Time Setting Failures by Ellen G. White

By Robert K. Sanders


Testimonies Against Time Setting

Ellen G. White (EGW) made it clear in her many statements that no one knows when Christ will come, yet she was guilty of doing this very thing many times during her lifetime.

EGW: “No one has a true message fixing the time when Christ is to come or not to come. Be assured that God gives no one authority to say that Christ delays His coming five years, ten years, or twenty years.” Selected Messages, 2, p. 113-114.

EGW was one of those that were preaching a definite time for Jesus to return in 1843, 1844, 1845 and in 1851. By her own admission she is a false prophetess.

EGW: “Those who presumptuously preach definite time, in so doing gratify the adversary of souls; for they are advancing infidelity rather than Christianity. But their failures show that they are false prophets, that they do not rightly interpret the language of inspiration.” 4 Testimonies, p. 307.

EGW: “God has not revealed to us when this message will close, or when probation will have an end. 7 Bible Commentary, p. 989.

There are many EGW "Time Setting" quotes listed in, Index to Writings of E. G. White, Vol. 3, p. 2813, under the heading of Time (Definite). Why did E. G. White write a large amount of material, warning against time setting?

Perhaps EGW was burned so many times in her "time setting" that she did not want to risk another failure and have to admit she was not getting her messages from God.

If EGW would have believed the Bible she would have not contradicted God and lead her followers to bitter disappointments.

Matt. 24:36 (NIV) "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Matt 24:44 (NIV) So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.


Time Setting in 1843 and 1844

Ellen put her visionary stamp of approval on William Miller’s non-biblical date setting for the Second Coming of Christ’s in 1843 and 1844 by visions. A true prophet of God would have condemned Miller and not agree with him.

EGW: “ I have seen the 1843 chart was directed by the hand of the Lord, and that it should not be altered; that the figures were as he wanted them; that His hand was over and hid a mistake in some of the figures, so that none could see it, until His hand was removed." Early Writings, p. 74.

EGW: “...and the same evidence which they had presented to show that the prophetic periods closed in 1843, proved that they would terminate in 1844.” Early Writings, p. 236.


More Time Setting in 1845

Again after two disappointments in a row in going against the Bible in predicting Christ’s second coming, James and Ellen White were at it again in 1845.

James White: “It is well known that many were expecting the Lord to come at the 7th month, 1845. That Christ would come We firmly believed.” A Word to the Little Flock, p.22.


Again in 1851

After Christ failed to come in 1843, 1844, 1845 Joseph Bates wrote a tract in 1850 predicting that Christ would come in October 1851.

Bates believed that the Day of Atonement began Oct. 22, 1844 and would last seven years and end Oct. 1851. The last six months, the gathering of the saints would occur. He argued all this from Leviticus 16. Here is how Bates arrived at the date for another failure.

Bates: “The seven spots of blood on the Golden Alter and before the mercy-seat, I fully believe, represents the duration of the judicial proceedings on the living saints in the Most Holy, all of which time they will be in their affliction, even seven years; God by his voice will deliver them, ‘for it is the blood that maketh the atonement for the soul’ Lev. 17:11. Then the number seven will finish the day of atonement (not redemption). The last six months of this time, I understand, Jesus will be gathering in the harvest with his sickle, on the white cloud.” The Typical and Anti-typical Sanctuary, p. 10-13, by Joseph Bates, 1850.

EGW had a vision June 27, 1850 agreeing with Bates' that "time is almost finished.

EGW: “ In a view given June 27,1850, my accompanying angel said, “time is almost finished.” “But now time is almost finished, and what we have been years learning, they will have to learn in a few months.” Early Writings, p. 64, 67.

September 1850, about one year before the seven years predicted by Bates were to end and Christ was to come, EGW had another vision to confirm Bates reasoning.

EGW: “Some are looking to far off for the coming of the Lord. Time has continued a few years longer than they expected; therefore they think it may continue a few years more, and in this way their minds are being led from present truth, out after the world. I saw that the time for Jesus to be in the most holy place was nearly finished and that time can last but a very little longer.” Early Writings, p. 58.

Ellen was reprimanding people for thinking that time might last "a few more years" and she was pointing them to present truth that time was “nearly finished”. Ellen’s present truth was agreeing with Bates and she did not ever dispute his Time-Setting. Bates’ six months gathering of the saints would start in May and end October of 1851. Ellen’s June 1850 vision was using a “few months” and in the September 1850 vision the months was reduced to “time almost finished.” It was not what God showed her but what Bates taught her. Wouldn’t a true prophet of God reprimand Bates for Time-Setting instead of agreeing with him?


Between 1856-1956

At a conference held in Battle Creek, in 1856, Mrs. White had one of her visions predicting Christ would come while some of those present would be alive. This is a prophecy can be tested to see if EGW was a true prophet.

If there were a baby present at the conference, then one hundred years later all would be dead in 1956.

EGW: "I was shown the company present at the Conference, Said the angel: "Some food for worms, some subjects of the seven last plagues, some will be alive and remain upon the earth to be translated at the coming of Jesus." Ellen G. White, 1 Testimonies, p. 131-132. May 27,1856.

(See the full Food For Worms article.)


In Conclusion

All of EGW's visions have failed predicting the Second Coming of Christ. Those of you that believe in Ellen White as a prophetess or "the Messenger of the Lord"—does this tell you something?

Robert K. Sanders, Founder and Editor of Truth or Fables, 1997–2012
Life Assurance Ministries assumed ownership of Truth or Fables in 2012
© 2016 Life Assurance Ministries. All rights reserved.