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Historical Data on "1843" Chart

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Archives / 1942 / May



Historical Data on "1843" Chart

LeRoy E. Froom

L.E.F. is editor of the Ministry.


Please give dependable data and documen­tation on the "1843" chart. By whom was it devised and when? When used and by whom? What was its uniqueness or significance? Why did Mrs. White commend it?

The famous "1843" chart, devised in 1842 by Charles Fitch and Apollos Hale, was a mighty factor in proclaiming the advent message at that time. Its publication was authorized by the eleventh general conference of the Millerite movement, which convened at Boston on May 24, 1842. (Signs of the Times, May 18, 1842, p. 56; June 1, p. 68; June 22, p. 96.) A few months earlier, Fitch visited Springfield, Massachusetts, with his hand-painted cloth chart. His course of lectures stirred the city, as he stressed Habakkuk 2 :2, "Write the vision, and make it plain," as calling for and being fulfilled in the chart.

Three hundred copies, 3 feet 4 inches by 4 feet 7 inches, were lithographed at Boston, and used in the earlier 1843 phase of the movement. The name of Joshua V. Himes appeared as the publisher. These 1843 charts were not used, how­ever, in the climaxing "sev­enth-month movement"- or "true midnight cry'" phase, from July to October, 1844. The Jewish year 1843 had expired in April, 1844 (civil time), and the Adventists were now consciously living in the Jewish sacred year 1844, and looking for the antitypical day of atonement —the tenth day of the Jewish month Tishri—to come on October 22, when they all expected the great High Priest to emerge from the heavenly sanctuary to bless His waiting people.

This miniature is from a redrawing of the stained and faded original chart made for reproduction by the Lemos Brothers of Oakland, Cali. fornia, in 1908. There are several slight typographical errors, such as rnisspelled words, but the phrasing and dating are true to the original.

This was not the first and only prophetic chart which was employed in proclaiming the first angel's message, and which appeared in the Millerite papers. Various charts designed by William Miller, Calvin French, J. V. Himes, Apollos Hale, and others, had appeared. (For example, see Signs of the Times, May I, 1840, p. 24; May I, 1841, p. 21; etc.) But this notable 1843 "Chronological Chart of the Visions of Daniel and John," devised by Charles Fitch, was a distinct advance over all these previous charts, correcting certain for­mer inaccuracies, and omitting a number of untenable positions, though retaining certain mistakes in some of the figures. All of these figures focalized on the Jewish year 1843 as the erroneous terminal date, instead of 1844, which was later clearly recognized by all in the summer of 1844.

The vital place of the 1843 chart in the de­veloping advent movement was clearly recog­nized and attested by Ellen White in 185o, in the Present Truth. This statement was written in the midst of nominal Adventism's repudiation of divine leading in the first and second angels' messages, owing to their bitter disap­pointment and the resultant denial that the 2300-year period had yet terminated. Reject­ing the advancing light on the sanctuary, Sab­bath, and the Spirit of prophecy—which alone could, and would, explain the disappointment—they contended that the spirit that had led them was mesmerism, instead of the Spirit of God. In the midst of all this repudiation, divine attestation was given to the guiding hand of God, despite some of the mistakes and miscon­ceptions in both the 1843 and the 1844 phases of the movement. Thus the 1843 chart came in the providence of God, and had its appointed place.

The following notations give, in condensed, tabular form, the essential scope of the 1843 chart, its noteworthy advances and revisions over previous Millerite charts, its conspicuous omissions of positions previously set forth, and certain mistakes retained in "some of the figures" of the 1843 chart, as alluded to by Ellen G. White. Then follows the list of docu­mented excerpts for students.

Notes on the "1843 Chart" Details

A. Scope of the "1843 Chart"

1. Image of Daniel 2.

2. Division of feet and toes.

3. Beasts of Daniel 7, and papal little horn.

4. Ram, he-goat, and horn of Daniel 8.

5. Crucifixion in midst of seventieth week.

6. Pagan dragon of Revelation 12.

7. Papal beast of Revelation 13.

8. Fifth and sixth trumpets of Revelation

9. The various prophetic periods—the 1260, 1290, 1335, and 2300 days, the 5 months, and the "7 times of the Gen­tiles."

B. Advanced Positions Taken on "1843 Chart"

1. Ten kingdoms—the "feet and toes," not simply toes. (Notice the Lombards.)

2. Three horns plucked up—the Ostrogoths, Vandals, and Heruli. (Differing from the Miller list.

3. 1260 years of the little horn—from Jus­tinian's elevation of the Roman Bishop. (Not from the uprooting of the third opposing horn.)

4. Notable horn of Daniel 8—Rome, pagan and papal. (Not Antiochus Epiphanes, or Mohammedanism.)

5. First beast of Revelation 13—papal Rome. (Not pagan Rome, as in earlier charts.)

6. 150 years of fifth trumpet—from 1299 to 1449, when the sixth trumpet begins. (No mention of specific ending date of sixth trumpet.)

7. Authorities cited : Josephus, Whelpley, Marchiaval, Bishop Lloyd, Doctor Hales.

C. Omissions of Previous Positions of Former Charts

Note: This chart bears the marks of careful revision, to eliminate certain suppositions and con­jectures such as had appeared on half a dozen earlier charts.

1. 33 A. D. for date of cross not mentioned, as had appeared on all previous charts. (Hales, sponsor of the 31 A. D. cross mentioned, but the 31 crucifixion not yet agreed upon.

2. Second beast of Revelation 13 omitted. (Previously cited as Papacy, or as France.)

3. 666 as years of pagan or imperial Rome omitted. (Differing from Miller's uniform position and from previous charts.)

4. "Daily" nowhere identified as paganism, as on former charts. (Fitch, designer of 1843 chart, in first letter to Miller in 1838, questioned his position.)

5. Ten kings to reign thirty years not mentioned.

D. Mistake Retained in "Some figures" (Plural). (See "Early Writ­ings," p. 74.)

Note: This 1843 chart not used in the sev­enth-month movement, which climaxed with Oc­tober 22, 1844.

I. 158 B. C. as date of league between Jews and Romans retained. (Should be 161 33.ch:i.)

II. 1843, the old terminus of the 2300 years.

184 was before the correction to 606 as date for rise of Mohammedanism.

Numerous minor discrepancies in other dates, such as for certain of the ten horns, 490 A. D. for the breakup of Rome, and the "7 times" as from 677 B. C., etc.

Documentation on "1843" Chart and First Message

I. Presented by Fitch and Authorized by Conference

"In May, 1842, a general conference was again convened in Boston, Massachusetts. At the open­ing of this meeting Brethren Charles 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. Brother Fitch, in explaining the subject, said in substance, as follows: He had been turning it over in his mind, and felt that if something of this kind could be done, it would simplify the subject, and make it much easier for him to present it to the people. Here new light seemed to spring up. These brethren had fulfilled a prophecy given by Habak­kuk 2,468 years before, 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."—"Second Advent Way Marks and High Heaps," Joseph Bates, New Bedford, 1847, pp. .ro, 11. (See also "Life of Joseph Bates," 1878, p. 272.)

1. Prophetic Chart Publicized

"'Chronological Chart of the Visions of Daniel and John.' It is now nearly finished, and will be ready for delivery in a few days. Price, $2.5o a copy to subscribers. Published at No. 14 Devonshire Street, upstairs. Subscribers may send or call soon."—Signs of the Times, June 22, 1842, 9. 96.

2. Mightly Influence of the Chart

"You who participated in this first angel's message, 'Ind 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 ["1843"] chart. With what solemnity, zeal, and holy confidence the servants of the Lord proclaimed the time. And 0, 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."—James White in Present Truth, April, 1850, p. 65.

3. James White Uses Chart on First Preaching Tour

"In October, 1842. an. advent camp meeting was held in Exeter, Maine, which I attended. The meeting was large, tents numerous, preaching clear and powerful, and the singing of second advent melodies possessed a power such as I had never before witnessed in sacred songs. My second advent experience was greatly deepened at this meeting, and at its close I felt that I must immediately go out into the great harvest field, and do what I could in sounding the warning. I therefore prepared three lectures, one to remove such objections as the time of the advent not to be known, and the temporal millennium, one on the signs of the times, and one on the prophecy of Daniel.

"I had neither horse, saddle, bridle, nor money, yet felt that I must go. I had used my past winter's earnings in necessary clothing, in attend­ing second advent meetings, and in the purchase of books and the chart. But my father offered me the use of a horse for the winter, and Elder Polley gave me a saddle with both pads torn off, and several pieces of an old bridle. I gladly accepted these, and cheerfully placed the saddle on a beech log and nailed on the pads, fastened the pieces of the bridle together with malleable nails, folded my chart, with a few pamphlets on the subject of the advent over my breast, snugly buttoned op in my coat, and left my father's house on horseback. I gave from three to six lectures in four different towns around Palmyra." —"Life Incidents," by fames White, 1868. pp. 72, 73.

4. Whittier's Description of the Charts

John Greenleaf Whittier, describing one of the giant Adventist camp meetings—at East Kingston, New Hampshire (June 29-July 5, 1842)—of which Apollos Hale was secretary, thus described the prophetic chart used, which was doubtless the original canvas chart from which the lithographed copies were made :

" 'Suspended from the front of the rude pulpit were two broad sheets of canvas, upon one of which was the figure of a man—the head of gold, the breast and arms of silver, the belly of brass, the legs of iron, and feet of clay—the dream of Nebuchadnezzar ! On the other were depicted the wonders of the apocalyptic vision—he beasts —the dragons—the scarlet woman seen by the seer of Patmos—Oriental types and figures and mystic symbols translated into staring Yankee realities, and exhibited like the beasts of a trav­eling menagerie. One horrible image, with its hideous heads and scaly caudal extremity, re­minded me of the tremendous line of Milton. who, in speaking of the same evil dragon, describes him as-

' "Swingeing the scaly horrors of his folded tail."

'To an imaginative mind the scene was full of novel interest. The white circle of tents—the dim wood arches—the upturned, earnest faces—the loud voices of the speakers, burdened with the awful symbolic language of the Bible.'" —Quoted in "Life of William Miller," Sylvester Bliss, Boston, 1853, p. 166.

6. Chart Suggested to Fithc by Habakkuk 2: 2

"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."—Ellen G. White, "The Great Controversy,' 191x, p. 392.

Note: The tarrying time was clearly recog­nized and stressed following the ending of the Jewish sacred year "1843," in April, 1844 (civil time). Consciously living thereafter in "1844." the Adventists did not use this famous chart in this later movement to herald the October, 1844. expectation.

God's Hand Hid Mistake in Figures

-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. 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."—E. G. White, in Present Truth, Nov., 1850, p. 87, col. 1.

L. E. F.

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