Last modified on November 21, 2019, at 00:07

Great Disappointment

The Great Disappointment was a major event in the history of 19th-century American Christianity, affecting the disciples of the Millerite movement, a sect that formed out of the Second Great Awakening.

William Miller, a Baptist preacher, proposed that Jesus Christ would return to the earth during the year 1843, based on his interpretations of the prophecies in the book of Daniel (Chapters 8 and 9, especially Dan. 8:14 "Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed"). Once 1843 passed with no return, it was determined that due to "calculation error" (as preached by Samuel S. Snow) the return would actually take place on October 22, 1844. In both cases, thousands of followers, some of whom had given away all of their possessions, waited expectantly.

When Jesus did not appear on the revised date, the event became known as the Great Disappointment. Miller himself repented of attempting to set a date and returned to the Baptist church. However, another follower found a convenient explanation for what went on: Miller didn't have the date wrong but had the event wrong. Instead of Jesus coming to Earth, he would enter the Holy Temple in Heaven and begin cleansing it (an event known as the "Investigative Judgment"). Many followers of Miller's original movement accepted the revision, which eventually gave birth to the beginnings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.