Beyond 1844
(Article)

Introduction

This is the first article of a series of topics on the last day events that have already happened, are happening now, and will continue to happen until the close of the great controversy between Christ and Satan. Important topics on how to prepare for the last day events will also be presented.

Before we begin our study of this article series, it is important to emphasize that time may already be running out and therefore it is very important that we begin our personal preparation from this moment onwards, if we have not begun our preparation yet.

We begin this article series with a quick review of what happened in 1844, which will be our starting point in our study of last day events.

1. What happened in 1844

For those of us who are familiar with the great time prophecy of Daniel 8:14, we know how the year 1844 is reckoned and also what actually happened in that year. Let us revise a little bit on this great time prophecy.

This time prophecy consists of 2300 prophetic days which means 2300 literal years (a day for a year as indicated in Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6) which began in the year 457 B.C. with the decree of Artaxerxes for the restoration of Jerusalem. “Reckoning from the autumn of 457, the 2300 years terminate in the autumn of 1844.” – Ellen G. White, Great Controversy, page 399.

You will recall that in the history of the Millerite movement, the Millerites were expecting our Lord Jesus Christ to come for the second time in the year 1844 according to how Mr. William Miller had interpreted the time prophecy of Daniel 8:14.

Of course, as we know it, our Lord Jesus did not come in the year 1844, and a great disappointment resulted. Many yielded up their faith.

But there were some who re-examined their reckoning of the time prophecy of Daniel 8:14. These group of believers discovered that their reckoning of time prophecy was correct, except that what was to happen in the year 1844 was not the return of our Lord Jesus to this earth, but His entry into the most holy compartment of the heavenly sanctuary.

“But the appointed time had passed, and the Lord had not appeared. The believers knew that God’s word could not fail; their interpretation of the prophecy must be at fault; but where was the mistake? Many rashly cut the knot of difficulty by denying that the 2300 days ended in 1844. No reason could be given for this except that Christ had not come at the time they expected Him. They argued that if the prophetic days had ended in 1844, Christ would then have returned to cleanse the sanctuary by the purification of the earth by fire; and that since He had not come, the days could not have ended.

“To accept this conclusion was to renounce the former reckoning of the prophetic periods. The 2300 days had been found to begin when the commandment of Artaxerxes for the restoration and building of Jerusalem went into effect, in the autumn of 457 B.C. Taking this as the starting point, there was perfect harmony in the application of all the events foretold in the explanation of that period in Daniel 9:25-27. Sixty-nine weeks, the first 483 of the 2300 years, were to reach to the Messiah, the Anointed One; and Christ’s baptism and anointing by the Holy Spirit, A.D. 27, exactly fulfilled the specification. In the midst of the seventieth week, Messiah was to be cut off. Three and a half years after His baptism, Christ was crucified, in the spring of A.D. 31. The seventy weeks, or 490 years, were to pertain especially to the Jews. At the expiration of this period the nation sealed its rejection of Christ by the persecution of His disciples, and the apostles turned to the Gentiles, A.D. 34. The first 490 years of the 2300 having then ended, 1810 years would remain. From A.D. 34, 1810 years extend to 1844. ‘Then,’ said the angel, ‘shall the sanctuary be cleansed.’ All the preceding specifications of the prophecy had been unquestionably fulfilled at the time appointed.” – Ellen G. White, Great Controversy, pages 409-410.

2. God Led His People in the Great Advent Movement

Based on the reckoning of the 2300 years time prophecy and their study of Scripture evidence, the Advent believers began to examine more closely the subject of the sanctuary.

“But God had led His people in the great advent movement; His power and glory had attended the work, and He would not permit it to end in darkness and disappointment, to be reproached as a false and fanatical excitement. He would not leave His word involved in doubt and uncertainty. Though many abandoned their former reckoning of the prophetic period and denied the correctness of the movement based thereon, others were unwilling to renounce points of faith and experience that were sustained by the Scriptures and by the witness of the Spirit of God. They believed that they had adopted sound principles of interpretation in their study of the prophecies, and that it was their duty to hold fast the truths already gained, and to continue the same course of Biblical research. With earnest prayer they reviewed their position and studied the Scriptures to discover their mistake. As they could see no error in their reckoning of the prophetic periods, they were led to examine more closely the subject of the sanctuary.” – Ellen G. White, Great Controversy, pages 410-411.

3. The Beginning of the Seventh-day Adventist Movement

Three groups were to result from the disappointment of 1844. They were:

1. Those who became extremists and repeatedly set times for the return of the Saviour, and who, after a few years ceased to exist in any organized form;

2. Those who continued in the advent hope, but differed little from other Protestants, and became First Day Adventists or Advent Christians; and

3. Those who ultimately became Seventh-day Adventists.

What set the third group apart from the others was their acceptance of additional light that the Lord sent soon after the disappointment of October 22, 1844.

Three distinctive doctrines were added to the message of the second advent and thereby resulted in the beginning of the Seventh-day Adventist movement. The three distinctive doctrines were the doctrine of the heavenly sanctuary, the doctrine that there is to be a second advent movement, and the doctrine of the seventh-day sabbath.

No proper Seventh-day Adventist organization existed, however, until the year 1860, when the name “Seventh-day Adventist” was adopted as the name of the newly organized church.

Since then, the Seventh-day Adventist movement has grown and spread beyond America to the entire world.

It is the purpose of this article series to study the events and important matters relating to the second coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and thus of the end of time as we know it.

4. No Time Prophecy Beyond 1844

The following Spirit of Prophecy statements indicate that there are no more time prophecies after the year 1844.

“I plainly stated at the Jackson camp meeting to these fanatical parties that they were doing the work of the adversary of souls; they were in darkness. They claimed to have great light that probation would close in October 1884. I there stated in public that the Lord had been pleased to show me that there would be no definite time in the message given of God since 1844.” – Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, book 2, page 73.

“Our position has been one of waiting and watching, with no time-proclamation to intervene between the close of the prophetic periods in 1844 and the time of our Lord’s coming.” – Ellen G. White, Manuscript Releases, volume 10, page 270.

“The people will not have another message upon definite time. After this period of time [Rev. 10:4-6], reaching from 1842 to1844, there can be no definite tracing of the prophetic time. The longest reckoning reaches to the autumn of 1844.” – Ellen G. White, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, volume 7, page 971.

5. Mrs. White Expected Christ to Come in Her Day

Certain statements by Mrs. White indicated that she expected Christ to come in her day.

“I was shown the company present at the Conference. Said the angel: ‘Some food for worms, some subjects of the seven last plagues, some will be alive and remain upon the earth to be translated at the coming of Jesus.’” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 1, pages 131-132.

“Because time is short, we should work with diligence and double energy. Our children may never enter college.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 3, page 159.

“The hour will come; it is not far distant, and some of us who now believe will be alive upon the earth, and shall see the prediction verified, and hear the voice of the archangel and the trump of God echo from mountain and plain and sea to the uttermost parts of the earth.” – Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, July 31, 1888.

6. Why Christ’s Second Coming is Delayed

The following statements explain the delay:

“The long night of gloom is trying, but the morning is deferred in mercy, because if the Master should come so many would be found unready.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 2, page 194.

“Had Adventists after the great disappointment in 1844 held fast their faith and followed on unitedly in the opening providence of God, receiving the message of the third angel and in the power of the Holy Spirit proclaiming it to the world, they would have seen the salvation of God, the Lord would have wrought mightily with their efforts, the work would have been completed, and Christ would have come ere this to receive His people to their reward. ... It was not the will of God that the coming of Christ should be thus delayed. ...

“For forty years did unbelief, murmuring, and rebellion shut out ancient Israel from the land of Canaan. The same sins have delayed the entrance of modern Israel into the heavenly Canaan. In neither case were the promises of God at fault. It is the unbelief, the worldliness, unconsecration, and strife among the Lord’s professed people that have kept us in this world of sin and sorrow so many years.” – Ellen G. White, Evangelism, pages 695, 696.

“Had the church of Christ done her appointed work as the Lord ordained, the whole world would before this have been warned and the Lord Jesus would have come to our earth in power and great glory.” – Ellen G. White, Desire of Ages, pages 633-634.

Conclusion

God’s promises are conditional.

“The angels of God in their messages to men represent time as very short. Thus it has always been presented to me. It is true that time has continued longer than we expected in the early days of this message. Our Saviour did not appear as soon as we hoped. But has the Word of the Lord failed? Never! It should be remembered that the promises and threatenings of God are alike conditional. ...

“We may have to remain here in this world because of insubordination many more years, as did the children of Israel, but for Christ’s sake His people should not add sin to sin by charging God with the consequence of their own wrong course of action.” – Ellen G. White, Evangelism, pages 695-696.

Let us keep in mind the shortness of time and not be careless and indolent in the cause and work of God. Soon probation will close – let us be ready.

Prayer: “Our Father in heaven, thank You so much for showing us how You led Your people in the Great Advent Movement. Please help us to prepare and be ready to meet our Lord Jesus when He comes the second time. In Jesus’ name, amen.”


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Questions for Thought:

1. How did the Seventh-day Adventist Movement begin?
2. Is there still any definite time prophecy beyond 1844?
3. Why is Christ’s second coming delayed?