Not particularly having to do with the Tea Party or Lehigh Valley but certainly one of the main topics in the news this week. It's in *"Sunday Sermonette" form. There is "nothing new under the sun"...
*This is a private blog, and does not necessarily always reflect the views of the Lehigh Valley Project 9/12 Tea Party Group. For more about the nature of this blog please read "What is this?"
24 "Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.
25 "So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.
This was the message that Daniel received from Gabriel concerning his prayer and supplications over the fate of Jerusalem. The decree to rebuild the temple, which was yet future for Daniel, was issued by Artaxerxes I king of the Persian Empire in the year 457 BC. Seventy weeks meant seven times seven years or 490 years. So Daniel was given the reassurance of knowing that in the future Jerusalem would be rebuilt and that after almost 5 centuries the Messiah would appear.
Is it any wonder then that during the first century AD there was an expectation of the appearance of the Messiah. When our Lord was about to make His triumphal entry into Jerusalem we read in Luke 19 verse 11:
...because He was near Jerusalem, ...they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately.
Neither was the message of Daniel lost on readers in subsequent centuries. The fulfilled prophecy of portions of Daniel has stood there as a testimony to all who would consider the merits of God's word. But what other prophecies are locked within these visions that Daniel had? This is a question that some cannot resist and at the beginning of the 19th century many found irresistible. During this time many sober, otherwise doctrinal believers, had believed they had found the true meaning behind Daniel 8 verses 13&14, reading from there:
13 Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to that particular one who was speaking, "How long will the vision about the regular sacrifice apply, while the transgression causes horror, so as to allow both the holy place and the host to be trampled?"
A certain William Miller, an American preacher, was convinced that the 2,300 days were years that had begun being counted after the same decree mentioned in Daniel 9. And after that time transpired, in 1843 or 4, it would be the end of days. For decades beforehand he had preached and published the news of this and had developed a following of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands on both sides of the Atlantic. Of course the appointed days came and went, and when the last possible day of reckoning passed it was called “The Great Disappointment”.
Here are some quotes from members of the Millerite movement,
“Our fondest hopes and expectations were blasted, and such a spirit of weeping came over us as I never experienced before. It seemed that the loss of all earthly friends could have been no comparison. We wept, and wept, till the day dawn.” And this, “it is a dark day here--the sheep are scattered--and the Lord has not come yet.”
And of course they had to endure the taunts of their neighbors.
What followed “The Great Disappointment” was the birth of many different movements. Instead of owning up to the failure, an entirely new narrative was placed over the meaning of the prophecy. It was no longer the “end of days” but the beginning of the end. Christ returned, but not quite as expected or where expected. And on top of that other false doctrines began to be attached to these excuses, legalistic sabbath keeping, soul sleep, a denial of an eternal hell - and as time went on different heresies and cults sprang from this failed prophecy.
Getting back to what happened to William Miller, the lead proponent of the movement. Even though history tends to refer to him as the “Father of Adventism” he did not entertain any of the false doctrines or excuses that had attached themselves to his failed date setting. In fact it can be said that he was honest and forthright in owning up to his error and there is good reason to believe that he now in the presence of the Lord.
Of course this has happened all over again just this week. We can pray that the spirit of Mr Miller, a humble repentant one, wins the day for most of the people who have gone through this current “Great Disappointment”. And although we may not personally know any of these disappointed ones we will certainly come across their scoffers and taunters. Let it be an opportunity to remind them that anyone can meet the Lord at anytime – do they really think they are ready?