Ellen G. White and Her Critics

1. Bates’s Time-setting Theory Stated

It is true that for a brief period Bates believed Christ would come in 1851. He published his view sometime in 1850. We quote: EGWC 253.7

“The seven spots of blood on the Golden Altar and before the Mercy Seat, I fully believe represents the duration of the judicial proceedings on the living saints in the Most Holy, all of which time they will be in their affliction, even seven years, God by his voice will deliver them, ‘For it is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul.’ Leviticus 17, 11. Then the number seven will finish the day of atonement, (not redemption.) Six last months of this time, I understand, Jesus will be gathering in the harvest with his sickle, on the white cloud.”—An Explanation of the Typical and Anti-typical Sanctuary, pp. 10, 11. (A sixteen-page pamphlet.) EGWC 253.8

Now, inasmuch as Bates believed that Christ entered the most holy place in 1844, his view regarding the “number seven” meant that he believed that Christ would come in 1851. EGWC 254.1

This pamphlet bears the date 1850. Whether it was published early or late that year, we have no way of knowing. However, we can be sure beyond all reasonable doubt that Bates’s first advocacy of this 1851 date was at the time he published this pamphlet. It is incredible that he would remain silent a day after he had made what he believed was a great theological discovery concerning the date of Christ’s coming. Bates’s autobiography clearly reveals that he was a man of action, forthright and vigorous. As soon as he had a conviction or a belief he was in action in behalf of it. Is it credible he could come to the startling conclusion that Christ would return in the autumn of 1851, and remain silent for a period of time concerning it? He was the one man in the little group of Sabbathkeeping Adventists who had gone into print with several pamphlets, from 1846 to 1849, to set forth his various views. But in none of these was there any reference to the seven-year period. Nor was there any article from his pen in behalf of this view in Present Truth, which was published from July, 1849, to November, 1850. The same may be said regarding the Advent Review, of which a few numbers were published at this time. He was not the kind of man who left to others the responsibility of preaching his beliefs. EGWC 254.2

As will become evident, the date of the publication of this pamphlet, and of the beginning of Bates’s belief in and advocacy of the seven-year period, is important. We repeat, that date can most certainly be set as 1850. EGWC 254.3