Past Future Predictions Aurora University Houses Large Collection of Historic Prophetic Charts

Article excerpt

Byline: Victoria Pierce Daily Herald Correspondent

By Victoria Pierce

Daily Herald Correspondent

With floods, earthquakes, fires, wars and other disasters occurring around the world, its natural to wonder if some biblical predictions about the end of the world just might be coming true.

In the mid-1800s, New England farmer William Miller whipped hundreds of thousands into a frenzy with his sincere belief that the second coming of Christ would occur sometime between March 21, 1843, and March 21, 1844.

Obviously, that didnt happen.

But many of Millers papers and books, along with a collection of 36 prophetic charts showing how he calculated the timing of the end of the world, survive and are now part of the Jenks Memorial Collection of Adventual Materials at Aurora University in Aurora.

"This is very relevant to today," said Aurora University history professor Susan Palmer, who is also the collections curator.

Several of the charts were on display recently for a gathering of Adventist church officials from around the country. The Seventh Day Adventists and Adventist Christian denominations came out of the Millerite movement, and the display offered a rare glimpse at the colorful charts and banners.

Aurora University started in Mendota, Ill. as a seminary affiliated with the Adventist Christian Church. The name was soon changed to Mendota College and, in 1911, the school moved to Aurora at the urging of Orrin Roe Jenks, who served as the colleges president from 1911 to 1933.

It was Jenks who collected many of the historic materials while traveling widely

to promote the university, Palmer said.

During the mid-1840s, the cloth, or paper charts, ranging in size from 2-by-3 feet to 5-by-41 feet, were used by Millerite preachers as tools for explaining the complex calculations Miller used to come up with his prediction.

"These were cutting-edge visual aids," Palmer said.

Many are brightly colored with vivid graphics depicting characters in the Bible chapters of Daniel and Revelations, which Miller relied on heavily in his studies.

"They had this humongous tent," Palmer said, describing some of the early gatherings that attracted as many as 4,000 people. The largest charts would be used as a backdrop while the smaller charts could be used much like cue cards for the preacher. …