I am not personally convinced that we should be setting times from 1844 onwards.
There will never again be a message for the people of God that will be based on time.
- Ellen White, Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 188
There is of course nothing wrong with examining new light upon the Scriptures, but new doctrines have to be validated by the Bible, Ellen White, etc.
When a brother receives new light upon the Scriptures, he should frankly explain his position, and every minister should search the Scriptures with the spirit of candor to see if the points presented can be substantiated by the Inspired Word. "The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth." 2 Timothy 2:24, 25.
- Ellen White, Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 31/32
The following boundaries should never be crossed.
No date for the Second Coming
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
- Matthew 24:36 (KJV)
The exact time of the second coming of the Son of man is God's mystery.
- Ellen White, Last Day Events, p. 33.4
If you are wearing the yoke of Christ, if you are lifting his burden, you will see that there is plenty to do in the same lines wherein the servants of God are laboring,-in preaching Christ and him crucified. But any one who shall start up to proclaim a message to announce the hour, day, or year of Christ's appearing, has taken up a yoke and is proclaiming a message that the Lord has never given him.
- Ellen White, Review and Herald, September 12, 1893, par. 18
No one on this side of the close of probation will ever know this date.
Some claim not to have this date, but if you look closely at the model presented, it will often have a date for the close of probation, with a clear estimate for the duration of the plagues. That may not be an exact date of the Second Coming, but it still means you've got a "pretty close" date for the Second Coming. That just can't be.
There's also a group of people that say that God has mapped out exactly 7,000 years for mankind. It's sometimes better known as a Millenial Week (6,000 years mankind + 1,000 years in heaven).
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
- 2 Peter 3:8 (KJV)
But again, the problem is that now we have another day and hour for the Second Coming.
Even if you say that the 6,000 years start at the Fall of Adam/Eve (which no man has a date for), there's a problem with that, because the angels were there, so now satan knows.
Setting dates for this event is just not worth it. God doesn't want us to know.
No date for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit
We are not to know the definite time either for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit or for the coming of Christ.... Why has not God given us this knowledge? Because we would not make a right use of it if He did. A condition of things would result from this knowledge among our people that would greatly retard the work of God in preparing a people to stand in the great day that is to come. We are not to live upon time excitement....
- Ellen White, Last Day Events, p. 33.1
This includes things like saying that the Latter Rain has to fall on the feast of Pentecost, etc.
No date for the close of probation
When probation ends, it will come suddenly, unexpectedly--at a time when we are least expecting it. But we can have a clean record in heaven today, and know that God accepts us.
- Ellen White, Bible Commentaries, vol. 7, p. 989
God has not revealed to us the time when this message will close, or when probation will have an end. Those things that are revealed we shall accept for ourselves and for our children [Deut. 29:29]; but let us not seek to know that which has been kept secret in the councils of the Almighty.
- Ellen White, Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 191
Satan doesn't seem to know either.
Satan infers that probation has closed In the time of trouble Satan stirs up the wicked, and they encircle the people of God to destroy them. But he does not know that "pardon" has been written opposite their names in the books of heaven.
- Ellen White, Review and Herald, Nov. 19, 1908
As satan influenced Esau to march against Jacob, so he will stir up the wicked to destroy God's people in the time of trouble. ... He sees that holy angels are guarding them, and he infers that their sins have been pardoned, but he does not know that their cases have been decided in the sanctuary above.
- Ellen White, The Great Controversy, p. 618
No date for the third angels message
The Lord has shown me that the message of the third angel must go, and be proclaimed to the scattered children of the Lord, but it must not be hung on time. I saw that some were getting a false excitement, arising from preaching time; but the third angels message is stronger than time can be. I saw that this message can stand on its own foundation and needs not time to strengthen it; and that it will go in mighty power, and do its work, and will be cut short in righteousness.
- Ellen White, Early Writings, p.75
I imagine that this event is closely related to the Sunday law.
The danger of getting time-setting wrong is very real.
The apostle's admonition to the Thessalonians contains an important lesson for those who live in the last days. Many Adventists have felt that unless they could fix their faith upon a definite time for the Lord's coming, they could not be zealous and diligent in the work of preparation. But as their hopes are again and again excited, only to be destroyed, their faith receives such a shock that it becomes well-nigh impossible for them to be impressed by the great truths of prophecy.
- Ellen White, The Great Controversy, p. 457
Ellen White speaks out against time-setting quite strongly.
The preaching of a definite time for the judgment, in the giving of the first [angel's] message, was ordered of God. The computation of the prophetic periods on which that message was based, placing the close of the 2300 days in the autumn of 1844, stands without impeachment. The repeated efforts to find new dates for the beginning and close of the prophetic periods, and the unsound reasoning necessary to sustain these positions, not only lead minds away from the present truth, but throw contempt upon all efforts to explain the prophecies. The more frequently a time is set for the second advent, and the more widely it is taught, the better it suits the purposes of Satan. After the time has passed, he excites ridicule and contempt of its advocates, and this casts reproach upon the great advent movement of 1843 and 1844. Those who persist in this error will at last fix upon a date too far in the future for the coming of Christ. Thus they will be led to rest in a false security, and many will not be undeceived until it is too late.
- Ellen White, The Great Controversy, p. 457
As far as I'm concerned prophetic time closed in 1844, and that's when the last days (judgment) began.
I saw that they [Millerites] were correct in their reckoning of the prophetic periods; prophetic time closed in 1844, and Jesus entered the most holy place to cleanse the sanctuary at the ending of the days.
- Ellen White, Early Writings, p. 243
At the very least we should observe the boundaries I have listed in this article.
To learn more about time-setting, and what Ellen White has to say on it, please click here.