Pastor Herman Kneller Editorials
God's Secrets Revealed
In the early 1800s, the winds of change were blowing over the world. The savage French Revolution was over. Napoleon's dream of a French dominated Europe was shattered and he was in jail. America had just come on the scene as an independent, democratic nation. Book and Bible house were being built to share the word of God with the world. Inventors were at work to make things better.
Daniel's prophecy that knowledge would increase, was fulfilling and people were looking at an increased knowledge of God's word and prophecy.
In about the year 1815 a man, William Miller, an ex army man now farmer in the state of Main, found some differing opinions in the word of God by church men. He himself was on of them and he began to wonder at the differences. Finally he said to himself, “I will find out what the real word says.
He would take his Bible and concordance and study each word carefully and that way come up with a clear knowledge of God's word. So, he went to work to go as fast as he had time and understanding. Very soon he came upon the seventh day the Lord had set aside for worship. No problem. The day had been changed to the first day of the week so he went on. Everything seemed to go fairly smoothly for several years. He only worked as he had time and there was no rush. Then he came to the book of Daniel and the prophecies.
In Daniel 8:14 unto two thousand and three hundred days then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. Now here was a puzzle. He had come across the sanctuary the place of worship for God's people in the old testament where animals were sacrificed which pointed to the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins. Now here is a time when the sanctuary will be cleansed. The problem...the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylons many years before and the cleansing had to do with the temple service. Now the problem was...where did this time period belong?
In prophecy, a day for a year makes for a very long time. He could not find a starting period so after a time he left this and went on. In the next chapter he found a starting time. The prophecy said from the time the Jews would get the right to rule themselves the period would start.
In the book of Ezra this transaction was found and the records of those days. Miller found the date of this was 457BC and now where would this come to? As he checked this he found this prophecy would terminate in 1844 and Miller, himself, was in 1818. What really was scary was the common belief among Christians that the earth was the sanctuary and the destruction of it would be by fire. (According to what the apostle Peter said.) Jesus would come (by Miller's records) in 25 years and this world would be destroyed and Jesus would come. That was scary. Miller checked and rechecked his prophecy timing but it always came out to the same.
As he thought about what he had found it filled him with joy. To think that in less than 25 years Jesus was coming bringing all the problems of this world to a close. His finding filled him with real happiness. He thought, “Why keep this good news to yourself? You have proof.”
He was no preacher, no prophet, nor a speaker. After some years he finally began to sow and preach what he had found and some people believed and changed their lives to be ready for Jesus to come.
Then, more acceptance and more people began to preach Millers teaching and move men. It became known as the Millerite Movement. This was not confined to the eastern US alone. A man in South America, not knowing Miller came up with the same prophecy and timing. Also, a Jew in Europe found the same and traveled and preached in Europe and through the countries around Palestine.
As the time drew nearer, people looked with rejoicing to Jesus' coming but disbelief by others. The exact time for the prophecy was determined as October 22, 1844.
The preaching was all done by volunteers who really looked with joy at seeing Jesus but there were expenses for travel and rentals for the meetings and some people spent all they had to finance the movement. People who really believed and rejoiced. Some mortgaged their farms and made no preparations for the coming winter for they would not need anything.
As the day grew closer, the anticipation grew. Then the great day came and went and Jesus had not come. What a great disappointment for many and relief for most. Many had believed from fear that it might happen, not from love for Jesus.
The ones who really believed, now feared disappointment, a bleak winter and ridicule from many. Though they made a mistake in believing that this earth was the sanctuary they still loved their Lord and God did not forsake them.
A big potato farmer had mortgaged his farm to help with the expense of the preaching and then he did not dig his crop for it was not needed. As winter turned to spring he took his potato fork and in spite of the ridicule he went to the field to check his crop. To his thankful heart and joy he found the crop clean and good just as the fall had left it. God intervenes. Potatoes had been hit with a blight and did not keep and the price of potatoes in New York hit the high price of five cents a pound. He dug his crop, sold it and paid back his big mortgage. He had a good sum left over too. God blesses the faithful.
Now, all the faithful lived over an area of hundreds of miles and did know of each others feelings. But they did not lose faith in God but believed something positive would yet come out of what had taken place. So, with few here and there they met and with confidence in the word they began to study and pray for further light from the sure word of prophecy and guidance from God.