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The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 4

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    VIII. Fitch’s “1843 Chart” Becomes Standard in 1842-1843

    Early in 1842 the famous “1843 Chart” was devised by Charles Fitch, assisted by Apollos Hale. It was an attempt to simplify and unify the prophecies, and to make them easier to present to the public. It thenceforth became the standard chart, superseding all others, and was a telling factor in the proclamation of the “1843” phase of the Millerite message. The originals were hand-painted and lettered on two broad sheets of canvas. They were used by Fitch for the first time in Springfield, Massachusetts, in a course of advent lectures that stirred the city. Employed a short time later in the East Kingston camp meeting (June 29-July 5, 1842), they were picturesquely described by John Greenleaf Whittier, 15Whittier, Prose Works, vol. 1. pp. 425, 426. See p. 648. who stressed the eager upturned faces of the listeners-for charts always gripped the attention. These charts, he said, translated those Oriental symbols into stark Yankee realities, and exhibited them “like the beasts of a traveling menagerie.”PFF4 733.3

    This improved chart was first used shortly before at the twelfth General Conference at Boston, in May. At the very outset of the session Fitch had brought it forward for consideration, and the conference was so impressed with it that they forthwith voted unanimously to have three hundred copies lithographed. Such is the record of Bates, chairman of the conference. 16Bates, Second Advent Way Marks and High Heaps, pp. 10, 11. Joshua Himes, the secretary and man of action, soon had them lithographed and out in the hands of the advent lecturers. In size they were three feet four inches by four feet seven inches. (Facsimile reproduction on page 616.) They were publicized in the columns of the Signs, at 2.50 each, 17Signs of the Times, June 22, 1842, p. 96. and widely used by all Millerite preachers, thus exerting a marked influence. 18James White in Present Truth, April, 1850, p. 65. They were not, of course, employed in the climactic seventh-month movement phase-from July to October, 1844-as the year “1843” had then passed. Strategic dates are scattered over the chart in the upper and lower right-hand half-677 B.C., the beginning date of the “seven times,” or 2520 years; 457 B.C., and the 2300 years to 1843; 508, and the 1290 years to 1798, and the 1335 years to 1843, and 538 and the 1260 years to 1798. Then 1299 and 1449 for the 150 years from 1449 to 1840 for the 391 years.PFF4 734.1

    This Fitch chart was a distinct advance over all previous diagrams and charts. 19See Signs of the Times, May 1, 1840, p. 24; May 1, 1841, pp. 20, 21, etc. The “1843 Chart” corrected certain former inaccuracies, and omitted a number of untenable positions previously held. It had the approval of this large General Conference—and, be it noted, with Miller listed as present and participating. It therefore had the group approval of the leaders. And, published by Himes, it definitely set the pattern in the interpretation of prophecy for this stage of the movement. Since the progressive interpretation of prophecy is our quest, we will note it in further detail.PFF4 734.2

    1. SCOPE OF THE “1843 CHART.”—

    The “1843 Chart” portrays the following characteristic features: From top to bottom, at the left, is a vertical column marking the centuries from 700 B.C. to 1800-and ending with the climactic A.D. “1843.” In the upper left is the four-part metallic image of Daniel 2, signifying Babylonia, Medo-Persia, Grecia, and Rome, and the modern-nation divisions of the feet and toes, which are named; the paralleling beasts of Daniel 7, and the ensuing papal Little Horn surmounted by a triple crown; the Persian ram, the Grecian he-goat, and notable horn of Alexander, in Daniel 8; the crucifixion of Christ in the “midst” of the seventieth week is indicated; the pagan Roman dragon of Revelation 12; the papal ten-horned beast of Revelation 13 (the two-horned beast is entirely omitted); the papal mystery-woman of Revelation 17; three woe angels in the lower left corner; the fifth and sixth trumpets of Revelation 9; and the various prophetic time periods-the 1260, 1290, 1335, and 2300 year-days, the 5. months, and the “7 times of the Gentiles.” It presented an impressive composite picture, and was the focal point of multiplied thousands of effective sermons.PFF4 735.1


    The more accurate, or corrected, positions set forth, include the following points:PFF4 735.2

    a. The ten kingdoms are symbolized by the “feet and toes”—not simply the ten toes.(Note the Lombards as a chunk of the foot, including parts of several toes.)PFF4 735.3

    b. The three horns plucked up are now listed as the Ostrogoths, Vandals, and Heruli.(Differing from the Miller list, which was Lombardy, Rome, and Ravenna.) 20William Miller, Evidence From Scripture (1836 ed.), p. 42.PFF4 735.4

    c. The 1260 years of the Little Horn are from Justinian’s elevation of the Roman Bishop. (Not from the uprooting of the third, or Ostrogothic, opposing horn.)PFF4 736.1

    d. The exceeding great horn of Daniel 8 is Rome, both pagan and papal. (Not Antiochus Epiphanes, or Mohammedanism, as a few had held.)PFF4 736.2

    e. The first beast of Revelation 13 is papal Rome. (Not pagan Rome, as in earlier charts, particularly Miller’s.)PFF4 736.3

    f. The 150 years of the fifth trumpet are from 1299 to 1449, when the sixth trumpet begins. (Not from Miller’s earlier date; and no mention is made of the specific end date of the sixth trumpet.)PFF4 736.4

    g. The authorities cited are Josephus, Whelpley (Machiavelli), Lloyd, Lowth, and Hales.PFF4 736.5


    This chart bears the marks of careful study and painstaking revision by Fitch, one of the ablest ministers of the movement, to eliminate certain suppositions and hasty positions that had appeared on the half-dozen earlier charts. First of all, it was prepared in the transition hour, in the midst of such corrections as the true date of the “midst of the week” for the crucifixion, the differing views as to the identification of the second beast of Revelation 13, and the meaning of the “daily.” These controverted points were therefore left off the “1843 Chart.” No second “beast from the earth” appears on the chart, because that would call for identification. The mere texts are cited, without attempting to define the “daily.” Here are the leading omissions:PFF4 736.6

    a. A.D. 33, for the date of the cross, as had appeared on all previous charts, and based on Ferguson, is no longer mentioned. (Hales, however, sponsor of the A.D. 31 cross, is mentioned, though the actual 31 crucifixion date is not yet fully agreed upon or declared.)PFF4 736.7

    b. The second beast of Revelation 13 is omitted. (It had previously been interpreted by Miller as papal Rome, or as France by others.)PFF4 736.8

    c. “666,” as the years of pagan or imperial Rome, is also omitted. (This had been Miller’s uniform position and that of most previous charts. There was now a general move away from that position.)PFF4 737.1

    d. The “daily” is nowhere identified as paganism, as on former charts, since the majority evidently no longer held with Miller on this. (Fitch, designer of the “1843 Chart,” had raised the question in his first letter to Miller in 1838, 21Bliss, Memoirs, pp. 128, 129. and here omits it from the chart.)PFF4 737.2

    e. The ten kings, as reigning thirty years, are not mentioned.PFF4 737.3

    f. The 1840 terminus of the 391 years of Revelation 9:15, is not included.PFF4 737.4

    Notwithstanding, the “1843 Chart” was an honored and powerful factor in the climax of the 1843 phase of the Millerite movement. It was clearly in advance of all others of the time. It was an honest recognition and honorable correction of earlier inaccuracies, as far as then perceived, and provided a united front on the more essential phases of prophetic exposition, which was the throbbing heart of the movement, and now rapidly accelerating its speed.PFF4 737.5

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