XXXV - 8 (02)
what of the night?”
"The hour has come, the hour is
striking and striking at you,
Asset or Liability?
The first issues of WWN for this year carried articles on the Sanctuary doctrine written from the viewpoint of the counsel given to the Church in 1892 which indicated that "we have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed." In February, the San Diego Chapter of the AAF featured the reading of a paper by Dr. Raymond Cottrell attacking a very foundational text of the "sanctuary doctrine" - Daniel 8:14. While it needs to be admitted that there are things to learn, and things to unlearn in regard to this basic doctrine of Adventism, one does not tear up the foundation to correct errors in the edifice structured on that foundation.
There is, however, more involved than merely the doctrine itself. The question of hermeneutics - the proper method by which to interpret the Scriptures - is introduced by Cottrell, Cottrell's "adversary", the late Dr. Gerhard F. Hasel in his book, Biblical Interpretation Today, wrote: "The history of any church body is ... the history of its interpretation of Scripture. By implication a shift or change in the method used for the interpretation of Scripture by a church, its scholars, or others within it, inevitably would be accompanied by a shift or change in its course, doctrines, self-understanding, purpose, and mission." (p. 1).
is no question - this Cottrell made very clear - he has approached a key text
of the sanctuary doctrine from a different hermeneutic than did the pioneers of
is a borrowed title from a paper presented at the meeting of the San Diego
Chapter of the Association of Adventist Forums,
As to be expected, the answer, given by Cottrell and the writer of the editorial, Gordon M. Rick, AAF vice president, was, yes, the "Sanctuary Doctrine" is a liability to Adventism. This was based on two factors, not only the interpretation of certain key texts which are used to support the Sanctuary teaching, but also the methodology used in the interpretation of those texts. It is useless to argue the force and meaning of certain texts of Scripture if those disputing the meaning of the verses each use a different method of interpretation.
In his presentation, Dr. Cottrell lists three methods of Bible Study: 1) The proof text method, 2) the historical method, and 3) "a hybrid of these two methods known as the historical-grammatical method" (p.17, Cottrell's paper). Concerning the "proof text" method, Cottrell claims that it is followed "by a majority of untutored Bible readers" and that from its beginning "most Adventists have followed this method;" but he concluded that "no reputable Bible scholar follows it today" (p.17). Evidently, the Spirit of God, when sent forth on the Day of Pentecost, was unaware of how untutored He would make the early Christians appear in their use of the Sacred Scriptures available to them.
To the first Christians, who were Jews, the Law and the Prophets were already sacred. Their national sacred writings were to them the oracles of God, though they could no longer be regarded as containing the whole truth of God. The coming of the Messiah had revealed God with a completeness that had not been discovered in the Old Testament.
The word of the Lord was authoritative as even Moses and the prophets were. Yet since all the hopes of the Old Testament seemed to these Jewish Christians to be fulfilled in Jesus Christ, they more than ever were convinced that their national sacred books were divinely inspired. From this source they drew, if not the articles of their creed, at least proofs and supports of their doctrines. Christ died and arose again, according to the scriptures.
All the writings of the Old Testament spoke of Christ to them. Legal enactments, prophetic utterances, simple historic record, and more emotional psalm, - all alike could be covered by the phrase, "the scripture says," all were treated as of one piece, and by diligent use of type and allegory single passages torn from any context could be used as proof-texts to commend or defend belief in Christ. (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol.3, p.499, col. 2; 1958 edition)
These early Christian Jews, spearheaded by the Apostle Paul, "turned the world upside down" (Acts 17:6), and in one generation established the Christian faith as a world religion. Anyone with only an elementary knowledge of the New Testament knows how Paul interpreted and applied references from the Old Testament. (For an example, see I Cor. 9:8-10.)
Dr. Cottrell chooses to use "the historical method" because of its "objectivity." He writes that "this method requires either special training in biblical languages and the history and milieu of antiquity, or reliance on source material prepared by persons with such training," adding that "since about 1940 most Adventist scholars have followed this method" (p.17). Where then is the Spirit of God? Does not the New Testament teach that "holy men of God" in Old Testament times spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, and that "the Spirit of Christ which was in them" testified "beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow"? (II Peter 1:21; I Peter 1:11).
is no question that the prophets of the Old Testament served as God's voice to
convey His attitude toward
Another position taken by Cottrell in his prepared paper is that Bible prophecy, "even apocalyptic prophecy, is always conditional" (ibid.). While this possibility appears in a comparison between what was revealed to Daniel by Gabriel, and what was shown to John on the Isle of Patmos, this cannot be made a conclusive dictum. It is true, and needs to be noted that the book of Revelation does not mention the 1290, and 1335 days of Daniel 12. It does, however, carry through the 1260 days of Daniel 7 - "a time, and times, and half a time" (Rev. 12:14). The preface to Revelation is specific. The revelation which God gave to Christ which was conveyed to John by "His angel" concerned things "which must (δεῖ) shortly come to pass" (1:1). This Greek word carries the force of "it is binding, it is necessary . . . it is inevitable." Within the revelation itself, the reason is given - the conquering power of the Messiah restored "the kingdom of our God" ().
There are close parallels between the two books, which leads to the reasonable conclusion that even as the prophecies in Revelation are binding, necessary and inevitable, those prophecies in Daniel which are parallel are likewise to be binding and inevitable. Consider the base prophecy given to Daniel as found in Chapter 7 - the four beasts: the lion, bear, leopard, and non-descript. While the first three beast symbols lose their dominion, "yet their lives are prolonged for a season and a time" (v.12). Revelation tells us that its non-descript beast (13:2) was like unto a leopard, with the feet of a bear, and the mouth of a lion - the same three symbols of Daniel in exact reverse order.
Daniel 7, the objective of the prophecy focuses on the judgment that is to sit
(vs. 9-10). The prophetic context in Revelation of the non-descript beast also
calls attention to a judgment. The first angel proclaims, "the hour of
[God's] judgment is come" (14:7). Considering that the symbols of Daniel 8
are placed in the same historical sequence as were the symbols of Chapter 7 -
Media-Persia followed by Greece (vs. 20-21) - should not the power which
follows Greece, - "a king of fierce countenance" (v.23) - also
represent the power which followed the leopard of Daniel 7? Does not Revelation
reveal from whence the "mighty" power, exercised by this king, comes?
(Compare Daniel with Rev. 13:2.) Further, does not Daniel 8
introduce a sanctuary term,
tamid, besides introducing the very
sanctuary itself in verse 14? What justification can be cited for introducing a
different sequence in Daniel 8 when Revelation combines all the symbols of
Daniel 7 into one beast, which is clearly the papal phase of
the book of Daniel is to be found the descriptive phrase, "the abomination
of desolation" in several forms (; ; ). Jesus in His prophetic outline
of history stated plainly that this "abomination of desolation" would
stand "where it ought not" just prior to the overthrow of
Cottrell argues heavily that the 2300 "evening-mornings" represent not only literal time, but also half days. He says that the Hebrew word for day - yom - is not used, yet in verse 26, speaking of the same "vision" (chazon) [second use of the word, "vision"], Daniel was instructed to close "up the vision; for it shall be for many days (yamim)." In Daniel 8 and 9, there are two different words used for "vision" - ma'reh and chazon. The latter word is used in reference to the vision as a whole (8:2), while the first word is applied to "the vision of the evening and the morning" (, first use). After receiving the vision (chazon), Daniel sought for a meaning (v.15). To his request one with the appearance of a man stood before him, and a voice was heard saying, "Gabriel, make this man to understand the mar'eh" (v. 16). The first thing in explanation that Gabriel said was, "Understand, 0 son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the chazon" (v.17).
explanation begins with a clear identification of the ram and he-goat Daniel
had seen (vs. 20-22). Neither Medo-Persia, nor
"Justified" or "Cleansed" - Which Word?
The KJV gives the answer of the "wonderful numberer" as "unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed" (-14). The word translated "cleansed" is nitsdaq, a passive form of tsadaq (justified), which can be translated, as in the RSV, "shall be restored to its rightful state." If "shall be cleansed" had been meant, the Hebrew word would have been, taher. While the RSV follows the Hebrew Masoretic Text, the KJV reflects the LXX and the Vulgate. It is also of interest to note that the NKJV still retains the translation, "shall be cleansed."
The ancient Hebrew alphabet was composed of only consonants. It was in this form that the part of the Old Testament in Hebrew was written. The form in which the Hebrew text of the Old Testament is now presented to us is, in all manuscripts that of the Masoretic text, "the date of which is placed somewhere between the 6th and 8th centuries. It is probable that the present text became fixed as early as the 2nd century A.D., but even this earlier date leaves long intervals between the original autographs of the Old Testament writers and our present text."
"The Masoretic text was the work of a special guild of trained scholars whose objective was to not only preserve and transmit the consonantal text which had been handed down to them, but also to ensure its proper pronunciation. To this end they provided the text with a complete system of vowel points and accents."
Several centuries earlier than the Masoretic Text was the Septuagint (LXX) which evidently had access to earlier manuscripts for Daniel than used by the Masoretic scholars. The LXX reads for Daniel 8:14 - "shall be cleansed" - kaqarisqhsetai - the same word as is used in Leviticus 16:30 in stating the ceremonial objective of the typical Day of Atonement. Jerome, centuries later, appears to have followed the LXX in the Vulgate translation of the Old Testament rather than the Hebrew text, using the Latin word, mundabitur- "shall be cleansed."
are Jewish scholars of the past century who maintain that the Hebrew portions
of Daniel are translations from the Aramaic originals. (Aramaic was the
official language of the
[The factual data on the Masoretic Text quoted and summarized above is taken from the Encyclopedia Britannica, article, "Bible."]
537 BC or 457 BC?
Gabriel returns to fulfil his commission, to
"make this man to understand the vision
(mar'eh)" (), he notes as the beginning date
for the 2300 prophetic days, "the going forth of the commandment to
restore and build
It is of crucial importance to note that Gabriel
explicitly identifies the "word" that "went out to restore and
identifies, the "first year of Darius" (9:1), the time Daniel was
praying as exactly 70 years from the destruction of Jerusalem, which would be
the exact time that Jeremiah had prophesied to be the period of Judah’s
captivity (Jer 25:11). With this there is no
question, but is Cottrell's conclusion justified in the light of other
Scriptures on this same "commandment to restore and build
And the elders
of the Jews ... builded and finished (the city of
clearly understood that while the God of heaven gave the "word," to
accomplish the objective, the decrees of three Persian kings were required to
accomplish the Divine intent. It is also of interest to note that the decree of
Artaxerxes in 457 BC is copied in full in the sacred text. (-26). This
decree restored complete judicial power to be exercised by Ezra with authority
to appoint judges and magistrates. Ezra also received the power of taxation to
sustain the restored priestly state of
Peter tells us that we should first know, "that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation" (II.1:20). We dare not impose on the Word of God our own concepts of how they are to be interpreted. The Bible itself contains instructions as to its interpretation. Paul told the church at Corinth that he did not speak "in words taught by human reason, but in the words taught by the Holy Spirit, with spiritual things spiritual things comparing" (I. 2:13, Young's Literal Translation). This hermeneutical tool could be called the Comparison Method. Any book on the Harmony of the Gospels follows this method. The simplest of illustrations can be noted by comparing Luke 21:5-7; Matthew 24:3-4, and Mark 13:3-4. Luke tells us that "some" called Jesus' attention to the adornment of the temple building, to which Jesus replied that not one stone would be left upon another in its destruction. "They" then asked Him when these things would occur. Who were the "they"? Mathew tells us the "they" were "the disciples." But which ones? Mark says that Peter, James, John, and Andrew were the questioners.
By following this same Biblical method, Cottrell would not have blundered by suggesting a different date for the beginning of the 70 weeks in the place of the established 457 BC. When we seek to impose our own interpretative method on the Word of God instead of what the "Spirit of Christ" intended in giving the revelation, we wander far from truth.
was God's objective for the priests to be instruments through which He could
teach the laity of
For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at His mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. (2:7).
In the days of Isaiah, the priests and prophets had corrupted the services of the Lord. Because of
unrestrained drunkenness, they erred "in vision and stumble(d) in judgment." The prophet described the filthiness of their debauchery, and then asked a question: "Whom shall He teach knowledge? and whom shall He make to understand doctrine?" In the answer given, it is clear that God would choose mature persons who are capable of understanding more than elementary concepts. (28:7-9.) This same concept between "milk" and "strong meat" is found in the book of Hebrews (-14). In giving the "strong meat" God outlines to Isaiah the methodology. He writes:
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little and there a little. (28:10)
used this interpretative method in proving the doctrine that all men are under
in writing to Timothy, advised him to show himself "approved unto
God," by "rightly dividing the word of truth" (II. ). This careful interpreting of
the Word of God by recognizing the time element within a given text is well
illustrated in the way Jesus Christ Himself used the Old Testament as He taught
the people. Being given the scroll of the prophet Isaiah one Sabbath morning in
These Biblical methods - comparing one text with another; compiling, bringing texts of kindred thought together for a determination of truth; dividing rightly within a single text that which is meaningful in its application for a given time - makes the Bible a living book, and not just a dead letter as the Old Testament had become to the scribes of Christ's day. See Matt. 7:28-29.
Obscurantism and Historicism
Cottrell, after quoting a dictionary definition of obscurantism, gives his use of the word in relationship to the "sanctuary doctrine." He alleges that men in high places have made "presumably authoritative decisions" regarding the doctrine "without first weighing all the available evidence on the basis of sound, recognized principles of exegesis, and basing conclusions exclusively" on that evidence. (p.31). He names three of them, and charges that they led the church into a Decade of Obscurantism from 1969-1979. He maintains that it is still alive today. Intermingled with his review of recent church history and men connected with it, is his insistence on the application of the sola Scriptura principle to all Biblical exegesis. This is as it should be in determining doctrinal truth, but his inference that it is not being done is not clearly defined.
The "sanctuary doctrine" rests on a firm Biblical foundation. God asked Moses to make a sanctuary "after [the] pattern, which was shewed [him] in the mount" (Ex. 25:40). The book of Hebrews declares that the priests who ministered in this sanctuary, "serve(d) unto the example and shadow of heavenly things" (Heb. 8:5), and then the verse from Exodus is quoted. It is simply a type and antitype exegesis.
Sanctuary terms are used in Daniel 8. Three times the word, "sanctuary" occurs. Once in verse 11, the word is miqdash, the same word as is used in Exodus 25:8. The other two times, Daniel 8:13, 14 the word is qadesh, the root of miqdash. The question then is: Do these words refer to the same sanctuary, or are two different sanctuaries referred to in the vision, the heavenly as well as the earthly? Another sanctuary word is tamid, which is used either as an adjective, or an adverb, but in the book of Daniel it is used as a substantive. The first use of this word as an adjective in the Bible is in connection with the services of the sanctuary. (Ex. 29:42). The question is: Does this
word relate to the sanctuary in Daniel as it is used in Exodus and Leviticus, referring to the daily ministration? Then there is the word, "cleansed" in verse 14, which is definitely sanctuary related "then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." In the translation of verse 14, both the KJV and NKJV stand on good textual authority in choosing the word, "cleansed" over, "justified," or "restored to its rightful state."
in writing of the method of prophetic interpretation used by the Church, - the
historicist principle - quotes a source which states that "Seventh-day
Adventists stand virtually alone as exponents" of this principle today (p.
39). The reason for this is clearly given by Dr. Kai Arasola in his doctoral
dissertation at the
Following the Glacier View confrontation with Dr. Ford, the General Conference appointed a Daniel and Revelation Committee which functioned under the Biblical Research Institute during the 1980s. In the conclusions of this committee they reaffirmed the historicist principle of prophetic interpretation. Cottrell forthrightly confesses that this "is the crux of the issue to which [his] paper is addressed" (p.39). This leaves us with but one basic issue - the issue of what method of interpretation is to be used in understanding the Bible - in this instance, the prophecies of the Bible, and the specific prophecy of Daniel 8:14. I choose the time proven principle of historicism in the study of Bible prophecy. For my part, I confess the Biblically based "Sanctuary Doctrine" confirmed by Hebrews 8:5 KJV to be an asset!
Historical Footnote - In the January 1967, issue of the Ecumenical Review, official organ of the World Council of Churches,
was an article on "The Seventh-day Adventist Church." To this
article, Raymond F. Cottrell, then an associate editor of the Review & Herald, responded in three
It is no small measure of regret that SDA's do not find it possible, as an organization, to be more closely associated with others who profess the name of Christ. On the other hand, if the Secretariat of Faith and Order, for instance, were to invite SDA's to appoint some one competent in that area to meet with their group from time to time and represent the SDA point of view, we could accept such an invitation with a clear conscience.
invitation was not long in coming. The Central Committee of the
The stated aim of this Commission is "to proclaim the oneness of the Church of Jesus Christ and to call the churches to the goal of visible unity in one faith, and one eucharistic fellowship, expressed in worship and common life in Christ, in order that the world might believe." (By-Laws) [Paper # 111, p. viii].
Comment (Re: XXXV – 5(02) –Your latest rendition
on B. B. Beach and his activities was superb.
I must admit as I
read it I shouted a joyous “