Early Writings


The Great Advent Awakening

But it was in the United States that the Advent message was most widely proclaimed and received. As Bible prophecies relating to the return of Jesus were accepted by able men and women of many religious faiths, a large following of earnest Adventist believers resulted. It should be noted, however, that no separate and distinct religious organization was formed. The Advent hope led to deep religious revivals that benefited all the Protestant churches and led many skeptics and infidels to publicly confess their faith in the Bible and in God. EW viii.2

As the movement neared its high point in the early 1840's, several hundred ministers united in proclaiming the message. In the lead was William Miller, who lived in the eastern edge of New York State. He was a man of prominence in his community and engaged in farming as a livelihood. In spite of a rich religious background, he had grown skeptical in his youth. He lost faith in the Word of God and adopted deistic views. While reading a sermon in the Baptist Church one Sunday morning, the Holy Spirit touched his heart, and he was led to accept Jesus Christ as his Saviour. Miller set about to study the Word of God, determined to find in the Bible a satisfactory answer to all his questions, and to learn for himself the truths set forth in its pages. EW viii.3

For two years he devoted much of his time to a verse-by-verse study of the Scriptures. He determined not to take up the next verse until he felt he had found a satisfactory explanation of the one he was studying. He had before him only his Bible and a concordance. In time he came in his study to the prophecies of the literal, personal, second coming of Christ. He grappled also with the great time prophecies, particularly the 2300-day prophecy of Daniel 8 and 9, which he linked with the prophecy of Revelation 14 and the message of the angel proclaiming the hour of God's judgment (Revelation 14:6, 7). In this volume, on page 229, Mrs. White states that “God sent His angel to move upon the heart” of William Miller, “to lead him to search the prophecies.” EW ix.1

In her girlhood Mrs. White heard Miller deliver two series of lectures in the city of Portland, Maine. A deep and lasting impression was made on her heart. We will let her set before us the reckoning of the prophecies, as Elder Miller presented them to his audiences. For this we turn to Mrs. White's later book, The Great Controversy: EW ix.2