William Miller’s 6000-year Theory

In spite of all the prediction failures, most nineteenth-century Christian denominations taught that God would bring an end to an evil and selfish world in their century although details varied. Disagreements were plentiful as to when in that century the end would occur; nevertheless, all date-setters used some sort of date for creation and added the 6,000 years to calculate when Jesus would come back again. Outside and inside of mainline religion there was a keen interest in deciphering the date when the second-coming of Christ would begin.

Charles Taze Russell was well-acquainted with the account of Baptist William Miller’s (“Father Miller”) efforts to pinpoint when the second-coming of Christ would begin on the earth. Miller’s date-setting based upon his use of the 6,000-year theory resulted in what one prominent writer called, “Millennial fever,” when thousands of keyed-up people expected Jesus to return in 1843. When nothing of the kind took place then, Miller’s close associates convinced him that the right date was in 1844. Likewise, nothing happened that year either. The upshot of the failed predictions was a shattering of the lives of thousands of nonmembers and also members of many different Christian denominations who put faith in Miller’s calculations.

Russell was personally acquainted with other well-known believers of the 6,000-year theory who lived during the nineteenth century, men such as George Storrs, George Stetson, Jonas Wendell and Nelson Barbour, all men connected with the “Second Adventist” movement that came out of the “Millerite” debacle. Each man subscribed to the 6,000-year theory to decipher when the second-coming of Christ would begin. In his later years, Storrs denounced date-setting due to his earlier support of William Miller and the negative outcome of that group. However he still pinned his hopes on the correctness of using the 6,000-year theory.

Most of these men lived long enough to see their hopes collapse just like millions of people before them that just knew in their hearts that the time they lived in was the end-time which calculation was rooted in the same 6,000-year-creation-theory used for thousands of years by pagans, Judaism and Christian denominations.

In reality, Russell wasn’t any different than the Christian denominations he separated himself from because at one time or the other, they all believed in the 6,000-year-theory.


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