We are gathered here today in solemn remembrance of an event that did not take place.
In October of 1844, a band of Millerites, many of whom would later found the Seventh-day Adventist Church, expected the Second Coming of Christ (see also: Second Advent, Rapture, Apocalypse, etc.).
Through extensive, careful Bible study enhanced by vivid, highly-detailed prophecy charts, the Millerites calculated that Jesus would return to earth on October 22, 1844. The prediction hinged upon the King James translation of Daniel 8:13-14:
Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
In their understanding, "the Sanctuary" referred to "earth" and "be cleansed" meant "Jesus would come to earth to wipe away evil from earth with all-consuming fire after saving the faithful remnant from the earth."
Jesus, of course, did not return to the earth on October 22, 1844, leading to what came to be known as the Great Disappointment, the day the Advent Hope died.
The soul crushing sorrow of that non-event is what Adventists around the world remember every October 22, as memorialized in the 2016 film, "TELL THE WORLD," a hagiographic origin story of the founding of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The film stars Tommie-Amber Pirie as a young Ellen G. White.
Tommie-Amber Pirie as a young Ellen experiencing the Great Disappointment in TELL THE WORLD (2016).
Pirie's other credits include "Below Her Mouth" (2016), "Clusterf*ck", (2017), and "How To Plan An Orgy In A Small Town", (2015), which may come as a disappointment to many devout Seventh-day Adventists who liked Pirie as a hot, young Ellen.
In the wake of the October 22, 1844 Disappointment, the Millerites who did not abandon the faith returned to Scripture to ascertain where they had erred. Standing in a field, Hiram Edson saw a vision of what had truly taken place, understanding for the first time that the Sanctuary to be cleansed was the HEAVENLY Sanctuary, not the EARTHLY sanctuary. This led to a brand new doctrine of the Investigative Judgment, which has been described as the biggest Face-Saving Doctrine ever.
The whole Disappointment could have been avoided if several things had been different. For instance, what if Ellen White had received THIS vision?
What if Ted Wilson had been there to school the pioneers in proper "biblical" Bible Study methods?
What if, when Jesus tried to explain "Investigative Judgment" to his disciples, they had guessed it correctly?
Or what if Ellen had been more receptive to what God had tried to show her?
But today, 179 years later, we heirs of the Great Disappointment continue to muddle through our own disappointments. There is not an Adventist among us who is not disappointed sometimes, including...
The pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist church I was visiting approached me.
He said, “Welcome.”
I said, "Thank you, brother. What will you be preaching on?"
He said, "The justice and love of God." I said, Good.
Will you basing it on sacred scripture?
He said, "Yes."
I said, "Good. Will you be quoting from the Spirit of Prophecy?"
He said, "Yes from several books, including the testimonies."
I said, "Good. Will you end with an appeal?"
He said, "Of course. I always invite my congregants to respond to the call of the Spirit.
I said, "Good. Where did you go to school for your theological training?
He said, "I graduated with honors from Southern Adventist University and got my MDiv from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary."
I said, "Good. Where were you ordained?"
He said, "In the Columbia Union not far from the General Conference headquarters."
I said, "Good. Can you turn the lights up higher."
He said, "Here’s the switch. How’s this?
I said, "Oh no. You’re a woman!"
She said, “Yes.” I said, “I didn’t realize. What a great disappointment! Please leave your church.”
Today, Disappointment Day marks the official beginning of Spooky Season for Adventists. Shout out to all the Adventist Kids who just want to be normal.
The Adventist Caricaturist posts on X (Formerly Twitter).
Title image: Disappointed Jesus by Adventist Caricaturist
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