What was the mistake of William Miller?


By BibleAsk Team

The Mistake of William Miller

William Miller was a Baptist preacher who announced, based on his Bible studies, that Jesus would return to Earth in October 22, 1844. Miller took Bible prophecies that talked about the sanctuary and misapplied them to the second coming. Miller had an accurate date but the wrong event. As a result, the Millerites experienced a great disappointment more than 150 years ago when Jesus did not come back to Earth as they anticipated.

William Miller based his teaching on a verse in Daniel 8:14, which states: “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” William Miller located the starting point of this prophecy, which was 457 B.C. as predicted in Daniel 9:25: “From the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem.” By adding 2,300 prophetic days—a day in prophecy equals a year according to Ezekiel 4:6 — he calculated that Jesus would come in 1844.

The Millerites thought that the sanctuary must be the earth, which is to be cleansed by fire. But even though they had the right time—they had the wrong place and, in turn, the wrong event.

When 1844 came and went, and Jesus had not return as thought, the Millerites went back to their Bible studies to find where they went wrong. They discovered that the Bible never calls the earth the sanctuary (for the earthly sanctuary in Israel was destroyed in 70 AD), therefore, the sanctuary in Daniel 8:14 does not mean the earth. This was the Millerites’ mistake.

Clearly, Jesus was not coming to cleanse the earth with fire in 1844. However, He did begin a special ministry as our High Priest to cleanse the sanctuary in heaven from the sins of His people (Hebrews 4:14-16). Christ entered the last phase of that Heavenly Judgment. This special judgment, like that of Israel’s Yom Kippur, represents the final atonement to be made for planet Earth (Daniel 8:12-14; Leviticus 16:1-17 ).

The New Testament confirms that, “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” “Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount” (Hebrews 8:1, 2, 5).

For more on this study, check the following link: A Great Prophetic Period.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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