~ William Miller's Dream & Notes ~

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William Miller’s dream is a vivid representation of the history of the Advent Movement – Its humble beginnings, its growth and progress, the present state of backsliding and apostasy, the rejection of the foundational truths and their glorious restoration under the movement of the Loud Cry are all presented. This dream was given more for us today than it was for Brother Miller.1 My prayer for the reader is that you may find the peace of Christ through the understanding that He has told us these things before they came to pass (John 13:19). And these things have been given to strengthen our faith against the evil day.

Below is Brother Miller’s dream in bold with explanatory notes.


William Miller’s Dream

“I dreamed that God, by an unseen hand, sent me a curiously wrought casket, about ten inches long by six square made of ebony and pearls curiously inlaid…

The casket is the Bible – “The Bible is a field where are concealed heavenly treasures, and they will remain hidden until, by diligent mining, they are discovered and brought to light. The Bible is a casket containing jewels of inestimable value, which should be so presented as to be seen in their intrinsic luster. But the beauty and excellence of these diamonds of truth are not discerned by the natural eye. The lovely things of the material world are not seen until the sun, dispelling the darkness, floods them with its light. And so with the treasures of God’s word; they are not appreciated until they are revealed by the Sun of Righteousness.” Christ Triumphant, 421.2

The casket’s dimensions – ten inches long by six-square (10x6x6) totals 360. In this can be seen the year-day principle which was the premier rule of prophetic interpretation used by Miller and his associates (The Great Controversy, 335).

…To the casket there was a key attached…

The key that unlocked the Bible to Miller’s understanding were the rules of interpretation he employed in his studies of God’s Word:

“Those who are engaged in proclaiming the third angel’s message are searching the Scriptures upon the same plan that Father Miller adopted. In the little book entitled “Views of the Prophecies and Prophetic Chronology,” Father Miller gives the following simple but intelligent and important rules for Bible study and interpretation:

“1. Every word must have its proper bearing on the subject presented in the Bible; 2. All Scripture is necessary, and may be understood by diligent application and study; 3. Nothing revealed in Scripture can or will be hid from those who ask in faith, not wavering; 4. To understand doctrine, bring all the scriptures together on the subject you wish to know, then let every word have its proper influence; and if you can form your theory without a contradiction, you cannot be in error; 5. Scripture must be its own expositor, since it is a rule of itself. If I depend on a teacher to expound to me, and he should guess at its meaning, or desire to have it so on account of his sectarian creed, or to be thought wise, then his guessing, desire, creed, or wisdom is my rule, and not the Bible.”

“The above is a portion of these rules; and in our study of the Bible we shall all do well to heed the principles set forth.” review and Herald, November 25, 1884 par. 23-25

…I immediately took the key and opened the casket, when, to my wonder and surprise, I found it filled with all sorts and sizes of jewels, 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 equaled only by the sun…

The Jewels represent the truths of God’s Word as already stated in Counsels to Parents and Teachers, 421. The question then is what truths were opened to Miller’s understanding during his investigation of the scriptures? The commencement to the chain of truth – the starting points for the 2300, 2520, 1290, and 1335 year prophecies were revealed to him:

“From a further study of the Scriptures, I concluded that the seven times of Gentile supremacy must commence when the Jews ceased to be an independent nation, at the captivity of Manasseh, which the best chronologers assigned to B. C. 677; that the 2300 days commenced with the seventy weeks, which the best chronologers dated from B. C. 457; and that the 1335 days, commencing with the taking away of the daily, and the setting up of the abomination that maketh desolate, Dan.12:11, were to be dated from the setting up of the Papal supremacy, after the taking away of Pagan abominations, and which, according to the best historians I could consult, should be dated from about A. D. 508. Reckoning all these prophetic periods from the several dates assigned by the best chronologers for the events from which they should evidently be reckoned, they would all terminate together, about A. D. 1843. I was thus brought, in 1818, at the close of my two years’ study of the Scriptures, to the solemn conclusion, that in about twenty-five years from that time all the affairs of our present state would be wound up; that all its pride and power, pomp and vanity, wickedness and oppression, would come to an end; and that, in the place of the kingdoms of this world, the peaceful and long-desired kingdom of the Messiah would be established under the whole heaven; that, in about twenty-five years, the glory of the Lord would be revealed, and all flesh see it together, – the desert bud and blossom as the rose, the fir-tree come up instead of the thorn, and instead of the briar the myrtle-tree, – the curse be removed from off the earth, death be destroyed, reward be given to the servants of God, the prophets and saints, and them who fear his name, and those be destroyed that destroy the earth.” Memoirs of William Miller, 76.1

However the jewels of truth revealed to Miller are more comprehensively portrayed on 1843 and 1850 charts.2

…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. The people began to come in, at first few in number, but increasing to a crowd. When they first looked into the casket they would wonder, and shout for joy…

William Miller gave his first sermon on the Second Advent on August 14 1831.3 The subject of his first exposition was Daniel 7 and 8. Showing that from the beginning prophecy was the heart of the Advent message.

God set His seal of approval upon Miller's work through the conversion of souls who had backslidden from God. Following his initial presentations invitations to speak began to pour in from other localities and the work gradually expanded.

Up until 1840 the numbers that accepted the message of the Second Advent were comparatively few in light of the spectacular movements that followed. On August 11, 1840 the year-day principle was confirmed to the world through the fulfillment of a prophecy pertaining to Islam (the Second Woe of Revelation 9). The record states:

“In the year 1840 another remarkable fulfillment of prophecy excited widespread interest. Two years before, Josiah Litch, one of the leading ministers preaching the second advent, published an exposition of Revelation 9, predicting the fall of the Ottoman Empire. According to his calculations, this power was to be overthrown “in A.D. 1840, sometime in the month of August;” and only a few days previous to its accomplishment he wrote: “Allowing the first period, 150 years, to have been exactly fulfilled before Deacozes ascended the throne by permission of the Turks, and that the 391 years, fifteen days, commenced at the close of the first period, it will end on the 11th of August, 1840, when the Ottoman power in Constantinople may be expected to be broken. And this, I believe, will be found to be the case.”–Josiah Litch, in Signs of the Times, and Expositor of Prophecy, Aug. 1, 1840.

“At the very time specified, Turkey, through her ambassadors, accepted the protection of the allied powers of Europe, and thus placed herself under the control of Christian nations. The event exactly fulfilled the prediction. (See Appendix.) When it became known, multitudes were convinced of the correctness of the principles of prophetic interpretation adopted by Miller and his associates, and a wonderful impetus was given to the advent movement. Men of learning and position united with Miller, both in preaching and in publishing his views, and from 1840 to 1844 the work rapidly extended.” The Great Controversy, 334.4-335.1

It was following the fulfillment of this prophecy that large crowds began to enter the room to view the casket and the truths it contained.

…But when the spectators increased, every one would begin to trouble the jewels, taking them out of the casket and scattering them on the table.

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; but the more I plead, the more they scattered; and now they seemed to scatter them all over the room, on the floor, and on every piece of furniture in the room. I now saw that among the genuine jewels and coin they had scattered an innumerable quantity of spurious jewels and counterfeit coin…

As the crowds increased they began to scatter the genuine and introduce spurious jewels amongst them. If the genuine jewels represent the truths of the Bible – more specifically, the prophecies portrayed on the 1843 and 1850 charts, then it follows that the false jewels symbolize false doctrines and teachings – false prophecy.

The work of scattering began a few years after the culmination of the Second Advent movement on October 22, 1844. The first jewel to be scattered was the 2520 by James White in 1863. From here the scattering of the true Jewels and the introduction of the false steadily progressed. This is seen in the inroads of the false view of the Daily brought into Adventism by L. R. Conradi in 1905. Regarding which the Spirit of Prophecy is clear that those who gave the judgment hour cry had the correct view.4 This was also fulfilled in the introduction of the pantheistic heresy by Kellogg in 1897.5 And it has been fulfilled again and again to bring us to our current state where all the truths given at the beginning of the movement have either been rejected, or are being fought against at all levels within the church.

…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.

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, until they covered every one of the true jewels, diamonds and coins – until they were all excluded from sight…

The dirt and shavings represent tradition and human interpretation – “The jewels of truth lie scattered over the field of revelation; but they have been buried beneath human traditions, beneath the sayings and commandments of men, and the wisdom from heaven has been practically ignored; for Satan has succeeded in making the world believe that the words and achievements of men are of great consequence…” Christian Experience and views of Ellen White, 86.1

Sayings and commandments of men, or human interpretations, are exemplified by the adoption of the historical critical and related methods of interpreting the Bible. These methods that place man as a judge of God’s Word, and direct people to scholars and learned men as opposed to prayerfully studying for themselves, are fittingly represented as dirt and shavings that are burying away the light that God desires to impart to His people.

It is worth taking note of the fact that the dirt and shavings covered every one of the jewels until they were “all excluded from sight.” Such has been the catastrophic effect of adopting historical critical and historical grammatical methods over the only Biblical method which is the proof-text method (Isaiah 28:9-12). If one begins with wrong premises, they will be led to wrong conclusions. And if our starting point – our very method of interpreting the Bible is erroneous, it follows that we will be led to erroneous beliefs regarding what the Bible teaches. The baleful harvest of false methods of interpretation can be seen in the present condition of our church where every wind of doctrine blows turning many out of the narrow way.

…They also tore in pieces my casket, and scattered it among the rubbish…

Following the scattering of the true jewels and the introduction of the false, the casket – the Bible itself – is torn and scattered among the rubbish. The Bible was indeed subjected to such violence by the articles on inspiration penned by G. I. Butler (then General Conference President) in the Review and Herald in 1884. In them Butler promoted the idea that there are degrees of inspiration in the Bible. Some texts he saw as having the highest level of inspiration whilst others he viewed as “hardly inspired”.6 Notwithstanding the fact that the Bible says “every word of God is pure”, and “all scripture is given by inspiration of God” (Proverbs 30:5, 2 Timothy 3:15).

The work of tearing up the casket was continued through the introduction of corrupt Bible versions in the 1930s. As Miller fought with his very strength to arrest the work of destruction, faithful men were raised up to challenge the work of apostasy in their day. B. G. Wilkinson, the author of “Our Authorized Bible Vindicated”, was one such man. And his strong arguments in opposition to the tearing up of the casket (the King James Version Bible) are recorded in that volume.

…I thought no man regarded my sorrow or my anger. I became wholly discouraged and disheartened, and sat down and wept…

It is often in the darkest moments, when the sincere believers in truth see the futility of warring in their own strength and are brought to the brink of despair that Christ visits to interpose in a marked manner. Thus it was with John the Revelator when he wept that no one was found worthy to open the book with the seven seals (Revelation 5:1-6); and thus it is today as Miller’s dream is being fulfilled.

…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. Immediately the door opened, and a man entered the room, when the people left it; and he, having a dirt-brush 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.”…

That Christ is the Man with the dirt-brush is revealed in the words “fear not.” It was Christ who told the beloved John to “fear not” in the first chapter of the Revelation. Revelation 1:10-17:

I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. 12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. 17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

And it is Christ who admonishes believers to fear not for it is God’s good pleasure to give them the kingdom. “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom”. Luke 12:32.

…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. In the bustle I closed my eyes for a moment; when I opened them, the rubbish was all gone…

These transactions point to a work of purification and restoration amongst God’s people. Christ Himself is at the head of this work. The false teachings, traditions, and human interpretations that have hid the jewels of truth from sight will be swept away and the truth will be restored to its rightful place. This work is foretold by scripture in the return to the “old paths” (Jeremiah 6:16) and is prefigured by Elijah who would come to “restore all things” (Matthew 17:11, Mark 9:12). A return to the old paths in this day must of necessity be a return to the teachings on the 1843 and 1850 charts as the truths they portray are the “paths” that were laid at the beginning of the movement. They are the paths from which God’s people have turned away.

…The precious jewels, the diamonds, gold and silver coins lay scattered in profusion over all the room. He then placed on the table a casket much larger and more beautiful than the former, and gathered 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…

As part of this work of restoration the Bible itself is restored but much larger and more beautiful than at first. What is it that enlarges upon and beautifies the scriptures? This is pointing to the Spirit of Prophecy through which God speaks to His people today:

“In ancient times God spoke to men by the mouth of prophets and apostles. In these days He speaks to them by the testimonies of His Spirit. There was never a time when God instructed His people more earnestly than He instructs them now concerning His will, and the course that He would have them pursue.” Testimonies for the Church Vol. 5, 661

“The Word of God abounds in general principles for the formation of correct habits of living, and the Testimonies, general and personal, have been calculated to call their attention more especially to these principles.” Ibid., 663-664

“The seeds of rebellion against the Testimonies were planted in the early years of the church. In 1883 Uriah Smith, then a leading educator within the denomination, began to express doubts regarding the prophetic gift of Ellen White. It was Smith who promulgated the idea that not all the writings of the Lord’s prophet are inspired. This was the seed for what has culminated in the last deception of Satan – the making of none-effect the Testimonies of God’s Spirit.” Selected Messages Vol. 1, 48

The Restoration of Spirit of Prophecy is necessarily a part Christ’s work of restoring all things:

“As the end draws near, and the work of giving the last warning to the world extends, it becomes more important for those who accept present truth to have a clear understanding of the nature and influence of the Testimonies, which God in His providence has linked with the work of the third angel’s message from its very rise.” Testimonies for the Church Vol. 5, 654

…He then called upon me, to “come and see.”…

The words “come and see” in Scripture are associated with the unsealing of prophetic light (Revelation 6:1-7). The light unsealed in the time when God is restoring the foundations of Adventism is the light of the Fourth Angel of Revelation 18. It is the light from this Angel, which joins the Third Angel’s message, that causes the Jewels of truth to shine with greater glory than at first:

“I saw angels hurrying to and fro in heaven, descending to the earth, and again ascending to heaven, preparing for the fulfillment of some important event. Then I saw another mighty angel commissioned to descend to the earth, to unite his voice with the third angel, and give power and force to his message. Great power and glory were imparted to the angel, and as he descended, the earth was lightened with his glory. The light which attended this angel penetrated everywhere, as he cried mightily, with a strong voice, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” The message of the fall of Babylon, as given by the second angel, is repeated, with the additional mention of the corruptions which have been entering the churches since 1844. The work of this angel comes in at the right time to join in the last great work of the third angel’s message as it swells to a loud cry. And the people of God are thus prepared to stand in the hour of temptation, which they are soon to meet. I saw a great light resting upon them, and they united to fearlessly proclaim the third angel’s message.” Early Writings, 277.1

…I looked into the casket, but my eyes were dazzled with the sight. They shone with ten times their former glory. 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…

Brother Miller’s shout represents the Loud Cry of the Third Angel which is given by the remnant that participates in the work of restoring the old paths. It is at the Loud Cry that all the truths that were once scattered—the Three Angel’s Messages as represented on the 1843 and 1850 charts—are proclaimed in latter rain power.

The Loud Cry of the Third Angel presages the culmination of the great controversy and final victory for the saints at Christ’s second coming (see Early Writings, 271-272).

…The effect of this on my mind has been extremely consoling and happy.” —WM. MILLER, Low Hampton, NY Dec. 3, 1847.

May Brother Miller’s consolation be our own in these perilous times for the church and the world.

1 Brother Miller’s dream was understood to be inspired by the pioneers of the SDA Church. See the document Brother Miller’s Dream with Notes by James White, http://temcat.com/L-1-adv-pioneer-lib/JWHITE/DREAM.pdf

2 See EW74, GC 392.2, 13MR 359.1-3, 15MR 213.1. In the Pioneer Library see Second Advent Waymarks and High Heaps (Joseph Bates) pg.52, A Seal of the Living God (Joseph Bates) pg. 33, The Great Second Advent Movement (JN Loughborough) pg.108.3, The Present Truth vol. 1 pg.88 (PTJW 88.10), The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald vol.2 pg. 64 (ARSH 64.26).

3 LeRoy Edwin Froom, Prophetic Faith of our Fathers vol.4, pg.484

4 Then I saw in relation to the “daily” (Daniel 8:12) that the word “sacrifice” was supplied by man’s wisdom, and does not belong to the text, and that the Lord gave the correct view of it to those who gave the judgment hour cry. When union existed, before 1844, nearly all were united on the correct view of the “daily”; but in the confusion since 1844, other views have been embraced, and darkness and confusion have followed. Time has not been a test since 1844, and it will never again be a test. {Early Writings pg. 74.2}

5 For more on the pantheism crisis see –http://www.ellengwhiteestate.org/books/mol/Chapt18.html#PantheismCrisis

6 “The following year [1884] Butler, in a ten-part series in the Adventist Review 2, argued that the whole content of the Bible could be classified under five different “degrees” of inspiration and authority ranging from that which was inspired in the highest degree down to that which he “could hardly call inspired.” [George I. Butler, “Inspiration,” Advent Review and Sabbath Herald (hereafter RH), January 8, 1884, 24; January 15, 1884, 41; January 22,1884,57,58; January 29,1884, 73,74; February 5, 1884, 89,90; April 15, 1884, 249,250; April 22, 1884, 265-267; May 6, 1884, 296, 297; May 27, 1884, 344-346; June 3, 1884, 361,362]. In spite of being accepted by many church members, these notions were strongly rejected by Ellen White (1889) [E. G. White, Selected Messages, (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1958), 1:23] and by others such as the author of an 1993 senior Sabbath School lesson.” Alberto R. Timm, Understanding Inspiration: The symphonic and wholistic nature of Scripture.