After 14 years of studying the Bible, William Miller became convinced that Christ would
return in 1843. When Miller
announced April 3 as the day, some disciples went to mountaintops, hoping for a head start
to heaven. Others were in graveyards, planning to ascend in reunion with their departed
loved ones. Philadelphia society ladies clustered together outside town to avoid entering
God's kingdom amid the common herd. When April 4 dawned as usual the Millerites were
disillusioned, but they took heart. Their leader had predicted a range of dates for
Christ's return. They still had until March 21, 1844. The devout continued to make ready,
but again they were disappointed. A third date--October 22, 1844--was set, but it also
Today in the Word, December 20, 1991.
During his 1960 presidential campaign, John F. Kennedy often closed his speeches with
the story of Colonel Davenport, the Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives:
On May 19th, 1780 the sky of Hartford darkened ominously, and some of the
representatives, glancing out the windows, feared the end was at hand. Quelling a clamor
for immediate adjournment, Davenport rose and said, "The Day of Judgment is either
approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I
choose to be found doing my duty. Therefore, I wish that candles be brought."
than fearing what is to come, we are to be faithful till Christ returns. Instead of
fearing the dark, we're to be lights as we watch and wait.
Biblical prophecy provides some of the greatest encouragement and hope available to us
today. Just as the Old Testament is saturated with prophecies concerning Christ's first
advent, so both testaments are filled with references to the second coming of Christ. One
scholar has estimated that there are 1,845 references to Christ's second coming in the Old
Testament, where 17 books give it prominence. In the 260 chapters of the New Testament,
there are 318 references to the second advent of Christ--an amazing 1 out of every 30
verses. Twenty-three of the 27 New Testament books refer to this great event. For every
prophecy in the Bible concerning Christ's first advent, there are 8 which look forward to
Today in the Word, April, 1989, p. 27.
Statistics and Research
The belief that Jesus Christ will return to earth someday is held by 62 percent of all
George Gallup, "Religion in America," Leadership,
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