WHY THIS BOOK
Adventism had its beginning in the state of Massachusetts, U.S.A., in 1831, under the leadership of William Miller. At first, it was a doctrine based upon the second coming (advent) of Christ as the only hope of the world. Miller began to preach in 1833 in Low Hampton, New York, that the end of the world was at hand. He published his teachings on the subject in a tract which he called Evidences From Scripture And History Of The Second Coming Of Christ About The Year 1843, and of His Personal Reign Of One Thousand Years.
Early in their history, they made the claim that there was about to occur the cataclysmic destruction of this evil world, after which Christ would reign in triumph for a period of 1000 years on earth. Miller predicted that this cleansing upheaval would occur between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844. When this prophecy and great expectation failed to materialize, he admitted that he had erred in his calculations; so, October 22, 1844, was set. History related that thousands of his (Adventist) followers disposed of their property, gave their goods away, settled their accounts, and waited prayerfully and expectantly for that day to arrive. That day (October 22) came, but not the second coming of Jesus. This third failure in prophecy divided Miller's followers and, out of these fragments, Seventh-Day Adventism was born. Up until that time, Miller's disciples had kept Sunday. As a result of the many divisions that marked this group, there are some six bodies of Adventists.
This book deals primarily with their Sabbath keeping, although there are other doctrines such as soul-sleeping and the Thousand Year Reign of Jesus on earth that also characterizes this religious group.
It is hoped that the material in this book will be read and studied accurately, that it will be examined painstakingly, and that each reader will proceed through it to the end that it may be used both in the defense and the spread of the truth of God
-Guy V. Caskey
A LETTER RECEIVED
The following letter was received some time ago from a man who takes issue with a tract entitled The Lord's Day, First or Seventh? written by Mr. Carl Maples. The letter was handed to me with the request that I reply to it. I am happy to oblige. Inasmuch as the topic is admitted to be very controversial, I have chosen to answer it this way, that others may have an opportunity to see and examine the truth discussed upon the subjects introduced in the letter. The Bible answers that I give will be rather full so as to remove any doubt about what God's word teaches.
(Note: I have tried to reproduce the following letters exactly as they were originally—including the punctuation, word and sentence spacing, misspelled words and syntax, not for the purpose of embarrassing them, or anyone else, but in an effort to be accurate in what the gentlemen said and how they said it-G.V.C.)
I have read your booklet on the very controversial topic, THE LORD'S DAY, FIRST OR SEVENTH? by Carl Maples.
As one who has studied the Bible (and still studying), I find the impulsion to comment too great to resist.
The fact that there are so many Christian Churches today all claiming Biblical authority yet differing in the most fundamental teachings of the Bible provides one of my major puzzles. It is a pity that so many honest minded people, recognizing the Bible as being Divinely inspired (and your book identifies you as one of these), prefer to hold to tradition, making themselves willingly ignorant of God's truth
May I here say, contrary to your way of thinking, that the Bible emphatically states that the Perfect Law of God is still existing and binding on ALL genuine Christians regardless of ethnic classification (Romans 9:24,25; Matthew 5:17-19). Were this not so, then we would live in a sinless world, since according to the Bible, sin is nothing but the transgression of the Law
(Romans 7:7;4:15). Furthermore, abolition of the Law would make obsolete the need for the gospel since it is to reprove men of sin - the transgression of the Law. Here are other texts which will corroborate the present existence of the Law: Romans 7:12-25; James 2:8-11; Romans 13:8-9; Psalm 119:89.
I see where you cannot distinguish between the Ceremonial Law of Moses and the Moral Law of God. Colossians 2:14, quoted by Mr. Maples as evidence that the Law of God was nailed to the cross distinctly implies that it was the ceremonial handwriting of ordinances of Moses which dealt with circumcision and other Jewish festivals and not God's law. I am sure that you will recall that God Himself wrote with his own fingers on a tablet of stone the Ten Commandments, whilst He allowed the rest of the Scriptures to be written by holy men as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
The Law of God is abolished. Why then is it wrong to worship idols, to steal, or to kill; isn't it the Law that says these things are contrary to righteousness?
It was rather shocking that Mr. Carl Maples could arrive at the conclusion that Sunday is the Lord's Day as referred to in the Bible when Sunday worship among professing Christians did not begin for more that five hundred years after Christ's birth. The Roman Catholic Church, by her own testimony, admits and boasts that she is responsible for the "change" of the Lord's Day Sabbath from Saturday as we know it, to Sunday, the First Day of the week at the treaty of Laodicia. The Bible warned us beforehand that this would happen. "They shall think to change times and laws" (Daniel 7:23-25).
Jesus Christ, our Creator, (John 1:1-3; Ephesians 3:9), Savior and living Example, kept the 7th Day Sabbath to His very grave (Luke 4:16; 23:50-56). The Apostle Paul kept the 7th Day Lord's Day years after the death of Christ (Acts 17:2). The other disciples did just the same (Acts 13:42-44).
The Apostle Paul, who innocently bears the blame for authorizing Sunday worship, indicates in Romans 3:31 that Christians establish the Law wherein is found the true Lord's Day. Jesus himself made the Sabbath at Creation (Genesis 1:31; 2:1-3). He is Lord also of the Sabbath (Matthew 23:8), and the
Sabbath is of the Lord thy God (Exodus 20:10). The 7th Day Sabbath was made for man (Mark 2:28), not for Jews who constitute only a portion of mankind.
By the way, do you know that in heaven we are going to worship the Lord on His 7th Day Sabbath (Isaiah 66:22,23)? What then, is it just the Jews and other Sabbath-keeping Christians who are going to participate in this worship? And if you dare say, well, we will all worship on the Sabbath up there regardless of which day we worship down here, then the Lord is going to have to take the thief, the fornicator, the liar, and all other sinners to Heaven and then change them. We know that nothing of that sort is going to happen (Galatians 5:19-21).
At no time should we place man's theories and traditions over God's Word, or we simply waste time to bother to say we worship God (Mark 7:7).
Sunday is not the Lord's Day. Nowhere from Genesis to Revelations can you find any proof that the Lord's Day for today's Christian is not the 7th Day. I challenge you on that.
God wants us to worship Him in spirit and in truth. And what is truth? "Forever, O Lord, Thy Law is truth' (Psalm 119:142). Let us not knowingly blight our chance of eternal life by refusing to do God's will when we know it. "He that turneth his ear away from hearing my Law, even his very prayers shall be an abomination" (Proverbs 28:9) God's desire for us is that we are saved in His kingdom, but only those who DO his commandments - not do away with His Commandments - shall have right to the tree of life and may enter in through the gates into the City (Revelation 22:14).
Yours in Christ,
LAW OF MOSES AND LAW OF GOD
It will be noted that this gentleman, in keeping with Seventh-Day Adventism, makes an effort to distinguish the "Ceremonial Law of Moses and the Moral Law of God." May I tell you in the very outset of this study that no such language is found in the Bible! But, they tell us that the ceremonial law was the Law of Moses, and was done away; but, they tell us that the Decalogue is the moral law, the Law of God, or the law of the Lord, and it was not done away. For honest, Bible-believing people, the only solution to this supposed problem is to refer to the word of God and examine what it says.
In Ezra 7:6, we have these words: "... this Ezra came up from Babylon; and he was a skilled scribe in the Law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given. ..." This passage plainly states that God gave the law of Moses. You may ask: "What did Moses give?" And the answer is: "Now when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the Lord, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord given by Moses" (II Chronicles 34:14). So, these passages say that God gave the law of Moses, and Moses gave the law of God. Let us look at another passage: "The king also appointed a portion of his possessions for the burnt offerings: for the morning and evening burnt offerings, the burnt offerings for the Sabbaths and the New Moons and the set feasts, as it is written in the Law of the Lord" (II Chronicles 31:3).
Adventists, in promulgating their doctrine, insist that the Ten Commandments are not the law of Moses, but the law of the Lord. They say there is a difference between the two. But this passage mentions burnt offerings, new moons, and set feasts, along with the Sabbaths, as being in the law of Lord. Now, where does the Decalogue (Ten Commandments) mention such things? These are the thing which Adventists say belong to the ceremonial law; but the inspired writer of the book of Chronicles places them in God's law! It proves that these people make a false distinction and use language foreign to the Bible.
But, Let us read again from God's word: "For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother ...'" (Mark 7:10). You, doubtless, know that this is one of the Ten Commandments. Mark said it was the law of Moses!
Let us give careful attention to another passage: "Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord. ..." Luke is here speaking of Mary bringing the child Jesus to Jerusalem, to the temple, "according to the law of Moses." But note the next verse: "(as it is written in the law of the Lord, 'Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord') ..." (Luke 2:22-23). A casual student of God's work knows that this is not found in the Ten Commandments. What is called "the law of Moses" in verse 22, is called "the law of the Lord" in verse 23. Do not allow false doctrine, or your pride in it, to keep you from seeing this significant truth.
But let us investigate verses 24, 27, and 39 in the same chapter: "and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, 'A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.'" Which of the Ten Commandments discusses doves and pigeons? "... And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law ..." This is verse 27. Now look at verse 39: "So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth." Honesty compels one to see and admit that "the law of Moses" and "the law of the Lord" and "the law" are used interchangeably in these five verses. They refer to the same thing. How, then, is one able to make a distinction when there is none!
THE GREAT COMMANDMENT
The attitude of the Seventh-Day Adventists is entirely out of harmony with what Jesus called the Great Commandment. "Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 22:35-40). Here Jesus named two commandments that are not even found in the Decalogue. They are, in fact, commandments quoted from that source which Adventists call ceremonial law. This religious movement teaches that ceremonial law was done away. But our Lord says that the whole law and the prophets
hang on these two commandments. According to their teaching, the two great commandments have been done away and the law is left hanging on nothing! This is the plight of of those who try to make a distinction that does not exist! I am aware that they try to defend their position by claiming that the spirit of these two great commandments is found in the Decalogue. But that is begging the question. That is an evasion of the issue. It may be said that the spirit of these two commandments is found in many other commandments of the Lord such as "... let each esteem others better than himself" (Philippians 2:3), but no one would contend that this injunction to honor one another above self is one of the Ten Commandments.
But let us go a step further. In the law of God, Israel was commanded to make sacrifices. "Then you shall sacrifice one kid of the goats as a sin offering, and two male lambs of the first year as a sacrifice of a peace offering" (Leviticus 23:19). When an Israelite obeyed this command, it showed his love for God and his submission to and respect for his will. This is the very spirit of the great commandment, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart ..." But is this command to offer animal sacrifices a part of the Ten Commandments since it contains the same spirit of love and subjection?
DO ADVENTISTS KEEP THE CEREMONIAL LAW?
The predicament of the stand that Adventists take worsens by their adherence to ceremonial law, which they say has been abolished. What kind of religion is it that claims that ceremonial law has been abolished, and then turns around and charges people to keep that law, with threats of condemnation if they fail to do so?
Ellen G. White, Adventists' inspired (?) prophetess, in a book called Testimonies To The Church, Vol. II, page 61, says: "You have used the fat of animals, which God in his word expressly forbids." On page 68 of that same book, she issues injunction: "Cheese should never be introduced into the stomach." She continues on page 70: "It is just as much sin to violate the laws of our being as to break one of the Ten Commandments." On page 96, there is this further prohibition: "The use of swine's flesh is contrary to his express commandments." Mr. Erwin, who was the president of the General Conference of Seventh-
Day Adventists at Healdsburg, California, several years ago, affirmed the proposition: "Resolved, the visions of Mrs. E.G. White are the revelations of God."
So, the prophetess of Seventh-Day Adventism is saying that it is just as great a sin to eat a piece of ham or breakfast bacon as it is to commit adultery, or break any other of the Ten Commandments. There is no difference, she says, in eating a piece of pork and running off with another man's wife! To what part of the Ten Commandments does the prohibition to eat pork belong? If it is not part of the Decalogue, it is, in their language, a part of the ceremonial law. And they tell us that the ceremonial law has been abrogated. O Consistency, thou are a jewel!
Mrs. White's language does not correspond with the instructions of the apostle Paul: "Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things [but not for disputes over opinions, RSV]. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him" (Romans 14:1-3). Paul is here showing that God has accepted both Jews and Gentiles, and they are not to judge or reject each other over such questions as the eating of meats. There is not a principle of the gospel involved in eating or not eating meats. In verse 14 of the same chapter, Paul said: "I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers [regards] anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean."
Paul described one feature of the apostasy from New Testament Christianity in these words: "...that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons ... forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving" (I Timothy 4:1-4). He discusses the subject further by saying: "Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience sake" (I Corinthians 10:25). The apostle Paul was teaching the lesson that "... the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness
and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17). The kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ does not consist in abstaining from or indulging in the eating of meats, physical food, but in righteousness, in inward principles which govern the life of the Christian in his service to God and in his service to and deportment before his fellowman.
Seventh-Day Adventists are Judaistic in their attitude toward the law, and they are Judaistic, not Christian, in their doctrines as well. Our correspondent, who tells us that he is a student of the Bible, disregards those scriptures which show, unmistakably and conclusively, that the law of Moses has been abrogated—that is, that it has been canceled and abolished! Remember, it has already been shown that the scriptures do not make the distinction between the law of Moses and the law of God that Adventists struggle to show. But, again, let us go to the word of God for a full and satisfactory answer.
Read carefully Galatians 4:21-31: "Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, [literally, in the Greek: "brings forth into slavery." "The people who are under this covenant are like slaves"—NERV], which is Hagar—for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children—but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written: 'Rejoice, O barren, you who do not bear! Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children that she who has a husband.' Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of the promise. But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless, what does the Scriptures say? 'Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.' So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free."
Paul's story of these two women, Hagar and Sarah, represents two covenants, the Old and the New. The two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, represent two nations, fleshly and spiritual. Hagar represents the covenant given at Mount Sinai. Sarah represents the New Covenant, inaugurated at Jerusalem. Ishmael represents national Israel, and Isaac represents spiritual Israel. Hagar and Ishmael had nothing in common with Sarah and Isaac. Neither does national Israel have anything in common with spiritual Israel. Sarah, the freewoman, jealous of Hagar and Ishmael, told Abraham to cast out the bondwoman and her son. Paul thus shows that the casting out of the two was a type (picture) of what happened to the old covenant. "Cast out the handmaid and her son."
So, you can see that the doctrines of Seventh-Day Adventism are Judaistic. They are founded, not on the gospel of Christ, but on the law of Moses. In the next chapter, Galatians 5:4, Paul continues his strong argument about the abrogation of the law and the condition of those who endeavored to keep it: "You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by the law; you have fallen from grace." One translation renders it: "You have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen from grace." Keep in mind that Paul was discussing law which was given from Mount Sinai—the Ten Commandment Law!
In Romans 7:4, Paul makes another statement of this same character: "Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God." But one may argue that this was the ceremonial law and not the law of God. The context very clearly shows that it was the law which says, "You shall not covet" (v. 7). I need not tell you, I am sure, that this is one of the Ten Commandments. So, what Paul is affirming is: "You have become dead to the Ten Commandments!"
THE LAW ABOLISHED
Read another passage in its context, II Corinthians 3:4-14, "... who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not
look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious. Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech—unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ."
Paul, in this passage, clearly states that what was done away was the covenant written and engraved in stones. He identifies it as the law which was given when Moses' "face shone that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold it." This was the Ten Commandment Law, and the writer of Exodus elaborates it for our understanding. "Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the Testimony were in Moses' hand when he came down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him. So when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned to him; and Moses talked with them. Afterward all the children of Israel came near and he gave them as commandments all that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai. And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face" (Exodus 34:29-33).
OLD TESTAMENT DONE AWAY IN CHRIST
There is no question about what this covenant was, these two tablets of stone, or the tables of testimony. They were the Ten Commandments, which contained the sabbath commandment. Look carefully at these marks of identification:
- They were given on Mount Sinai.
- They were written and engraved on tablets of stone.
- This was done at the time when Moses' face shone.
Now give careful attention to these statements concerning the abrogation of the covenant:
- It was called the ministry of death.
- It was also called the ministry of condemnation.
- "It was done away."
- "Which is abolished."
- "Which veil was done away in Christ."
- "It killeth."
There can be no mistake that Paul is here saying that the Decalogue is gone, that it has been abolished, canceled out and nailed to the cross. For the Adventists to say that the stones referred to in this verse were memorial stones set up by the children of Israel when they crossed the Jordan under Joshua, is an evasion of the force of Paul's argument and a wicked perversion of the word of God. It is so outrageously out of harmony with what the Bible teaches, it is hardly worth consideration.
IF THE LAW IS ABOLISHED, ARE WE FREE TO SIN?
The common retort, as seen in paragraph six of this Adventist correspondent's letter, is that if the Ten Commandments have been abolished, then we are free to worship idols, steal, kill, commit adultery, and covet. This is an absurd conclusion. These things were wrong long before the law of Moses was given. Abraham never lived under the law (read Romans 4). He preceded it by several centuries. He lived in a period of God's government which is referred to as the Patriarchal Age. It was wrong, sinful, in his time to lie, steal, and commit adultery. It has always been wrong.
The island of Jamaica (where I lived for several years) was once under the rule of Great Britain. Their laws forbade murder, robbery, false witness, etc. Jamaica is not now under British rule. Are we to assume, then, that because she is not now governed by England, in Jamaica men are free to murder, rob, and bear false witness? This kind of reasoning, and this kind of mishandling of the word of God, transcends the ridiculous. It becomes contemptuous. Jamaica has her own laws, constitutionally set up; and these laws forbid murder, robbery, and false testimony, not because these things were forbidden under
English law, under which she once lived, but because they are forbidden under the laws and constitution of Jamaica. And the reason they are forbidden is because such acts are wrong; they are sin against society and against God.
How easy it is to see, if we will but read the Bible, that we are now living under a New Covenant, which is full, complete, and perfect. It is a better covenant with better promises. It was to this New Covenant that Jeremiah referred centuries before it was established: "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—'not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke ...'" (Jeremiah 31:31-34). The writer of the Hebrew letter quotes this passage and shows that it has been fulfilled in the abolishment of the Old Covenant and in the inauguration of the New Covenant (Hebrews 8:8-12). Then the writer of the Hebrew Letter concludes with this statement in v. 13: "In that He says, 'A new covenant,' He has made the first obsolete." A bit later, in chapter 10:9-10, he asserts: "... He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
But there is the inclination, in defense of one's doctrine, to say that Jeremiah and the writer of Hebrews were not discussing the Ten Commandment law, or covenant. However, Jeremiah identifies it by saying that it was given when God took Israel by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. This was his way of foretelling the repeal of the Old Covenant and the enactment of the New Covenant. This Covenant which he made with Israel when he "took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt" was the Covenant made at Mount Sinai. In proof that this was, indeed, the Ten Commandment covenant, I invite you to turn in your Bible to I Kings 8:9: "Nothing was in the ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses put there at Horeb [Sinai], when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt."
You will notice further, in v. 21 of the same chapter: "And there I have made a place for the ark, in which is the covenant of the Lord which He made with our fathers, when He brought them out of the land of Egypt."
SABBATH TO BE KEPT THROUGHOUT
It is rather puzzling that an honest student of the word of God would not know and readily admit that the sabbath commandment was given to and for the Israelites, and was to last throughout their generations. The sabbath was never given to the Gentiles. Read carefully, and with concern, the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 5:1-15, that you may see to whom it was given. "And Moses called all Israel, and said to them: 'Hear, O Israel, the statues and judgments which I speak in your hearing today, that you may learn them and be careful to observe them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb [Sinai]. The Lord did not make the covenant with our fathers, but with us, those who are here today, all of us who are alive. ...'" This settles beyond any doubt the question. To whom was this law given? It was given to Israel. It was not given to their ancestors. This same truth God commanded Moses to speak in Exodus 31:13-17: "Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: 'Surely My sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you.'" It is important that you give attention to these two facts: (1) This was spoken to Israel, and (2) the sabbath was a sign between God and the nation of Israel.
He also called it a perpetual covenant. A sign is a special thing. It stands for something particular. It is not general—not for everyone. Let me illustrate it in this way: A young man meets, falls in love with, and marries a young woman. It is special; it is not general. It is not a sign between the young man and every woman. In other cultures, that special sign might come in some form other than a wedding ring. It might be beads about the girl's neck, or a tribal mark on her face. Whatever it is, it is a sign between one man and one woman. God made the sabbath covenant with Israel, and this covenant was a contract between two parties—God and Israel. In v. 15 of Deuteronomy 5, he tells why God gave Israel the sabbath: "And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day."
WHEN WAS THE SABBATH GIVEN?
It is not true that God's people have always observed the sabbath. Adventists try to show that the sabbath has been kept from creation. But the passages which I have just read clearly show that it was given to and for Israel, that it was a sign between God and them, that He required them to remember and keep it because they had been slaves in Egypt and He had led them out of that bondage. When God gave them a day to celebrate that deliverance from Egypt, He gave them the same day upon which "he had rested" 2500 years before. It should be observed that Moses is simply giving a chronicle of a fact which had occurred many years prior. By that I mean, this is a historical record, a register of events, which he is now recounting centuries after they had happened. "Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it ..." (Genesis 2:3). When did God bless and hallow it? When he gave it to Israel to observe, because in it He had rested.
When God gave Israel a day on which to commemorate their rest from their labor as slaves in Egypt, He gave them the same day on which He had rested 2500 years before. It was not blessed or hallowed to them until they had been delivered from Egyptian bondage. It has no significance to Christians, nor to the gospel, for we were not slaves in Egypt, nor were we called together at Mount Sinai and charged to keep the sabbath. But let us look at the word therefore just for a moment. He said two things: (1) You were slaves in Egypt, and (2) God brought you out. Therefore, for this reason, God commanded you to keep the sabbath. The Greek word in the Septuagint Old Testament is (dia touto), and it means "as a result of this, for this reason, consequently." So, the reason you are to keep the sabbath is to get you to remember you were slaves in Egypt and God released you from that bondage.
WAS THE PASSAGE MISAPPLIED?
The writer of the letter sent to me accused Mr. Maples of a misapplication of Colossians 2:14, which reads: "having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross." This gentleman states that it "distinctly implies the ceremonial handwriting of ordinances of Moses
which dealt with circumcision and other Jewish festivals and not God's law. It would have been appropriate to truth and honesty (but certainly not to Adventist doctrine) for the correspondent to have read several verses farther in Colossians 2. In v. 16, he would have discovered this significant fact: "So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths ..." Paul continues by saying that these ordinances are a "shadow of things to come ..." Phillips translates this sentence: "All these things have at most only a symbolical value." In the clearest terms, Paul most certainly shows that the sabbath, and all the other Jewish observances, ceased at the cross, and that we should let no man judge us respecting any of them. Among the various observances named, he pointed out the sabbath. One wonders if he did not anticipate such error as that with which we are here confronted.
WHO KEPT THE SABBATH AND WHY?
The claim is made that Jesus "kept the seventh Day Sabbath to his very grave" and that the apostle Paul kept it, "and the other disciples did just the same." To arrive at the truth on this subject, it is absolutely necessary that we understand the following facts: (1) Jesus was born under the law of Moses. "But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law ..." (Galatians 4:4), (2) Jesus lived under the law, (3) Jesus kept the law perfectly, and (4) Jesus died under the law. What does this prove, that we should keep the sabbath? Jesus also kept the Passover Feast. :... I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples" (Matthew 26:18). According to their argument, every Adventist should keep the Jewish Passover! Do Adventists circumcise their male children as a religious rite? They ought to. Jesus was. "And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus ..." (Luke 2:21). Do these people offer animal sacrifices? To be consistent with their doctrine, they are obligated to do so. Listen "... according to the law of Moses ... they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, 'Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord'), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, 'A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons'" (Luke 2:22-24). These sacrifices were made on behalf of Jesus by His parents, and they were made according to the law of the Lord. This is
the law which our correspondent says is still in effect. Why do they not offer doves or pigeons as sacrifices? I think I know: they are so mixed up on "the law of the Lord" and "the law of Moses," they do not really know what they believe! What about their keeping the Day of Atonement? Can one who reads the New Testament and is honest, not clearly see that all these things belong to the Old Testament, that this law was abolished, and that we now live under the New Testament, which is better than the Old in every respect?
Jesus gave emphasis to this truth in his sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:18: "For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled." He used the term, "till all is fulfilled," which Weymouth translates "until all has taken place." Knox, in his translation, renders it: "Until all has been accomplished." And Phillips version reads: "Until its purpose is complete." No doubt, you know the meaning and force of the word until. It means "up to the time or point that." The law was not abolished until the point or time of its fulfillment—until it had served its purpose. Jesus said in the previous verse, with reference to the law: "... I did not come to destroy but to fulfill."
It is also asserted by these people that Paul kept the sabbath. "And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks" (Acts 18:4). This says nothing about his worshipping on the sabbath or keeping the sabbath. He was there to preach against their Judaism. Notice what was the result of his preaching: "But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, 'Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles'" (v. 6). Even an incidental and aimless reading of this account would convince one that Paul went into the synagogues, not to keep the sabbath, nor to worship with those infidel Jews who did not even believe that Jesus was the Christ, but to teach them the gospel. It was here that he would find an audience, because it was on the sabbath that the Jews came together! They were still allegedly keeping the law. God intended that these Jews, who had 1500 years of religious training under the law in preparation for the coming of the Messiah, receive the gospel first so that they, in turn, could take it to the whole world. Thus, Paul found his audience in the synagogue on the sabbath. The Adventists would have the apostle engaging
in worship with these infidels! Why would they espouse such a false position? To save their pet sabbath and to bind it upon others!
IS THE SABBATH TO BE OBSERVED IN HEAVEN?
This gentleman, who takes issue with Mr. Maples, asks: "By the way, do you know that in Heaven we are going to worship the Lord on His 7th Day Sabbath" (Isaiah 66:22-23)? Perhaps we should read this passage which he cites as proof of his assertion: "'For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before Me,' says the Lord, 'so shall your descendants and your name remain. And it shall come to pass that from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me,' says the Lord."
If this passage teaches the observance of the sabbath in heaven, it also teaches the observance of the new moon in heaven. But Adventists say that the new moon was ceremonial law, and that this law was done away. But I believe their concept of heaven is somewhat perverted also. The passage says that "... All flesh shall come to worship before Me. ..." Paul, when he was discussing the resurrection and the future life, said: "... I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God ..." (I Corinthians 15:50).
In the same chapter he told the Corinthian Christians that our bodies would be sown natural bodies but would be raised spiritual bodies (v. 44). How then could this be "all flesh coming to worship God" in heaven on the sabbath day?
One would have to posses a very perverted view of heaven to reason after that fashion. In the first place, Isaiah was not discussing heaven, but a return of the Jews from Babylon to their homeland, and he, in figurative language, compared it with a "new heaven and a new earth," wherein they would be able to worship God again in their temple, upon its restoration. When one twists the scriptures in an effort to protect his doctrine, he gets into serious trouble from which it is impossible to extricate himself. To speak of flesh in heaven or time in heaven as a weekly sabbath is to make heaven a physical place. I would as soon believe there would be Ford automobiles in heaven as to think there would be a seventh day weekly sabbath!
WHO CHANGED THE SABBATH?
Adventists continue to make the old worn out argument that the sabbath has been changed to the first day of the week by the Roman Catholics. They say that this is "by their own [Catholics] admission." They get their cue and authority from Mrs. Ellen G. White, their so-called inspired prophetess. In Early Writings, p. 26, Mrs. White says: "I saw God had not changed the sabbath, for he never changes. But the Pope has changed it from the seventh to the first day of the week, and he was to change times and laws." Again, on p. 55, "The Pope has changed the day of rest from the seventh to the first day ... He has thought to change the greatest commandment in the Decalogue, and thus make himself equal with God. The whole nation has followed after the beast and every week they rob God of his holy time." In The Great Controversy, p. 574, Mrs. White says: "The first public measure enforcing Sunday observance was the law enacted by Constantine ... as the papacy became firmly established ... the work of Sunday exaltation was continued. Eusebius, a bishop, advanced the claim that Christ had transferred the sabbath to Sunday."
IGNORANCE OF BOTH HISTORY AND THE BIBLE
Mrs. White could not prove her sabbath claim by the word of God, the Bible, so she took a trip to heaven, thinking this would strengthen her case! And she came back and told it! Paul was caught up in heaven one time but God would not allow him to disclose what he saw and heard there (II Corinthians 12:1-4). In fact, it was unlawful for him to utter what he had learned in that realm. Does it not seem strange to you that God made it unlawful for Paul to relate his experiences in heaven, but it was perfectly all right for Mrs. White to relate hers?
But this claim of Adventists that the Pope changed the sabbath to the first day of the week shows a glaring ignorance of both history and the Bible. It is incredible that Adventists accept the word of Roman Catholics on nothing else, but they readily accept the idea that the Pope changed the sabbath! "We know that he did because he claims he did!" The Pope also claims that the Roman Catholic Church is the only true church. Do Adventists believe that claim? They do not. Do they believe that Peter was the first Pope of the Holy Catholic Church? No, indeed,
they do not. Do they accept the doctrine that the Pope today is the lineal divine successor of the apostle Peter? Not for a moment do they accept that. Do Adventists believe the Roman Catholic Church holds the keys to heaven? Emphatically, no! What about the doctrine of papal infallibility? They reject it absolutely. Do they accept the doctrine that all outside the Roman Catholic Church are heretics? They would not even consider accepting such. Do they accept the Roman Catholic position that Protestants are indebted to the Catholics for the Bible? There is not the slightest doubt that the Adventists reject this assertion totally. Do Adventists embrace the doctrine that Roman Catholic priests have the authority and power to absolve sins? They loathe the idea. Do they accept the theory of Ellen G. White that the Pope changed the sabbath to the first day of the week? "O, yes," they say, "this is just what he did." They deny everything the Pope claims except one, and they gladly and readily take his word for that!
COMMENTS OF SCHOLARS
Mrs. White was terribly confused. There was no Pope at the time of her Constantine Law. This title was not conferred on a man until 606 A.D., when the Emperor Phocas placed the papal crown on Boniface III, almost three hundred years after this Roman emperor. But let us examine some of the standard authorities on the Bible and history.
In speaking of the first day of the week, recorded in I Corinthians 16:2, The Expositor's Greek New Testament comments that this passage "connects itself with the statement here (Acts 20:7) in proof that this day has been marked out ... as a special day of worship and for the breaking of bread." The Pulpit Commentary: "This is an important evidence of the keeping of the Lord's Day [reference to the first day of the week] by the churches as a day of their assembly. To break the bread—this is also an important example of weekly communion as the practice of the first Christians—an essential part ... which man may not for any specious reason omit." R.C.H. Lenski: "On the first day ... that is, on Sunday." He was here commenting on Acts 20:7. "Much more regarding Sunday as the day of worship is what Paul wrote to the Corinthians, I Corinthians 16:2, for this deals with regular Sunday worship. I Corinthians 16:2 certainly shows the first day of the week was the day of
public worship without which we cannot get along in our Christian life."
But let us go back long before there was a Pope or a Roman Catholic Church to some of the earliest Christian writers. Justin Martyr (A.D. 110-165) said: "On the day which is called Sunday, all Christians who dwell either in town or country come together to one place." He then proceeds to tell of their worship (Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. I, p. 186).
The Didache, a Christian treatise of the early Second Century, says: "... come together each Lord's day of the Lord, break bread and give thanks" (14:1).
Ignatius, who was born before the close of the First Century and died about 107 A.D. wrote: "... no longer observing the Sabbath but living according to the Lord's day, in which also our life arose through him and his death ..." (Magnesians 9).
Barnabas, who lived 120 A.D., wrote in his Epistle of Barnabas, chapter 15: "Incense is a vain abomination unto me, and your new moons and Sabbaths I cannot endure." Then he said of the first day of the week: "Wherefore, we (Christians) keep the eighth day for joy, on which also Jesus arose from the dead." This was two hundred years before the time of Constantine, and five hundred years before the first Pope!
Justin further said: "We all make our assembly in common on the day of the Sun, since it is the first day ... and Jesus Christ our Savior arose from the dead on the same day. For they crucified him on the day before Saturn's day, and on the day after (which is the day of the Sun) he appeared to his apostles and taught his disciples these things" (Apology I, 67:1-3, 7).
"That we do not live according to the Law, nor are we circumcised in the flesh as our forefathers, nor do we observe the sabbath as you do" (Dialogue With Trypho 10:1. In v.3 the Jew Trypho acknowledges that Christians "do not keep the Sabbath"). Bardesanes, a scholar of the Second Century, about 170 A.D., said "Wherever we are, we are all called after the one name of Christ—Christians. On one day, the first day of the week, we assemble ourselves together ..." (Ante-Nicene Fathers, American Reprint Edition, Vol. VIII, p. 733).
Eusebius, A.D. 260-340: "The Ebionites were accustomed to observe the Sabbath and other Jewish customs, but on the Lord's days to celebrate the same practices as we in remembrance of the resurrection of the Savior" (Church History III, XXVII.5).
Let us notice still other sources:
The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible: "Though we cannot trace the development with any detail, it is no less clear that before the end of the apostolic period, the regular time of meeting of Christians was the first day of the week, Sunday, or as Christian's called it, the Lord's Day."
The International Critical Commentary, in consideration of I Corinthians 16:2: "On the first day of the week—this is our earliest evidence respecting the early consecration of the first day of the week by the Apostolic church. The first day of the week is never called sabbath in scripture."
The Expositor's Greek New Testament: On the above passage, these scholars comment: "On every first day of the week—this is the earliest mention of this Christian day, going to show that the First Day, not the Sabbath, was already the sacred day of the church."
Dr. Everett Ferguson, who has done extensive research of historical documents of these early days of the Christian era, comments: "The evidence of the early Christians' day of worship is clear and unmistakable. They did not observe the seventh day, the Sabbath, as the Jews, but they assembled on the first day of the week, the day of the resurrection of Christ" (Early Christians Speak, p. 70). Dr. Ferguson asserts, a bit later: "Regardless, the day for the common assembly of the church was still the first day of the week. The Lord's supper was not celebrated on Saturday in earliest times ..." "Lord's day is used by Christians with reference to the day of Christ's resurrection, and the term is consciously distinguished from the Sabbath day (VI. 2, 8, 17). The Sabbath is never referred to as kuriake, Lord's, or lordly. It became common to omit the word day after kuriake, leaving the adjective alone with the noun to be understood ... Thus in modern Greek the word for Sunday or the first day of the week is kuriake ... The resurrection of Christ
and his meeting with his disciples on this day provided the basis for Christians to assemble on the first day of the week" (ibid.).
But has Eusebius been correctly represented by Mrs. White and the Adventists? You decide. In his Ecclesiastical History, pp. 112-113, this historian speaks of some Judaizers of his time: "With them the observance of the law was altogether necessary ... They also observe the Sabbath and other discipline of the Jews just like them, but on the other hand, they also celebrate the Lord's Day very much like us in commemoration of his resurrection." What does this prove? Damaging to Adventism, it proves that they do not know what they are talking about when they say that Constantine or the Pope changed the sabbath to the first day of the week. Civil legislation of Constantine in the Fourth Century made Sunday a legal holiday for many occupations but that has nothing to do with the sabbath being changed to the first day of the week!
Historians such as Neander, Mosheim, Fisher, Scahaff, and others, combine their testimony in the voice of history to show that in those early centuries Christians kept the first day of the week regularly in memory of his resurrection and ate the Lord's supper on that day to keep alive in their hearts the memory of Christ's suffering and death for their sins. They were well acquainted with such scriptures as: "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some, but exhorting one another ..." (Hebrews 10:25).
Let us recapitulate briefly what has been said and review what the Bible has to say about the seventh day:
|1.||The covenant which contained the sabbath commandment was made with Israel only (Deuteronomy 5:1-3; Exodus 20:2).|
|2.||The sabbath was a sign between God and the nation of Israel (Exodus 31:17; Ezekiel 20:10-12). If it were given to and intended for all nations, it could not have been a sign between God and one nation.|
|3.||Israel was commanded to keep the sabbath because they had been delivered from the bondage of Egypt (Deuteronomy 5:15).|
|4.||In giving Israel the sabbath, God used the same day upon which he had ceased the work of creation and on which he had rested (Genesis 2:3; Exodus 20:8-11; 31:17).|
|5.||The sabbath was not give, or made known, until the giving of the law at Mount Sinai (Nehemiah 9:13-14, Ezekiel 20:10-12).|
|6.||The Old Covenant that was made with Israel when they came out of Egypt, which included the Ten Commandments, would be abolished (I Kings 8:9, 21; Jeremiah 31:31). It was superceded by the New Covenant (Hebrews 8:6-13; 10:9-10).|
|7.||The law that was "... written and engraved on stones ..." was done away in Christ (II Corinthians 3:6-14).|
|8.||The law of the "... handwriting of requirements ..." was "... nailed to the cross" and the sabbath was no longer binding upon the Jews to whom it had been given (Colossians 2:14-16).|
|9.||Christians are expressly said to be delivered from the law containing the Ten Commandments and are married to Christ (Romans 7:4-7).|
|10.||Those who endeavor to be justified by the law given at Mount Sinai are severed from Christ and are fallen from grace (Galatians 4:24-31; 5:1-4).|
|11.||That we live under a better covenant, perfect in every detail, perfect Mediator, perfect principles, perfect sacrifice, perfect promises, perfect reward. The burden of the book of Hebrews is to prove these points.|
Let Us Also Observe What The Bible Has To Say About The First Day Of The Week:
|1.||Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the first day of the week (Mark 16:1-9; Luke 24:1, 13, 21, 46).|
|2.||On the first day of the week he was declared to be the Son of God (Romans 1:4).|
|3.||He met with his disciples repeatedly on the first day of the week (John 20:1, 16, 19).|
|4.||Pentecost came on the first day of the week (Leviticus 13:15). So, the events recorded in Acts 2, the birthday of the church, took place on the first day of the week.|
|5.||The Holy Spirit imbued the apostles with power and began his mission of conversion on the first day of the week (Luke 24:46-48; Acts 1:8, 2:1-4; Mark 9:1).|
|6.||The first gospel sermon ever preached declaring Jesus as the Son of God was delivered on the first day of the week (Acts 2:22-36).|
|7.||About three thousand souls were baptized for the remission of sins and added by the Lord to his church on the first day of the week (Acts 2:38, 41, 47).|
|8.||The church, under the guidance of the apostles, assembled upon the first day of the week to break bread—that is, to observe the Lord's Supper and other items of New Testament worship, and they continued steadfastly in these things (Acts 20:7, 2:42; I Corinthians 16:2, 11:23-33; Hebrews 10:25).|
|9.||In the New Testament we have these new things:|
|a.||A new covenant (Hebrews 8:13, 10:9-10);|
|b.||A new relationship, or institution, the church (Ephesians 1:21-23; Colossians 1:18, 2:10);||c.||A new day and a new word to express the new day—the first day of the week, the Lord's day—kuriakos. It was a word never before used until Revelation 1:10.|
WAS ELLEN G. WHITE A PROPHETESS?
That which makes Adventism as repugnant and reprehensible as any other feature of it are the claims that Ellen G. White was an inspired prophetess. The publishers of her book, The Great Controversy, in the original preface of the book, have this to say: "We believe that she has been empowered by divine illumination to speak of some past events which have been brought to her attention with greater minuteness that is set forth in any existing records and to read the future with more than human foresight" (Publisher's Preface, p. (a) of The Great Controversy, by Ellen G. White). They, here, infer that she had divine foresight, and they state that she spoke with "a greater minuteness that is set forth in existing records." That would include the Bible, the word of God. This is blasphemy! But your attention is now called to her own claim for herself: "Yet the fact that God has revealed his will to men through his Word has not rendered needless the continued presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit. On the contrary, the Spirit was promised by our Saviour to open the word of His servants, to illuminate and apply his teachings."
Those who have read and have respect for what Jesus taught know that God gave His word to us through inspired apostles
(John 14:26, 16:13). But Ellen G. White says that it takes the Holy Spirit in her, as a prophetess, to illuminate and apply the word of God. What is the difference in her claim and that of the Roman Catholic Church and their progressional revelation, or Joseph Smith and his golden plates revealed by an angel, or Mary Baker Eddy and her assertion to divine inspiration, or Oral Roberts who claimed recently to have had a personal confrontation with Jesus in which the Lord told him to collect huge sums of money, or a thousand others in our day who claim some vision, or dream, or direct revelation from God? All of them teach different doctrines, wear different names, subscribe to different creeds, and are hopelessly divided. And, yet, they all claim to receive their revelation from God, and to have, therefore, his divine approval.
May I implore you to disregard all these claims of men, read and study all that Jesus and the apostles taught upon any subject, believe it, accept it "and the truth will make you free."
POOR REBUTTAL IN SECOND LETTER
Dear Mr. Caskey,
Thanks for your eagerly anticipated reply.
Realizing my solemn obligation to impart the unadulterated truths of the Bible I find it necessary to make this reply. Perhaps I should tell you straight off that this is not intended to try to persuade you to accept God's truth, for sad enough, but true indeed, some people will die in their own concept. None the less, this Gospel of the Kingdom must be preached for a witness.
That the terms "the law of the Lord" and "the law of Moses" are used interchangeably, is no conclusion that there was no distinction between the ceremonial law and the moral law, or that the both were one and the same. Any honest Bible student will readily admit that the ceremonial law and the moral law were two distinct codes. Here I prove my statement. "And he wrote on the tables according to the first writing, the ten commandments
which the Lord spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly and the Lord gave them unto me. And I turned myself and came down from the mount and put the tables in the ark which I had made and there they be as the Lord commanded me" (Deuteronomy 10:4,5).
CEREMONIAL: "And it came to pass when Moses had made an end of the writing of the words of this law in a book until they were finished, that Moses commanded the Levites which bear the covenant of the Lord, saying, take this book of the law and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God that it may be a witness against thee" (Deuteronomy 31:24,26). So now we have it firmly established. The moral law was written by God on two tables of stone and placed inside the Ark of the Covenant, whilst the ceremonial law was written in a book by Moses and placed on the outside of the Ark.
We know what each of the codes contained, even if there are doubts about the full contents of the ceremonial, we know precisely what the Ten Commandments deal with. It is true that the Bible does not, when referring to any of the two laws, qualify it by calling it ceremonial or moral, but the contents of whichever of the laws was so clearly stated that one can readily recognize to which of the laws the reference is made. And in the first place the Lord in His Word has given us a guide as to how to study the Scriptures. "For precept must be upon precept; line upon line, line upon line, here a little and there a little" (Isaiah 28:10).
In your second sub-topic you make the accusation that Adventists have left the law hanging on nothing because they disregard the two great commandments of Jesus. Much to the contrary Adventists have always taught the Ten Commandments are fulfilled in love. The first four deal with the love of God; the other six deal with love to our fellowman. Love is the fulfillment of the law (Galatians 5:14).
Abstention from the use of unclean and unwholesome foods is no perpetuation of ceremonial law. When the Lord allowed man to use flesh for food He stipulated which types of animals and birds were to be eaten. Dating as far back to the time of flood there were clean and unclean animals. If those animals were not fit for food then, there is every reason to conclude that they are
still unfit for human consumption. God is not interested only in our spiritual well-being, but also in our physical and mental health. "Beloved I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth" (III John 2). You do not think it is as great a sin to eat a piece of ham or breakfast bacon, as it is to commit adultery or to break any of the other commandments; but let us see whether the Bible agrees with your view. "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy which temple ye are" (I Corinthians 4:16, 17). There you have the penalty for destroying your body with unwholesome food among other things.
Now let us see whether there is any difference in the punishment for breaking the law. "Now the works of the flesh are manifest which are these: adultery, uncleanness, heresies, and such like: of which I tell you before, as I have also told you in times past that they which do these things shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:19-21). I am indeed saddened to know that you have identified yourself with people who believe that the Lord is simply going to overlook their cherished petty sins.
The Apostle Peter points an accusing finger at people like you. "And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation even as our beloved Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures unto their own destruction" (II Peter 3:16).
The Apostle in his inspired writing is not, for a moment, suggesting that the Ten Commandments are abolished. Had you only heeded the principle of meaningful Bible study as prescribed in Isaiah 28:10, you would have discovered this. In Romans 7:12, Paul says: "Wherefore the law is holy and the commandment holy and just and good." "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God, forbid; nay I had not known sin, but by the law, for I had not known lust except that the law had said, Thou shalt not covet" (Romans 7:7). Is not the Apostle here referring to the Ten Commandments which you have claimed to be abolished? Further, in Romans 3:31, it is stated
that Christians do not make void the law; they establish it. To be under the law is to be under its condemnation. Christians are free from the law, dead to the law, not under the law, because Jesus Christ, their only Saviour, keeps them from transgressing the law. In all your explanations you failed to supply a substitute definition for sin, and quite understandably so, for the Holy Scriptures plainly state: "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law for sin is transgression of the law" (I John 3:4). Adventists do not keep the law to be saved because "by the law no flesh can be justified." They keep the law, including the Sabbath because they are saved from its condemnation.
In a desperate effort to abolish the law of God and to obliterate His Sabbath you directed my attention to several texts which proved that the law containing the Sabbath was given to the Jews alone as a sign between themselves and their God. You might have mentioned though the Jews, collectively speaking, were the Lord's chosen people. His peculiar treasure. Addressing them on one occasion the Lord said: "You only have I known of all the families of the earth" (Amos 3:2). With whom else could the Lord have made his covenant? Could he have entered into an agreement with a people who had no regard for the Creator of the universe, people who worshipped idols on their particular days, and who practiced all manner of evil habits?
Who besides Israel, His nation of priests and kings could the Lord have given His holy law? It is well to note that the Lord's intention in giving Israel the Ten Commandments was that they would keep them and ultimately impart them to the nations around. You went on to say we were not brought out of bondage so we have no need for the Sabbath. In your case this may be true, for apparently you are still under bondage of false doctrine and erroneous teachings.
To further justify your Sunday heathen worship you pointed me to Deuteronomy 5, hopping over the first three commandments to launch your attack on the Sabbath. The act however, is by no means peculiar to you, for this is the general behavior of Sunday-keepers. They wholly agree with nine of the ten commandments. They will have nothing to do with the fourth. But notice what the Bible says of such attitude. "For whosoever
shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that saith do not commit adultery, said also do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law" (James 2:10, 11). Here again reference is made to the "abolished Ten Commandments".
The Sabbath is a sign between the Lord and his people. Jesus the active agent in creation (John 1:11; Colossians 1:12-16) was the law giver at Sinai (Ezekiel 20:12; Ephesians 5:25,26; Exodus 20:10; Matthew 23:8) and no-where do we read that He ever changed His mind about the Sabbath.
To prove to you that the law, including the Sabbath was understood before it was given at Sinai let us turn to Exodus 16:25-28: "And Moses said, eat that today for today is a sabbath unto the Lord, today ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it, but on the seventh day which is a sabbath, in it there shall be none. And it came to pass that there went out some people on the seventh day for to gather and they found none. And the Lord said unto Moses, How long refuse you to keep my commandments and my laws?" Following closely the sequence of events, the law had not yet been received from Sinai. None is blind as he who refuses to see. Here are other supporting texts: Genesis 35:1-4;2:1-4; 39:7.20.
It is not true, says Mr. Caskey, that the sabbath was observed from creation. Here is a typical example of how men bluntly defy the word of God. Look back at the texts. "And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made" (Genesis 2:3). "For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it" (Exodus 20:11). What does it mean to bless, to hallow, moreso to sanctify?
Acts 20:7 is spurious supporting evidence of your claim that after the resurrection the Apostles kept Sunday. Let us examine the text more closely. "And upon the first day of the week when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached to them ready to depart on the morrow and continued his speech until midnight." There is not the slightest indication that the disciples were gathered for the Lord's day service. They merely congregated to celebrate the Lord's Supper which could be
observed on any day of the week. In the service which I attended we have the communion service on Wednesday, mainly because there are less of the little children around and that we have no other programme to contend with. Does this make Wednesday the Lord's Day? certainly not. In fact, you will recall that the first service was convened on a Thursday. The charge was: "As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death (not day) till he come" (I Corinthians 11:26).
In explaining that we are under the new covenant you omitted an essential fact: that the new covenant is made with Israel (Hebrews 8:8). But who is Israel in the New Testament context? "For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly" (Romans 2:28). "And if ye be Christ's then are you Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise" (Galatians 3:29).
So Christians are termed "Modern Israel" and is it not significant that the Lord is always calling Israel out of false worship to true Sabbath worship? Now what is this 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 law in their minds 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).
The Old Testament consisted, among other things, of God's laws, but written on tablets of stone. The New Covenant also contains God's Laws, but imprinted on our hearts. That one refuses to see such glaring facts is totally beyond me.
The Bible has no kind word to say to those who profess to be Christians yet hold on to their traditions. "Howbeit in vain do they worship me teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Mark 7:7). "He that saith I know him (Jesus) and keepeth not his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also to walk even as he (Jesus) walked" (I John 2:4-6). How did Jesus walk with regards to the Sabbath? "And as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day and stood up for to read" (Luke 4:16).
In the following scriptures it will be seen that each of the ten commandments was taught by the apostles:
1st Commandment (Acts 14:11-15) Living and True God
2nd Commandment (I Corinthians 12:2)Gentiles' dumb idols
3rd Commandment (James 5:12) Swear not
4th Commandment (Hebrews 4:9) Sabbath remains (Acts 16:13)
5th Commandment (Ephesians 6:2) Honor father and mother
6th Commandment (Romans 13:9) Do not kill
7th Commandment (Romans 13:9) Do not commit adultery
8th Commandment (Romans 13:9) Do not steal
9th Commandment (Romans 13:9) Do not bear false witness
10th Commandment (Romans 13:9) Do not covet
That which was nailed to the cross was the ceremonies pointing to Jesus not the Ten Commandments. Despite the clarity of Colossians 2:14, you insist that it was the Ten Commandments, and to substantiate your point you remarked that it included the Sabbath little knowing that Jesus had other sabbaths away from the Seventh day.
I think God that in heaven we will be real beings with personalities, not fairies floating around on clouds as some would have us imagine. For whilst flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, Jesus returned to heaven as flesh and bones (Luke 24:39).
"And it doth not yet appear what we shall be but we know that we shall be like him." It is amazing how hard some ignorant protestants fight to show that Sunday is the Lord's Day; and it is easy to see why such people are always ending up entangled in their own webs.
The Apostles authorized no Sunday worship. "And it came to pass that after three days Paul called the chief Jews together and he said unto them, men and Brethren though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem unto the hands of the Romans" (Acts 28:17).
The first Sunday ever made was issued by the Emperor Constantine, March 7, A.D. 321, and reads as follows: "Let all the judges and town people and the occupation of all trades rest on the venerable day of the sun; but let those who are situated in the country, freely and at full liberty attend to the business of agriculture; because it often happens that no day is so fit for
sowing corn and planting vines; lest the critical moment being let slip, men should use the commodities granted by heaven" (Corpus Jurius Civilis Cod: lib. 3, tit. 12.3). The Bishop Eusebius (A.D. 270-338) who worked with the Emperor Constantine says: "All things whatsoever that it was the duty to do on the Sabbath these we have transferred to the Lord's Day" (Commentary on Psalms, Eusebius; cited in the commentary on the Apocalypse, Moses Stuart, vol 11; 9.40, Andover; Allen Morrill and Wardell 1845). Listen to what one protestant had to say on the subject: "It is quite clear that however rapidly or devoutly we may spend Sunday we are not keeping the Sabbath ... There is not a single sentence in the New Testament to suggest that we incur any penalty by violating the supposed sanctity of Sunday" (The Ten Commandments, R.W. Dale, D.D., Congregationalist - pp. 196,197, London; Hodder & Stoughton).
The Lord passes stern indictment on those who persistently ignore the truth. "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they receive not the truth in their hearts that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie" (II Thessalonians 2:11,12).
My dear brother let this not be your sad plight. "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man" (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
Yours in Christ,
REPLY TO ADVENTIST'S SECOND LETTER
I am in receipt of your long and laborious effort to reply to my tract on Adventism. I am disappointed in many things as I read your letter:
- Your total disregard of the scriptures I quoted and the arguments I made from them. You simply did not refer to the arguments. You left them conspicuously alone! How do you discuss the Bible with a person who disregards every passage and point you introduce?
- You missed the point entirely of those scriptures I quoted and the arguments I made. I would not sit in judgment upon you (as I believe you have upon me), but it would appear that your refusal to reply to the arguments I made was intentional. One is led to believe this is due to the weakness of your position.
- You resort to insinuations, reflections of dishonesty on my part, and innuendo. This can, in no wise, strengthen your case. This course pursued by you of derogatory remarks weakens your position even more. But it has been my experience through many years that when one is hard pressed, he turns to ugliness and disparagement in his speech, and shows a contempt for those who expose his system as false. I can assure you that I have but these two purposes in mind in writing these letters: (1) To bring you to an understanding and acceptance of the truth, and (2) to lead others from darkness to light.
As we analyze your letter in the light of the word of God and the things I said in my tract, we will consider the above three statements in their order. It is my intention to reply to everything you have said which I have not already answered.
DISREGARD FOR SCRIPTURE
First, I call attention to the total disregard for the scriptures I quoted and the arguments I made from those scriptures:
You made no reference at all to your inspired (?) prophetess, Mrs. Ellen G. White, and her ignorance of both history and the Bible. You let it noticeably alone, as though it might be hot or poison! There is no need for me to make the argument again.
What I have said is there for you to see and read and you have not dealt with it. It is my judgment that the honest reader of these pages will draw the same conclusion.
You state in this letter to me that "the Apostle Paul in his inspired writings is not, for a moment, suggesting that the Ten Commandments are abolished." But, I must call your attention again to your total inattention to the scripture I quoted: "Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar—for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children—but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.
"For it is written: 'Rejoice, O barren, you who do not bear! Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children that she who has a husband.' Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? 'Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.' So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free" (Galatians 4:21-31).
Why did you not deal with this passage? Why did you not at least make some attempt to answer the argument? If you please, why did you not so much as mention it? Paul, in this passage of scripture, drew a picture which he called an allegory. He said the two women, Hagar and Sarah, represent two covenants. The two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, represent two nations, fleshly and spiritual. They are the children of those covenants. Hagar represents the Old Covenant given at Sinai. Sarah represents the New Covenant which went forth from Jerusalem. Now, this is Paul's application of the allegory: He said that God issued the mandate, "Cast out the bondwoman and her son ..." The bondwoman is the Old Covenant. Her son are those who keep it. So, it is the inspired Paul, not I, who says that the old
Covenant is abolished. Why will you not accept this plain, unambiguous language of inspiration?
You also failed to mention Galatians 5:4, where Paul makes another strong argument about the abolishment of the Law and the danger which people encountered when they attempt to keep it. "You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace." If you have read this passage with an open heart, you cannot help knowing that Paul was discussing the law that was given from Mount Sinai, the Ten Commandment law. Why did you not make some effort to reply to this, instead of just making the statement that "Paul is not for a moment, suggesting that the Ten Commandments are abolished"? Your saying that does not make it so, for Paul asserts that these people "had fallen away from grace!" You may ask: "What people?" Paul's answer: "Those who attempt to be justified by law."
NO ATTEMPT TO ANSWER BIBLE ARGUMENT
I quoted II Corinthians 3:6-14, in its entirety, so that you could not possibly misunderstand. If it had been just a fragment of the quotation, it could have been used as an alibi or a pretext to disguise or hide false teaching. In quoting all of the passage, I showed that there could not possibly be any question about what covenant Paul was discussing. It was distinctly identified as:
|1.||The two tables of stone, or tables of testimony.|
|2.||The law given at Mount Sinai.|
|3.||The laws written, engraved, on tables of stone. This was done when Moses' face shone that Israel could not look upon it.|
|4.||The ministry of death.|
|5.||The Ten Commandments. Here are the expressions used by Paul: 'which was done away," "which is done away," "which is abolished," "which is done away in Christ." It will be very noticeable to those who read this, and will, doubtless, leave a sharp impression upon their minds that you did not so much as allude to this passage which I introduced and the argument made from it! Why did you leave this truth so remarkably untouched? It was called the ministry of death because once infracted, there was no true forgiveness. The law violated made it a ministry of condem-|
|nation. The transgressions that were done under the First Covenant were not forgiven until Christ died on the cross and inaugurated the New Covenant. "And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance" (Hebrews 9:15).|
Further, I showed from Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Hebrews 8:8-12, that the Lord was going to make a New Covenant with His people. The Hebrew passage says that He did so. This New Covenant was not according to the Covenant that He made with their fathers when He took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. But you made no reference to this passage. Concerning Hebrews 8:8, you made an obscure statement that I had "omitted an essential fact: that the new covenant is made with Israel." Then you quoted Romans 2:28 and Galatians 3:29 to show that Israel now are Christians. What is that supposed to prove with reference to your doctrine? Of course, I know that Israel with whom the New Covenant was made is spiritual, not fleshly. There is no fleshly Israel. They lost their identity millenniums ago when they were taken away into Assyrian captivity. The Old Covenant was made with the Jews, fleshly Israel, at Mount Sinai. The New Covenant was made with Christians, spiritual Israel, from Jerusalem. The Old Covenant was abrogated at the cross so that the New Covenant could go into effect on Pentecost (Acts 2). Your own argument contradicts your doctrine and does havoc to your position which is supposed to be that the Sabbath is not abolished!
The Hebrew writer's conclusion, after he had advanced the proposition that He would make a New Covenant with Israel unlike the covenant He had made with their fathers, "... He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Hebrews 10:9-10).
Further, to show that the Old Covenant was what he had in mind I read I Kings 8:9: "Nothing was in the ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt." But you did not touch this passage nor the facts I showed it supports.
I also made reference to Colossians 2:14-16, showing that "... the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross" had to do with the sabbath days, new moon, and feast days. You did not reply to this at all. You merely asked if I were not aware that God had other sabbath days. So what? What does that prove? This passage says that the sabbath (weekly), and the new moons (monthly), and the feast days (yearly), and other Jewish observances, were "taken out of the way and nailed to His cross!" You should have made some effort to meet the argument, inasmuch as you were the one who introduced the passage in your former letter. I think the earnest student of God's word will make note of this.
From Deuteronomy 5:15, I showed that Israel had been slaves in Egypt and that God led them out. Then Moses gave this instruction to them: "... therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day." The word therefore means "as a result, consequently, for this reason." God wanted them to remember that they had been slaves in Egypt, and that he had been gracious and merciful to them in leading them out. Therefore, "for this reason," God commands you to keep the sabbath day. Your reply to this was in inference that I am still in slavery; and you stated that I had "jumped over three commandments to launch your attack on the sabbath." What kind of sophistry is this? Sir, that is neither plausible nor cleaver.
The subject you and I are discussing is not the first three commandments of the Decalogue. We have been discussing the sabbath. Why should I not hop over the first three commandments to get to the theme under consideration? What perplexes me is how you could contend so strenuously for the keeping of a law that was never given to you in the first place.
Moses said that this law was not given to our fathers. That is, it was not a law that had been kept by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It came four hundred years after their day. Moses said that it was given to Israel—"to us, even us, who are all of us alive here this day." I have shown that I was never a slave in Egypt; I never belonged to the race of Israel. The sabbath was a sign, a special thing between God and Israel. And it was to be kept by them throughout their generations. What makes this more incomprehensible is that the law was abolished two thousand years ago!
ADVENTISM IS MATERIALISTIC
You are the one who made references to the sabbaths being kept in heaven, but when I showed that he was referring to the return of the Jews from Babylon (Isaiah 66:22-23) to their homeland, and that they would observe the "new moon" as well as the "sabbath," you dropped it as though it had never been mentioned. You want to keep the "sabbath" even "in heaven," but you do not want to keep the "new moon" mentioned in the same verse! Your concern for keeping the sabbath in heaven is purely materialistic.
You requoted the passage I introduced from I Corinthians 15:50, "flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God," and then argued in the same breath that Jesus went to heaven in flesh and bone. You drew the conclusion that "we shall be like him." How can you, in the same context, agree that "flesh and blood cannot enter the kingdom of God" in heaven and yet argue that we shall be flesh and blood like Jesus when He went to heaven? What kind of illogic is that?
CHRIST LIVED UNDER THE LAW OF MOSES
I showed where Christ would have kept the sabbath inasmuch as He was born under the law, lived under the law, and died under the law. He kept it perfectly and fulfilled it. On the cross, He said: "It is finished." I also pointed out that He kept the Passover, Pentecost, and other Jewish law and custom. You were remarkably quiet on this topic, never mentioning it! In this connection, I also showed that Paul went into the Jewish synagogues on the sabbath, not to worship and fellowship with infidel Jews, who did not even believe that Jesus was the Christ, but because it afforded him an opportunity to preach to the Jews to whom he was first sent by the Lord. You were as silent as a tomb! If this is the way you sensibly and profitably argue a proposition, I prefer choosing another course! In the face of these indisputable Bible facts, how can you continue to teach that Paul kept the sabbath?
IMPORTANCE OF THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK
You said nothing in reply to all the passages and proofs I gave that:
- Christ rose from the dead on the first day of the week.
- Was declared to be the Son of God on the first day of the week.
- Met with His disciples repeatedly on the first day of the week.
- Pentecost came on the first day of the week.
- The Holy Spirit imbued the apostles to execute the Great Commission on the first day of the week.
- The first gospel sermon ever preached declaring Jesus to be the Son of God was preached on the first day of the week.
- About three thousand souls were baptized for the remission of sins on the first day of the week.
- The church, under the guidance of the apostles, assembled upon the first day of the week to break bread, and they continued steadfastly in that practice.
I quoted not only what the Bible plainly teaches on the subject, but what the standard works by reputable authorities have had to say. In fact, the history of those early years points out that Christians, for the first seven centuries after Christ, observed the Lord's Supper on the first day of the week without a break! You were absolutely silent about all of this, except to say that you eat the Lord's Supper on Wednesday evenings because there are fewer children around. This indicates the weakness of your whole case. You ought to be ashamed! I doubt that you could be excused on the grounds of not knowing better. The readers, I imagine, will wonder about your purpose in selecting, without scriptural authority, Wednesday evenings to eat the Lord's Supper "because you have no other programme to contend with," or "because there are no children around." The Lord must look with disdain upon such an ignoble attitude!
On page four of your letter, you say "Acts 20:7 is spurious supporting evidence of your claim." Are you saying this passage is false or counterfeit? That is what the word means. I looked it up in a standard dictionary, and the definition is "illegitimate, bastard, false, counterfeit; not genuine."
Doubtless, what you mean is that you would like for it to be false, because it wreaks havoc on your doctrine. I have examined carefully and thoroughly the standard works of reputable
scholars, and not one of them even hints that it is spurious. You further say that "there is not the slightest indication that the disciples were gathering for the Lord's Day service." This is just exactly what the passage does say! "And upon the first day of the week when the disciples came together to break bread ..." This is a purpose clause and tells the why of their coming together. Look at the passage a little more closely. The Greek word klasai is an aorist infinitive, and it simply means "to break bread." You try to make it appear that the day for breaking bread was immaterial, unimportant, optional, as if it were left to the discretion of the Christians in Troas. One needs to read the context. Verses 6 and 7 say: "But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread and in five days joined them at Troas, where we stayed seven days. Now on the first day of the week ..." Literally, it says "on the one of the weeks." Every week has a one! Why would Paul and his companions wait in Troas for seven days to meet with Christians there if they were at liberty to eat the Lord's Supper on just any day of the week they chose? Lenski points out that this passage and I Corinthians 16:2 deal with "regular Sunday worship." He further comments: "I Corinthians 16:2 certainly shows the first day of the week was the day of public worship."
My suggestion to you is: Make an effort to answer the arguments adduced and which are pertinent to our study instead of making blatant assertions on your own authority!
NO BIBLE DISTINCTION MADE
You missed the point entirely of the scriptures I quoted and the arguments I made with reference to no distinction being made in the scriptures between what you call the moral law and the ceremonial law. I hope this was not deliberate.
Sir, it is you, in an effort to uphold your sabbath doctrine, who has endeavored to distinguish between what you term the ceremonial law or the law of Moses, and law of God or Ten Commandments. I know very well that there were Ten Commandments in the Old Testament, and I know there were laws given in addition to these. There were moral precepts and civil laws; there were types and positive laws. But that, I do not simply mean laws that were explicitly laid down, but laws with social aspects that tended in the direction of progress for Israel.
But it was all one law, the law of God! This is the truth you fail, or refuse, to see. I quoted Ezra 7:6 and II Corinthians 34:14 to show that you make a distinction that does not exist. One passage called it "the Law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given" and the other passage said "the Book of the Law of the Lord given by Moses."
Your doctrine claims that the ceremonial law was abolished. You tell us that this was the law of Moses. Then you say the moral law was not abrogated. This, you contend, was the Ten Commandments. You struggle to make a difference which God does not make, and that is treading on exceedingly dangerous ground. Let me give you an uncomplicated, straightforward scriptural example: "For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother ...'" (Mark 7:10). Sir, this is the fifth commandment of the Decalogue (Exodus 20:12). The passage unequivocally says that Moses said it! Again: "Did not Moses give you the law? ... Why do you seek to kill Me?" (John 7:19)? This is the sixth commandment of the Decalogue (Exodus 20:13). Moses gave it!
But what you really miss is the fact that the whole of the law was abolished—your moral law and your ceremonial law! Let me refresh your mind with these passages:
- "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus had made me free from from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2).
- "... knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ ... for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified" (Galatians 2:15-16).
- "... I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—'not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers...'" (Jeremiah 31:31-32).
- "... for you are not under the law but under grace" (Romans 6:14).
- "... But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband (Romans 7:2). This was an illustration that the Christian (who had been a Jew) was loosed from the law.
- "... she is free from that law ..." (Romans 7:3).
- "Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law ..." (Romans 7:4).
- "But now we have been delivered from law ..." (Romans 7:6).
Romans 7:7 tells what law it is from which we are free, loosed, delivered, dead. It is the law that says: "You shall not covet ..." (Exodus 20:17). That is the tenth commandment of the Decalogue!
Look at some other scriptures on the subject:
- "... for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain" (Galatians 2:21).
- "But that no one is justified by the law ..." (Galatians 3:11).
- "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law ..." (Galatians 3:13).
- "... For if there had been a law given which could have given life ..." (Galatians 3:21).
At the close of this booklet, I will give you a more complete list, a kind of summary of the passages I have used.
It is not by the observance of the law that we are saved; it is not doing what the law demands that justifies us, but we are saved under the great system of faith, the gospel of Christ. Knox, in his translation, renders Galatians 2:16: "Observance of the law cannot win acceptance for a single human creature." The Hebrew writer said that the law simply foreshadowed a better system that was coming (Hebrews 10:1). It is better in every way. It provides forgiveness of sins (they are remembered no more forever). It has a better sacrifice. The New is as much better than the Old as Christ is better than the offerings of bulls and goats. It has better promises. It is that great scheme of redemption toward which the patriarchs, and those under Moses' law, looked with happy anticipation (Hebrews 11:16, 40).
READ THE ENTIRE CONTEXT
It is very strange to me that you would quote Romans 7:7, 12 in an effort to show that this had reference to the Ten Commandments, and then completely disregard Romans 7:4. I had quoted this to you before. It clearly shows that the Ten Commandment law, containing the commandment you quoted, "Thou shalt not covet," was abolished. Perhaps you had better look at it again: "Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised for the dead ..." Now, what law
was that to which they had become dead? You have already admitted that it was the Ten Commandment law, because you quoted Romans 7:7, 12 to prove it! Here is the quotation and your comment: "Wherefore the law is holy and the commandment holy and just and good. What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God, forbid; nay, I had not known sin but by the law, for I had not known lust except that the law had said, Thou shalt not covet." Then you asked the question: "Is not the Apostle Paul here referring to the Ten Commandments which you have claimed to be abolished?"
Paul makes the inspired claim that we are dead to the law by the body of Christ. But one asks: "Dead to what law?" Paul replies: "... the law had said 'You shall not covet'" (Romans 7:7). And that, Sir, is the tenth commandment of the Ten Commandments! This is the law to which the Jews, who had embraced Christ, had become dead.
I repeat for emphasis what I have said before: It has always seemed strange to me, even inexplicable, that people who were never under the law could contend that we should be keeping it. It was not only given to the Israelites alone at Mount Sinai, but it was abolished two millenniums ago!
Another thing which makes the Adventist position so implausible is their strong contention that the Ten Commandments, moral law, was not abolished, but you hear nothing about other moral laws outside the Ten Commandments and their permanence. Are there other moral principles in Leviticus not found in the Decalogue? "You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind ..." (Leviticus 19:14). Because this is not one of the Ten Commandments, are we at liberty to abuse and mistreat the blind and the deaf? Look at another moral law: "If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death ..." (Leviticus 20:13).
This is not one of the Ten Commandments, but it is a moral law. If the moral law has not been abolished, should we take all homosexuals out and kill them? Hang them or shoot them? The next verse (Leviticus 20:14) says "If a man marries a woman and her mother, it is wickedness. They shall be burned with fire, both he and they ..." Is this moral law still in effect? If the moral
law in the Old Testament has not been done away, the Adventists are compelled to take people who commit incest and burn them with fire!
In that same chapter, he continues that if a man or a woman lie with a beast, he, or she, "shall surely be put to death ..." (Leviticus 20:15-16). These moral prohibitions continue in this chapter, but they are not part of the Ten Commandments.
But let us return to Romans 7 which we were discussing. All the standard translations agree with the Authorized Version in its rendering of V. 4: "Wherefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that you should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead."
Note the renderings of a few other translations: "The crucified body of Christ made you dead to the law" (Moffatt). "Well, brethren, you too have undergone death, as far as the law is concerned" (Knox). "So, my brothers, you too in the body of Christ have ended your relation to the law" (Williams). "Your husband, your master, used to be the Jewish law; but you died as it were, with Christ on the cross" (Taylor). And the New International Version translates it: "... you also died to the law through the body of Christ ..." Yes, I believe you missed the point!
ADVENTISTS ARE JUDAIZERS
And you continue to miss the point when you say: "Abstention from the use of unclean and unwholesome foods is no perpetuation of ceremonial law." Who told you that a piece of breakfast bacon, or ham, or cheese taken into the stomach, was unclean and unwholesome food? Who gave you the information that to eat certain foods would be to defile your body? This is some more of your Judaism. Why did you not give attention to all the passages I introduced on this argument? You need to read them again, if you read them the first time! But you need to read them with unbiased heart. Here they are a second time: Romans 14:1-3; I Timothy 4:1-4; I Corinthians 10:25-27; Colossians 2:16. There is no need for me to make the same argument again, or to reply to what you said about how evil and sinful it is to eat a piece of bacon or pork or cheese, when you have paid no attention at all to these passages!
DO NOT LIFT A PASSAGE OUT OF CONTEXT
You quoted Amos 3:2: "You only have I known of all the families of earth." Then you asked: "With whom else could the Lord have made the covenant?" You must not take this passage of scripture, or any other, out of context as you did Isaiah 66:23 and tried to make it apply to the keeping of the sabbath in heaven, when he was talking about the return of the Jews from Babylon to their homeland! To whom was Amos speaking in this verse? He was a prophet to Israel! It was to the ten tribes of the north he was preaching. Do you mean to say, "you only have I known," excludes the two southern tribes called Judah? Amos is saying "God has acknowledged you and embraced you with divine love. He has singled you out and chose you as a nation best fitted to be the vehicle of his purpose—namely, to spread the gospel to all mankind for the salvation of the world."
But, more than that, he is warning them that God would punish all their misdeeds, because he wanted to purify them and make them a holy vessel to fulfill that purpose through Christ. They had had centuries of training and preparation; so, they alone could be equipped for the task of spreading the Good News to the ends of the earth. But for you to assert that God had no covenants with anyone else is either a deliberate perversion of the scriptures or ignorance of the facts contained in them.
Paul maintains in Galatians 3:19 that the law "... was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made ..." God had covenants with His people for 2500 years before the law came into existence! Paul affirms that the law with Israel was added.
Give attention to the meaning of the term: "to add, or superadd, adjoin" (Analytical Greek Lexicon). Then an example is given by these scholars: "For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers ..." (Acts 13:36). Thayer says: "Was added to what already exists, supervened something to a thing (which has preceded). To come or happen as something additional."
The law really served two primary purposes: (1) A correction measure and (2) a preparation for the coming of Christ.
You surely have not forgotten that God sent Jonah to Nineveh to preach to that great city. You will recall, doubtless, that Balaam was a prophet with the power to relate matters of divine import. He was not a Jew or an Israelite. He did not operate under the law or the Levitical priesthood, living, as he did, in Mesopotamia. Cornelius was neither a Jew nor a proselyte, yet he worshiped God. It is true that he was unacquainted with the New Covenant, had not accepted Christ, was not, therefore, a Christian, but he was a devout worshipper of God.
The Old Testament, after Moses' time, concerns itself with the correction and preparation of a people through whom Christ would come and the whole world would be blessed.
Yes, "the law was added ... until." And this is another word which needs to be examined: Until means "as far as; a particle indicating the terminus" (Analytical Greek Lexicon, Harper). Another source of the definition of until is Thayer: "Even to, to the time that. Until a certain time; for a season; signified up to, unto, as far as." Still another authority says: "Until the time when" (Arndt & Gingrich). So, the law was added because of transgressions. It was a corrective measure. And it was to last till the seed should come. Christ is declared to be that seed—"... And to your seed, who is Christ" (Galatians 3:16). Christ came, fulfilled the law, took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross. In its stead, He gave us the New Covenant, sealed with His blood. Jesus is "the Mediator of the new covenant ..." (Hebrews 12:24). The writer of Hebrews also says that "... He is also Mediator of a better covenant ..." (Hebrews 8:6). He gave us His last will and testament and it became operative after His death (Hebrews 9:15-17; 10:9-10).
SABBATH NOT OBSERVED FROM CREATION
You missed the truth about what I said in reply to your statement that the "sabbath has been observed from creation." All you need to know is that Moses was relating history that had happened 2500 years before. God gave Israel the seventh day for a sabbath, the day upon which he had rested centuries before. I hardly see how you could have missed this! You then quoted Exodus 16:25-28 in an effort to show that Israel observed the sabbath before the Ten Commandment law was given on Mount Sinai. This, of course, was just a few days before Sinai, and is a
far cry from the claim you make that it had been observed from the creation. Let us examine the comments of several Hebrew scholars whose field of study has been the Old Testament. George Rawlinson, in The Pulpit Commentary, says, regarding the reading, "a sabbath": "The absence of the article (the) is a strong indication that the whole idea was new, at any rate, to those whom Moses was addressing. It was a rest of a holy sabbath to the Lord. It had not been maintained by the Hebrews during their sojourn in Egypt, and this was, practically, to them the first promulgation of it. Hence, in the original (Hebrew) it is not called the sabbath, that is, a rest." Another Hebrew scholar of the Old Testament, W.L. Alexander, editor of Biblical Cyclopedia and commentator of Deuteronomy in the Pulpit Commentary, has this to say: "The covenant to which Moses refers is not that made with Abraham, but that made at Sinai as a people ... it was made with those whom Moses addressed at this time, inasmuch as they constituted the nation."
IT WAS PREPARATION FOR SABBATH KEEPING
It has never been unusual for the Lord to prepare his people beforehand for the observance of a law which was not to be in effect for some time to come. For three and a half years Jesus laid the foundation teaching which would govern Christians in His kingdom. For instance, He said many times: "The kingdom of heaven is like ..." Whereas, He had not yet established His kingdom. But He was getting them ready for it. In this preparation, He spoke of the nature of the kingdom, the terms of admission, the service that was to be rendered to both God and man. He told them to "... Go ... and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). But then He instructed them to "... tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:49).
Moses introduced a sabbath to the Israelites a few days before the law was formally given, somewhat as Jesus introduced the Lord's Supper several days before the church was established (Matthew 26:29). He appointed to His followers a table "that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom ..." (Luke 22:30). They observed the Lord's Supper before it was placed in the kingdom, the church. In fact, all the principles which later were preached and observed by Christians in the church had been taught by Jesus during His personal ministry. This was not
only a good way to do it, it was the best way. In fact, it was the only way! As I have already shown, He prepared the apostles for more that three years in so many things that should later become His law in governing the church.
So, let it be well understood that the command for Israel to keep the sabbath throughout their generations, had not been kept from the creation, but was given to them that they might remember that they had been slaves in Egypt and had been brought out of Egyptian bondage by the mighty and merciful hand of God. For you to teach and contend otherwise is to make God contradict himself again and again, and surely you do not wish to do that! The Septuagint (LXX) translation of the Old Testament says, concerning those to whom the Ten Commandments were given: "The Lord did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, those who are here today, all of us who are alive" (Deuteronomy 5:3).
Even if it were possible for you to prove that the sabbath had been observed from creation, which you could never prove from the Bible, what would that establish? My point, substantiated thoroughly by the word of God, and which you missed, is that Jesus and Paul, and other New Testament writers, show abundantly and conclusively that the Old Covenant, in its totality, was repealed, annulled, revoked at the cross. Now we live under a New and "better covenant."
THE LAW OF MOSES BY THE SIDE OF THE ARK
You continue to search for Biblical support of the effete, worn-out argument that the ceremonial law was the law of Moses and it was abrogated, while the moral law was the law of God and still stands in this day. Then you proceed to Deuteronomy 31:26, where Moses said: "Take this Book of the Law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there as a witness against you ..." Then you conclude: "Now we have it firmly established."
What do you have firmly established? You assume two things: (1) That God was distinguishing between moral and ceremonial law, and (2) that this passage says that one was done away and the other was kept. The passage says neither! It is purely your assumption. There is not even an inference to what you claim it
says. You are in error because you missed the purpose Moses gave for its being placed by the side of the ark, and you mislead people by affirming something that is not even remotely suggested by Moses' statement.
Listen, if you will, to what Hebrew scholars have to say about this Old Testament passage: "This was the finishing of the writing of the Book of the Law, and the committing it finally to the priests to be by them placed by the ark of the covenant, that it might be kept for all future generations as a witness against the people, whose apostasy and rebellion were foreseen" (The Pulpit Commentary, Deuteronomy). Keil & Delizsch, among the best scholars of the Hebrew Old Testament, say, with reference to this passage: "The tables of the law were deposited within the ark (Exodus 25:16; 40:20), and the book of the law was to be kept by its side. As it formed, from its very nature, simply an elaborate commentary upon the Decalogue, it was also to have its place outwardly as an accompaniment to the tables of the law, for a witness against the people" (v. 21). Then, in Deuteronomy 31:27, Moses said: "For I know your rebellion and your stiff neck. If today, while I am yet alive with you, you have been rebellious against the Lord, then how much more after my death."
Having read these passages, you should be able to see that there were several functions for the book of the law, placed in the side of the ark, to serve. The main role was (1) that it may be a witness against Israel, (2) that it may serve as a commentary upon the Decalogue, helping them to better understand it, and (3) to remind them of their rebellion and ultimately turn them back to their duty to God. To fabricate a doctrine about moral and ceremonial law, one of which is temporary and the other permanent, and then repair to these passage in Deuteronomy 31 in an effort to corroborate that doctrine, is a weak and specious approach.
HOW IS LAW ESTABLISHED?
It is my purpose to review everything you have said that is in any way pertinent to this study. Here, I examine another quote from your letter: "Further in Romans 3:31, it is stated that Christians do not make void the law; they establish it. To be under the law is to be under its condemnation. Christians are
free from the law, dead to the law, not under the law, because Jesus Christ, their only Saviour, keeps them from transgressing the law."
What kind of double-talk is this? Just pass your eye over what you have said: (1) "To be under the law is to be under condemnation. (2) Christians are free from the law, (3) dead to the law, (4) not under the law." How on earth could Jesus keep Christians from transgressing a law that they are not under, that they are dead to, that they are free from? What kind of irrational reasoning (if it can be termed reasoning at all) is this? It is not possible for one to transgress a law from which he is free and to which he is dead! And, I might add again, under which he never was under in the first place!
But, if Christians were under the Ten Commandments, as you claim most of the time, does Jesus "keep them from transgressing the law?" Do any of your people ever break your sabbath? Do they ever travel more than seven-eights of a mile on Saturday? The Biblical injunction in Exodus 16:29 was that every man is to "remain in his place," and not "go out of his place" on the sabbath. The ancient Hebrew legislators forbade an Israelite to go 2,000 yards. He was not to exceed 2,000 cubits. McClintock and Strong have this comment: "Taking all circumstances into account it seems likely that the ordinary sabbath-day's journey was a somewhat loosely determined distance, seldom more than the whole and seldom less than three-quarters of a geographical mile." My question again is: do sabbatarians travel farther on Saturdays than the law permitted? Do they prepare food in that day (Exodus 16:23)? Or, do they allow someone else to prepare it? I do not believe Jesus keeps them from "transgressing their law!"
Your statements are such a hodge-podge of contradictions, I am reluctant to burden the reader with it. But, peradventure, someone may think that I have not answered your arguments. I shall, here, give attention to what you have said about Romans 3:31. This statement of Paul's is a continuation of his argument that one is not justified (made just or right with God) by law. Paul is inquiring of them: "Do we then make void the law through faith [that is, the system of faith given by Christ]?" Then, he answers it by saying: "Certainly not!" Law may be totally useless for one purpose, and yet quite indispensable for
another. "Law," Paul is saying, "is of no value as a means of justification." But there are other important ends that law serves: (1) it defined sin. "I had not known sin but by the law," Paul asserted, (2) for a disciplinary tool. It is intended to correct and improve one in his relationship with his fellowman. So, law was educational, instructive, enlightening, informative. Those are good purposes law served. In addition to that, law served to punish the evil doer, the one who infracted that law. It corrected and chastised the transgressor.
So, Paul affirmed: "We do not make void law; we establish law." How do you do that? By teaching men to do right and refrain from doing wrong. These are good aims, intentions of the law. They produce excellent results. If there is anyone in the world who is law abiding, it is the Christian. The Christian is not against law. He keeps law and advises and encourages others to keep law. but in the matter of justification, law avails nothing. This is the burden of the book of Romans—to show that we are justified by Christ, through our faithful acceptance of him and our humble submission to him, rather than justification through a system of works, the law. In contradiction and contrast to this beautiful teaching of Paul in Romans, you contend that unless one keeps the sabbath of the Old Testament Ten Commandments, one cannot be saved. This is Judaism and a rejection of Christ and His grace. And, one cannot hold and teach and practice these things with impunity.
AMBIGUOUS AND CONTRADICTORY STATEMENTS
I wish to return to a contradictory statement you have made in your letter and give additional attention to it. It is an enigma to me why you would labor so arduously to prove that we are under Ten Commandment law, and then assert: "To be under the law is to be under condemnation." You, here, admit that to be under the sabbath law is to be condemned. I have been trying to get you to see this all along! This is diametrically opposite to what you teach and believe. It is the antithesis of the central theme of your doctrine—sabbath keeping! You continue the same argument by saying: "Christians are free from the law." I am very pleased that you have come to understand this truth so plainly taught by Paul in Romans 7:4. Then you say: "Christians are not under the law." What a radical contradiction of yourself.
What is this discussion all about? You are in disagreement with yourself and antagonistic toward your Adventist doctrine when you say: "Jesus Christ, their only Saviour keeps them from transgressing the law."
Sir, I repeat my question to you: "How could you transgress a law that you are not under, which does not apply to you, to which you are not amenable?" Christians were never under the law. That was given to and for the Israelites (Deuteronomy 5:1-15). There were some Jewish Christians in the first century who had once been under the law, but they had become dead to it, and freed from it, that they might be married to another, Christ, so that they could bring forth fruit to God. It is just that simple.
I would like to derive from your admission some hope for you but so many other things you say which are so hopelessly out of harmony with this position you seem, for a moment to occupy, that hope is blasted.
NEW TESTAMENT IS ALL SUFFICIENT
It is obvious that you did not read what I said with reference to the principles which were found in the law, and in the Patriarchal Age, that are found also in the New Testament.
This principle was clearly shown in the example I used of Jamaica being under the control and laws of England at one time. She is no longer under those laws. It is true, and we readily admit it, that there were laws which were in force under England which have been reenacted and re-legislated by the governing bodies of Jamaica. They are now part of Jamaican law, not because they were in the body of laws of Great Britain, but because they are found in the constitution of Jamaica.
So, let us apply this same principle to the Bible: it is wrong to murder someone under the New Testament, not because it was wrong and forbidden in the law of Moses, the Ten Commandments, but because it is forbidden in the law of Christ in the New Testament. But murder was wrong long before the law of Moses was enacted. It is wrong today! Why? Because Moses forbade it? Indeed, not! It is wrong because it is prohibited in the New Covenant under which we now live. It is my conviction that even a child can understand these simple and clearly
enunciated principles. Only an unreasoning adherence and a blind devotion to a system could keep anyone from seeing it. Honesty and integrity require one to admit and accept the unadulterated truth on this important subject.
Although there are many differences in what Adventists teach and practice and what I believe the Bible clearly teaches, the main thrust of this gentleman's dispute has been sabbath keeping. His main arguments have been:
- The sabbath has been observed from the creation. He does not seem to know that Moses was writing history and that God sanctified the sabbath to Israel when he led them out of Egyptian bondage. He gave them the day upon which he had rested many centuries before.
- His contention is that the sabbath was observed before the Ten Commandment law was given from Mount Sinai. In the giving of His law, it is always necessary for God to prepare His people for the reception of it. Jesus spent three and a half years preparing His disciples for the kingdom, the church. Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper before Christians began observing it in the church.
- Perhaps this Adventist's longest argument has been an effort to show that there were two separate and different laws given from Mount Sinai. One, he contends, was given by God while the other was given by Moses. He calls them moral law and ceremonial law. He refers to them as the Ten Commandment law, given by God, and which is permanent; and the law of Moses, which has been abolished. The one given by God, he imagines, is more important because it is a moral law. The other law was ceremonial and was only temporary, inasmuch as it was given by Moses.
He struggles with the idea that the one which was permanent was written on tables of stone and put in the ark of the covenant. The other, written by Moses, was put on the side of the ark of the covenant.
Everyone who has studied the Bible knows full well that there are different kinds of laws found in the word of God: moral, ceremonial, civil, social, positive, types, etc. But what this man
does not seem to realize is that they all comprised one law, the law of God! What he calls the ceremonial law of Moses is filled with moral law. Do you suppose this man, who is reputed to be a student of the Bible, does not know this? There are dozens of such moral laws found in the ceremonial law of Moses! How can he reconcile this with his position?
Let me give you a few examples, in addition to those already cited: "If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she give birth prematurely, yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished ..." (Exodus 21:22). Is this a moral law? It most surely is! Which of the Ten Commandments is it? "And if a man opens a pit, or if a man digs a pit and does not cover it, and an ox or a donkey falls in it, 'the owner of the pit shall make it good; he shall give money to their owner, but the dead animal shall be his'" (Exodus 21:33-34). Is there a moral principle couched in this law? Without doubt, there is! Which of the Ten Commandments is it? "If a man entices a virgin who is not betrothed, and lies with her, he shall surely pay the bride-price for her to be his wife" (Exodus 22:16). Moral law? Yes, but not one of the Ten Commandments! "You shall neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt" (Exodus 22:21).
Surely you can see and understand that Moses placed the Ten Commandments, which were a brief of his divine constitution, in the ark of the covenant. The book of the law, which he also received from God on Mount Sinai, was placed by the ark and served as a commentary on the Ten Commandments. It was a practical, everyday application of the Decalogue. Furthermore, it was used as a witness against Israel in their disobedience. But your speaking of one being abolished and not the other is to draw a conclusion which is totally without Bible support.
The expressions the law of God and the law of Moses are used interchangeably in the Bible. For you to contend that everything was abolished except the Ten Commandments is to occupy a position entirely out of harmony with the teaching of God's word. Why would you argue that such commands of God as "The first fruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the Lord thy God" has been abolished because it is not found in the Ten Commandments, but avouch "Thou shall keep the sabbath day holy" is still binding because it belongs to the Decalogue?
How do you discount "Thou shalt not wrest the judgment of the poor in his cause," and hold tenaciously and unyielding to the fourth commandment in that list? What sort of consistency is this? Yea, what kind of religion do you practice?
INSINUATIONS ARE NO ANSWER TO TRUTH
I will not reply to your insinuations. You may sit in judgment upon me if you wish. You are at liberty to say any ugly thing about me that gives you satisfaction. But, let me remind you, such speech is very strong evidence of the weakness of your whole position!
SUBSTANCE OF MAIN POINTS EXAMINED
Please reread and consider, in summary, these passages offered in support of the Biblical position I take:
- I will make a new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34).
- Jesus is the Mediator of the new covenant (Hebrews 12:24).
- He made us able ministers of the new covenant (II Corinthians 3:6).
- He has taken away the first (will, covenant) in order to establish the second (Hebrews 10:9-10).
- If the first covenant had been faultless, no place would have been sought for a second (Hebrews 8:7).
- A man is not justified by the works of the law (Galatians 2:16).
- Not under law but under grace (Romans 6:14).
- You have died to the law; you are free from it; loosed from it, delivered from it (Romans 6:14).
- No one is justified by the law (Galatians 3:11).
- Christ redeemed us [Jews] from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13).
- The law was our tutor to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:24-25).
- The law of commandments is abolished (Ephesians 2:14-15).
- The law was nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14-16).
- The law made nothing perfect (Hebrews 7:19).
- The letter kills but the spirit gives life (II Corinthians 3:6).
- It was a ministry of death and condemnation and was abolished (ibid.).
FINAL WORD OF EXHORTATION
It is my sincere hope that you will read carefully and prayerfully what is contained in this letter, and the previous one I wrote to you. I have made every effort to answer all that you have said which bears upon the subject and is germane to it. If you do not intend to deal with the scriptures and arguments which I have introduced and discussed, I will be forced to deduce that our correspondence upon the subject would be fruitless to continue.
(Note: At this reprinting of the booklet A Reply To An Adventist, I have not heard again from this gentleman.)
SOURCES OF MY STUDY IN THIS DISCUSSION
Translations Of The Bible:
American Standard Version
Revised Standard Version
New International Version
New King James Version
The Pulpit Commentary
Expositor's Greek New Testament
Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon
Arndt &Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon
Analytical Greek Lexicon, Harper
Interpreter's Dictionary Of The Bible
The International Critical Commentary
Commentary On The New Testament, Lenski
Commentaries On The Old Testament,
Keil & Delizsch
God's Prophetic Word,
Foy E. Wallace, Jr.
The book, A Reply To An Adventist, was written in Kingston, Jamaica, in the early 1970s, at the request of brethren in that country. Since then it has been reprinted many times and copies have been sent to people in many countries around the world. We have been greatly encouraged by those who have read and used it among their friends and fellow countrymen. Some who have read and studied it have been persuaded to become Christians.
A copy of it was received by a Christian student (teacher) in Ghana, West Africa, and he passed it on, I presume, to others. Somehow it came into the hands of the gentleman whose letter follows, and who felt impelled to make a response to it.
My answer to him is an enlargement of some of the original arguments, and it was felt that it may be of some further value to those who meet the doctrine of Adventism in their respective homelands to have this supplement. The letterhead had been clipped from the correspondence, so I do not know where the gentleman lives. He addressed his manuscript to George, but, from the content, one would judge that he intended that it ultimately reach me. The World Bible School teacher (or student), Steven Adu, sent it to me with an urgent request that I answer it, so that he and his fellow preachers in that country would have a more complete answer to the arguments contained in the original book.
We hope that it will be of value to all who use it.
—Guy V. Caskey
MR. MUIRDEN'S LETTER
The booklet, A Reply To An Adventist, by G.V. Caskey, has been received, and this is A Reply To An Anti-Adventist, by Geoff Muirden, alias Douglas Mordant.
I was tempted to rename the critic, "Mr. Carvey", since he is inclined to "carve up" and demolish Adventist doctrine, but in doing so, he shows considerable ignorance of Adventist theology and history. In many cases,he is demolishing a "straw man." His attitude is that of someone who does not want to be convinced by Adventists and who will not be convinced, and if so, then fine. No one is forcing him to be an Adventist,so let us agree to disagree. Seventh-Day Adventism was given that name in 1860,when it was officially adopted, so the SDA Church has been able to survive 128 years without Mr. Caskey's assistance and,I think, is likely to continue to survive without him. It will be a struggle, but we'll manage!
But ,getting down to business:
ADVENTIST MOVEMENT VERSUS
In The Introduction section, "Why This Book?" he fails to distinguish between the "Adventist Movement" and "Seventh-Day Adventism." Thus,he fails to perceive that during the 1830's and the 1840's there was a world movement teaching the Second Advent or Second Coming of Christ in the 1840's. The dates given varied. For example,the Scottish Minister, Edward Irving, gave the date as 1847,and in India, Daniel Wilson,Episcopal Bishop of Calcutta, also preached 1847 as the date,as did other preachers in Europe, also,e.g. Joseph Wolff, and R.C. priest who later became converted to Anglicanism, suggested 1847. There was a lack of agreement as to whether the Second Advent would be in 1843, 1844 or 1847 (Light Bearers To The Remnant, Mountain View, Calif., U.S.A., Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1979, pp. 28-30)
It is fair to say that what is called the "Millerite Movement" of 1839-1844, starting in the United States, had greater impact.
William Miller was an Adventist,since he preached the Advent, but he was never a Seventh-Day Adventist. H was a Baptist Minister,who worshipped on Sunday. His historic significance is that he prepared the way for creation of Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
When Christ did not appear in 1844,Miller amended the date to 1845, but when He did not come,Miller admitted to being mistaken. However, Ellen G. White gave the explanation accepted by the SDA,that the date was right but did not represent an earthly event,but one happening in Heaven, marking the start of a an investigative judgment in the heavenly sanctuary, which has continued since 1844. One writer,Hiram Edson, explained it: "instead of our High Priest coming out of the Most Holy of the heavenly sanctuary to come to this earth on the tenth day of the seventh month,at the end of 2300 days, he for the first time entered on that day the second apartment of the sanctuary and that he had a work to perform in the Most Holy before coming to this earth." In other words,we are all under investigative judgment at the present time.
Mis-statement of 1,000 Year Rule Of Jesus On Earth:
Mr. Caskey mentions the "Thousand-Year-Reign of Jesus on earth" as Adventist doctrine ("Why This Book", paragraph 3) Jesus will have a thousand year reign, as mentioned in Revelation 20:1-7,but Adventists teach this reign will be in heaven, not on earth.
So far,so bad,but there is worse to come.
MR. CASKEY SEES FALSE DISTINCTION BETWEEN MORAL
AND CEREMONIAL LAW, AND LIMITS MORAL LAW TO TEN
In his discussion of the "Law of Moses and the Law of God". Mr. Caskey suggests that the Adventists distinction between the ceremonial law and the Law of the Lord" is invalid, and they should be lumped together, instead of "making a distinction where there is none!" (p. 6, Mr. Caskey's book) He would be astonished to learn that Adventists agree with him that the "Law of Moses" and the law of the lord", mentioned in Luke 2:22-23 are synonymous terms.
MR. CASKEY LIMITS "LAW OF THE LORD TO TEN
He makes a common mistake, that the Law of the Lord applies only to the Decalogue (The Ten Commandments). He makes this clear on page 5, where he remarks that the ceremonial law, mentioned in Luke 2:22-23, "is not found in the Ten Commandments." Agreed.
LAW IS WIDER THAN THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
But the Law, or torah, is wider in scope than the Ten Commandments. I refer here to the explanation given by W.M.R. Scragg,in his book, Christ & The Unalterable Ten Commandments (Warburton, Vic.,Australia,Sigms Publishing Co.,undated) chapter 5.
Mr. Scragg mentions the varied wording given in Nehemiah,as follows:Nehemiah 8:;1-"Book of the Law of Moses";
8:2- "The Law";
8:3- "The Book of the Law";
8:5- "The Book";
8:18-"The Book of the Law of God";
9:3 -"The Book of the Law of the Lord".
Since all the statements refer to the one law, all these terms clearly refer to the Book of the Law placed in the side of the ark (Deuteronomy 31:26).
The Law of the Lord is thus wider than the Pentateuch (Books of Moses).The word torah has the meaning of all Divine revelation as a guide of life.
WHY ABANDON CEREMONIAL LAW?
All right then, I hear you, and Mr. Caskey, cry:"if the term 'Law' refers to all the different kinds of Divine Law, and not just the Decalogue,why isolate ceremonial law and discard it!?
Answer: because Scripture obliges us to do so. Since the cross, the ceremonial Law is obsolete,sinceChrist's Sacrifice covers all animal sacrifices, and those religious observances which pointed forward to the Messiah, before He came. These belong to the
Old Covenant,and the blood of animals could not abolish sin. This is written in Hebrews 10:4 "for it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sin. The blood of Jesus Christ alone cleanses from sin."(I John 1:7-9) and Hebrews 10:12-14, "but this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever,sat down on the right hand of God: from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool. For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."
THE ROLE OF THE OLD COVENANT:
The Old Covenant sacrifices were shadows of things to come: Christ's Sacrifice on the Cross was the New Covenant fulfillment of sinlessness. This ended feast days of ceremonial sabbaths,holy-days,and new moons, which ended at the cross (Colossians 2:14-17).
Paul, in Romans 14:5-6, speaks of observing of sacred days as optional. But the Sabbath is not included in the common expression, "every day." After the Cross, there was no point in keeping ceremonial holy days,listed in Leviticus 23 and in Numbers 28-29. They are beside the Sabbath of the Lord (Leviticus 23:28).
In Romans 14, the point is neither what it is right to eat nor when it is right to worship but rather whether it is right to sit in judgment on another (Romans 14:10, 12). And, after all,isn't it Mr. Caskey who sits in judgment in his book?
SABBATHS ("SMALL S") AIN'T SABBATHS (BIG S"):
In this country, we have ads for a brand of oils with the motto, "Oils ain't oils",meaning that "not all oils are the same".So, also it can be said that "sabbaths ain't Sabbaths" (not all sabbaths are the same.) To distinguish them, I used sabbaths with a small "s", meaning feast days under ceremonial law; with Sabbaths (big "S") meaning Seventh-Day observance. Mr. Caskey fails to make this distinction,consequently misinterprets SDA doctrine. To distinguish between "sabbaths" and the "Sabbath", turn to Leviticus 28. The Sabbath of the Lord is not mentioned until the 38th verse which declares that feast days are separate from the Sabbath of the Lord.
So,the weekly Sabbath is not listed as a feast, which include ceremonial sabbaths,besides which there were holy days, new moons and feast days. Since the Cross, these need not be observed.
HEALTH LAWS V. CEREMONIAL LAWS.
The answer to Mr. Caskey's complaints, (pp. 6-7) that Adventists observe ceremonial laws by keeping health rituals of Ellen G. White,is that these health rules are favoured by the Church,but are not complulsory on Adventists. They concede the value of Mosaic prohibition on pork, for example (pp. 6-7) and disapproves of meat-eating (p.7) favouring vegetarianism. These are not regarded by Adventists as having the compelling force of the Decalogue or the New Testament.
SDA's do distinguish between clean and unclean meats,but see the distinction as preceding the Flood (Genesis 7:2-3).We see the issue of Colossians 2:16 being again (c.f. Romans 14) whether or not a person is to sit in judgment of another.And in the Greek for "which are a shadow of things to come" is an adjectival clause qualifying "holy day, or..new moon or of..sabbath days." We do not see the clean/unclean label as being determined by cultic ceremonials.(ref.Colossians 2:17).
St. Paul, in Colossians 2:16, is not speaking of the weekly Sabbath in this passage, but of the various "sabbaths" or "holy days" in the Jewish Church.
The weekly Sabbaths were there from the beginning, before man sinned (Genesis 2:2-3) It was not a part of the shadow sin of redemption.It was repeated in the Ten Commandments as a part of continuing Law (Exodus 20:8-11) and reaffirmed in Isaiah 66:23. Jesus Christ observed the Sabbath as did His Disciples. There is not one Biblical text establishing Sunday as the day of worship.
M R. CASKEY INSISTS SABBATH ONLY INTENDED AS MEMORIAL FOR THE EXODUS
Next, Mr. Caskey assures us that "Adventists try to show that the Sabbath has been kept from creation.But the passages which I have just read (Exodus 31:13-17) clearly show that it was
given to and for Israel, that it was a sign between God and them, that He required them to remember and keep it because they had been slaves in Egypt and He had led them out of bondage" (p. 14, Caskey)
Nevertheless, anyone who reads Exodus 31:13-17 properly,will see that it never suggests that Israelites must observe the Sabbath because He led them out of Egypt, but because it is a holy day.
Thus,Mr. Caskey's insistence that God "said two things: (1) You were slaves in Egypt; (2) God brought you out. Therefore, for this reason,God commanded you to keep the Sabbath" (p. 14) is invalid.It is a non sequiteur.
We could add that,for Christians, Egypt is a symbol of the territory of the Prince of this world, spiritual bondage.
If you examine the wording of Exodus31:13, you will see that Sabbath-keeping is "a sign..that you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy."
Exodus31:14 "observe the Sabbath,because it is holy to you."
Exodus31:15 "the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD";
Exodus 31:17 "it will be a sign (because) in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth,and on the seventh day He abstained from work and rested."
No emphasis here on the significance of the Exodus to Sabbath-keeping.The penalties for non-observance of the Sabbath (Exodus 31:14) indicate the seriousness of breaking the Sabbath. The fact that now men do not carry out God's Judgment does not mean that no sin is committed, not that God's Will is not ignored. Ecclesiastes 8:11 (NKJV) "Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily,therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil." Christians are Israelites, or "New Israel" and heirs of the Abrahamic covenant.
It is true that Moses mentions in Deuteronomy 5:15 the the Sabbath was a witness to deliverance,as mentioned by Mr. Caskey (pp. 13-14) but it was not the only reason,and not the
main reason for Sabbath-keeping. Under the Pharoahs,Israel could not observe the Sabbath as they would prefer. Moses's first responsibility in releasing God's people led him to call them to rest,or sabbath, from their burdens. But despite Mr. Caskey,the Sabbath is more that this. Deuteronomy 5:15, invites the Israelites to remember that they were slaves in Egypt and, combined with Deuteronomy 5:14,to allow their maidservants and manservants to rest, as they did.That is to remind them to extend the same rights to their servants.
Leviticus 19:33-34 also reminds the Israelites to extend the same rights to aliens in their midst as themselves. This would include giving strangers the right not to work on the Sabbath.
Mr. Caskey argues that there is no record of Sabbath observance from its creation in Genesis 2:1-3 until the Book if Exodus era (Caskey p. 14) If this were so,then those who observed the other nine Commandments before they were written in stone were wasting their time, because the Lord never told them to do these things. Mr. Caskey rightly rejects this idea (pp. 11-12).
SABBATH STILL VALID AND PART OF THE NEW COVENANT
Much more important is that the Sabbath is part of the "New Covenant" which supersedes the Old Covenant and makes it clear that it goes beyond celebrating the Exodus:
Thus,Hebrews 8:7-10: "If there had been nothing wrong with that first (Mosaic Covenant,no place would have been sought for another, but God found fault with the people and said:
"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. IT WILL NOT BE LIKE THE COVENANT I MADE WITH THEIR FOREFATHERS WHEN I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND AND LED THEM OUT OF EGYPT (Mr. Caskey, please note!) BECAUSE THEY DID NOT REMAIN FAITHFUL TO MY COVENANT, AND I TURNED AWAY FROM THEM, DECLARES THE LORD."
And what is the essence of the New Covenant? "I will put my law in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God and they shall be my people" (Hebrews 8:10).
This is consistent also with Mr. Caskey's mention of II Corinthians 3:6-10,as indicating that "the covenant written and engraved in stones" was abolished in the New Covenant (p. 9) Exactly! No disagreement! But the laws were written on their hearts,they are not legalistic requirements,thus Mr. Caskey is right in this sense, in this sense, that the Ten Commandments have been abolished,only in the limited sense that Christ was the only One who perfectly obeyed them,and we can claim His perfection (p. 11) but he is wrong in saying that the Decalogue is no longer valid (p. 11).
Jesus Christ Himself says, in Matthew 5:18, "until heaven and earth disappear,not the smallest letter,not the least stroke of a pen,will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished." So,Jesus preaches that the Law is lastingly valid and that "anyone who breaks one the least of these Commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven,but whoever practices and teaches these Commandments will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven: (Matthew 5:19) From Revelation 11:19 we learn that the real ark of the Covenant, with the commandments, is in heaven, after which the earthly commandments were patterned. If the Law that was in the ark was abrogated at the Cross,then Christ was mediating for the transgression of an abrogated Law! Christ mediates His blood or our pardon (Hebrews 9:24-26).
The fact that the Decalogue (as the document of the Covenant) is sometimes referred to as the "covenant" is a literary device where a part is referred to as the whole. The fact that the new covenant is "kairos" indicates that it is renewed, not new through and through; or new in, point of its promises rather than new in point of its documents. The new covenant find the Decalogue written in the minds and hearts of the people. In Jesus Christ,God counts believers as perfectly obeying the Decalogue and writes the Decalogue on their hearts so that they may have a heart obedience in following this example.
M R. CASKEY DENIES R.C. CHURCH ESTABLISHED SUNDAY WORSHIP
One of the next of Mr. Caskey's complaints is that "Adventists continue to make the old worn out argument that the Sabbath has
been changed to the first day of the week by the Roman Catholics. They say that this is 'by their own (R. C.'s) admission. They get their cue and authority from Mrs. Ellen G. White, their so-called inspired prophetess." (p. 18)
However,it is not just Adventists who say this. A Baptist Minister,Dr. Hiscox author of The Manual of the Baptist Churches, comments that "Sunday did not come into use in early Christian history as a religious day as we learn from the Fathers and other sources. But what a pity it comes branded with the mark of paganism, christened with the same name of the sun god,when adopted and sanctioned by the papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestanism."
Dr. Hiscox's words, "branded with the mark of paganism" means that Sunday, the "day of the sun" has always been the day of heathen worship,dedicated to the sun god. Sunday was used as a day of worship centuries before Christ.
Mr. Caskey comments that there was no Pope at the time of Constantine Law (p. 19) Very true. But it is also true,as Mrs. White claims, that "the first public measure enforcing Sunday observance was the law enacted by Constantine" (Caskey p. 18).
In 312 A.D.,Constantine, half Christian and half pagan, made a law for judges, townspeople, and tradesmen to "rest upon the venerable day of the sun" (which is a continuation of sun worship) "but let those who are situated in the country,freely and at full liberty attend to the business of agriculture; because it often happens that no day is so fit for sowing corn and planting vines; lest the critical moment being let slip,men should lose (NOT "use" as in Caskey's version, p. 31-32) the commodities of heaven".
At that time ,working on Sunday was the general rule. Sunday was not then given any Christian significance, but Constantine's law is a transition to Christian Sunday observance. Sunday was called "the venerable day of the sun."
Mrs. White did NOT say there was a Pope,at the time of Constantine's Law. By claiming this,Mr. Caskey is guilty of the "terrible confusion" of which he accuses Mrs. White (p. 19).
People like Mr. Caskey quote Ignataeus,Tertullian, Augustine, and others (pp. 19-22) to prove that the first-day observance started early, because these men speak favourably of worshipping on the first day of the week. But the testimony of the early Fathers does NOT prove that Sunday is the right day of the week. What it does prove is that the religious apostasy started soon after Paul, and also proves Daniel 7:25, that the apostate power would "try and change the set times and the law" and also endorses Paul's claim (II Thessalonians 2:3-8) of a "falling away" that the Papayc sets itself up in opposition to God's law.
Ignataeus,Clement,etc., are claimed as "Church Fathers" by the Papacy & prepared us for Papal apostasy.
What the R.C. Church did, was to accommodate itself to the attitudes of sun worshippers who commemmorated Sunday, and made Sunday worship a basis of "Christian" faith,in opposition to God's Law!
ISHMAEL V. ISSAC, CASKEY V. SCRIPTURE
One of the next things, is that Mr. Caskey whines that the Adventists have failed to respond to Galatians 4:21-31, which contrasts the Old Covenant, represented by Hagar and Ishmael,which is "cast out" or abolished, with the New Covenant, symbolized by Sarah and Isaac. "Why will you not accept this plain, unambiguous language of inspiration?" he cries! (p. 35) To which the reply is, WE DO! I've dealt with this sort of thing previously, but can add some further comment at this point
Mr. Caskey fails to notice that Ishmael was the firstborn representing those who are born only once;he was born as a result of Abraham attempting to fulfill God's promise by human ingenuity (i.e. by works). "Isaac was the second born, representing those who are born again or "born from above";he was born "by faith" and was the son of promise. "The "instrument" was the same in both cases. The result depended on whether it followed works or faith.So the Sinniatic covenant depended on the promises of the people: "All that the Lord has said, we will do" and these promises were never perfectly kept. The New Covenant depends on better promises which God fulfilled in Jesus Christ, an obedience to the Law, which is first
imputed to the sinner in justification, the imparted to the sinner through the co-operation of the believer with the Holy Spirit in sanctification and finally embodied in the redeemed when this corruptible puts on incorruptible and when this mortal puts on immortality in glorification.
HANDWRITING OF ORDINANCES
Much of Mr. Caskey's argument on pp. 35-36 are a rehash of previous stuff. But he refers to the statement that "the handwriting of ordinances was nailed to the Cross" (Colossians 2:14-16)Then he adds: "God had other sabbath days. So what? What does that prove?" he snarls (p.37).
Well,it proves,dear Mr. Caskey, that the weekly Sabbath, ordained in God's word to be a perpetual day of rest, is different from the ordinary sabbath feast days (ceremonial law), whether you like it or not.
But, regarding the "handwriting of ordinances", this has been shown in the papyri to be a handwritten verdict of the court after the accused had been pronounced guilty. The statement in Colossians does not refer to the Law as being handwriting of ordinances which was blotted out, but it refers to the law's verdict on the sinner which is blotted out when it was nailed to the Cross.
FLESH AND BLOOD-ADVENTISTS MATERIALISTIC?
Mr. Caskey quibbles in his discussion, that Jesus was flesh and blood,and we shall be like him,so Adventists are materialistic (p.38) He fails to allow for the fact, in the "new Creation". all Creation, including "flesh and blood", will be cleansed of sin, disease and death, so that "through" (His Promises) you may participate in the Divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires"(2 Peter 1:4) In the "New Jerusalem", nothing impure will ever enter it,nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful,but only those whose names written in the Lamb's book of life." (Revelation 21:27)
Mr. Caskey mentions that the Adventist was "very silent on this topic (that Jesus kept the Law perfectly) never mentioning it!" (p.38) The reason the Adventist didn't mention it,is that he
thought it was so evident,as not to need mention (except for Mr. Caskey's benefit?)
IMPORTANCE OF THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK
Adventist concede that certain important Biblical events occurred on the first day of the week (Sunday) as Mr. Caskey insists (p. 39) Now, any amount of discussion will not convince Mr. Caskey, but let's examine some of the evidence:
In John 20:19,it mentions that Jesus appeared to His Disciples on the first day of the week. But this was NOT a day of worship. They were there behind locked doors, "for fear of the Jews",not in honour of the resurrection(John 20:19)
Mr. Caskey suggests that "Christians for the first seven centuries after Christ observed the Lord's Supper on the first day of the week without a break!"(p.39)
I assume he makes this "large assumption" because he interprets Acts 20:7 to mean that Paul's meeting in Troas occurred on a Sunday morning and that this was repeated every week at about the same time, assuming this to be a lasting custom.
Mr. Caskey decides that Acts 20:7 and I Corinthians 16:2 deal with "regular Sunday worship". And, he adds, I Corinthians 16:2 certainly shows, the first day of the week was the day of public worship" (Caskey,p40) Q.E.D.!
But let's have a closer look at these texts.
Actually, New English Bible (NEB) translates Acts 20:7 as "Saturday night", during which Paul kept talking till midnight. After this,a youth called Eutychus fell from the window and was killed. Paul restored him to life,after which they went to eat (Acts 20:11)
Paul ate just before dawn on Sunday to feed himself before his departure,but there is no evidence that he intends this as a part of a regular Sunday commemmoration.
Regarding I Corinthians 16:2,this mentions Paul asking people to set aside a certain sum of money on the first day of the
week.This was a common practice as people would budget at the start of the week for the week. Rather than a religious exercise this was a secular exercise or activity.
So Mr. Caskey could heed his own admonition not to make "blatant assertions on your own authority!" (Caskey,p.40).
REHASH OF A REHASH
Most of Mr. Caskey's commentsare rehashes of the same arguments in different words, e.g.,he tells us that Romans 7:4 "clearly shows that the Ten Commandment Law ... was abolished" (Caskey,pp.42-43) Romans 7:4 tells us that "you died to the Law through the body of Christ",which Caskey take to mean The Ten Commandments were abolished at the Cross" (pp.42-43) However, as previously explained,the ceremonial law was abolished at the Cross,not the commandments. If they were,why did Revelation,in its "End Time" scenario, continue to support "those who obey God's commandments" (Revelation 12:17) and mention the ark of the covenant in heaven(Revelation 11:19)?
Or,another gem of Mr. Caskey's,is to mention Romans 7:7, as is it proved that the law against coveting no longer applies (p. 43) But does Paul say that this no longer operates? On the contrary,he says that Law reveals a knowledge of sin (Romans 7:7)
One could go on and on, but I think this is sufficient.Mr. Caskey is sufficiently refuted!
That is enough for now. But if you feel I haven't dealt enough with anything,let me know GEOFF.MUIRDEN
A REPLY TO AN ADVENTIST
World Bible School Follow-Up
Thank you for your letter and for sending me a copy of the reply Geoff Muirden endeavored to make to my book, A Reply To An Adventist.
FRUSTRATION AN UNCHRISTIAN ATTITUDE
I was very disappointed in the whole spirit of the man's letter. It was a bitter diatribe against me from start to finish. His first line starts with innuendo and ugly insinuation against me. He says: "I was tempted to rename the critic, 'Mr. Carvey,' since he is inclined to carve up and demolish Adventist doctrine, but in doing so he shows considerable ignorance of Adventist theology and history."
He continues to call me "Mr. Carvey" and uses such words as "snarls," "cries," "whines," "quibbles," "ignorant," "terrible confusion." Upon what grounds does he sit in judgment upon me to decide that I "whine" and "snarl?" "Judge not that ye be not judged!"
I would suppose he (Mr. Muirden) would claim to be a Christian, but if the spirit in which he writes is Christianity, I would hope he would not share it with the people of Africa, or anywhere else for that matter. I appreciate his calling it "Adventist theology and history," because that is exactly what it is. It is a thousand miles from the truth of the Bible!
UGLY SPIRIT NOT PROOF OF ONE'S DOCTRINE
I learned a long time ago that when a person cannot defend his false doctrine, his next recourse is to attack his opponent with language unbecoming to a Christian in an effort to discredit him. He probably thinks it sounds good to hold one in contempt, and with strong disfavor castigate his motives. Such people tend to
reason that if they can assail the person and excoriate him, it somehow appears to strengthen their own position. But, such abuse and vituperation only signal the weakness of one's own religious stand on any issue.
While he cannot answer the arguments that have been advanced, he can do his best to downgrade and disparage the man and his character who has adduced those arguments. If he can hold the one who challenges his doctrine in disrepute before his followers, he imagines he has won a polemic victory and gained notoriety.
I am not sure I should waste my time with such an adversary; and I can assure you I would not if it were not that there are so many honest people who are asking and searching for truth, and some would be confused by the daring assertions with which his letter is filled.
Mr. Muirden did not logically answer a single argument I made in the book. I don't know who gave him the idea that he had sufficiently refuted Mr. Caskey. He is surely right in his statement that I "will not be convinced by Adventists" or Adventism! I am concerned only with what the word of God teaches. I am not at all confused about Adventism and Seventh-Day Adventism. Anyone who knows anything about their history is fully aware of the evolution of one into the other.
SUNDAY OBSERVERS AT FIRST
Up until 1846, Adventists all kept Sunday as their day of worship. This included Ellen White and her husband. In that same year, Captain Joseph Bates visited with some Seventh-Day Baptists who were relatives of his in New Hampshire.
He learned of their sabbath keeping, became converted to this new position, and, when he returned home, he communicated his findings with Ellen and her husband. Ellen had a vision about the matter, ceased her opposition to such a change and the problem was solved. All doubts were removed, the indecisions were remedied, and, at that moment, the Seventh-Day Adventist Church was born at New Bedford Massachusetts, 1846.
RADICAL CHANGES THROUGH THE YEARS
People who are acquainted with their history are also informed of the many changes they have made through the years. When one is driven into a corner and embarrassed by an untenable position, he has a tendency not only to retreat, but to change his standing as soon as possible and then boldly assert that he never held the previous belief at all. If that doesn't work, he will give it some symbolic or perfunctory connotation to relieve the pressure and save face. He may even receive a revelation directly (?) from God to substantiate and certify his new position!
Let me give you several examples of the changes they have made in their inspired (?) teachings:
This respondent says in his letter: "Mr. Caskey mentioned the 'Thousand-Year-Reign on earth' as Adventist doctrine. Jesus will have a thousand-year reign, as mentioned in Revelation 20:1-7, but Adventists teach this reign will be in heaven, not on earth."
You be the judge whether this gentleman knows his Seventh-Day Adventist doctrine or not!
When the General Assembly of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church met in 1957, they released the first definitive and comprehensive explanation of their faith, an authoritative volume entitled Questions on Doctrine. In this authoritative document on this subject are these words: "Jesus Christ will return in a premillennial, personal, imminent second advent" (p. 22)
The Harmon family, which included Ellen G. White, was disfellowshipped by the Chestnut Street Methodist Church of Portland in 1843 "because they believed in the premillennial second advent of Jesus Christ."
Although there are dozens of misleading and treacherous theories about a premillennial reign of Christ when He returns, I would suppose that Mr. Muirden knows what the term means. Pre = before, plus millennial = 1000 years. Whatever variation he espouses of his absurd fantasy, their authoritative doctrinal stance is to the effect that prior to the final judgment, Jesus will return to earth for a thousand-year reign.
Consider this quotation upon the subject: "At length his associates set October 22, 1844, as the final date when Jesus would return for His saints, visit judgment upon sin, and establish the Kingdom of God on earth." Look carefully at another statement on the subject: "The Seventh-Day Adventists were premillennial in their eschatology. That is, they believed that Christ would come before the Millennium and so placed themselves squarely in opposition to the predominant post- and a-millennial schools of that era.
The Great Disappointment of 1844 and the collapse of the Millerite movement naturally brought premillennialism into disrepute. Certain authors of the time considered premillennialism peculiar even to the point of condemning premillennialism outright and dubbed as Adventists all who held that view of eschatology (Walter P. Martin, Historian, pp. 361, 367). You will observe from their own writings and their own authors that they have changed their position on the subject during their brief existence.
But let us look briefly at Revelation 20:4, which is supposed to support their theory of a thousand-year reign. "And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God ... And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years."
There are several points that are worthy of observation. Let me make you aware of these facts: (1) these were souls—not "flesh and blood" bodies to which my respondent refers; (2) they were the souls of martyred saints—not just any Christians; (3) the pronoun used here is they (third person plural) and not we (first person plural); (4) the tense of the verbs is past—lived and reigned—not future—"shall live and reign;" and (5) Adventists' position one time was that this would take place on earth, but the passage says nothing about a future reign with Christ on earth.
ELLEN G. WHITE'S DIVINE ILLUMINATION (?)
Now let's give attention to another important change that is fundamental, and I would say primary, to their very existence: in Ellen White's own work, The Great Controversy, the Adventist publishers of that book wrote in the original preface: "We
believe she is empowered by a divine illumination to speak of some past events which have been brought to her attention with greater minuteness than is set forth in any existing records and to read the future with more than human foresight" (Publisher's preface, p. (a) of The Great Controversy by Ellen G. White).
Now read Prophetess Ellen's own claim: "Yet the fact that God has revealed his will to men through his word has not rendered needless the continued presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit. On the contrary the spirit was promised by our Saviour to open the word of His servants, to illuminate and apply its teachings" (ibid.).
They claimed that Ellen had a divine illumination greater that any existing record—which, of course, would include the Bible, the Old and New Testaments. More than that, they claimed she could "read the future with more than human foresight." That must be divine foresight.
So, these are assertions in which Adventists argue that she was an inspired prophetess. That placed her in a company and category of such as Joe Smith of Mormonism, Mary Baker Eddy of Christian Science, Oral Roberts, now of the Methodists, and a thousand other false prophets who claim to have seen and received modern day revelations from the Lord himself.
If you will consult The Early Writings of Mrs. White, p. 26, you will find this statement: "In the holiest I saw an ark ... in the ark was the golden pot of manna, Aaron's rod that budded and the tablets of stone which folded together like a book. Jesus opened them and I saw the Ten Commandments written on them with the finger of God ... the holy sabbath looked glorious—a halo of glory was all around it. I saw the sabbath was not nailed to the cross."
Isn't it amazing to you that the prophetess Ellen couldn't prove her newly acquired sabbath doctrine by the Bible; so, she was compelled to have a vision and go to heaven to substantiate it and give it credibility! I have wondered many times why God forbade Paul to speak of what he saw in that realm, and which he said "man may not utter," (or which is unlawful to utter) and gave Mrs. White permission to do so?
NEW OFFICIAL STANCE!
The General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists has softened these claims of Ellen's inspiration and infallibility, at least for the public's sake. "The Adventist denomination readily admits that not everything Mrs. White said or wrote was either inspired or infallible, although some individual Adventists still cling to that idea." "We do not regard them in the same sense as the Holy Scriptures. ..." Yet, they once claimed that her divine illumination enabled her to speak with greater minuteness than is set forth in any existing records and to read the future with more than human foresight."
I have also wondered what "not everything Mrs. White wrote was either inspired or infallible" really means. What part of it do they think is inspired and infallible?
Do they sit in adjudication and determine what is inspired and what is not, and then issue their decrees accordingly? Are their own findings in this matter inspired? How do they decide which statement (or statements) receives their approved ruling and which receives a negative verdict? Just how do they assess and evaluate her so-called hallowed writings? Are they invested with some sort of miraculous comprehension and divine cognition which enables them to make such determinations? One must be very careful lest he be forced to admit a spiritual acumen and perception above his boasted leader!
But the Conference still believes she was an inspired prophetess: "Seventh-Day Adventists regard her writings as containing inspired counsel and instruction." Listen to this statement by the President of the General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists: "It is from the standpoint of the light that has come through the Spirit of Prophecy (Mrs. White's writings!) that the question will be considered, believing as we do, that the Spirit of Prophecy (Mrs. White's writings!) is the only infallible interpreter of Bible principles." Mr. Erwin, when he made this statement, was affirming "Resolved, That the Visions of Mrs. E.G. White Are The Revelations Of God." Over and over they have asserted that the woman was inspired and infallible, and then, in their authoritative pronouncements of their doctrine to the public, they change it to read otherwise. You see, some of Ellen White's teachings are so contradictory and obviously false, they know
they could not defend them as inspired; so they sit in judgment as to what of her writings are inspired and what are purely human. This saves a lot of embarrassment! But, it also reveals how counterfeit and contemptible this bogus system is.
This, however, does not answer Bible arguments. This is a subterfuge too translucent to deceive one who is acquainted with what the Bible teaches. When William Miller missed and found himself in irretrievable error, Ellen G. White conveniently stepped in to explain it in unscriptural and befuddled terminology like that used by Edison: "Instead of our High Priest coming out of the Most Holy of the heavenly to come to this earth on the tenth day of the seventh month, at the end of the 2300 days, he for the first time entered on that day the second apartment of the sanctuary and that he had a work to perform in the Most Holy before coming to earth."
What kind of folderol is that? Is this the nonsense that has me sufficiently refuted? Such folly and foolishness is not really deserving of a reply! If berating one's challenger is not enough to confuse the subject, then such men complicate the issue and endeavor to confound the hearers by repairing to some obscure, farfetched explanation that emanates from the inexhaustible fountain of the human imagination! If a false teacher can use a jumble of words and fabricate a theory that bewilders the average person, and thus befog and blur the real issue, he may appear very learned, perceptive, and sagacious as a student of his doctrine. What an accomplishment!
Mrs. White and a number of others were with Miller and agreed with him in his predictions that Christ would come in 1844. Here are Miller's own words: "I believe the time can be known by all who desire to understand ... Between March 21, 1840, and March 21, 1844, according to the Jew's mode of computation of time, Christ will come." There was strong condemnation of anyone who disagreed with them. They said: "This is God's truth; it is as true as the Bible. There is no possibility of a mistake at this time. Those who reject this light will be lost. Those who do not accept this argument are backsliders" (History of Advent Message, p. 596). "Ye know not when the time is," Miller said. "We know when the time is."
ELLEN DID NOT DISAVOW FALSE PREDICTIONS
Mrs. White accepted all of this and was a part of it. She refused to disavow these false predictions, even after they failed. Hear her: "As the churches refused to receive the first angel's message [Miller's work], they rejected the light from heaven and fell from the favor of God" (Early Writings, p. 101). On this same topic, Mrs. White wrote: "When the churches rejected the counsel of God by rejecting the Adventist message, the Lord rejected them" (The Great Controversy. Old Edition, p. 232). Again: "God looks down upon these apostate bodies and declares them daughters of a harlot" (ibid. p. 324).
Earlier she had said: "Time can last but a little longer" (Early Writings, Revised, p. 58). Although Miller had missed his predictions of Christ's coming in 1844 and 1845, she continued her predictions: "In view (of another illumination) given June 27, 1850, my accompanying angel said: 'Time is almost finished'" (Early Writings, Revised, p. 64). Listen to these forecasts of hers: "Christ is soon coming (ibid. p. 11). "His speedy coming" (p. 113). "The shortness of time" (p. 120). "Time is almost finished" (p. 67). "A few short months" (Testimones, Vol. I, p. 186). It has been 140 years since she made those projections!
TIME WROUGHT HAVOC ON PREDICTIONS
I do not need to tell you that their warnings and prophecies came and passed and were demolished with all their figures and revelations (?). Their proofs and demonstrations were ravaged and annihilated by the simple element of time. You would think that Miller's followers would have recanted their false projections and repented of their lies since the whole system had been proved to be a humbug and a failure. It is true that many of them what had swallowed his false prophecies and had donned ascension robes and white garments, climbed tree tops, house tops, knolls, hills, mountains, and barns became discouraged and left the faith.
However, Mrs. White, induced by the thinking of Edison and Crozier, found another explanation. They worked out a theory that since Jesus did not come back to earth on October 22, 1844, the passages in the Bible that related to his coming meant that
Christ began the work of cleansing in the heavenly sanctuary and that he would close this work just before he comes again (Great Second Advent Movement, p. 193). Isn't that convenient? You know, you can have another vision and justify about anything upon which you set your heart to believe. It reminds me of Mohammed. He could take the wife of someone else and receive a revelation from God granting him that privilege and thus rationalize and explain his actions. He could prove it all by an inspired vision and then condemn those who criticized and found fault with his ungodly conduct.
That is what Prophetess White did. When Jesus did not return to earth in October of 1844, here was her divine, infallible explanation: "His hand covered a mistake in the reckoning of the prophetic periods. Those who were looking for their Lord did not discover the mistake, and the most learned men who opposed the time also failed to see it. God designed that his people should meet with disappointment" (Early Writings, Ellen G. White, p. 99). According to this so-called prophetess, God knew this prediction of Jesus coming to earth in 1844 was all wrong; therefore, He put a lie in the blueprint of William Miller so his diagram of the time of his coming would fool his followers. God used Miller, according to Mrs. White, to lie for Him! Can you think of anything more blasphemous? What really happened was that Miller was effectively disposed of and Ellen G. White stepped in to take his place. I repudiate any such unholy design originating with God!
I believe Mrs. White was false, counterfeit, rebellious, and contemptible in the sight of God. Let me give you Biblical reasons for my charge:
1. She was false. Listen to her own claims about herself: "Yet the fact that God has revealed his will to men has not rendered needless the continued presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit. On the contrary the Spirit was promised by our Saviour to open the word of His servants to illuminate and apply its teachings" (The Author's Preface to The Great Controversy by Ellen G. White). She is here affirming that it takes the Holy spirit working through her, as a prophetess, to illuminate and apply the word of God.
I deny this categorically! God revealed, through the Holy Spirit, all the truth to the apostles. "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you" (John 14:26). Listen to Jesus again as he continues to address His apostles: "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth ..." (John 16:13). Also, give special attention to the words of Jude: "... I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). This inspired man of God is saying that "the faith"—the entire system of Christianity has been delivered one time for all time to the saints. This task of revealing God's will never needs to be repeated.
You can be sure, therefore, that Ellen's claim to have been caught up to heaven in a vision and saw the fourth commandment with a halo around it, and that she saw that it was not done away, is a fabrication and a fiction of her brain, which many people who knew her well believed to be addled. Whether she had a muddled brain and was addle headed, caused by a childhood accident to her face, or not, is not the issue. This, and many other claims, is false to the core, and that is because God revealed all of his truth to the apostles which he intended that we have throughout the ages—till the end of time.
2. I believe Ellen G. White was a counterfeit. Both Mrs. White and the leaders of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church made the claims that she was inspired and that her visions were genuine. Here are her asseverations:
"I fainted ... and was soon lost to earthly things" (Testimonies, Vol. I, p. 86).
"I fainted ... and was taken off in vision" (ibid., pp. 88 and 89).
"I fainted at midnight ... and was taken off in vision" (ibid., p. 185).
The Adventists think they have a parallel between their prophetess and the prophet Daniel. They declare the cases are just alike. The truth of the matter is they are the exact opposite. Mrs. White fainted and had a vision, whereas Daniel had a vision and
fainted! There is a difference! Let us observe, as an example, one of her counterfeit visions: "I saw that God has not changed the sabbath, for he never changes. But the Pope had changed from the seventh to the first day of the week, for he was to change times and laws" (The Early Writings of Mrs. White, p. 26).
Again, Mrs. White says, under the heading of Mark of the Beast, "The Pope has changed the day of rest from the seventh to the first ... He has thought to change the greatest commandment in the Decalogue, and thus make himself equal with God, or even exalt himself above God. The whole nations have followed after the beast and every week they rob God of his holy time" (p. 55).
CLAIM THE POPE CHANGED THE OBSERVANCE
OF THE SABBATH
It has been, for many years, rather amazing as well as ironic that the Adventists do not accept the word of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church on a single item of belief except this one that has to do with changing the sabbath! The Roman Church believes they are the only true church, but the Adventists reject this completely. Their claim that Peter was the first pope is offensive to the Adventists and they repudiate it altogether. The Catholics assert that the pope is infallible, but the Adventists disavow that strongly. They insist that the Catholic Church holds the keys to heaven, but the Adventists dismiss that as being totally false. The Catholic Church teaches that those outside their church are heretics, but Adventists scrap that doctrine as contemptible. They claim that Protestants are indebted to the Catholics for the Bible, but Adventists dismiss that allegation. Catholics profess that their priests are able to absolve sins, but Adventists avow this to be a pretext unsupported by scriptural authority.
Adventists don't believe any of these things I have mentioned that the Catholic Church teaches and stands for. They chuck the whole of it into the garbage bin. But, when you ask if they believe the pope changed the sabbath to the first day of the week, they converge on that morsel as if it were ice cream or chocolate candy! The tell us that this is exactly what happened and, more than that, this is the mark of the beast!
DISREGARD FOR THE BIBLE AND HISTORY
I have shown previously in the study of Adventism (pp. 19-23) that there was not a pope for several hundred years after the events and the time Mrs. White says this change occurred. Ignorance of both history and the Bible does not seem to deter these people in a shameless daring to make blatant statements which have absolutely no foundation in fact or truth. It doesn't seem to embarrass them at all. They contend in their fallacious assertions that the pope (or "the bishops of the church" at the direction of the pope) did it through Constantine. This is an excerpt from Mrs. White's writings on the subject: "Constantine, while still a heathen, issued a decree enjoining the general observance of Sunday as a public festival throughout the Roman Empire. After his conversion he remained a staunch advocate of Sunday, and his pagan edict was then enforced by him in the interest of his new faith" (The Great Controversy, Old Edition, p. 55).
3. Mrs. Ellen G. White was in rebellion to the teachings of the inspired apostle Paul.
May I insert here that the Adventist movement is about 150 years old, if you review all the changes which have occurred within its ranks since its inception and regard it all that time to have been the Adventist Church. That makes the Seventh-Day Adventist Church just about 1800 years too late to be the church of our Lord established in Jerusalem in A.D. 33! Besides, whoever heard of a Seventh-Day Adventist Church in the New Testament? How far from the truth can one get without having any awareness of the vast stretch between truth and error?
NEW COVENANT BETTER IN EVERY WAY
This gentleman says the "law is wider than the Ten Commandments." What kind of argument is that? What is he trying to refute? My point throughout the book is that the law given by Moses to Israel was abolished at the cross entirely—completely, totally! That, now, we have a better covenant (Hebrews 8:6), built upon better promises (ibid.), bringing in a better hope (Hebrews 7:19), with a better sacrifice (Hebrews 9:22-24), better things to come (Hebrews 10:1), a better possession (Hebrews 10:34). And I
further showed that God made that covenant with Israel. Listen again: "The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The Lord did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, those who are here today, all of us who are alive" (Deuteronomy 5:2-3). The gentleman who wrote you did not touch this argument. Note what Moses said:
(1) God made a covenant with us. Who are the us? They were the Israelites! Isn't it strange, even inexplicable, that people who are not Jews and have never been Jews, claim that this covenant was made with them!
(2) What covenant? Read the rest of the chapter and one will readily discover that he speaks of the Ten Commandments—the fourth of which is supposed to support his cherished sabbath keeping—never given to him in the first place. It wasn't ever given to their fathers as Muirden so ardently claims. This gentleman quotes from a book called Christ & The Unalterable Ten Commandments. I have shown so many times that we are under a new and better covenant; and, yet, the writer of the letter to you claims that the Old Covenant—the Ten Commandments—are unalterable. His argument is not with me, but with Jesus and Paul, and all the rest of the apostles! He needs to go back and read Jesus and His Sermon on the Mount.
Jesus issues mandates far deeper, more meaningful, and more spiritual that those which are found in the Old Testament. Listen: "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder ...' But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment ..." (Matthew 5:21-22).
Hear what Jesus had taught His disciples on the subject: "Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him" (I John 3:15). And, John further elaborated: "If some says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar ..." (I John 4:20).
"You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:27-28). It is a new and better covenant, and it is given for all mankind, not just the Jews!
(3) Mr. Muirden says that "anyone who reads Exodus 31:13-17 properly, will see that it never suggests that Israelites must observe the Sabbath because He led them out of Egypt, but because it is a holy day. Thus, Mr. Caskey's insistence that 'God said two things: (1) You were slaves in Egypt; (2) God brought you out. Therefore, for this reason, God commanded you to keep the Sabbath' (p. 14) is invalid. It is a non sequitur."
WHO AND WHY KEEP THE SABBATH?
This gentleman's argument is not with me, but, in this case, with Moses. He ought not only to be ashamed, but he ought to be afraid—scared to death—to contradict the inspired word of God. Here is what Muirden says is invalid: "You shall remember (these are the Israelites, not Mr. Muirden and his Adventists brethren!) that you were a servant (slave) in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out thence with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day." My words were an exact reproduction of the passage in Deuteronomy 5:15, and yet Muirden says they are "... invalid. It is a non sequitur," he says. That means "a conclusion or inference which does not follow from the premises or evidence upon which it is based." It will not be difficult for the readers of this answer to see that nothing could be plainer than that God called upon Israel to remember the sabbath because they had been slaves in Egypt and that He (God) had led them out with a mighty hand.
I looked up the word therefore in both the Greek Septuagint and the Hebrew Old Testament. Let me give you the definitions that the Greek and Hebrew Lexicons give of this word in this very passage. Gesenius (in his Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon To The Old Testament) defines therefore (ken) "on that account, because" [of what has gone before]. Strong, in his Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary, defines it "hence, forasmuch, for which cause, therefore." The word in the Septuagint is hoste and it means "therefore, consequently, in order that" having to do with the design, purpose, or the reason.
So, without quibble or question, the Israelites were commanded to keep the sabbath day "on that account." On what account? To remember that they had been slaves in Egypt and that God had brought them out with a mighty hand. Moses said "because of
this, for which cause, forasmuch as you were slaves in Egypt and God brought you out, you are to keep the sabbath day." I have a thirteen-year-old grandson, and I believe he can understand that without the slightest difficulty! Why would this gentleman suffer such excruciating, intolerable pain in an effort to understand what even an eighth-grade student would grasp immediately? What kind of a false doctrine gets such a grasp on a person that would cause him to brand these truths as invalid?
THE SABBATH A SIGN WITH ISRAEL
I am rather surprised that this fellow would want me to read Exodus 31:17! This passage says that the sabbath was a sign between God and Israel. A sign is something special, not general. He ought to know that I wear a wedding band on the third finger of my left hand. It is a sign between me and one woman. It is not a sign between me and every woman. That is not very complex and is readily understood by most people. In our culture, one sees that ring on my finger and immediately knows that I am married to one woman. So, the sabbath was given to Israel as a sign between that nation, Israel (not all nations), and God. It was with just that people alone! God kept telling them that it was a sign between him and the children of Israel "throughout your generations" (Exodus 31:13). Earlier in chapter 13, he said: "It shall be as a sign to you ... for with a strong hand the Lord brought you out of Egypt" (v. 9). He reiterates the purpose of their keeping the sabbath. Though connected, in this instance with the Passover, it had not lost its significance.
Mr. Muirden falsely accuses me of seeing a "distinction between the moral and ceremonial law," and then continues by saying "Mr. Caskey limits Law of the Lord to Ten Commandments." I never said any such thing—ever! This fellow either (1) did not read what I said many times in my book, or (2) he deliberately made an effort to pervert what I said and mislead those who might read his paper. What I said in plain and unmistakable language was: "It will be noticed that this gentleman, in keeping with Seventh-Day Adventism, makes an effort to distinguish the 'Ceremonial Law of Moses and the Moral Law of God'" May I tell you in the very onset of this study that no such language is
found in the Bible! However, they (Adventists) tell us that the ceremonial law was the Law of Moses and was done away; but they tell us that the Decalogue is the moral law, the Law of god, or the Law of the Lord, and it was not done away.
Later, in the same book, I stated: "Then you say the moral law was not abrogated. This, you contend, was the Ten Commandments. You struggle to make a difference which God does not make, and that is treading on exceedingly dangerous ground." Surely, he must have the capability of understanding such simple language!
Adventists insist that the Ten Commandments are not the Law of Moses, but the Law of the Lord. They have two laws and they tell us there is a difference between them, but burnt offerings, new moons, set feasts, and sabbaths are spoken of in II Chronicles 31:3 as the "Law of the Lord."
Consider this verse and review what is said in it: "The King also appointed a portion of his possessions for the burnt offerings: for the morning and evening burnt offerings, the burnt offerings for the Sabbath and the New Moons and the set feasts, as it is written in the Law of the Lord."
Adventists tell us that the Law of the Lord was not done away, so one must conclude that they are obligated to keep the new moons, burnt offerings, and set feasts right along with their sabbaths—all of them in "the Law of the Lord." How do you abolish three of these mentioned in the same verse and keep the one?
MORAL LAW BESIDE THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
What the Adventists call ceremonial law contains great numbers of moral principles enunciated in scores of passages not found in the Ten Commandments. Here are several passages which will illustrate and prove what I am affirming: "You shall neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt" (Exodus 22:21). This is a part, they say, of the ceremonial law, and, of necessity, was abolished at the cross. That is so because it is not a part of the Ten Commandments, but you must know that it is a moral principle that is verbalized in this passage.
Another moral principle that is as clearly articulated is found in the next verse: "You shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child." Take note of these:
"If a man causes a field or vineyard to be grazed, and lets loose his animal, and it feeds in another man's field, he shall make restitution ..." (Exodus 22:5). Would this fellow wish to deny that this is a moral principle? Let him apprise us to which of the Ten Commandments this belongs. To be consistent, he must acknowledge that this is ceremonial law! And it, therefore, according to his doctrine, has been abrogated!
"If a man strikes the eye of his male or female servant, and destroys it, he shall let him go free for the sake of his eye" (Exodus 21:26). Is this moral or ceremonial? Is it a part of the Law of the Lord or a part of the Law of Moses. Being a moral law, was it retained along with the Ten Commandments? Since the Adventists contend that it is a part of the ceremonial law, placed in the side of the ark of the covenant, and, therefore, no part of the Law of the Lord, was it abolished at the cross? They argue that all of it was ceremonial except the Ten Commandments.
In what classification do they place the following mandate: "If men fight and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished ... But if harm follows, then you shall give life for life ..." (Exodus 21:22-23). Which one of the Ten Commandments is this? If it is not one of the Ten Commandments, explain how it is defined under the ceremonial code.
"Whoever lies with an animal shall surely be put to death" (Exodus 22:19). Identify this among the Ten Commandments and specify which one it is.
NOT TWO LAWS
My argument from the first is that there are not two laws, as alleged by the Adventists. There are many different kinds of laws—as civil, social, ceremonial, moral, positive commands, types; but they are all one law—sometimes called "the law of the Lord," "the law of God," "the law of Moses," "the law," etc. It is not true, therefore, that one of the laws ("ceremonial") was abolished and the other law ("moral") was retained and continues to be binding on people in this dispensation.
Mr. Muirden, along with other Adventists, assumes that sabbath doesn't mean the weekly sabbath unless it fits his code and creed. They make a prolonged effort to distinguish between sabbath and sabbaths. They tell us that the weekly sabbath is never used in the plural (sabbaths or sabbath days) in the Bible. How gullible, how credulous do they think Christians are who study their Bibles? You judge and decide, as you read these scriptures, if their premise is true or false:
"And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: 'Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations'" (Exodus 31:12-13). Then, in the next verse, he continues, "You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you ..."
"Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and keep My Sabbaths ..." (Leviticus 19:3). Moses was here quoting the fourth and fifth commandments from the Ten Commandments, and he uses the plural sabbaths to identify the weekly sabbath—which Adventists say never occurs. Why would they make such bold assertions and such false pronouncements? Do they think people cannot, or will not, read their Bibles? There is only one answer: to preserve their adorable sabbath!
But, even when Moses gave the fourth commandment, he used the plural—not the singular, which completely contradicts their claim and rebuts the fabric of their theology. The Septuagint, from which Jesus, and the apostles often quoted, renders the fourth commandment, "remember the sabbath day," by the Greek plural, "remember the sabbath days." Let us continue with some other passages where this is also true: In Leviticus 23:38, he refers to the "Sabbaths of the Lord" in the plural number.
Isaiah 56:2, 4 reads: "Blessed is the man ... Who keeps from defiling the Sabbath[s] [plural], and keeps his hand from doing any evil." The Septuagint renders it ta sabbata. This is Accusative Case and plural number. Then, in verse four, the English rendering is: "... To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths ..." This is the same plural number as in verse two. So it is not true at all that the sabbath is never plural in form.
SABBATH IS PLURAL IN THE NEW TESTAMENT ALSO
This Bible fact which I have amply delineated in the Old Testament passages is also true in the New Testament. I call upon you to observe the usage of the sabbath in the plural when referring to the seventh-day sabbath:
Jesus asked: "or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless (Matthew 12:5)? The Greek term is tois sabbasin, and that is Dative Case and plural number! This same construction is repeated in verse ten of chapter twelve. The exact, the identical, grammatical constitution is found in Luke 4:31. Listen to the record in Acts 17:2: "Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures ..." Here the usage is the same—the plural applied to single days— but the grammatical structure is a little different. It reads "epi sabbata tria," and the literal translation is "upon sabbaths three." That is, "upon three sabbaths," Paul went into their synagogue and reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, with which they were familiar.
And now let us look at Colossians 2:14, 16-17, which Adventists claim could never refer to the weekly sabbath: "having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross ... So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come ..." This word in the Greek text, sabbaton, is Genitive, plural; and, like the passages in the Old and New Testaments to which I have made reference, has to do with the weekly sabbath.. One must be desperate, headstrong, and reckless with the word of God in his effort to save his most cherished doctrine to thus misrepresent and desecrate the inspired Scriptures. It is a corruption that is easily detected by anyone who carefully studies his Bible, but which might not be seen readily by those who are not careful students.
In Colossians 2, Paul is talking about the abrogation of the whole law. He is telling us that the yearly feasts are annulled, that He has canceled the monthly observances referred to as the new moons, and that He has dissolved and nullified the weekly sabbaths by nailing all of them to the cross. It was fulfilled,
finished, by Jesus when He died on the tree, and thus, in its totality, it was dissolved—the yearly festivals, the monthly new moons, and the weekly sabbaths!
IS THIS SCHOLARSHIP?
This gentleman seems to make an effort at scholarship by asserting "Sabbaths (small 's') Ain't Sabbaths (Big 'S')." He says: "Mr. Caskey fails to make this distinction, consequently misinterprets SDA doctrine." Is he alleging that this is some kind of intellectual approach to the study of the word sabbath?
Surely he is not avowing that the word sabbath is found in the lower case when it is referring to what he calls the "ceremonial sabbaths" and upper case in the Greek when it refers to the "weekly sabbath!" Is he oblivious to the fact that while there were capital letters (uncial) in the early development of language, no such distinctions are found to apply to "ceremonial sabbaths" and "weekly sabbaths."
A student of the word of God would be rather obtuse (slow of understanding or perception) who would make the argument that the weekly sabbath in the Bible begins with a capital letter (S), while other sabbaths always begin with a small letter (s). He then asserts: "To distinguish between 'sabbaths' and the 'Sabbath,' turn to Leviticus 28." There are only twenty-seven chapters in Leviticus! Without derision, scorn, or ridicule, I submit to you that Mr. Muirden's arguments from a non-existent chapter are about as strong and effective as those he claims to base upon real Scriptures! I examined a number of passages in the Greek text from which the Authorized Version (King James) was translated, and I did not find a single case where the "weekly sabbath," as he likes to call it, was capitalized. Is this what Mr. Muirden meant to convey when he said "Sabbaths (big 'S') meaning Seventh-Day observances. Mr. Caskey fails to make this distinction ..." What a stigma of humiliation on this gentleman!
HEALTH RULES FAVORED BY THE CHURCH
This fellow who challenges my arguments, not with any scriptural refutation, but with shallow and immaterial claims, maintains that they observe "these health rules favoured by the
Church, but are not compulsory on Adventists." Does he think we have never read their writings and decrees? Does he imagine that what they have mandated and practiced in past years is totally unknown to the rest of us just a few years this side of those requirements and ultimatums their leaders initiated and called inspired? Does it not seem strange that they would take such a hard, unyielding stand on such subjects as eating, or not eating, certain foods, and then, all of a sudden, decide that none of these inspired directives on this topic is now compulsory?
He goes further into the discussion of this subject to inform us that "they concede the value of Mosaic prohibition on pork, and disapproves of meat-eating, favoring vegetarianism. These are not regarded by Adventists as having the compelling force of the Decalogue or the New Testament." He must have concluded, somewhere along the way, that Ellen was not inspired in her instructions and directions to her followers on this subject. You see, he asserts that whether you eat pork or not is not now compulsory; and that eating what was once forbidden is not "the compelling force of the Decalogue or the New Testament."
Let us see what Ellen G. White says: "You have used the fat of animals, which God in his word expressly forbids" (Testimonies To The Church, Vol. II, p. 61). If God "expressly forbids" something, how can this man say that it "is not compulsory?" How can he take the position, in direct opposition and contradiction to his inspired prophetess, Ellen White, that it does not now have "the compelling force" of the Decalogue or the New Testament? Ellen further says, but Muirden no longer believes, "cheese should never be introduced into the stomach" (p. 68). This man needs to be careful or his people may excommunicate him! Ellen also said: "It is just as much a sin to violate the laws of our being as to break one of the Ten Commandments" (p. 70). Do you believe that, Mr. Muirden? You have said you do not now believe it! She (Ellen) made this strong statement, also: "The use of swine's flesh is contrary to his express commandments" (p. 96). With you, that is supposed to have the force of the Decalogue!
MUIRDEN CONTRADICTS HIS INSPIRED (?) RULES
But, Mr. Muirden is so erratic and contradictory, you really cannot show what he believes. On the subject of meat-eating
he says: "SDA's (Seventh-Day Adventists) do distinguish between clean and unclean meats." Why distinguish between them if it is an optional selection one can make. Do you mean that it is a matter of choice or volition on your part? Is it just a preference of yours not to eat pork and eat vegetables instead? Do you eat pork or cheese? If you do, why would you do so in light of what your inspired prophetess demanded? It was tantamount to an order issued by the highest authority and yet you say it is not compulsory and does not carry a compelling force like an ultimatum.
It would be interesting if you would make known what you believe about this matter. It would be difficult to explain your dilemma, and I think you would find it more difficult to extricate yourself from this insoluble problem you face!
What do inspired writers in the New Testament have to say upon this subject? Paul, in writing to Timothy, said there would be those who would "... abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer" (I Timothy 4:3-5).
Muirden says they still "distinguish between clean and unclean meats." Inasmuch as Paul declared that "every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused," it would be interesting and probably beneficial, if he would tell us which is now clean and which is unclean.
He further apprises us that they favor vegetarianism to meat-eating. Is this on religious grounds, or for health's sake? It must be religious, because they agree with Moses on the question of not eating pork! Here is what Paul had to say on the subject to the Corinthian church: "Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience sake; for 'the earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness.' If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience sake" (I Corinthians 10:25-27).
Paul discussed this same subject with the Christians who lived in Rome: "For one believes he may eat of all things, but he who is
weak eats only vegetables" (Romans 14:2). Does this man believe what Paul said about him—that he is weak? The apostle continued giving inspired advice to these people: "Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat ..." (v. 3). Yet, Mr. Muirden's inspired founder of the church said: "The use of swine's flesh is contradictory to his express commandments." Does this gentleman believe that? He asserted that these things are not now compulsory. When did they cease being compulsory?
How does he reconcile his position with that of his founder? He speaks of eating vegetables as simply a preference over eating meat. What does he do with Ellen's statement: "You have used the fat of animals, which God in his word expressly forbids?" Mrs. White says: "God forbids it." Mr. Muirden says it is optional, not compulsory. Do you suppose this defender of Seventh-Day Adventism believes his own word is just as inspired as that of Ellen G. White? Does he have authority to substitute his doctrine for hers? Does his newer doctrinal position supersede that of the founder of his religion? Are we to understand that the old teaching has now been replaced by this most recent exegesis?
But, let's hear Jesus on that subject of clean and unclean foods: "When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, 'Hear Me, everyone, and understand: There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man'" (Mark 7:14-15). Then, the writer said: "because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods" (v. 9). Other translations render it: "Thus he declared all foods clean."
Jesus was very simply saying: "Only persons can be defiled, and what defiles a person are his own actions which are the product of his own heart." This was brand new doctrine, shatteringly innovative—right out on the frontier. It was so unusual that it wreaked havoc on his enemies and their doctrine, for they had a whole system of things which were clean and unclean. With one sweeping pronouncement, Jesus declared that entire system of tradition was irrelevant and he clearly stated that uncleanness had nothing to do with what a man takes into his body, and everything to do with what comes out of his heart.
There were two things these religious leaders and their cohorts were concerned with—eating unclean food and associating with unclean people. When they came from the market place, they would wash for fear they had touched some unclean person and become contaminated. They ceremonially baptized their pots and vessels lest some unclean food had touched them and they had become infected by this pollution and thus desecrated the individual.
Once he had disposed of the former, Mark tells us that "From there He arose and went to the region of Tyre and Sidon ..." (v. 24). He encountered, in this Gentile territory, a woman who was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth. Half Syrian and half Phoenician, she was unclean to the Jew. So, the great lesson for all time which Jesus taught on these occasions was that there were no unclean people—all were subject to the love and the gospel which Christ was introducing for all ages to come. But, Muirden says they still concede the value of Moses' prohibition on pork and that they distinguish between clean and unclean animals. How can these people read what Jesus and the apostles said in the New Testament upon this subject and still contend for rules, regulations, and traditions of the Old Testament which were abolished at the cross? What must puzzle everyone who observes their teachings is their contention to keep a law that was never given to them (Gentiles) in the first place!
SABBATH A PART OF THE NEW COVENANT?
This disputant returns to his "sabbath keeping," and avers that "the sabbath is still valid and a part of the New Covenant." "Much more important," he says, "is that the Sabbath (he capitalizes this word!) is part of the New Covenant which supersedes the Old Covenant and makes it clear that it goes beyond celebrating the Exodus." Then, he quotes Hebrews 8:7-10. Why he would do that presents an inexplicable mystery. He doesn't really want that passage. It devastates his position. It teaches everything Adventists deny. First, the passage says that God would make a new covenant. Lest someone would not understand, the inspired writer expanded that thought by saying "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 ..." (v. 9). The Hebrew writer said that it was not like the Ten Commandments covenant. Yet, this contender for Seventh-Day Adventism says it is the same. And, he and his people argue if it is not the same we must be free to commit adultery, murder, steal, and covet! He strongly contends that it was not abolished. However, inspiration says it is a new covenant. That covenant (old) was written on stones. The new covenant is written upon human hearts. The divine record says it is "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers ..." This term is ou katta, which means "not in conformity with," "not after the fashion, or likeness of, not according to; not along the same line."
The same writer said just a little later in the same letter: "... He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Hebrews 10:9-10).
REALLY, WHAT DOES HE BELIEVE?
This gentleman who has assailed my writings on the sabbath agrees, at one point of the letter, that "the covenant written and engraven in stones was abolished in the New Covenant." Then, he postulates: "Exactly! No disagreement!" Neighbor, this is what we have been talking about the whole time—that the Ten Commandments (along with the rest of the law) which were written in stone have been abolished and that we now live under the last Will and Testament of Jesus Christ.
How do you interpret a man whose whole thesis has been "we are still living under the Decalogue," and then he turns around to announce that he agrees with Mr. Caskey that "the covenant written and engraven on stones was abolished in the New Covenant." I wish I could believe that he actually accepts that position. If I were convinced that he did accept when he says about the covenant written in stones being abolished, I would have a great hope that we could induce him to become a Christian!
SABBATH KEPT FROM CREATION?
Mr. Muirden continues a fruitless and frantic search for some argument or justification for keeping the sabbath. He evidently
thinks he has demonstrated the legitimate proof of its having been kept from creation. In his reproach of me, in these words: "Mr. Caskey argues that there is no record of Sabbath observance from its creation in Genesis 2:1-3 until the Book of Exodus era. If this were so, then those who observed the other nine commandments before they were written in stone were wasting their time, because the Lord never told them to do these things."
It is extremely difficult to communicate with someone so unacquainted with what the Bible teaches and unconversant upon the subject under consideration. When one is groping for a ray of light that might bolster his position or is grabbing for a straw to keep from drowning, what he offers as a rebuttal is very weak indeed! He is attacking my argument by asserting that if the fourth commandment (sabbath) was not kept from creation, neither were any of the other nine. And, that if the sabbath were not applicable in that period before Moses, the people who were keeping other commandments and prohibitions of the Lord were just wasting their time.
MORAL LAWS LONG BEFORE THE
First, I challenge this gentleman to show that the sabbath was kept from creation; and I further challenge him to read and consider the deep principles of morality inculcated early in the history of man's existence. On the subject of murder, let us consider a few passages: "And He said, 'What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood cries out to Me from the ground. So now you are cursed from the earth ...'" (Genesis 4:10-11).
"Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man" (Genesis 9:6). You decide whether there is God-given prohibition of murder before the Ten Commandments were given at Sinai!
What of other principles of truth and morality? Listen to this: "For I have known him [Abraham], in order that he may keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice ..." (Genesis 18:19).
With reference to adultery, read this: "... And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, "Indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man's wife" (Genesis 20:2-3). This same problem also arose with Isaac's wife: "And Abimelech said, 'What is this you have done to us? One of the people might soon have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt on us'" (Genesis 26:10). A well remembered case is that of Joseph: "And it came to pass after these things that his master's wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and she said, 'Lie with me.' But he refused and said to his master's wife ... because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God" (Genesis 29:7-9).
The respondent to my booklet on Adventism assumes that if the Ten Commandments were not in force from the creation there would be no ban on immorality. He is telling us that men and women in that age were not confined in their conduct or enjoined by God to any pattern of deportment. They were totally uninhibited for there were no Ten Commandments to prevent their giving vent to their natural inclinations and no disapproval to suppress their longings and lusts. This is the import of Muirden's argument; but there is not a word of truth in it.
God issued, according to this kind of reasoning, no denunciation against evil behavior and no condemnation for wicked demeanor. This kind of reasoning (if it may be called reasoning) would cause one to conclude that God would issue no indictment against any wickedness.
May I apprise this gentleman that lying was lying and adultery was adultery and murder was murder long before the Ten Commandments were issued from Sinai. When Joseph's brothers believed that one among them had stolen a silver cup in Egypt, they humbly acknowledged the wrong of it and their willingness to make any rectification. "... Or how shall we clear ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants ..." (Genesis 44:16). Five hundred years before the law, these sons of Jacob knew it was wrong to steal.
God's children honored their fathers and mothers centuries before the Ten Commandments, or the Decalogue, was issued!
Listen to this: "Then Joseph fell on his father's face, and wept over him, and kissed him" (Genesis 50:1). Joseph, along with his brothers, took their father's body back to Canaan to bury him in the tomb which he had hewed out for himself. This was out of honor, deference, and respect for their father. It might be helpful if you could get across to Mr. Muirden that "they were not wasting their time." Simply because the sabbath was not given until after Israel's exodus from Egypt does not obviate, or preclude, or make unnecessary, the keeping of moral principles God announced in the beginning of man's existence on the earth.
A PERVERSION OF JESUS' LANGUAGE
This man makes another effort to bolster his sabbath doctrine by quoting Matthew 5:18: "For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled." Then, he comments, "So, Jesus preaches that the Law is lastingly valid. ..." I would call his attention to the meaning of the word until. And, I would also request that he observe how it is used in the New Testament. The word until is heos, and it means "until this day, to this time, up to, as far as." Jesus said the law would last "up to" the time of its fulfillment. It would be in force "until the day of" its completion. It would be operative "as far as" the point of its being finished, accomplished. That means "done, ended, over, performed, terminated, through, wrapped up!"
Here are some examples of how it (until) is used in the New Testament: "They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all" (Luke 17:27). These were the activities in which the antediluvians were engaged until the day Noah entered the ark and the flood came. That brought to a close all of their projects and practices. These people no longer engaged in any of this former conduct. Their deeds were over. But, they had lasted until that eventful day.
At the crucifixion of Christ "... there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour" (Luke 23:44). Do Adventists believe that the darkness continued beyond the ninth hour? If so, how long did it last? To be consistent with their doctrine, the darkness (literal) continues even in this day!
"So Cornelius said, "Four days ago I was fasting until this hour ...'" (Acts 10:30). Does this mean that Cornelius kept on fasting after this time to which he referred? Could it mean that he is still fasting? Such a question seems absurd, even foolish! Still, it is no more ludicrous than the Adventist contention that the law (the Ten Commandments, the Decalogue) is still in force. When one reads all that Paul, for instance, says about the abrogation of the law, such a position is ridiculous—yes, preposterous!
Paul preached to the Christians in Troas, with whom he met on the first day of the week to eat the Lord's Supper, and continued his "speech until midnight." Do you understand from this that Paul's sermon to the congregation in that city extended on and on after midnight? How long was it prolonged?
Certain Jews in Jerusalem, enemies of Paul, banded themselves together and placed themselves under an oath that they would not even taste food or drink anything "till [until] they had killed Paul" (Acts 23:12). Did they intend to continue their abstinence indefinitely? No, it was only up to a certain point—and that point was the death of Paul. In this communication with the Corinthian church, Paul told them that he would be unable "... to see you now on the way; but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits. But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost" (I Corinthians 16:7-8). Did this sound like Paul was indecisive and unsettled about how long he would be in Ephesus? Does the language state or infer that he would continue to visit this city after Pentecost? How could the statement be more simple or obvious?
THE TWO COVENANTS CONTRASTED
Mr. Muirden claims that I am "guilty of the terrible confusion" and further accuses me of "whining" "that the Adventists have failed to respond to Galatians 4:21-31, which contrasts the Old Covenant, represent by Hagar and Ishmael, which is cast out or abolished, with the New Covenant, symbolized by Sarah and Isaac." Then the gentleman says: "Mr. Caskey fails to notice that Ishmael was the firstborn representing those who are born once only." Where did he get that information, and what kind of a response is that? My contention is that Paul showed that Hagar represented the law given from Mount Sinai; and Ishmael, Hagar's son, represented the children of that covenant.
Muirden goes on to elaborate: "Isaac was the second born, representing those who are born again." The apostle was not even discussing the subject of "being born again." Paul's purpose in this allegory was to show that the old covenant was fleshly and that the new covenant was spiritual—that the old was taken out of the way and the new is now in force. It would be better to read it again, although we have done so heretofore: "Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. but he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar—for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children—but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all" (Galatians 4:21-26). Paul said that those who desire to be under the law are children of slavery. And on that account, he asked: "Nevertheless what does the scripture say? 'Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.' So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free" (Galatians 4:30-31).
I do not know how language could be much clearer than this. The apostle is telling us that the law given at Mount Sinai has been cast out. Yet, this is the law Mr. Muirden says we should still be keeping, for he says: "[Mr. Caskey] is wrong in saying that the Decalogue is no longer valid." How on earth can a man read what Paul said about the law from Sinai (the Decalogue) being "cast out" (Galatians 4:21-31) and contend that it is still valid?
In the next verse, which is in Galatians 5:1, Paul continues: "stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." In verse 4, Paul continues his argument: "You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace." Now what law was Paul talking about?
In the previous chapter he had drawn a picture of it—it was the law from Sinai, represented by Hagar; and he followed that by
saying (1) cast it out; (2) we are free from it; (3) do not submit again to this yoke of bondage; (4) if you would endeavor to be justified by it, you have fallen away from grace. And yet, this man has the audacity to tell you that I am "terribly confused!" Listen to his explanation and see if you can "make heads or tails out of it." "The New Covenant depends on better promises which God fulfilled in Jesus Christ, an obedience to the Law which is first imputed to the sinner through co-operation of the believer with the Holy Spirit in sanctification and finally embodied in the redemption when this corruptible puts on incorruption and when this mortal puts on immortality in glorification." Will you please tell what this man is saying? Simply to use words thrown together does not necessarily make sense. Some men are smooth at saying absolutely nothing!
I am sure that I do not have to tell you that this nowhere "touches top, side or bottom" of the truth I presented from Paul on the subject. I have read it several times and it is complete nonsense. It is babble and gibberish. It is not just meaningless twaddle, but it signifies nothing as it has to do with the thesis under investigation. People who read this will have no difficulty seeing what the Bible teaches in contrast and contradiction with what the Adventists stand for.
Mr. Muirden, in his struggle to perpetuate sabbath keeping in this dispensation, attempts to substantiate it with another argument. Here it is: "The fact that the Decalogue (as the document of the covenant) is sometimes referred to as the 'covenant' is a literary device where a part is referred to as the whole. The fact that the new covenant is 'kairos' indicates that it is renewed, not new through and through; or new in point of its promises rather than new in point of its documents. The new covenant finds the Decalogue written in the minds and hearts of the people. In Jesus Christ, God counts the believers as perfectly obeying the Decalogue and writes the Decalogue on their hearts so that they may have a heart obedience in following this example."
In not one word he speaks does he make any effort to certify it by the word of God. Evidently he thinks if he says it, it is immediately validated and sustained by his mere assertion! First, he says that the new covenant was not really new, it was just
"renewed, not new through and through." The word is not 'kairos,' as he has it in his letter, but kainos, and here is the definition of it by the scholars—"all things are new, previously non-existent, begin to be far different from what they were before."
Here is an example: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" (II Corinthians 5:17). Thayer continues in his lexicon to define the word: "denotes the new primarily in reference to quality, the fresh, unworn." He also says: "recently made, fresh, unused; new, which as recently made is superior to what it succeeds." The Analytical Greek Lexicon gives a similar definition: "new, recently made; unheard of, better, of higher excellence."
In the case of one becoming a Christian, it may carry the idea of renovated, made over, but even then he becomes entirely new with no residue of the old man in him!
Jesus said: "... This is My blood of the new covenant ..." (Mark 14:24). Paul told the Corinthians: "who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life" (II Corinthians 3:6). The letter stood for the law in Paul's language; and the spirit stood for the New Testament which offers life. One does not have to guess or speculate in his reasoning what Paul was talking about, for the very next verse says: "But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious" (II Corinthians 3:7-11).
Look at how outright visible Paul's argumentation was: (1) The letter kills; (2) the ministry of death was engraved on stones; (3) it was a ministry of condemnation; (4) it had no glory by comparison; (5) this law or covenant was done away ("which is done away"). So, the inspired apostle Paul is telling these
churches of Christ he addressed in the first century that the Old testament (covenant) has been canceled, annulled, revoked, terminated, set aside, repealed, dissolved and that the new covenant, perfect in every detail, has taken its place.
The New Testament provides every need that man has and meets every exigency he may encounter. "And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19). "As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (II Peter 1:3-4).
WHAT WAS THE MINISTRY OF DEATH?
It must seem laborious and burdensome to hear these arguments repeated several times. The redundancy is grueling at times; but sabbath keeping is their central theme; they continue to press it; and we must continue to refute it. So, I repeat the question asked several times: What was the ministry of death and condemnation engraved on stones? It was the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments that Mr. Muirden says is a part of the new covenant. He says that believers in Christ perfectly obey that Decalogue which is written on their hearts. The apostle, by inspiration, says the very opposite. What the Adventist here affirms is totally incongruous and, therefore, conflicting with what he apostle declares.
Listen to his words on the subject: "... Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—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 ..." (Hebrews 8:8-9). Muirden assets that the new covenant is not only like the old, but that the Decalogue is a part of the new.
But Paul declares that this new covenant is not like that one! Which one? The one God made with Israel when he took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt. Which covenant was that? We are given the answer clearly in I Kings 8:9: "Nothing
was in the ark except the two tablets which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt."
What was on the two tablets of stone? The Ten Commandments, the Decalogue. Nehemiah adds these thoughts to this truth: "You came down also on Mount Sinai, And spoke with them from heaven, And gave them just ordinances and true laws, Good statues and commandments. You made known to them Your holy Sabbath ..." (Nehemiah 9:13-14). It was the law that contained the sabbath.
So, the Lord made a new covenant with His people, not like oukata, the covenant He made with their fathers on Mount Sinai. This term means "not along the line." This covenant was "not along the line" of the covenant He made with Israel on Mount Horeb, but Muirden contends that it is the same. The difference he would say is that it (the Decalogue) is now written upon human hearts instead of on tables of stone.
PASSAGES CLEARLY SHOW LAW ABROGATED
To refresh your memory, let us read passages which show that the law was terminated, set aside, and dissolved.
"Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead ..." (Romans 7:4). You may ask: "To what law had they become dead?" The answer is the law that contained the commandment, "Thou shalt not covet." Which law was that? It was the Ten Commandment law! Then Paul continued in verse 6: "But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter."
"For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin; He condemned sin in the flesh, ..." (Romans 8:3).
"For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes" (Romans 10:4).
"Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace ..." (Ephesians 2:15).
"... having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross" (Colossians 2:14).
"But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second" (Hebrews 8:6-7).
"... He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Hebrews 10:9-10).
NEW AND BETTER
In the new covenant He has provided better things for us (Hebrews 11:40).
In this Christian dispensation, the covenant is new, the sacrifice is new, forgiveness of sins is new, the promises are new, the mediator is new, the name is new—everything about it is new. Yet, this contender for Seventh-Day Adventism would have you go back to, and hold on to, a law that was given exclusively to the Jews and was abrogated at the cross!
THE NEW CREATION
Before he closes his letter, which is supposed to be some kind of a reply to my book, Mr. Muirden comes back to the Adventist materialistic concept of heaven. Here is what he says: "He [Mr. Caskey] fails to allow for the fact that, in the 'New Creation' all Creation, including 'flesh and blood,' will be cleansed of sin, disease and death, so that 'through (His Promises) you may participate in the Divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires'" (II Peter 1:4).
This is a classic example of how these people lift passages out of there context and make them apply to things God never had in mind. Paul tells us that we are a "new creation" if we are in Christ. We get into Christ by being baptized into Him. "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death" (Romans 6:3)? "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ (Galatians 3:16-27). "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation ..." (II Corinthians 5:17).
To take that passage, that expression, and make it apply to a millennium, on earth or in heaven, is a gross perversion and misrepresentation of the scriptures. This gentleman says that "flesh and blood will be cleansed of sin, disease and death ... that you may participate in the Divine nature and escape corruption in the world." The passage he refers to says that we Christians, here in the world, escape corruption that is in the world and become partakers of the divine nature. That is, when one has his sins washed away in the blood of Christ, he becomes pure and holy like God. Peter had already charged these people to "... Be holy, for I am holy" (I Peter 1:16). He told them that "knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (I Peter 1:18-19). He is not talking about some future state in another world or another life; he is speaking of how we must conduct ourselves in this world.
THE WORLD TO COME
And I may add, there is not going to be "flesh and blood" in that world to come. When Jesus comes back, this mortal will put on immortality, this perishable will put on the imperishable, this physical body will be raised a spiritual body. "... flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God ..." so states Paul in consideration of the life that is to come (read this entire section—I Corinthians 5:42-58). In his second letter to the Corinthian church, he said: "... Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, ye now we know Him thus no longer" (II Corinthians 5:16). Maybe Mr. Muirden would like to tell us what his "new Creation" is!
THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK
Mr. muirden did not touch the arguments I made in my book on THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK (p. 41). Nor did he make any reasonable attempt to answer the passages I adduced on Christians observing the first day of the week during the first century. Furthermore, no noteworthy effort, deserving any attention, was made to reply to COMMENTS OF SCHOLARS regarding observance of the first day of the week in those early days.
This respondent quotes from The Manual of the Baptist Church: "Sunday did not come into use in early Christian history as a religious day as we learn from the fathers and other sources." Then Muirden adds his own words: "Sunday was not then given any Christian significance. ..."
Simply because a particular Baptist manual and the Seventh-Day Adventists assert that the first day of the week was not observed by the early Christians in memory of the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ does not make it so, by any means! What the reputable historians have said about it proved that the Baptists and Adventists didn't know what they were talking about or deliberately perverted and misrepresented what the New Testament teaches.
Go back to pp. 19-24 and read again those quotations from the Greek scholars, the early church fathers, the critical commentaries, the Bible dictionaries, and the historians such as Eusebius, Neander, Mosheim, Fisher, and Schaff.
It is farcical and foolish, even ludicrous, to make such statements when the whole literate world knows there is not a shred of truth in them. But my reason for quoting a multitude of reputable, standard, and accepted scholars was not to prove that the first day of the week was observed by the Christians in the first century, but to show what the apostles had already declared on the subject and to verify the fact that it was clearly and easily understood by everyone who had any knowledge of what the New Testament teaches on the theme. The issue was settled by inspiration and these language authorities and historians simply commented on what was already understood and accepted.
Let us carefully look at some of the passages themselves: "Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul ... spoke to them and continued his message ..." (Acts 20:7). Literally, Luke says: "On the first (day) of the weeks ... 'i.e., on Sunday.'" Lenski, in his analysis of this passage, says: "This is the cardinal mia instead of the ordinal prote. Luke refers to Sunday exactly as the Dative does in Luke 24:1, and Sunday in our sense of the word, "Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning. ..."
This Greek scholar further commented: "Much more important regarding Sunday as the day of worship is what Paul wrote to the Corinthians several months before this in I Corinthians 16:2, for this deals with regular Sunday worship. I Corinthians 16:2 shows the first day was the day of public worship."
In Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament and in his Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, p. 671, we have this bit of information: "Upon the first day of the week" (en de miai ton sabbaton), the cardinal mia used here for the ordinal protei, like the Hebrew ehadh as in Mark 16:2, Matthew 28:1, Luke 24:1, and John 20:1.
Acts 20:7 reads: "Now on the first day of the week ..." Each week has a first day. "So these Christians began the day (Sunday) with worship," says Robertson. He continues, "When we were gathered together—Genetive absolute, perfect passive participle of sunago, to gather together, a formal meeting of the disciples," "To break bread" (klasai arton). This is the first aorist active infinitive of purpose of klao. The language naturally bears the same meaning as in (Acts) 2:42." The purpose of their coming together on the first day of the week was to break the bread and keep alive in their hearts the memory of the crucified and risen Lord.
Let me pause here to ask the question: "Why should Christians keep the sabbath in memory of an event that took place on the first day of the week?" Do Americans keep the third day of December in memory of events that took place on the fourth of July? How preposterous can one get in his reasoning?!
"To break bread" is a purpose clause. It was the cause of their meeting together, it was what motivated them. The rationale was
that Christ had died for their sins and was raised on the first day of the week, and Jesus had instructed them to keep the Lord's Supper in memory of him. Robertson, in his grammar, says this is the same grammatical construction and the same subject matter as that found in Acts 2:42. Read it: "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers."
I have examined the word very carefully and thoroughly and it means "to give constant attention to, constant in attendance, were regularly present, continually devoting, steadfastly persevered, devoting themselves constantly." The Greek language in this verse says that these early Christians (those who gladly received his words and were baptized) met on the first day of the week to break the bread and that they did this regularly without an interruption—"they continued steadfastly."
Mr. Muirden states: "Regarding I Corinthians 16:2, this mentions Paul asking people to set aside a certain sum of money on the first day of the week. This was a common practice as people would budget at the start of the week for the week. Rather than a religious exercise this was a secular exercise or activity."
Every Christian student of the word of God knows that Paul was urging the Corinthians and brethren in other congregations to give, on this occasion, for helping the poor saints in Jerusalem and Judea. It is unabashed impudence to assert, in the face of this fact, that this was some kind of secular exercise or activity. I cannot imagine such shamelessness in handling the word of God! The passage reads: "On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper ..." (I Corinthians 16:2). There was nothing secular about this act of giving. It was the duty and responsibility of the child of God to aid those Christian brothers and sisters who were experiencing hardships in other countries.
I recommend that you turn back and read those pages on which I dealt thoroughly with the subjects he has introduced in his letter.
I regret that it has been necessary to use, at times, sharp language in replying to this gentleman's statements. Though piercing they have been, I have not intended that they be tactless and scathing to the man himself. The doctrine is false and it must
be exposed clearly in the light of God's truth. I remember that Paul and Jesus and others of the apostles used, at times, invective as they countered false doctrine upheld by the religious leaders of that day. We are charged to "contend earnestly for the faith" (Jude 3).
It is hoped by this writer that good and honest hearts will read and study carefully the points and passages I introduced and, finding them to be true, respond readily to the will of God. No other course will reward your journey through this life!
Yours for the steadfast practice and proclamation of the truth.
Guy V. Caskey
NOT TO BE SOLD
You can receive free Bible Correspondence Courses
by writing to World Bible School.
WORLD BIBLE SCHOOL
P.O. Box 2169
Cedar Park, TX 78630–2169
For further study of the Bible,
or a place to worship, please contact
the Church of Christ nearest you.
MISSION PRINTING, INC.
“World Evangelism by the Printed Page”
A Work of Churches of Christ
2707 Medlin Dr.
Arlington, TX 76015-1446