From a biblical point of view, I think some points of Mr. Willhite’s eschatology (study of the Last Days) can be reasoned from just looking at the date this occurred. First, the culminating year of the Willhite Prophecy was 1907. Why is 1907 significant? It is seven years after 1900. Why is 1900 significant? In 1900, many people were looking for the “Second Return of Christ.” For those who believe in a 7 year Tribulation Period, 1907 may have rung someone’s bell, namely, Mr. Samuel Willhite. This has happened over many dates in history. For example, some people were looking for the Anti-Christ in the year 1666. The “666” in 1666 was significant to these prognosticators. Nevertheless, biblical predictions that have been in error by zealous men do not tarnish The Hope of His Calling & The Revelation in this writer’s eyes.
As I mentioned in last week’s introduction, I ask again, Dear Reader, to tread with me lightly through this chronicle with respect, reverence, and devotion to the Guiding Hand that leads us in this life and the wayfarers along its’ path. It is not my desire to expose another pilgrim’s progress for trivial sport or gain. I pray we may all glean from past mistakes and endeavor to undergird the souls along our path.
Enjoy the story.
NEW YORK, Sept. 1.—Though he is certain the voice of God told him on July 23 that the world would come to an end in forty days and commanded him to go and preach the doctrine of repentance to all mankind, Rev. Samuel Willhite of Baxter county, Arkansas, but more recently of London, went back to Arkansas from the First Avenue Municipal lodging house, not because he has lost faith in the vision, but because Mrs. Willhite is of the opinion that if the world must come to an end so soon it might as well find her in Arkansas.
"Seeing as how Mrs. Willhite looks at it that way and the young ones want to get home, too, and the people here allow they are willing to pay for toting us all back to Arkansaw," said Mr. Willhite. "I suppose we might as well go home, though I don't know where we are going to live when we get there."
Mr. Willhite, who is 35 years old, is a native of the Cumberland mountains of Tennessee, and is about four years his wife's senior. They have been married ten years and have five children, the eldest of whom Is 8 years old and the youngest six months. Up to July 24 they lived in Baxter, where he made a living farming and running a small store.
Saw VisionThe day before their departure, he says, the Lord appeared to him in the form of a loud voice and told him to go forth and tell the world it was to be destroyed in forty days.
"I don't belong to any church," said the preacher, "and haven't for a long time. When I was 20, I had religion as you folks have it and joined the Baptist church and was ordained. That wasn't what I wanted, according to the voices I heard from God, so I joined the Campbellites.
They weren't much better, so for the last eight years I have been preaching the word as God has given it to me.
"I usually work for a while and then go away for a short trip preaching. Up to this time I have left the family at home. But this time I gave my farm away and sold what I had at give-away prices and went to London. There they wouldn't let me preach, and after I had a lot of trouble I came home. They didn't arrest me, but kept us moving. London does not want to be saved. I landed in Boston last Thursday and they sent us over here. Then a lady at the Boston sent us to this place.
I am tired of gallivanting around with these children, with two of them here and the other three in Bellevue, where they are being treated for a little rash the doctors say is due to heat," said she. "If the world is going to come to an end I do not know what it matters whether I am in New York or Arkansas. I have lived God's way and I reckon I will be saved as quickly there as anywhere else. If it doesn't end I'd rather be there with the little ones, anyway."
Our Nation Is to Be Destroyed…Tomorrow
Part 3 Coming Soon
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“A Vision That Failed.” Los Angeles Herald 34.336 (02 Sept. 1907): 3. Chronicling America. The Library of Congress, Washington, D. C. 11 Jan. 2008 http://www.chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/.