Seventh Day Adventism and the Branch Davidians Essay

Seventh Day Adventism and the Branch Davidians Essay

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William Miller’s interpretive method and the Millerite movement birthed the Seventh-day Adventist movement. On October 23, 1844 all of the Millerites were in shambles. Some had neglected their crops and even others had sold their homes and their entire livelihood. People’s hopes were crushed. This became known as the “Great Disappointment.” Within this Great Disappointment, a group of Sabbatarian Adventists, who would later become the Seventh-day Adventists, declared that the understanding of the event was wrong, not the date. They believed “that although the date was correct the event had been mistaken, that Christ had not returned to earth but embarked upon a new phase of activity in heaven which would temporarily delay his second coming.” Rather than understanding the sanctuary to be cleansed as earth, they interpreted Daniel 8:14 alongside of Revelation 11:19 and the book of Hebrews, concluding Christ had entered the Most Holy Place within the heavenly realms. Christ’s movement into the sanctuary was a preparatory act before coming to earth and the Seventh-day Adventists were to take part in announcing Christ’s imminent return. One sign that they were truly the remnant of God was their observance of the Sabbath on Saturday. Thus, out of what would have been the demise of Millerism, it was given a new voice within early Seventh-day Adventists. This reworking also solidified their movement from future disappointments or failed prophecies.
Seventh-day Adventism cannot be understood apart from Ellen White. Following the Great Disappointment, Ellen Harmon, who would become Ellen White through marriage to James White, received a vision from God stating that October 22 was the beginning of a time of preparation that ...


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... Involvement of a Major Apocalyptic Movement. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee, 2001.

Newport, Kenneth. The Branch Davidians of Waco: The History and Beliefs of an Apocalyptic Sect. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Pitts, William L. "Changing Views of the Millennium in the Davidian Tradition." Journal of Religious History 24, no. 1 (2000): 87-102.

________. "Women Leaders in the Davidian and Branch Davidian Traditions." Nova religio 12, no. 4 (2009): 50-71.

Rifkind, Lawrence J., and Loretta F. Harper. "The Branch Davidians and the Politics of Power and Intimidation." Journal of American Culture 17, no. 4 (1994): 65.

Rowe, David L. God's Strange Work: William Miller and the End of the World. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2008.

Seventh-Day Adventist Church Manual. Hagerstown, MD: General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1995.

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