Case by Casebolt: William Miller’s Two-Day Prophecy

In last month’s inaugural “Case by Casebolt” article, I documented Ellen White's endorsement of William Miller's 2520-year prophetic interval, "The Seven Times of the Gentiles," which she included in her 1851 White/Nichols chart. I also noted that Clinton Wahlen, writing for the Biblical Research Institute, asserted that Leviticus 26 does not contain a time prophecy of 2,520 years, despite Ellen White's 1851 prophetic chart to the contrary.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11736
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Sounds like William Miller got carried away with some very “creative” interpretative methods. Do you happen to know if he “discovered” the 2,300 day/year prophecy before the other time prophecies discussed in this and your previous article? I’m not one who’s drawn to time prophecies - they’re not my cup of tea - so please correct me if I’m off-base. When I read Matt. 24.15-16, it seems there’s no way to get the reader of Daniel to events that happened shortly after Christ’s ascension, except to apply the day/year principle that scripture offers as the key to understanding certain prophecies. Because Jesus says, “So when you see the desolating sacrilege standing in the holy place, as was spoken of by the prophet Daniel (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains” - Matt. 24.15-16, I haven’t been able to see how the day/year interpretation of this prophecy can be disregarded.

After reading your article I wondered if William Miller wrote about the 2,300 day prophecy first, got carried away with applying “day/year/1000 year keys” to almost any “day” he saw in the Bible, not understanding how crucial context is to the interpretation of scripture - inadvertently losing his way interpretation-wise. I can see how impressionable young Christians such as Ellen and James White might think “Miller was correct about the 2,300 day/year interpretation - even Christ substantiates it. God guides Willam Miller - he’s an expert on time-prophecy studies” - only to realize later that context prohibits many of his “creative” interpretations from being viable.

With all of Miller’s elaborate study of the matter and EGW’s vision, how could they have missed the very clear word of Jesus himself in Mat 24:23-27, 36 and also in Mark 13:21-23? Here it is in Mark:

At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.

Were they not aware of the scriptures or they ignored its teachings and went ahead with their own?

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This was the real cause for the great delusion. Satan deceived the very elect and is still successful!

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It is really to bad that Miller and early Adventists were not educated in Hebrew, Greek, and history, especially Jewish history.

It takes very little study to look in any other version of the Bible to see that KJV did not translate 2300 days correctly, all other versions state 2300 morning and evening sacrifices or 1150 days.

Any practicing member of the Jewish faith identifies Hanakkuh as perfectly fulfilling all of the aspects of this prophecy, including how Antiochus IV came to power, being a descendent of the 4 generals who came to power after Alexander the Great, manner of his death, other aspects of Antiochus IV, abomination of the temple by burning pigs on the altar and other acts, persecution of worshipping Jews, etc. The dates are even known for the desecration of the temple (not destruction which came due to Titus), and the re-dedication of the temple 3 years later, or 1150 days (Jewish years follow a lunar not solar cycle). Easy to search Jewish sources for these dates, Jewish year 3594 to 3597.

[Of course, most Rabbi’s won’t dig too deep, as the next chapter of Daniel points to the time of the Messiah and matches perfectly with Jesus’ ministry, death, and resurrection.]

Adventist apologists then state this prophecy has a dual meaning. Huh? So 1150 literal days in one interpretation and 2300 days=years in the other interpretation. If dual, do others prophecies also have multiple meanings?

This, as Casebolt is building towards, means EGW’s affirmation of these Miller interpretations, should lead a sane person to question her, or the Adventist interpretation thereof, validity.

Still believe that Adventists have a truer picture than most denominations, but maybe it’s time for the church to face the facts, ask the hard questions, don’t kill the messenger as happened with well intentioned (and correct) Rea and Ford and other searchers over the last 100+ years, find truth, and then finish the work.

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There have been many others who came up with the same dates but different conclusions long before Miller, who followed their date computations and led his followers into a great disappointment. It was a delusion. Had he been led by the angels as Ellen White believed, there wouldn’t have been this disappointment.

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Kai Arasola’s book, The Death Of Historicism should be required reading for Ted Wilson, Doug Bachelor, and every Adventist who swears by Amazing Facts, 3ABN, It Is Written, and The Hope Channel. The entire eschatological foundation of the denomination is a travesty.

William Miller was a sincere but uneducated farmer who totally mishandled biblical apocalyptic and the bible in general. He displayed the logical extreme of historicism and the bankruptcy of the methodology itself. It was little more than eisegetical delusions. It helped give birth to a denomination steeped in the same. A denomination filled with many good people who are just as zealous, but just as badly mistaken as Miller himself. A denomination that also is filled with hubris, claiming that it is the one true purveyor of truth and of end time prophecy.

This hubris also finds its roots in its founding “prophetess” who claimed vision for Miller’s divinely led insight. She was actually endorsing error, and claiming that God showed her this. This is amongst the many claims of visionary endorsement for her/Adventist beliefs coming from God, including the shut door of salvation from 1845-1851. They were nothing of the sort. Whether these “visions” were pure fabrications, the result of religious hysteria that was a common feature of her day in mid 19th c. America, early brain trauma, or all of the above, we’ll never fully know. What we do know is that she was deluded, and that the prophetic claims made by and for her are just as deluded.

Finally, Miller’s handling of the 2,300 days of Daniel 8 was not the case of a broken clock being right twice a day. By seeing the similarity of approach with the rest of Miller’s calculations, along with an examination of immediate context and newer biblical translations, it is evident that this too was the fruit of a failed method of biblical interpretation. This became the “prophetically” endorsed lynchpin doctrine of the entire SDA movement and then denomination. It arose out of a mass of interpretive confusion, was manipulated and reinterpreted to justify the failure of Miller’s whole movement and methods, and is simply an interpretive house of cards. The tying of sabbath observance vs. Sunday worship as the climax of an eternal cosmic controversy to the supposed cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary by EGW and SDAism is just as much a twisting of the biblical text as the rest of Miller’s tortured prophetic interpretations.

No matter the zeal and prophetic claims, this is the foundation of SDAism. This is part of the legacy of the founding mother…error and delusion. Ted Wilson calls for revival and reformation? Why don’t you start here Mr. Wilson? Right at the hollow core of the whole thing. An entire renovation is needed to bring the denomination into the real world, and into the truth of the gospel.

The one consolation for us all is that as in the human constructs of many other denominations, God still works to bring real good in and through SDAism, despite the core problems that still exist and still remain unaddressed. Articles such as this are a good restart of the process of getting eyes and ears opened. Let’s hope those who need to look and listen finally keep them that way.

Sadly, I won’t hold my breath.

Frank

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i don’t recall that egw’s endorsement of the 2520-year prophetic interval was demonstrated in last month’s article…what i do recall is that the Millerite chart, containing the 2520-year interval, among a number of other things, was endorsed, with the precaution given that nothing on the chart should be changed until further supernatural light was received…this is hardly endorsing each and every item on the chart, and certainly not the 2520-year interval…in fact it implies an understanding that some things on the chart would be changed because they were incorrect…

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Miller stated that he FIRST found/calculated the 2520 year prophecy, (Seven Times of the Gentiles), from 677 BC to 1843, and THEN fit in the 2300 year prophecy so that they both ended at the same time. Also Miller was not dependent on the Bible only + a concordance. He was heavily dependent on a tradition of exact dates for numerous verses that flourished about the time of the Reformation. But all these exact dates expired and still the Second Coming did not occur. Miller just proposed a new sequence of dates for the 7 churches, 7 trumpets, 7 vials, etc. I will provide evidence that Miller’s multiple prophetic periods were just as “common sense” as his interpretation of Hosea 6. One case at a time. The evidence will be cumulative.

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EGW closely supervised the 1851 chart down to its every jot and tittle. She endorsed both the 1843 and 1851 charts saying that they were inspired by God and predicted in the Bible. Are you proposing to dissect each individual figure and give criteria for dates that are prophetic and others which are not? What criteria.

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Thotoughly informative and factual. I am in total agreement with the author. First of its kind!

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This was first expressed by Barnes. She had copied from his commentary (Barnes notes on whole bible, 1834, Daniel 8:11, 12).

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Yes, Kai Arasola’s book The Death of Historicism was a very, very balanced presentation of the facts regarding Miller’s method. I highly recommend it. If this were merely a factual phenomenon, the conclusions would be a no-brainer. 170 years later we, the progeny of Millerism, have forgotten the emotional intensity. Remember the pioneer who reported uncontrolled sobbing by October 23? Miller and Snow were wrong but the shut door Millerite faction was emotionally incapable of deciding their destiny based merely on cold, intellectually correct facts. EGW was only 12 when converted to Millerism. She was only 16 on Oct. 22, 1844. She’d had multiple ecstatic, prostrations, and could not conceive that the Midnight Cry was wrong–but it was. To say that Midnight in salvation history was in the fall of 1844 and last day signs were in the 1700s and 1800s, simply is untenable and unbelievable. BUT lots of religious, pious folks have believed even more untenable unbelievable misinformation.

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This is the problem in a nutshell.

In fact, according to one esteemed Christian apologist, the incredible nature of the gospel narrative is precisely that which compels him to accept it.

Similarly, and despite how well documented her failed predictions of the future undoubtedly are, there are those who insist those prophesies are further proof of EGW’s veracity. Indeed, such “apparent” failures are not failures, at all. These are seen by the credulous as constant reminders of exactly how hard Satan is working to undermine her god-given message and mission.

There is no way out of this logic mind trap, as far as I can tell, which neatly explains the continued existence of cults, in general. One even suspects these institutions are as immortal as they are immoral, given Barnum’s observation about the birth rate of suckers!

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We know the theory that elephants live in treetops is true…because they hide themselves so well no one has ever seen them!

Frank

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i’m not proposing to dissect anything…i’m simply saying that endorsing a chart containing several items is not the same thing as endorsing every item on that chart, especially given the precaution against altering anything until a further vision could clarify things…to me, the totality of this situation indicates an awareness that the chart, while containing important and even vital information, was in a developmental stage, and the possibility existed that one or more items on that chart would need to be altered or deleted…

as you point out, egw generally endorsed William Miller’s ministry, and seemed particularly fond of his memory - even minimizing the fact that he didn’t accept the Sabbath - but i don’t take her use of parts of his biblical interpretive method, or comments that he was guided by angels, to mean she was endorsing his take that Ephraim, in Isaiah 7:8, was a type of the sects and churches of the 1840’s, or that the 1335 days mentioned in Dan 12:12 coincides with the time period between 508 AD and 1843 AD…i’m assuming you agree that egw’s endorsement of Martin Luther doesn’t mean she was advocating excisement of the Book of Hebrews from the biblical canon; that individuals should periodically drink themselves to oblivion to maintain their equilibrium; and that wives should take on younger lovers when their aging husbands could no longer perform sexually…i’m also assuming you know that egw endorsed Uriah Smith’s Daniel and the Revelation, and yet counselled that mistakes in that volume shouldn’t be made prominent…

the value of action and concrete beginnings, even if partial, as opposed to inaction until a final product could be ascertained, completed, and paid for, is in keeping with the general ethos of egw that i have seen…this isn’t suggesting that she advocated deliberately leaving I’s undotted and T’s uncrossed (although this type of thing is rife in her hand written manuscripts), or that she specialized in starting things she knew she couldn’t finish, or started things she didn’t bother to know whether she or others could finish…but she did seem to value beginnings where providence had opened doors, while trusting that the way forward, and to completion, would also be provided…

my impression is that egw was an incrementalist, in both its horizontal and vertical dimensions, and held as part of her guide a balance between Prov 4:18 and Isaiah 28:10…she seemed to endorse and support anything that advanced the cause of truth, however small, and however surrounded by and even encased in serious error…her own writing style, for instance, particularly in her narrative works - characterized now as plagiarism by some - demonstrates horizontal incrementalism in her “here a little, and there a little” gathering up of truth preference, where she uses an ever widening range of established and generally agreed upon truth as a platform on which to construct affirming and augmenting truth…certainly vertical incrementalism can be seen in her unique view that sanctification represents life-long, increasing spiritual achievement undergirded by a crescendoing awareness of ongoing justification, particularly in terms of christ’s intercession concerned with purifying the good that the HS inspires us to do, given that that good is unavoidably contaminated through contact with the sinfulness in our fallen human nature…and in her approach to evangelism, particularly, where she strongly urges erring on the side of caution and compassion, as opposed to a carpet bombing approach, it is evident that she wasn’t, at all, about allowing perfection to become the enemy of the good, but favoured vertical incremental teaching, beginning with where people were actually at, as well as a horizontal incremental familiarity with people on an informal level…

i see abundant incrementalism in her understanding of truth and practice, as well…much of her strong counsels on diet, dress, Sabbath-keeping, etc., exhibit a before and after sequence in terms of visions she received, many of which, in her early yrs, at least, were open, or public, and accompanied by involuntary physical manifestations witnessed by all present…the same can be said for some of her doctrinal positions, as well…her teachings on the mvt of both god the father and son from the heavenly HP to its MHP in 1844, IJ, the Latter Rain, the Time of Trouble, the Millennium, the Scapegoat status of satan, etc., all exhibit incrementalism…even her views on basic soteriology, like original sin, sanctification and justification; what the OC sanctuary and its priesthood actually teach; the profound differences between a born again nature and the natural heart; not to mention her overarching narrative of the struggle between christ and satan, and the interplay between the visible and invisible worlds, take on increasing specificity, precision and detail over time…

so i don’t see anything suspicious or surreptitious in her endorsement of a chart that she, and no doubt others, considered incomplete…rather, her endorsement of a chart under construction that had at least some things believed to be good fits perfectly into the incremental meta narrative that her entire life and ministry exhibit, and that she herself understood was an inherent part of her calling…and as i’m sure you must know, it is even the case that she warned the church against conservatism and complacency, the danger of thinking that everything was perfectly understood, and the assumption that nothing would need to be altered or renounced…it seems to me that her observation that a plant that is alive is always growing is an apt metaphor for her life and work, generally…

Again, you’ve bashed your thumb with your own hammer!

You’ve made clear in countless comments at this website that you think you understand EGW perfectly-or, at least, better than anyone who dares question the essence of her divine inspiration. You have also shown, time and again, that despite the mountain of evidence against her, there is nothing anyone could say or do that would make you renounce her. In fact, as more people delve into her work and give up on her fantastical claims you ironically find reason to believe even more strongly as all of this “backsliding” lends credence to EGW’s usage of the old clairvoyant’s trick of making self-serving but derogatory prophecies about the future and herself.

That said, and to whatever extent EGW purportedly exposed the flaws, faults and sins of the people around her, she, just like you, was accusing them of her own shortcomings.

It’s amazing the things one can learn once he understands the principles of projection and the tactics of gaslighters. I strongly suggest all Christians would be well-served to make the effort. After all, “not judging others “ was kind of a big deal, according to what Jesus reportedly said. EGW herself could have gleaned much from her lifelong work of gaslighting the entire human race, particularly her nine volumes of self incrimination known euphemistically as “The Testimonies” all of which stand as an ongoing refutation of her insistence that she was doing the lord’s work!.

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Where is it indicated that the chart is incomplete? It appears full of dates and figures. I perceive it has been complete since 1851. I suggest you compare the 1851 chart with the 1843 chart.

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Thanks for your evaluation. The Barnes origin is new to me.

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You’re dealing here with total denial that EGW could ever have been wrong about anything. Present what you will, it’ll be qualified, simonized, and turned on its head.

She was infallible…

Frank

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