The year 1844 is familiar to Seventh-day Adventists as the year that a group of Millerites mistakenly expected the Second Advent of Jesus Christ.
On October 22, 1844, these men, women, and children longingly expected to see their Saviour and their loved ones that had passed away. They waited for the signs of Christ’s appearing. But as they watched the sun slowly slide below the horizon after a long day of waiting and watching, their hope slipped from them. As night fell, they faced their dashed expectations with bitter disappointment. Many turned their backs on God when He didn’t deliver on their understanding of Scripture. But some did not give up.
Little did those people realize the momentous times in which they lived. Four years later, in 1848, a group of people started coming together in what was known as the “Sabbath Conferences.” They studied the Bible to correct the errors in their thinking and to discover what the prophecies were really all about.
Out of those Sabbath Conferences came a theology that was not new but resurrected—many of these doctrines had been discovered during the Reformation and forgotten.
Here are the five key discoveries they made:
The Sanctuary doctrine—the whole plan of salvation laid out in type. The ceremonial law God gave to ancient Israel symbolizes Jesus' work throughout history. As the people started unraveling this plan, they began to understand the ministry of Jesus and what had happened on the day of their disappointment.
Out of the sanctuary doctrine and the Great Disappointment, the great message of the Second Advent was formed, the truth about the Sabbath was recovered, A Biblical understanding of the state of the dead was unraveled, and the Spirit of Prophecy was established.
These are the five pillars of Adventism, which make this denomination unique.
These doctrines inspired the pioneers to recognize the Three Angels’ Messages, and thereafter the Adventist Church movement was born.
Back in 1844, as all these events were happening, and the Second Advent message was spreading across the globe, was Satan sitting idly? No, “the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed” (Revelation 12:17).
Satan devised a plan to confuse every kind of individual—from the one who doesn’t want anything to do with God to the one who tries to follow God devoutly.
His first strategy was a counter-theology. But he knew that a counter-theology would only offer two opposing theologies. Anyone could use the Bible to decide which theology was correct. So, he decided to pervert truth and present lies as truth:
The Sabbath Conferences were Bible-based, so Satan initiated strategies that were not Bible-based:
In August of 1844, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels met in Paris and started a lifelong association. On November 19, 1844, Engels wrote to Marx, “We are at present holding public meetings all over the place to set up societies for the advancement of the workers…By a huge majority everything Christian was banned from the rules.”i Marx had already written the book The Essence of Christianity, where he called religion “the opium of the people,” so Engels and Marx were very pleased with the ban.
This strategy still operational today. The trade unions of the world run on Marxist strategies. The sickle and hammer are their symbols, and they have kept the same old rhetoric since the beginning. The strategy of Marxism satisfied the underdog. The next strategy—atheism—targeted the intellectual.
In the same year, 1844, Charles Darwin wrote the first draft of The Origin of Species and sent it out to all his colleagues for evaluation. Satan was very successful with that ideology. We see it everywhere now—in universities and textbooks and even on buses.
The great professors of the world—such as Dawkins—sit in the chairs of Cambridge and Oxford and belong to a society that calls themselves “the Brights.”ii Dawkins writes, “God almost certainly does not exist.”
These counter-strategies negate God and soothe the mind in the belief that we can be happy without God. But not everyone will fall for such a strategy, so Satan had to also begin a campaign of perversion of truth.
In 1844, John Nelson Darby came up with a doctrine called dispensationalism—a method of interpreting the Bible that divides history into distinct eras or “dispensations” in which God deals with people in a distinctive way and, in some cases, in which God’s ethical standards change. The dispensationalist doctrine spread through the world like wildfire. Ninety-five percent of the Christian world today is dispensationalist.
Dispensationalism is a Jesuit doctrine. Roman Catholic sources say that the founder of dispensationalism was the Jesuit priest Manuel Lacunza (1731-1801). Born in Chile and posing as a converted Jew under the pseudonym Juan Josafat Ben-Ezra, he wrote a large apocalyptic work in Spanish entitled The Coming of the Messiah in Glory and Majesty. It remained virtually unknown for many years. Then an enterprising man named Edward Irving translated it into English. Is it just coincidental that modern speaking in tongues started in Irving's church?
Darby took this doctrine and modernized it, after which Roman Catholic cardinals added a touch or two about the Antichrist coming from the tribe of Dan.
Not only did Satan bring in dispensationalism, he also brought in antinomianism—going so far as to say that it is sinful to keep God’s law. That’s really turning the Gospel on its head.
Satan also added a few extra twists in his perversion of truth:
Satan wanted counterfeit religion to flourish, so in 1844, the Society of Friends, or Quakers, formed. The Society denied the bodily resurrection of Christ and communicated with the
In 1844, the rapping also started in a certain house, which a few years later, would be occupied by the famously occult Fox Sisters.
Part of the New Age agenda is to create many organizations that deny the divinity...
In 1844, Joseph Smith started the Mormon movement, claiming to be divine and of the order of Melchizedek.iii On June 27, 1844, Smith was martyred. Mormonism became a mega-movement of counterfeit Christian ideology.
The spiritualistic secret society Delta Kappa Epsilon also began in 1844 at Yale, ensuring that the universities were accessible for New Age error.
Babism (the Baha'i Faith)
Siyyid ‘Ali-Muhammad rose in 1844 to say, “I am the Bab,” starting the Baha'i movement. Ultimately, the movement for the unification of all religions under one umbrella began.
In the same year of 1844, the rise of the feminist movement began, inverting Genesis 1 and putting the doctrine of God on its head.
Concealment of Scripture
On May 8, 1844, Pope
Gregory XVI condemned the Bible Societies as enemies of Catholicism, and
condemned the distribution of Bibles to the common people. He confirmed "the decrees recited above delivered in former times by apostolic authority against the publication distribution reading and possession of books of the holy scriptures translated into the vulgar [i.e., common] tongue."iv
That same year, the Codex Sinaiticus manuscript, which agrees with the distorted Codex Vaticanus version of Scripture found in 1481, was discovered in the monastery of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai.
Every single one of these movements started in 1844, so that Satan could prepare the world for his deception.
God's work in 1844
In that same year, God was quietly working to set up a truth that would stand for all eternity. In 1844, a Seventh-day Baptist lady, Rachel Oakes, challenged a Millerite preacher, Frederick Wheeler, to keep all the commandments of God. He preached his first sermon on the Sabbath in March 1844, and the Sabbath was reestablished in that year.
In 1844, the noble preacher Charles Fitch accepted the Biblical teaching of soul sleep and another important truth surfaced.
In 1844, we also see the emergence of the Spirit of Prophecy. Typology tells us not to wait for another prophet. One has already come. The testimonies have been written and the health message is there.
But what's the use of a message without the means to broadcast to the world? God’s hand was over the creation of a system whereby this message could go to the world. In 1844, Samuel Morse, a Protestant who wrote more about the Bible than he did about telecommunications and was a fervent student of Daniel and Revelation, created the Morse code.
On May 24, 1844, he sent the first message from the Capital in Washington to the B&O Railway in Baltimore. The first words to run across the wire were, “What hath God wrought?” And from those humble beginnings, technology exploded.
Even the Columbus and Zinnia railroad was chartered on March 12, 1844. In that year, there were great advances in technology, transportation, and information. God had a message for the world, and Satan has a counter-message.
As the Lord’s people show their determination to follow the light God has given them, the enemy will bring all his powers to bear to discourage them, but they are not to give up because of the difficulties that arise when they try to follow the counsels of the Lord.v