Nineteenth-century followers of William Miller’s teachings which included the belief that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ would occur around 1843.
Second Advent
The Second Coming of Christ. He will return with His angels to take His people home to heaven.
This article is part of a series. We recommend that you first read: Prophecy: God's Guiding Gift.

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. 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. This day became known as the Great Disappointment. But some did not give up.

Just prior to 1844, two men received similar visions regarding the Advent movement. The first was William Foy, a member of the Freewill Baptist Church who was studying for the ministry. In 1842, in Boston, he witnessed the reward of the faithful and the punishment of the wicked, and the great scenes of the judgment in three steps, the books of record in heaven, the coming of Christ, and the reward of the faithful in that sequence. Foy related these visions to audiences, but when he received a third vision, which he did not understand, he ceased his public work.

Hazen Foss also received a vision regarding the experience of the Advent people, but refused to make it public after the Great Disappointment, which had severely affected him.

James and Ellen White.
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Two months after the Great Disappointment in December 1844, a young girl by the name of Ellen Harmon was given a vision of the trials of the Advent people. The vision did not reveal the reasons for the Disappointment, but did offer comfort and greater understanding of the events as they had, and would be, unfolding.

The vision showed Adventists traveling to the city on a narrow path with the bright light of the "midnight cry" behind them, and the path lighted to its end so that they would not stumble. Those who kept their eyes on Jesus would not stumble but enter into the city, the New Jerusalem. She witnessed the events of the Second Advent and the sealing of the 144,000, the ascent to the New Jerusalem and the reward of the faithful.

When Ellen Harmon related her first vision early in 1845, Hazen Foss was present and was overwhelmed because the vision was the same as he had received, but which he had refused to reveal.

"After I had the vision, and God gave me light, He bade me deliver it... but I shrank from it. I was young, and I thought they would not receive it from me."

From 1844, when Ellen Harmon was 17 years old, until 1915, when she died, she had more than 2000 documented visions. During this time, she lived and worked in America, Europe, and Australia. Her work was often met with skepticism and ridicule, particularly since she was a woman and had not had much formal schooling. At the age of nine, Ellen was seriously injured when a classmate hit her with a stone. For three weeks she was unconscious, and it was thought that she would not recover. After her initial recovery, she returned to school, but never got beyond the early grades. Ellen was a member of the Methodist Church and was baptized on June 26, 1842. She was an ardent student of the Bible, and after attending meetings held by William Miller and his associates, she was impressed by the message she had heard.

On August 30, 1846, Ellen married James White, a young Adventist preacher, and they had four sons: Henry, Edson, William, and Herbert. After the death of her husband on August 6, 1881, Ellen labored alone for another 34 years, during which time she produced some of the most profound writings on God's Word. Her ministry and visions did several things:

1. Guarded the Church against fanatical influences and the inroads of non-Biblical doctrines.

2. Confirmed the pillars of the Adventist faith. These pillars included the role of the law of God, the Sabbath, the sanctuary, the Second Coming of Christ, the Three Angels' Messages, and the identity and role of Babylon in the great controversy between Christ and Satan. She had dreams from God confirming the results of ardent Bible study by a host of Advent believers. She also corrected those who were straying from the truth.

3. Established church order and directed the ministry on the spreading of the final message of hope and reproof—the Three Angel's Messages.

4. Established a worldwide health message that recognizes that people have physical as well as spiritual needs.

Despite her physical frailness and debilities that made it impossible for her to write, Ellen White became one of the most prolific authors for our time. No other female author has produced as much published religious material.

Numerous books, magazine articles, tracts, pamphlets, and letters have flowed from her pen. Her writings cover a wide field of issues from doctrinal practices to Christian living, diet and health, parental care and guidance, education, medical ministry and the illumination of Biblical prophecies and historic events. This work was, according to her, made possible by the direct intervention of God. After being instructed to write down the things she had seen in vision, she had felt it an impossible request. She relates the experience as follows:

The Lord has said, "Write out the things, which I shall give you." And I commenced when very young to do this work. My hand that was feeble and trembling because of infirmities became steady as soon as I took the pen in my hand, and since those first writings, I have been able to write. God has given me the ability to write...That right hand scarcely ever has a disagreeable sensation. It never wearies. It seldom ever trembles. I wept, and said, "impossible, impossible." The words came, "Nothing is impossible with God." The effort was made and my hand commenced to write the things that had been given me.

Was Ellen G. White a prophet of God or a deceiver?

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