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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Church of the Messiah,

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a religious sect established in 1863, in Maine, by a person named Adams, who previously had been a Mormon elder. The founder of the sect claimed to have visions and special inspirations. Among the peculiar points of the new faith were, that its members are of the tribe of Ephraim, and that, "as the curse was now taken off from Palestine," the time had come for the lost ten tribes to return to the land of their fathers. They anticipated the re- establishment at Jerusalem of the throne of David in greater than Solomon's splendor. In expectation of the near advent of the Messiah, 156 members of the sect from the State of Maine went in 1866 to Palestine, and established a colony at Jaffa, the sea-port of Jerusalem, with one president (Adams) and two bishops as its leaders. Through the efforts of the American and English consuls in Jerusalem, they met with a kind reception on the part of the Turkish pacha and the people of Jaffa. Land had been secured for them before their arrival, through the American vice-consul at Jaffa. The colonists built quite a number of houses and a three-story hotel, having brought the lumber all the way from Maine. Complaints made by the colonists of the hardships they were forced to endure induced the government of the United States to send, at the beginning of 1867, an agent (the Rev. Dr. Bidwell, of New York) to Jaffa, in order to make a thorough examination into the affairs and prospects of the colony. In the course of the year 1867, a considerable number of the colonists became dissatisfied with their condition and the rule of president Adams, and returned home. The remainder have gradually dispersed.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Church of the Messiah,'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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