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
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,
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
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
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
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.
* Eph. 2:14, 15. The law of ordinances. This shows that only the ceremonial law was
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.
* 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
* 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.