In 1945 Dr. Desmond Ford became aware of problems in the traditional interpretation
of Daniel 8:14, the sanctuary, and the investigative judgment,
and began looking for a better understanding of the passages of Scripture involved.
Over the next thirty-four years he discussed these problems in private
with fellow teachers and ministers, but said nothing about them in public
until October 27, 1979, when members of the Pacific Union College faculty requested him to do so.
During those years he discovered that over the preceeding century seventeen
church leaders had struggled unsuccessfully with the same problems, that
several contemporary church leaders and a majority of his fellow Bible scholars
acknowledged these unresolved problems, that the Seventh-day Adventist
Bible Commentary and other church publications implicitly confirmed the conclusions
to which he had come, that several church leaders were on record
calling for a definitive resolution of the problems, that the church had made
no serious attempt to resolve them, and that the theological climate in the
church was not amenable to objective dialog regarding them.
Ford's own intensive study indicated that the traditional interpretation
of Daniel 8:14, the sanctuary, and the investigative judgment completely ignored
the context of the passages of Scripture cited, the meaning of key
Hebrew and Greek words, and the meaning the inspired writers intended to convey
(as determined by their own statements and the context in which they
occur). Instead, he found, the traditional interpretation relies on a series
of invalid interlocking assumptions and invalid analogies with Leviticus 16
and Hebrews 6 and 9, and that it is based on the prooftext method of Bible
study (which unwittingly reads the modern reader's ideas into the words of
Scripture instead of recognizing the meaning the inspired writers intended
them to convey).
In his study Ford discovered the Bible principle that predictive prophecy
relating to probationary time is conditional on the response of those to
whom it was originally addressed and the historical circumstances to which it
originally applied, and that it may have dual or multiple fulfillments. He
cites literally scores of instances in which the Bible itself, the writings
of Ellen G. White, the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, and other
church publications have acknowledged the principle of dual and multiple fulfillment.
He refers to this as the apotelesmatic principle.
Based on the apotelesmatic principle, Ford concludes that the primary
fulfillment of Daniel 8:14 occurred when Antiochus Epiphanes sought to obliterate
worship of the God of heaven (about 165 B.C.), and that its application
to 1844 is a valid apotelesmatic fulfillment. He emphatically declares
his firm belief that God led the pioneers of the Advent Message in the traumatic
wake of the great disappointment of October 22, 1844, in their understanding
of Daniel 8:14, and in recognizing the Seventh-day Adventist Church
as divinely commissioned to proclaim the everlasting gospel in the context of
the hour of divine judgment and the return of Christ.
Ford also expresses his deep personal appreciation of the ministry of
Ellen White, and recognition that God entrusted her with the gift of prophecy.
He recognizes her role as God's messenger to the church as primarily
pastoral, and her counsel as designed to lead the church in the fulfillment
of God's purpose for it. She always directed people to the Bible as our supreme
authority in all matters of faith and doctrine, and refused to function
as an infallible exegete of the Bible. Her use of Scripture was pastoral and
homiletical, not exegetical. Following her counsel, Ford is committed to
taking the Bible itself as its own interpreter and ultimate authority in all
matters of faith and doctrine.
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