Anomalies in Interpretation of Daniel 8:14

Speaker: Categories: Sep 13, 1997


[1hr, 16min, 49sec / 45min, 22sec]


Dr. Cottrell, in reply to an inquiry about his current research and interest in returning to San Diego Forum, sent a copy of a paper he presented recently to the LLU theology facculty. That paper, titled as noted above, is most enlightening -- and challenging. In fact, if you must miss any meeting of the San Diego Adventist Forum during the 97/98 Forum year, don't let it be September 13. Rather, come prepared to examine -- in depth from the original text -- the passages which precede and which follow what may be the most discussed text by SDAs in the entire Bible. Bring your Bible(s), several translations, as well as a note pad. Dr. Cottrell has distilled into thisAnomaliespresentation the most succinct, the most precise, and the most concise treatise on an understanding of Daniel 8:14 I have ever seen.

The twelve words of Daniel 8:14,"Unto two-thousand three-hundred days then shall the sanctuary be cleansed"(KJV), have served as the key to the Adventist contribution to Protestant theology. These words have given SDAs a unique perspective on end-time events, even to the point of specifying details about what happened on October 22, 1844; what Jesus has been doing since that date; and what has been happening on earth during this past century and a half.

How did the earlyAdventistsreach their conclusions about thesetwelve little words? What sources -- and resources -- were available for their research and study? From what Bible translation(s) were theirfindingsderived? To what extent did those early Bible students consider passages preceding and following thatkeytext? What question(s) were answered by the angel speaking to and through Daniel? How important was it for the earlyAdventiststo consider the method by which they derived their conclusions -- whether based on a proof-text or historical approach to understanding Scripture?

Within the last twenty years what SDA groups have studied Daniel 8:14 in an attempt to get a better grasp of what it means? What individuals have studied this passage independently -- and then reported their findings? What followed? What are those persons doing now? Is there any formally organized entity within the SDA Church whose task it is to do biblical research? What resources would be available for such study today?

What if the findings reached by individuals or by specifically assigned groups were not in harmony with earlier Seventh-day Adventist interpretations of the meaning/interpretation of Daniel's recorded interaction with the angelic messenger? Could a church organizationchangefrom its earlier understanding of a biblical passage to a more up-to-date understanding? Would thatchangebe an admission of an earliererrorin interpretation? If so, would that bring into question other doctrinal statements? If such an admission were not forthcoming, what would that indicate about the church's touted maxim that theology must be based on the Bible -- and the Bible only?

Would God allow praying Bible students to reach conclusions which might be in error? Could conclusions reached in the 1800s be meaningful to the Christian family then even if in error? Do we have any examples of erroneous understanding oftruth- - even by Bible writers? Will the discussion of the heavenly sanctuary and the investigative judgment ever reach closure?


Dr. Cottrell could well be appropriately namedSpeaker-in-Residence, having spoken at this Chapter's meetings thirteen times since the Chapter was organized. Without question Dr. Cottrell has contributed significantly toward challenging and enlightening those who attended these meetings in person. Dr. Cottrell is a recognized scholar with a special skill in translating Old Testament passages from the Hebrew or Aramaic text. In recent years he has had a key role in the development and production ofAdventist Today, the journal dedicated to providing news, analysis, and opinion regarding issues and events within Adventism.

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