Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Great Disappointment

William Miller was a prosperous farmer and Baptist preacher from the state of New York who began to share his predictions about the Advent (Second Coming of Christ) in 1833. Through extensive studies of Old Testament prophecies he predicted that Jesus would come again in 1843. During a period between 1843 and 1844, approximately 50,000-100,000 people followed his teachings. After several unfulfilled predictions from 1843 to 1844, hundreds of "Millerites" left their homes and businesses behind and all of their earthly possessions, concentrating on the specific date of October 22, 1944, when Jesus would surely return. When Jesus did not appear the date became known as "The Great Disappointment."

Since the first falling away until the restoration, and even today, Christianity has been bombarded with disappointments that are the direct result of men going beyond what is written. To predict the Advent is to not accept words of Jesus in Matthew 24:36 - "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only." If God had wanted us to know the specific time of our Lord's return, He would have told us. But instead His admonition is, "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (Matt. 24:44).

Our 21st Century world is now full of beliefs that are merely warmed up leftovers of human doctrines that have been inserted over the centuries. The early church never worshiped with man-made instruments, but not only are they all over the landscape today, most people truly believe God will accept whatever worship they may offer. "Once saved, always saved" remains through the influence of Calvanism, and many religious groups still have part or all of this doctrine in their creed. Sprinkling of infants, salvation by faith alone, and the aspects of premillenialism, to name a few, are ideas that live in the hearts and minds of many religious people. Confused by what they have heard time and again, it is now to the point that many risk their very souls to put faith in teachings that cannot be found in the Scriptures.

Perhaps the saddest truth of all...people don't know that what they believe is not of God. We cannot believe differently about salvation and all be right. We cannot believe differently about the identity and worship of the church and all be right. We cannot believe differently about the return of Christ and the judgment scene and all be right. The only way to be in line with God and abiding in truth is for us to stop automatically believing what we are told. Remove the filter, open your Bible, and be taught of God!

Jesus is coming again with clouds (Rev. 1:7). He may come at any time, and when He does, even atheists will bow (Rom. 14:11). I cannot help but think that for many it will be another "great disappointment." But for those who follow God and keep His word in truth and humility, it will be a day in which Christ will be admired and glorified by those who are truly His (2 Thess. 1:10).

"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world." - 1 John 4:1

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