A Prophet Among You


A Question of Time

General and local conferences of believers in the second advent were held with increasing frequency as the tempo of the movement speeded up. Christ was going to return about the year 1843, and the time was near. Urged to define his year “1843,” in the Signs of the Times of January 25, 1843, Miller declared: “I am fully convinced that some time between March 21st, 1843, and March 21st, 1844, according to the Jewish mode of computation of time, Christ will come.” The months of 1843 and early 1844 rolled by, with increased expectancy on the part of the believers in the advent. The proceedings were watched by many unbelieving observers, and skepticism, prejudice, or mockery grew. APAY 193.1

It had never been Miller’s intention to form a new church. He, and those associated with him, thought to benefit all churches by bringing new light on Bible prophecy, and leading to revival in preparation for the advent. At first they had been heartily received by pastors of churches of many denominations, but emphasis on the 1843 date and the premillennial advent began to cause the rejection of the message by many who earlier had listened eagerly. Doors once open began to close to Millerite preachers. By the summer of 1843, it was clear that a separation was taking place. Resolutions were made, bans on adventist teachings were issued, members were disfellowshiped, ministers were relieved of their credentials and discharged. The consequence was natural—adventist preachers began to call for the people who were loyal to the advent teachings to separate from their churches and form adventist congregations. Miller did not take part in the call for separation, and he felt that some of his brethren went too far; but the invitation, “Come out of her, My people,” issued slowly at first, soon spread. APAY 193.2

Men did not stop studying even though the advent believers in general had great confidence in Miller’s conclusions. As early as the summer of 1843 some of Miller’s associates began to recognize that the rabbinical reckoning of the beginning and ending of the Jewish year which was being followed by Miller was different from the true Jewish year. The Jewish year as commonly calculated was governed by the spring equinox, and it was from this that Miller concluded that the particular Jewish year coming twenty-three hundred years after the decree of Artaxerxes to restore and build Jerusalem (457 B.C.) extended from March 21, 1843, to March 21, 1844. Actually, according to true Jewish reckoning, that year ended about the middle of April. APAY 194.1

Another fact began to take shape in their thinking. They had accepted 457 B.C., the seventh year of Artaxerxes, as the beginning of the twenty-three hundred years. Miller’s calculations were on the basis of the twenty-three hundred years reaching from the beginning of 457 B.C., to the spring of 1844. However, the decree had not gone into effect at the beginning of the year, but in the autumn. Thus, if the twenty-three hundred years were to be full years, they would not end in the spring of 1844, but in the autumn of the year. Then the students became impressed with the thought that the Day of Atonement in the ancient sanctuary service occurred on the tenth day of the seventh month of the Jewish religious year. That, too, would throw the antitypical day of atonement into the autumn of 1844. The whole picture of the time elements in the relation of the typical to the antitypical day of atonement began to form more clearly. 4 Therefore, some of the careful students of the prophecies were neither surprised nor dismayed when the spring of 1844 passed without the return of Christ. APAY 194.2

“Beginning first with an article written February 16, 1843, and continuing progressively throughout 1844, Samuel S. Snow emphasized the autumnal Jewish seventh month, Tishri, as the true ending of the prophetic 2300-year span, with the beginning dated from the autumn of 457 B.C.—Ibid., p. 799. Snow slowly gained some support in his position, but there was no general acceptance of it until after his presentation to the group attending the Exeter, New Hampshire, camp meeting which began August 12, 1844. Clearly and logically Snow presented his evidences that Christ would return in the autumn of that year. The following day he repeated the presentation in more detail, and it became clear to those who listened that the 2300 years would end, and the antitypical day of atonement come on October 22, 1844. This, they believed, would be the day of the return of Christ in power and great glory. It was now near the end of August; there were only a few weeks left to complete the task of giving the warning. APAY 195.1