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THE TABLES OF HABAKKUK

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THE 1843 TABLE

And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.

For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Habakkuk 2:2-3

Inspired by this passage from Habakkuk, the Millerites published a visual representation of their message: the 1843 prophetic chart. This chart illustrates the visions of Daniel and the Revelation aligned to correspond chronologically with the major prophetic periods.

Although it was printed in the year 1842, it is known as the 1843 chart because it reflects the initial belief of our pioneers: that the major prophetic periods it contains ended together in 1843. They later realized that they actually reached to 1844.

Thus, the “vision” stated in this table encompasses the sequence of pagan kingdoms that would oppress God’s people, beginning in the history of literal Israel, and concluding in the history of Spiritual Israel. Our pioneers associated the conclusion of the prophetic periods with the end of the world. Therefore, 1843 represented for them the conclusion of the prophetic “vision”.

PUBLICATION OF THE 1843 CHART

This is the account written five years later, by pioneer Joseph Bates, of the printing of 300 copies of the chart:

Joseph Bates (1847)

In May, 1842, a general conference was again convened in Boston, Mass. At the opening of this meeting Br. Chs. Fitch and A. Hale of Haverhill, presented us the Visions of Daniel and John which they had painted on cloth, with the prophetic numbers and ending of the vision, which they called a chart. …These brethren had fulfilled a prophecy given by Hab. …where it says, ‘And the Lord answered me and said, write the vision and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.’ This thing now became so plain to all, that it was unanimously voted to have three hundred of these charts lithographed forthwith, that those who felt the message may read and run with it….” Joseph Bates, Second Advent Way Marks and High Heaps, 52  [ 1847 JB, BP2 52.3 ]

This is how Ellen White described the publication of the prophetic chart:

As early as 1842 the direction given in this prophecy to ‘write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it,’ had suggested to Charles Fitch the preparation of a prophetic chart to illustrate the visions of Daniel and the Revelation. The publication of this chart was regarded as a fulfillment of the command given by Habakkuk. No one, however, then noticed that an apparent delay in the accomplishment of the vision–a tarrying time–is presented in the same prophecy. After the disappointment, this scripture appeared very significant: ‘The vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. . . . The just shall live by his faith.’” The Great Controversy, 392  [ GC 392.2 ]

The inspired testimony is clear. The same Holy Spirit that inspired the prophet Habakkuk to express the command to “Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables,” motivated Millerite Charles Fitch to fulfill that command, by writing the vision on the 1843 table:

“… As early as 1842, the Spirit of God had moved upon Charles Fitch to devise the prophetic chart, which was generally regarded by Adventists as a fulfillment of the command given by the prophet Habakkuk, to ‘write the vision, and make it plain upon tables.’ No one, however, then saw the tarrying time which was brought to view in the same prophecy. After the disappointment the full meaning of this scripture became apparent. Thus speaks the prophet: ‘Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come, it will not tarry.’ Habakkuk 2:2, 3.” The Story of Redemption, 366  [ SR 366.4 ]   

The message preached by William Miller and the Millerites was the First Angel’s Message, and it contained a special focus on the time component: the expected conclusion of the prophetic periods in 1843.

“To William Miller and his colaborers it was given to preach the warning in America. This country became the center of the great advent movement. It was here that the prophecy of the first angel’s message had its most direct fulfillment. The writings of Miller and his associates were carried to distant lands. Wherever missionaries had penetrated in all the world, were sent the glad tidings of Christ’s speedy return. Far and wide spread the message of the everlasting gospel: ‘Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.’” The Great Controversy, 368  [ GC 368.1 ]

“With trembling, William Miller began to unfold to the people the mysteries of the kingdom of God, carrying his hearers down through the prophecies to the second advent of Christ. The testimony of the Scriptures pointing to the coming of Christ in 1843 awakened widespread interest. Many were convinced that the arguments from the prophetic periods were correct, and, sacrificing their pride of opinion, they joyfully received the truth.” The Story of Redemption, 357  [ SR 357.2 ]

The 1843 chart, which illustrated such prophetic periods, was employed as the visual tool for the preaching of the First Angel’s Message. This is how James White described it:

James White (1850)

“‘And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgement is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.’ Rev.14:6,7. This angel’s message represents the last mission of mercy to the world; and it has been fulfilled. The original apostolic message was – ‘But now commandeth all men every where to repent, because he that appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness.’ Acts 17:30, 31. But the last message to the world was – ‘Repent for the hour [time] of his judgement is come.’ Time was connected with that message, and that time was 1843. God said by the prophet, ‘Write the vision and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.’ – Hab.2:2.   The whole advent host once believed that publishing the visions of Daniel and John on the chart, from which the swift messengers lectured in 1842 and 1843, was a fulfillment of this prophecy; and the unbelief of those who doubt now, does not prove that we were all mistaken then. The passing of the time, and the perpetual backsliding and unbelief of Adventists has not changed this truth of God into a lie; but it remains truth still.   You who participated in this first angel’s message, and felt its power and glory, and saw its effects on the people, just go back with me to the camp-meetings, conferences, and other meetings where the time, 1843, was proclaimed from the chart. With what solemnity, zeal and holy confidence the servants of the Lord proclaimed the time. And O, how their words fell upon the people, melting the hardest sinner’s heart; for God was with them, and his Spirit attended the solemn message. The most spiritual and devoted in all the churches caught the flame and many who had been trained to worship their church and their minister, here learned to ‘fear God’ alone, and ‘give glory to him.’ This message weaned us from this world, and led us to the feet of Jesus, to seek forgiveness of all our sins, and a free and full salvation through the blood of Christ. Dear Brethren, Was this message ‘from heaven or from men?’ I know your answer – ‘from heaven,’ Amen. We then ‘tasted of the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,’ and we cannot, will not, dare not give it up, and call it a ‘mistake,’ the ‘work of man,’ ‘mesmerism,’ and ‘of the Devil,’ as many have done, and have fallen away. ‘It is impossible’ ‘to renew’ such ‘to repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.’ See Heb.6:4-6.” James White, The Third Angel’s Message, 2  [ 1850 JW, TTAM 2.1 ]

THE MISTAKE ON THE CHART

In 1850, Ellen White made these important statements:

“…I have seen that the 1843 chart was directed by the hand of the Lord, and that it should not be altered; that the figures were as He wanted them; that His hand was over and hid a mistake in some of the figures, so that none could see it, until His hand was removed.” Early Writings, 74  [ EW 74.1 ]

“I saw that the truth should be made plain upon tables, that the earth and the fullness thereof is the Lord’s, and that necessary means should not be spared to make it plain. I saw that the old chart was directed by the Lord, and that not a figure of it should be altered except by inspiration. I saw that the figures of the chart were as God would have them, and that His hand was over and hid a mistake in some of the figures, so that none should see it till His hand was removed.” Spalding and Magan Collection, 1  [ SpM 1.3 ]   

Through the inspiration of Ellen White, God testified that the 1843 chart was directed by Him, and that He approved its figures (or numbers). Therefore, there is no valid authorization to modify any figure of the chart, unless God showed by inspiration to Ellen White, the necessity to do it.

In both quotations, inspiration recognizes only one mistake (singular), in some of the figures (plural). That is to say, the same mistake is repeated in more than one figure. And it reveals to us that this mistake was covered up by the hand of God, that is to say, it was intentionally allowed by God, with a Divine purpose.

Sister White specifically identifies the mistake allowed by God in the 1843 chart, which would be corrected later. It was precisely the year 1843, which was incorrectly repeated in the calculation of two prophetic periods (the 2300 and the 2520).

WHY DID MILLER AND THE MILLERITES BELIEVE THAT THE PROPHETIC PERIODS WOULD END IN 1843?

In order to answer this question, let us look at the example of one of these periods, the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14. This period began when the decree of Artaxerxes went into effect, in 457 B.C. And its arithmetical calculation is expressed in the chart as follows:

2300 days figureThe initial reason why the Millerites believed that this period would end in 1843 is, because, when 457 are subtracted from 2300 the result is, indeed, 1843.

But the main reason the Millerites got the termination of this period wrong is simple. While they correctly identified the year in which the period began, they misidentified the specific part of the year in which the period began, for that fact was hidden by the hand of God.

That is, in what specific part of the year 457 B.C. did the decree of Artaxerxes, which marks the beginning of the 2300 years, go into effect? Accurately identifying the starting point is important, because we are dealing with a period of 2300 full years. And since the period began in biblical times, it must be calculated according to the Hebrew calendar.

The period contains 457 full years elapsed before Christ, followed by 1843 full years after Christ, totaling 2300 full years. The 457 years before Christ would only be complete if they started counting from the first day of 457 B.C., while the 1843 years after Christ would only be complete if they ran to the last day of 1843. Uriah Smith put it this way:

Uriah Smith (1897)

“…it takes 457 full years before Christ, and 1843 full years after, to make 2300; so that if the period commenced with the very first day of 457, it would not terminate till the very last day of 1843. Now it will be evident to all that if any portion of the year 457 had passed away before the 2300 days commenced, just so much of the year 1844 must pass away before they would end.”  Uriah Smith, Daniel and the Revelation, 233  [ 1897 UrS, DAR 233.1 ]  

Marking the beginning of the 2300 days precisely on the first day of the Jewish year 457 B.C. seemed reasonable to the Millerites, for Ezra chapter 7 indicates that Ezra left Babylon on the first day of the first month, carrying with him the decree of Artaxerxes:

Ezra 7:9, 11

For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him….

Now this is the copy of the letter that the king Artaxerxes gave unto Ezra the priest, the scribe, even a scribe of the words of the commandments of the LORD, and of his statutes to Israel.

Thus, having supposed the Millerites that the 2300 days commenced at the beginning of the Jewish year 457 B.C., it was reasonable that they expected their termination at the end of the Jewish year 1843.

But on what date in the Gregorian calendar we use today did the Jewish year 1843 end?

The last day of the Jewish religious year 1843 coincided with April 18, 1844 of the Gregorian calendar.

The Gregorian year starts first, running from winter to winter, while the Jewish religious year starts one season later, running from spring to spring.

For this reason, when the Jewish religious year 1843 concluded in the spring, more than 3 months of the Gregorian year 1844 had already elapsed.

THE FIRST DISAPPOINTMENT

The Jewish year 1843 expired on April 18, 1844 of the Gregorian calendar. The next morning, April 19, 1844, the Millerites experienced their first disappointment.

“From the date of the decree of the king of Persia, found in Ezra 7, which was given in 457 before Christ, the 2300 years of Daniel 8:14 must terminate with 1843. Accordingly we looked to the end of this year for the coming of the Lord. We were sadly disappointed when the year entirely passed away and the Saviour had not come.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 52  [ 1T 52.2 ]

The mistake that the hand of God concealed until the First Disappointment had passed was the fact that the 2300 days did not commence with the first day of the Jewish year 457 B.C. in the spring, but until the fall, when half of the Jewish year 457 B.C. had already elapsed!

THE MISTAKE IN THE PERIODS IS UNDERSTOOD: A TARRYING TIME.

Since we are dealing with 2300 full years, as the starting point of the prophetic period is shifted by half a year, the end will likewise be shifted by half a year. Therefore, instead of ending at the end of the Jewish year 1843, the period would extend to the middle of the following Jewish year, 1844:

“It was not at first perceived that if the decree did not go forth at the beginning of the year 457 B.C., the 2300 years would not be completed at the close of 1843. But it was ascertained that the decree was given near the close of the year 457 B.C., and therefore the prophetic period must reach to the fall of the year 1844. Therefore the vision of time did not tarry, though it had seemed to do so. We learned to rest upon the language of the prophet. ‘For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.’” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 52  [ 1T 52.3 ]

Thus, when the Lord’s hand was removed, after the First Disappointment, the Millerites would discover that the prophetic periods actually ended in the fall of 1844. This apparent extension of the “vision” between the spring of 1844 and the fall of 1844 became known as the “tarrying time” as stated by pioneer Joseph Bates:

Joseph Bates (1847)

“We have already shown that the tarrying time for the bridegroom by the prophetic periods was six months, beginning the 19th April down to 22nd October, 1844….” Joseph Bates, Second Advent Way Marks and High Heaps, 72  [ 1847 JB, BP2 72.1 ]

THE PURPOSE OF THE FIRST DISAPPOINTMENT

The following quote reveals the purpose of God in allowing this mistake:

“I saw the people of God joyful in expectation, looking for their Lord. But God designed to prove them. His hand covered a mistake in the reckoning of the prophetic periods. Those who were looking for their Lord did not discover this mistake, and the most learned men who opposed the time also failed to see it. God designed that His people should meet with a disappointment. The time passed, and those who had looked with joyful expectation for their Saviour were sad and disheartened, while those who had not loved the appearing of Jesus, but embraced the message through fear, were pleased that He did not come at the time of expectation. Their profession had not affected the heart and purified the life. The passing of the time was well calculated to reveal such hearts. They were the first to turn and ridicule the sorrowful, disappointed ones who really loved the appearing of their Saviour. I saw the wisdom of God in proving His people and giving them a searching test to discover those who would shrink and turn back in the hour of trial.  [ EW 235.3 ]   

“Jesus and all the heavenly host looked with sympathy and love upon those who had with sweet expectation longed to see Him whom their souls loved. Angels were hovering around them, to sustain them in the hour of their trial. Those who had neglected to receive the heavenly message were left in darkness, and God’s anger was kindled against them, because they would not receive the light which He had sent them from heaven. Those faithful, disappointed ones, who could not understand why their Lord did not come, were not left in darkness. Again they were led to their Bibles to search the prophetic periods. The hand of the Lord was removed from the figures, and the mistake was explained. They saw that the prophetic periods reached to 1844, and that the same evidence which they had presented to show that the prophetic periods closed in 1843, proved that they would terminate in 1844. Light from the Word of God shone upon their position, and they discovered a tarrying time—‘Though it [the vision] tarry, wait for it.’ In their love for Christ’s immediate coming, they had overlooked the tarrying of the vision, which was calculated to manifest the true waiting ones. Again they had a point of time. Yet I saw that many of them could not rise above their severe disappointment to possess that degree of zeal and energy which had marked their faith in 1843.” Early Writings, 236  [ EW 236.1 ]   

The “light from the word of God [that] shone upon their position” was the light of the Second Angel’s message that descended at the First Disappointment:

“Another mighty angel was commissioned to descend to earth. Jesus placed in his hand a writing, and as he came to the earth, he cried, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen.’ Then I saw the disappointed ones again raise their eyes to heaven, looking with faith and hope for their Lord’s appearing. But many seemed to remain in a stupid state, as if asleep; yet I could see the trace of deep sorrow upon their countenances. The disappointed ones saw from the Scriptures that they were in the tarrying time, and that they must patiently wait the fulfillment of the vision. The same evidence which led them to look for their Lord in 1843, led them to expect Him in 1844. Yet I saw that the majority did not possess that energy which marked their faith in 1843. Their disappointment had dampened their faith.” Early Writings, 247  [ EW 247.1 ]   

The light of the Second Angel that began to shine with the first disappointment, intensified until it became the Midnight Cry, when the correct date for the termination of the prophetic periods was announced:

“‘While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.’ Matthew 25:5-7. In the summer of 1844, midway between the time when it had been first thought that the 2300 days would end, and the autumn of the same year, to which it was afterward found that they extended, the message was proclaimed in the very words of Scripture: ‘Behold, the Bridegroom cometh!’  [ GC 398.3 ]   

“That which led to this movement was the discovery that the decree of Artaxerxes for the restoration of Jerusalem, which formed the starting point for the period of the 2300 days, went into effect in the autumn of the year 457 B.C., and not at the beginning of the year, as had been formerly believed. Reckoning from the autumn of 457, the 2300 years terminate in the autumn of 1844.…  [ GC 398.4 ]

“…The tenth day of the seventh month, the great Day of Atonement, the time of the cleansing of the sanctuary, which in the year 1844 fell upon the twenty-second of October, was regarded as the time of the Lord’s coming. This was in harmony with the proofs already presented that the 2300 days would terminate in the autumn, and the conclusion seemed irresistible.” The Great Controversy, 398-399  [ GC 399.4 ]

Joseph Bates (1847)

“At Midnight a cry was raised, the bridegroom is coming, go ye out to meet him. Then all the virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.” We have already shown that the tarrying time for the bridegroom by the prophetic periods was six months, beginning the 19th April down to 22nd October, 1844.” Joseph Bates, (1847) Second Advent Way Marks and High Heaps, 72  [ 1847 JB, BP2 72.1 ]

Habakkuk had prophesied centuries earlier that this delay would occur as a result of writing the vision upon tables:

And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.

For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Habakkuk 2:2-3

PURPOSES ACHIEVED THROUGH THE 1843 CHART

The 1843 chart fulfilled several divine purposes:

1. It produced the First Disappointment, which purged the Millerite movement of numerous unstable followers.

2. It ushered in the arrival of the Second Angel, which denounced the moral fall of the churches that rejected the message of 1843 (First Angel’s message).

3. It brought about the “Tarrying Time” in which the prophetic periods would be re-examined and the correct calculation would be arrived at: October 22, 1844.

Having expired the Jewish year 1843, our pioneers understandably discontinued the use of the chart to preach the time of Jesus’ return, as it now seemed obsolete.

They had to re-examine the prophetic periods and fix a new termination for them, in the autumn of 1844. The calculation of the periods was now correct, but the nature of the expected event was not, so the Millerite-Adventists experienced an even greater disappointment, known as the Great Disappointment.

AFTER THE GREAT DISAPPOINTMENT

The Great Disappointment of October 22, 1844 dramatically reduced the Millerite-Adventist ranks. This motivated the few survivors of the Great Disappointment to focus for several years on re-examining their beliefs and determining their soundness. The Spirit of Prophecy, manifested through Ellen White, was instrumental in this process of consolidating old truths and discerning new light; for instance, the acceptance of the seventh day Sabbath in 1846.

“Many of our people do not realize how firmly the foundation of our faith has been laid. My husband, Elder Joseph Bates, Father Pierce, Elder [Hiram] Edson, and others who were keen, noble, and true, were among those who, after the passing of the time in 1844, searched for the truth as for hidden treasure. I met with them, and we studied and prayed earnestly. Often we remained together until late at night, and sometimes through the entire night, praying for light and studying the Word. Again and again these brethren came together to study the Bible, in order that they might know its meaning, and be prepared to teach it with power. When they came to the point in their study where they said, ‘We can do nothing more,’ the Spirit of the Lord would come upon me, I would be taken off in vision, and a clear explanation of the passages we had been studying would be given me, with instruction as to how we were to labor and teach effectively. Thus light was given that helped us to understand the scriptures in regard to Christ, His mission, and His priesthood. A line of truth extending from that time to the time when we shall enter the city of God, was made plain to me, and I gave to others the instruction that the Lord had given me.  [ 1SM 206.4 ]  

“During this whole time I could not understand the reasoning of the brethren. My mind was locked, as it were, and I could not comprehend the meaning of the scriptures we were studying. This was one of the greatest sorrows of my life. I was in this condition of mind until all the principal points of our faith were made clear to our minds, in harmony with the Word of God. The brethren knew that when not in vision, I could not understand these matters, and they accepted as light direct from heaven the revelations given.  [ 1SM 207.1 ]   

“For two or three years my mind continued to be locked to an understanding of the Scriptures. In the course of our labors, my husband and I visited Father Andrews, who was suffering intensely with inflammatory rheumatism. We prayed for him. I laid my hands on his head, and said, ‘Father Andrews, the Lord Jesus maketh thee whole.’ He was healed instantly. He got up, and walked about the room, praising God, and saying, ‘I never saw it on this wise before. Angels of God are in this room.’ The glory of the Lord was revealed. Light seemed to shine all through the house, and an angel’s hand was laid upon my head. From that time to this I have been able to understand the Word of God.  [ 1SM 207.2 ]  

“What influence is it would lead men at this stage of our history to work in an underhand, powerful way to tear down the foundation of our faith–the foundation that was laid at the beginning of our work by prayerful study of the Word and by revelation? Upon this foundation we have been building for the past fifty years. Do you wonder that when I see the beginning of a work that would remove some of the pillars of our faith, I have something to say? I must obey the command, ‘Meet it!’…” Selected Messages, book 1, 206-207  [ 1SM 207.3 ]   

“A transforming power attended the proclamation of the first and second angels’ messages, as it attends the message of the third angel. Lasting convictions were made upon human minds. The power of the Holy Spirit was manifested. There was diligent study of the Scriptures, point by point. Almost entire nights were devoted to earnest searching of the Word. We searched for the truth as for hidden treasures. The Lord revealed Himself to us. Light was shed on the prophecies, and we knew that we received divine instruction….  [ 2SM 109.3 ]  

“… Truth was made to shine forth, beautiful in its simplicity, dignified with a power and invested with an assurance unknown before the disappointment. We could then proclaim the message in unity.” Selected Messages, book 2, 109  [ 2SM 109.4 ]

Around 1850, when this process of re-examining their beliefs to determine their soundness and assimilating new truths was completed, Adventists were once again ready to preach their message. It was very important for our pioneers to be clear that God had directed every step in the development of their message, including the disappointments. To this end, God considered it important to validate again the 1843 chart.

1850: REVALIDATION OF THE 1843 CHART

In 1850, the Adventist “little flock” was ready to take their message again to the world and for this they would need to publish a new chart.

But before God ordered the new chart, He first revalidated the “old chart” of 1843, by means of inspired statements through Ellen White:

September 23d The Lord showed me that the 1843 chart was directed by his hand, and that no part of it should be altered; that the figures were as he wanted them. ….” The Review and Herald  [ RH November 1, 1850, par. 10, 11 ]

“A vision the Lord gave me October 23, 1850… I saw that the truth should be made plain on tables, that the earth and the fullness thereof is the Lord’s, and that necessary means should not be spared to make it plain. I saw that the angels’ messages made plain, would have effect. I saw that the old chart was directed by the Lord, and that not a peg of it should be altered without inspiration. I saw that the figures on the chart were as God wanted them, and that His hand was over and hid a mistake in some of the figures so that none could see it until His hand was removed.” Manuscript 15, 1850  [ Ms15-1850 ]

God inspired these statements to make it clear that the history of the Millerite movement is sacred history. And to prevent the 1843 “old chart” from being regarded as an obsolete relic of our past, God claimed to have guided it and approved it.

THE 1850 TABLE

The new chart of 1850 corrected the mistake of the old chart: the year 1843. Now the prophetic periods ended correctly in 1844. Moreover, the 1850 chart contained the light of the Third Angel’s message, which began to shine after the great disappointment.

“God showed me the necessity of getting out a chart. I saw it was needed and that the truth made plain upon tables would affect much and would cause souls to come to the knowledge of the truth.—Letter 26, 1850, p. 1. (To Brother and Sister Loveland, November 1, 1850.)” Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 202  [ 5MR 202.4 ]

“… On our return to Brother Nichols’, the Lord gave me a vision and showed me that the truth must be made plain upon tables, and it would cause many to decide for the truth by the three angels’ messages, with the two former being made plain upon tables.” (Written on November 27, 1850) Manuscript Releases, vol. 16, 207  [ 16MR 207.1 ]  

It is clear that the 1850 chart was also commanded by God. And it is likewise the fulfillment of the command given by Habakkuk, for the prophet transmitted the command to declare the truth in “tables,” in the plural. Thus, the 1850 table is Habakkuk’s second table.

Just as God gave two tables of the covenant to ancient Israel at its beginning, God gave two tables of the covenant to modern Israel (Adventism) at its beginning. Ancient Israel received the tables of the law, while modern Israel received the tables of the prophets.

I saw that God was in the publishment of the chart by Brother Nichols. I saw that there was a prophecy of this chart in the Bible, and if this chart is designed for God’s people, if it [is] sufficient for one it is for another, and if one needed a new chart painted on a larger scale, all need it just as much.  [ 13MR 359.1 ]

I saw that the charts ordered by God struck the mind favorably, even without an explanation. There is something light, lovely, and heavenly in the representation of the angels on the charts. The mind is almost imperceptibly led to God and heaven….” Manuscript Releases, vol. 13, 359  [ 13MR 359.3 ]

James White (1850)

“A chronological chart of the visions of Daniel and John, calculated to illustrate clearly the present truth, is now being lithographed under the care of Bro. Otis Nichols, of Dorchester, Mass. Those who teach the present truth will be greatly aided by it.” James White, The Present Truth, November 1850, 88  [ November 1850 JWe, PTJW 88.8 ]  

CONCLUSION

It was at the end of a long process of examination that God asked the Adventist pioneers to visually illustrate their conclusions on the 1850 chart. So the prophetic concepts represented in the second table are the ones that passed this rigorous examination.

Thus, both charts represent the fruit of the careful study of God’s chosen messengers: the 1843 chart was primarily the product of years of study by William Miller, while the 1850 chart added the product of years of study by Seventh-day Adventists such as James White, Joseph Bates, Hiram Edson, among others.

“The past fifty years [this was written in 1905] have not dimmed one jot or principle of our faith as we received the great and wonderful evidences that were made certain to us in 1844, after the passing of the time. The languishing souls are to be confirmed and quickened according to His Word…. Not a word is changed or denied. That which the Holy Spirit testified to as truth after the passing of the time, in our great disappointment, is the solid foundation of truth. [The] pillars of truth were revealed, and we accepted the foundation principles that have made us what we are—Seventh-day Adventists, keeping the commandments of God and having the faith of Jesus.” (Letter 326, December 4, 1905) The Upward Look, 352  [ UL 352.4 ]  

The 1843 chart embodied the message of the First Angel and induced the arrival of the Second Angel; while the 1850 chart contains the accumulation of the messages of the three Angels. The prophetic truths illustrated in both charts constitute the solid prophetic foundation of Adventism. Additionally, the 1850 chart contains pillars of Adventism, such as the doctrine of the sanctuary, the law of God which includes the Sabbath, etc….

On the right side of both tables is illustrated the historical role of Islam, represented as horsemen, in the prophetic fulfillment of the trumpets of Revelation.

Also, in the center of both tables there is a vertical strip with significant historical dates. It is a chronology that begins in the year 677 B.C. and extends until 1843 (in the first table), and until 1844 (in the second table), for a total of 2520 years of duration of the “vision”. Both tables include the calculation of the prophetic period of the Seven Times, or 2520.

James White (1850)

“…We date the “seven times” or 2520 years, from the captivity of Manasseh, which is, with great unanimity, placed by chronologers B. C. 677. This date is the only one we have ever reckoned from, for the commencement of this period; and subtracting B. C. 677 from 2520 years, there remained but A. D. 1843. We, however, did not observe, that as it would require 677 full years B. C. and 1843 full years A. D. to complete 2520 years, that it would also oblige us to extend this period as far into A. D. 1844, as it might have commenced after the beginning of B. C. 677.” James White editor, The Advent Review, vol. 1, August 1850, 2  [ August 1850 JWe, ADRE 2.6 ]

James White (1850)

“…we now could see clearly that it would take every hour of 457 B. C., and 1843 years after, to fill up 2300 days or years; and so of the seven times of the Gentiles; 677 B. C. and 1843, was only 2520 as given on the chart….” James White editor, The Advent Review, vol. 1, September 1850, 55  [ September 1850 JWe, ADRE 55.5 ]

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