Seventh-Day Adventists/The Priesthood and the Old Covenant
John wrote at 2013-05-31 16:00:04
The real issue here is with the interpretation of scripture. Sal believes that his interpretation is infallible. That is an exceptionally dangerous assumption to make, yet Sal will passionately quarrel with anyone who chooses to challenge him there. SDAs on the other hand have a totally different understanding of scripture and although we respect Sal’s right to believe as he wishes, we are very much concerned with his need to label our understanding as ‘anti-biblical’. He also feels it is his duty to spread his particular version of the truth to SDAs while neglecting other denominations that also choose to worship God on His Sabbath day.
It is one thing to believe differently, but for Sal to assume that only his interpretation of scripture is correct and then attack just the SDAs for disagreeing with him is quite prejudicial and not something any Christian should be imposing on their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
Frank wrote at 2013-06-01 23:09:02
5 30 2013 - The Priesthood and the Old Covenant
<<< The expert’s answer: >>>
As always thank you for writing to express your concerns. Let’s test your belief that it was only the Old Covenant priesthood and the ceremonial laws that became obsolete.
“By calling this covenant ‘new,’ he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear” (Hebrews 8:13 NIV).
<<< The Old Covenant wasn’t given as a means of salvation. It was given to reveal the remedy for the broken law, which is the Christ. “And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” (Hebrews 9:15 KJV) >>>
The verses previous to this one quote the prophecy in Jeremiah that God would make a new covenant. This verse clearly states that when God spoke of a new covenant through Jeremiah He was declaring the Old Covenant obsolete. There is nothing in this verse about only part of the Old Covenant becoming obsolete. It was the entire Old Covenant that was taken away by Christ in order to establish the New Covenant promised in Jeremiah.
<<< The Ten Commandment law is not what ended. It is where the commandments are written that was changed. What nonsense to suggest that Christ could have done away with the law that sent him to the cross. If that were possible He sacrificed Himself for no reason. It is because the law could not be changed to accommodate sin that Christ made His atoning sacrifice. The Apostle Paul contradicted that madness when he wrote, “Do we then make void the law (nomon) through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law (nomon).” (Romans 3:31 KJV) “nomon” must be the Ten Commandment law because the ceremonial law was fulfilled by Christ and rendered useless. >>>
Let’s look at the prophecy in Jeremiah to determine if it refers to only the priesthood when it says “covenant” or to the entire Old Covenant.
“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (Jeremiah 31:31-34 NASB).
<<< Sin is still transgression of the law and the law was given to fallen man at Sinai in the form of Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments represent the entire moral law. They encompass every possible sin. It is the principles of the Ten Commandment law that are written on the heart and in the mind. And it is the same in the Old Testament. “Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.” (Isaiah 51:7 KJV) >>>
This passage is obviously speaking of the Old Covenant not some imagined separate part of the Old Covenant. God said He would make a new covenant “not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke…” (v. 32). Did the Israelites only break a ceremonial covenant? No, they broke the covenant that God made with them at Sinai when “…I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke…”. The Old Covenant was one package it was not separate parts. God highlighted this through this same prophet.
<<< He made the New Covenant with the House of Israel and the house of Judah (Heb 8:8). “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, (the nation of Israel) and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” (Matthew 21:43 KJV) The stoning of Stephen signified the nation’s final rejection of the Savior by their ruling body. The testament was then given to any individual who would look to Christ for forgiveness of sins; that is the Christian Church. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” (1 Peter 2:9 KJV) The phrase “the kingdom of God shall be taken from you” simply means the Old Covenant promise of eternal life in the Promised Land is taken from then because they did not keep the Covenant. “Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.” (Hebrews 8:9 KJV) The New Covenant promise is eternal life in God’s kingdom through faith in Christ for righteousness. “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:” (Hebrews 8:10 KJV) There is no change in the moral law. Indeed, there cannot be. >>>
“The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, ‘Hear the words of this covenant, and speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and say to them, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, Cursed is the man who does not heed the words of this covenant which I commanded your forefathers in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Listen to My voice, and do according to all which I command you; so you shall be My people, and I will be your God’” (Jeremiah 11:1-4 NASB).
<<< “That I may perform the oath which I have sworn unto your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day. Then answered I, and said, So be it, O LORD. Then the LORD said unto me, Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying, Hear ye the words of this covenant, and do them. For I earnestly protested unto your fathers in the day that I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, even unto this day, rising early and protesting, saying, Obey my voice. Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked everyone in the imagination of their evil heart: therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do; but they did them not.” (Jeremiah 11:5-8 KJV)
The blessings and curses of the Everlasting Covenant have always been contingent upon obedience to the law of God. It is the same under the New Covenant. Because the children of Israel did not keep the Covenant they lost their inheritance. The New Covenant promise of eternal life in God’s kingdom is also contingent on obedience to the law but is added the promise of a savior to cleanse our sins and to be our God. What many fail to understand is the Law Covenant made at Sinai was not given as a means of salvation. It was through faith in the promised savior, whom the Old Covenant ceremonies typified, for forgiveness of sins that believers under the Old Covenant were saved. In other words they are saved under the same Covenant as the Christian church. >>>
Even earlier Moses delivered this same truth to Israel. “Cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law by observing them. And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’” (Deuteronomy 27:26 NKJV). This was repeated much later by Paul. “For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them’” (Galatians 3:10 ESV). There should be no confusion, dear sister, but that the Old Covenant was one unit of law. The Bible is clear in repeating this fact.
<<< It doesn’t matter how many times the expert says the Old Covenant is all one unit of law. Just because the children of Israel were obligated to keep the whole law that does not mean that there weren’t divisions in the law. >>>
In Hebrews there is no doubt that Paul is very interested in showing that the New Covenant priesthood of Jesus is superior to the Old Covenant priesthood of Aaron. However, that does not mean that the Old Covenant priesthood can be separated from the rest of the Old Covenant.
Paul clearly taught that the Old Covenant priesthood and the Old Covenant law were inseparable. “For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also” (Hebrews 7:12 NASB). The Old Covenant priesthood was foundational to the Old Covenant law. The priests taught the people the law of God. The law could not function without the Levitical priesthood. The priesthood and the law were inseparable. Neither the Old Covenant law nor the Levitical priesthood could exist apart from one another.
<<< Jesus teaches the law under the New Covenant. “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:” (Hebrews 8:10 KJV) The ‘laws’ Jesus writes in the heart and mind is ‘nomos’ which under the New Covenant is the Ten Commandment law as the Law of Moses has been rendered obsolete by Christ. “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old (obsolete NKJV). Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” (Hebrews 8:13 KJV) >>>
“Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron? For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also” (Hebrews 7:11-12 NASB).
Note in v. 12 it says a change “of” law not “in” law. This is significant because a change “in” law would mean that some changes were made to the body of law. A change “of” law means the entire body of law is done away with and replaced with a completely new law. This is why Paul can say, “By calling this covenant ‘new,’ he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear” (Hebrews 8:13 NIV).
<<< There is a change of law. It is the law that established and regulated the Jewish system of worship and the Levitical Priesthood. “Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.” (Hebrews 9:1 KJV) That is the law that revealed the entire plan of salvation and was rendered obsolete in performance by Christ. The Law of Moses which describes in detail the ritual remedy for the broken law is now being fulfilled by Christ in the heavenly sanctuary. The Ten Commandment law that reveals righteousness and defines sin is being written in the heart and mind. “But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.” (Hebrews 7:24-27 KJV) It couldn’t be any clearer that the law that changed was not the moral law, but the law that revealed Christ as savior. >>>
You cannot separate the priesthood from the covenant. You cannot have the Aaronic high priest presiding over the New Covenant.
<<< Aaron was a type of Christ as High Priest and Christ the fulfillment. The earthly High Priest’s service ended at the cross when Christ’s began in the heavenly. There is no change in the moral law involved. >>>
You cannot have the New Covenant high priest, Jesus Christ, presiding over the Old Covenant. The Old Covenant priest and the New Covenant law or the New Covenant priest and the Old Covenant law just don’t correspond. They are not congruent. The priesthood and the law are intertwined. You cannot have one without the other. This is true of both covenants. You cannot have the Old Covenant without the Levites. “Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron?” (Hebrews 7:11 NASB). You cannot have the New Covenant without its priest, Jesus. “And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood’” (Luke 22:20 NASB).
It wasn’t just a new high priest in the order of Aaron that was needed, but an entirely new priesthood which necessitates an entirely new law and covenant.
<<< An entirely new law? The law that Adam and Eve transgressed is the law that sent Jesus to the cross. God does not change and neither does His law (the law He wrote in man’s heart and mind at creation). “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Malachi 3:6 KJV) “The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.” (Psalms 111:7-8 KJV) >>>
“For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law . . . And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: ‘The Lord has sworn and will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek’), by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant” (Hebrews 7:12, 20-22 NKJV).
If his reader missed this fact Paul restated it. “By calling this covenant ‘new,’ he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear” (Hebrews 8:13 NIV). Dear sister, if you cannot say with Paul that the entire Old Covenant is obsolete then you simply aren’t very biblical.
<<< Jesus went to the cross to save man from the “wages of sin” which is death. The only place the broken law is given, the law that defines sin, is in Exodus chapter 20. The expert likes to point out that the Ten Commandments don’t contain the two greatest commandments in the law, love for God and love for man. What people don’t understand is Love for God and love for man is the remedy for sin. And sin is defined by the Ten Commandment law given at Sinai. >>>
Am I trying to “get rid” of the Sabbath? My dear sister, we have been over this ground before. I don’t want to stop anyone from observing the Sabbath if that’s their choice. What I do is simply point out what is taught in the Bible, i.e. that the Sabbath is no longer a requirement for God’s people. Israel was the first and only people to be given the Sabbath.
“Then You came down on Mount Sinai,
And spoke with them from heaven;
You gave them just ordinances and true laws,
Good statutes and commandments.
So You made known to them Your holy sabbath,
And laid down for them commandments, statutes and law,
Through Your servant Moses” (Nehemiah 9:13-14 NASB).
<<< He made known to them (the children of Israel) His holy Sabbath. That would be the Sabbath He made holy at creation. How do we know what day that is? The broken law tells us. “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” (Exodus 20:11 KJV) >>>
God gave the Sabbath to Israel to be a special sign between them and Him.
“Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed” (Exodus 31:16-17 NKJV).
<<< The story of the children of Israel in the Old Testament is the gospel in type. From the deliverance of God’s people (Israel, not Israel only) out of Egyptian bondage, which is a type of deliverance from sin through faith in Christ in the New Testament; to life in the Promised Land which is a type of life in Eden restored in God’s kingdom in the earth made new. >>>
What I do want to get rid of is the anti-biblical notion that Christians must observe the Old Covenant Sabbath under the pains of sin. I don’t want anyone’s conscience to be unnecessarily burdened with guilt over not keeping or improperly keeping the Old Covenant Sabbath. I know dear sister that this strikes at the very heart of your Church’s Sabbath teaching, but it’s Scripture.
<<< It is scripture according to the expert’s interpretation of it only. It has been Satan’s study from his fall to pervert the gospel and lure God’s Covenant keeping people into sin. Seventh-day Adventist Christians refuse to give up one of God’s forever and ever moral commandments (Psalms 11:7, 8). Sunday worship has been Satan's most successful tactic and that is why he hates God’s remnant Church. Believing any day or no day can be a Sabbath is no more enlightened than calling Sunday the new Sabbath. The New Covenant was ratified by Jesus on the cross. Paul’s comments in his letters can do nothing to change the law of the Covenant.
Satan has said, “. . . ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’” (Isaiah 14:13-14 NKJV) but his end is decreed, “Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.” (Isaiah 14:15 NKJV) >>>
Thanks for sharing,
<<< In Christ’s love,