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Summary of the Historical Prologue to Early Writings by Ellen G. White
Ellen White’s first writings are recorded in the book Early Writings. She assumed the reader would
understand the events or experiences of Sabbathkeeping Adventists in the 1840's and 1850's. The
HistoricalPrologue was added to help us, living much later, understand the early Adventist history.
The Great Advent Awakening
In many lands (including Europe, North and South America, the Middle East, and Asia), careful study of
Bible prophecy helped many understand and accept the good news of God’s grace, and soon return. This
was most widely spread in the United States in the 1840's led by farmerWilliam Miller from New York
State. He studied his Bible verse by verse to answer all his questions once the Holy Spirit convinced him
to accept Christ as his Saviour. His careful study helped him link the prophecies of Daniel 8 and 9 with
Revelation 14, proclaiming the hour of God’s judgment.
Ellen White attended 2 series of meetings by William Miller and learned that:
• aday in symbolic prophecy represents a year (Num. 14:34; Eze. 4:6, Dan. 8:14)
• more study helped early believers know that 1844, the date they calculated from historic
fulfillment of parts of the prophecies, marked the end of the 2300 day prophecy, but this did not
mean the world would be cleansed or ended with fire; rather, Jesus entered the heavenly
sanctuary to start the work of atonementthere, symbolically connected to what the earthly high
priest did in the earthly sanctuary or temple system
• 69 weeks (483 years) passed from the beginning of the 2300 day prophecy (when Artaxerxes
decreed that Jerusalem was to be rebuilt in B.C. 457) to the birth of Jesus (A.D. 27)
• 3.5 years (in the middle of a prophetic week 70th week, A.D. 31) after he began his ministry, Jesus
died forour sins, our atonement sacrifice
• When Stephen was stoned by the Jewish leaders in A.D. 34, this marked the Jew’s rejection of the
gospel as a nation blessed by God to carry the truth to the world - this was the end of the 70
weeks (490 years) prophecy.
• when all these events match the prophecy, it is easy to figure the remaining 1810 days (2,300-
490) or years, would end in 1844.Understanding the 2300 day prophecy in this way made the early Adventists certain that Jesus was about
to return - they gave all their time, talents and energy to urgently sharing this good news. Many revival
campmeetings took place in the years before 1844.
The Great Disappointment and Afterwards
Many in the US and Canada believed and were terribly disappointed when Jesus did not come to take
them toheaven on October 22, 1844. Many believers who had joined the movement mostly out of fear of
judgment coming, soon dropped away. Some became fanatical. Many were sure Jesus was still coming
and there was a mistake in the dates set, and most became first day Adventists. A small number who
became the Seventh-day Adventist church later, were sure God had led their prophetic discover and
wouldcontinue to lead them to the full truth.
Ellen Harmon’s Visions and Light on the Sanctuary
In December 1844, God revealed to Ellen Harmon a vision showing the Advent people en route to the
New Jerusalem. It did not explain the reason for the Disappointment, but assured them that God was
leading them. Further Bible study helped Hiram Edson, while crossing a cornfield, understand their
Summarizedby Glynis Bradfield, Club Director, for PMC Evergreen Pathfinders, Friend Class, October 2003
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mistake on what actually was to happen in 1844 - not the cleansing of the earth, but the beginning of the
heavenly sanctuary cleansing. A schoolteacher, Mr O Crozier, wrote out the findings of their study group
which was printed in an Adventist Journal called the Day-Star in a special...