Messenger of the Lord


Section III—The Listening Messenger

Chapter 13—Delivering God’s Message

“Then the Spirit entered me when He spoke to me, and set me on my feet; and I heard Him who spoke to me” (Ezekiel 2:2). MOL 134.1

The Millerites, in the early 1840s, with their millennial expectations, were “predisposed ... to the powerful outpouring of charismatic prophesyings, tongues, healings, and other ‘signs and wonders,’ which fulfilled the Biblical promise for the ‘last days.’... Their gatherings convulsed with shouts, praises, weeping, and ‘melting seasons of prayer.’” MOL 134.2

Though Millerite leaders, such as Miller himself, Charles Fitch, and Joshua V. Himes, opposed “charismatic phenomena,” the movement was “commonly criticized”... for such “fanaticism” as healings, speaking in tongues, visions, and prophesyings .... Several Millerite women received press coverage for their “visions.” 1 MOL 134.3

After October 22, 1844, for most Millerites and the scoffing religious world generally, charismatic phenomena such as visions were highly suspect. Millerites, stung by being labeled as fanatics, were especially wary of anyone claiming to have visions. 2 MOL 134.4

Two other “Millerites” (William Foy and Hazen Foss) had felt the opposition to visions. Foy had four visions but received none after 1844. He shared them with people whenever he found interested hearers. MOL 134.5

Foss never revealed his visions to others but recognized the authenticity of Ellen Harmon when he heard her visions explained. 3 MOL 134.6

Disappointed Millerites fell into several major groups in the late 1840s over their beliefs in what happened in 1844: (1) Those who continued to believe that Christ’s return was imminent, that their mistake was in fixing on the wrong date. This group included the main Millerite leaders (Miller, Bliss, Hale, and Himes); (2) those who believed that Christ had indeed come, but not as a physical event; the spiritual experience of the believers became the “second coming” to them, thus they were labeled “spiritualizers“: and (3) those who believed that the date was correct but that the event occurred in heaven with the commencement of Christ’s High Priestly ministration in the “most holy place” the emerging Seventh-day Adventist Church. 4 MOL 134.7

Ellen White became the one clear voice that rallied the third group who believed that the October 22, 1844, date had important cosmic significance. 5 She helped to steer the emerging group of Bible students between the fanaticisms of the “spiritualizers” on the left and the “First-day Adventists” on the right, who repudiated both the significance of October 22 and “spiritual gifts.” Confusion and rejection reigned on both sides of the early Sabbatarian Adventists. The visions of Ellen Harmon (before her marriage, 1844-1846; Ellen White after 1846) became the confirming, correcting, comforting center for the emergence of the third group’s integrated Biblical platform. 6 MOL 134.8