Ellen G. White and Her Critics


Millerites Restudy Positions

The spring of 1844 brought what is known as the first disappointment. However, the Millerite movement did not suddenly disintegrate. On the contrary, certain of the Millerites re-examined the evidence, particularly the time of the ending of the 2300-day prophecy. They also saw new force in a prophetic statement by Habakkuk, which they felt applied to them at that very time: “And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” Habakkuk 2:2, 3. They also re-examined the parable of the marriage. EGWC 162.2

This general re-examination and comparing of scriptures led a rapidly increasing number of them to conclude, in the summer of 1844: EGWC 163.1

1. That, in harmony with the language of Habakkuk, they were now in the tarrying time. EGWC 163.2

2. That the 2300-day prophecy would end, not in the spring, but in the autumn, specifically October 22, 1844. This later date was the result of certain observations: EGWC 163.3

a. Since the decree of Artaxerxes, which began the period, was not carried out till the year 457 was well advanced, then 2300 full years would bring the fulfillment correspondingly late in 1844. EGWC 163.4

b. They also noted that when Christ came to earth He was offered up as the true antitypical passover lamb at the exact time of year when the typical lamb had been offered; namely, on the fourteenth day of the first month, Jewish reckoning. They reasoned by analogy that the great concluding service in the antitypical sanctuary above should take place at the same time of the year as the typical service had taken place on earth; namely, the tenth day of the seventh month, Jewish reckoning. A study of the Jewish calendar, as kept by the Karaite Jews, who they believed were truly orthodox Jews, revealed that the tenth day of the seventh month coincided with October 22 in the year 1844. EGWC 163.5

c. A closer study of the ancient sanctuary service revealed that it came to its climax in the cleansing of that sanctuary, which was a work of judgment. Dimly they sensed that inasmuch as there was no earthly sanctuary now, and as it was only a type of a heavenly, the prophecy in Daniel 8:14 involved in some way the heavenly sanctuary, the cleansing of which, they believed, involved the cleansing of the earth by fire, the final judgment of all men. EGWC 163.6

d. All this added up to the conclusion that the cleansing of the sanctuary, the final judgment on all men, would take place on October 22, 1844. EGWC 163.7

3. That the parable of the ten virgins contained a more exact statement on time than they had; at first, thought. A twenty-four-hour day in prophecy stands for a year; thus the dark half of this period, the night, would stand for six months. And “midnight,” of course, divides this six-month period in two. Now, from the spring of 1844, when the Millerites were disappointed, until October 22, is six months. The middle of this period—“midnight”— would be the summer of 1844. Not until that summer was the re-examination of these various prophecies sufficiently well advanced to provide a basis for a renewed hope and definite preaching regarding the time of the end of the world and the coming of Christ. EGWC 163.8

During the summer camp meeting season of 1844 certain Millerite preachers began to proclaim what they declared was the true midnight cry. They averred that the movement was in the tarrying time, that the 2300 days ended October 22, 1844, and that the cry which was to go forth at midnight, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh,” was due to be heard at that very time, the summer of 1844. EGWC 164.1