Recollections on the investigative judgment doctrine and the "unanimous" vote
By Raymond Cottrell, D.Div. (1912-2003)
In 1958 it fell to my lot, as a Review and Herald Publishing Association editor, to revise the perennial classic Bible Readings (published for nearly 100 years)…The old plates had worn out and we had to make new plates… The Review and Herald thought it would be highly desirable to bring Bible Readings into harmony with the Seventh‑day Adventist Bible Commentary) so that we wouldn't be saying something out of one corner of our mouth and something else out of the other corner.
It fell to my lot, then, to come to Daniel 8:14, the Sanctuary and the Investigative Judgment. And with all these statements – of Martin and Barnhouse and Lindsell and DeHaan and name them — reverberating in my mind just like an echo that kept going back and forth ..., I decided that I would try to find some way to say what we wanted to say about the Sanctuary and the Investigative Judgment in a way, that would take the ammunition out of these people's hands so they couldn't criticize us like they were ‑‑ present it as Biblical. And after struggling, I found that it couldn't be done!
So I went to Elder Nichol (then Editor of the Review and Herald) one day and I said, 'Elder Nichol, what do you do in a case like this"' I was really trying my very best to present the Sanctuary and the Investigative Judgment in the book Bible Readings — I couldn't do it! He said, 'Well, what do (our) college Bible teachers have to say? ... Write them a letter.' So I composed a letter in which I asked a number of key questions on getting the sanctuary doctrine out of Daniel 8:14. And I sent this questionnaire out to every teacher of Hebrew in our colleges we didn't have any universities at the time ‑ and to the head of every Bible department and a number of other Bible teachers I was personally acquainted with. And I protected them by assuring them their names would never be associated with any responses they made.
I asked these questions and all twenty-seven I wrote to replied. Without exception the responses expressed the opinion that there is no linguistic or contextual basis for applying Daniel 8:14 to the antitypical Day of Atonement and the Investigative Judgment. There was not one college Bible teacher who came out and said there is a basis in exegesis – that is in the language or the context.
And then I had asked another question: 'What reason, other than language and context can you offer?' And thirteen, half of the twenty-seven, said 'There is no other basis.' In other words, half of them were saying there is no basis whatever! Then there was a little scattering among the other half — two people replied this way and I was really taken back by those replies — two of them proposed that the English word 'cleansed,' in the King James Version, was 'a fortunate accident!' How about having the most important of our doctrines based upon a 'fortunate accident' in translation! ...
Actually, it was not an accident, the Septuagint has the word 'cleansed,' ... and they put the word 'cleansed' in because they thought it applied to Antiochus Epiphanes. So the (Seventh‑day) Adventist doctrine of the Investigative Judgment, the interpretation of 'cleansed,' is based on an ancient translation made by Jewish people into Greek believing that Antiochus Epiphanes had fulfilled the prophecy. So if we take the word 'cleansed' there, we really ought to say that it applied to Antiochus Epiphanes.
Well, I went to Elder Nichol. Since he had gotten me into this fix, it was up to him to get me out of it. You know what he did? He took them (the responses) over to the President of the General Conference, Elder Figuhr. And the General Conference appointed the Committee on Problems in the Book of Daniel to try, to find some answers to these questions. Well, the Committee on Problems in the Book of Daniel met for five Years. I was a member of the committee. We studied forty-five prepared papers for the committee and adjourned without finding any answers.'
Now, there was a majority on the Committee and a minority, altogether fourteen people. Nine of them, the majority at the end, wanted to issue a formal report in which we wouldn't say one word about any problems or any questions. Now remember, the name of the committee was Committee on Problems in the Book of Daniel. And they wanted a report that would just make everybody happy and say some nice things.
Well there were five of us that didn't think that was intellectually honest. We didn't think that the Church would be well served by such a report.... The majority, insisted on that 'unanimous' report to which we would have to sign our names — and we couldn't conscientiously do that because we would be to blame for a report that didn't deal with any of the problems!
So we made several proposals. We made a proposal that would deal honestly with the facts and the different proposed solutions—the reasons for them—and let people make up their own minds. Well of course that didn't meet the desire of the majority.
Another proposal we made was that there be no report and any member of the committee, on his own initiative, could submit any article for publication in the Review or Ministry or any other journal, under his own name and without mentioning the committee. That way people could say what they wanted to. No, those weren't acceptable.
So we came out with a facetious suggestion. We proposed that they let us five step out into the corridor, and then the majority could have a unanimous vote just as they wanted it." – Raymond F. Cottrell in taped address, circa 1985. White-Washed pp. 151-153.
Skip Baker's Response to Raymond Cottrell
By Skip Baker, former photographer for the Seventh-day Adventist Church
I see that like countless folks seeking "the truth" before you that you've both came up against the same problems that the Adventist Church has faced for generations and hasn't been able to solve. I think that elder Cottrell's statement in his letter about FD Nichol sums it up pretty well in that he said:
"Well, I went to Elder Nichol. Since he had gotten me into this fix, it was up to him to get me out of it. You know what he did? He took them (the responses) over to the President of the General Conference, Elder Figuhr. And the General Conference appointed the Committee on Problems in the Book of Daniel to try, to find some answers to these questions. Well, the Committee on Problems in the Book of Daniel met for five Years. I was a member of the committee. We studied forty-five prepared papers for the committee and adjourned without finding any answers.' "
WITHOUT FINDING ANY ANSWERS?
I knew both of those men well as not only did I work at the Adventist Review when they both were employed there, but would run into them often, so they were real flesh and blood people to me. And this paragraph you've found Robert has exposed something that is most profound: The "Seventh day Adventist Church employed a committee for five years that worked on a problem about the Investigative Judgment Doctrine, on which they made NO ruling at the end!" THINK ABOUT THAT!
The "Seventh day Adventist Church employed a committee for five years that worked on a problem about the Investigative Judgment Doctrine, on which they made NO ruling at the end!"
Play it again Sam: The "Seventh day Adventist Church employed a committee for 5 years that worked on a problem about the Investigative Judgment Doctrine, on which they made NO ruling at the end!"
IF THEY would have found ANYTHING HELPFUL, they would have used it!
They disbanded the group without EVER finding out the ANSWER to the problem they'd set out to do. And so it ever was and has been with the I J and trying to get Daniel 8:14 to support the Adventist viewpoint.
My first great shocker about the "I J, Daniel 8:14 and 1844" was when I read a Hallmark Hanukkah Card in a store that explained the entire story about how the FIRST Hanukkah, and how it lasted for 8 days because that's how long the oil lasted that they'd found in the Temple, once they had "cleansed" the Sanctuary" and set it back up for proper worship. The Jews had even carried OUT every single stone that had been used in the alter because they couldn't take a chance of having a stone in the alter of God that would have such a history of holding up a pig at one time! The Hallmark Card company had gone to great lengths to tell this story correctly, and they did it!
And there I was reading the story WELL OVER 2000 years later that fit a part of the puzzle that at one time had me greatly perplexed. You don't need to go to what "the Christians" think Daniel 8:14 is talking about, but just go to the JEWS who it was written for and ask THEM what the meaning was all about and you'll see that it had nothing to do with 1844, but everything to do with 165 B.C. instead! For 2009 YEARS BEFORE Ellen stole it, THE JEWS HAVE BEEN USING THIS VERSE TO TALK ABOUT THE VICTORY OVER THE "DEFILER OF THE SANCTUARY," AND THEY ARE SHOCKED WHEN ANYBODY SAYS IT'S ABOUT SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED IN 1844! They laugh at people who say it has something to do with 1844, when they KNOW it's all about 165 B.C.
The Adventists were TWO THOUSAND YEARS AND 9 YEARS OFF IN THE FIRST PLACE! Can you imagine basing a doctrine on a prophecy that was two thousand years off?
Once you can see how far off they were about WHEN it was to take place, you then can see how they were "off" about everything else! Daniel 8:14 is talking about an event that took place in 165 B.C. and not 1844. I guess you could call it "Ellen's Shell game"couldn't you? So we see she was off by 2165 years, and if you put back in the year 0 then she was off by 2166 years! William Miller and the mislead people of the 1840s in New England were wandering around in the wilderness of "sin" because it's a "sin" to put one's faith in a spirit that hasn't been tested, and the Shut Door was Ellen G. White's "testing as a prophet" and she lost her test!
You've shown us once again how right on you are Robert, to be showing that the Shut Door was a TEST indeed, and a test that the woman lost hands down!
LETTER TO BATES, proves EGW was a false prophet
Skip Baker and the Secret Letter