On this day 131 years ago, James Springer White died. Born in 1821 in Maine, White became a teacher and then a preacher of the Millerite message. William Miller had in 1833 predicted that Christ would return in 1843. White took up the theme of Christ’s imminent return, and through his preaching many people came to accept the Millerite message. As the predicted time drew near, the predicted return date became somewhere between Spring 1843 and Spring 1844.
As 1844 progressed, the expected date for the return of Christ became 22nd October 1844, which the Adventists calculated to be the Biblical Day of Atonement. The Millerites prepared for the big occasion, but the day came and went without any visible evidence of the second coming, leaving many of the followers disillusioned. Most of those who had believed the message believed no more and returned to their original churches.
However, some of the Adventists became convinced that the Bible had foretold that on 22nd October 1844 Christ would enter the Most Holy Place, not that he would return to earth. White was one of the leaders of this movement, and published the periodical Second Advent Review and Sabbath Herald. It was out of this movement that the Seventh Day Adventist Church arose.