Pickle Publishing "God Made the Mistake?"
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A Response to the Video:
Seventh-day Adventism, the Spirit Behind the Church

by Bob Pickle

Answers to Questions Raised by:
Mark Martin, Sydney Cleveland
Dale Ratzlaff, The White Lie
. . . and
Others

Discern Fact from Fiction


The Millerite Movement

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#16: "Rather than admit she was in error, Ellen Harmon claimed that God was the one who had made the mistake, and had covered it up Himself."—Narrator.

#16: She said God made the mistake. She never said that God made a mistake then or at any other time, for God makes no mistakes.

We've all made mistakes, but why didn't we recognize it sooner? Why didn't God show it to us sooner? Just because He didn't, does that mean God made the mistake instead of us? By no means.

Besides, what Mrs. White is referring to here is not about October 22 being a mistake. Rather, she's talking about how the original date of 1843 was arrived at through a mathematical error. This is the "mistake in some of the figures" she was referring to.

As mentioned under #5, Miller and his many associates began the 2300 days in 457 BC and ended them in 1843. Sometime in the Jewish year 1843, Christ's coming was therefore expected. Yet instead of 1843, the year was really supposed to be 1844.

Two things were not understood in 1843 (Uriah Smith, The Sanctuary and the Twenty-Three Days of Daniel VIII,14, pp. 93-96). First, if the decree foretold in Daniel 9 went forth on the first day of the Jewish year 457 BC, the 2300 days could not end until the last day of the Jewish year 1843, for it takes 2300 full years to fulfill the prophecy. Thus, under such a scenario, the 2300 days could not end until the new moon of April 1844. Second, if the decree did not go forth until a certain number of days into 457 BC, then the 2300 days could not end until that same number [p. 24] of days into 1844.

After the Karaite Jewish year of 1843 had ended in April 1844, it was apparent that some sort of mistake had been made. Eventually it was discovered that the decree of 457 BC did not go forth, did not go into effect, until that fall. Thus the 2300 days could not end until the fall of 1844.

Another way to arrive at the same result is the following: Christ's death was believed to have occurred in the middle of Daniel 9's 70th week. Since Christ died in the spring, that would make the middle of the week to be the spring, and the beginning and ending of all the weeks to be the fall. Thus the 70 weeks had to commence in the fall, and the 2300 days, commencing at the same time, must likewise end in the fall. (See #20 for more on this interpretation, and a comparison of it with the most popular alternative view today.)

Of course, God knew that the math of the Millerites was off, and He permitted them to understand this after the fact.

While no mistake about the validity of the October 22 date is suggested in the quoted statement, Mrs. White's words indicate that there was some sort of divine purpose in what happened. Perhaps comparing the experience of the Millerites to that of the disciples can illuminate our understanding.

The disciples of Christ were tested severely at two different times, both relating to mistaken views about prophecy. John 6:66 indicates that many of Christ's disciples just up and left Him when He cryptically told them that His kingdom was a spiritual kingdom, not a kingdom in which they would rule the Romans. This was the first test, and it was hard. The second one came at the crucifixion when all the hopes and dreams of the disciples for an earthly kingdom of power were dashed to pieces.

The Millerites likewise were tested twice. First, Christ did not come as expected during the Jewish year of 1843, for there was a mistake in their figures. Second, Christ did not come as expected on October 22, 1844, for the second coming does not occur at the same time as the judgment.

If the first and only test for the disciples had been at the crucifixion, and if it had been then when the majority of Christ's followers forsook Him, the test would have been much more overwhelming for the disciples. Having the previous test strengthened the disciples for the later one. Likewise, the first test strengthened the Millerites to be able to endure the second one.

Was God responsible for the mistaken views about prophecy that all those followers of Jesus had 2000 years ago, just because He didn't point out their errors sooner? Not at all. He revealed their mistakes at specific times for specific reasons. The same was true with the Millerites.

The documentation package gives no evidence that Mrs. White ever said that God made any mistake. Under "Point 8" and "Point 8a" it merely repeats Mr. Snyder's quote from Early Writings, and shows a picture of the 1843 chart referred to.

This is actually very common in the documentation package. Rather than substantiate the charges being made, it often resorts to only reproducing the identical paragraphs from which the video quoted, and sometimes not even the whole paragraph.

A Response to the Video

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