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Terry Gill

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Re: The Great Controversy Ended...
3/10/2008 11:32:48 AM

James,

Your words: 

Terry, this discussion is not about using God's name, or about those who may or may not have changed the bible. Your bible has been changed also. Let's try to keep this discussion in line with the topic please. I see you are pointing fingers again. Remember, this is an open forum, and I don't appreciate it when you try to put other people down because they differ from how you believe.

The "topic" will certainly be expounded upon momentarily, but as the article will expose the fallacies of your main article, and of necessity will be quite long, I doubt you will publish it.  Perhaps, though, you will personally take the time to read all of it and thus gain some needed insight.  I know both the article you posted and the one I have posted have provided me with a great deal of insight.

James, I'm sincerely trying to help you.  Just from the warm smile on your face in your picture and the fact that you conduct these forums, I, in my limited capacity as an imperfect human, feel that you have a good heart!

What I'm trying to impress on you and your readers is that for ANY discussion about the Bible or Bible-based subjects to be acceptable and approved of by Jehovah God, it is imperative and required that YOU show proper respect for HIM by using HIS holy name, and not continue to disrespect HIM by refusing to do so!  The reason it is so important is exactly as I stated before, the sanctification of His holy name is the supreme issue facing all of us, which issue was raised by Satan himself when man was first created.

On what you said about my Bible being changed, yes, siree, it was changed back to the way it originally was meant to be, with the Holy name being restored back to every place it originally was before Satan influenced ignorant men to strike it from their bibles. 

Think about this, James.  Had this never happened, had Satan never had his way to strike God's holy name from bibles, and thus your current bible would contain Jehovah's name, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Now consider this and ask yourself this very important question.  In everything we humans do, we are doing either Jehovah God's will or Satan's will.  There's no in between, no sitting on the fence, for Jehovah says you are either with me or you are against me.  So, whose will are you doing by refusing to use God's holy name?

On your accusation of "pointing fingers" and putting people down because they don't believe the way I believe, first off, IT'S NOT the way I believe, IT'S what the Bible REALLY teaches!  And Jesus himself many, many times "pointed fingers," as you say, directly at the false teachers, the Pharisees, calling them vipers doing the will of their father, Satan, and at the stubborn and spiritually blind Jews who followed them and eventually killed Jesus.

 

The "Investigative Judgment"—A Bible-Based Doctrine?

OCTOBER 22, 1844, was a day of great anticipation for some 50,000 people on the East Coast of the United States. Their spiritual leader, William Miller, had said that Jesus Christ would return on that very day. The Millerites, as they were called, waited in their meeting places until darkness fell. Then the next day dawned, but the Lord had not come. Disillusioned, they returned home and thereafter recalled that day as the "Great Disappointment."

Yet, disappointment soon gave way to hope. A young woman named Ellen Harmon convinced a small band of Millerites that God had revealed in visions that their time calculation was right. She held that a momentous event had taken place on that day—Christ had then entered "the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary."

More than a decade later, Adventist preacher James White (who had married Ellen Harmon) coined a phrase to describe the nature of Christ’s work since October 1844. In the Review and Herald of January 29, 1857, White said that Jesus had begun an "investigative judgment." And this has remained a fundamental belief among some seven million who call themselves Seventh-Day Adventists.

However, some respected scholars in the Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) Church have been wondering if the "investigative judgment" is a Bible-based doctrine. Why are they having second thoughts about it? If you were a Seventh-Day Adventist, this question would concern you. First, though, what is "investigative judgment"?

What Is It?

The anchor text cited to support this doctrine is Daniel 8:14. It reads: "He said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." (King James Version) Because of the phrase "then shall the sanctuary be cleansed," many Adventists link this verse with Leviticus chapter 16. It describes the cleansing of the sanctuary by the Jewish high priest on the Day of Atonement. They also connect Daniel’s words with Hebrews chapter 9, which describes Jesus as the Greater High Priest in heaven. One SDA scholar says that this reasoning is based on the "proof-text" method. A person finds "a certain word like sanctuary in Dan. 8:14, the same word in Lev. 16, the same word in Heb. 7, 8, 9" and holds "that they are all talking about the same thing."

The Adventists reason this way: Ancient Israel’s priests performed a daily ministry in the temple compartment called the Holy, resulting in forgiveness of sins. On the Day of Atonement, the high priest performed an annual ministry in the Most Holy (the temple’s innermost room) that resulted in the blotting out of sins. They conclude that Christ’s priestly ministry in heaven consists of two phases. The first began with his ascension in the first century, ended in 1844, and resulted in the forgiveness of sins. The second, or "judgment phase," began on October 22, 1844, still continues, and will result in the blotting out of sins. How is this accomplished?

Since 1844, Jesus is said to be investigating the life records of all professing believers (first of the dead, then of the living) to determine if they merit eternal life. This examination is the "investigative judgment." After people are thus judged, the sins of those who pass this test are blotted out of the record books. But, explained Ellen White, those who do not pass will have ‘their names blotted out of the book of life.’ Thus, "the destiny of all will have been decided for life or death." At that point, the heavenly sanctuary is cleansed and Daniel 8:14 is fulfilled. So Seventh-Day Adventists teach. But the SDA publication Adventist Review admits: "The term investigative judgment is not found in the Bible."

A Missing Linguistic Link

This teaching has troubled some Adventists. "History shows," says one observer, "that loyal leaders in our ranks have undergone agony of soul as they contemplated our traditional teaching on the investigative judgment." In recent years, he adds, agony turned to doubt as scholars began to "question many pillars of our usual sanctuary presentation." Let us now examine two of them.

Pillar one: Daniel chapter 8 is linked with Leviticus chapter 16. This premise is weakened by two main problems—language and context. First, consider language. Adventists believe that the ‘cleansed sanctuary’ in Daniel chapter 8 is the antitype of the ‘cleansed sanctuary’ of Leviticus chapter 16. This analogy seemed acceptable until translators learned that "cleansed" in the King James Version is a mistranslation of a form of the Hebrew verb tsa·dhaq´ (meaning "to be righteous") used at Daniel 8:14. Professor of theology Anthony A. Hoekema notes: "It is unfortunate that the word came to be translated be cleansed, since the Hebrew verb usually rendered cleansed [ta·her´] is not used here at all." It is used in Leviticus chapter 16 where the King James Version renders forms of ta·her´ as "cleanse" and "be clean." (Leviticus 16:19, 30) Hence, Dr. Hoekema correctly concludes: "If Daniel meant to refer to the kind of cleansing which was done on the Day of Atonement, he would have used taheer [ta·her´] instead of tsadaq [tsa·dhaq´]." Yet, tsa·dhaq´ is not found in Leviticus, and ta·her´ is not found in Daniel. The linguistic link is missing.

What Does the Context Reveal?

Now consider the context. Adventists hold that Daniel 8:14 is "a contextual island," having nothing to do with the preceding verses. But do you get that impression when you read Daniel 8:9-14 in the accompanying box entitled "Daniel 8:14 in Context"? Verse 9 identifies an aggressor, a small horn. Verses 10-12 reveal that this aggressor will attack the sanctuary. Verse 13 asks, ‘How long will this aggression continue?’ And verse 14 answers: "Until two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings; and the holy place will certainly be brought into its right condition." Clearly, verse 13 raises a question that is answered in verse 14. Theologian Desmond Ford says: "To detach Dan. 8:14 from this cry ["How long?" verse 13] is to be exegetically at sea without an anchor."

Why do Adventists detach verse 14 from the context? To avoid an awkward conclusion. The context ascribes the defilement of the sanctuary, mentioned in verse 14, to the activities of the little horn. However, the "investigative judgment" doctrine attributes the defilement of the sanctuary to the activities of Christ. He is said to transfer the sins of believers to the heavenly sanctuary. So, what happens if Adventists accept both the doctrine and the context? Dr. Raymond F. Cottrell, a Seventh-Day Adventist and former associate editor of the SDA Bible Commentary, writes: "To pretend to ourselves that the SDA interpretation reads Daniel 8:14 in context then would thus be to identify the little horn as Christ." Dr. Cottrell honestly admits: "We can’t have both context and the Adventist interpretation." With regard to the "investigative judgment," therefore, the Adventist Church had to make a choice—accept the doctrine or the context of Daniel 8:14. Unfortunately, it embraced the former and dropped the latter. No wonder, says Dr. Cottrell, that informed Bible students blame Adventists for "reading into Scripture" what cannot "be drawn from Scripture"!

In 1967, Dr. Cottrell prepared a sabbath school lesson on Daniel, which was sent to SDA churches worldwide. It taught that Daniel 8:14 does relate to its context and that the ‘cleansing’ does not refer to believers. Significantly, the lesson omits any mention of an "investigative judgment."

Some Remarkable Replies

How great is Adventist awareness that this pillar is too weak to support the "investigative judgment" doctrine? Dr. Cottrell asked 27 leading Adventist theologians, ‘What linguistic or contextual reasons can you give for the link between Daniel chapter 8 and Leviticus chapter 16?’ Their response?

"All twenty-seven affirmed the nonexistence of any linguistic or contextual reasons for applying Dan. 8:14 to the antitypical day of atonement and the investigative judgment." He asked them, ‘Do you have any other reasons for making this link?’ Most of the Adventist scholars said that they had no other reasons, five replied that they made this link because Ellen White did, and two said that they based the doctrine on a "fortunate accident" in translation. Theologian Ford remarks: "Such conclusions offered by the cream of our scholarship assert in effect that our traditional teaching on Dan. 8:14 is indefensible."

Any Help From Hebrews?

Pillar two: Daniel 8:14 is linked with Hebrews chapter 9. "All our early works draw heavily on Heb. 9 when explaining Dan. 8:14," says theologian Ford. This link was born after the "Great Disappointment" in 1844. Searching for guidance, Millerite Hiram Edson dropped his Bible on a table so that it would fall open. The outcome? Hebrews chapters 8 and 9 were facing him. Says Ford: "What could be more appropriate and symbolic of the Adventist claim that these chapters hold the key to the meaning of 1844 and Dan. 8:14!"

"That claim is crucial for Seventh-day Adventists," adds Dr. Ford in his book Daniel 8:14, the Day of Atonement, and the Investigative Judgment. "Only in Heb. 9 . . . can be found a detailed explanation of the significance of . . . the sanctuary doctrine so vital to us." Yes, Hebrews chapter 9 is the chapter in the "New Testament" to explain the prophetic meaning of Leviticus chapter 16. But Adventists also say that Daniel 8:14 is the verse in the "Old Testament" that does so. If both statements are true, there must be a link between Hebrews chapter 9 and Daniel chapter 8 as well.

Desmond Ford observes: "Certain things stand out immediately as one reads Heb. 9. There is no obvious allusion to the book of Daniel, and certainly none to Dan. 8:14. . . . The chapter as a whole is an application of Lev. 16." He states: "Our sanctuary teaching cannot be found in the only book of the New Testament which discusses the significance of the sanctuary services. This has been acknowledged by well-known Adventist writers around the world." So, then, pillar two is also too weak to support the troubled doctrine.

However, this conclusion is not new. For many years, says Dr. Cottrell, "Bible scholars of the church have been well aware of the exegetical problems our conventional interpretation of Daniel 8:14 and Hebrews 9 encounters." Some 80 years ago, influential Seventh-Day Adventist E. J. Waggoner wrote: "Adventist teaching concerning the sanctuary, with its ‘Investigative Judgment’ . . . , is virtually a denial of the atonement." (Confession of Faith) Over 30 years ago, such problems were presented to the General Conference, the SDA Church’s leadership.

Problems and an Impasse

The General Conference appointed a "Committee on Problems in the Book of Daniel." It was to prepare a report on how to resolve the difficulties centering on Daniel 8:14. The 14 committee members studied the question for five years but failed to propose a unanimous solution. In 1980, committee member Cottrell said that most committee members felt that the Adventist interpretation of Daniel 8:14 could be "established satisfactorily" by a series of "assumptions" and that problems "should be forgotten." He added: "Remember, the name of the committee was the Committee on Problems in the Book of Daniel, and the majority was suggesting that we forget the problems and not say anything about them." That would have amounted to an "admission that we had no answers." So the minority refused to back the majority’s view, and there was no formal report. The doctrinal problems remained unsolved.

Commenting on this impasse, Dr. Cottrell says: "The issue of Daniel 8:14 is still with us because we have been unwilling, thus far, to face up to the fact that a very real exegetical problem does exist. That issue will not go away so long as we keep pretending that there is no problem, so long as we insist on holding our heads, individually and collectively, in the sand of our preconceived opinions."—Spectrum, a journal published by the Association of Adventist Forums.

Dr. Cottrell urges Adventists to make "a careful reexamination of the basic assumptions and the principles of exegesis on which we have based our interpretation of this—for Adventism—indispensable passage of Scripture." We would encourage Adventists to examine the doctrine of "investigative judgment" to see whether its pillars are based solidly on the Bible or are founded on the unstable sands of tradition. The apostle Paul wisely urged: "Make sure of all things; hold fast to what is fine."—1 Thessalonians 5:21.

[Footnotes]

Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies defines tsadaq (or, tsa·dhaq´) as "to be righteous, to be justified," and taheer (or, ta·her´) as "to be clear, bright, and shining; to be pure, clean, purged; to be clean from all pollution or defilement."

Dr. Ford was a professor of religion at the church-run Pacific Union College in the U.S.A. In 1980 the SDA leadership gave him a six-month leave to study the doctrine, but they rejected his findings. He published these in the book Daniel 8:14, the Day of Atonement, and the Investigative Judgment.

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James Wright

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Re: The Great Controversy Ended...
3/10/2008 12:23:49 PM

Terry, all I will say at this point, is one can dig up dirt about anyone they wish. I could dig up all kinds of dirt about your church, but that is not my mission here. I am trying to spread the Word of God, in a professional manner.  End of story.

I appreciate the fact that you are trying to help me, however, I am failing to see where I showed disrespect to God anywhere in my forum. The Name God has many different names in the bible, and yes, Jehovah is one of them.

My bible is the King James Version Terry. It is not my bible, it is public domain. Of course there are a host of other versions of the bible available, yours being one of them. That is why I have specifically remained with one version during the course of this bible study, to primarily save confusion.

What you have posted here is also public domain. You just copied and pasted that on here. I could have done that too, but why should I? We are to think positive in all aspects of life. By downgrading someone else, you are being influenced by someone other than our God.

If you want to discuss 1844 and the 2300 days, go to my forum thread where it was discussed and open it back up again. I will be happy to discuss it further there.

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James Wright

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Re: The Great Controversy Ended...
3/10/2008 1:05:28 PM

Terry, may I recommend that you read the book "Steps to Christ."  Somehow I am under the impression that you have never read any of Sister White's books. I have read the whole Conflict of the Ages series, plus more. It is good reading, and I am also under the impression that you like to read. Once you have read it, then come back here and tell me about it. Thanks.

1 Peter 3:15  But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

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Valerie Clavin

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Re: The Great Controversy Ended...
3/10/2008 7:32:16 PM

James,

I'd just like to tell you something - I appreciate the way you handle Terry. Not an easy person to deal with and I must say you have the Patience of Job.

By the way, I'll have to ask Peter, but I was pretty sure that "God's" true name is unknown to us. It was given to the High Priests and were forbidden to say it out loud as it was very powerful.

Thanks for the lessons, especially those that show us patience and compasion.

Blessings

Valerie Clavin

Hugs = Priceless

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James Wright

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Re: The Great Controversy Ended...
3/10/2008 8:45:34 PM

Hi Valerie, I appreciate your comments. I posted the text there for anyone else who may need it in the future. I also appreciate your support and your friendship.

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