Ellen G. White's Signs in the Heavens

By Robert K. Sanders


The Leonid meteor shower that took place November 17, 1998 is not a supernatural phenomena, but a regular event that takes place every November. And a greater number every 33 years according to astronomers. When you subtract 33 years, five times from 1998, or 165 years, you will have the date of 1833.

Ellen G. White claimed that the falling stars, November 13, 1833, were a fulfillment of the Bible prophecies of Matthew 24:29 and Revelation 6:12,13. Ellen believed that this was a supernatural event caused by God and a sign that he was about to return. The evidence will show that she was mistaken. Because Ellen is the Adventist's prophet, they still teach this non Biblical doctrine in the book The Great Controversy, by Ellen G. White, and promote this book as a missionary book. What Ellen saw in 1833 was the Leonid meteor shower that we will be able to see on November 17, 18 1998 and 1999.


Journal and Courier Newspaper, Friday, November 13, 1998. Page one:

"…. The 1998 version and possibly the 1999 version could send hundreds or thousands of meteors an hour as Earth passes through the trail of Comet Tempel-Tuttle.

The comet orbits the sun and creates a meteor "storm" every 32 or 33 years. The last one came in 1966 when observers in the central and western United States counted thousands of meteors in a 20-minute period. The actual "star" fall was estimated at 150,000 an hour.

Other large Leonid storms occurred in 1799 and 1833. They are called Leonids because the meteors appear to radiate from the stars of the constellation Leo." Journal and Courier.


The 1833 Leonid shower account by two self proclaimed prophets

These two prophets, Smith and White claimed revelations from God. Why did God not correct their misunderstanding of the November 13, 1833 meteor shower? The followers of Smith and White were no better off having them as their prophet than Christians that did not acknowledge a prophet. They were all in error in believing this was a sign of the end of the world.

Joseph Smith: ''About 4 o'clock a.m. I was awakened by brother Davis knocking at my door, and calling on me to arise and behold the signs in the heavens. I arose, and to my great joy, behold the stars fall from heaven like a shower of hailstones; a literal fulfilment of the word of God, as recorded in the holy scriptures, and a sure sign that the coming of Christ is close at hand. In the midst of this shower of fire, I was led to exclaim, ''How marvelous are thy works, O Lord! I thank Thee for Thy mercy unto Thy servant; save me in thy kingdom for Christ's sake. Amen'' will not fully compare with the time when the sun shall become black like sack-cloth of hair, the moon like blood, and the stars fall to the earthRev. vi: 13.* History of the Church, 1820-1834 Page 439-440.

Ellen G. White: In 1833, two years after Miller began to present in public the evidences of Christ's soon coming, the last of the signs which were promised by the Saviour as tokens of His second advent. Said Jesus: "The stars shall fall from heaven." Matthew 24:29. And John in the Revelation declared as he beheld in vision the scenes that should herald the day of God: "The stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of wind." Revelation 6:13. This prophecy received a striking and impressive fulfillment in the great meteoric shower of November 13, 1833. That was the most extensive and wonderful display of falling stars which has ever been recorded; "the whole firmament, over all the United States, then, for hours, in fiery commotion! No celestial phenomenon has ever occurred in this country, since its first settlement, which was viewed with such intense admiration by one class in the community, or with so much dread and alarm by another." Great Controversy, p.333. Centennial Edition 1950.

It has been 177 years from the stars falling in 1833 to now, November 2010. How does the Bible describe the falling stars and what events take place surrounding this end of the world event? Does the Bible tell us we can expect many years between each sign and all this will take place a great number of years before Christ's second coming? If this was a sign of Christ's coming in 1833, what good was it for the people that witnessed in 1833 as they are all dead? The Bible teaches that the signs are to take place before people that are alive to witness, just before Jesus comes. The people who are alive before Jesus comes will witness the stars falling and the prophecy will be fulfilled. It was not fulfilled 177 years ago in 1833 as all those people are now dead!

The Bible says:

(Rev 6:12 NIV) "I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red,"

(Rev 6:13 NIV) "and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind."

(Rev 6:14 NIV) "The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place."

(Rev 6:15 NIV) "Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains." Vs.16 and 17, they cried, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?"


Was there an earthquake just prior to the falling of the stars in 1833, that caused mountains and islands to move out of their places? The answer is NO.

Ellen G. White however says yes: "These signs were witnessed before the opening of the nineteenth century. In fulfillment of this prophecy there occurred, in the year 1755, the most terrible earthquake that has ever been recorded. Though commonly known as the earthquake of Lisbon, it extended to the greater part of Europe, Africa, and America." Great Controversy, p. 304. Does the Lisbon earthquake of November 1, 1755 compare to the one described in Revelation 6 with mountains and islands moving out of their places and the Kings of the earth hiding in caves and rocks? No! Ellen was wrong.


Was there a dark day just after the giant earthquake and before the stars fell? No.

It is important to notice that Revelation 6:13 uses the word "and" to connect the dark day "and" the stars falling. There is no reference to gaps of many years between each of the signs. All four signs are one big event taking place at one time at the end of the world.

Ellen G. White says yes: "Twenty-five years later (Lisbon earthquake) appeared the next sign mentioned in the prophecy—the darkening of the sun and moon." Great Controversy, p. 306. "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. Great Controversy, p. 308.


What does Adventist now say about the Dark Day?

"In a series of three articles (May 22, May 29, June 5, 1980) appearing in the Adventist Review, Merton E. Springle conclusively demonstrated that the Dark Day of May 19, 1780 was caused by smoke from huge forest fires burning in the New England states combining with a dark storm front passing through the area. Furthermore, if one locates the extent of the darkness on a globe, it is clear that the area covered was virtually an infinitesimal portion of the earth's surface, and thus certainly not the cosmic event described in Revelation 6." Spectrum, Volume 12, number 4, p. 7.

Note: Ellen was wrong comparing this Dark Day to Moses' day. In Moses time the Dark Day was a supernatural event, the Dark Day of 1780 was a natural event caused by a forest fire and a storm.

"In the Collegiate Quarterly of April-June 1980, pages 71-72, the same author (Merton Springle) has pointed out that this meteor shower of November 1833 'was by no means a singular event. In fact, it is a regular event occurring with records going back as far back as 902 A.D.

In the past, much has been said about the 1833 shower being the greatest on record. LeRoy Froom, for example, has a chart comparing some recent meteor showers. There he lists the Leonids of 1833 at the rate of 60,000 meteors per hour, while the next highest he lists the Giacobinids of 1933 at only 15,000 meteors per hour. While accurate techniques for counting falling meteors have only been developed recently, with considerable progress having been made since 1833, the descriptions of early records strongly remind one of popular accounts of the 1833 shower found in Adventist literature.

For example, concerning the 902 A.D. Leonid meteor shower, Arabic records state that "an infinite number of stars were seen during the night, scattering themselves like rain to the right and left." Then when observing the same system in 1202 A.D., it is recorded that the meteors "flew against one another, like a scattering swarm of locusts." Thus, there is no inherent reason to suppose that the 1833 shower must have been greater than anything ever seen. However, there is even more precise, positive evidence that the1833 shower has been surpassed. Scientific reports of the 1966 Leonid shower mention rates up to 150,000 per hour, or two-and-a-half times the rate of the 1833 shower, according to Froom's figures. In sum, both the 1833 meteor shower and the 1780 Dark Day have natural causes, not, as commonly believed supernatural causes." Spectrum, Volume 12, number 4, p. 7.


Ellen G. White's apocalyptic fulfilled prophecy dates:

  • Lisbon earthquake—November 1, 1755.
  • Dark Day—May 19, 1780.
  • Falling Stars—November 13, 1833.



  • The Lisbon earthquake was not the quake of Revelation 6 that will be a world wide event, with the kings of the earth hiding in the rocks and the mountains and islands moving from their places.
  • The Dark Day was a normal occurrence of a forest fire combined with a storm front in a small section of north east United States. The Dark Day of Revelation 6, is a global event that is witnessed by the world and not by a few in United States that have long since died.
  • The falling Stars of 1833, were a normal occurrence that happens every 33 years, with the first being recorded in 902 A. D.
  • These events happen together and not large gaps of years between them as Adventists teach and people living will witness these events and not those that have died over 200 years ago that saw the Lisbon quake.
  • Ellen was in error on all the events of Revelation 6.

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.