ADVENTISTS HAVE A RICH HISTORY, FUELED BY A RENEWED EMPHASIS ON RIGOROUS BIBLE STUDY.
Before the name “Seventh-day Adventist” was even a thought, a group of protestant Christians began gathering for Bible studies and tent meetings in the early-to-mid 1800s. At that time, in the United States, there was a religious climate of revival that later came to be known as the Second Great Awakening.
While some took this newfound religious fervor to the extreme, others were reading the Bible for themselves again, rather than just listening to a sermon each weekend.
One preacher named William Miller was also fervently studying Scripture and was spending time in the prophecies in Daniel and Revelation. He became convinced that the Second Coming of Jesus, which at the time many thought to be figurative, would be literal.
His study on these prophecies continued, and he gained a substantial group of followers called “Millerites.” The more they learned about these prophecies and the ideal of a literal Second Coming, the more they began to think in literal, predictive terms. Eventually it was determined by the Millerites that Jesus would return to earth on October 22, 1844.
Many were deeply disappointed, as you can imagine. Which is why that event, or non-event, is referred to as the “Great Disappointment.”
But instead of losing all hope, most of the Millerite Christians dove back into the Bible. Where could they have gone wrong? What else did they need to consider?
It was almost like a second revival. More and more people were studying, learning, and applying. And through their studies, many realized some of the things they were finding didn’t line up with the current traditions.
While starting a new denomination was not the plan from the get-go, the more these Christians studied, the more they became convicted of truths that differentiated them from the churches they’d grown up in. Among these truths were the literal Second Coming of Jesus (though not the exact date!), the state of the dead, and the seventh-day Sabbath.
The more they studied and shared, the more people became interested. This endeavor to get back to looking for answers in the Bible became the Advent Movement.
Even more exciting things happened after the Advent Movement officially organized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. There were always growing pains, but the flame of revival kept burning, making Adventism the global influence it is today.