Seventh-Day Adventists/The Lawgiver
Dear Brother Sal:
You claim that Jesus is the New Lawgiver but it was Jesus who was the Lawgiver of the Old Covenant. It was Jesus who gave Moses the Old Covenant laws. It was Jesus who spoke the Ten Commandments! So the Sabbath is still a valid practice because Jesus could not end something that he said to do.
First let's read the passage in question, Matthew 17:1-8. Here it is in the NIV:
"After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. 4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus."
You certainly have a valid point. I will not argue with you concerning your belief that it was Jesus who gave the Old Covenant Law to Moses. However, Matthew wrote to Jews. The Jews saw Moses as the Lawgiver of the Old Covenant. It is really irrelevant to Matthew's point whether or not Jesus was the Old Covenant Lawgiver. The Jews did not recognize Jesus as such. Therefore, Matthew presents Jesus as the new Lawgiver replacing the authority of Moses. Jesus is also presented as the New Prophet replacing the authority of Old Covenant prophets represented by Elijah. Matthew presents Jesus as the new Lawgiver & the new Prophet of the New Covenant giving the full and final revelation of God. In accordance with this Paul wrote, "Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world" (Hebrews 1:1-2 ESV). God the Father cemented this truth into Christian minds when He proclaimed, "Listen to him!" (v. 5). By implication this means not to listen to Moses or Elijah both of whom Peter thought were on equal footing with Jesus (v. 4).
We can see in this passage indications that Matthew is presenting Jesus as the new Lawgiver and Prophet. Note the references to a mountain (v. 1) and to Jesus' face shining like the sun (v. 2). Compare this with Moses. "When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God" (Exodus 34:29 ESV). Also note God's emphatic, "Listen to him!" Compare this to what Moses said of the future Prophet. "The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him" (Deuteronomy 18:15 NIV).
So I believe it is rather obvious that Matthew is portraying Jesus as the new Lawgiver and Prophet of a new covenant replacing Moses and all Old Covenant prophets. Now this does not mean that Jesus was not also the Old Covenant Lawgiver in a veiled manner, but again this is irrelevant to Matthew's point. Note that after the Apostles hear God, "Listen to him!" they look up and see only Jesus (v. 8). The representatives of the Old Covenant have vanished. It is to Jesus and Jesus alone that we are to look to for our doctrine. Paul expressed this truth by showing that the entire Old Covenant had vanished. "In that He says, 'A new covenant,' He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away" (Hebrews 8:13 NKJV).
Have a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year!
P.S. Let me take this opportunity to wish all my fellow experts a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year!