The"Sanctuary Doctrine"- Asset or Liability?

Speaker: Categories: Feb 09, 2002


[1hr, 19min, 40sec / 1hr, 16min, 46sec]


Casualties!Battlefield, administrator's office, church pew, pulpit, classroom?Casualties!Friend, colleague, relative?Casualties!But certainly not in a religious organization which is known for its non-combatant status - at least in time of war. How many can you name who have become, who currently are, or might yet become casualties of the on-goingbattlewithin Adventism overthedoctrinal teaching which is unique to this denomination? Which part of the sub-title of this month's Forum presentation might be an appropriate label for this multi-generational struggle (battle) within the ranks ofthe elect?

In providing a background for this casualty-ridden saga, Dr. Raymond Cottrell notes:"Seventh-day Adventism arose in response to the disappointment that Christ did not return on October 22, 1844 in fulfillment of Daniel 8:14:Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.Obviously they had been wrong as to the event foretold in those cryptic words, but the reasoning by which that date had been set proved to be so persuasive as to convince them that some very important event had occurred on that fateful day, obviously not on earth but therefore in heaven, where, according to the Book of Hebrews, Christ ministers on our behalf. They concluded, further, that He had entered upon a phase of that ministry specifically preparatory to His return to earth to gather the elect into His eternal kingdom. They referred to this ministry as aninvestigative judgmentdesigned to identify those eligible to participate in that happy event. They anticipated, further, that thisinvestigative judgmentwould be very brief, a few months or years at most. This became the traditional Adventist doctrine of the sanctuary and is still considered to be prophetic evidence for the rise of Adventism in 1844."

Dr. Cottrell notes further,"Over the years since 1844, however, a never-ending procession of experienced administrators, Bible scholars and more recently church members has questioned this interpretation of Daniel 8:14 because it imposes a modern uninspired concept upon the words of Daniel, and in so doing ignores and contradicts what Daniel actually wrote as determined by its context. This paper [San Diego Adventist Forum presentation] explores these two mutually exclusive interpretations of Daniel 8: 14, the experience of the church with respect to them over the past century and more, and accounts for the differences between them. With the traditional interpretation of Daniel 8: 14 asthesisand a contextual interpretation of it asantithesis, this paper finds asynthesisthat leaves the ultimate objectives of both intact."

How's that for a promise? Too optimistic? Too presumptuous? Too controversial? Might there be further casualties?


On February 9 Raymond Cottrell is scheduled to make hisseventeenthpresentation at the San Diego Adventist Forum. Curiously, the title for his first presentation, October, 1980, was:View from Glacier View!Unfortunately this was before the days when audio cassette recordings were made of each session so only those in attendance heard the insights he shared. Dr. Cottrell's research and the conclusions he has reached have made an indelible impression on this Forum Chapter - and the hundreds who have heard him in person and via tapes.

This scholar has served for forty-seven years in the Seventh-day Adventist church as pastor, mission administrator in China, Professor of Religion at Pacific Union College, and the last twenty-five of the forty-seven years prior to retirement as an editor theBible Commentary, Associate Editor of theReview and Herald, Assistant Book Editor and Book editor, Review and Herald Publishing Association.

He freely acknowledges"The focus of my interest and attention as a professor, writer and editor has ever been biblical hermeneutics, for an understanding of the Bible in the sense the Bible writers intended. On this subject I have written dozens of research papers, several of which have been published in book and article form."

"My concern for an accurate understanding of Bible prophecy came into sharp focus while writing for and editing theSeventh-day Adventist Bible Commentaryand as a participant in every General Conference meeting involving biblical exegesis for twenty-five years."

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