Did Ellen White contradict Scripture regarding the “day and hour”?
Regarding your first question, I do understand Mrs. White’s statement to mean that the last-day saints will receive the knowledge of the actual day and hour of the Second Coming. You asked how we can square this with the plain statements of Scripture indicating the contrary. I suppose you have in mind Matthew 24:36; 25:13; and Mark 13:32. All of these verses use the present tense to say that no one knows. None of them uses the future tense to say that no one will ever know. At the time Jesus spoke the words, they were certainly true. And I believe that they remain true for the human family, certainly through probationary time. But this does not rule out a change of condition before Jesus comes.
I suspect that at least one aspect of His quoted statements has already changed, though I can’t prove it. Mark 13:32 says not only that no man knows the day or hour of His coming, but also that neither the angels nor Jesus Himself knows it. While that was true when it was spoken, is it still true that Jesus doesn’t know when He will return? I can’t prove it, but I suspect that at this point He does know. Certainly at some point before He leaves the heavenly courts to appear in the clouds of the sky He will know. So we must be careful not to make absolute what Scripture does not.
Regarding your second question, Mrs. White’s warnings against time setting are always in the context of probationary time. That is, people arise claiming to know when Jesus will return and urging people to repent and be ready. Mrs. White was shown that our message is never again to be based on such predictions. But the instance you asked about, which Mrs. White was shown in the first vision, takes place very shortly before Jesus returns. (See Early Writings, 15.) It is after the close of probation. At that stage in salvation history, there is no longer any labor for sinners; the evangelistic work of God’s people is done. Mrs. White’s vision didn’t portray them as taking the news of the time to others. Rather, God simply reveals to His people the time of their deliverance when it is very near, perhaps only days or hours away. It is not a message that they are given to proclaim to the world, for it is too late for that.
So in light of the fact that the Bible does not rule out a future revelation of the time, if God should choose to reveal to His faithful people—at the height of their trauma of being persecuted and hunted—just how near their deliverance is, why should this be a problem? Can’t He do that? This is how I personally view the matter.