For centuries, the Roman Catholic Church had set the timing of the crucifixion of Christ to the Passover in the year 33 AD. The Lunar records show that this was indeed a Friday Passover. Not even the Protestant Church contended with this date until after the spring of 1843 when William Miller’s initial calculation of Christ’s return failed. Few Adventists are aware of Miller’s 1843 calculation and even fewer know that after its failure, the Adventist hope was rekindled by a man named S.S. Snow. Brother Snow recalculated 2300 day (for year) projected that the time prophecy would terminate on the day of Yom Kippur October 22 1844. Additionally, Elder Snow discovered that the timing of the holy days had been skewed by the traditions of rabbinic reckoning. Through Snow’s newly discovered methods of calculation (which Karaite Jews had continued to practice in the Land of Israel), the Millerites set their sights for the 7th biblical month of 1844.
But October 22 1844 turned out to be a great disappointment! As disappointing at it was, the event catapulted sincere believers out of the mainstream Protestant churches and into a “think tank” that eventually became known as the “Church of God”. This turn of events was beneficial to the restoration of several ancient biblical practices; namely the 7th Day Sabbath and Biblical health practices. One remarkable discovery by the Adventists was the fact that the Messiah was not crucified in AD 33 as the Christian Church at large believed. Based on the timing of the 2300 day prophecy found in Daniel 8,the timing of the crucifixion was set backwards by the Adventists two years to the year AD 31. After the Advent Pioneers mingled together as the Church of God for nearly two decades, the Seventh Day Adventist Church had formed. As the years progressed, the further development of unique doctrines from both of these group solidified and began to separate these two close cousins.
But one belief maintained by both groups was the concept that the Messiah was crucified in AD 31. But out of this root doctrine came two unique schools of thought. The "Church of God" concluded that the Messiah died on a Wednesday while the Seventh Day Adventists maintained the traditional belief maintained by the Christian Church that he died on Friday. To the Church of God, a Sunday resurrection constitutes idolatry. Further complicating the matter was that the Seventh Day Adventist prophet, Ellen G. White claimed that she was shown in a vision that the event of Christ’s crucifixion occurred on a Friday and rested in the grave the following day (Which was the 7th Day Sabbath) Here is the account in her own words “The disciples rested on the Sabbath, sorrowing for the death of their Lord, while Jesus, the King of glory, lay in the tomb. As night drew on, soldiers were stationed to guard the Savior's resting place, while angels, unseen, hovered above the sacred spot. The night wore slowly away, and while it was yet dark, the watching angels knew that the time for the release of God's dear Son, their loved Commander, had nearly come.” (Spiritual Gifts Volume 1 pg. 18) Based on this vision, the Church of God declared Ellen to be a false prophet. So as you can see, there seems to be an impasse between these two ideological groups that will be difficult to surmount.
To complicate things even more for the Seventh Day Adventist believers, the General Conference formed the “Advent Research Committee” in 1938 to determine the astronomical facts surrounding the date points associated with the 1844 doctrine could substantiate a Friday Crucifixion in AD 31. Two years later (1940) the scientific data retrieved contradicted their belief that the Passover took place on a Friday in AD 31. It would have been easy for the church to correct the error. But the scientific facts which were presented to the research committee undermined the prophetic credibility of the visions of Ellen White and were conveniently smoothed over by the majority of research committee.
In an attempt resolve this matter, a growing number of SDA’s have embraced the “Lunar Sabbath”. This doctrine eludes that Mrs. Whites comments about the Messiah’s rest in the grave on a Sabbath did not refer to the Roman day called “Saturday”, but rather it refers to one of the quarterly phases of the moon. Through the adoption of this concept, Lunar Sabbatarians uphold that Ellen White’s vision of Christ’s burial did indeed occur on a Sabbath day, but it was a Lunar Sabbath day. Thus the SDA Lunar Sabbatarians disconnected themselves from the 7 day “Saturday” Sabbath cycle to uphold the visions of Ellen White.
As you can see from these examples; instead of maintaining unity among the Sabbatarians upon the 1844 doctrine, the root calculation devised by S.S. Snow created many irreconcilable fractures that make unity among Sabbatarians practically impossible. I myself have researched this matter over the years and found that NASA, the United States Naval Observatory, Her Majesties Nautical Almanac, Ancient Syrian and Babylonian records all disclaim the possibility of a Friday Passover date in AD 31. Yet the scriptures maintain that unity will be restored. If there really was a Friday Crucifixion, there must be a truth yet to be discovered that we do not yet comprehend.
Millerites and the
Recalculation of time