For the convenience of the reader, we will arrange here in order an examination of all prominent texts used by Seventh-Day Adventists on the Sabbath or the law. Where the text has been fully examined in the body of the work, we will refer to the chapter where it will be found.
* Gen. 2:1-3. See Chapter XIII, page 249. * Gen. 26:5. Abraham kept the Sabbath. Abraham kept God's "commandments and laws." This was the ten commandments, therefore he kept the Sabbath.
ANSWER: 1. They assume the very thing to be proved, viz: that this was the ten commandments. 2. This was 430 years before the decalogue was given. Gal. 3:16, 17. How could he keep what was not yet given? 3. Anything which God commanded at any time would be "his commandments," and this would vary with circumstances. What Moses required is called "God's commandments." Deut. 28:1, 15. Says Paul, "What I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.". 1 Cor. 14:37. "Sacrifice to the Lord our God as he shall command us." Ex. 8:27. The Lord's directions to Noah about the ark were God's commandments. Gen. 6:22. To circumcise was one of the commandments of God to Abraham, which he kept. Gen. 21:4. So Abraham obeyed all God told him to do. Hence, this text has no reference to the ten commandments, nor to the Sabbath.
* Ex. 16:23-30. See Chapter XIII, page 254. * Ex. 20:1-17. The decalogue. See Chapter XVIII. * Ex. 31:13-17. The Sabbath forever. See page 259. * Lev. 23. The yearly Sabbaths. See Chapter XV. * Lev. 23:38. "Beside the Sabbaths of the Lord."
It is claimed by Seventh-Day Adventists that the Lord here separates out the Sabbath from all other holy days, showing that it is of a different nature, in these words, verses 37, 38: "These are the feasts of the Lord: * * * beside the Sabbaths of the Lord." Yes, but read the whole verse, "Beside the Sabbaths of the Lord, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your free-will offerings, which ye give unto the Lord." Not only the Sabbath, but gifts, vows and offerings are also excepted with the Sabbath in the same verse. The idea is this: the Sabbath, the gifts, vows and offerings are of regular weekly or daily occurrence, whereas the other holy days and special offerings were to come only once a year at stated seasons. When these yearly offerings and holy days came at the same time of the regular daily or weekly service they were not to take the place of the regular daily and weekly services, but must be observed besides all these. Any one can see that this is the simple meaning of the words "beside the Sabbaths of the Lord, and beside your gifts," etc. The idea is not to distinguish the Sabbath above the other feasts, but to say that these must be kept in addition to the regular service of the Sabbath and the daily offerings.
* Deut. 31:24-26. Two laws, one in the ark and another in the side of it. See Chapter XVII, page 309. * 2 Kings 21:8. Two laws. "If they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them."
It is claimed that this shows two laws, one given by God, the moral law, the decalogue; the other by Moses, the ceremonial, the one written in the book. Well, Moses in the book gave the law, "Thou shalt love the Lord with all thy heart," Deut. 6:5, and "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," Lev. 19:18. These, then, must be ceremonial! No, there is no difference made between what God gave himself or gave by Moses. Indeed, the greatest commandments of all he gave by Moses. Matt. 22:36-40. 2 Kings 21:8, is loosely worded, that is all. Read the same text in 2 Chron. 33:8. "If only they will observe to do all that I have commanded them, even all the law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses." Revised Version. That makes it plain. God gave them all by the hand of Moses. See also Neh. 8:14.
* 1 Chron. 16:15-17. The decalogue for 1,000 generations. Adventists claim that this covenant is the ten commandments. Hence it was given to the patriarchs and must be kept for ages yet, as less than 200 generations have passed since Adam. So this law must continue at least 800 generations yet.
ANSWER: 1. The term "a thousand generations" is manifestly an expression meaning an indefinitely long time, not exactly 1000 generations, no more, no less. If the world must stand 800 generations yet, what becomes of Adventism! So they can not take it literally themselves. Hence it may have ended ages ago. 2. As this is poetry, verse 7, the license of poetry is used. 3. The "covenant" here mentioned is not the covenant of ten commandments, for Moses says expressly that the fathers did not have the covenant of the decalogue. Deut. 5:2, 4. But this covenant was made with Abraham. 1 Chron. 16:16. 4. The covenant here referred to is God's promise to give Canaan to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. See verse 18. "Saying, unto thee will I give the land of Canaan." See Gen. 15:18, 26:3; 28:13. So it has no reference to the decalogue.
* Neh. 9:13, 14. Two laws. God gave them one set of laws himself and then gave another set by Moses. Read it.
ANSWER: it is true that one part of the law was given in one way and another part in another way. But this neither says nor intimates that therefore they were different laws and of a different nature. See remarks on 2 Kings 21:8.
* Ps. 19:7. The law perfect. Adventists constantly quote this text as proof that the ten commandments are a perfect law and hence could not be changed.
ANSWER: An examination of this text will answer nine-tenths of all their law texts in the Bible. So we will make the answer here and refer to this from the other texts. The grand fallacy of all their arguments is the assumption that "the law" is just the ten commandments, nothing more, nothing less. Hence they ring the changes on "the law," "the law," without end. But remember "the law" means the whole system of law given to the Jews on Sinai, including moral, civil and ceremonial precepts, sacrifices, priesthood, circumcision, feasts, etc. Smith's Bible Dictionary, Art. Law, says that the law refers "in nine cases out of ten to the Mosaic law, or to the Pentateuch." Elder Butler confesses, "The term 'the law,' among the Jews generally included the five books of Moses." Law in Galatians, page 70. Don't forget this fact and you will have little trouble with Advent arguments on "the law."
"The law," "the law of the Lord," and "the law of Moses," are all the same and include circumcision and sacrifices. Proof: Luke 2:22, 23, 24, 27; 2 Chron.31:3. Again: "The law," "the law of Moses," "the, book of the law," and "'the law of God," are all the same. Proof: Neh. 8:2, 3, 8, 14, 18.
Now what is meant by "the law" and "the law of the Lord" in the Psalms? It means all the law God gave Israel, that which was written in the "book of the law." Proof: David who wrote the Psalms was king of Israel. God required the king to keep a copy of "the book of the law" always by him and read in it every day of his life, Deut. 17:15-19. The first Psalm refers to this: His "delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night." Verse 2. David as king read the law of Moses every day and to this he refers all through the Psalms. Adventists are constantly quoting Ps. 119 as meaning only the ten commandments. But "the law" here includes the whole law God gave Israel, moral, civil, ceremonial, all. Proof: Verse 128. "I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right." David regarded God's precepts concerning tithes, sacrifices, feasts, public worship, moral duties, etc., as all right. Nine-tenths of "the law of the Lord" Seventh-Day Adventists do not pretend to keep any more than Sunday keepers do. If, then, we are law-breakers, so are they.
It is probable that Ps. 19:7, has a wider meaning than even the Mosaic law. The marginal reading is: "The doctrine of the Lord is perfect." Dr. Scott on this verse says: "The word here translated 'law' may be rendered doctrine, and be understood as a general name for divine revelation, as then extant, the law of Moses being the principal part." Dr. Clarke, the Eclectic Commentary, and all I have consulted give the same interpretation. How narrow and unauthorized, then, is the interpretation which confines this text to simply the decalogue. It is by such unnatural methods that the seventh day is sustained.
* Ps. 40:8. The law in Jesus' heart. "Lo, I come. * * * Thy law is within my heart." This refers to Christ. Adventists say that Jesus kept the law, the ten commandments, and therefore we should.
ANSWER: 1. See how they always assume that "the law" is just the decalogue. See this answered above on Ps. 19:7. 2. Jesus kept all the law of Moses, just as other Jews did. Do Adventists do it? Do they keep the law as Jesus did? No. Then their argument is a failure. 3. Jesus loved all the law and came to fulfill it. Matt. 5:17; Luke 24:44; and did fulfill it all at the cross. Acts 13:29. Hence "Christ is the end of the law." Rom. 10:4.
* Ps. 89:27-36. God will not alter his covenant.
Seventh-Day Adventists claim a strong case here. The prophecy refers to Christ. If his disciples break God's law, statutes, or commandments, God will punish them. God will not break his covenant nor alter what went out of his lips, the decalogue.
ANSWER: Assumptions are easy and do for the uninformed. God's law is the whole law. See above on Ps. 19:7. The covenant and what went out of God's lips has no reference to the decalogue, but refers to God's covenant with David to give him a son to sit on his throne. See verses 3, 4, 19, 33-35. This is too plain to be denied. Thus vanishes another of their grand proof texts.
* Ps. 119. The law exalted. Every verse in this long Psalm teaches the sacredness and perpetuity of the law.
ANSWER: But the law is the whole Mosaic law which the king studied daily and which Israel was to keep. See my notes on Ps. 19:7. Are Christians to keep that law? No. Seventh-Day Adventists even don't keep it.
* Prov. 28:9. Must not turn away from the law. He that turns away from the law, his prayer is abomination. Those who break the Sabbath do this and God does not hear their players.
ANSWER: Seventh-Day Adventists turn away their ears from nine-tenths of that law, for it embraces sacrifices, feasts, circumcision, etc., none of which they do. See my notes on Ps. 19:7, for proof. So this text does them no good.
* Eccl. 12:13, 14. The ten commandments cover the whole duty of man. "Keep God's commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." These are just the ten commandments. Hence they are perfect. We need no other law. Being perfect it cannot be abrogated nor changed. All will be judged by it. Verse 14. So say Seventh-Day Adventists.
ANSWER: This is a soap bubble which vanishes with a touch. 1. Does it say that these are the ten commandments, no more, no less? No, they assume this, for they have no proof of it. See my note on Gen. 26:5, and Ps. 19:7. The commandments are anything God has commanded on any subject. 2. Solomon, a king of Israel wrote this to Israel, 1,000 years before Christ. Did the decalogue cover the whole duty of a man then? Was it not a duty to pay tithes, keep the feasts, offer sacrifices, be circumcised and a hundred other things about which the ten commandments are silent? Certainly it was. Then they did not cover the whole duty of man, and this text is misapplied by Adventists. Nor does the decalogue cover all the duty of man now, nor a tithe of it. Where does it require us to visit the sick, the poor, the widow and orphans, to be sober, patient, and loving? Nowhere. It is manifest, then, that the commandments here spoken of which did cover all man's duty, embraces all that God had commanded on all subjects, moral, civil, or religious. 3. That law has been fulfilled and ended at the cross. Eph. 2:15; Gal. 3:19-25. Adventists themselves do not keep it.
* Isa. 42:21. Jesus magnifies the law. "He will magnify the law and make it honorable." This is the decalogue. If Jesus magnified it he could not have abolished it; if he set it aside he would not have honored it.
ANSWER: See the ready assumption again that "the law" is just the decalogue. Does it say so? No. If the reader will bear in mind once for all that "the law" is the whole Mosaic code, he will easily dispose of all their proof texts. Jesus did magnify the law; first, by carefully observing every precept of that law, both moral and ceremonial; second, by fulfilling all its predictions and types, thus accomplishing the object for which it was given. Seventh-Day Adventists themselves claim that Christ abolished the ceremonial law. Well, did he thereby belittle and dishonor that law? They dare not say so. No, he magnified and honored it, as they must admit. Then a law can be honored and magnified, and yet set aside as having fulfilled its purpose. This is just what Christ did to the law as a whole. See my notes on Rom. 3:31.
* Isa. 56, the Sabbath to be restored. See page 261. * Isa. 58:12, 13. The Sabbath restored. See Chapter XIII, page 262. * Isa. 66:22, 23. The Sabbath in the New Earth. See Chapter XIII, page 262. * Ez. 22:26. The breach in the law. See page 262. * Dan. 7:25. The pope to change the Sabbath. "He shall think to change times and laws." This refers to the pope. He was to change God's law, the decalogue. He changed the Sabbath and thus changed times.
ANSWER: 1. It does not say that it was the decalogue; this they assume. 2. To change the fourth commandment and the Sabbath would change only one law and one time; but the prophecy says laws and times, both plural. This shows that the prophecy is of much wider scope than they give it. 3. There is not a word of truth in the assertion that the pope changed the Sabbath. See Chap. XI of this book. So this application is false. 4. The old law was changed by Christ, not by the pope. Paul says: "There is made of necessity a change also of the law." Heb. 7:12. Many other scriptures declare plainly that Jesus fulfilled the law and ended it at the cross. Gal. 3:19-25; Rom. 10:4; Col. 2:14-17. This prophecy applies during the gospel age and so refers to the law of Christ, not to the old law of Sinai which ended at the cross. So their theory is wholly false. 5. In a hundred ways the pope has fulfilled this prediction outside of the Sabbath by legislating for the church in many things contrary to the laws of Christ. The Jews' translation says he shall "change the festivals and the law." See the scores of festival days which the pope has made, as Ash Wednesday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, St. Patrick's Day, All Saint's Day, etc. This is what the prophecy means. Scott says: "Has it not multiplied its holy days till scarcely four of the six working days have been left?" Clarke says: "Appointing fasts and feasts, * * * new modes of worship, * * * new articles of faith." This is what the prophecy foretold. It has no reference to the Sabbath.
* Matt. 5:17-19. Till heaven and earth pass away. Jesus says he did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. And "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Whoever breaks any one of these commandments is guilty. This law is the decalogue. Jesus says that every jot and tittle of it will stand till heaven and earth pass away. This shows that this law is unchangeable and still binding. The Sabbath is a part of it and therefore the seventh day must still be kept.
ANSWER: Seventh-Day Adventists consider this the strongest text in the New Testament for the law. They are constantly quoting it. If this fails, they have no stronger fort. I am sure it teaches no such thing as they claim. 1. Seventh-Day Adventists themselves admit that Jesus fulfilled and ended what they called the ceremonial law. He abolished it at the cross. Well, did he come to destroy that law? Certainly not, and yet he did it away. So, then, it is one thing to destroy a law, and quite another to bring it to a close by fulfilling it. He says he came to fulfill the law. 2. It does not say that every jot and tittle of the law will stand till heaven and earth pass away; but it does say that it will not pass away until it is all fulfilled. This teaches that it would all be fulfilled and pass away sometime. The idea is that sooner would heaven and earth pass away than one letter of the law would fail of being fulfilled. Luke's words make this matter very clear. "It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail," Luke 16:17. Here we cannot mistake the meaning; the idea is not the length of time the law is to last, but the certainty that it will not fail to be fulfilled. "Fulfilled" is defined thus by Webster: "To fill up, to make full or complete; to accomplish." The Greek word is PLAROSAI and is defined by Greenfield, among other things, "To fulfill, to complete; to bring to a close, end, finish, complete." So Jesus did not come to destroy the law, but to finish it. The translation of Campbell, Macknight and Doddridge renders it: "Heaven and earth shall sooner perish than one iota or one tittle of the law shall perish without attaining its end." That is the idea exactly. Sawyer's translation says: "I am not come to destroy, but to complete." At the beginning of his ministry Jesus said he came to fulfill the law. After his resurrection he said: "These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and the psalms, concerning me. Luke 24:44. And then Paul says: "And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree." Acts 13:29. So it was all fulfilled at the cross. Hence Paul says it was nailed to the cross. Col. 2:14-16. "Christ is the end of the law." Rom. 10:4. "The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." Gal. 3:24, 25. What could be plainer than that the law ended at the cross? 3. The law here spoken of is not simply the decalogue, but the whole law of Moses. No candid man will deny this. All commentators and scholars admit it. The proof is abundant. Thus: "The law and the prophets was a customary phrase for the whole Old Testament." Whedon's Commentary (Methodist) on Matt. 5:17. "By the law or prophets are meant the writings of the Old Testament including the five books of Moses called the law, and the writing of the prophets or rest of the Old Testament." Notes on Matt. 5:17 by George W. Clarke. "As everywhere else, so here the word NOMOS (law) refers to the whole law, and not merely to the decalogue." Lange's Com. on Matt. 5:17. "By TON NOMON (the law) must be meant, in some sense, the law of Moses." Bloomfield's Notes on Matt. 5:17. "The law and the prophets summarily denote the whole Old Testament revelation." Meyer's Commentary on Matt. 5:17. "By the law and the prophets is here meant the Old Testament in general." Bible Commentary. Dr. Albert Barnes says on this text: "The law - the five books of Moses called the law. The prophets - the books which the prophets wrote. These two divisions here seem to comprehend the Old Testament." So all commentators.
The Jewish scriptures were divided into the "book of the law," which included the five books of Moses, and the "book of the prophets," which included the books written by the prophets, as the historical books, etc. Sometimes a third division was recognized, viz: the Psalms, or poetical books. I have before me the Jews' Bible which is divided that way. Portions from the book of the law and also from the prophets were read in the synagogues every Sabbath. This division of the Old Testament is often referred to in the New Testament. Paul says: "All things which are written in the book of the law." Gal. 3:10. Again: "It is written in the book of the prophets." Acts 7:42. Once more: "After the reading of the law and the prophets." Acts 13:15. Hence "the law and the prophets" became a common term for the whole Old Testament. The law was the five books of Moses. Read a few texts: "This is the law and the prophets." Matt. 7:12. "All the law and the prophets prophesied until John," Matt. 11:13. Here the law can not mean just the decalogue, for the law prophesied. "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matt. 22:40. "The law and the prophets were until John." "They have Moses and the prophets." "If they hear not Moses and the prophets." Luke 16:16, 29, 31. Here the law and the prophets is the same as Moses and the prophets. "Him of whom Moses is the law and the prophets did write." John 1:45. "Beginning at Moses and all the prophets," "which was written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me." Luke 24:27, 44. "All things written in the law and in the prophets." Acts 25:14. "Which the prophets and Moses did say." Acts 26:22. Paul preached "out of the law of Moses and out of the prophets." Acts 28:23. "Witnessed by the law and the prophets." Rom. 3:21. See how common this phrase was then for the whole Old Testament. Hence Jesus said, "I am not come to destroy the law or the prophets." Matt. 8:17. In the light of the above facts any one can see that Jesus here meant the whole Old Testament the same as in all the other texts.
In proof of this, notice that he mentions various parts of the law-murder, altar, gift, adultery, swearing, eye for an eye, divorce, love to enemies, etc., verses 21-43. Is all this in the decalogue? No, it is in the book of the law.
It is absurd to say that he meant only the decalogue and the prophets. This would leave out the books of Moses entirely. So, then, the law here is the whole law of Moses. Now if every jot and tittle of that law is binding till the end of the world, then we have the whole Jewish law to keep as well as the Sabbath. This shows the fallacy of the Seventh-Day Adventists' position. The simple truth is that Christ fulfilled the law and it passed away after serving its purpose.
* Matt. 19:16-22. The commandments to be kept. The young man asks what to do to have eternal life. Jesus said, "Keep the commandments." When asked which, he said, Do not murder, nor commit adultery, nor steal, nor bear false witness; honor father and mother and love your neighbor as yourself. Here Jesus teaches that we must keep the commandments to have life. He then quotes five of the ten showing that to be the law he meant. The Sabbath is a part of that law, hence we must keep it.
ANSWER: 1. It is noticeable that Jesus omits the Sabbath not only here but on all other occasions like it. 2. Of course no one could gain eternal life and break the commandments which Jesus mentioned. 3. And it is manifest he did not mention all the commandments which must be kept. 4. If it is said that in quoting a part of the decalogue, he thereby implied and endorsed the whole of it as binding, then we reply that by quoting a part of the law of Moses he thereby bound all the rest of that law upon us also. The command to love your neighbor is not in the decalogue but in "the book of the law." So in Mark 10:19, he quotes "defraud not" from Lev. 19:13, the law of Moses. Is then all the Levitical law binding on us because Jesus quoted a part of it? No. Then it by no means follows that the whole of a law is binding on us because Jesus quotes a part of it to a young man still under that law. We object to swallowing a whole ox because we are told that a piece of the flesh is good.
We should remember that at this time both Jesus and the young man were still under the law. Jesus often adapted his instructions to the time and circumstances. To the cleansed leper, Jesus said, "Go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded." Matt. 8:4. Shall we apply this to Christians now and conclude that they must offer gifts according to Moses? Of course not, for he was yet under the law and we are not. Again Christ said, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do." Matt. 23:2, 3.
Here they were directed to observe every item of the Mosaic law just as the Pharisees taught. Why don't Adventists quote that to prove we must keep the Sabbath, for it certainly included the Sabbath? This shows that Christ's directions about keeping the Jewish law were to those still under the law and not for all time to come. It is noticeable that Jesus never stated directly that any of the old law would be abolished, not even the sacrifices, the temple-service, circumcision, etc. The time had not come; the people were not yet ready for it.
So this young Pharisee came as one looking to the law and his own deeds for righteousness. "What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?" Jesus answered him according to his question and according to his duty under the law, that law to which he was looking for salvation. "Thou knowest the commandments," do these, for the law said, "The man that doeth them shall live in them." Gal. 3:12. It is evident that Jesus did this to take the conceit out of him and to show him his need of something better. He succeeded, for the young man went away sorrowful and humbled.
* Matt. 24:20. The Sabbath A. D. 70. See Chapter XIV, page 270. * Matt. 28:1. "The Sabbath" still after the cross. See Chapter XIV, page 272. Mark 2:27. The Sabbath for man. See page 269. * Luke 23:5-6. The women kept the Sabbath. See Chapter XIV, page 273. * Acts 13:14; 18:4, etc. Paul kept the Sabbath. See Chapter XIV, page 278. * Rom. 3:31. The law established. "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid, yea, we establish the law." The law is the ten commandments. It is not abolished but established. This is a positive statement that the law is still binding under the gospel. The Sabbath is a part of the law and therefore must be kept.
ANSWER: 1. A few isolated texts cannot be interpreted to conflict with the general tenor, and many direct statements of the New Testament that we are not under the law but that it ceased at the cross. 2. There is nothing in the text or context that says or intimates that it is the decalogue only of which Paul speaks. 3. Paul has argued through these three chapters that no one has ever kept the law, neither Gentiles nor Jews. So he reasons that no one can be justified by "the law of works," but all can be justified "by the law of faith." Chap. 3:27. Then he "concludes that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." Verse 28. Then he anticipates that some one will object that he is an Antinomian, setting aside all law. Verse 31. This he denies. Because the Jewish law is abrogated, it by no means follows that all law is abolished. So he says: "Do we then nullify law through the faith? By no means, but we establish law." Diaglott. This is a literal translation of the Greek and gives the idea correctly. Paul does not say THE law, but simply LAW in general. The definite article "the" is not used before law in the original. Hence in this verse we understand Paul to speak of law in general and not of "the law" of Sinai. Here are other reliable translations of the text, giving the same idea. "Do we then make void law through the faith? Far be it, yea, we establish law." American Bible Union Translation. "Do we, then, make law useless through the faith? By no means, but we establish law." Campbell, Macknight and Dodridge. "Do we, then, make law of none effect through faith? God forbid; nay, we establish law." Revised Version, marginal reading. The marginal reading in this Version where it differs from the authorized text as it does here, was supported by two-thirds of the learned translators present at the last reading. (See their preface.) This, then, is well supported.
Hence this text does not speak of the decalogue, nor even of the Mosaic law, but of law in the abstract. Paul affirms that faith in Christ does not nullify the use of law. This is exactly what I believe. God's great moral law remains unchanged through all ages, while particular expressions of that law adapted to local circumstances as was the Jewish law, may be changed.
If it be insisted that this must be the law given to the Jews, then we reply: The law would be the whole Mosaic law, not the decalogue alone. Dr. Adam Clarke gives a sufficient answer to the Adventists: "By law here we may understand the whole of the Mosaic law in its rites and ceremonies, of which Jesus Christ was the subject and the end. All that law had respect to him, and the doctrine of faith in Jesus Christ, which the Christian religion proclaimed, established the very claims and demands of that law, by showing that all was accomplished in the passion and death of Christ." On Rom. 3:31. So this text in no way favors the Adventist idea, though it is their main hope.
* Rom. 6:14, 15. "NOT UNDER THE LAW."
Several times Paul says directly that Christians are "not under the law." See Rom. 6:14, 15; Gal. 3:23-25; 4:2l; 5:18. It would seem as though that ought to settle it that Christians are not to be governed by that law: for surely if we are not under a law we are under no obligation to obey it. Living in Michigan, I am under the law of this state; but I am not under the law of England, hence it has no claim on me. So if we are not under the law it has no claims on us. In opposition to the plain meaning of this term, Seventh-Day Adventists say that it means that we are not under the curse or condemnation of the law. But Paul does not say that we are not under the curse of the law; but it is the law itself that we are not under. Every text where the term occurs shows that it means under the authority of the law.
This subject is so plain that Seventh-Day Adventists themselves are divided over it, one party writing against the other. Elder Waggoner leads one party and Elder Butler the other. I quote from Butler against Waggoner in "The Law in Galatians," pages 51, 52. "But it is thought that in this verse (Gal. 3:23) the expression 'under the law' must refer to the sinner under the condemnation of the moral law. Lengthy arguments have been made in support of this; but we fail to see evidence to prove this position." Then he admits to the other party that "under the law" sometimes means under its condemnation though this is not its primary meaning. He had to say this to save himself on other texts, but I deny that it ever has that meaning. He continues: "We read in Matt. 8:9, of a man under authority having soldiers under him, i. e., authority was over him and he was in authority over the soldiers, and each was to obey; not that he was under the condemnation of authority, or the soldiers under his condemnation. * * * The very nature of the expression itself signifies this, 'under the law' simply meaning the law being above or having authority over the persons who were under it. This is the primary, simplest meaning of the term; and unless strong reasons can be adduced to the contrary, we should always give the expression 'this signification." "Greenfield gives no instance where it is used in the sense of being subject to the condemnation of the law." "We are no longer under a pedagogue (the law), i.e., no longer under his authority; his authority is no longer over us because his office ceased when the seed came." So writes Elder Butler, and he states the truth: but he tries to limit this to the ceremonial law. Here he fails, for it is "the law," not a part of it.
Here is what the lexicons say of the word under: "In relation to something that governs. In a state of subjection; subject." Webster. Under is from the Greek word "hupo," which is thus defined: "Of subjection to a law. Rom. 6:14." Greenfield: "To express subjection;" "under his sway;" under its guidance;" "subject to." Liddell and Scott. "Subject to." Groves Gr. and Eng. Dict. "Under subjection to, Rom. 14." Bagster's Gr. Lex. So all the authorities I have consulted define "under" to mean under the authority of, subject to. Now Paul says, "Ye are not under the law," Rom. 6:14; that is, not under its authority, not subject to it. This is plain enough.
Turning to the commentators, I read: "Under the law; in subjection to it." Clarke on Gal. 4:4. "Subject to the law," "Bound by its requirements." Barnes on Gal. 4:4. "Not under the law; not under a legal dispensation." American Tract Society, notes on Rom. 6:14. "Under the law, under the legal dispensation." Scott on Gal. 3:23-25.
Thus all agree, that "under the law" means subject to its authority. But we are not under the law, not under its anthority. Read a few texts as to its meaning. "Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah." 2 Kings 8:20. "Israel went out from under the hand of the Syrians." 2 Kings 13:5. "Ye purpose to keep under the children of Judah." 2 Chron. 28:10. In every case it means under the authority of. Again: "A man under authority, having 13 soldiers under me," Matt. 8:9. "Ye are not under the law, but under grace." Rom. 6:14. "And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law." "To them that are without law, as without law (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ), that I might gain them that are without law." 1 Cor. 9:20-21.
This passage shows beyond a doubt what Paul means by "under the law." The Jews were under the law. When with them he did as they did to gain them. He kept the law as they did. See for proof Acts 16:3, where he circumcised Timothy, and Acts 21:20-26, where he shaved his head and offered offerings. Those without law were the Gentiles who were never under the Jewish law. When with them he lived as they did to gain them. He did not keep the Mosaic law. But Paul is careful to add that he was under the law to Christ, or more correctly, "Under law to Christ." Revised Version. "Under Christ's law." Diaglott. "Under the law of the Messiah." Syriac. "Under the law of Christ." Clarke. "The law enjoined of Christ." Barnes. Paul says he was under Christ's law. Does he mean that he was condemned by the law of Christ? Surely not; but he was under its authority.
Again: "But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." Gal. 3:23-25.
When were people under the law? Before Christ came. Are they under it now? No. This shows what Paul means - a change of dispensations changed their relations to the law. Before Christ, under the law; since Christ, not under it.
Before Christ came they were under the law as a teacher who was preparing them for the great Teacher. When Christ came they were no longer under that old schoolmaster, the law. Proceeding with his argument, Paul says: "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law." Gal. 4:4. This again is decisive as to the meaning of "under the law." Christ was born under the law, that is, subject to the law the same as any Jew. He carefully obeyed that law till it was abolished at His cross. He certainly was not born under the condemnation of the law, for he was without sin. To the Galatians who were going back to the observance of the law Paul says: "Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?" Gal. 4:21. Did they desii-e to be under the curse of the law? Nonsense. They desired to obey the law just as Adventists do now. Finally Paul says to them, "If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law." Gal. 5:18. If they accepted Christ, they had no further need for the old law. So, then, Christians are not under the authority of the law for it was nailed to the cross. On this point Dr. Adam Clarke forcibly says: "Under the law: In subjection to it, that in Him, all its designs might be fulfilled, and by His death, the whole might be abolished, the law dying when the son of God expired upon the cross." On Gal. 4:4.
That "under the law" means subject to the authority of the law is plainly proven by Rom. 3:19. "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law." The Jew readily admitted that all the Gentiles were sinners; but the point was to prove that the Jews themselves were also sinners. So in verses 10-18 he makes several quotations from their scripture, saying that, "There is none righteous, no, not one," etc. "Now," says Paul, "you cannot apply this to the Gentiles, for it is in your own law, and we know that a law speaks to those who are subject to it and not to those who are not. So it must mean that not one of you Jews are righteous. Hence, as all the Gentles are sinners, and this proves that all Jews are sinners too, therefore all the world are guilty." Again Paul argues that the law speaks only to "those who are under the law." But does the law speak only to those who are condemned by it? That is false and absurd. To every man in Michigan our law says, "you shall not steal," whether they have stolen or not. So the Mosaic law was addressed to all the Jews. "Hearken, 0 Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments which I teach you." Deut. 4:1. Who was to hearken to that law? All Israel, for it spoke to them all. This fact was so manifest that Paul said, "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law." What, then, does he mean by under the law? He means under the authority of the law, subject to the law, and this is what it always means. But Paul says over and over that Christians "are not under the law."
But Adventists immediately exclaim, "Then, if we are not under the law, we can sin all we like, can steal, lie, kill, etc." They never seem to notice that this is precisely what the Judaizers, the opponents of Paul, said against his doctrine back there. He states their objection and answers it. "Ye are not under the law, but under grace, What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid." Rom. 6:14, 15.
The fact that it was objected to Paul that his doctrine of the law gave license to sin shows that he did set aside the authority of the law. If not, why was this objection made to his doctrine? The Jews believed in the pardon of sin as strongly as Paul did. So if he merely taught that the sinner was pardoned by grace so that he was no longer under the condemnation of the law, the Jews would agree with him for they all believed in the pardon of sins. The fact that this objection was raised to Paul's position on the law the same as it is to our position now, shows that we have interpreted him correctly.
* Rom. 7. The law is holy. Verse 12. "Wherefore the law is holy and the commandment holy, and just and good." This is the decalogue as shown by verse 7. As late as A.D. 60, Paul said it was holy, just, good, and spiritual, verse 14, and that he delighted in it, verse 22. Certainly then it was not abolished.
Answer: Whoever has access to Dr. Clarke's Commentary on this chapter will find the Seventh-Day Adventist argument fully and finely answered. I will note but a few points. Paul had just stated that we are not under the law. Chap. 6:14. Now he illustrates it. A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. She is under his law, his authority. If he dies, "she is free from that law." Verse 3. This is not the law of the state, nor the moral law, nor the law of Moses, but it is "the law of her husband," Verse 2, as Paul distinctly says. That law under which she has been living dies with her husband and she is freed from it, no longer bound to do his will, but is free to give herself to another.
Just so the Jews had been held under the authority of the Mosaic law. That he writes this to the Jewish believers at Rome is proved by the first verse. "I speak to them that know the law."
But the law died and so the connection between them was dissolved and its authority was ended, This is Paul's conclusion as stated by himself: "But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held."
"Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead." Verses 4, 6. No statement could be plainer: we are delivered from the law which is dead. And we are dead to the law. Now we can be married to Christ. Says Dr. Albert Barnes on verse 4: "The idea there is, that death dissolves a connection from which obligation resulted. This is the single point of the illustration. It is an error to make everything in this illustration fit something in the case of the Roman church. Like all parables, it has just one object and that is to show the dissolution of a connection before existing, the end of an authority once in force. The Jewish believers were once under the Mosaic law. That law is dead and they are freed from its authority. Now they can accept the authority of another, the Lord Jesus." Says Dr. Clarke: "AS LONG AS HE LIVETH. Or as long as IT liveth: law does not extend its influence to the dead, nor do abrogated laws bind. It is all the same whether we understand the words as speaking of a law abrogated, so that it cannot command; or of its objects being dead so that it has none to bind. In either case the law has no force." Surely the subject is clear enough if we want to understand it.
Viewed in the light of its many excellent precepts, the law was holy, just and good and even spiritual; yet failing to accomplish man's salvation it was superceded by a better system which does what it could not do.
* Rom. 14:5. One day above another. See page 297. * 1 Cor. 7:19. The commandments to be kept. Paul says we must keep "the commandments of God," that is the ten commandments.
ANSWER: See how they always assume just what they ought to prove, viz., that this is the decalogue. Now let Paul in the same letter explain what he means by the commandants of God. "The things that I write unto you are the commandmants of the Lord." 1 Cor. 14:37. So this has no reference to the decalogue.
* 2 Cor. 3. The ministration of death done away. See Chapter XIX, page 356. * Galatians 3:19. The added law. "The law was added because of transgression." This was the ceremonial law added to the moral law. Hence the law done away in Galatians is only the ceremonial law.
ANSWER: This is what one party of the Seventh-Day Adventists says, while another party says that it is all the moral law and not done away at all! So they warmly contradict each other. But, 1. There is nothing said about any such distinction as moral and ceremonial laws in all the book. 2. We have proved that there is no such distinction in all the Bible. 3. All through Galatians it is "the" law without an intimation that there was another law from which it was to be distinguished. The law was the whole law. Even Elder Butler admits this. Hear him: "The term 'the law' among the Jews generally included the five books of Moses, thus including the whole system, moral, ritual, typical and civil. This as a system these Judaizing teachers desired to maintain." Again: "There are no doubt, several references to the moral law in the epistle." Law in Galatians, pages 70,15. Good: that ends the matter; Galatians treats of the whole law. 4. That the moral law, as they call it, is included in "the law" is easily proved. Gal. 3:10, includes "all things which are written in the book of the law." That book contained the ten commandments. Butler admits this. "The book of the law * * * contained both the moral and ceremonial laws." Law in Galatians, page 39. Again: "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law." Gal. 3:13. This is the moral law, for there was no curse to the ceremonial law. This point is hard for them to meet. Butler makes this confession: "We are perfectly willing to admit that the curse brought to view in the text, from which Christ redeems his people, principally includes transgressions of the moral law." Law in Galatians, page 40. This gives up the whole case. In Gal. 5:14, Paul quotes as "the law," "Thou shalt love thy neighbor." If any law is moral this is. 5. Now read carefully Gal. 3:15-19, and see that the law was added to the promise made to Abraham. "Was added to the promise," Wesley's Notes. So all their talk about this being the ceremonial law added to the moral law is a fallacy. It is the whole law and it all ended at Christ. Gal. 3:19-24.
* Eph. 2:14, 15. The law of ordinances. This shows that only the ceremonial law was abolished.
ANSWER: As the ceremonial precepts of the law were the greater part of it, and as it was largely on their account that the law was abolished as a burdensome system, they are naturally mentioned as the reason why it was abolished. In giving the cause for a man's death we naturally mention the diseased parts, though the whole man died. We say that Brown died of heart disease. Then Smith reports that all that is dead of Brown is his heart! That is a fair illustration of the Adventists argument on several texts. The apostles say that the law is dead, died of types, shadows and carnal ordinances. Then the Adventists report that only a part of the law is dead, just the most diseased parts and these have been amputated! Selah! Adventists say that there are no "ordinances" in the ten commandments, hence this can not apply to them. But this is a mistake. What is an ordinance? Webster says: 1. "An ordaining or establishing by authority; appointment. 2. A rule established by authority; a statute, law, edict, decree." This is exactly what the decalogue was, a law established by authority. Cruden's Concordance says: "Ordinance. 1. "Any decree, statute or law, made by civil governors. 2. The laws, statutes, and commandments of God." So then the statutes, laws and commandments of God are ordinances; specially was this true of the Sabbath to be kept on the seventh day. This depended wholly and only upon God's appointment; hence it was surely an ordinance, and so passed away with those ordinances.
* Col. 2:14-16. Nailed to the cross. See Chapter XV. The Law in the Book of Hebrews. It is claimed by Adventists that the law which is here so distinctly said to have been "changed," "disannulled," etc., is only the ceremonial law.
ANSWER: 1. Not a word is said about a ceremonial law or that it is a particular one of two laws that is meant. It is simply "the" law without any qualification. If this two law doctrine was as clear to the apostles and as important as it is with Adventists, it is strange that they should not somewhere, at least once, say so plainly. But they don't. They just say "the" law and go right on. 2. The decalogue is distinctly referred to several times in this book, as in Chap. 8:9, "the covenant," (See Deut. 4:13) "the tables of the covenant," Chap. 9:4, and the giving of the ten commandments on Mount Sinai. Chap. 12:18-21. Hence the book does refer to the whole law.
* James 2:8-12. Every point of the law binding. James quotes two precepts from the ten and says we must keep the whole law of which the Sabbath is a part.
ANSWER: 1. Again we remind the reader that "the law" is all the law given to the Jews, of which the decalogue is only a part. So if "the law" is binding now, then we must keep it all, sacrifices, feast days, etc. 2. If all the decalogue is binding because James quotes a part of it, then all the law of Moses is binding too, because he also quotes from that, verse 8, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor." This is from Lev. 19:18. Is that whole chapter binding now? 3. James quoted so much as was applicable to his subject, either from the decalogue or from the other books, without thereby binding either upon us. 4. "The law of liberty," verse 12, is the law of the New Testament. Wesley says: "Law of liberty - the gospel." Notes on verse 12. Adam Clarke says: "The law of liberty, the gospel of Jesus Christ." On verse 12. Every quotation in this text is taken from the words of Christ in the gospels. See Matt. 19:18, 19.
* 1 John 2:3-6. This is the ten commandments. So Adventists always apply it, and then make all liars who do not keep the seventh day.
ANSWER: 1. Does it say that these are the ten commandments? This, as usual, is assumed. 2. The context plainly shows that the commandments of Christ are meant. Read verses 1 to 5 and notice that it is Christ who is spoken of. Hence "his commandments" are Christ's commandments. There is no reference to the decalogue.
* 1 John 3:4. Sin is the transgression of the law. From this text Seventh-Day Adventists claim that all sins of every kind are a violation of the ten commandments which is the law here meant.
ANSWER: 1. Does it say that this law is the ten commandments? No, nor any hint of such a thing. Here, as ever, they assume the very thing to be proved. 2. The decalogue was not given till Moses, 2500 years after the creation. Ex. 2O; Deut. 5:2-6. But sin existed all that time. The angels sinned, 2 Pet. 2:4; Adam sinned, Rom. 5:12; the Sodomites sinned, Gen. 13:13; "the Gentiles which have not the law," Rom. 2:12-14, sinned; hence sin is something more than a violation of the decalogue. A neglect to do good is sin, James 4:17, but that would not violate the decalogue. Unbelief is sin, Rom. 14:23, but that is no transgression of the decalogue. So, many are damned because they neglected to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, take in the stranger, clothe the naked, or visit the sick, Matt. 25:41-43, none of which are mentioned in the decalogue. John says, "All unrighteousness (unrightness, wrong) is sin." 1 John 5:17. There are scores of wrongs which the decalogue does not notice at all. 3. The decalogue ended at the cross, 2 Cor. 3:7; Rom. 10:4, so it can not condemn sin now. 4. In the original of 1 John 3:4, the word law does not occur at all. Thus: "Sin is lawlessness," Revised Version. "Sin is iniquity," Diaglott. "All sin is iniquity," Syriac. "Sin is wickedness," Sawyer's Translation. "Sin is the lawlessness," literal Greek. This is the correct idea. So a correct translation entirely spoils this text for Adventists. It simply affirms that all sin is iniquity, wickedness or lawlessness, a disregard of law, without any necessary reference to the decalogue.
* 1 John 3:22. The ten commandments again.
The same old assumption again, viz., that "the commandments" are always the ten commandments. But the next verse explodes this hobby by naming what is meant. "And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment." This is not the decalogue at all.
* Rev. 12:17. The remnant keep the commandments. This text shows that the remnant, the last state of the church, will keep the ten commandments, hence the Sabbath.
ANSWER: 1. This occurs under the dragon, which Seventh-Day Adventists say is Pagan Rome. But Pagan Rome passed away more than 1,300 years ago, as they admit. So this, applies ages ago, not to the present. 2. Does it say that "the commandments" are the ten commandments? No, nor is there anything to intimate it. They assume this as usual. 3. Time and again, all through the, New Testament, other things are called "the commandments." Thus the two great commandments," Matt. 22:36-40, the precepts of Christ: John 14:15, 21; 15:10; 13:34; Acts 11:2; the Teachings of the apostles, 1 Cor. 14:37; 1 Thess. 4:2; 2 Pet. 3:2, etc. It is far more probable that these are referred to instead of the old law which was abolished.
* Rev. 14:12. See notes on Chap. 12:17, above. * Rev. 22:14. Do his commandments.
1. If the common version is correct, the remarks on Rev. 12:17, will apply here the same. 2. But in the correct reading there is nothing said about the commandments. The revised version gives it thus: "Blessed are they that wash their robes." So the, American Bible Union, the Diaglott, etc. Hence this text has no bearing on the subject.
Thus we have examined every text from Genesis to Revelations on which Sabbatarians rely for the perpetuity of the law and the Sabbath. 1. To say the very least, all these texts are capable of a different interpretation from what they give them; they do not necessarily mean what Adventists say. 2. I feel confident that we have fairly and conclusively proved that they do not teach what Adventists claim.
For myself, I feel profoundly impressed that the Sabbatarian theory is built all the way through upon a narrow, forced, and unnatural interpretation of the Bible, one that cannot stand the test of fair criticism. The more I study it the more apparent these facts become to me. I am devoutly thankful to God that he has led me out of that error.