We continue with the beliefs of the Seventh Day Adventist in regards to,
The Second Advent
No one knows “the Day or the Hour” of the Second Coming
Though Jesus was clear that He would return, He also explained that the details for when it would happen are not ours to know.
But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only (Matthew 24:36 ESV).
Not even the angels know the day Jesus will return.
Once again this is an issue which was fully covered in our study of Matthew Chapter 24, Our Lord's Great Prophecy, Part 70, which please see.
They then go on to say:
Before the Advent movement became a global church, most churches believed the second coming would be a spiritual or figurative event. It likely wasn’t even discussed very often.
As stated in Part 12 on this subject we don’t believe this is true at all, most believers have always believed in a physical or literal event.
However, soon after the Second Great Awakening in the United States, a Baptist named William Miller decided to study scripture more deeply after returning home from war. Through his study of Daniel and Revelation, Miller discovered that Christ’s second coming must be a literal event.
This was a big deal. It changed the way Christians could look at the present and the future. So, Miller kept studying and sharing what he found.
However, there was one issue with Miller’s message. He also predicted the exact date of Christ’s return—somehow missing the counsel of Matthew 24:36 that “no one knows the day or the hour” of this event, “not even the angels in heaven,” but only the Father.
The Lord never said no one would ever know, especially after the fact, he merely said that no one “then”, at the time he was speaking knew the time. The Scriptures (Mark 13:32) state that at the time even he did not know the date, but surely after he had proven himself worthy to open the scroll containing the Divine Plan in all its particulars, he knew the date of his own return. Pastor Russell did not know the date of our Lord’s return in advance, only until “after” it had happened (about two years after, in 1876) did he devised this through the “more sure word of prophecy” specifically, through the Jubilee prophecy and Daniels’s prophecy.
Miller made two mistakes one with regards to the time of our Lord’s return (he was off by 30 years), and second in regards to the “manner” of our Lord’s return. He was convinced as were most that our Lord would return physically, visibly, but a more through examination of the scriptures would have revealed that as a spirit being is invisible to the human eye more so now our Lord who having been highly exalted is “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone (with the exception of the Father) has immortality (the Divine Nature), dwelling in unapproachable light whom no man has seen NOR CAN SEE, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.” (1 Tim 6 15, 16)
Likewise, as was expressly stated: “The kingdom of God does not come with outward observation (visibly); nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is in your midst (yet unseen).” (Luke 12:20, 21)
Even though it became clear Miller’s prediction was incorrect, many people decided to do further study to find out where he went wrong. As more and more people realized new truths from Scripture about the Second Coming, this began the “Advent Movement” that eventually paved the way toward the organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
In a way, Miller’s mistake led to a revival of personal and small group devotion among believers. Many of the Seventh-day Adventist beliefs were discovered after in-depth studies following this time. And as Christians learned more about scripture and God’s truth, they were more motivated to follow the Word and continue studying it.
As was stated, Miller’s mistake (along with those who followed him) was that they were consecrated to a date more than anything, that and their belief that the Lords return would be visible. However, Miller did help open the eyes of many who were asleep at the time.
For a better understanding of how all this played out see our blog post, The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins.
In our next post we will move on to our next subject involving the resurrection.
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