Seventh-Day Adventists/The Law that has ended
Thank you for all that you do. Could you comment on this statement from one pro-SDA apologist?
"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."
Thanks in advance,
Thank you for your request regarding the law that has ended.
The writer says:
"The Ten Commandment law is not what ended."
Christ is the fulfillment and the end of the Mosaic law (nomos, G3551), which included the Ten Commandments. One can refuse to accept this fact but refusal doesn't make it any less true.
Romans 10:4 (NIV)
Christ is the end of the law
so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
Christ is the "end of the law" in two ways. He fulfills the purpose and goal of the law (Matthew 5:17) in that he perfectly exemplified God's desires on earth. But he is also the termination of the law because in comparison to Christ, the law is powerless to save.
— Life Application Bible Notes
The Ten Commandments was the words of the covenant with Israel (Exodus 34:27-28)....
Exodus 34:27-28 (NIV)
27 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel
28 Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant--the Ten Commandments.
The Ten Commandments was part of the law, aka Torah, which included the first five books of the Bible. The law, which included the Ten Commandments, was to be in effect UNTIL Christ, the Seed, came. Christ fulfilled the law and the prophets.
Galatians 3:19 (NIV)
19 What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until
the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator.
The Ten Commandments was the words of the covenant between God and Israel (Exodus 34:28) as quoted previously, but in Jeremiah 31, God said that He would make a new covenant
with Israel UNLIKE
the covenant He made with their forefathers. The covenant made with their forefathers was the Ten Commandments but under the New Covenant He is going to do something altogether different.
Jeremiah 31:31-32 (NIV)
31 "The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt
, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them," declares the LORD.
God didn't tell Jeremiah to tell Israel that He was going to make a new covenant with all people because at that time Israel was His chosen treasure and the inclusion of Gentile nations would come after His resurrection. In addition, that would have been too much information for Israel since they considered Gentiles as beneath them, even dogs. After the resurrection, God instructed the disciples to go to the Jews first, and then to the Gentile nations.
The 4th commandment, which SDAs love to lift up, was specifically given to Israel in remembrance of their deliverance from Egypt.
Deuteronomy 5:15 (NIV)
15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt
and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day
. (This command was not given to the Gentile nations even though SDAs say that the Sabbath is the seal of God, which is a false statement also).
The law was fulfilled and ended with Christ.
Matthew 5:17-18 (KJV) read....
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled
According to Strongs Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
, the law referenced in Matthew 5:17-18 is the Mosaic Law (nomos) given at Sinai, aka Torah. To reiterate, the Torah was the first five books of the Bible, which included the Ten Commandments. It was all considered "the law".
Gentiles were not given the law given at Sinai and Gentiles were not included in this covenant agreement. The law was given to Israel to separate Israel from the rest of the nations
. The law of Moses included moral, ceremonial, civil, health and food commands but all these commands were known and referred to as "the law" and they were not separated into categories. A man by the name of Thomas Aquinas, a Catholic theologian and philosopher, separated the law into categories for convenience, but it is not Scriptural. The law was one indivisible unit and to say that only part of it was nailed to the cross is an affront to Jesus, Who came to fulfill the entire law and the prophets. When Jesus said, "It is finished" He meant His work of atonement was completed and the law was fulfilled in its entirety.
Only Jesus can save and reconcile us to the Father. All believers are saved by grace through faith which is a gift of God. All born again believers are Spirit led.
Romans 8:14 (KJV)
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
The Spirit is a Person and empowers. The law is lifeless and can only condemn and point to the Savior.
The writer said:
"It is where the commandments are written that was changed."
The writer has changed "His law" to mean the Ten Commandments. His law or God's law is fulfilled when we love our neighbor. God's biddings or commandments are not confined to Ten Commandments. Also, if the writers position is correct by saying that what changed is "where" His law is written, why does the Bible say.....
Romans 2:14-15 (KJV)
14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law
(nomos), do by nature
the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts
, their conscience also bearing witness
, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
When God said in Jeremiah 31 that He was going to write His law on their heart, He was addressing the house of Israel
Jeremiah 31:33 (NIV)
33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts
. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
According to Romans 2:15, Gentiles had already been following conscious law written on their hearts and the laws as revealed to them in nature. Unfortunately, they turned their backs on God and began worshiping the creation instead of the Creator.
So, is it really the "where" or location of the law that changed? If God is only going to change the location of the law, I wonder what He meant by saying that He was going to make a new covenant
with Israel unlike the old covenant made with their forefathers
? He couldn't have meant that He was writing the Ten Commandments on their hearts because that wouldn't be new because the Ten Commandments was the Old Covenant.
Whatever God tells the Spirit to lay on our hearts to do or not to do is His law and/or command. This is how he dealt with Abraham, the father of faith. Born again believers of faith are Abraham's children. Abraham did not have the Mosaic law because it came 430 years after his death. He was saved by faith and faith alone.
Unless the writer is a Jew, he is ignoring the fact that he was never under the law. He has placed himself under the bondage of law keeping and he is not accepting the fact that Jesus died to reconcile him to the Father and that he can become the righteousness of God through faith in Christ Jesus and His finished work.
The Ten Commandments are not written on our hearts. To do so would place everyone under the law and the Bible says we are not under the law (nomos) but grace. The Ten is nomos. Why do we need the law and
the Spirit to tell us what to do? To do so is trying to mix the Old and New Covenants, which are mutually exclusive. Once cannot be under the law and
under grace at the same time.
Romans 6:14 (NIV)
14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace
The writer said:
"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 law did not send Christ to the cross. His law is perfect and holy. The law was never intended to be changed to accommodate sin. What sent Jesus to the cross was Israel's inability to keep His perfect law and the fact that the whole world was sold under sin and slaves to it. Jesus came as a Jew for a reason. He came to fulfill the law as a Jew because only the Jews had been given the written law. He would not have been able to effectively fulfill Jewish law as a Gentile because Gentiles were not under Israel's law and the Pharisees would have required Him to become a Jew via circumcision, etc. to practice their law and ceremonies.
Ephesians 2:11-13 (NIV)
Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth
and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)--
12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
Jesus came to reconcile the world to the Father.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (KJV)
For he hath made him to be sin for us
, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Romans 8:32 (KJV)
32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all
, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
An imperfect people do not have the ability to keep a perfect law and since God knew this, He gave them the sacrificial system to look forward to the day when the unblemished and spotless Lamb would come to keep the law perfectly "for them" and die for their sins. He then extended to them and to all of us the opportunity to accept what He did by faith.
The writer said:
"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."
We need to make it clear that when Paul is speaking about the law (nomos), he is addressing the Jewish believers who had come from or was in the process of coming from under the law. Paul had a mixed audience of believing Jews and believing Gentiles and he addressed them accordingly. The Gentiles had never been under the law so strict attention has to be paid to whom Paul is addressing at any given moment.
If everything Paul says is made to apply to all people it becomes a problem. The writer quoted Paul in Romans 3:31 but let's look at Romans 3:19 (a few verses preceding verse 31) to show that Paul says that not everyone was under the law.
Romans 3:19-20 (NIV)
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law
, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.
20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin
It should be clear that not everyone was under the law. The law is still being used by unbelieving Jews as a pointer to the Person of Jesus and by people who have been taught in religious systems that they are to live by the law that never applied to them in the first place. Jesus, Who gave the law, is superior to the law. Why look to the law that increases sin when we can look to the Author of the law, the Savior, Who paid for and took away our sins?
The writer says that the law referenced in Romans 3:31 must be the Ten Commandment law since the ceremonial law was fulfilled by Christ and rendered useless. The law referenced in Romans is nomos, the Mosaic law, which included all of the law. The writer will never find a separation or division of the law in Scripture. Division of the law into categories was done by man. All 613 commandments which included the Ten Commandments are called "the law". Break one and all are considered broken. Jesus fulfilled the entire law, not just the so-called ceremonial laws dealing with sacrifices.
James 2:10-11 (NIV)
10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
11 For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder."
If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.
Please take note that James is addressing Jewish believers
because only the Jews and Israel had the law and only they would know what the law said. Context is crucial. James is verifying that Moses' law contained the Ten Commandments because two of them are listed in verse 11. I make this point because some SDAs believe that Moses' Law and God's Law are two different laws. SDAs believe that God's law is the Ten Commandments and they call it His eternal unchanging law. You will not find this distinction anywhere in the Bible. The Bible uses them interchangeably. God gave His law to Moses and instructed Moses to give His law to the people and they called it Moses' law, when if fact, they knew it came from God. It is vital for SDAs to lift up the Ten Commandments because the Ten gives the command to worship on the 7th day. This 4th commandment law is included in their name, 7th day Adventists, so it it very important for their namesake.
The law was nailed to the cross in its entirety. Believers are led by the Spirit and the Spirit will only led believers into things that are holy since He is holy. The focus should be on Jesus, the Person, and what He has done for us and not on law keeping which cannot save anyone.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God
The other day I heard a televangelist make what I consider a profound statement. He said, "When the text is taken out of context, we are left with a con."
This is so very true and religion has done its fair share of conning. Context is so very important, it's crucial. The Bible is written for all people but not everything written in the Bible applies to all people.
The Bible specifically says that the law was given to Israel. The Bible specifically says that before the law was given, sin was in the world
but sin isn't taken into account when there is no law
Romans 5:13. Yet, most of Christendom lift up the Ten Commandments as the guide to life when the Bible says the Ten Commandments were the words of the covenant to Israel (Exodus 34:28) and that the sons and daughters of God are led by the Spirit and not the law.
Ephesians 2:9-15 NLT reads...
Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders
. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. 12 In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them.
You lived in this world without God and without hope. 13 But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ
14 For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people
when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. 15 He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations
. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups.
Note that in some of the above verses Paul is speaking to Gentiles directly ("you Gentiles")and a few verses later in the same chapter
, he is addressing his entire audience (by using the word "us"). Again, context is crucial
I hope this has been somewhat helpful. It was really hard for me to stay on topic with this response because as a former SDA, I can see so much that is implied, fallacious assumptions are made and words/thoughts are added to Scripture in the writer's remarks. The biggest false assumption made is that the law given to Israel was given to all people. Text taken out of context leaves us with a con.