Q. Can you explain why the Millerites thought that Jesus was coming back in 1844 based on Daniel 8:14? What does this passage really mean?
A. Daniel 8:14 reads,
“It will take 2300 evenings and mornings and then the sanctuary will be re-consecrated.”
The Millerites were named for William Miller who was an American Baptist preacher and founder of the Seventh Day Adventists. He took the view that the phrase “re-consecration of the sanctuary” referred to the Earth’s purification by fire at Christ’s 2nd Coming. Using a year for a day principle he interpreted the 2300 evenings and mornings to represent 2300 years. Further, Miller became convinced that this period started in 457 BC which is when he believed Artaxerxes Longimonus issued the decree to rebuild Jerusalem (Daniel 9:25) Most scholars date the decree in 445 BC based on Nehemiah 2:1.
2300 years from 457 BC comes to 1843 AD. Miller then declared the world would end between March 21,1843 and March 21, 1844, giving himself some leeway. The later date was subsequently extended to April 18 based on the substitution of the Karaite Jewish calendar for the Rabbinic one.
I believe Daniel 8:11-14 has the Maccabean revolt in view with Antiochus Epiphanes as the little horn causing the first and so far only abomination of desolation. The 2300 evenings and mornings refers to the twice daily sacrifice for sin that was stopped when the temple was made desolate. That means it’s actually 1150 days, the length of time from the abomination in 168 BC to the re-consecration of the temple on 25 Kislev, 165 BC, commemorated by the annual feast of Hanukkah.