Brother Miller's Dream

With Notes


James White


Compiler's Notes


1. Dates: The end of James White's notes shows he wrote this review of Miller's dream in Oswego, New York, May, 1850. The dream was recorded by Miller in December of 1847, per his signing at the end of his description. According to Joseph Bates (as referenced at the end of the dream, Miller had the dream November 1847.

2. Source and Codes: The dates and book code information in the curly brackets are from "The Words of the Adventist Pioneers" section of the Ellen G. White Writings Comprehensive Research Edition CD-ROM, 2008. The contents of this publication will also be found as an article in The Present Truth, Vol. 1, No. 10, {May 1850 JWe, PTJW 73.1} through {May 1850 JWe, PTJW 75.1}. ]

3. Format of This Document: Below is James White's nine-paragraph introduction, followed by the dream (first column), James White's notes which were published in footnotes (second column), and additional notes (third column) added by the compiler of this document. The key words and phrases in the dream are bolded by the compiler when James White interpreted them, along with White's interpretations themselves. Any footnote numbers in the first column refer to the footnotes James White gave, as listed in the second column. Note that these are renumbered from "1" on each page. Any footnote numbers in the third column refer to the footnotes at the bottom of the pages of this document.

4. See "Additional End Notes" at the end of this document.

Fred Bischoff, Compiler,


[Introduction by James White]


The following dream was published in the "Advent Herald," more than two years since. I then saw that it clearly marked out our past second advent experience, and that God gave the dream for the benefit of the scattered flock. {1850 JW, BMD 1.1}

Among the signs of the near approach of the great and the terrible day of the Lord, God has placed dreams. See Joel ii,28-31; Acts ii,17-20. Dreams may come in three ways; first, "through the multitude of business." See Eccl.v,3. Second, those who are under the foul spirit and deception of Satan, may have dreams through his influence. See Deut.xiii,1-5; Jer.xxiii,25-28; xxvii,9; xxix,8; Zech.x,2; Jude 8. And third, God has always taught, and still teaches his people more or less by dreams, which come through the agency of angels and the Holy Spirit. Those who stand in the clear light of truth will know when God gives them a dream; and such will not be deceived and led astray by false dreams. {1850 JW, BMD 1.2}

"And he said, Hear now my words; if there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream." Num.xii,6. Said Jacob, "The angel of the Lord spake unto me in a dream." Gen.xxxi,2. "And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night." Gen.xxxi,24. Read the dreams of Joseph, [Gen.xxxvii,5-9,] and then the interesting story of their fulfilment in Egypt. "In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night." - Kings iii,5. The great important image of the second chapter of Daniel was given in a dream, also the four beasts, etc. of the seventh chapter. When Herod sought to destroy the infant Saviour Joseph was warned in a dream to flee into Egypt. Matt.ii,13. {1850 JW, BMD 1.3}

"And it shall come to pass in the LAST DAYS, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams." Acts ii,17. {1850 JW, BMD 2.1}

The gift of prophecy, by dreams and visions, is here the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and in the last days is to be manifested sufficiently to constitute a sign. It is one of the gifts of the gospel church. {1850 JW, BMD 2.2}

"And he gave some apostles; and some PROPHETS; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." Eph.iv,11,12. {1850 JW, BMD 2.3}

"And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily PROPHETS," etc. Cor.xii,28. "Despise not PROPHESYINGS." Thess.v,20. See also Acts xiii,1; xxi,9; Rom.xii,6; Cor.xiv,1,24,39. Prophets or prophesyings are for the edification of the church of Christ; and there is no evidence that can be produced from the word of God, that they were to cease before evangelists, pastors and teachers were to cease. But says the objector, "There has been so many false visions and dreams that I can not have confidence in anything of the kind." It is true that Satan has his counterfeit. He always had false prophets, and certainly we may expect them now in this his last hour of deception and triumph. Those who reject such special revelations because the counterfeit exists, may with equal propriety go a little farther and deny that God ever revealed himself to man in a dream or a vision, for the counterfeit always existed. {1850 JW, BMD 2.4}

Dreams and visions are the medium through which God has revealed himself to man. Through this medium he spake to the prophets; he has placed the gift of prophecy among the gifts of the gospel church, and has classed dreams and visions with the other signs of the "LAST DAYS." Amen. {1850 JW, BMD 3.1}

My object in the above remarks has been to remove objections in a scriptural manner, and prepare the mind of the reader for the following {1850 JW, BMD 3.2}




Miller's Dream

White's Notes

Additional Notes

[BMD 3.3] I dreamed that God, by an unseen hand, sent me a curiously wrought casket1, about ten inches long by six square, made of ebony and pearls curiously inlaid.

[Footnote 1, Page 3] The "casket" represents the great truths of the Bible, relative to the second advent of our Lord Jesus Christ, which were given Bro. Miller to publish to the world.

Other references to Miller's dream were made by Joseph Bates, Ellen White, and Ransom Hicks.[1]

To the casket there was a key2 attached.

[Footnote 2, Page 3] The "key attached" was his manner of interpreting the prophetic Word - Comparing scripture with scripture - the Bible its own interpreter.

Only with the proper methods of interpreting Scripture can it be opened as it should be.

I immediately took the key and [Page 4] opened the casket, when, to my wonder and surprise, I found it filled with all sorts and sizes of jewels,1 diamonds, precious stones, and gold and silver coin of every dimension and value, beautifully arranged in their several places in the casket; and thus arranged they reflected a light and glory equalled only by the sun. I thought it was my duty not to enjoy this wonderful sight alone, although my heart was overjoyed at the brilliancy, beauty and value of its contents. I therefore placed it on a centre-table in my room, and gave out word that all who had a desire might come and see the most glorious and brilliant sight ever seen by man in this life.

[cont. Footnote 2, Page 3] With this key Bro. Miller opened the "casket," or the great truth of the advent to the world.

[Footnote 1, Page 4] The "jewels, diamonds, etc." of "all sorts and sizes" so "beautifully arranged in their several places in the casket" represent the children of God, [Mal.iii,17,] from all the churches, and from almost every station, and situation of life, who received the advent faith, and were seen to take a bold stand in their several stations, in the holy cause of truth. While moving in this order, each attending to his own duty, and walking humbly before God, "they reflected a light and glory" to the world, equalled only by the church in the days of the apostles. The message, [Rev.xiv.6,7,] went as it were, upon the wings of the wind, and the invitation, "Come, for all things are now ready," [Luke xiv,17.] went abroad with power and effect.

"And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him." (Malachi 3:17)

James White's interpretation of "the sun" as being "the church in the days of the apostles" may rest in turn upon an interpretation of the sun which clothed the lady in Rev. 12:1, often understood as the church wrapped in the light of the gospel age, standing on the light of the Jewish age (which reflected, in a prefigured manner, the light of the sun as does the moon, which was under her feet).

The people began to come in, at first few in number, but increasing to a crowd.2

[Footnote 2, Page 4] "The people began to come in, at first few in number, but increasing to a crowd." When the advent doctrine was first preached by Bro. Miller, and a very few others, it had but little effect, and but very few were waked up by it; but from 1840 to 1844, wherever it was preached, the whole community was aroused.

Miller's November 10, 1844 letter (published November 27) {HST 127.14} states, "The public excitement commenced some six years ago." This would be 1838.

When they first looked into [Page 5] the casket they would wonder, and shout for joy. But when the spectators increased, every one would begin to trouble the jewels, taking them out of the casket and scattering1 them on the table.

[Footnote 1, Page 5] When the flying angel [Rev.xiv,6,7] first began to preach the everlasting good news, "Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come," many shouted for joy in view of the coming of Jesus, and the restitution, who afterwards opposed and scoffed, and ridiculed the truth that a little before filled them with joy. They troubled and scattered the jewels. This brings us to the autumn of 1844, when the scattering time commenced.

Mark this: It was those who once "shouted for joy" that troubled and scattered the jewels. And none have so effectually scattered the flock, and led them astray since 1844, as those who once preached the truth, and rejoiced in it; but have since denied the work of God, and the fulfilment of prophecy in our past advent experience.

Here in the "scattering" we arrive at the passing of the time, October 22, 1844. Note especially that the scattering was the result of denying "the work of God, and the fulfilment of prophecy in our past advent experience." To counter this denial White began The Advent Review, using the same key words, "work of God," "fulfillment of prophecy," and "past."[2]

At this time I began to think the owner would require the casket and jewels again at my hand; and if I suffered them to be scattered, I could never place them in their places in the casket again as before: and I felt I should never be able to meet the accountability, for it would be immense. I then began to plead with the people not to handle them, nor take them out of the casket;2 but the more I plead, the more they scattered; [Page 6] and now they seemed to scatter them all over the room, on the floor, and on every piece of furniture in the room.

[Footnote 2, Page 5] Bro. Miller's testimony, for a number of months after the Midnight cry, at the seventh month, 1844, was that the door was shut, and that the advent movement was a fulfilment of prophecy, and that we had been right in preaching time.  He then exhorted his brethren, through the "Advent Herald" to hold fast, to be patient, and not grudge against one another; and God would soon justify them for preaching time. In this way he plead for the jewels, while he felt his "accountability" for them, and that "it would be immense."

Notice the three points White makes in summarizing Miller's own testimony after October 1844, regarding the past:  (1) "the door was shut" (indicating there indeed had been a transition, the nature of which was not yet clear to them); (2) "the advent movement was a fulfilment of prophecy" (it had been divinely predicted, and guided); (3) "we had been right in preaching time" (since the time element, following the great disappointment, was so easily discarded; but this would be contrary to the apostolic type, in which Christ's own disciple, under His direction, were right on the time, but confused on the event). Note as well Miller's initial call, in essence, to wait on God.[3]

White clearly felt Miller was correct in how he fulfilled his accountability in the early months after the passing of the time. Joseph Bates in his correspondence with Miller[4] appealed to him to remain consistent to the movement through the trying years that followed.

I now saw that among the genuine jewels and coin they had scattered an innumerable quantity of spurious jewels1 and counterfeit coin. I was highly incensed at their base conduct and ingratitude, and reproved and reproached them for it; but the more I reproached, the more they scattered the spurious jewels and false coin among the genuine. {1850 JW, BMD 3.3}

[Footnote 1, Page 6] The "spurious jewels and counterfeit coin" that were scattered among the genuine, clearly represent false converts, or "strange children," [Hosea v,7,] since the door was shut in 1844.

"They have dealt treacherously against the LORD: for they have begotten strange children: now shall a month devour them with their portions." (Hosea 5:7)

I then became vexed in my very soul, and began to use physical force to push them out of the room; but while I was pushing out one, three more would enter, and bring in dirt, and shavings, and sand, and all manner of rubbish,2 until they covered [Page 8 (footnote 2, page 6 fills Page 7)] every one of the true jewels, diamonds and coins - until they were all excluded from sight.

[Footnote 2, Page 6] The "dirt and shavings, sand and all manner of rubbish," represent the various and numerous errors that have been brought in among second advent believers, since the autumn of 1844. Here I will notice a few of them.

1. The stand that some of the "shepherds" presumptuously took immediately after the Midnight cry was given, that the solemn melting power of the Holy Ghost that attended the seventh month movement was a mesmeric influence. George Storrs was among the first to take this stand. See his writings in the latter part of 1844, in the "Midnight Cry," then published in New York city. J. V. Himes, at the Albany Conference in the spring of 1845, said that the seventh month movement produced mesmerism seven feet deep. This I am told by one who was present, and heard the remark. - Others who took an active part in the seventh month cry have since pronounced that movement the work of the Devil. Attributing the work of Christ and the Holy Ghost to the Devil, was in the days of our Saviour, blasphemy, and it is blasphemy now.

2. The many experiments on definite time. Since the 2300 days ended in 1844, quite a number of times have been set, by different individuals, for their termination. In doing this they have removed the "landmarks," and have thrown darkness and doubt over the whole advent movement.

3.  Spiritualism with all its fancies and extravagances.  This wile of the Devil, which has accomplished an awful work of death, is very fitly represented by "shavings," and "all manner of rubbish."  Many of those who drank down the poison of spiritualism admitted the truth of our past advent experience, and from this fact many have been made to believe that spiritualism was the natural fruit of believing that God conducted the great advent movements in 1843 and 1844.  Peter, speaking of those who should "bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them," says, "BY REASON OF WHOM THE WAY OF TRUTH SHALL BE EVIL SPOKEN OF."

4.  S. S. Snow professing to be "Elijah the Prophet."  This man in his strange and wild career, has also acted his part in this work of death, and his course has had a tendency to bring the true position for the waiting saints into disrepute, in the minds of many honest souls.

To this catalogue of errors I might add many more, such as the "thousand years" of Rev.xx,4,7, in the past, the 144,000 of Rev.vii,4; xiv,1, those who "arose and came out of the graves" after Christ's resurrection, the no-work doctrine, the doctrine of the destruction of infants, &c. &c.

These errors were so industriously propagated, and urged upon the waiting flock that, at the time Bro. Miller had the dream, the true jewels were "excluded from sight," and the words of the prophet were applicable - "And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off," &c. &c. See Is.lix,14.  At that time there was not an advent paper in the land that advocated the cause of present truth.  The "Day-Dawn," was the last to defend the true position of the little flock; but that died a number of months before the Lord gave Bro. Miller this dream; and in its last dying struggle pointed the weary sighing saints to 1877, then thirty years in the future, as the time of their final deliverance.  Alas! alas!  No wonder that Bro. Miller in his dream, "sat down and wept" over this sad state of things.

It is clear White was convicted (rightly so) that the true jewels were those who followed the advancing light ("the cause of present truth") which affirmed God's leading in the past, but based on the Bible types, also moved on with a growing understanding of the sanctuary, the physical temple being the type of what was referred to in Dan. 8:14, as well as the disciples' great disappointment being the type of the 1844 event. Note this background, described here in some detail, of the need for a publication to answer "the various and numerous errors," to advocate "the cause of present truth," and "to defend the true position of the little flock."[5]

White does not interpret Miller's use of physical force, but Bates told Miller (in a view that on its surface is contrary to the actions of Miller in the dream itself) that action was "where you changed your views and course, in the spring of 1845, and united with those that have been increasing three to one, as you saw, bringing in dirt, and sand, and shavings and all manner of rubbish and covered up both the genuine and false jewels and diamonds, etc."[6]

It is apparent from White's notes (Footnote 2, Page 5) that Miller to start with after October 1844 stood in defense of the first casket and the glory shining from its contents. But Bates shows him joining the scatterers. In the late 1840's Miller may have been vexed over the scattered, mixed-up, broken-up state of affairs of the Advent movement, but it appears he was oblivious as to the real cause, or his own contribution to it (per Bates). His dependence on the flesh perhaps was reflected in the useless "physical force" he resorted to in the dream.

White mentions that the conditions were such that Miller in his dream "sat down and wept" (actually the next paragraph of dream). But there are no details as to how Miller did this in real life. Did he really perceive that the rubbish of error, to which he himself was contributing, was obscuring the scattered flock who were following present truth? Was the dream God's view of what He wished for Miller? Was the dream from here on a conditional prophecy which showed Miller as he might have been?

They also tore in pieces my casket,1 [Page 9] and scattered it among the rubbish. I thought no man regarded my sorrow or my anger. I became wholly discouraged and disheartened, and sat down and wept. While I was thus weeping and mourning for my great loss and accountability, I remembered God, and earnestly prayed that he would send me help.

[Footnote 1, Page 8] The casket, (See first note on first page) represents the advent truth that Bro. Miller published to the world, as is marked out by the parable of the ten virgins. [Matt.xxv,1-11.] First, the time, 1813; second, the tarrying time; third, the midnight cry, at the seventh month, 1844, and fourth, the shut door. - No one who has read the second advent papers since 1843, will deny that Bro. Miller has advocated these four important points in advent history. This harmonious system of truth or "casket" has been torn in pieces, and scattered among the rubbish by those who have rejected their own experience, and have denied the very truths that they, with Bro. Miller so fearlessly preached to the world.

Note the clear chronology White gives of how this "casket" came to Miller, in four points that Miller advocated, "this harmonious system of truth," as documented in "the second advent papers since 1843":

1. 1813:  the time of the prophecy

2. 1843 (assumed): the tarrying time (appears to be a reference to the first disappointment)

3. 1844 (October = seventh month): Midnight Cry[7]

4. Shut door: in what way did Miller advocate this? Was it the event to which he looked, not realizing it was not the Second Coming?

After the passing of the time, this system of truth was "torn in pieces ... by those who have rejected their own experience." But again, White appears to be the one who is weeping. Where is the evidence that Miller wept as his system of truth was trashed by those who had proclaimed it with him?

It is also surprising that White makes no comment on Miller's reaching his human extremity and then turning to God.

Immediately the door opened, and a man entered the room, when the people left it; and he, having a dirt-brush1 [Page 10] in his hand, opened the windows, and began to brush the dust and rubbish from the room. I cried to him to forbear, for there were some precious jewels scattered among the rubbish. He told me to "fear not," for he would "take care of them." Then, while he brushed, the dust and rubbish, false jewels and counterfeit coin, all rose and went out of the windows like a cloud, and the wind carried them away.

[Footnote 1, Page 9] The man with the "dirt-brush" represents the clear light of present truth, as brought to view by the third angel's message, [Rev.xiv,9-12,] which is now purging the errors away from the remnant. The cause of present truth began to revive in the spring of 1848, and has been rising and gaining strength from that time to the present. The "dirt-brush" has been moving, and the errors have been passing away before the clear light of truth, and some of the precious jewels, who but a short time since were covered up and excluded from sight by darkness and error, now stand in the clear light of present truth. This work of bringing out the jewels, and purging away error is fast increasing, and is destined to move on with increasing power, until the saints are all searched out, and receive the seal of the living God. - Compare this with the thirty-fourth chapter of Ezekiel, and you will see that God has promised to gather his flock that have been scattered in this dark and cloudy day, since 1844. Before Jesus comes, the "little flock" will be gathered into the "unity of the faith." Jesus is now purifying "unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works," and when he comes he will find his "church not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing."  "Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner, &c." - Matt.iii,12.1

What was the turning point in the "cause of present truth" that led it "to revive in the spring of 1848"? It probably was the first general conference held by Sabbath-keeping Adventists April 20 in Rocky Hill, Connecticut.[8]

The work pictured here of the man with the dirt-brush would appear to be an inclusive picture of the "cleansing of the sanctuary" (a more complete span of events during the antitypical Day of Atonement) in the sense that both the erroneous doctrines and the false believers are removed. White focuses on the false doctrines, not the false people. In one sense, in trashing the system of truth they had advocated, these individuals had left it on their own accord. God had used the disappointment and delay to test them, and in their not moving on in the advancing light of present truth, had found them false. It is clearly a picture of separation taking place--the jewels being purified and put in order, and the false ones leaving with their false teachings.

EGW refers to this man with a "dirt-brush" in recounting her vision of January 26, 1850, some four months before James wrote his notes. Her manuscript was entitled "To the 'Little Flock.'" Her brief reference to Miller's symbols (the dirt brush and the cleansing process) gives the same interpretation to these as James later used, but she focuses on the people, not the doctrines, though she does note "the sheep [were] dying for the want of saving, present truth."[9]

In the bustle I closed my eyes1 for a moment; when I opened them, the rubbish was all gone. The precious jewels, the diamonds, gold and silver coins lay scattered in profusion over all the room.

[Footnote 1, Page 10] Brother Miller closed his eyes in death, December 22, 1849, which fulfilled the following words in his dream, "In the bustle I closed my eyes for a moment." This wonderful fulfilment is so plain that none will fail to see it.

If the closing of his eyes was his death, the opening must be not refer to his resurrection, as the final events of his dream should occur before the resurrection, even the special resurrection Ellen White mentions.[10] It must be a special view God gave him to have the effect his last paragraph mentions.

Note Bates' alternate view of what the closing of Miller's eyes meant.[11]

He then placed on the table a casket much larger and more beautiful than the former,2 and gathered [Page 11] up the jewels, the diamonds, the coins, by the handfuls, and cast them into the casket, till not one was left, although some of the diamonds were not bigger than the point of a pin.

[Footnote 2, Page 10] The second "casket much larger and more beautiful than the former" into which the scattered "jewels," "diamonds," and "coins" were gathered, represents the broad field of living present truth into which the scattered flock will be gathered, even 144,000, all of them having the seal of the living God. Not one of the precious diamonds will be left in the dark. Although some are "not bigger than the point of a pin," they will not be overlooked, and left out in this day when God is making up his jewels.  [Mal.iii,16-18.]  He can send his angels and haste them out as he did Lot out of Sodom.  "A short work will the Lord make upon the earth."  "He will cut it short in righteousness."  See Rom.ix,28.2

"Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not." (Mal. 3:16-18)

This metaphor of the final gathering of the jewels, etc., finds its parallel in others in Scripture: the gospel going to the whole world to enable enduring love among a remnant (Matt. 24:12-14; Rev. 14:12), the harvest being ripe (Rev. 14:15), the bride making herself ready (Rev. 19:7). This end of the preparation for the Second Coming Miller was not to see, other than prophetically in this dream. Nor, sadly, was James or Ellen White as well to see it. Following other Scriptural parallels, the "short work" has been delayed.[12]

He then called upon me, to "come and see." I looked into the casket, but my eyes were dazzled with the sight. They shone with ten times their former glory.1 I thought they had been scoured in the sand by the feet of those wicked persons who had scattered them, and trod them in the dust. I saw they were arranged in beautiful order in the casket, every one in its place, without any visible pains of the man who cast them in. - I shouted with very joy - and that shout awakened me. {1850 JW, BMD 6.1}

[Footnote 1, Page 11] The church will then be pure and "without fault before the throne of God," having confessed all their errors, faults and sins, and having had them washed away by the blood of Christ and blotted out, they will be without "spot or wrinkle, or any such thing." Then they will shine with "ten times their former glory."


Oswego, May, 1850.

If under the Midnight Cry[13] the contents of the casket "reflected a light and glory equalled only by the sun," and here Miller is given a view of a future time when "they shone with ten times their former glory," this must refer to the Loud Cry of Revelation 18. Ellen White appears to have echoed this in her September 1852 statement, "You are getting the coming of the Lord too far off. I saw the latter rain was coming as [suddenly as] the midnight cry, and with ten times the power." {SpM 4.3}[14]

The effect of this on my mind has been extremely consoling and happy.


Low Hampton, N. Y. Dec. 3, 1847." {1850 JW, BMD 11.1}


Miller had his dream in November of 1847 according to Joseph Bates. {1848 JB, SC3 189.1}

Apparently Miller was given this dream with God's desire that he not close this life without consolation and happiness. God is in charge, and will preserve the genuine, those who reflect His glory of self-giving love.


Additional End Notes by Compiler


Concluding Notes on Dream in General

Perhaps God was giving Miller, in the events from the scattering through the cleaning and restoration, a picture of what the process since October 1844 actually entailed, in metaphors that bypassed his prejudices against the heavenly sanctuary doctrine, in showing him the same truth in different pictures. It seems clear that God in His mercy wanted to bring to Miller joy, consolation, and happiness, and succeeded in doing so! Amazingly, this was in spite of the fact we have no evidence Miller ever saw his own failure to discern and cooperated (rather than resist as he did) God's actual work of cleaning and preparing a more glorious casket and contents. As Bates noted in his letter to Miller:

Your cry to forbear, looks ominous of further resistance and as for any of your assistance in collecting, cleansing and arranging the jewels of the Lord of hosts (the last casket,) it looks still more dubious, as it seems you kept your eyes closed (in a quiet state,) until the jewels were all arranged. This is the reason why you did not see the pains that the man (or messenger) took in arranging them. {1848 JB, SC3 192.3}

This I fear, that you will not open your eyes to see this important work until the sealing time, and God speaks himself; but I cannot but still hope that your "shout for very joy," will be one of triumph and redemption. {1848 JB, SC3 193.1}


Other Commentators

1848: Joseph Bates refers to Miller's dream in his 1848 publication A Vindication of the Seventh-day Sabbath, and the Commandments of God. The section entitled "Past and Present Experience" is directly addressed to William Miller, with a P.S. specifically referring to Miller's dream of November 1847 (which he states was published in the Advent Herald, January 8, 1848), and giving some interpretation. His interpretation appears largely to match James White's of May 1850 (with some differences as noted above). See {1848 JB, SC3 189.1} through {1848 JB, SC3 193.1}. (He also relates a dream of his own, {1848 JB, SC3 193.2} through {1848 JB, SC3 193.3} and asks for Miller's interpretation!)

1850: [Ellen White:] The Lord gave me a view, January 26, 1850, which I will relate. I saw that some of the people of God are stupid and dormant and but half awake; they do not realize the time we are now living in, and that the man with the "dirt brush" has entered, and that some are in danger of being swept away. I begged of Jesus to save them, to spare them a little longer, and let them see their awful danger, that they might get ready before it should be forever too late. The angel said, "Destruction is coming like a mighty whirlwind." I begged of the angel to pity and to save those who loved this world, who were attached to their possessions and were not willing to cut loose from them and sacrifice to speed the messengers on their way to feed the hungry sheep who were perishing for want of spiritual food.  {EW 48.2} [Note this account was also published in {ExV 29.3}, {RH, April 1, 1850 par. 1}, and {16MR 30.1}, the last listing it as Ms4, 1850 in its entirety. These four published records of this vision show significant editing variations.]

1853: The only other reference found on the current pioneer collection is a brief one by Ransom Hicks of Providence, Rhode Island, in a letter November 20, 1853 to The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald published in December 6, 1853. (See {December 6, 1853 JWe, ARSH 176.7}.) His view of the specifics of Miller's dream that he mentions concurs with James White's.


Other Observations

--Review of Advent Movement

The entire dream, in the light of James White's interpretation, is a review of the Advent Movement, starting with William Miller's personal Bible study, and projecting into the future past Miller's life. As White stated in his first introductory paragraph, "it clearly marked out our past second advent experience, and ... God gave the dream for the benefit of the scattered flock." It is not insignificant that James White named his own periodical The Advent Review, feeling in those early years the need to review the Advent experience, in light of the great confusion that came in after the disappointment. The need should be well appreciated, as confidence in the past, along with learning the necessary corrections, is God's appointed means of guiding us into the future. This dream was uniquely fitted to summarize the events, and God's dealing in them, and what was still in store.


--Early Timeline from Disappointment to Dream to Publication (1844 to 1852)

       1. October 1844: The great disappointment occurred, but light on the sanctuary began immediately.

             2. November 1844: Miller's first letter after the disappointment was published in The Advent Herald (November 27, pp. 127, 128).
In it he encouraged Joshua Himes to continue publishing the "Boston [Advent Herald] and New York [Midnight Cry]" periodicals to "have a medium of communication with one another, so that ... we may have light in all our dwellings."[15] He encouraged the believers to "hold fast."[16] At the same time many errors began to flood in, even through those who had been leaders.

       3. March 1845: The first article on the sanctuary was published, in Day-Dawn.

       4. February 1846: Another more extensive article on the sanctuary was published in The Day Star Extra.

      5. Summer(?) 1847:  The Day-Dawn was the "last to defend the true position of the little flock; but that died a number of months before the Lord gave Bro. Miller this dream." However, it ceased publication with a blaze of error on the time, with new date setting for the Advent pointing to 1877. [17]

       6. November 1847: God gave Miller this dream.

       7. January(?) 1848: Bates published his appeal to Miller.[18]

       8. Spring 1848: "The cause of present truth began to revive...."[19]

       9. November 1848: Ellen White had a vision "to publish the light that was shining upon our pathway."[20]

     10. July 1849: James White began publishing a periodical The Present Truth to share "the present truth for the scattered flock."[21]

     11. December 1849: Miller died.

     12. January 1850: EGW vision on dirt-brush

     13. May 1850: James White published Miller's dream and gave interpretation

     14. August 1850:  James White began publishing The Advent Review to show "the fulfillment of Prophecy in the past wonderful
work of God."[22]

     15. November 1850: James White combined his periodicals into Second Advent Review, and Sabbath Herald, referencing the
symbols from Miller's dream, as the hope of the publication. [23]

     16. September 1852: Ellen White wrote that "the latter rain was coming as [suddenly as] the midnight cry, and with ten times the power."[24]


--"Ten Times Their Former Glory" Delayed

The first delay of what Miller was shown at the end of his dream, the glory of the second casket and its contents being ten times brighter than the first, was actually due to the failure of the Adventists under his leading to advance with the third angel's message. Ellen White wrote of this in 1883:

"Had Adventists, after the great disappointment in 1844, held fast their faith, and followed on unitedly in the opening providence of God, receiving the message of the third angel and in the power of the Holy Spirit proclaiming it to the world, they would have seen the salvation of God, the Lord would have wrought mightily with their efforts, the work would have been completed, and Christ would have come ere this to receive His people to their reward."[25]

The second and longer delay was the response of Seventh-day Adventists to the message of the third angel "in verity" in the 1880's.[26] The clearest statement of the reasons for this delay that extends to our day is the June 6, 1896 letter to Uriah Smith:

"The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith" (Galatians 3:24). In this scripture, the Holy Spirit through the apostle is speaking especially of the moral law. The law reveals sin to us, and causes us to feel our need of Christ and to flee unto Him for pardon and peace by exercising repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

An unwillingness to yield up preconceived opinions, and to accept this truth, lay at the foundation of a large share of the opposition manifested at Minneapolis against the Lord's message through Brethren [E.J.] Waggoner and [A.T.] Jones. By exciting that opposition Satan succeeded in shutting away from our people, in a great measure, the special power of the Holy Spirit that God longed to impart to them. The enemy prevented them from obtaining that efficiency which might have been theirs in carrying the truth to the world, as the apostles proclaimed it after the day of Pentecost. The light that is to lighten the whole earth with its glory was resisted, and by the action of our own brethren has been in a great degree kept away from the world.[27]

[1] See "Other Commentators" under Additional End Notes by Compiler.

[2] See August 1850 in "Early Timeline from Disappointment to Dream to Publication" in "Other Observations" under Additional End Notes by Compiler.

[3] See November 1844 in "Early Timeline from Disappointment to Dream to Publication" in "Other Observations" under Additional End Notes by Compiler.

[4] See "Other Commentators" under Additional End Notes by Compiler.

[5] The timeline from the great disappointment to this publication of Miller's dream by James White (the year after he started a periodical he very purposefully named The Present Truth), and beyond, is traced briefly in the "Early Timeline from Disappointment to Dream to Publication" in "Other Observations" under Additional End Notes by Compiler.

[6] {1848 JB, SC3 190.1}

[7] According to Miller's biographer, Bliss, he accepted the October 22 on October 6; see {1853 SB, MWM 269.4}.

[8] See {1BIO 137.1} and following for a description of the significance of this event.

[9] {EW 49.1}

[10] {EW 285.1} See "Other Commentators" under Additional End Notes by Compiler.

[11] {1848 JB, SC3 192.3} and {1848 JB, SC3 193.1} quoted in "Concluding Notes on Dream in General" under Additional End Notes by Compiler

[12] See "'Ten Times Their Former Glory' Delayed" under Additional End Notes by Compiler.

[13] Referenced by Bates in {1848 JB, SC3 180.2} and {1848 JB, SC3 182.3}.

[14] On November 20, 1857 she was shown a picture that connected the Latter Rain with the Loud Cry {1T 179.3 & 182.2}. See also {1T 353.3} written a few years later. Approximately 30 years later (September 5, 1891) she was still writing of these two together; see {1888 959.6}. Five years after that, she showed the connection between the Latter Rain and the Loud Cry in the statement quoted in "'Ten Times Their Former Glory' Delayed" under Additional End Notes by Compiler, where she wrote of "the special power of the Holy Spirit" [Latter Rain] with "the light that is to lighten the whole earth with its glory" [Loud Cry].

[15] {November 27, 1844 JVHe, HST 128.1}

[16] Here is found these words of Miller, popularized by a recent song entitled "I Have Fixed My Mind"--

Brethren, hold fast; let no man take your crown. I have fixed my mind upon another time, and here I mean to stand until God gives me more light.--And that is To-day, To-day, and To-day, until he comes, and I see Him for whom my soul yearns. {November 27, 1844 JVHe, HST 128.2}

[17] Footnote 2, Page 6 (see above)

[18] See "Other Commentators" under Additional End Notes by Compiler.

[19] Footnote 1, Page 9 (see above)

[20] {LS 125.1}

[21] In his first issue of The Present Truth, James White wrote as follows:

For months I have felt burdened with the duty of writing, and publishing the present truth for the scattered flock; but the way has not been opened for me to commence the work until now. I tremble at the word of the Lord, and the importance of this time. What is done to spread the truth must be done quickly. The four Angels are holding the angry nations in check but a few days, until the saints are sealed; then the nations will rush, like the rushing of many waters. Then it will be too late to spread before precious souls, the present saving, living truths of the Holy Bible. My spirit is drawn out after the scattered remnant. May God help them to receive the truth, and be established in it. May they haste to take shelter beneath the "covering of the Almighty God," is my prayer. {July 1849 JWe, PTJW 1.8}

[22] His first paragraph stated, "Our design in this review is to cheer and refresh the true believer, by showing the fulfilment of Prophecy in the past wonderful work of God, in calling out, and separating from the world and nominal church, a people who are looking for the second advent of the dear Saviour." {August 1850 JWe, ADRE 1.2}

[23] After the lead articles on the Sabbath, White noted the following:

TO OUR READERS. - The REVIEW and HERALD is designed to be strictly confined to those important truths that belong to the present time. We hope to be able to send you this enlarged size of the paper quite often, containing a simple and clear exposition of those great and sanctifying truths embraced in the message of the third angel, viz: the "commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." It is truly lamentable to see Second Advent papers, that once advocated the pure, naked and cutting truth, applicable to the time, now devoted to the discussion of questions foreign from the present truth, which cannot possibly benefit the dear saints that are perishing for spiritual food. Among other charges given to Timothy by the Apostle Paul is the following, - "But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes." This we intend to do. And with much pleasure do we look forward to the predicted period, when the sheep, that have been scattered on the mountains of Israel since a cry at midnight, shall be gathered into the unity of the faith, the rubbish blown away, and the precious "jewels" all brought into the clear light of the third angel's message, and in this second "casket" "shine" forth with "ten times their former glory." {November 1850 JWe, ARSH 7.1}

[24] {SpM 4.3}

[25] {1SM 68.1} (Manuscript 4, 1883). This delay was republished from 1888 through 1911. See {4SP291.1}, {GC88 457.1}, {GC 457.2}, {8T 115.4}.

[26] {RH, April 1, 1890 par. 8}

[27] {1SM 234.5} and {1SM 234.6}. This quote is also found referenced in {1888 1575.1&2}. Compare as well related statements as to reasons for this delay in {1888 1525.2}, {20MR 313.1}, {RH, December 15, 1904 par. 8}. Other statements mentioning this delay were published from 1893 through 1910, clustered in groups of repeated statements.  (1) {GCDB, February 28, 1893 par. 5}, {1888 1129.4}, {RH, November 24, 1904 par. 6} [second reference], {9T 29.2}; (2) {16MR 38.2}, {GCB, February 22, 1895 par. 3}, {HM, August 1, 1896 par. 6}, {RH, March 24, 1910 par. 16}; (3) {AUCR, October 15, 1898 par. 12}, {PH004 6.2}, {6T 449.4}, {GCB, April 4, 1901 par. 2} [second reference], {MMR, May 9, 1908 par. 9}; (4) {GCB, March 30, 1903 par. 25}, {AU Gleaner, November 4, 1908 par. 2}, {LUH, November 19, 1908 par. 2}, {PH010 3.2}