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1844 Pagan Foundation

or Daniel's "daily"

by

 Dennis Hokama

ADVENTIST CURRENTS, March 1987

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.

 

A Brief Definition of the "Daily" Problem

The Hebrew word tamid, translated in Daniel 8:14 as "daily," is used 103 times in the Old Testament. Six times it is translated as "daily" (Numbers 4:16, 28:24; Daniel 8:11,12,13; 11:31, and 12:11); but elsewhere it is translated as "alway," "always," "continual," "continually," "perpetual," "ever," "evermore," and "never."

The meaning of the word "daily," as used in Daniel 8:11, is some-what enigmatic since it (tamid) is there used without a verb or noun to modify; whereas it is normally used as an adverb or adjective. The "daily" controversy arose over the question of what verb or noun the "daily" was intended to modify. The "daily" was "taken away" by the little horn; but "daily" what?

In spite of the apparent ambiguity presented by ha tamid, the King James Version translators, all subsequent translations, and vir­tually all commentators previous to William Miller had concluded that ha tamid, or "the daily," referred to the daily or continual sac­rifices associated with the Jewish temple services. They differed only in their view of whether the Jewish sacrifices there mentioned should be taken literally or whether they should be "spiritualized" and applied symbolically. The KJV translators (and most transla­tors after them) felt confident enough about this interpretation that they inserted the word "sacrifice" in italics after "the daily."

 

Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.

And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered.

Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? (Daniel 8:11-13)

Pre-Millerite Interpretations

The SDA Encyclopedia lists six different interpretations prior to William Miller's. The Encyclopedia classifies them into literal and symbolic schools of interpretation. This classification is legitimate provided one also realizes that even the symbolic schools in the pre-Millerite interpretation still recognized the Jewish temple sacrifices as the analogue of their ultimate symbolic interpretation. These six interpretations are found on page 320:

 

Literal interpretations of the "daily":

1.      The "daily" taken away was the interruption of Jewish sac­rifices by Antiochus Epiphanes around 168 B.C.

2.      The "daily" taken away was the interruption of Jewish sac­rifices by the Roman armies around 70 A.D.

3.  The "daily" that will be taken away will be the interrup­tion of Jewish sacrifices in the temple by some future anti­christ.

 

Symbolic interpretations of the "daily":

I. The "daily" taken away was a symbol of true worship or sound doctrine in the Church, taken away by either the Papacy or the Moslem conquest.

2.  The "daily" taken away was the Catholic mass that was abolished and denied by the Protestants (Roman Catholic interpretation).

3.  The "daily" taken away will be the interruption and aboli­tion of the Catholic mass by some future antichrist (another Roman Catholic interpretation).

 

An analysis of these various views reveals a surprising number of common denominators that are often ignored or deemphasized in SDA treatments of the subject:

(1) All of the preceding schools of interpretation accept the idea that the "daily" refers to the Jewish temple sacrifices.

They differ regarding whether or not to give it a "spiritualized" meaning. Christian commentators who chose to "spiritualize" and apply the meaning of the "daily" symbolically assumed that their church had supplanted the Jews as God's people. Accordingly, they sought to interpret the "daily" in terms of a Christian analogue to the daily sacrifice in the Jewish religion. To the Catholics it clearly pointed to their mass. To a Protestant it was less clear because of the lack of ceremonies that might correspond to the Jewish ceremo­nies. They were thus forced to settle for a more generalized applica­tion that they said was simply "true worship" or "sound doctrine."

(2)    All commentators were unanimous in seeking to find a fulfill­ment on EARTH. Perhaps they all felt the weight of Gabriel's inter­pretation (Daniel 8:19-25), which appears to disallow an extraterrestrial application. The king of Grecia (verse 21) presum­ably was an earthling ruling an earthly kingdom, and so were his successors (verses 22-25).

(3) Both schools (literal and symbolic) allowed for interpretations that would find a fulfillment in the Christian era. (See number 3 of the "literal" interpretation.) SDA commentators usually deprecate "literal" interpretations as having no modern application.


William Miller's Interpretation

 

William Miller evidently was not satisfied with any of these views and sought to discover what the "daily" really meant, independent of these established views. Using Cruden's Concordance and his trusty King James Bible, Miller began to look for other occurrences of the phrase "the daily" (ha tamid) as it was used in Daniel. Beyond that, he took what seemed to him the logical next step: he began to look for other occurrences of the phrase that was associ­ated with "the daily"-the phrase "taken away." His reasoning was that whatever was "taken away" in Daniel must be the same as whatever was "taken away" elsewhere in the Bible, since they were both "taken away." Miller explained himself:

 

I read on and could find no other case in which it was found, but in Daniel. I then took those words which stood In connection with it, "take away". He shall "take away" the daily, "from the time the daily shall be 'taken away', etc. I read on, and thought I should find no light on the text; finally I came to 2 Thess. 2:7,8. "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work, only he who now letteth, will let, until he be taken out of the way, and then shall that wicked be revealed," etc. And when I had come to that text, 0, how clear and glorious the truth appeared. There it is! That is "the daily"! Well, now what does Paul mean by "he who now letteth,: or hindereth? By "the man of sin", and "the wicked", Popery is meant. Well, what is it which hinders Popery from being revealed? Why, it is Paganism; well, then, "the daily" must mean Paganism. (William Miller quoted by Apollos Hale, Second Advent Manual, p. 66; in the SDA Encyclopedia, p. 320)

 

It did not matter to Miller that "taken out of the way" was not exactly "taken away"; it was close enough. It is perhaps indicative of the spirit of the times that even the vague and ambiguous way that both Daniel and Paul referred, supposedly, to paganism was considered to be further evidence that they must be talking about the same thing:

 

It is also remarkable that Paul is just about as ambiguous in speaking of paganism, as Daniel is supposed to be. Paul calls it "he who now letteth: or hindereth". Daniel calls it "the daily". All the arguments from analogy will be seen, we think, to be in favor of Mr. Miller's supposition that this "daily", or continual, denotes paganism. (Apollos Hale's article in The Signs of the Times and Expositor of Prophecy, edited by Himes, Litch, or Bliss, November 16, 1842)

 

The significance of Miller's redefinition of the "daily," when reinterpreting verse 14 (the 2300 days) should not be missed. This can be seen in his very next paragraph of the previous quote:

 

Supposing this to be the true meaning and application of the text, the question in the 13th verse, and the operations of the little horn, as stated in the I I th and 12th verses of the 8th chapter of Daniel, refer to "very different things" from what our commentators generally, distinguished or not, have supposed. (emphasis supplied)

 

"Paganism" totally deflected the meaning of the saint's question in verse 13 from "the daily" being taken away. There was no longer any relationship between what was "taken away" and what would be restored after 2300 days. The "daily" was totally divorced from the concept of "sacrifice." When his interpretation was challenged on exegetical grounds, Miller replied that the word "sacrifice" was added by man and was not in the original Hebrew manuscripts. (SDA Encyclopedia, 1966, p. 321)

Previous to this, all interpretations-whether literal or symbolic-had assumed that the "daily" referred to the Jewish sacrifice or something analogous to it in the Christian Church. Thus it was thought to be something good that was defiled and desecrated by something false and evil. Now, Miller, as a result of his novel analysis, could "prove" that the "daily" was something evil that oppressed something that was good, only to be replaced by a power that was even more evil. The "daily" was now the oppressor rather than the object of oppression-a 180 degree reversal from all inter­pretations, literal or symbolic, that had been offered up to that time.

According to the Millerite interpretation, the "daily" was no longer a landmark in Daniel from which one should begin the 2300-day countdown; it was merely one in a long line of persecutors of God's people. The 2300 days of Daniel 8:14 now flapped in the breeze, devoid of any stay. William Miller now had the justification he needed for his expedition into chapter 9 in search of a suitable mate for Daniel 8:14, and the rest, as they say, is history. While the Millerite leaders differed on many points, they remained united in their contention that the "daily" was paganism and had nothing whatsoever to do with Jewish sacrifices:

 

Yet in spite of differences of opinion on Miller's detailed interpretation, the Millerites stood united against the oppo­nents who contended for the literal rather than the symbolic interpretation. Time and again Millerite writers insisted that the word "sacrifice" was not in the original Hebrew but was supplied by the translators; that therefore the "daily" did not mean the literal Jewish sacrifices taken away by Antiochus, and that the 2300 days were not literal days but years, to be dated from 457 B.C. Not until the period of confusion and division following the 1844 disappointment did a group arise (the "Age to Come" party) supporting the old literalist view, looking to literal sacrifices in the future at Jerusalem; and this view was repudiated by the majority of those who remained with Miller and Himes, and also by the small group that became the SDA's. (SDA Encyclopedia, 1966, p. 321)

 

Several things should be noticed in the passage just quoted, because it is typical of all SDA works on the subject of the "daily." While its basic facts are correct, false and misleading impressions are created. Here, as elsewhere, the Encyclopedia strives to create the impression that Miller merely joined the symbolic school of interpretation, and thus joined Christian commentators in their battle against the "literalists." It fails to acknowledge that even the symbolic schools used the Jewish sacrifices as a springboard for their symbolic interpretations. Thus the "daily" symbolized some-thing godly and sacred.

The "daily" was now the oppressor rather than the object of oppression - a 180 degree reversal from all interpretations.

The Millerites also had a symbolic interpretation, but they insisted that the "daily" symbolized something satanic and evil. Thus, in reality they had even less in common with the symbolic school than did the so-called literalists. The Millerites were thus a camp unto themselves, and it is misleading to portray them as fight­ing on behalf of a symbolic interpretation. It is patently unfair to the symbolic school to have the Millerites thrust into their camp. The Millerites were not so much antiliteralist as they were anticon­text, or anti-Jewish sanctuary.

Also noticeable is their apparent lack of insight regarding the identification of the "daily" as paganism and its relationship to their defense of 457 B.C. as the starting point of the 2300 evenings-mornings, although they are almost forced to acknowledge it. The SDA Encyclopedia (p. 321) makes it clear that "paganism" was needed as a refutation of those who wished to make the "taking away" by Antiochus the beginning point of the 2300 days.

In spite of his anachronistic approach to the "daily" question, Miller still had one common bond with the commentators preced­ing him; he continued to find an earthly fulfillment both for the "daily" and for the sanctuary to be cleansed after 2300 days, in accordance with Gabriel's commentary.

 

The Pioneer SDA (Old View) Interpretation

The Millerite movement was crucified on October 22, 1844, by none other than Jesus Himself (by His nonappearance). Most of the Millerites subsequently sought atonement with the Christian world that they had denounced as Babylon during the months just preced­ing the Great Disappointment. A few Millerites, however, having invoked the blessing of the Holy Spirit upon their interpretations, now felt obligated to defend the Spirit's honor by salvaging some-thing from the wreckage of the Millerite 1844 interpretation. The great question that obsessed them was how to defend any kind of a "cleansing of the sanctuary" on October 22, 1844, when nothing whatsoever had been observed to happen on earth-unless it was the merciless heckling of the non-believers.

According to Adventist tradition (recently corrected by J.B. Goodner in Adventist Currents vol.1, no.5, pp. 4,5,6,& 56) a possi­ble solution came to Hiram Edson in a flash of inspiration while he was taking a walk on the morning following the Great Disappoint­ment. O.R.L. Crosier, a protege of Edson's, articulated this solution in the Day-Dawn, and then expanded upon it in an article entitled "The Sanctuary" in the Day Star Extra of February 7, 1846.

 

The Sanctuary to be cleansed at the end of the 2300 days is also the Sanctuary of the new convenant, for the vision of the treading down and cleansing, is after the crucifixion. We see that the Sanctuary of the new covenant is not on earth, but in heaven. The true tabernacle which forms a part of the new covenant Sanctuary, was made and pitched by the Lord, in contradistinction to that of the first covenant which was made and pitched by man, in obedience to the command­ment of God; Exodus 25:8. (The Day-Star Extra, Feb. 7, 1846)

 

Ellen White endorsed Crosier's translation of the sanctuary into the heavens in a letter to Eli Curtis dated April 21, 1847. This, she said, was not merely her opinion, but something that "the Lord shew [sic] me in vision."

An additonal benefit of this solution was that it gave its adher­ents an effective comeback to their merciless hecklers, who were lost souls because Jesus had ceased to work for sinners after October 22, 1844, when "the door was shut" to the heavenly sanctuary.

With regard to the "daily" question, the forerunners of Advent-ism continued to endorse Miller's "paganism" view. This is not to say that they were all satisfied with it or that none of them held views that were logically incompatible with it; rather they all gave lip service to it and always stopped short of openly opposing it, until the twentieth century.

 

When the Sabbatarian Adventists moved on, after 1844, to develop their new doctrine of the heavenly sanctuary, they left behind William Miller's identification of the sanctuary of Daniel 8:14, of the two beasts of Rev. 13, and of the number 666 as pertaining to the "daily", but they retained, in the main, Miller's idea that the "daily" and the "transgression of desolation" were two successive phases of the Roman power, pagan and papal. (SDA Encyclopedia, p. 321)

 

It is true that Crosier-without actually saying it in so many words-logically repudiated the notion of a pagan sanctuary in the article that Ellen White endorsed in God's name. It was not the first or the last time that the pioneers would show themselves quite oblivious to theological "tensions." In his article entitled "The Sanctuary," Crosier wrote:

Let it be remembered that the definition of Sanctuary is "a holy or sacred place." Is the earth, is Palestine such a place? Their entire contents answer, No! Was Daniel so taught? Look at his vision.

"And the place of his sanctuary was cast down;" Dan. 8:11. This casting down was in the days and by the means of the Roman power; therefore, the Sanctuary of this text was not the Earth, nor Palestine, because the former was cast down at the fall, more than 4,000 years, and the latter at the captivity, more than 700 years previous to the event of this passage, and neither by Roman agency.

The Millerites were a camp unto themselves, and it is misleading to portray them as fighting on behalf of a symbolic interpretation.

 

The Sanctuary cast down is His against whom Rome mag­nified himself, which was the Prince of the host, Jesus Christ; and Paul teaches that his sanctuary is in heaven. (Day Star Extra, February 7, 1846)

 

By redefining Miller's pagan sanctuary as Christ's heavenly sanc­tuary, in an article endorsed by the Lord, Crosier almost aborted the foundation of the fledgling Adventist movement. But the move­ment was spared by James White, who republished the article in The Advent Review Special of 1850 (p. 38) with the offending paragraphs-however inspired-deleted.

For about fifty years Adventist leaders in good standing felt obli­gated to endorse simultaneously Miller's paganism interpretation and Crosier's heavenly sanctuary article-a difficult but evidently not impossible feat.

 

Joseph Bates identified the "daily" as paganism in 1846 (The Opening Heavens, p. 31), so did J.N. Andrews in 1853 (Review and Herald, 3:145, Feb. 3, 1853; cf. p. 129, Jan. 6, 1853), and later Uriah Smith (ibid., 24:180, Nov. 1, 1864) and James White ("The Time," in his Sermons on the Coming and Kingdom of ...Christ, 1870 ed., pp. 116, 117; cf. pp. 108, 118, 122-125). In an early article (Review and Herald, 1:28, 29, January, 1851) White had followed Crosier in arguing at length that the sanctuary trodden down was the one in heaven, but he did not define the "daily" in this article. When he later did define it he emphatically described "the daily, and the transgression of desolation" as "two desolating powers; the first paganism, then, Papacy." (Sermons, p. 116) (SDA Encyclopedia, p. 322).

 

But the event that made "paganism" a shibboleth among Adventists was Ellen White's endorsement of it in Present Truth, 1:87, November 1850. A vision that she received on September 23, 1850, is now found on pages 74 and 75 of Early Writings:

 

Then I saw in relation to the "daily", Dan. 8:12, that the word "sacrifice" was supplied by man's wisdom, and does not belong to the text; and that the Lord gave the correct view of it to those who gave the judgement-hour cry. When union existed, before 1844, nearly all were united on the cor­rect view of the "daily", but in the confusion since 1844, other views have been embraced, and darkness and confu­sion have followed. Time has not been a test since 1844, and it will never again be a test.

 

Another document that wielded tremendous influence among Adventists was Uriah Smith's highly regarded The Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation, of which the Daniel half was first pub­lished in 1873. It was regarded then, and is now regarded, as virtu-ally on a par with the "Spirit of Prophecy" by those who take Ellen White's endorsement seriously. According to A.C. Bordeau, a respected SDA minister and close associate of the White's:

 

Many years ago, when the late Uriah Smith was writing Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation, while Elder James White and Ellen G. White were at my house in Enosburg, Vermont, they received by mail a roll of printed proofsheets on Thoughts on Revelation that Brother Smith had sent to them. Brother White read portions of the same to the com­pany, and expressed much pleasure and satisfaction because they were so concisely and clearly written. Then Sister White stated what she had been shown as follows: "The Lord is inspiring Brother Smith-leading his mind by His Spirit, and an angel is guiding his hand in writing these `Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation."' I was present when these words were spoken.

(signed) "A.C. Bordeau"

 

The quote was from J.S. Washburn's letter to Elder Meade Mac-Guire, February 18, 1923, entitled "The Fruit of the `New Daily."' If Bordeau's account is to be taken at face value, one might even argue that the level of inspiration in Daniel and Revelation is even higher than that in Ellen White's books; since an angel was guiding Smith's hand, not merely his mind, as was true in Ellen White's writings. In any case, Smith strongly favored the paganism interpre­tation of the "daily," as can be seen on pages 164 and 165 of his book:

 

What Is the Daily? We have proof in verse 13 that "sacri­fice" is the wrong word to be supplied in connection with the word "daily". If the taking away of the daily sacrifice of the Jewish service is here meant, as some suppose (which sacri­fice was at a certain point of time taken away), there would be no propriety in the question, "How long" shall be the vision concerning it? This question evidently implies that those agents or events to which the vision relates occupy a series of years. Continuance of time is the central idea. The whole time of the vision is filled by what is here called the "daily" and the "transgression of desolation." Hence the daily cannot be the daily sacrifice of the Jews, for when the time came for it to be taken away, that action occupied but an instant of time, when the veil of the temple was rent in twain at the crucifixion of Christ. It must denote something which extends over a period of years.

But the event that made "paganism" a shibboleth among Adventists was Ellen White's endorsement of it in Present Truth.

 ...In the great majority of instances it is rendered "contin­ual" or "continually". The idea of sacrifice is not attached to the word at all.... But it appears to be more in accordance with both the construction and the context to suppose that the word "daily" refers to a desolating power, like the "trans­gression of desolation," with which it is connected....

Two Desolating Powers.-By the "continuance of desola­tion," or the perpetual desolation., we understand that paganism, through all its history, is meant. When we consider the long ages through which paganism had been the chief agency of Satan's opposition to the work of God on earth, the propriety of the term "continuance" or "perpetual", as applied to it becomes apparent.

 

The essence of Smith's "proof" here is that, historically, the tak­ing away of the Jewish sacrifice took but an instant; whereas he believes the saint's question in verse 13 "evidently implies" a "tak­ing away" over a long period of years. There are many curious assumptions in this "proof" that will not be exposed here.

In spite of the problems associated with the "paganism" interpre­tation, the fact that the pioneers were united on this point is amply illustrated by the side that they took when the "daily" battle broke out at the turn of the century. To a man, the "old hands" fought under the "paganism" banner.

The pioneer's ("pagan") view of the "daily" remained essentially the same as Miller's. In assigning the sanctuary to be cleansed to the heavens, however, it departed from all other interpretations before it. Gabriel's authority as a commentator had been "taken away."

The SDA "New View" of the "Daily"

The first denominational leader to openly publish a view con­trary to the Millerite "pagan daily" was L.R. Conradi in his 1905 volume, Die Weissagung Daniel. His "New View" was actually older than the Millerite "Old View." Like the reformers, he con­cluded that Daniel 8:14 pointed to the restoration of the long lost gospel, and that the "taking away of the daily" referred to the obscuration of that truth by the papacy. (Others subsequently would attempt to give it an Adventist flavor by describing it as the mediation of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary.) From Conradi the view spread to A.T. Jones, A.G. Daniells, W.C. White, and W.W. Prescott.

Conradi, General Conference vice president for the European Division, confronted the problem when it became his task to trans-late the church's prophetic works into German. Much to his chagrin he found that German translations of the Bible did not accommo­date Miller's interpretation at all:

 

When Elder Conradi was writing on the book of Daniel, in German, and came to this passage of Scripture concerning "the daily", he found the German rendering so worded that it was impossible for him to follow the commonly accepted exposition without very evidently wresting the plain meaning of the words in the German version. The statement as found in the German Bible, was so plainly in contradiction to the exposition given in "Thoughts on Daniel and the Revela­tion," that he was nonplussed; but he feared to give an expo­sition that seemed, on the face of it, not to be in harmony with the plain reading of the Scripture. He compared the German rendering with the original Hebrew and with the Septuagint Greek, and also with the French, Danish and other versions. These were similar to the German; and it became clear to him that the text under consideration should not be interpreted in accordance with the view taught in "Thoughts on Daniel". ("A Review of Experiences Leading to a Consideration of the Question of `The Daily' of Daniel 8:9-14," by A.G. Daniels)

 

At the turn of the century, Conradi wrote to Ellen White in Aus­tralia informing her that unless she had counsel to the contrary, he would feel compelled to publish his conclusions (Arthur L. White, The Later Elmshaven Years, page 247). Not receiving a reply within the specified time, he published Die Weissagung Daniel-the first denominational book to challenge the "daily"-equals-"paganism" equation. His book was circulated widely in Europe by 1905; and by 1910 he had also succeeded in preventing Daniel and Revelation from being published in England. (Conradi to Daniells, March 8, 1910, cited in Bert Haloviak's "In the Shadow of the Daily," p. 38)

Conradi's break with tradition was evidently a relief to many leaders who for years had harbored private doubts about the "pagan daily."

In our council-meeting where the matter was brought up for study, we learned many things that led us to question whether there might not be a stronger position for us to take than that allowed by an advocacy of the view taught in the days of William Miller. We learned that William Miller him-self was apparently the first to arrive at the conclusion that the taking away of "the daily" should be interpreted as signi­fying the taking away of Paganism in 508, and that he arrived at this conclusion by a series of blunders in scriptural interpretation and in his understanding of history.

We learned also that many of our ministers, when present­ing the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation before unbe­lievers, have touched very lightly on the portion of Scripture relating to "the daily", and have for many years made no serious attempt to give a critical explanation of the meaning of the text. Brother WA. Spicer has spoken thus of his avoid­ance of these texts while he was a public worker:

 

"When I used to give Bible readings in the earlier days in London, and took the people through the eighth of Daniel, I always skipped over those texts where we made the sanctuary one minute in heaven and the next on earth, and the host one time the saints and the next the pagans, and I slipped over the statement that the taking away of `the daily' meant the taking away of paganism by suggesting that the rendering in the original was a bit obscure so that the translation was diffi­cult. That is what we used to be taught in the Bible School in Battle Creek in the old days. And all that, you observe, was making no particular use of that particular portion of scrip­ture. It was simply passing over it to get down to the cleans­ing of the sanctuary." ("A Review of the Experiences Leading to a Consideration of the Question of `The Daily' of Daniel 8:9-14", by A.G. Daniells, emphasis supplied)

 

The public questioning of the "pagan daily" by the church's highest and most respected leaders touched off a fierce controversy that shook the denomination to its roots. The defenders of the "new view" included the General Conference president (A.G. Daniells), the future General Conference president (WA. Spicer), the editor of the Review (WW. Prescott), and Ellen White's son and confidante, William C. White.

The opposition, however, was not the least bit impressed. Appealing to a higher authority in the form of Early Writings (pp. 74, 75,), they unleashed a vigorous counterattack that scandalized the shocked "new view" advocates. Willie White, in a letter (Octo­ber 27, 1910) to J.S. Washburn, a staunch "old view" defender, cited a number of inflammatory actions taken by the "old view" defenders. Such actions, White believed, showed the "old view" defenders to be the aggressors in the escalating conflict over the "daily." The first public stone was cast by Elder Stephen Haskell, who published a facsimile of what he thought was the prophetic chart endorsed by Early Writings, with the quote from Mrs. White in regard to the "daily" inscribed at the bottom (WC. White to J.S. Washburn, October 27, 1910, p. 26). Even before that, at the 1905 General Conference, the old guard had attempted to ban Conradi's book in North America (WCW to JSW, p. 28). Elder O.A. Johnson had prevented Conradi's book from being published in the Danish-Norwegian; and then at the General Conference of 1909 he had dis­tributed a tract that was extremely critical of the "new view" advocates (WCW to JSW, pp. 25,26). L.A. Smith (son of Uriah) circulated a tract of his own in the summer of 1909 in which he accused the "new view" advocates of disloyalty to the Spirit of Prophecy, right after a meeting in which it was agreed that the antagonists would refrain from personal criticism of each other (WCW to JS\V, p. 27). Other ministers who felt compelled to join the battle against the "new view" included J.N. Loughborough, G.I. Butler, and F.C. Gilbert.

Although Willie White tried to hold the "new view" fort, the opposition scored some impressive political victories. Stephen Haskell bombarded Ellen White with letters complaining of Pres­cott's dangerous new view of the "daily" (June 20, 1907; November 18, 1907; January 30, 1908; February 21, 1909). He even hosted her at his home for about a week during this period. Haskell evidently made good use of that time because Prescott was subsequently pressured into leaving the Review in mid-1909 by Ellen White, who urged him to engage in city evangelism instead. A.G. Daniells, as General Conference president, met a similar fate, and was virtually forced to relinquish his position to several associates in 1910 and engage in city evangelism. The tide would turn, but two of the three most influential men in the denomination found themselves for a time in an exile of sorts.

Was city evangelism suddenly so pressing that both the editor of the Review and the General Conference president had to leave their offices to become evangelists? Or was city evangelism merely a pre-text for removing these men from a position of influence? Did they incur Ellen White's wrath solely or at least primarily because of their promotion of the "new view" of the "daily"? Was Ellen White upset because she saw the "daily" controversy "as a threat to the long overdue drive for city evangelism," as Arthur White claims (The Later Elmshaven Years, p. 246)? Was Ellen White actually neu­tral on the issue, as material published over her name during that period suggests, or was she secretly resentful that Daniells, Prescott, and her son Willie were seeing to it that her authority as a Bible interpreter was being-like the "daily"-"taken away"?

 

Ellen White's Position in the "Daily" Controversy

When the daily war heated up, Ellen White was in her eighties, with an apparently diminished capacity to understand complicated matters. This may be inferred from a 1918 letter by Haskell to W.C. White in response to the latter's claim regarding his mother's enfee­bled mental state during her later years:

 

If I believed even what you have told me about having to tell your mother the same thing over three or four times in order that she might get a clear idea of things, so that she could give a correct testimony on some points, it would weaken my faith mightily; not in your mother, but in what comes from her pen. (November 27, 1918, WEDC).

 

If this is true (and there is considerable circumstantial evidence to support this position), it puts an entirely different light on her care-fully worded, cautiously neutral, definitively ambiguous "daily" statement of July 31, 1910. This was the document that began to turn the tide in favor of Willie and his exiled allies, Prescott and Daniells.

 

I have words to speak to my brethern east and west, north and south. I request that my writings shall not be used as the leading argument to settle questions over which there is now so much controversy. I entreat of Elder Haskell, Loughbo­rough, Smith, and others of our leading brethern, that they make no reference to my writings to sustain their views of the "daily".

It has been presented to me that this is not a subject of vital importance. I am instructed that our brethern are making a mistake in magnifying the importance of the difference in the views that are held. I cannot consent that any of my writings shall be taken as settling this matter. The true meaning of the "daily" is not to be made a test question.

I now ask that my ministering brethern shall not make use of my writings in their arguments regarding this question; for I have no instruction on the point under discussion, and I see no need for the controversy. Regarding this matter under present conditions, silence is eloquence....(MS 11, 1910, also 1SM, p. 164)

 

Bert Haloviak, assistant director of the General Conference Office of Archives and Statistics, thinks he sees the hand of Willie in the fact that this document was entitled "Our Attitude Toward Doctrinal Controversy." Ellen White ordinarily placed no titles on her testimonies ("In the Shadow of the Daily: Background and Aftermath of the 1919 Bible and History Teachers' Conference," p. 56). Haloviak only allows that Willie might have added the title.


But in light of the Haskell letter previously quoted, we might also ask ourselves how many times it was necessary for Willie to explain to his mother that she must forbid her fanatical followers from using her writings to settle the issue before she was able to send out "a correct testimony." The document that is supposed to preclude this possibility is a statement by A.G. Daniells regarding an inter-view he had with Mrs. White sometime around the latter half of 1910. In it Daniells says that he placed the 1843 chart and her Early Writings statement before her and asked what she had been shown regarding the "daily."

 

She replied that these features were not placed before her in vision as the time part was. She would not be led out to make an explanation of those points of the prophecy. (AGD statement of September 25, 1931, WDF 201 b)

 

There are many curious things about this document, the first of which is that it was not produced in 1910. Daniells gives no date for this interview, and Arthur White couldn't produce one when he used it in The Later Elmshaven Years (p. 256). Arthur White is usu­ally meticulous about dating documents, but this time he cannot even provide an approximate date. It was a "little later" than June 1, 1910, he writes. But this is hard to understand because it is a known fact that Daniells was refused an interview with Ellen White in late May of that year, and by June 1, he was headed back East, resigned to the idea that he might have to give up the presidency.

Arthur White claims that W.C. White and C.C. Crisler were also present at the interview but provides no documentation. Contem­porary references or allusions to this interview prior to 1931 may exist but were not encountered by this writer. Even if the interview did take place (when?), there are indications that Ellen White's apparent neutrality on the issue was due either to intimidation by Willie White and Daniells or to their misrepresentation of her true position on the topic.

The most troubling evidence of this is a contemporary document written by F.C. Gilbert, evidently the lone "old view" advocate who was able to interview Ellen White personally and privately concern­ing her views on the "daily." Elder Gilbert took notes as she was speaking and wrote up the interview immediately afterward. Since he evidently did not get permission from her to disclose these pri­vate thoughts, he felt obligated to keep them confidential for many years. Elder Washburn persuaded Gilbert to release the document to him in 1946 while Gilbert was on his death bed. (A. White letter, November 17, 1948, WDF 242) Washburn's limited release of this

"He arrived at this conclusion by a series of blunders in scriptural inter­pretation and in his understanding of history."

document put the reputations of Willie White, Daniells, Prescott, and the "new view" in an extremely embarrassing light. Some excerpts:

 

They (Prescott and Daniells) had to be getting up some-thing new, and of course by doing so they would not give the older brethren in the cause any chance to say anything that these older brethren knew about the early days of the mes­sage....

...When they did not accept my message of reproof 1 knew what they would do and I knew what Daniells would do in getting the people all stirred up. I have not written to Prescott because his wife is so very sick... Daniels was here to see me, and I would not see him. I told them that I would not see him on any point, and I would not have anything to say to him about anything. About this "daily" that they are trying to work up, there is nothing in it, and it is not a testing point of character....

If this message of the "daily" were a testing message the Lord would have shown me. These do not see the end from the beginning in this thing. This work they are doing is to divide the people of God, and to take their minds off the test­ing truths for these last times. I utterly refuse to see any of them who are engaged in this work.

...1 would not see Daniells about the matter, and I would not have one word with him. They pled with me that I would give them an interview, but I would not give him any at all. They have stirred up the minds of the people against this test­ing time, and I am going to let the people know about these things.

God is testing these men, and they are showing how they are standing the test, and how they stand with regard to the Testimonies. They have shown by their actions how much confidence they have in the Testimonies. I was told to warn our people. They are to give no attention to it all, as there is nothing in it that amounts to a single thing they must have something that no one else has.... You see there is nothing to it, and the light that was given me was that I was forbidden of the Lord to listen to it.

I have expressed myself as not having a particle of confi­dence in it. I saw how that they had a paper in their hands, and they wanted to get a hearing on this question at Loma Linda; but 1 saw I had nothing to do with it, and there was nothing to be done about it.

I saw why it was that Daniells was rushing this thing through from place to place; for he knew that I would work against it. That is why I know they did not stand the testing. I knew they would not receive it....This whole thing they are doing is a scheme of the devil. He [Daniells] has been presi­dent too long, and should not be there any longer. (italics added)

Elder Washburn persuaded Gilbert to release the document to him in 1946 while Gilbert was on his death bed.

There is irreconcilable tension between the positions taken by Ellen White in the two purported interviews conducted with her by "daily" antagonists. Was this tension real? or was it an illusion cre­ated by the biased filters through which Ellen White's words were received? Did either Daniells or Gilbert, or both, concoct or delib­erately distort interviews with her to obtain the advantage? Or did Ellen White put on a different face for two real interviews?

The simple, rigid morality of men like Gilbert and Washburn pre­cludes the possibility of a manufactured or consciously distorted interview. Even Willie White or Daniells, who were much more sophisticated and flexible in their fighting of church political bat­tles, are unlikely to have gone that far.

While it is reasonable to argue that both Daniells and Gilbert were extremely biased on the "daily" question, it must be under-stood that Gilbert and his friends took Ellen White's words much more at face value than did Daniells and his associates. And it would seem to follow, therefore, that Gilbert and Washburn would be more concerned with preserving her words just as they were spo­ken than with trying to correct what Daniells called, her "imperfect statements." It is also interesting to note how some of Mrs. White's statements (italicized) in the Gilbert interview appear to preclude the interview that Daniells claims to have had with her regarding the "daily."

But in defense of Daniells and Willie White, it is possible, per­haps even likely, that Ellen White said what she is alleged to have said in both interviews. The tension between her statements may well have been an accurate reflection of her confusion and/or the degree to which she could be persuaded by the "new view" advo­cates.

By the time that Gilbert's interview document was circulated by Washburn (mid 1940s), the "new view" had long since triumphed. Nevertheless, Arthur White, by that time secretary of the Ellen G. White Estate, felt the need to respond. His concern, however, was to vindicate Daniells, not the "new view" of the "daily." In his mono-graph of November 17, 1948, Arthur White attempted to soften the impact of Gilbert's June 8, 1910 interview with Ellen White. White said that there was no copy of the interview among the Ellen G. White writings, nor was there any reference to such an interview.

This is not surprising, since Ellen White did not write it, and Wil­lie evidently was not there when the interview was conducted. It is noteworthy that Arthur does not attempt to deny that the interview took place. His defense consists in maintaining that Daniell's stand­ing in Ellen White's eyes improved markedly after June 8, 1910 (as a result of his subsequent humble obedience), and that Washburn had exploited a dying man and had acted dishonorably in giving the interview a limited circulation.

Another indication that Mrs. White favored the "old view" can be seen in her quickness to criticize Prescott and Daniells while being reluctant and slow to censure the "old view" advocates. The "old view" advocates were much more sensitive to her pleasure than were the "new view" advocates, who did not wish to let the proph­etess or her writings settle the question. The "old view" advocates took their cues from Ellen White, and one unequivocal word from her would have shut their mouths. Stephen Haskell obviously did not get any discouragement from her during her one week stay at his house. In his letter to C.C. Crisler of March 30, 1908, he made his conditions clear:

If Sister White says that she does not mean what she said when she said what she did on the "daily", then I will say no more.

 

Her July 31, 1910, declaration that ended the controversy was no bipartisan appeal for a ceasefire from both sides. Ellen White was finally addressing the "old view" advocates, her shock troops who had with her help hounded Prescott and Daniells into exile. After all, it was not the "new view" advocates who had to be restrained from using Early Writings as their leading argument. It was a signal to Prescott and Daniells that they could come down from their respective trees now that their opposition had been forbidden to use her writings in fighting against their interpretation.

Ellen White's insistence on calling the "daily" issue an unimpor­tant, trivial distraction indicates that she sided with the "old view." "New view" advocates could hardly be consistent in calling the issue trivial, since on their interpretation the "daily" became Christ's righteousness, the heavenly sanctuary, or the gospel. Could any Christian call that trivial or unimportant? It was the "old view" advocates who were embarrassed that they were forced into defending "paganism." Stephen Haskell, for instance, admitted to Willie White (Haskell to White, 6 December 1909) that the "daily" itself did not "amount to a hill of beans"; but he felt compelled to defend it because the authority of the Spirit of Prophecy was at stake. When Washburn was interviewed on June 4, 1950, by R.J. Weiland and D.K. Short, he was still complaining that the "new view" of the "daily" made it a "main spoke of the wheel-the min­istry of Christ"; whereas in the "old view," it was a "non-essential point."

Ellen White seemed to share the "old view" advocates' embar­rassment over having to debate the subject. In the same interview, Washburn recalled that F.C. Gilbert had told him of Ellen White's comment to him: "I could have stopped this daily controversy, but they got hold of Willie, and that made it more difficult." By con­trast, Ellen White showed no reluctance or embarrassment when she defended the sanctuary doctrine in 1905 against A.F. Ballenger. True, she thought it an essential point, but there is good reason to believe that she would have elevated the importance of the "daily" if she had been converted to the "new view." She also said that Jones and Waggoner were agitating a trivial issue until she became a convert to their view in 1888 (EGW to Jones and Waggoner, 18 Feb­ruary 1887). Then she decided it was a vital issue and helped them to agitate it.

The Pretext of Context: The Attempt to Reconcile the "New View" with Early Writings

When the "new view" triumphed, Seventh-day Adventist histo­rians were left with the task of vindicating the "new view" advo­cates without discrediting the Spirit of Prophecy in general and Early Writings (pp. 74, 75) in particular. Their general solution has been to classify the "old view" advocates as "generalizers" of the Spirit of Prophecy and the "new view" advocates as "contextual­izers."

 "I am so profoundly thankful that the passage from Early Writings is so susceptible of interpretation. " -
A. G.
Daniells

 

Church spokesmen such as Daniells, Prescott, Willie White, and now Arthur White, continually stress that the statement in Early Writings pertaining to the "daily" was given in the context of time setting. Since time setting was the burden of her message from the Lord, they argue, the identification of the "daily" is irrelevant and should be ignored or discarded. Few have attempted to dispute the meaning of the reference to the "daily"; they just insist that it should not be taken seriously, since the Lord was more concerned about time setting. By keeping the subject of the "daily" separate from the subject of time setting, historians have been able to accuse "old view" advocates of ignoring context. The implication that Ellen White wrote inspired irelevancies has evidently bothered only "old view" advocates.

Despite what historians such as Haloviak assert, however, men like Daniells were less interested in the context of the Early Writings statement than they were in a pretext for reinterpreting it in a man­ner that might seem plausible to the objective scholar:

 

I want to tell you plainly that it is my deep conviction that those who hold the new view and who interpret the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy in harmony with that view, as Brother Prescott has done in his tract, are the truest friends of the gift of prophecy in our ranks. I believe that those who interpret that passage in Early Writings as supporting the "old view" are doing your mother a great wrong. They are -arraying her against the plain text of the Scripture, and all reliable history of the world.

As I look at it, your mother and her writings need to be protected from such short-sighted expositors. Every time I review this study I am profoundly thankful that the passage in Early Writings is so susceptible of interpretation which is in harmony with both Scripture and history....(A.G. Daniells to W.C. White, February 22, 1910)

 

Daniells openly rejoiced that Early Writings was so "susceptible of interpretation" that he could manipulate it to fit the known facts. This attitude aptly describes those who in defending Ellen G. White are generally given credit for being sensitive to "context."

J.S. Washburn's undying enmity toward the "new view" is often explained away as his inability to appreciate context. Yet in 1910 Wil­lie White, another great contextualizer, tried unsuccessfully to talk Washburn into accepting a generalized application for a testimony:


Near the bottom of page 3, you express the opinion that the quotations which have been selected from Mother's writ­ings in regard to our studying the Bible and receiving advanced light...were written in reference to the doctrine of righteousness by faith and have no bearing whatever on the subject of the "Daily".

It is a great surprise to me, Brother Washburn, that you find it possible to hold an opinion [such] as that. I can not agree with you at all,. ..that... what Mother has written on this subject of Bible study and the study of Daniel and the Revelation...can be narrowed down in their application to this one doctrine of righteousness by faith and to this one controversy regarding freedom to study the scriptures that was being conducted by our brethern in 1887 to 1890.

With this I will send you another copy of a collection of extracts made upon these subjects, and will beg of you to read the MS. again, and see for yourself that it has no such narrow, restricted application as you have mentioned. (WC. White to J.S. Washburn, 27 October 1910 DF 80D.4)

 

Just five years earlier A.F. Ballenger had discovered that these same testimonies did not apply to a study of the heavenly sanctuary. Ellen White had told him in no uncertain terms that he had no right to restudy the issue because he was not a pioneer; and Willie White, Daniells, and Prescott had applauded:

 

We are not to receive the words of those who come with a message that contradicts the special points of our faith. They gather a mass of scripture and pile it as proof around their asserted theories.... And while the scriptures are God's word,... if such application moves one pillar from the foun­dation that God has sustained these fifty years, [it] is a great mistake. (letter 329, 1905)

 

The irony is that for the most part, the "old view" advocates were more concerned about context than were the "new view" advocates. The old school was willing to take the Spirit of Prophecy just as it had originally been intended, without any concern for the possibil­ity that this might be embarrassing for Ellen White in the long run. The new school was leery of such a historical-grammatical method lest it lead to logically indefensible positions.

The real difference between the two schools then, was that the former let the Spirit of Prophecy define reality for them. They took the testimonies in the way in which they were originally intended, and simply molded reality around them. The latter let reality define the meaning of the Spirit of Prophecy. They took an externally defined reality and molded their interpretation of a testimony around it. Others such as A.T. Jones and J.H. Kellogg noticed the tension between the testimonies and reality, and rejected the former as the only intellectually honest solution. Of the three solutions, the "new view" advocates were the least committed to a historical, grammatical interpretation. To them, "context" meant simply the least embarrassing interpretation.

 

Time Setting and the "Daily"

Despite what the "new view" devotees claimed, the theme of time setting and the identification of the "daily" were actually the same topic. This is inadvertently proven by Arthur White in his discus­sion of the circumstances surrounding Ellen White's original vision on the subject in 1850. First, he quotes from Daniells' undated interview with her:

 

As I recall her answer, she began by telling how some of the leaders who had been in the 1844 movement endeavored to find new dates for the termination of the 2300-year period. This endeavor was to fix new dates for the coming of the Lord. This was causing confusion among those who had been in the Advent movement. (The Later Elmshaven Years, p. 256)


Arthur White then proceeds on the following page to produce objective evidence to prove that his grandmother's concerns were well founded:

 

Since charts figure in this matter, Ellen White's attitude in this interview is given strong support as the reckoning of the Cummings 1854 "prophetic chart" is studied. In this the Jew­ish altar of "daily sacrifice" in 446 B.C. is used as the starting point for a new 2300-year time span set to end in 1854. This chart, published at Concord, New Hampshire, in 1853, was typical of charts that commenced the 2300 days with what was said to be the taking away of the "daily sacrifice." [see chart]

 

It can be seen clearly here that a non-Millerite interpretation of the "daily" inevitably led to new date setting. This is because an admission that the "daily" is somehow related to the Jewish ser­vices inevitably leads one to conclude that Daniel 8:14 speaks of the restoration of those same Jewish services. If this is so, then 457 B.C. is ruled out as a starting point; because nothing antithetical to Daniel 8:14 occurred on that date. It is only Miller's "paganism" that frees Daniel 8:11 from the clutches of Daniel 8:14.


The joy of the church over the restoration of context to its inter­pretation of Daniel 8 was relatively short-lived.

 

In order to deny the validity of the 1850 speculation concerning new terminal dates for the 2300 years, it was entirely logical then, for Ellen White to attack their non-Millerite definition of the "daily." This was identical to an attack on their new starting date for the 2300 day prophecy. If "sacrifice" did not belong to the real meaning of Daniel 8:11, then obviously, using the Jewish altar of "daily sacrifice" as a starting point for the prophecy was inappro­priate. Ellen White's statement on the "daily" went to the very heart of the time setting issue.

"Time setting," in the context of 1850, meant rejecting 1844 as the terminus of the 2300-day prophecy. The "new view" trivialized the significance of Ellen White's statement on the "daily" by inter­preting the issue of "time setting" existentially rather than contex­tually. Thus, its champions were guilty of the very charge they long sought to bring against their opponents, the Adventist pioneers.

The implications of this appear to be quite devastating to the "new view" supporters, at least in terms of their professed respect for the context of Ellen White's "daily" statement in Early Writings Since virtually all church leaders support the "new view," the impli• cations are quite far reaching. If the "new view" advocates wen sincere in their claim to support Ellen White's time setting concern in Early Writings, they must accept her identification of the "daily' as the very fulcrum of that message. A failure to do this would dem onstrate that their concern for her time-setting theme is a pretext.

The "Daily" and the "Omega of Apostasy"

Despite Ellen White's appeal to cease debate on the subject in 1910, the potentially deadly wound was not healed but continued tc fester. What had changed was that now the "old view" advocate found themselves in exile, while the "new view" advocates returne( to power. Denied permission to use Early Writings, the "old view' suppporters were helpless against the "new view" which "practiced and prospered."

The "new view" of the "daily" began to take on an even mor ominous significance to the old guard in the years following 1910 To them, the 1919 Bible Conference, in which problems with th "Spirit of Prophecy" were openly acknowledged, was a logical out come of Daniells,' Prescott's, and Willie White's new stance on th "daily." For the old guard, the "daily" represented the institution church's first open defiance of Ellen White and the first questior ing of the Adventist landmarks. It had to be the dreaded "omega of apostasy" that was spoken of by Ellen White:

 

...the Spirit of Prophecy speaks of the Kellogg contro­versy as the Alpha and states that there was to be an Omega. On the same page she says: "But we must firmly refuse to be drawn away from the platform of eternal truth, which since 1844 has stood the test." This "deadly heresy" will change the original truth and it is a startling fact that the new Daily doctrine moves nearly all our prophetic dates, and opens the way for other theories that draw men forever away from all the message of 1844.

...We are face to face with the most subtle apostasy of the ages. The cruel serpent coils with strangling folds about our greatest training school and sinks his deadly fangs into the very souls of our children. If this is not the beginning of the "startling Omega", and we are not thrilled, aroused and star­tled, we must indeed be dead, in doubt, in darkness and infi­delity. (J.S. Washburn to Claude Holmes; an open letter entitled "The Startling Omega and Its True Geneology," pp. 15, 16, 18 April 1920)


For the circulation of this tract, Daniells, who was still General Conference president in 1921, tried to remove Washburn's ministerial credentials. In 1922 Washburn struck back by circulating an open letter at the General Conference session in which he recounted Daniells' responsibility for the "new view," the 1919 Bible Confer­ence, as well as his attempts to remove Washburn's credentials. Washburn demanded a hearing before the General Conference Committee. (An Open Letter to Elder A.G. Daniells, and an Appeal to the General Conference)

Daniells subsequently was voted out of office (after two decades at that post); but his replacement, WA. Spicer, was also a "new view" advocate. By 1923 Washburn was considering the possibility that the "new view" advocates had committed the unpardonable sin:

"The daily sacrifice by reason of transgression," Daniel 8:12, is literally in the Hebrew, "the daily in transgression," see any Hebrew lexicon. This could be no other than Satan, devil worship, paganism, etc. This was the position of the pioneers of this message, the founders of this denomination, and the Spirit of Prophecy affirms that they had the "correct view of the daily."...But according to the new view of the "daily", this "daily in transgression", devil worship, has become the "continual mediation of Jesus Christ." In other words Satan is Christ!! Surely the most astonishing transfor­mation of all the ages. If I ascribe the work of Satan to Christ or the work of Christ to Satan is there no danger that I may thus sin against the Holy Ghost? (J.S. Washburn to Meade MacGuire, M.V. Department associate secretary, p. 12, 18 February 1923)

 

Although the last point may have been somewhat tongue-in-cheek (being an "old view" advocate, he believed it to be a nones­sential point), it does serve to illustrate how irreconcilable and inherently antagonistic were the two parties in the "daily" struggle.

The Resurrection of Antiochus Epiphanes in the Eighties

The church's abandonment of its alliance with paganism paved the way for the triumphant return of Antiochus Epiphanes (or his analogue) in the 1980s. When William Miller denied that the "daily" made any reference to the Jewish services, he drove the stake of paganism through the heart of Antiochus Epiphanes' claim to prophetic relevancy. If the "daily" did not refer to Jewish sacri­fices or anything analogous to it, then any desecrater of such was not referred to either.

When the "new view" advocates convinced the church to aban­don Miller's paganism in favor of Christ's righteousness, the gospel, or the sanctuary doctrine, they inadvertently reverted back to pre-Millerite interpretations. The "daily" was "cleansed" or restored to its original condition as representing something good rather than something evil. But this "daily" was then desecrated and trampled upon. Who was this prophetic villain? Lo and behold verse 14 now spoke of a restoration of a sanctuary! Could it be the one that was just desecrated a few verses ago?! Was it possible that verse 14 had a context rather than being an existential misnomer, as William Miller seemed to believe? The pagan stake that had driven verse 14 from its context had been "taken away."

The joy of the church over the restoration of context to its inter­pretation of Daniel 8 was relatively short-lived. As church scholars pondered the meaning of those verses in the light of the "new view," not a few found themselves horrified to discover that the landmarks of their faith were no longer defensible.

If the gospel, or Christ's work in the heavenly sanctuary, was a valid interpretation of the "daily," what was the original or first application of it? Did not the same principles that Willie White used to interpret his mother's writings apply to the Bible? That is, should not the context of the 2300-day prophecy be studied also? Was it then valid to maintain that the 2300-day prophecy had no original context, but was spoken directly to Seventh-day Adventists twenty-three centuries into the future? If not, how could Antiochus Epiphanes be ruled out as a candidate for an earlier fulfillment?

Antiochus Epiphanes, however, was only the tip of the iceberg. The real problem for Seventh-day Adventist theology was that it was now forced to fight the battle for Daniel 8 on a pre-Millerite battlefield. By rejecting Miller's "daily," the church had accepted the framework within which all pre-Millerite debates on the "daily" had been conducted. This framework included the assumption that the "daily" refers to the Jewish temple sacrifices. This framework sees Daniel 8:11 and Daniel 8:14 in a thesis-antithesis relationship. -In such a framework, 457 B.C. is a total non sequitur because it does not stand in a thesis-antithesis relationship with 1844. How can a command to rebuild Jerusalem be the antithesis of the "cleansing" or restoration of God's sanctuary?

In such a framework, 457 B. C. is a total non sequitur because it does not stand in a thesis-antithesis rela­tionship with 1844.

 

This monstrous absurdity in the very pillar of Adventist theology eventually led to serious hemorrhaging in the 1980s. Theologians could no longer keep their cognitive dissonance secret from their employers. Desmond Ford and Ray Cottrell went public with their discontent but were careful to blunt the impact of the problem by offering solutions such as the "apotelesmatic" principle and con-text by divine fiat, respectively. Others were more relentless in their logic. Robert Brinsmead rejected 1844 as having any prophetic sig­nificance whatsoever.

By the time that 1844 was openly questioned and rejected by many Adventists in the 1980s, however, it appears that they were only carrying the "new view" of 1910 to its logical end. Robert Wieland, one of the few surviving "old view" advocates, sees a clear relationship between the two events:

Many have not pursued Conradi's view to its logical end. But some of our astute scholars have, and it has proved a short circuit that makes Antiochus Epiphanes of 168 B.C. to be the necessary "primary" fulfillment of the Dan. 8 proph­ecy. In their scheme, there is no room for an 1844 application except by a contrived "secondary" or "apotelesmatic" ful­fillment. This is seen as a "face-saving" accommodation openly ridiculed by non-Adventist theologians and now by some of our own, built on Ellen White. (Have We Followed 'Cunningly Devised Fables'?, an undated outline of a proposed thought paper).

The history of the "daily" in the Seventh-day Adventist church seems to verify Washburn's and Wieland's conviction that the "tak­ing away" of Adventism's pagan platform seriously compromised, if it did not destroy, the entire 1844 foundation. A logical analysis of the implications of Miller's "paganism" would certainly seem to lead one to endorse the verdict of history. It would appear that when the church abandoned "paganism" in 1910, it also unwittingly abandoned 1844, without which Adventism may have no reason to exist. Have not our Adventists progenitors, by their forced mating of the "new view" of "the daily" with 1844, set up the abomination of amalgamation in the sanctuary?

 

History of Interpretation Regarding the "Daily"

 

                                                Dan. 8:11-12                                       Dan. 8:13                      Dan. 8:14

                                               The Event                                            The Question                 The Answer

 

Ancient and                           "Daily" taken away,                             Saints ask                        2300 days,

Modern schools                    Sanctuary cast down.                         "How long?"                   Then Sanctuary

of Interpretation                                                                                                                               cleansed

                                     Location        Identification             Object of Question                        Location

 

1. Pre-Millerite                  Earth            God's                     Daily taken away                             Earth

 

2. Millerite                        Earth            Devil's          Unrelated to previous verses                   Earth

 

3. SDA "Old View"             Earth            Devil's          Unrelated to previous verses                   Heaven

 

4. SDA "New View"           Heaven         God's                     Daily taken away                             Heaven

 

5. SDA "Evangelical"         Earth            God's                     Daily taken away                            Earth

 

Note: This chart shows the common denominators and critical differences between various attempts to understand the meaning of Daniel 8:11-14. What is noticeable is that only the second and third views detach the question in v. 13 from the event that has transpired in vs. 11-12. This is logically justifiable only if the "daily" is the devil's sanctuary, since the saints would not then be overly concerned about its restoration. This allows one to find a beginning date for the 2300 day that is totally unrelated to the "daily" being taken away.

 

SDAs thus taught that while the 2300 days began in 457 B.C., the "daily" was taken away around 508 A.D. Since about 1910 however, the Church has universally adopted the "New View" because, among other things, it is more true to the context. In other words, v. 13 can now be related to the previous verses. What seems to have been overlooked, is that to be consistent, the beginning of the 2300 days must now be tied to the taking away of the "daily." Since no one seems willing to make a case for the "daily" being taken away in 457 B.C., it would appear that either the "New View" or 457 B.C. (and therefore 1844) is out of place in Adventism. Have Adventists, by this forced mating of incompatible interpretations, unwittingly set up the abomination of amalgamation in their midst?

Dennis Hokama is a real estate broker in the Los Angeles area. He graduated from Pacific Union College where he was taught Daniel and Revelation by Leslie Hardinge and Gift of Prophecy by Robert Olson.

 

2011-12-18