W. H. Johns
by George W. Reid
In 1980 a theological controversy centering on the teachings of Dr. Desmond Ford came to the forefront with a major gathering of theologians and administrators at Glacier View Ranch in Colorado. At stake was the future work of Dr. Ford, who for a generation had served as a popular professor of Religion in several Seventh-day Adventist colleges. While on the faculty of Pacific Union College, Angwin, California, he made a presentation in which he challenged publically the biblical basis of one of the major Seventh-day Adventist understandings of prophecy, dealing with the Day of Atonement in Daniel 8. The public challenge followed on theological unrest that for some years had followed his work in the classroom, where similar views were expressed.
On the heels of several days of discussions, the predominant conclusion of the group at Glacier View Ranch was that Adventists cannot accept the teaching as Dr. Ford was presenting it. With his continued insistence that he must follow his understanding, afterward he was discontinued as a functioning Seventh-day Adventist minister. Certain persons supporting Dr. Ford circulated reports that in actuality the theologians who heard his presentation were in sympathy with him, but intimidated into silence by ecclesiological pressure. There was little evidence to support such a contention.
Following the events described above, W H Johns, at the time a student in Theology at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, Michigan, entered into a detailed study of Dr. Ford’s positions and prepared the report presented below. It includes a review of the principal elements of Dr. Ford’s particular views, along with a response from the perspective of Seventh-day Adventists. One of the values of this document is that in a few pages it identifies the essential elements of the controversy with Dr. Ford and proposes reasonable responses. At the time this document’s entry into our website (October 2000) Professor Johns is serving on the faculty of Newbold College, Binfield, Bracknell, Berks., in Great Britain.
The ABCs of Dr. Desmond Ford’s Theology
by W. H. Johns
“What does Dr. Desmond Ford really teach?” some are asking as they are confronted with his mammoth manuscript of 991 pages which was presented at Glacier View, Colorado during August 10-15, 198. The following analysis is a post-Glacier View summary and analysis of his theology as it reached its most highly developed form in the manuscript titled, Daniel 8:14, the Day of Atonement, and the Investigative Judgment. It attempts to present as fairly and as accurately as possible the development of his thought as traced throughout his writings, but especially emphasizing his doctoral dissertation on March 13 (1972), his commentary on Daniel (1978), and finally his Glacier View manuscript (1980). Difficult as it is to read another man’s thoughts, one must be content merely to sort out and synthesize the highlights from what has been written down on paper. There is no claim here that “The ABC’s of Dr. Desmond Ford’s Theology” is free from bias. Naturally it is subjective, but it is my goal that amidst its subjectivity it may aid others in analyzing more accurately the theological progression and synthesis of one man’s thought-that of Dr. Desmond Ford.
The following is an outline of the theological steps which Dr. Ford has taken, as well as the main reasons for his taking those steps, although not necessarily in the order in which he has taken them. The reasons given are his; the comments are mine. The footnoted references to Ford’s three major works appear at the close.
|A.||The Doctrine of the “Investigative Judgment” Has No Scriptural Support.|
|Reasons:||1.||We are judged individually as we accept or reject Christ.|
|2.||Only the wicked are judged, not the righteous.|
|3.||Judgment for the righteous is equated with justification by faith. Christ bears our judgment for us.|
|Comment:||This is Dr. Ford’s starting premise, his major thrust, and the ultimate goal which he hopes to establish. All comments in his manuscript are geared toward establishing this one point.|
|B.||Daniel 8:14 Must Be Viewed on the Basis of Its Inspired Interpretation Found in Mark 13.|
|Reasons:||1.||Christ’s reference to the “desolating sacrilege” in Mark 13:14 (cf. Matt 24:15) points to the fulfillment of the “transgression that makes desolate” in Daniel 8:13 and the cleansing of the sanctuary in Daniel 8:14.|
|2.||This fulfillment took place, according to Dr. Ford, in A.D. 70 when the Roman general Titus invaded and destroyed the Temple.|
|3.||The time aspect of Daniel 8:14 would be confined to the first century.|
|Comment:||Note how points C and D logically follow point B.|
|C.||Mark 13 Limits All Prophetic Interpretation to the First Century A.D.|
|Reasons:||1.||Christ says, “This generation will not pass away before all these things take place,” which refers to the generation of the apostles.|
|2.||The whole New Testament pictures Christ’s advent as being imminent and urgently close.|
|3.||The New Testament does not present a 2000-year gap between the advents.|
|4.||Christ fully intended to return in the first century, thus no OT or NT prophecy could extend beyond the 1st century.|
|D.||The Prophecies of Daniel Must End by the First Century A.D.|
|Reason:||It would be inconsistent to have the prophecies of Daniel extend to the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries if the prophecies of the New Testament (including those of Revelation) do not extend beyond the first century.|
|Comment:||It should be noted that Dr. Ford’s interpretation of Mark and of Daniel 8:14 is essentially that of the preterist school of interpretation in his line of thought here.|
|E.||The Apotelesmatic Principle Bridges the Gap Between the First Century and the Twentieth Century and Provides for Multiple Fulfillments.|
|Comments:||At this stage Dr. Ford is in a quandary because his doctoral dissertation implicitly favors a preterist view of prophecy while his church teaches a historicist view. He attempts to wed these totally unlike views by means of the apotelesmatic principle. (This simply states that all prophecies may have two or more fulfillments.)|
|To make his interpretation of Daniel palatable to the church at large, Dr. Ford offers the apotelesmatic principle as a means of harmonizing the first-century and 20th century fulfillments for prophecy. In other words, Daniel’s prophecies have all met their fulfillment by the end of the first century as well as having a recurring fulfillment in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.|
|F.||The Year-Day Principle is Not a Biblically-Derived Principle, But Merely a Tool of Prophetic Research Developed Providentially by Human Thought Long After New Testament Times.|
|Reasons:||1.||The usual “proof texts” for the year-day principle, Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6, do not state this in the form of a principle, nor do they state that “each day for a year” should apply to biblical prophecies in general.|
|2.||There is no explicit statement on the year-day principle elsewhere in Scripture, setting forth the manner in which biblical time prophecies should be interpreted.|
|Comment:||The year-day principle is not very conducive to the apotelesmatic principle; in fact, the two are incompatible. There simply is not enough time between Daniel’s day and 1844 for two or more fulfillments of the 1260 days, of the 1335 days, and of the 2300 days, if these refer to 1260 years, 1335 years, and 2300 years. However, it would be conceivable to have any number of literal 3 1/2 year periods matching the description of Daniel 7:25, if the year-day principle were abolished. (Note: It would seem that if the year-day principle is to be abolished because of the lack of explicit Scriptural support, then the apotelesmatic principle must be abolished because of the lack of both explicit and implicit support in Scripture.)|
|G.||The Abolishment of the Year-Day Principle Necessitates a Change in the Usual Interpretation of the 70 Weeks’ Prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27.|
|Reasons:||1.||If these are viewed in the usual way as literal weeks, then this time prophecy cannot be pointing to Christ without the aid of the year-day principle.|
|2.||It is obvious that this prophecy does indeed point to Christ, since it mentions Him as the Messiah (literally, “the anointed one”) and mentions His atoning sacrifice that puts an end to all sin.|
|3.||Therefore, a novel interpretation must be derived for Daniel 9:24, which suggests that the word “seven” and not the word “week” is meant. Also, the word “years” should be added to the original meaning, so that it is now translated as “seventy sevens of years,” or in other words 490 years. With this novel translation, the year-day principle is not needed in Daniel 9:24-27, and the KJV translation of “seventy weeks” is considered outmoded.|
|Comment:||Dr. Ford recognizes that the word “years” is nowhere to be found in the original Hebrew of Daniel 9:24.|
|H.||The 2300 Days of Daniel 8:14 Find Their First Important Fulfillment in the Time of Antiochus Epiphanes, the Syrian King Who Desecrated the Temple in the 2nd Century B.C.|
|Reasons:||1.||Without the year-day principle the 2300 days must be interpreted literally.|
|2.||The 2300 days are said to cover the period from 171 to 165 B.C. when Antiochus was invading Palestine.|
|3.||The 2300 days of literal time do not fit the period when the Romans invaded Jerusalem in 66 to 70 A.D. climaxing in the destruction of the temple.|
|I.||The 1260 Days of Daniel 7:25 Find Their First Important Fulfillment Also in the Time of Antiochus Epiphanes Starting With the Destruction of the Temple in 168 B.C. and Ending with Its Restoration in 165 B.C.|
|Reasons:||According to the preterist school of interpretation, the “little horn” of Daniel 7 and 8 is Antiochus Epiphanes, a view substantiated by the books of I and II Maccabees.|
|Comment:||Because Dr. Ford does not view the year-day principle as having any biblical support, he cannot apply 1260 literal days to the papacy or Roman Catholicism. The papacy’s period of dominance is obviously much longer than a literal 3 1/2 years.|
|J.||The Judgment Described in Daniel 7:9-14 is Not the Investigative Judgment as SDA’s Have Traditionally Interpreted It as Being, but the Judgment of the “Little Horn,” Antiochus Epiphanes.|
|Reasons:||1.||There is a very close link between Daniel 8:14 and Daniel 7.|
|2.||If Daniel 8:14 denotes a work of “vindicating” or “judging,” then it refers back to the judgment of the “little horn” in chapter 7 and the vindicating of God’s people, the Jews, in the 2nd century B.C.|
|3.||It is unbiblical and theologically unsound to view the judgment of Daniel 7 as applying to the sins of the saints in any sense.|
|Comment:||The main support for point A is found under this very point-Ford’s exclusion of Daniel 7 as applicable to a judgment of the saints.|
|K.||Major Fulfillment of Daniel 8:14 is That of the Antitypical Day of Atonement Beginning at the Cross According to Daniel 9:24-27.|
|Reasons:||1.||Daniel 9:24-27 is seen as an exact parallel of Daniel 8:14 and provides the inspired interpretation of Daniel 8:14.|
|2.||Daniel 9:24 is packed with Day of Atonement language, using five Hebrew words are also found in Leviticus 16.|
|3.||Daniel 8:14 likewise must refer to the antitypical Day of Atonement and thus finds fulfillment in 1st century A.D.|
|4.||The time aspect of 2300-day prophecy has no fulfillment in the life of Christ on earth; therefore, only the cleansing of the sanctuary finds fulfillment then.|
|L.||The Book of Hebrews Teaches That the Antitypical Day of Atonement Was Fulfilled at the Cross.|
|Reasons:||1.||Hebrews portrays Christ as being in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary in the 1st century A.D.|
|2.||Hebrews does not explicitly mention the heavenly sanctuary as having two apartments; therefore, there cannot be two phases to Christ’s work as our high priest in heaven.|
|3.||The book of Hebrews abounds with Day of Atonement language and imagery, and thus describes the fulfillment of the antitypical Day of Atonement.|
|M.||The Book of Revelation Supports a 1st Century Fulfillment for the Day of Atonement.|
|Reasons:||1.||The opening verse of Revelation states that this book is a revelation (literally, “unveiling”) of “what must soon take place.” The word “soon” denotes the 1st century A.D.|
|2.||Revelation has several prophecies which utilize Day of Atonement imagery; therefore, the antitypical Day of Atonement was fulfilled in the 1st century.|
|Comment:||The book of Revelation would then have to be interpreted from the standpoint of the preterist school of interpretation.|
|N.||The Main Support for the Apotelesmatic Principle is Found in the Writings of Ellen G. White.|
|Comment:||1.||Dr. Ford does not offer a Scriptural basis setting forth the reasons why the apotelesmatic principle is a valid biblically-derived principle.|
|2.||Nor does he seek to show how Daniel and Revelation explicitly teach the apotelesmatic principle as a tool of interpretation.|
|3.||Therefore, the only independent support he seeks for the apotelesmatic principle is from the writings of Ellen G. White.|
|4.||He suggests that Ellen White has two or more interpretations for Matthew 24, 2 Thessalonians 2, Matthew 25: 1-13, Joel 2:28, Malachi 4:5, 6, Daniel 8:14, Leviticus 16, Revelation 7:1-4, and other passages in Revelation.|
|O.||The Authority of Ellen G. White is Pastoral, Not Doctrinal.|
|Reasons:||1.||If it can be said that the writings of Ellen White are not to be used in settling doctrinal disputes and discussions, then it follows that what she says about a doctrinal matter, namely, the investigative judgment, has little or no relevance for us today.|
|2.||Dr. Ford views her prophetic role on the basis of 1 Corinthians 14:3: “He who prophesies speaks to men for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation” (RSV). No mention of the establishing of doctrine is made here.|
|Comment:||If Dr. Ford finds his main support for the apotelesmatic principle from the inspired writings of Ellen G. White, then he must protect himself from the following charge: “Is not Dr. Ford being inconsistent when he accepts everything Ellen White has to say when it comes to supporting his apotelesmatic principle, but when he rejects everything she has to say concerning the investigative judgment commencing in 1844?” He defends himself by suggesting that her authority is limited to the sphere of counsel, edification, consolation and upbuilding and that her writings are not to be used as a basis of authority in the area of doctrines.|
|P.||The Conclusion is That an Investigative Judgment Beginning in the Most Holy Place of the Heavenly Sanctuary in 1844 is a Non-Event, and That Nowhere Does Scripture Teach an Investigative Judgment of the Saints.|
|Comment:||By eliminating the year-day principle, by installing the apotelesmatic principle, and by limiting Ellen White’s authority to non-doctrinal matters only, Dr. Ford has come to the conclusion that no celestial event occurred in 1844 and that the traditional SDA teaching on the “investigative judgment” is non-historical as well as nonbiblical.|
The whole thrust of the Glacier View manuscript on Daniel 8:14 is to dispel what Dr. Ford feels is the myth of the investigative judgment. For him the investigative judgment has no basis in history, in theology, in the Bible, or in the re-interpreted writings of Ellen White. For him the investigative judgment is an enemy to the Seventh-day Adventist, because it robs him of the peace introduced into the heart through the message of justification by faith. If we are justified, then we need not face the judgment, according to Dr. Ford’s thinking. The quickest way to dispense of the idea of a preadvent judgment commencing in 1844 is to usher in the preterist approach to prophetic interpretation. In my analysis Dr. Ford is a preterist wearing the hat of a historicist and the cloak of a futurist. The hat and cloak are mere “trimmings” and can be laid aside or taken up at will or in a moment’s whim.
Dr. Ford’s doctoral dissertation, The Abomination of Desolation in Biblical Eschatology, which he wrote while at Manchester University in 1971-2, reveals the truly preterist position of his theology and especially his eschatology. First we must distinguish between the three schools of interpretation: the preterist (liberal Protestant and Roman Catholic); the historicist (SDA’s and evangelical Christianity), and the futurist (conservative Protestant and Roman Catholic). The SDA Bible Students’ Source Book (vol 9 of the Commentary Reference Series), p. 769, has a definition of these three schools which can apply to all prophetic interpretation, not Revelation alone:
The Preterist says that almost everything in the book of Revelation was fulfilled long ago, the Historicist, that it has been fulfilling all the time, and some of the things foretold are happening in our own day, the Futurist that nothing of that which is prophesied from the beginning of chapter four on has yet taken place, nor can take place until just before the end.
(Editors’ Note: The preterist would place the fulfillment of practically all, if not all, of Daniel’s prophecies in the past, assigning the book most probably to the time of Antiochus IV in the 2nd century B.C.)
The preterist view is highlighted in Dr. Ford’s doctoral thesis, which is a discussion of Mark 13 as it relates to the book of Daniel, when it comes to his choice of the four possible interpretations of Mark 13.
“A review of the commentaries upon this topic shows that exegetes fall mainly into four different schools. The respective positions on Mark 13 are as follows:
1. Application to the fall of Jerusalem only.
2. Application to the end of the Age only.
3. Application to both events (though understood in the Gospel as distant in fulfillment from each other) on the basis that either Christ or the Evangelist blended the themes.
4. Application to both events, regarding such as promised by Christ to the generation contemporary with Him. This view makes the fall of Jerusalem a part of the predicted end of the Age” (Ford, 1972, p. 62).
???????????? Dr. Ford comes out with clear-cut fashion on the side of the fourth view and in opposition to the first three in the following words:
Having considered the real weaknesses of the exegetical positions of the first three schools of interpretation, and the supposed weaknesses of the fourth we are now shut up to the last as the only approach which can successfully withstand detailed investigation. We consider that Strauss and Renan on the one hand, and Beasley-Murray et al. on the other, carry the day in asserting that the Olivet discourse links the fate of Jerusalem with the end of the world, and promises both to the generation listening to Christ” (Ford, 1972, p. 72).
The author then goes on to point out that Mark 13 is a commentary upon Daniel 9:24-27, which predicts that 70 weeks (or 490 prophetic years) would be fulfilled with the coming of the Messiah and the ushering in of everlasting righteousness. He believes that the first and second advents are both combined in a single event in Daniel 9, and that just as Daniel pictures no great time gap between those two events, so Christ in Mark 13 presents no gap between his first coming and the end of the age. According to Ford, Christ planned his return to coincide with the fall of Jerusalem in the first century. This is pure 100% preterism!
Seventh-day Adventism laid its original foundations and has raised its superstructure upon historicism, which is antithetical to preterism. Without historicism there is no significance to the dates 538, 1755, 1798, 1833, or 1844. Daniel 8:14 cannot apply to a special event beginning in 1844, and Daniel 7 cannot be a description of the heavenly judgment scene beginning in 1844 without the aid of historicism. For us traditionally historicism is synonymous with adventism.
After completing his doctoral dissertation in 1972, Dr. Ford’s next task was to transpose the preterist framework from Mark 13 back into the book of Daniel, and his goal then was to publish a commentary on the book of Daniel. The problem is that preterism is anathema to adventism. How can one make a preterist approach palatable to an Adventist audience? The answer is the apotelesmatic principle! Simply stated the apotelesmatic principle means that biblical prophecies can have multiple fulfillments. To give an example, when the preterists interpret the “little horn” as applying to Antiochus Epiphanes in the second century B.C., when the historicists apply it to the papal rule of 1260 years, when the futurists apply it to an Antichrist that will enter Jerusalem sometime in the future, the apotelesmaticist will say that all three views are correct! “All are right in what they affirm and wrong in what they deny,” states Ford (Glacier View manuscript, p. 505). Notice the larger context of this statement:
Once the principle is grasped we will readily understand why many excellent scholars can be listed under each separate school of interpreters-preterism, historicism, futurism, idealism. All are right in what they affirm and wrong in what they deny. . . . So much for the apotelesmatic principle as applied to prophecy.” (Ibid.)
He is saying here that the historicist is wrong in denying the validity of the preterist view, and the preterist is wrong in denying the validity of the futurist.
The Ford doctoral dissertation does not mention or utilize the apotelesmatic principle. It may appear at first glance that he is advocating this principle in the following comment from his dissertation: “Here again, as is so often the case, the heresies prove ‘true in what they affirm, but false in what they deny.'” (p. 74). In this case he is discussing the four options for interpreting Mark 13, which we have referred to previously, and he is saying that the first three are partly right and partly wrong in their interpretations, but only the fourth is entirely correct. This is not the apotelesmatic principle, although it provides the germinal seed out of which the apotelesmatic grows in Dr. Ford’s later writings.
Notice how the apotelesmatic principle is developed in his commentary, Daniel, after he has summarized the preterist, futurist, idealist and historicist schools. “It must be said that each of the systems is right in what it affirms and wrong in what it denies. . . If the apotelesmatic principle were more widely understood, some differences between systems would be automatically resolved.” (pp. 68, 69, italics are Dr. Ford’s). The apotelesmatic principle is now being advocated as a cure-all to harmonize all the differences between the four major systems. Dr. Ford goes on to quote from the well-known conservative scholar, Merrill C Tenney, who writes: “The final conclusion on the chronological methods of interpretation is that all contain some elements of truth, and that all are in a measure overstrained.” (Daniel, p. 69). As defined here, the apotelesmatic principle concludes there are varying degrees of truth in all the major systems of interpretation.
Which system then has the most truth and contains the most correct interpretation of biblical prophecy? Dr. Ford would probably answer that the historicist is the most accurate, according to the sentiments expressed in his commentary Daniel, which is designed for an audience which is historicist. However, when it comes to his recent Glacier View manuscript, the sentiments expressed are those of the preterist school of interpretation.
The preterist flavor of the manuscript becomes evident when one closely compares one interpretation against another, one fulfillment versus another. That interpretation which is given the greatest support is the one which is an index to the true sentiments in the mind of the interpreter. Numerous passages show that Dr. Ford’s views of prophecy can be divided into just two types of fulfillments: 1) those in which the details are fulfilled, and 2) those in which only the essence is fulfilled. When comparing the two types of fulfillment, we can suggest that the first one is the more accurate and the more complete one than the second, as long as all the details match the historical events. Thus the first view can be used as a window to determine the true stance of any prophetic interpreter. Is he a preterist? a historicist? a futurist? or an idealist? The answer to that question can be found by noting which school of interpretation is followed in assigning the most detailed fulfillment of prophecy, or in other words, by discovering into which camp the fulfillments of category 1 will fall.
For Dr. Ford the detailed fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecies fall within the preterist camp. We must point out that there are two types of preterists-the short-range and medium-range. The short-range preterists state that all biblical prophecies must find their fulfillment in events immediately surrounding the time of writing of the prophetic book, and the medium-range preterists state that while most prophecies find their fulfillment in immediate events, some prophecies may extend from the prophet’s age into the medium-range future. No prophecies are of a long-range nature with any of the preterists, neither can any prophecy extend beyond the close of the 1st century. Dr. Ford makes allowance for the medium-range view in his definition of preterism: “This system views the apocalyptic prophecies as having a contemporary or near-contemporary fulfillment.” (Daniel, p. 65). In the Glacier View manuscript Dr. Ford applies the 70 weeks’ prophecy of Daniel 9 from the period of Daniel’s time down to the first century. This would be a medium-range preterist view. The short-range preterist would see Daniel 9’s fulfillment in the events of Antiochus Epiphanes and the Maccabean revolt.
One of the most crucial issues of the book of Daniel is the identity of the “little horn,” because our interpretation of Daniel’s other prophecies will be influenced by the manner in which we identify it. Dr. Ford’s interpretation of the “little horn” is essentially preterist. Notice this salient quote:
We wish to stress that which elsewhere in this paper has been affirmed-that the prophecy, while originally fulfilled in Antiochus, and only in him as regards its details, also applies in broad outline to later manifestations of Antichrist including pagan and papal Rome. (Glacier View ms, p. 391, italics Dr. Ford’s).
None of the details of the little horn prophecy are applied either to pagan Rome, which invaded the temple of Jerusalem and destroyed it in A.D. 70, or to papal Rome, which “takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God” (II Thess 2:4), or to the future coming of Antichrist. The futurist applies the details of Daniel 7:25 to a future 3 1/2-year reign of Antichrist from a restored temple in Jerusalem. Dr. Ford rejects both the figurative 1260-day period of dominance for papal Rome and a literal 1260-day reign of Antichrist as being applicable, thus he rejects the details of the historicist and futurist view, while holding on to only the details of the preterist view. He leans somewhat toward the idealist view, although he is not in their camp, because the idealist does not look for any specific fulfillment of prophecy in historical events, but simply seeks out only the central theme or idea of the prophecy.
In the same way that he interprets chapter 7 of Daniel he interprets chapters 8 and 11.
Rome does not apply as the primary fulfillment of the little horn, but in both its phases and at more extensive levels it meets the chief thrust of the prophecy, though not its details-both in chapters eight and eleven. In other words, the apotelesmatic principle here applies. . . . (Pp. 392, 393, italics Dr. Ford’s)
In regards to chapter 11 Dr. Ford has asserted: “Only Antiochus fully fits the specifications of verses 19-35” (p. 383). And again, “The details of these verses (11:21ff.) fit only one person in all time-Antiochus Epiphanes” (p. 394). Then notice how the preterist emphasis of Daniel 8:14 is borne out in the following quotes:
1. “The close relationship between the prophecy of Daniel 8 and the history of God’s people between 171-165 B.C. demonstrates that, in this instance also, prophecy has its first significance for the people to whom it was originally given” (p. 394).
2. “Today, it is a primary datum of hermeneutics that every part of the Bible had meaning for the people who first received it” (p. 392).
3. “Are we now detracting from what was earlier quoted from non-Adventist modern exegetes concerning Daniel 8? By no means. We are saying that Antiochus did fulfill the little horn prophecy, but he did not fill it full” (p. 392, italics Dr. Ford’s).
4. “Certain of the prophecies of Daniel, like many other prophecies of the Old Testament, apply in principle to later eras than the one first addressed. The main idea, rather than precise details (such as 2300 evening-mornings) is what has a recurring fulfillment. Daniel 8 gives God’s ideal plan for Israel after the restoration” (p. 485, italics Dr. Ford’s).
Thus, in the mind of Dr. Ford the first fulfillment is the only one in which all the details of the prophecy are applicable. This is dyed-in-the-wool preterism!
The apotelesmatic principle is a cover-up for the true preterist nature of its applications; the evidence cited above confirms the conclusion that Dr. Ford is basically a preterist who wears the hat of a historicist, and the cloak of a futurist. Only if one looks beneath the trimmings of a hat and cloak does it become apparent that his true nature is preterism. Note how nicely he summarizes this for us.
This principle (the apotelesmatic) affirms that a prophecy fulfilled, or fulfilled in part, or unfulfilled at the appointed time, may have a later or recurring, or consummated fulfillment. The ultimate fulfillment is the most comprehensive in scope, though details of the original forecast may be limited to the first fulfillment” (p. 485).
Details are limited to the first fulfillment, and the first fulfillment is said to have occurred by the end of the first century (see p. 295). The last fulfillment then is the consummated one. In the words of Dr. Ford, “We are saying that Antiochus did fulfill the little horn prophecy, but he did not fill it full. . . . A.D. 70 witnessed the first fulfillment of the prophecy of Matthew 24, but not its consummation.” “As apocalyptic the prophecies of this book (book of Daniel) are not the snapshot variety of the other prophets, but offer a continuum with its climax in the last crisis and the kingdom of God” (Glacier View manuscript, pp. 392, 391, italics Dr. Ford’s).
What is being said here is that the climax or consummation occurs at the Second Advent and the setting up of the kingdom. If this is true of Daniel’s prophecies and those of Matthew 24, then it should be equally true for Daniel 8:14; the climax, therefore, must occur at the setting up of the kingdom in the last days, and not in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. If it is true that “the ultimate fulfillment is the most comprehensive in scope, then certainly the judgment described in Daniel 7 and 8:14 could not find its consummation within the narrow scope of the Maccabean revolt of the second century B.C. Nor could it find its fulfillment in the time of Christ when judgment was pronounced upon the Jewish nation for their sin of rejecting Christ as Saviour. It must find its ultimate fulfillment in an event of cosmic scope-the judgment preceding the Second Advent of Christ. Ford denies this, and in denying this he sides with the preterist who wishes to keep the consummation or ultimate fulfillment as close as possible to the time when the prophecy was originally given.
The following observations on the apotelesmatic principle add extra weight to the suggestion that Dr. Ford is basically a preterist at heart:
a. The apotelesmatic principle has no Scriptural support. Dr. Ford does not offer any rationale as to how this “principle” can be derived from Scripture; he just defines it, and then uses it.
b. The apotelesmatic principle offers no guidelines as to determining primary fulfillment from secondary. Dr. Ford states that Joel 2:28-32 can be applied apotelesmatically. It is true that Seventh-day Adventists have made two applications of Joel-first, to the former rain, and second, to the latter rain, but we sometimes forget that the first is merely a partial fulfillment, and that the details of the prophecy do not all apply to Pentecost. For example the prophecy links the turning of the sun to darkness and the moon to blood with the outpouring of God’s Spirit. No one has suggested that these natural phenomena occurred seven weeks after the resurrection. If Joel 2 were indeed interpreted apotelesmatically, then one would have to say that it was first fulfilled by events in the time of Joel in a partial sense, and then was to have a “recurring or consummated fulfillment” just after the ascension and another just prior to the second advent. With Dr. Ford there should be three fulfillments then for Joel.
c. The apotelesmatic principle does not give any clue as to when a prophecy may have just one fulfillment, a dual fulfillment, or multiple fulfillments. This is determined arbitrarily and subjectively. It offers no internal or external controls. If one scholar offers seven interpretations for a particular prophecy, and another seventy times seven, who is to say which one has gone too far and which one has stopped short of good exegesis?
d. The apotelesmatic principle provides no guidelines for determining when the details are applicable and when they are not. Dr. Ford is consistent in applying the details of Daniel’s prophecies to their first fulfillment, but who is to say that a later fulfillment cannot have the details incorporated? Who is to say that the chronological details of the “little horn” cannot apply to the period from 538 to 1798, and those of Daniel 8:14 cannot find their fulfillment in the date 1844? If the apotelesmatic principle were true to its basic definition, then it could allow for application of details to 18th and 19th century events.
e. The apotelesmatic principle fails to harmonize the preterist, futurist and historicist schools, because they are mutually exclusive. No commentator to date has achieved the herculean task of harmonizing all the basic views of the three main schools of prophetic interpretation, and Dr. Ford merely selects a few isolated aspects of each arbitrarily and shows how they can be and will be fulfilled in certain historical events. Any scholar can find “truth” in all three viewpoints, otherwise if one or two of them were totally “false,” then there would be no scholars seriously advocating them.
f. The apotelesmatic principle is unworkable with most Old Testament prophecies. If the principle is applied to one Messianic passage, namely Daniel 9:24-27, then for the sake of consistency it must be applied to all. How can one have a “recurring fulfillment” of Micah 5:2? Is there going to be another incarnation, and is Bethlehem again to have significance? Are the events predicted in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 to be repeated? Is there going to be another Messianic figure who will vicariously suffer for the sins of his people? As far as I am aware of and as far as I know what scholars are saying, there is just one fulfillment for these Messianic passages. Why should not Daniel 9 also have just one fulfillment?
g. The apotelesmatic principle overlooks the fact that the book of Daniel was a sealed book. According to Daniel 12:4, 9 the words of the book of Daniel were to be sealed “until the time of the end.” The time of the end did not begin before the first century or the first advent of Christ (Acts 2:17; Heb 1:2; 9:26; 1 John 2:18; 1 Peter 1:20; 1 Cor 10:11). The preterist view teaches that prophecies have immediate fulfillment at the time they were first given or in the near future. Ford states that the schools of thought are right in what they affirm, so he likewise agrees that prophecy has immediate or nearly immediate fulfillment. The difficulty is that the prophecies of Daniel could not have been fulfilled or understood by Jews living in either the 6th century B.C. or 2nd century B.C. because the “time of the end” had not yet arrived!
h. The apotelesmatic principle fails to differentiate between fulfillment and application. Fulfillment, according to its original meaning in the Greek, has the idea of bringing to fruition, to completion, or to a climax an event that has been foretold in advance. After its completion, there can be no later fulfillment. Application is the taking of a Bible prophecy and making it relevant to certain situations, which do not exhaust its full meaning. With application there can be later events which meet the prophecy’s specifications. An example of this distinction is Matthew 2:15-the passage dealing with the Christ child’s sojourn in Egypt: “This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt have I called my son.'” Here is a direct quote from Hosea 11:1, but the problem is that Hosea is referring to the Exodus of Israel from Egypt and is not a prophecy of the future. Just as Matthew here is making application, not defining fulfillment, he does also in Matthew 24:15, where he speaks of the “desolating sacrilege” entering the Temple, a reference to Daniel 8;13. The fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 to the Roman armies was not a fulfillment of Daniel 8:13, 14, no more than is Matthew 2:15 a fulfillment of Hosea 11:1. We are dealing with application here, and there can be hundreds of applications of a given Scriptural passage to various settings. There cannot be hundreds of fulfillments, however. Application, then, is more of a homiletical tool. For example, Ford’s interpretation of Daniel 8:14:
It applies also to every revival of true religion where the elements of the kingdom of God . . . are proclaimed afresh, as at 1844. (P. 356, italics Dr. Ford’s)
This is application, not fulfillment, otherwise we would have to say that the preaching of Paul, Wycliffe, Jerome, Luther and Wesley are a fulfillment of Daniel 8:14! The apotelesmatic principle is a misnomer; it should be called the “multiple-application principle,” rather than the “multiple-fulfillment principle.”
i. The apotelesmatic principle may work in principle, but it does not work in practice. It is summarized in the following words: “All are right in what they affirm and wrong in what they deny” (Glacier View manuscript, p. 505). The fact is that some systems of interpretation are more right than others, and the interpreter cannot possibly give equal weight and emphasis to each school; there will always be favorites. So in actuality there is no such thing as a true apotelesmaticist. Every interpreter will either be basically a historicist, a futurist, a preterist, or an idealist, who accepts some of the views of the other schools, and who wears some of the trimmings of the other view points.
Because of these inconsistencies and internal difficulties in the apotelesmatic principle, it is suggested here that the apotelesmatic principle is merely a smoke-screen to introduce whatever novel views an interpreter wishes to introduce. Desmond Ford wishes to introduce the preterist views on Antiochus Epiphanes as found in the book of Daniel, but at the same time he creates more problems than he solves. For example, he links Daniel 8 and 9 very closely (as Seventh-day Adventists have traditionally done), and goes one step further by suggesting that Daniel 8:14 and 9:24-27 are discussing identical events (which Adventists generally have not done). In doing this, he makes Daniel 8:14 apply to events during the Maccabean revolt around 165 B.C. as well as to events surrounding the cross. If the two passages are identical in their subject matter and over-all content, then to be consistent one would likewise have to apply Daniel 9:24-27 to events during the Maccabean revolt. This is what the short-range preterists do, but what Dr. Ford refuses to do. He does not give the apotelesmatic principle a chance when it comes to Daniel 9:24-27, which is a purely arbitrary decision on his part.
There is one even greater inconsistency on his part when it comes to the correlation of Daniel 8:14 and 9:24-27. He correctly links both passages with the Day of Atonement of Leviticus 16 (Glacier View manuscript, p. 397), and points out that the five key terms of 9:24-transgression, sin, iniquity, atonement, and the Most Holy Place-all occur in Leviticus 16. The question here arises, When was the antitypical Day of Atonement fulfilled? By linking 8:14 tightly with 9:24-27 and with the Day of Atonement, does Dr. Ford wish to have the fulfillment of the antitypical Day of Atonement occur nearly two centuries before the cross? It is impossible that the Jewish feasts and ceremonies could have met their anti-typical fulfillment before the moment when the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom (Matt 27:51). So now Dr. Ford will have to withdraw his view that Daniel 8:14 met its first fulfillment in 165 B.C., or else disavow any connection of 8:14 and 9:24-27 with the Day of Atonement. This is just one example of the types of problems encountered by the application of the apotelesmatic principle. It sounds great in theory, but it falls apart in application.
The question then may be asked, Are you saying that both Daniel 8:14 and 9:24-27 were fulfilled at the cross? In response to this question I would like to suggest that the sacrificial aspects of the Day of Atonement as well as all the other feasts were fulfilled at the moment when Christ died. No Seventh-day Adventist would teach that the sacrificial aspects of the antitypical Day of Atonement were not fully fulfilled until 1844! The question as to when Christ began his antitypical work in the Most Holy Place is dealt with in Appendix A.
Another question can be legitimately raised, Is the preterist position biblical or unbiblical? Dr. Ford suggests that all the major schools are true in what they affirm, and false in what they deny, but nowhere does he attempt to justify the validity of the preterist position. It seems to have been assumed. The fact is that preterism cannot be supported from the internal evidence of Scripture. Revelation was given as a key to unlock the sealed book of Daniel. A careful comparison of the major themes in the books of Daniel and Revelation turns up the surprising fact that preterist interpretation of Daniel is not supported by Revelation. Many of the events described in visions in the book of Daniel are said to be yet in the future from the standpoint of Revelation. The opening words indicate with certitude that the book of Revelation is a description of events that “must soon take place,” that is, events beginning in the year 96 A.D. and stretching on to the second advent and the establishment of God’s eternal kingdom. Revelation does not focus on the past, but on the immediate and long-range future beginning in 96 A.D. The only part of Revelation that deals with events prior to 96 A.D. is chapter 12, which describes the casting out of Satan from heaven and the birth of Christ to serve as a backdrop for the 1260-years of warfare between the dragon and the woman. This being the case then everything from the book of Revelation must find its fulfillment subsequent to A.D. 96.
Appendix B indicates the parallels between the two books, and immediately it becomes clear that the portions of the books of Daniel which re-appear in Revelation were yet for the future at the time that John wrote the book, thus they could not have been interpreted according to the preterist view, but only according to historicism or futurism. For example, the great image of Daniel and its four respective metals do not appear as symbolisms in Revelation, while the stone that dashes the image to powder has its contrast in the millstone that is cast into the sea (Dan 2:34, 35 cf., Rev 18:21). It is significant that the first three beasts of the Daniel 7 vision-the lion, the bear and the leopard-do not appear anywhere as distinct animals in Revelation, while the fourth beast-the dragon-does appear in various symbolic forms. This is simply due to the fact that the kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persia and Greece were already in the past at the time Revelation was written. Likewise, neither the ram, nor the he-goat of Daniel 8 re-appear in Revelation, because the empires of Medo-Persia and Greece had met their demise long before the end of the first century. It is highly significant that the description in detail of the little horn’s activities and length of rule are found in both apocalyptic books (Dan 7:8, 19-25; 8:9-14; 11:29-35; Rev 12:13-16; 13:1-10; chaps 17 and 18). If Revelation is a book of events that were shortly to come to pass, then the fulfillment of the little horn prophecy could not have been prior to A.D. 96! The inspired interpretation of Daniel’s prophecies by the apostle John provides the death-knell of preterism.
One final question that should be dealt with is the following, Does Scripture teach that all men are judged individually at the time they accept or reject Christ, or is there pictured a special time in which the cases of the righteous are all examined as a group? To phrase it another way, Is there any investigative, preadvent judgment which deals with the records of the righteous? Again, the key to answer this is to compare the two most complete pictures of judgment scenes found in Scripture-Dan 7:9-12, 26, and Rev 20:11-15. The parallels between the two accounts are striking: a) both accounts mention a throne or thrones used for judgment; b) both accounts mention a supreme Being who sits on the throne; c) both describe those being judged as individuals or powers on earth; d) both mention record books being used; e) both mention fire as the agency for providing punishment for those who fail to pass the divine standard. However, there is one basic difference between the two accounts: the judgment pictured in Daniel is only partial, because the lives of the beasts are prolonged for “a season and a time” (7:12), while the judgment in Revelation is final, because at the end even death itself is cast into “the lake of fire” (20:14). Here are two different but parallel judgments.
The setting given for the judgment in Revelation provides the key in determining whether it is the righteous or the wicked or both that are being judged. Revelation 20:4 describes the judgment as being committed to the saints who have a thousand years to complete it! Who is being judged then? It could not be the saints, because they are the ones doing the judging. It must be the wicked, those who did not have a part in the first resurrection.
The point is that there are two resurrections according to Revelation, each taking place at either end of the millennium. If there are two resurrections, why are there not two judgments? Revelation 20 describes only the judgment of the wicked, which takes place before the resurrection of the wicked (the second resurrection). If the judgment of the wicked precedes the second resurrection, then by analogy there must be a judgment of the righteous to precede the first resurrection, the resurrection of the righteous. Where can such a judgment be found? The answer is simple: Daniel 7:9-12. According to the inspired interpretative key that unlocks the book of Daniel, the judgment of Daniel 7 must be that of the righteous which precedes the resurrection of the righteous, and thus would be aa preadvent judgment (see 1 Thess 4:16, 17). However, the immediate context of Daniel 7 suggests that it is the “little horn” that is being judged. There is no contradiction here because the “little horn” includes those who profess to honor and serve Christ, some of whom are righteous in heart and most of whom are apostate Christians.
Here again Revelation becomes the key to solving an apparent contradiction. The only ones in the Revelation 20 judgment who are being rewarded are those being cast into the lake of fire-the wicked, because the righteous have already received their rewards. In contrast, those in Daniel who are being rewarded at the close of the judgment are both righteous and wicked, and these two groups are described in 7:26, 27. The judgment on the wicked, that is the “little horn,” is only a partial judgment, for its “dominion shall be taken away” just as the dominion of the other beasts will be taken away (verse 12). Neither the beasts nor the little horn are to be burned with fire until at the close of the millennium.
The entire focus on the Daniel 7 judgment is the ultimate rewarding of the saints, not the ultimate destruction of the little horn. The climax is reached in verse 27 when the saints are rewarded with an “everlasting kingdom,” which provides an exact parallel to the climax of the dream in Daniel 2. Since the ultimate focus of Daniel 7 is upon the saints, not upon the wicked, we can safely conclude that the focus of the judgment in verses 9-12 is likewise upon the saints. This conclusion is confirmed by Scripture which gives ample supportive evidence that the saints as well as the wicked must appear in judgment before God (see Appendix C). The judgment of Daniel 7 could not be a judgment against Antiochus Epiphanes, because this vainglorious king who styled himself THEOS EPIPHANES (the manifestation of God), never was a professed follower of God or a believer in Scriptural truths. So again to use the prophetic key of Revelation, if the focus of the judgment in Revelation 20 is the rewarding of the wicked, then that judgment must deal solely with the wicked who had not received their rewards yet. And if the focus of the judgment in Daniel 7 is upon the righteous, then that judgment must likewise deal with the cases of the righteous who are to be rewarded immediately after the judgment at the second coming (Rev 22:12).
To conclude this analysis, I wish to point out that the purpose here has not been to critique points A through P of Dr. Ford’s positions. Many of these have already been dealt with in the October 1980 issue of Ministry and in some of the Glacier View documents. First of all, we have attempted to summarize in logical fashion the development of Dr. Ford’s thinking on the subject of the investigative judgment as it relates to the sanctuary and Daniel 8:14. Second, we have pointed out that Dr. Ford is a preterist basically, who wears the hat of a historicist and the cloak of a futurist. No apotelemasticist can give equal weight to all schools of interpretation, and every interpreter has his favorites. Dr. Ford’s favorite is preterism. Third, we have pointed out that preterism is anathema to adventism. A strict preterist holds no hope for a future literal and visible return of Christ to this earth. In defense of Dr. Ford, let it be said that he is not a strict preterist. However, a person who travels down the road of preterism will ultimately discover that that road leads to a denial of the second advent. (God forbid that this should ever be the case with Dr. Ford.) Fourth, we have suggested that Dr. Ford has used preterism as the most readily available and easily used tool in denying the historic teaching of Seventh-day Adventism-that of the investigative judgment.
The Heavenly Sanctuary in the Book of Revelation
The two books of the Bible dealing primarily with last-day events are Daniel and Revelation. Revelation we believe is the key to unlock the meaning of the sealed or locked book of Daniel (Dan 12:4, 9; Rev 1:1, 2; 5:1-5). Therefore, whatever light is shed upon the subject of the heavenly sanctuary in Revelation is also light shed upon the book of Daniel and specifically upon Daniel 8:14.
The key question which we must ask of the book of Revelation is this: Is Christ portrayed in the visions of John as ministering in the Holy Place or in the Most Holy Place at the time of the writing of the book (A D 96)? In other words, does John picture Christ as entering his antitypical Day of Atonement ministry at the cross or at a later time? To answer this extremely crucial question, we must analyze each allusion to the heavenly sanctuary in the 22 chapters of Revelation. (see chart below).
|Reference||Vision||Courtyard||Holy Place||Most Holy Place||Conclusion|
|Rev 1:20, 13, 20||Christ among 7 Lampstands||
|Christ in holy place in A.D. 95|
|2:1, 5||Christ among 7 Lampstands||
|A reiteration of previous vision|
|God’s throne is in the Most Holy Place (Ps 99:1; Rev 7:15)|
|6:9||Souls under the altar||
|Reference to the altar of incense|
|8:3||Incense mingled with prayers||
||Occurred on the Feast of Trumpets|
|8:5||Throwing downs the censer||
||End of last trumpet (11:19) and at close of probation (16:17, 18)|
|9:13||Four horns of golden altar||
||Occurs during 6th trumpet|
|11:1||Measurement of the Temple||
|Not the earthly temple which had been destroyed 25 years earlier|
||Context is the 1260 days|
|11:19||Ark of God’s covenant||
|Not exposed to view until blowing of 7th trumpet|
|14:15, 17||Angel coming from the Temple||
|End of probation|
|14:18||Angel coming from the Altar||
||Reference back to 8:5|
|15:5, 6; 16:1||Temple of the covenant opened||
|Close of probation|
|20:11||Great white throne||
|Throne of judgment (cf. Dan 7:9)|
|22:1||The throne of God||
|Throne of God’s government|
The whole theme of the book of Revelation is Christ (1:1), and the visions described in it are primarily those of Christ and his salvatory activity on behalf of man. Whenever we find specific fulfillment of any vision within the historical framework of events here on earth, then we also will find a corresponding activity of Christ in heaven. The two are closely inter-related. This leads us to the following conclusions:
1. Before the messages were to go out to the seven churches beginning in A D 96, Christ is pictured as ministering in the holy place of the heavenly sanctuary (1:12, 13, 20). The fact is that chapter 1 is the prelude to chapter 2 because the descriptions of Christ in chapters 2 and 3 (note especially 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14) are all echoed from the description of Christ in chapter 1.
2. The first 5 seals and the first 6 trumpets all occur while Christ is ministering in the Holy Place (not the Most Holy Place) of the heavenly sanctuary. The souls under the altar of incense (6:9) had not been vindicated yet during the time of the 5th seal. Vindication takes place during the antitypical Day of Atonement. The first six trumpets are blown while Christ is ministering on behalf of his people in the holy place (8:3, 4). The use of incense here cannot refer to the use of incense on the Day of Atonement, as Lev 16:12 might suggest, because the vision of Rev 8:2-5 provides the backdrop for the blowing of the seven trumpets. The blowing of trumpets is reminiscent of the Jewish feast of trumpets, which occurred 10 days before the Day of Atonement (Lev 23:24, 27), and thus must be distinguished from the Day of Atonement.
3. The only reference to an article of furniture found in the Most Holy Place of the earthly tabernacle is Rev 11:19, which portrays the ark of the 10 commandments in the heavenly sanctuary. This is highly significant. Here is the only passage in Revelation where we might obtain a clear-cut reference to Christ’s high priestly ministry in the Most Holy Place in the prophetic book. The timing is the critical key to interpretation-the time of the 7th trumpet. The preterist view is bankrupt in being able to offer a specific, tangible fulfillment for the 7th trumpet in the time of John, in contrast with the historicist view, which applies this trumpet to “the time of the end.” If we apply the 6th trumpet to the rise of the Ottomon or Moslem Turks, and if we convert “the day, the month, and the year” into prophetic time based on the year-day principle, then we can conclude that the 6th trumpet begins blowing in 1453 A.D. at the fall of Constantinople, the capital of the eastern Roman empire, just as the 4th trumpet sounded at the fall of Rome, the capital of the western empire. Converted into prophetic time, the 391 days (=391 years) takes us down to the year 1844. The seventh trumpet begins blowing in 1844-the very time that the Most Holy Place in the sanctuary is opened to expose to view the ark (11:19) and the very time for the beginning of the judgment (11:18). Thus, according to Revelation the antitypical Day of Atonement begins in 1844!
4. The “great white throne” of Rev 20:11 is the throne of judgment, and this throne is located in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary, according to the Psalms (11:4; 99:1; 103:19), Isaiah (6:1), Ezekiel (1:26), Daniel (7:9), Hebrews (numerous references), and Revelation (7:15). Judgment is connected with the establishment of this throne, which is connected with the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary. Nowhere does John picture the heavenly judgment as occurring in his day.
5. It is interesting that nowhere is the altar of burnt offering or the laver mentioned or even alluded to in the book of Revelation. The reason is simply that this prophetic book is a portrayal of future events (1:1), and one would not expect it to deal with the cross in detail. The furniture and ceremonies of the courtyard are absent from this prophetic book, and the man with the measuring rod is instructed to omit the measurements of the courtyard (11:2). The focus is on the temple itself.
In summary, we can assert that Christ does not enter the work of the anti-typical Day of Atonement until the 7th trumpet blows (Rev 11:15-19), and that Christ is pictured as the high priest in the holy place during the first 6 trumpets, according to Rev 8:3, 4, and at the beginning of the messages to the 7 churches, according to Rev 1:12, 13, 20.
Comparison of Daniel and Revelation
The following table compares the prophetic portions of the book of Daniel with the book of Revelation. The whole purpose is to discover what elements and symbolisms of Daniel re-appear in Revelation, and then to relate these comparisons to the ultimate question, Is preterism sustained as a biblical principle of interpretation? The evaluation hinges around the opening passage in Revelation: “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants what must soon take place” (1:1, italics supplied). Revelation is a book of the future, not of the past, according to its prologue. If that be the case, then the elements in the book of Daniel which are also dealt with in Revelation are prophecies of the future from the standpoint of 96 A D. They cannot be sustained by a preterist system of interpretation.
||Mentioned in Revelation|
|Text||Content||Yes||No||If Yes, Where?|
|Dan 2:31-45||Great image||
|Dan 7:1-6||Lion, bear, leopard*||
|Dan 7:7, 23||Dragonlike beast||
|Dan 7:8, 24, 25||Little horn||
|Rev 12:14; 13:1-10; chs. 17, 18|
|Dan 7:9-14, 26||Judgment, books opened||
|Dan 8:1-8||Ram and he-goat||
|Dan 8:9-14||Abomination of desolation, judgment, restoration||
||Rev 11:1-2, 15-19; 14:7; 17:4, 5|
|Dan 9:24-27||Anointing of the Messiah, end of the Temple||
|Dan 11:1-45||Difficult to evaluate and compare, especially in view of the fact that Daniel 11 is not a dream or a vision, but an interpretation given by an angel, thus is described in more literal and less figurative language.|
|Dan 12:2||Time of trouble||
|Dan 12:4, 7||Sealing up the book||
|Dan 12:10||Clothed in white||
||Rev 3:5; 19:8; 22:14 (RSV)|
|*Note: These do appear as parts of the composite beast in Revelation 13:2, but nowhere in Revelation do they appear as separate beasts. That is because the empire of Babylon (605-538 B.C.), Medo-Persia (539-331 B.C.), and Greece (331-168 B.C.) had all come and gone long before Revelation was written.|
|**Note: The Jerusalem temple was destroyed in A.D. 70, thus there was no need for John to mention that catastrophic event. However, its destruction was predicted in Daniel 9:26.|
The question can be rightly asked, Could not there be allowance made for multiple fulfillments; thus some of the prophecies fulfilled in Daniel’s time or shortly thereafter could also be prophecies of the future in John’s time? The answer is that there cannot be two equal and complete fulfillments for one given prophecy. If there is more than one fulfillment, there must be a primary and a secondary fulfillment. One takes precedence over the other. Scripture never provides us with an example of three or more fulfillments of prophecy. The primary fulfillment could not have been both prior to the first century and after the first century at the same time. If preterism is true, then there would have to be two primary fulfillments-the first in Daniel’s time (or shortly thereafter) and the other in John’s time (or shortly thereafter). But Scripture never makes allowance for two primary fulfillments of prophecy.
Whose Records Are Investigated?
The question being asked relative to the investigative judgment pictured in Daniel 7:9-14 is this, Who are being judged?-the saints or the little horn or both? A further question is this, If the saints are not judged in the Daniel 7 preadvent judgment, are they judged at all? The answer to these crucial questions can be discovered by classifying all the New Testament judgment texts according to subject matter. The following classification is not intended to be exhaustive.
|Saints||Apostate Ones||Not the Saints|
|Rom 2:2, 3, 12||Matt 19:28||Matt 5:21, 22|
|Rom 3:4||Luke 22:30||Matt 10:15|
|1 Cor 4:4; 11:32||1 Cor 6:3||Matt 11:22, 24|
|Heb 10:30||Luke 10:14|
|John 12:31, 47, 48|
|1 John 4:17||Matt 12:36||John 16:11|
|Acts 17:31||Acts 7:7|
|Rom 2:12, 16||1 Cor 5:13; 6:2|
|John 5:22, 27, 30||Rom 3:6, 7||Gal 5:10|
|John 8:6, 15||Rom 14:10||1 Tim 5:24|
|John 9:39||2 Cor 5:10||Heb 10:27; 13:4|
|2 Tim 9:27||James 2:13|
|1 Peter 1:17; 4:5||2 Peter 2: 3, 4, 9|
|Jude 15||2 Peter 3:7|
|Rev 17:1; 20:4|
. The investigative judgment refers to a preadvent judgment in which the cases of all those who have ever accepted Christ are examined from the record books, and the sins of those accounted righteous are blotted out. This judgment began in 1844 and will end with the close of probation.
. Pp. 5, 34, 124, 132, 376, 469, 470, 474.
. Pp. 481-82. See also Abomination of Desolation in Biblical Eschatology (1972).
. Pp. 9, 136, 295, 297, 304, 305, 307ff.
. Pp. 306, 311, 388.
. Preterism teaches that all Biblical prophecy must find its fulfillment within either the lifetime of the prophet or within near proximity; thus, prophecy has its primary meaning only for the contemporaries of the prophet.
. Pp. 345, 390-395, 422, 484-506, 517. See Desmond Ford, Daniel (1978), p. 49.
. Pp. 35, 132-133, 144, 295, 326ff.
. P. 323.
. Pp. 376-96.
. Pp. 29, 469, 651.
. Pp. 284,357,399, 412-13, A-73 to A-77, Abomination of Desolation in Biblical Eschatology, p. 122.
. Pp. 181-95, 228-29.
. Pp. 307-9, 311.
. Pp. 390-91, 517, 537-39.
. Pp. 619-20, 623, 631.
. Pp. 278, 469-76.
. Sometimes it is argued that God does not need 136+ years in which to complete the investigative judgment because he can judge all mankind in a microsecond. But the same logic would have to be applied to the millennium—God does not need 1000 years in which to judge the wicked. But the fact is that created beings have a part in the judgment—angels and saints—and these created beings cannot perform such momentous tasks in microseconds.
. Note: The pages given are from Desmond Ford, Daniel 8:14, the Day of Atonement, and the Investigative Judgment (Washington, DC, 1980), unless otherwise indicated.