An Invitation to a Road Trip (An Open Letter to Clifford Goldstein)

Nowhere in the Creation story is there a command to worship the Creator on Sabbath. God restedfrom HIS work; man had done no work. Nor is it ever called “Sabbath” but merely the seventh day.

Not until Sinai when Moses brought down the stone tablets was there a command to keep holy the Sabbath day; but again, nothing about worship, but doing no work. This was a command unique to Judaism and never to any other people, especially Christians.

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I have to apologize to you. I thought you were responding to the lunar Sabbath thing, but it was the Thursday crucifixion theory. “All of Christendom” has been wrong before, has it not?


I see worlds of meaning there, Elaine…

Any any case, what about the precise “clocks in the sky” - the sun and solar time, the moon and lunar time, the sun and galactic time, the fixed stars and sidereal time, the earth and the precession of the equinoxes?

Are we merely projecting meaning on something ultimately meaningless, do you think?

And…do SDAs believe that God made all this unfathomable precision in the universe around us, but wants us to ignore it and only pay attention to a seven-day cycle that has nothing obvious to do with the cosmos, as a way of remembering that he made this ineffable cosmic system?


No big deal. This form of communication lends itself to misunderstandings. As long as we can all give each other a bit of slack, we’ll be fine. :slight_smile:

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Whatever else this discussion concludes, there is no easy way to understand the universe and how it all works and impacts each of its elements. The SDA church has made some categorical statements about “holy” time and what to do with it; and that’s just fine as far as it goes; but the theology that comes out of these pronouncements impacts other Christians, labeling them with some pretty damning descriptions, actually calling judgments on other modes of worship - and that’s not OK, if our own calculations are based on faulty information and faulty calculations - at best, ambiguous information. This is the only reason I have ever brought this issue to the forefront. While other churches are condemned for worshiping on the wrong day by following the the prescriptions of Rome, our own calculations of time are base on that same Roman calculus.

Whatever else the Sabbath means, it is about the REST it offers. The NT prescribes that rest to Christ, taking out of the letter of the law, where it resided with the Jews, and makes it experiential - our rest from being precisely good enough to merit God’s blessings - completely misunderstanding the Gospel message. So maybe we should echo Paul and let “each be convinced in his own mind” what is the right thing to do, but not vilify those who understand the issue differently. The other irony of all this is that we accuse others for “worshiping” on the wrong day - focusing on the DAY, completely missing the important part of that statement - that they are, after all, WORSHIPING.


Excellent observation!

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Could there possibly be anything more ambiguous than Sabbath on a round world?

Ellen White:

Now, my sister, I write to tell you that we are not to give the least credence to the day line theory. It is a snare of Satan brought in by his own agents to confuse minds.

You see how utterly impossible it is for this thing to be, that the world is all right in observing Sunday, and God’s people are all wrong.

This theory of the day line would make all our history of the past 55 years a complete fallacy, but we know where we stand.

–Selected Messages, vol. 3

Is the International Dateline a theory?

EDIT: Apparently EGW was talking about an Eden Day Line Theory that was going around at the time. However, she doesn’t seem to have thought through the issue very well, it seems to me.

If Adam and Eve traveled opposite directions from the Garden of Eden, they would still have the dateline problem about Sabbath when they met halfway around the world, correct?

Ellen G. White:

It would be very strange if the Lord God of heaven should set apart a day for people to observe, and bless and sanctify that day, and give it to man and enjoin upon man that it be kept holy unto the Lord as a memorial that He made the world in six days and rested upon the seventh day and blessed the Sabbath day, and yet that day become so uncertain the world cannot tell definitely when the seventh day comes to us. {10MR 342.2}

Sister T has been speaking of you to me. She says that you are in some confusion in regard to the day line. Now, my dear sister, this talk about the day line is only a something that Satan has devised as a snare. He seeks to bewitch the senses, as he does in saying, “Lo, here is Christ, or there.” There will be every fiction and devising of Satan to lead persons astray, but the word is, “Believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not” (Matthew 24:23-26). {3SM 317.3}

Is it possible that so much importance can be clustered about those who observe the Sabbath, and yet no one can tell when the Sabbath comes? Then where is the people who bear the badge or sign of God? What is the sign? The seventh-day Sabbath, which the Lord blessed and sanctified, and pronounced holy, with great penalties for its violation. {3SM 318.2}

The seventh-day Sabbath is in no uncertainty. It is God’s memorial of His work of creation. It is set up as a heaven-given memorial, to be observed as a sign of obedience. God wrote the whole law with His finger on two tables of stone. . . . {3SM 318.3}

Now, my sister, . . . I write . . . to tell you that we are not to give the least credence to the day line theory. It is a snare of Satan brought in by his own agents to confuse minds. You see how utterly impossible for this thing to be, that the world is all right observing Sunday, and God’s remnant people are all wrong. This theory of the day line would make all our history for the past fifty-five years a complete fallacy. But we know where we stand. . . . {3SM 318.4}

My sister, let not your faith fail. We are to stand fast by our colors, the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. All those who hold the beginning of their confidence firm unto the end will keep the seventh-day Sabbath, which comes to us as marked by the sun. The fallacy of the day line is a trap of Satan to discourage. I know what I am speaking about. Have faith in God. Shine where you are, as a living stone in God’s building. {3SM 318.5}

The children of God will be triumphant. They will come off conquerors and more than conquerors over all the opposing, persecuting elements. Fear not. By the power of Bible truth and love exemplified in the cross, and set home by the Holy Spirit, we shall have the victory. The whole battle before us hinges upon the observance of the true Sabbath of Jehovah. . . . {3SM 319.1}

God rested on the seventh day, and set it apart for man to observe in honor of His creation of the heavens and the earth in six literal days. He blessed and sanctified and made holy the day of rest. When men are so careful to search and dig to see in regard to the precise period of time, we are to say, God made His Sabbath for a round world; and when the seventh day comes to us in that round world, controlled by the sun that rules the day, it is the time in all countries and lands to observe the Sabbath. In the countries where there is no sunset for months, and again no sunrise for months, the period of time will be calculated by records kept. . . . {3SM 317.1}

The Lord accepts all the obedience of every creature He has made, according to the circumstances of time in the sun-rising and sun-setting world. . . . The Sabbath was made for a round world, and therefore obedience is required of the people that are in perfect consistency with the Lord’s created world.–Letter 167, 1900. {3SM 317.2}

Do not allow your mind to wander from the main points of the truth for this time, to grasp unimportant theories and problems. If anyone gives you unessential problems to solve, tell him that God has placed in your hands a work to be done. Tell him that you are doing a great work and cannot come down to try to solve the problem of the day line. You have the message for this time–the third angel’s message–to give to the people. This is your work. Hold the beginning of your confidence firm unto the end. The truth is to be repeated, line upon line, precept upon precept.–Letter 11, 1901, pp. 6, 7. (To M. G. Kellogg, Jan. 21, 1901.) {2MR 187.1}




North of the Bering Strait, at the latitude of Wrangel Island (Ostrov Vrangelya) that separates the East-Siberian Sea from the Chukchi Sea, the date line experienced some local adjustments during the early 1920s. This uninhabited island, named after the German-Russian explorer Ferdinand Petrovich Wrangel (1797-1870) and straddling the 180º meridian, was always regarded as Russian territory but became the focus of an international incident in 1921 when the Swedish-Canadian polar explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson (1879-1962), acting on his own authority, claimed it (or only the part east of 180º?) for Canada. A Canadian expedition to colonize the barren island failed miserably and by 1926 the Russians had re-established their claim by settling the island with Russian-Siberian colonists. The temporary adjustment of the date line in 1921 to bisect Wrangel Island would appear to indicate the initial recognition of the Canadian claim on this island by the British Hydrographic Department.

Are the vagaries of geopolitics to determine the eternal fate of human beings?

Why Seventh-day Adventists Keep Sunday in Tonga

When the early mis­sionaries arrived there over 100 years ago from Australia, forgetful or unaware of the effect of the 180th meridian on time, they established the prac­tice of recognizing days of the week, as observed in Australia and New Zealand, lying far to the west of the meridian. Therefore the establishment of Sun­day observance in Tonga upon the same day as ob­served in Australia was incorrect, as strictly speak­ing, the day is Saturday, west longitude.

When the Seventh-day Adventists subsequently went to Tonga from America they did not need to change the day, and so continued the observance of the day already observed, which is really Saturday, the seventh day of the week.—Ibid., p.

It should be noted that these authori­ties admit that in Tonga the day called Sunday is really the seventh day of the week and hence the Sabbath of the Lord. The government officials of Tonga also agree that Sunday there is the seventh day. It should be always remembered that the curve that was made in the date line to bring Tonga into the same days as New Zealand and Fiji was done for commercial reasons. There was no thought or sugges­tion of anything religious in this act. It was for commercial reasons only.

It is also interesting to note that the Encyclopaedia Brittanica refers to the date line as “the so-called International date-line,” for it is in a sense not “inter­national” at all. Any country has a right to call its days any names it chooses.

SDA Church Dispute Heads to Court

Last month leaders of the SDA church in the South Pacific Division met again in Australia with pastors from Samoa and Samoan pastors representing Samoan churches in New Zealand and Australia. The bible conference discussed the impasse in Samoa which is detrimental to a fundamental doctrine of the SDA church where there are now two seventh-day Sabbaths, some worshipping on Saturday and the majority worshipping on Sunday.

But in Samoa, the local church administration has instructed the law office of Schuster-Betham-Annandale to write to the Leauva’a-uta SDA members who are worshipping on Saturday to refrain from using the church facility there. The letter dated 6th February warns that failure to comply within 7 days will result in the matter been taken to the High Court for an order regarding ownership, demolition and removal by the church of assets.

Sirje said: The other irony of all this is that we accuse others for “worshiping” on the wrong day - focusing on the DAY, completely missing the important part of that statement - that they are, after all, WORSHIPING.

Indeed, Sirje. The great irony is that SDAs now do that to each other, even threatening to tear down the church of those who worship on the “wrong day.”

Ellen White’s “we know where we stand” statement above rings rather hollow now.

What kind of God burns people alive over such things, or requires brothers and sisters to tear one another’s churches down?

This is very sad, and this kind of thing is why the geological image of “lithified sedimentary compaction” came to me last night.

Were it not for the need to defend this ambiguous 7-day system, Cliff and Ron could have a real swell time together, I’m guessing.

Maybe it will all be worked out at GC’15:

Agenda for GC’15: Leadership on the Dateline Sabbath

Some liberals argue that the fact that the Date Line can be moved means that keeping the Sabbath is not important. But this issue effects fewer than 1 in 10,000 people; it is a non-issue for the overwhelming majority of the human race.

It is as though God knew there would need to be a place for an International Date Line that would effect few people, and during the Flood arranged for the largely empty Pacific Ocean to be formed.

The 2015 General Conference session at San Antonio should urge the effected churches to worship on Saturday as per the calendar in their countries. The world church needs to make clear that a country’s choice of a date zone is not an attempt to enforce Sunday-worship, or to force the conscience of Sabbath-keepers. It is merely a choice, by a nation that could easily be on either side of the Date Line, to be on the side that is most sensible, given its needs.

The world church needs to make clear that Adventists who worship on Sunday are muting their message and confusing their witness.

Sunday-keeping by Adventists needs to stop, it needs to stop now, and the world church needs to say so in the clearest possible terms.

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but the Advindicate author above seems to be arguing vehemently that it is the calendar that makes the day holy, ergo, it is the calendar itself, maybe even the name “Saturday” and its placement on the calendar, that is holy.

Therefore, all the Adventist apologetics about tracing Sabbath back to Jesus, or even Eden, are rendered moot, because it’s clearly not the day that matters, it’s the calendar, and the authority of International Dateline committees is the authority of God.

Regarding the thought that Adventists who worship on Sunday are “muting their message and confusing their witness,” I can only suggest that perhaps the “message” has not been satisfactorily thought through at present.

The world church forcing Adventists themselves to worship on a different day than they choose to seems like the very opposite of what I thought the Adventist message was supposed to be!

But my heart needs just as much work as anyone else’s, God knows…


Coercion, even force, have often been the church’s partner to enforce its beliefs. It is sad when voluntary belief does not follow action, but the other way around: action must first be enforced, then acceptance that the church “knows best.”

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What good is church authority, if not for enforcing orthodoxy?


@Cliff - or anyone - is the following true? Did this committe meet, and was this their finding?

The Seventh-day Adventist denomination was founded upon a belief that the 2300 day/year prophecy of Daniel 8:14 ended on October 22, 1844, as taught by the Millerite Movement of the 1840s.

But the only way to arrive at that specific, foundational date is by using a different calendar, the ancient Biblical luni-solar calendar, to pinpoint the Day of Atonement for the cleansing of the Sanctuary.

This was the problem facing the Study Committee of 1995. To acknowledge that the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s sole, unique contribution to Protestant theology was based upon a different method of time-keeping, was to open the floodgates to a problem they did not wish to deal with: i.e., the problem that the Biblical Sabbath is not Saturday on the modern Catholic Gregorian solar calendar!

Leroy E. Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 796: As far back as April, and then in June and December of 1843, and in February of 1844 – months before William Miller’s original date expired for the ending of the “Jewish year 1843” at the time of the vernal [spring] equinox in 1844 – his associates (Sylvester Bliss, Josiah Litch, Joshua V. Himes, Nathaniel Southard, Apollos Hale, Nathan Whiting, and others) came to a definite conclusion.

This was that the solution of Daniel’s prophecy is dependent upon the ancient or original Jewish form of luni-solar time, and not upon the altered modern rabbinical Jewish calendar. . . . They therefore began to shift from Miller’s original date for the ending of the 2300 years (at the equinox in March, over to the new moon of April, 1844.

As an SDA leader said, “We. Must. Tell. The. Truth.”


The general opinion of modern scholars is that the name “Sinai” is derived from the name of the Babylonian moon-god Sin.

Some scholars believe that Mount Sinai was of ancient sanctity prior to the ascent of Moses described in the Bible. Scholars have theorized that Sinai in part derived its name from the word for moon which was “sin” (meaning “the moon” or “to shine”). Antoninus Martyr provides some support for the ancient sanctity of Jebel Musa by writing that Arabian heathens were still celebrating moon feasts there in the 6th century. Lina Eckenstien states that some of the artifacts discovered indicate that “the establishment of the moon-cult in the peninsula dates back to the pre-dynastic days of Egypt.” She says the main center of moon worship seems to have been concentrated in the southern Sinai peninsula which the Egyptians seized from the Semitic people who had built shrines and mining camps there. Robinson says that inscriptions with pictures of moon worship objects are found all over the southern peninsula but are missing on Jebel Musa and Mount Catherine which oddity may suggest religious cleansing.

Jewish Encyclopedia: Sabbath

Probable Lunar Origin

The origin of the Sabbath, as well as the true meaning of the name, is uncertain. The earliest Biblical passages which mention it (Ex. xx. 10, xxxiv. 21; Deut. v. 14; Amos viii. 5) presuppose its previous existence, and analysis of all the references to it in the canon makes it plain that its observance was neither general nor altogether spontaneous in either pre-exilic or post-exilic Israel.

It was probably originally connected in some manner with the cult of the moon, as indeed is suggested by the frequent mention of Sabbath and New-Moon festivals in the same sentence (Isa. i. 13; Amos viii. 5; H Kings iv. 23). The old Semites worshiped the moon and the stars (Hommel, “Der Gestirndienst der Alten Araber”). Nomads and shepherds, they regarded the night as benevolent, the day with its withering heat as malevolent. In this way the moon (“Sinai” = “moon [“sin”] mountain”) became central in their pantheon.

The moon, however, has four phases in approximately 28 days, and it seemingly comes to a standstill every seven days. Days on which the deity rested were considered taboo, or ill-omened. New work could not be begun, nor unfinished work continued, on such days. The original meaning of “Shabbat” conveys this idea (the derivation from “sheba’” is entirely untenable).

If, as was done by Prof. Sayce (in his Hibbert Lectures) and by Jastrow (in “American Journal of Theology,” April, 1898), it can be identified in the form “shabbaton” with the “Shabattum” of the Assyrian list of foreign words, which is defined as “um nuḥ libbi” = “day of propitiation” (Jensen, in “Sabbath-School Times,” 1892), it is a synonym for “'Aẓeret” and means a day on which one’s actions are restricted, because the deity has to be propitiated. If, with Toy (in “Jour. Bib. Lit.” xviii. 194), it is assumed that the signification is “rest,” or “season of rest” (from the verb “to rest,” “to cease [from labor]”; though “divider” and “division of time” are likewise said to have been the original significations; comp. also Barth, “Nominalbildungen,” and Lagarde, “Nominalbildung”), the day is so designated because, being taboo, it demands abstinence from work and other occupations.

The Sabbath depending, in Israel’s nomadic period, upon the observation of the phases of the moon, it could not, according to this view, be a fixed day.

When the Israelites settled in the land and became farmers, their new life would have made it desirable that the Sabbath should come at regular intervals, and the desired change would have been made all the more easily as they had abandoned the lunar religion.

Assyrian Analogues.

Dissociated from the moon, the Sabbath developed into a day of rest for the workers and animals on the farm (Deut. v. 14; Ex. xx. 10). Traces of the old taboo are, however, still found.

In Amos viii. 5 it is the fear of evil consequences that keeps the impatient merchants from plying their wicked trade. The multitude of sacrifices (Isa. i. 8; Hosea ii. 11) on Sabbath and New Moon indicates the anxiety on those particular days to propitiate the deity. Closer contact with Assyro-Babylonians from the eighth to the sixth pre-Christian century probably revitalized the older idea of taboo.

The assumption that the Hebrews borrowed the institution from the Babylonians, which was first suggested by Lotz (“Quæstiones de Historia Sabbati”), is untenable; but that the Exile strengthened the awe in which the day was held can not be denied. It having become a purely social institution, a day of rest for the farmers, the taboo element in course of time had lost its emphasis.

The Assyro-Babylonians may have had similar days of abstinence or propitiation (the 7th, 14th, 19th, 21st, and 28th of the month Elul), and contact with them may have served to lend the Jewish Sabbath a more austere character.

The Assyrian calendar seems to disclose an effort to get rid of the movable Sabbath in favor of the fixed. If after the twenty-eighth day two days are intercalated as new-moon days, the 19th day becomes the 49th from the beginning of the next preceding month, as in the Feast of Weeks, in connection with which the emphasis on “complete Sabbaths” (“sheba’ Shabbot temimot”; Lev. xxiii. 15) is noteworthy.

At all events, in the Priestly Code, Sabbath violation is represented as entailing death (Num. xv. 32-36).

I don’t have the knowledge to confirm or deny the above, but it’s hard to reconcile the taboo aspects of Sabbath with “finding rest for one’s soul.” Human emotions don’t work that way.

As long as the belief holds that people will be burned alive for not honoring Sabbath, the taboo nature of the institution will remain in ascendance, and fear will prevail.

The weight of the harsh Adventist view of God has crushed the life from the Sabbath, it seems to me, lithified it, made it a stone idol as surely as any fear-inducing “heathen” idol.

Taking brothers and sisters to law, threatening to raze their church over a day of worship that is thoroughly ambiguous? Calling for the “world church” to come down on Adventists who worship on a day according to their conscience?! What can possibly be said about that?

Have we so learned Christ?


EDIT: 5/31/15

Here’s a 1906 article on the early “Eden Day Line Theory” I quoted Ellen White speaking against above:

A False Issue: The Day-line

We cannot conceive that God will leave His people to be confronted with an error for which there is not a simple solution, suitable for the defence and protection of every believing soul.

Another quote:

All that needs to be decided in any locality is, Which day does Rome honour as a sabbath? The answer is invariably, ” Sunday.” Then, in order to embrace the third angel’s message, loyalty to God calls upon us to keep the day which precedes the Roman festival, that is, Saturday.

This seems to be the reasoning of the Advindicate author I quoted above, who said,

But this issue effects fewer than 1 in 10,000 people; it is a non-issue for the overwhelming majority of the human race.

Yet he he is not content to let the local people follow their own consciences but wants the “world church” in San Antonio to come down on them. So apparently, it is not a “non-issue” to the rest of the world, after all.

Adventists are in conflict, but I’m not confident that a “simple solution” will present itself in San Antonio or anywhere else.

Personally, I think (and correct me, please) Adventists are facing a number of insoluble foundational problems (in addition to having been steeplejacked, it seems), and round earth sabbath is one, and what Ellen White says about the blood being carried in the Sanctuary for the common people is another.

Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 354: The most important part of the daily ministration was the service performed in behalf of individuals. … By his own hand the animal was then slain, and the blood was carried by the priest into the holy place and sprinkled before the veil, behind which was the ark containing the law that the sinner had transgressed. By this ceremony the sin was, through the blood, transferred in figure to the sanctuary.

And, if Miller built his interpretation on luni-solar rather than Rabbinical calendar, what are the implications of that?

Leroy E. Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 796: This was that the solution of Daniel’s prophecy is dependent upon the ancient or original Jewish form of luni-solar time, and not upon the altered modern rabbinical Jewish calendar.

All this is not to even mention Ford, and the implications around that.

Desmond Ford: If my experience as a teacher at the Seminary may be taken as a criterion, I would say that a large number of our ministers have serious doubt as to the correctness of the views we hold on certain phases of the sanctuary. They believe, in a general way, that we are correct, but they are as fully assured that Ballenger’s views have never been fully met and that we cannot meet them. They decide that the question is not vital and relegate it to the background.

Many recognized Adventist Bible scholars, past and present, have acknowledged the problems in the traditional Adventist interpretation of Daniel 8:14 and Hebrews 9, and standard Adventist publications such as the SDA Bible Commentary explicitly acknowledge them. Over the past 75 years, repeated crises have arisen over these problems and not a few have left the church because of them, but once each crisis had passed little or nothing was done to deal adequately with the substance of the problems.

Desmond Ford, on Glacier View: Most of the Bible scholars at Glacier View accepted the essence of my views. Most of them refused to teach the investigative judgment. Andrews had not taught it for decades. Raymond Cottrell’s reports in Spectrum were very accurate. He told me it was obvious that most of the administrators present had not read my manuscript. Cottrell had given up the investigative judgment decades before and we had discussed it with complete agreement at the end of the 1950s.

The most important result of Glacier View was the evidence in the years that followed that our Bible scholars had not and do not believe in the investigative judgment. One Andrews professor said the teaching was like that about the man in the moon.

Des Ford Reflects on the Investigative Judgment, Ellen White, Church Controversy and Health

Raymond Cottrell: 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.

Raymond Cottrell said of his “significant work” Eschatology of Daniel which was never formally published, "the manuscript awaits a climate of openness and objectivity in the church, which is essential to a fair examination of the facts.

Raymond Cottrell, The Eschatology of Daniel

Perfecting the Corporate Biblical-Theological-Doctrinal Process

Throughout the prooftext era of the church–to approximately 1940–there
were no trained Adventist Bible scholars who would be recognized as such today.
Its corporate biblical-theological-doctrinal process was conducted
almost exclusively by church administrators, who were perhaps more adept than
most others at prooftexting the Bible.

Today there is a large Adventist community of fully qualified Bible
scholars, now the “brethren of experience” in such matters, yet no viable
working relationship has developed between the scholars, collectively, and
administrators, whereby the church can benefit by the collective expertise,
experience, and wisdom of its Bible scholars.

Raymond Cottrell, A History of Problems with the Sanctuary Doctrine

Raymond Cottrell: What should an editor do with “proof texts” that inherently do not prove what is traditionally attributed to them — as for example, Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6; Revelation 12:17 and 19:10; Daniel 12:4, Isaiah 2:4 and Micah 4:1,2; and most of the texts usually cited with respect to “the law”? In most of these and number of other passages, pastoral concern led us to conclude that the Commentary was not the place to make an issue of the Bible versus the traditional interpretation, much as this disappointed us as Bible scholars and would be a disappointment to our scholarly friends who know better.

The Sanctuary Doctrine – Asset or Liability? Part 11
by Raymond F. Cottrell

Obscurantism and the Sanctuary Doctrine

Webster defines obscurantism as “depreciation of or positive opposition to enlightenment or the spread of knowledge, esp. a policy . . . of deliberately making something obscure or withholding knowledge from the general public.” Here, the word “obscurantism” is used in the specific sense of making presumably authoritative decisions and/or statements with respect to the sanctuary doctrine on the basis of untested, preconceived opinions and/or without first weighing all of the available evidence on the basis of sound, recognized principles of exegesis and basing conclusions exclusively on the weight of all the evidence.

Obscurantism has characterized the official response of the church to every question raised with respect to the traditional interpretation of Daniel 8:14, the sanctuary doctrine, and the investigative judgment. In at least most instances this obscurantism has been inadvertent and not intentional, but its effect has been the same as if it had been intentional. It is high time for the church to be done with the traditional clichés with which it has heretofore responded to questions regarding the sanctuary doctrine. It is time to face up to and to deal fairly and objectively with all of the evidence.

Raymond Cottrell, The Sanctuary Doctrine, Asset or Liability? (PDF of complete text)

During sessions of the Biblical Research Committee (now Institute) Gerhard Hasel repeatedly stated that it was a mistake even to try to be objective.

In the plenary session of the Sanctuary Review Committee at Glacier View, for instance, he
demonstrated this by emphatically declaring in the plenary session Monday afternoon, August 10, 1980,

“God’s only intention in Daniel 8:14 was to point forward to 1844!”

This statement was met by a loud chorus of amens.

1983 Adventist Currents:

Leroy E. Froom, Ministry, 1944:

Subtle Inroad of Scholasticism

The pioneers of this message, and their early successors, were pre-eminently men of the Book. They were conspicuously students of the Word. Their grasp of great Biblical truths and basic prophetic principles was astonishing. It was, of course, this inten­sive study of the Word on their part that laid the fundations of this heaven-indited message. Their mastery of the text of Scripture was often phenomenal, because they spent most of their study time mastering the essential mes­sage of the Book.

Our scholars are often erudite, for example, in the Greek or Hebrew text, but all too often they have lost the fundamental intent and larger relationships of the text itself amid the specu­lative niceties of their acquired technicalities. The basic truth at issue is lost in the display of erudition. They follow, doubtless uncon­sciously, in the wake of their teachers back in the universities of Babylon. And how could it be otherwise? That training was sought ; and now it constitutes the background and colors the attitude, the emphasis, and the outlook.

How dare a man contemplate, or have the temerity to present, the degree of doc­tor of divinity, gained in the universities of Babylon, as a credential for teaching or preach­ing this threefold message, the second stipula­tion of which is, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen… Come out of her, My people.” How dare we accept such a Babylonian credential in lieu of mastery of the truth? Shall a man go into Babylon to gain strength and wisdom to call men out of Babylon? To ask the question is but to disclose how far some have compromised with Babylon, as they have gone back to Babylon to drink from her wells of wisdom. Oh, for the living waters of truth fresh.from the Word!

Ironically, Leroy Froom, one of the key participants in the Evangelical-Adventist meetings, was a typical Adventist and sounded much like the “lunatic fringe” to which Andreasen had been relegated. Unlike Andreasen, however, Froom reached out to Martin and Barnhouse in the 1950’s. This apparent cordiality belied his earlier hostility toward working with those from “Babylon”.

Maybe this is another:

Dennis Hokama: Daniel’s “Daily”

Does 1844 Have a “Pagan” Foundation?

When William Miller came to the novel conclusion that the “daily” of Daniel 8:11,12 and 11:31 was “paganism” rather than sacrifices connected with Jewish temple ser­vices, he opened up new possibilities for the treatment of the 2300 days in Daniel 8:14. A seemingly viable justification and defense of 1843 or 1844 as the terminus of the 2300 days was now possible.

Since it was Miller’s “paganism” interpretation of the “daily” that permitted the 457 B.C. to 1843/1844 application of the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14, the Seventh-day Adventist sanctuary doctrine, in a sense, has a “pagan” foundation. This, in and of itself, would amount to nothing more than a mischievous play on words. But it is the fact that Adventism has long since abandoned Miller’s “pagan-ism” interpretation while continuing to claim eschatological signifi­cance for 1844 that gives the title of this paper legitimacy.

It is the thesis of this paper that Miller’s identification of the “daily” as “paganism” was crucial to his defense of 1843/1844 as the terminus of the 2300 days. If this thesis is correct, then Advent-ism unwittingly annulled the significance of 1844 when it aban­doned the “pagan” interpretation of the “daily” around 1910.

This paper is not concerned with determining the true meaning of the “daily,” but it is concerned with the history of Adventist treatments of it, and the implications that its history has for Adventist theol­ogy today.

The reasoning that sufficed in the 19th and 20th centuries is inadequate in the 21st, it seems to me.

I agree with Sirje that all of this is well and good but for the resulting condemnation SDA heaps on other groups, and, I would add, the social damage inflicted on the Adventist people themselves, which cannot go unremarked.

1980 was a pivotal year, as is 2015.

And I will make justice the line, and righteousness the plumb line; and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and waters will overwhelm the shelter.

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The great majority of Adventists haven’t the slightest knowledge of how flimsy the arguments and reasons for observing a specific day as Sabbath. But the church continues to perpetuate its absolute importance as the one mark that will separate the remnant saved from the rest of the great majority of all the rest.

Fear is a great motivator; coupled with the smugness of being absolutely right.


I agree, but I believe the 21st century will see all this unravel.

If women win ordination, will they have the will to stop this machine in its tracks?

It is unraveling now, and will continue as brighter educated people begin investigating the lack of truthfulness in what they have been told.


“It is unraveling now…”

I just saw “San Andreas.” In 3D.



…but I remain hopeful…even though fault lines don’t hold forever…

…I like David Larson’s birth metaphor:

Who has ever heard of such things? Who has ever seen things like this? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.

For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.


Everyone also knows that the New Testament shows that the Sabbath was changed to Sunday. As we SDAs know well, what everyone knows ain’t necessarily so.

You have used a popular but faulty syllogism. I believe a correct one would be::
a) Preparation day is the day before every Sabbath, including high Sabbaths that fall on any day of the week.
b) The day that Jesus rested in the grave was explicitly identified as a high day.{John 19:31)
c) Therefore, this preparation day could have been any day of the week.

The non-Jews who established the Friday crucifixion tradition could have failed to realize this. This could explain the well known (apparent) day-conflict between John and the Synoptics and the missing day of Passion week. Erroneous traditions blindside us all.

(The Greek does not support any of the references to specific days of the week found in some translations. Ancient Hebrew calendars do not acknowledge calendar-weeks or weekdays either. To make it even worse, the seven-day calendar in use at the time showed Saturday as the first day of the week. Constantine created the Sunday-to-Saturday week in the fourth century by dropping a day just once. See Calendar by David Ewing.)

When I started this missive,I didn’t realize I was a couple of years out of synch. Oh, well.



It’s always good to re-iterate how the Sabbath was actually determined by Israel.

As many of us here know, time was marked/counted by the sun and moon,contrary to the SDA way of observing Saturday on the Gregorian Calendar.

The luni/solar calendar is still used today in Israel for determining Jewish religious observances, dates for Jewish holidays, and some other things.

Gen 1:14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons and for days, and years”.


that attack line on those who defend the Word of God (that they hold Genesis as a "science’ book) is misleading. Genesis isn’t a science —why? BECAUSE GOD SPOKE IT INTO EXISTENCE—NO “SCIENCE” NEEDED for that. As for you holding an apparent macro-evolutionary worldview–it’s just that. a worldview. science does NOT support your worldview. When Dawkins is reduced into claiming we seem DESIGN from the cellular to the cosmos—but it’s an “illusion”…he (you) have already LOST the debate. EVOLUTION IS NOT COMPATIBLE WITH CHRISTIANITY. (or actual science for that matter)