May 19, 1780 is a popular date across the gamut of Seventh-Day Adventist prophetic literature. With no exception is the Adventist prophetess, Ellen G. White, who they believe was divinely inspired and that her interpretations of scripture correct inaccurate ones.
According to the SDA Church—the sun went black on this date—which supposedly fulfilled the prophecies of Revelation 6:12 and Matthew 24:29.
In the August 18, 1874 issue of the Adventist Review they state that the sun was supernaturally darkened on May 19, 1780. We also see another famous prophetic date within Adventism in the next sentence—November 13, 1833—where they claim the moon was darkened and the stars fell from heaven.
In Ellen G. Whites the Great Controversy on page 308 she states that “May 19, 1780, stands in history as ‘The Dark Day.’ Since the time of Moses no period of darkness of equal density, extent, and duration, has ever been recorded. The description of this event, as given by eyewitnesses, is but an echo of the words of the Lord, recorded by the prophet Joel, twenty-five hundred years previous to their fulfillment: ‘The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.’ Joel 2:31.”
In Spiritual Gifts, Vol. II, she says she was shown a vision in the spring of 1858—in Lovett’s Grove, Ohio— which was a repeat of most of what she had been shown 10 years prior and was prompted by the Lord that she must write it out. It was this vision that then prompted the writing of the 1888 Great Controversy—a work she also claimed was “barricaded by a thus saith the Lord.”
Something did happen on this day in May 1780—what is historically known as New England’s Dark Day—but was it the sun going black? No, it was the product of forest fires from Ontario, Canada which was determined by the fire scarring of the trees.
At the time, various people hypothesized what exactly it was, many believing it to be the judgment of God coming onto the nation. But one thing is for certain—the sun did not go black this day. A small region of North America experienced the over blow of a major forest fire which caused the sunlight to be blocked from entering. The sun was still shining just as normal as ever, though.
The SDA Church’s specific claim was that the sun itself went black, which is what the verses in view also state. Revelation 6:12 and Matthew 24:29 are not prophesying about the sky going dark for a day in New England in 1780 due to a forest fire. Ellen White got it wrong. She also claimed that “whatever contradicts God’s Word, we can be sure proceeds from Satan.” We’ll let you connect the dots.