The most famous date-setter in American history was the Baptist William Miller. Miller was a classic historicist. He took the 2300 days from Daniel 8:14 when “the holy place will be properly restored” and turned them into years. Miller’s starting year was 457 B.C., the time when Nebuchadnezzar profaned the
Temple in Jerusalem. When you add them up you arrive at the year 1843 as the time of Christ’s second coming. But when that year came and when, like any other year, it was discovered that a year had been left out for the shift from B.C. to A.D., thus 1844 was the true year (similar to Whisenant’s recalculation).
However, it too came and went and Miller’s scheme became known as the “Great Disappointment.” While there are more details involving the historicist approach, you can see by the very nature and fabric of this viewpoint that it is at root a date-setting approach to interpreting prophecy. Even though the historicist hermeneutic was the one most widely practiced before, during, and after the Reformation, by the middle 1800s it began to fall into extreme disfavor. Historicism had been virtually the only game in town for Protestants and was enthusiastically practiced by most Amillennialists, Postmillennialists, and Premillennialists alike. About the only ones continuing to practice this hermeneutic in our day are
Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, and Seventh-Day Adventists. In fact, the SeventhDay Adventists denomination sprang out of the Millerite movement.