Litch, Josiah (1809-1886)

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litchJosiahMillerite preacher. A Methodist minister, Litch read William Miller’s Evidence from Scripture and History of the Second Coming of Christ in 1838 and accepted that Christ would return about the year 1843. Soon afterward he wrote a synopsis of Miller’s views entitled The Midnight Cry. Later in 1838 Litch wrote The Probability of the Second Coming of Christ About A.D. 1843 in which he not only accepted the 1843 date but also predicted that the Ottoman Empire would collapse in August 1840. Turkey’s response to an ultimatum from European powers on August 11, 1840, was subsequently regarded by Millerites as a fulfillment of the prophecy and evidence of the truth of their interpretative system.

In 1841 Litch took a leave of absence from the Methodist ministry to preach the second coming of Christ full time. It was about this time that he influenced Charles Fitch to accept the Millerite message. He also argued in Address to the Clergy (1841) that a judgment would take place before the second advent, a view that Sabbatarian Adventists would develop into their understanding of the investigative judgment. The following year Litch organized the first Millerite camp meeting at Stanstead in eastern Canada in June 1842. In 1842 and 1843 he worked in Philadelphia and the surrounding area establishing a paper entitled The Philadelphia Alarm. While there Litch opposed the conditionalist views of George Storrs, publishing The Anti-Annihilationist briefly in 1844. Litch also strongly objected to the seventh-month movement that emphasized the return of Christ on Oct. 22, 1844. By October he had changed his mind and was the last major Millerite leader to accept the date.

After the Great Disappointment Litch participated in the Mutual Conference of Adventists that occurred in Albany, New York, in 1845. Although Litch rejected the “shut door” that probation had been closed on Oct. 22, 1844, he continued to remain interested in Bible prophecy. He concluded in 1848 that the Jews would return to Palestine, he gradually moved toward a futurist interpretation of prophecy represented in his later publication A Complete Harmony of Daniel and the Apocalypse (1873). Litch also joined the American Evangelical Adventist Conference in 1848, and later debated the Seventh-day Adventist evangelist Daniel T. Bourdeau in 1880.


An Address to the Public, and Especially the Clergy

Judaism Overthrown

The Probability of the Second Coming of Christ About A.D. 1843

Prophetic Expositions Vol. 1

Prophetic Expositions Vol. 2

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