When Was the "Day of Atonement in 1844"?

by Robert K. Sanders

Why is the accuracy of these dates important?

It is important to Seventh-day Adventists to maintain October 22, 1844 as the Day of Atonement regardless of historical documents that bear out September 23, 1844 as the Day of Atonement. The reason for this is their prophet Ellen G. White, had confirmed October 22, 1844 as the Day of Atonement. If the October date is false then the Seventh-day Adventists would have to concede that their prophet endorsed a false date for Day of Atonement. Ellen G. Whites Sanctuary and Investigative Judgment doctrines would also be incorrect. October 22, 1844 is the date she believed and taught from vision, that Jesus and the Father moved from the Holy Apartment to the Most Holy Apartment to begin the Investigative Judgment and the cleansing of the Sanctuary. Ellen G. White states her beliefs:

"So it was believed that Christ, out great High Priest, would appear to purify the earth by the destruction of sin and sinners, and to bless His waiting people with immortality. The tenth day of the seventh month, the great Day of Atonement, the time of the cleansing of the sanctuary, which in the year 1844 fell upon the twenty-second of October, was regarded as the time of the Lords coming." The Great Controversy, p. 400. "The preaching of a definite time for the judgment, in giving the first message, was ordered of God. The computation of the prophetic periods on which that message was based, placing the close of the 2300 day in the autumn of 1844, stands without impeachment." The Great Controversy, p.457.

 Ellen G. White is saying:

  1. That Christ would appear and purify the earth by the destruction of sin and sinners. (Didn't happen.)

  2. Christ would bless the people with immortality. His people are the Little Flock or Seventh-day Adventists. (Didn't happen.)

  3. This would take place October 22, 1844. (Didn't happen.)

  4. God ordered preaching a definite time for judgment. This definite time was October 22, 1844. (Didn't happen.)

  5. The preaching of a definite time for judgment at the close of the 2300 days (October 22, 1844) stands without impeachment. (Didn't happen.)

The first quote from The Great Controversy is from the chapter titled, Prophecies Fulfilled. It is amusing to say the least not one of these prophecies was fulfilled as well as having the date incorrect for the Day of Atonement and Christ's coming. Did God order two false dates, the 1843 failure and the 1844 failure?

It is no wonder the October 22, 1844 is called, "The Great Disappointment." Wm. Miller and his followers including Mrs. White would not have been disappointed if only they believed the Word of God, that no one knows the day and hour of Christ's return. They were disappointed that they could not make a liar out of God, and God was true to his Word.

The Day of Atonement in 1844 according to Jewish Encyclopedia?

"The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia" 1939 vol. 2, lists holidays, feasts and fasts as follows for September:

September (Tishri)

1 Rosh Hashanah (New Year)

2 Second Day of Rosh Hashanah

10 Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)

25 Hanukah

Tishri I Sept. 14, 1844

Heshvan I Oct. 14, 1844

Kislev I Nov. 12, 1844

Tebeth Dec. 11, 1844

From the above data from the "The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia" 1939 Vol. 2, the first day of Tishri begins on September 14th of our calendar. Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) begins 10 days later, Tuesday September 24, 1844. Using the Biblical and Jewish reckoning, the day begins at evening or sunset. The Day of Atonement would begin the evening of Monday September 23, 1844 and not October 22, as claimed by Ellen G. White.

Calendar September 1844











































Verification of the Day of Atonement in 1844:

Purdue University Professor Susan Prohofsky, Director of the Hillel Foundation. Purdue University is a State University in West Lafayette, Indiana. In 1992 Professor Prohofsky researched the Day of Atonement in 1844 on a computer program called "Inter Luach" (Hebrew for Lunar Calendar). Her findings were that the September 23, 1844 was the Day of Atonement. She also stated that, "the Day of Atonement never came as late as the month of October."

"Will October 22, 1844 Bear Investigation?"

By E.S. Ballenger

"Oct. 22, 1844 has been a crucial time with SDAs since their pioneers fixed upon it for the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ; and they still stand tenaciously for this date in spite of all facts to the contrary. The Day of Atonement fell on Sept. 23, in 1844 instead of Oct. 22. This can be easily demonstrated by consulting any Jewish almanac of that time, or any orthodox Jewish authority. They celebrate the Day of Atonement in 1844 on Sept. 23.

The defenders of the creed declare that while the orthodox Jews may have celebrated the Day of Atonement on Sept. 23, the Karaite Jews observed it on Oct 22. We have made careful investigation, and we find that this is a false claim. The leading Karaite rabbi of Cairo, Egypt, Youseff Ibrahim Marzork, in reply to an inquiry as to the day on which they celebrated the atonement in 1844, wrote:

"As to the dates of the Passover and Yom Kippur they are the following:

"According to the Karaite Jews in the year 1843 the Yom Kippur is on Wednesday the 4th October, and just the same date according to the Rabbinical." "In the year 1844 it is on Monday 23rd September for the Karaite and Rabbinical."

If being ignorant of the movement of Christ from the holy to the most holy was such a great sin that their prayers were answered by the devil how about Mrs. White and her followers who continued to pray just the same as these condemned people did for a month after Christ made His move. If Christ made this transfer on the Day of Atonement in 1844, then He moved on Sept. 23, that is, twenty-nine days before Mrs. White and her followers knew that he had moved. If the other group who continued to direct their prayers to the same place between Sept. 23 and Oct. 22?

Yes, this extremely ridiculous; but you cannot escape the fact that according to S.D.A. teachings, either Mrs. White was mistaken in claiming that one class of people were praying to the devil, or else she and her followers were praying to the same devil for a month after Sept. 23, the Day of Atonement in 1844." The Gathering Call by E.S. Ballenger, May-June 1941, pp. 14-15.

Did Ellen G. White and her followers pray to Satan for a month as claimed by Pastor E. S. Ballenger? Ellen G. White answers:

 Chapter "End of The 2300 Days" "I turned to look at the company who were still bowed before the throne; they did not know that Jesus had left it. Satan appeared to be on the throne, trying to carry on the work of God. I saw them look up to the throne, and pray, "Father give us Thy Spirit." Satan would then breath on them an unholy influence; in it there was light and much power, but now sweet love, joy and peace. Satans object was to keep them deceived and to draw back and deceive Gods children." Early Writings, p. 56.

  1. Would Jesus allow Satan to sit on his throne and answer the prayers of those that were asking in faith, even if they were unaware of where his throne was? The Bible believing Christians always knew Jesus was on the throne with the Father in the Most Holy.

  2. Ellen G. White was a month late on the true date September 23. Therefore she and her followers was praying to Satan in the same way she accused others of doing by believing the Day of Atonement came on October 22.

  3. Can you believe that Jesus would allow Satan to answer the prayers of those that come to him in faith? Especially in light of the fact that Ellen G. White, Wm. Miller and all their followers were essentially calling God a liar. They claimed they know the MONTH, DAY AND YEAR , of Christs return in 1843 as well as in 1844 with their time settings. But Jesus said, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Mat 24:36 (NIV)

  4. William Miller was an honest man as he renounced his 1843/1844 errors. Wm. Miller and his followers started preaching the gospel to the world after the disappointment, thus proclaiming the door was open to the world for salvation and was having conversion to Christ. This caused a split between the Millerites and Ellen G. White and her followers as they were teaching the door of salvation was closed to the world. Ellen G. White did not wake up to the fact that the door of mercy to the world was never closed till 1851.

  5. From 1844-1851 the Whites and the Adventists would only preach to the Millerites who would not accept the closed door doctrine. When the Adventists gave up on the false shut door doctrine they then began preaching salvation to others.

"Samuel S. Snow Inventor of the October 22, 1844 Fiasco."

From the Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia Volume 10, p. 1357.

"SNOW, SAMUEL S. (1806-1870). A Congregationalist, then a skeptic, later a Millerite minister; initiator of the "seventh-month movement." Beginning with an article written Feb. 16, 1843, he emphasized the tenth day of the Jewish seventh month, Tishri, the Jewish Day of Atonement, as the true ending date of the prophetic 2300 years. Later he set forth the specific day as Oct. 22, 1844, our calendar equivalent of the tenth day of the seventh month in that year according to the old Karaite Jewish calendar. At first there was but little interest or response, but when Snow preached on July 21 in the large Boston Tabernacle on the text, "Behold, the bridegroom cometh [on the tenth day of the seventh month]; go ye out to meet him," some began to be roused."

Then soon after, at a large camp meeting held at Exeter, New Hampshire, Aug. 12-17, Snow's presentation was whole heartedly received. But the prominent leaders elsewhere regarded his message with marked reserve. Nevertheless, the "seventh month" message spread with seemingly irresistible power.

Snow published the True Midnight Cry (four pages), at Haverhill, Massachusetts, on Aug. 22. It was filled with brief but convincing arguments. His preaching of the definite time was soon taken up by hundreds of Milletite preachers, while Snow himself lectured continuously throughout the East. One by one the outstanding leaders joined in the swelling chorus.

In common with all Adventists, Snow was deeply disappointed in the failure of the Bridegroom to descend from heaven on Oct. 22. For a brief time he questioned as to whether a mistake had been made in the prophetic reckoning of the year.

However, he soon began to preach strange doctrines, and published a paper, the Jubilee Standard, from March to August, 1845. Sharp conflicts developed between him and the Millerites, as lie went on into extreme fanaticism and finally proclaimed himself to be Elijah the prophet. He soon separated himself from Adventism in every form." The Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia vol. 10, p. 1357

  1. "Atonement, Day of, Ancient and Modern Observance"

Source: "Atonement, Day of," The Standard Jewish Encyclopedia (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1959), pp. 190,191.

[p. 190] Atonement, Day of (Heb. Yom Kippur): Solemn fast day observed on Tishri 10, described in Lev. 23:32 as a "Sabbath of solemn rest" ... Seventh-day Adventist Bible Students Source Book, vol. 9, p. 61.

From the above data from Jewish sources, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is aware that the Day of Atonement fell on September 23, 1844, but continues with the false date of October 22, 1844 to prop up their prophet Ellen G. White. There is no way Tishri 10 can come in October.


White Estate Denies September 23, 1844 Date

In a letter to Mr. Paul Gorden Director of the White Estate, dated June 20, 1994. I asked, "did Satan answer EGWs prayers for thirty days? Do you believe that Ellen White was mistaken on the Day of Atonement in 1844? It was not Oct. 22, but Sept. 23, 1844 reported Susan Prohofsky, Purdue University Director of the Hillel Foundation, who researched the Day of Atonement on the computer program called, INTER LAUCH."

Mr. Gordons reply: "I have no particular confidence in the professor you have quoted. There is abundant evidence that this would contradict her claim. I would not hang my belief of September 23 on the words of a single professor."

Readers notice: Mr. Gordon offers only that there is abundant evidence to contradict the professor's claim. Mr. Gordon offers not one shred of evidence that the professor is in error nor does he offer any data to show October 22 is accurate. The Seventh-day Adventist Church has yet to offer proof that October 22, was the Karaite date, for the Day of Atonement or that it was different than the Orthodox Jewish date.

L.E. Froom

Froom tries to justify the late October 22 date in Exhibit E and F, p. 792, Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers. But Froom offers no documents to show that the Karaites held a different date that the Rabbinical Jews.



  1. It is proven from Jewish sources that the Day of Atonement was September 23, 1844.

  2. S. Snow first used the true Rabbinical Day of Atonement, then changed the date to October 22, 1844 date as the Day of Atonement. His claim that October 22, was the Karaites Day of Atonement is unfounded.

  3. The October 22, date has never been proven as a Day of Atonement for the Karaite Jews by Ellen G. White, S. Snow, Leroy Froom or the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

  4. Ellen G. White was wrong in putting her prophetic stamp of approval on a false date as well as all the other false teachings dealing with the October 22, 1844 date.

  5. Seventh-day Adventists are the only ones that hold to these non-Biblical teachings. Namely that Jesus and the Father was in the Holy place for 1,800 years, moving into the Most Holy place in 1844 where Jesus then began an Investigative Judgment of blotting out sins and to see who was worthy of heaven.

  6. What Ellen G. White failed to see was, God already knew who were righteous by naming some of them in Hebrews 11. These Godly saints were judged worthy by God, before 1844, and proves that God does not need Ellen's false non-Biblical Investigative Judgment to determine who is going to be saved. This non-Biblical teaching proves Ellen G. White is a false prophet.

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