infallible oracle.


The actual proclamation of the Midnight Cry was that the exact day of the Second Advent was predicted mathematically by the Bible–despite the opposite being said by Jesus multiple times (no man knows the day or hour). This is what EGW was “saving faith” and indispensable for salvation per her interpretation of one of her famous dreams. Miller claimed he proved it 15 ways; SDAs forgot all but two: 2300 years and 1260 years. After Oct 22 failed, they reinterpreted Dan 8:14 but never explained the other dozen mistaken predictions which they said were so certain.


And do you believe the 2520 year prophecy also was a successful, valid predictions of 1843-44? If not, why not? EGW said it was predictive prophecy and included it in her divinely inspired 1851 chart. Now the BRI says it was not along with Uriah Smith who mocks it. Do you provide special pleading for 2300 years?


Thank you, Jim, for this as you supply an important corrective to Don’s bright lines between biblical interpretation. We focus on Miller, but there were many individuals across the globe that were tuning into Daniel 8:14, even others in America, and its meaning. Most saw similar things and made similar conclusions: that the event was Jesus’ second coming, and that event would take place in the 1840’s. These others give me pause to contemplate God’s moving, and though the event was incorrect and the timing falling on a spectrum of years in general, was God trying to get us to see something in His plan that was moving forward, and it was important to grasp it.

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But there were many more who weren’t tuning into this and warning those like Miller that Jesus’s own words, “No one knows the day nor the hour,” were to be heeded more than their calculations and misappropriations of biblical apocalyptic such as Daniel 8. To say that it was God moving in this is an assumption. Maybe God was moving those pushing back on such fanaticism and error.

To associate God with the SDA face saving reinterpretation of Daniel 8:14 as the IJ, is even more of an assumption.



Thanks for your interest, Jim. I intended to say something more nuanced. Like interpretation is arbitrary and unintelligible is one thinks they are engaging in exegesis when they are doing eisegesis. Another variant is: Don’t mistake one’s metaphors for objective description. Did you read Thompson’s review of my last book? His extended Jewish interpretation well illustrated how eisegesis can descend into total chaos and arbitrary conclusions based on no rules or unintelligible ones. Also I had no idea I was doing “implicit questioning of motivation.” What did I say that gave you that impression? Absolutely, Miller was doing his best but his very sincerity led him to a dogmatic certainty that was completely wrong as he recognized in early 1845.


The key difference between Paul’s allegorical interpretation of the two covenants and the Millerites was that Paul was explaining a concept through illustration, and the Millerites were placing themselves at the centre of the interpretation. The same way SDA’s do.