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Advent Mirror (1845)

By Douglas Morgan

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Douglas Morgan is a graduate of Union College (B.A., theology, 1978) in Lincoln, Nebraska and the University of Chicago (Ph.D., history of Christianity, 1992). He has served on the faculties of Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Maryland and Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee. His publications include Adventism and the American Republic (University of Tennessee Press, 2001) and Lewis C. Sheafe: Apostle to Black America (Review and Herald, 2010). He is the ESDA assistant editor for North America.

First Published: June 14, 2023

The first and only issue of the Advent Mirror, published January 1845 in Boston, Massachusetts, proved to be a milestone in the development of Seventh-day Adventist teachings concerning the pre-advent judgment and final ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary.

A single article by editors Apollos Hale and Joseph Turner filled most of the paper’s four pages.1 The authors’ answer to the question raised by their title, “Has not the Savior come as the Bridegroom?,” was, “Yes,” and that this “coming” took place on October 22, 1844, in fulfillment of the prophecy that the Millerites had mistakenly thought would be fulfilled by Christ’s physical return to earth.

The Millerites had termed the proclamation of Christ’s return in 1844 as “the Midnight Cry,” referring to Christ’s parable about the “ten virgins” (Matthew 25:1-12). In the parable, a “cry” goes forth at midnight, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh,” announcing the deferred arrival of the bridegroom to enter his wedding feast. The five wise virgins who brought sufficient oil to keep their lamps burning entered with him into the wedding banquet, but the door was shut barring entry to the unprepared virgins.

Hale and Turner, in brief, contended that the parable did not signify the second coming of Christ to earth, as the Millerites anticipated, but rather to the coming of Christ (the bridegroom) into a heavenly marriage celebration at which he received his bride—his faithful church. This was one and the same event as depicted in the judgment scene of Daniel 7 at which the “son of man” (Christ) is given the kingdom by the “Ancient of Days” (God the Father). Thus, Hale and Turner maintained that the chronology pointing to October 22, 1844, drawn primarily from Daniel 8 and 9, was accurate and had been fulfilled by this heavenly event.2

The article set forth further implications of all of this for Second Advent believers. The shutting of the door to the marriage meant that probation for sinners was over and with it, the mission of warning the world of Christ’s soon return. Hale and Turner depicted the Advent faithful as now in a “guest-chamber” awaiting “the final examination of the King” (see Matthew 22:1-14). Thus, the authors emphatically declared: “This judgment is here.”3 It promised to be a very brief process, thus believers must hold on in faith and renewed hope to insure their entry into the eternal kingdom.

Hale and Turner’s Advent Mirror article was widely disseminated in Millerite circles and quickly became controversial. However, they were drawing on concepts previously set forth by none other than William Miller. In an exposition published in 1842, Miller had connected the phrase “the door was shut” with a “closing up of the mediatorial kingdom, and finishing the gospel period” prior to the second advent of Christ.4 Furthermore, a letter by William Miller published in the February 12, 1845, issue of the Advent Herald was tentatively favorable to the “Shut Door” and another, published in the February 19, 1845, issue of the Voice of Truth, stated that Hale and Turner’s Advent Mirror article on the “bridegroom” and “shut door” was right “in the main.”5

However, Joshua V. Himes, editor of the Advent Herald and Miller’s chief associate, pushed back hard against the “Shut-Door” teaching. Thus, in April 1845, Miller joined Himes and the majority of leading Second Advent preachers in Albany, New York, where they proclaimed an “open door” to salvation, and a renewed commitment to preaching to the world the message of Christ’s return at a soon but unspecified time.6

The founders of Seventh-day Adventism, would, by 1852, also repudiate the “Shut Door.”7 But, their movement coalesced during the 1845-1851 period within the minority “Shut-Door” sector of Adventism that affirmed much of what Hale and Turner set forth in the Advent Mirror.8 Though the beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists regarding the significance of October 22, 1844, would undergo considerable development over time, they held to belief that prophecy was fulfilled on that day by a heavenly event that entailed a “pre-advent” judgment.

Sources

Burt, Merlin D. “The Historical Background, Interconnected Development, and Integration of the Doctrines of the Sanctuary, the Sabbath, and Ellen G. White’s Role in Sabbatarian Adventism From 1844 to 1849.” Ph.D. diss., Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI, U.S.A., 2002.

Hale, A. and J. Turner. “Has not the Savior come as the Bridegroom?” Advent Mirror, January 1845. Adventist Pioneer Library, Periodicals, Ellen G. White Writings, https://m.egwwritings.org/en/book/1647.2000004#2000004; and Internet Archive, https://archive.org/details/A.haleJ.turnerHasNotTheSaviorComeAsTheBridegroom1845.

Knight, Millennial Fever and the End of the World: A Study of Millerite Adventism. Boise, ID: Pacific Press, 1993.

Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia. 2nd rev. edition. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald, 1996. S.v. “Open and Shut Door.”

Notes

  1. Full text of Advent Mirror, Vol. 1, No. 1 (January 1845) in Adventist Pioneer Library, Periodicals, Ellen G. White Writings, https://m.egwwritings.org/en/book/1647.2000004#2000004; and at Internet Archive, https://archive.org/details/A.haleJ.turnerHasNotTheSaviorComeAsTheBridegroom1845.

  2. George R. Knight, Millennial Fever and the End of the World: A Study of Millerite Adventism (Boise, ID: Pacific Press, 1993), 245-246.

  3. Merlin D. Burt, “The Historical Background, Interconnected Development, and Integration of the Doctrines of the Sanctuary, the Sabbath, and Ellen G. White’s Role in Sabbatarian Adventism From 1844 to 1849” (Ph.D. diss., Andrews University, 2002), 79.

  4. William Miller, Evidence From Scripture and History of the Second Coming of Christ: About the Year 1843 (Boston: Joshua V. Himes, 1842), 237, quoted and discussed in Knight, Millennial Fever, 237-238.

  5. Knight, Millennial Fever, 240.

  6. Ibid., 240-242, 270-273.

  7. Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, 2nd rev. edition (1996), s.v. “Open and Shut Door.”

  8. Knight, Millennial Fever, 295-323.

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Morgan, Douglas. "Advent Mirror (1845)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. June 14, 2023. Accessed February 28, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=B8SY.

Morgan, Douglas. "Advent Mirror (1845)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. June 14, 2023. Date of access February 28, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=B8SY.

Morgan, Douglas (2023, June 14). Advent Mirror (1845). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved February 28, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=B8SY.