What is happening this year on October 22? Chances are if it’s not your birthday, you will say, “Nothing special.”
But imagine waking up Tuesday, October 22, 1844—169 years ago. You probably would have jumped out of bed and rushed to the window. Why? Because you were looking for Jesus to come.
Growing up in 1844, you would have heard about William Miller and his preaching. You would’ve have seen the big chart he used to explain the prophecies from Daniel. He would’ve explained the longest time prophecy in the Bible, found in Daniel 8. In verse 14 the Bible says “for two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.” You, Mr. Miller, and thousands of other people would have believed that the sanctuary was the earth and that Jesus would be coming soon to clean it with fire. Based on this information some believed that Jesus would come on October 22, 1844. Now you are eagerly waiting. How excited you are!
Would you eat breakfast that morning? Maybe you would be wondering what angel food tastes like. You would be expecting to see Jesus and all the angels with Him, and feel the ground shaking as His voice calls up the dead. Perhaps you would have made a checklist of the Bible heroes you wanted to meet in heaven.
We can know what it felt like on that day by reading something Hiram Edson (a farmer who really did live through that Tuesday) said it was like: “Our expectations were raised high, and thus we looked for our coming Lord until the clock tolled twelve at midnight. The day had then passed, and our disappointment had become a certainty. Our fondest hopes and expectations were blasted, and such a spirit of weeping came over us as I never experienced before. It seemed that the loss of all earthly friends could have been no comparison. We wept and wept, till the day dawned.”
Imagine beginning a day with such high hopes and ending it with an all-night crying session. For so many people when Jesus did not come it was the biggest disappointment ever.
What would you have done on October 23? Many people stopped believing in God. Others trusted in Jesus even when they couldn’t understand why He hadn’t come. For them, answers did come. As they studied their Bibles, God revealed they had the time right but hadn’t understood the event. Jesus wasn’t coming back quite yet, for He had a very important job to do in heaven. While He’s getting things ready for us, let’s make sure our hearts are always ready for Him.
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