The Reckoning of the year 1844

1843 - 21 April 1844

Their confidence seemed well founded, for even scholars who had no conviction about the near advent of Christ saw no flaw in the reckoning of the prophecy. Ardently the believers had proclaimed what they understood to be the message of the first angel of Revelation, "The hour of his judgment is come" (Revelation 14:7). The Bible contained numerous prophecies concerning the second advent of Christ, foremost of which was given by Jesus Himself: "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:2, 3).

Some of these promises seemed linked with the judgment. Basic was the prophecy of Daniel 8:14: "Unto two thousand three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." They thought this earth to be the sanctuary; it would be cleansed by fire at the second advent of Christ.

When April 21, 1844, passed and Jesus did not come, the believers checked and rechecked the basis of their reckoning.

Calculation of the time was so simple and plain that even the children could understand it. From the date of the decree of the king of Persia, found in Ezra 7, which was given in 457 before Christ, the 2300 years of Daniel 8:14 must terminate with 1843. Accordingly we looked to the end of this year for the coming of the Lord. We were sadly disappointed when the year entirely passed away and the Saviour had not come.

It was not at first perceived that if the decree did not go forth at the beginning of the year 457 B.C., the 2300 years would not be completed at the close of 1843. But it was ascertained that the decree was given near the close of the year 457 B.C. . . . Therefore the vision of time did not tarry, though it had seemed to do so (ibid., pp. 185, 186).