Part 4. Beginnings

"Strange and astonishing things exist in the earth, but they are hidden from the minds and understanding of men."
What was the drive that made men like Miller and Wolff pursue so assiduously the daunting task of predicting the Return of Christ? They had no conception of how the Return would be realised. If the second coming were to manifest itself on a descending cloud, as many people believed, there was the problem as to where on earth the cloud would appear. The reality was that no-one knew what to expect.

Religion has been an integral part of society since time began, and even now the basic rules of our western civilisation have their roots in the Old and New Testaments. Religion is rich in variety; it knows no boundaries, it changes from age to age and from region to region. It belongs to no one class, privileged or otherwise. But if one looks, unbiased by tradition, at the great religions of the world, one cannot but note that they appear to be progressive.

As new religions appeared over the centuries, each brought a new flowering of human achievement, each facilitated a great advance in civilisation.

By the mid-nineteenth century, it was popularly believed, a belief encouraged by many scientists themselves, that science had reached the end of the road as far as new inventions were concerned. This theory was swept away by the rapid pushing back of scientific horizons and a flood of new inventions totally unimaginable just a few years earlier. Who would have believed 150 years ago that within two life spans, man would be able to fly, travel to the moon, or converse at the speed of light with fellow men around the world?

Until the year 1844 a graph of scientific achievement against time was almost horizontal, but after 1844 the graph it rises steeply. The year 1844 was a turning point in human achievement.

On 24th May 1844, Samuel Morse sent the first official telegraph message. His choice of words could not have been more significant; "What hath God wrought!" (Numbers 23:23) It could have been any date, but as we shall see, it was one of the most significant dates in history.