Miller, William 
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Time Period
2/15/1782  - 12/20/1849
Description
William Miller was a Baptist lay preacher who after years of lengthy biblical study predicted that the second coming of Jesus Christ would occur in 1843. His first predictions were printed in Evidence from Scripture and History of the Second Coming of Christ (1836).

Miller’s predictions created fervor, as followers varied between 30,000 and 100,000 from a variety of denominations. However, he also had strong critics, many of whom were clergy members from established churches.

He first predicted that Christ would return between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844, but after that time passed, he re-read the Bible and concluded that the correct date was October 22, 1844. When October 23rd passed, many of his followers had given up hope and left him.

Despite his failed predictions, his teachings influenced both Ellen Gould White and her husband, James Springer White, who would later found the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
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Narrative
William Miller initially was a farmer in Poultney, Vermont and a veteran who served during the War of 1812. In 1815, he had a religious conversion experience and later became a Baptist lay preacher. This led him to delve more into scripture. After studying Daniel 8:14 (Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed”), he announced that the return of Christ would occur in 1843. His first predictions were printed in Evidence from Scripture and History of the Second Coming of Christ in 1836.

Miller’s predictions created fervor, as followers varied between 30,000 and 100,000 from a variety of denominations. However, he also had strong critics, many of whom were clergy members from established churches.

By January 1843, Miller announced that Christ would return between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844. After that time passed, he re-read the Bible and concluded that the correct date was October 22, 1844. When October 23rd passed, many of his followers had given up hope and left him. He died in 1849 still believing that Christ would return soon.

Although Miller’s predictions failed to come to fruition, his teachings influenced both Ellen Gould White and her husband, James Springer White, and provided an early foundation for the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Religious Groups
Timeline Entries for the same religious group Adventist Family
Adventist Family: Other ARDA Links

Events
The Second Great Awakening
Movements
Millenarian Movement
Photographs

William Miller portrait- Internet Archive- from Memoirs of William Miller by Sylvester Bliss

William Miller portrait- Internet Archive- from Appletons' Cyclopaedia of American Biography by James Grant Wilson and John Fiske

William Miller portrait- National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

William Miller homestead- Internet Archive- from A Brief History of William Miller
Book/Journal Source(s)
Queen, Edward, Stephen Prothero and Gardiner Shattuck, 1996. The Encyclopedia of American Religious History. New York: Facts on File.
Reid, Daniel, Robert Linder, Bruce Shelley, and Harry Stout, 1990. Dictionary of Christianity in America. Downers Grove, IL.
Web Page Contributor
Benjamin T. Gurrentz
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in Sociology

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