Anyone have watchtower 15 july 1997 The investigative Judgement article?

by barry 9 Replies latest jw friends

  • barry

    I would like to see this artical being a former Adventist the Investigative Judgement doctrine was generated after the dissapointment in 1844

    From what I have read this artical by the WT also mentions SDA scholars that have theological problems with the Investigative Judgement and many Adventists don't believe it even though it is one of the SDA main beliefs


  • Nebeska Nada
    Nebeska Nada

    *** w97 7/15 pp. 25-29 The “Investigative Judgment”—A Bible-Based Doctrine? ***

    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.


    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.

    For a reasoned explanation of Daniel chapter 8, see pages 188-219 in the book “Your Will Be Done on Earth,” published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.

    [Box on page 27]

    Daniel 8:14 in Context
    DANIEL 8:9 “And out of one of them there came forth another horn, a small one, and it kept getting very much greater toward the south and toward the sunrising and toward the Decoration. 10 And it kept getting greater all the way to the army of the heavens, so that it caused some of the army and some of the stars to fall to the earth, and it went trampling them down. 11 And all the way to the Prince of the army it put on great airs, and from him the constant feature was taken away, and the established place of his sanctuary was thrown down. 12 And an army itself was gradually given over, together with the constant feature, because of transgression; and it kept throwing truth to the earth, and it acted and had success.

    “13 And I got to hear a certain holy one speaking, and another holy one proceeded to say to the particular one who was speaking: ‘How long will the vision be of the constant feature and of the transgression causing desolation, to make both the holy place and the army things to trample on?’ 14 So he said to me: ‘Until two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings; and the holy place will certainly be brought into its right condition.’”—New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.

  • A.proclaimer

    Oh the irony! They weaken the whole seventh day adventist 1844 doctrine by looking at context and citing problems but that could be easily done with 1914, just by looking at Daniel 4 context and 607

  • barry

    Thanks Nebeska,

    Thats a good artical by the WT society but it doesn't go far enough in detail. The WT society may be doing this for their own ends but one of the main reasons the investigative judgement doctrine is questioned is because of its conflict with the gospel of grace. Also desmond Ford mentioned in the artical endorsed Raymond Franz book which is also not mentioned. The day for a year principle is questioned by bible scholars also but is accepted as truth by the WT society

  • BluesBrother

    Having pulled the Adventist's explanation to pieces, they have an equally improbable one of their own. I must admit that my eyes glaze over at this kind of stuff these days.

    "Daniels Prophecy " book pp 177 - 179 (published 1999)

    24 No one can stand up against the Prince of princes—not even a king as “fierce in countenance” as the Anglo-American World Power! This king’s attempts to desolate God’s sanctuary do not succeed. After a period of “two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings,” says the angelic messenger, “the holy place will certainly be brought into its right condition,” or “shall emerge victorious.”—Daniel 8:13, 14; The New English Bible.
    25 The 2,300 days constitute a prophetic period. Hence, a prophetic year of 360 days is involved. (Revelation 11:2, 3; 12:6, 14) This 2,300 days, then, would amount to 6 years, 4 months, and 20 days. When was this period? Well, in the 1930’s, God’s people began to experience increasing persecution in various countries. And during World War II, Jehovah’s Witnesses were fiercely persecuted in the lands of the Anglo-American dual world power. Why? Because of their insistence on ‘obeying God as ruler rather than men.’ (Acts 5:29) Therefore, the 2,300 days must be associated with that war. But what can be said about the beginning and the end of this prophetic period?
    26 For “the holy place” to be “brought,” or restored, to what it should be, the 2,300 days must have begun when it previously was in the “right condition” from God’s standpoint. At the earliest, this was on June 1, 1938, when The Watchtower published part 1 of the article “Organization.” Part 2 appeared in the issue of June 15, 1938. Counting 2,300 days (6 years, 4 months, and 20 days on the Hebrew calendar) from June 1 or 15, 1938, brings us to October 8 or 22, 1944. On the first day of a special assembly held at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., on September 30 and October 1, 1944, the Watch Tower Society’s president spoke on the subject “The Theocratic Alignment Today.” At the annual corporate meeting on October 2, the Society’s charter was amended in an effort to bring it as close to a theocratic arrangement as the law would allow. With the publication of clarified Biblical requirements, theocratic organization was soon more fully installed in the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
    27 While the 2,300 days ran their course during World War II, which began in 1939, the offering of “the constant feature” at God’s sanctuary was severely restricted because of persecution. In 1938 the Watch Tower Society had 39 branches supervising the work of the Witnesses worldwide, but by 1943 there were only 21. Increases in the number of Kingdom proclaimers were also small during that period.
    28 As we have noted, during the closing months of World War II, Jehovah’s Witnesses reaffirmed their determination to magnify God’s rulership by serving him as a theocratic organization. It was with this objective that the rearrangement of their work and governing structure was initiated in 1944. In fact, The Watchtower of October 15, 1944, contained an article entitled “Organized for Final Work.” It and other service-oriented articles of the same period indicated that the 2,300 days had ended and that “the holy place” was again in its “right condition.”

  • Listener

    Seeing that the WTBTS felt it's own teachings are far superior to the SDA's, an offer to get their own scholars (cough, cough) together with the SDA's scholar's to nut it out would be far more appropriate than tearing their teachings down in their own publications.

    It is refreshing to see that the SDA allow and even encourage discussion of their main teachings in a very open way, without disfellowshipping anyone.

  • sir82

    So if I understand correctly, the WTS is essentially criticizing the SDAs for saying "oh no - our prediction wasn't wrong, it really did happen, it was just invisible!"

    The irony, indeed.

  • Londo111

    Maybe if First Maccabees was included in the canon, both groups could have seen this was merely about Antiochus IV Epiphanes. For the record, the Watchtower interpretation is far wackier...nor does the math add up.

  • barry

    Here is a video of Dr Ford at an American church I believe its a university church SDA . Dr Ford is the same as the one mentioned in the WT artical above well respected by many but by some is regarded as an apostate.

    Dr Ford talks about Historicism a very faulty method of understanding biblical prophecy now only used by Adventists and Jehovahs witnesses. Dr Ford also mentioned the 27 scholars that rejected the SDA explanation of daniel 8.14 also mentioned in the WT artical above he also refers to himself as a rebel Adventist. The sermon also gives an excellent presentation of the gospel.

  • barry

    Gday Listener,

    The SdAs don't dissfellowship your right about that but to many peoples dissmay Dr Ford lost his job and after that happened and I quote 'It doesn't pay to be right too early in the game"

    The other theologans including Cottrell faired well.

    Des got a job in an independant ministry 'Good News Unlimited' but is still invited to SDA churches to speak such as the one above. Some SDAs are poles apart with him on theology but still have respect for him as a christian brother others regard him as total apostate while the lunatic fringe accuse him of being a Catholic Jesuit infiltrator.

    It depends on what faction the SDA member is in as to there support or dissaproval of a particular person and their theology.

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