"and he's not just whistling dixie either!"
Which Laws from the Old Testament Are We to Obey Today
from "Seventh-day Adventism Renounced"
[The following edited excerpts are from the 14th edition of Canfield’s excellent 1889 book, “Seventh-day Adventism Renounced,” and are mainly taken from chapter 17 regarding “the law,” although parts of the preface and introduction, etc. have been included to provide a bit of background. Canright was an Adventist for 28 years, and was a high ranking minister when he left. This book is probably one of the most effective books ever written exposing the errors of Adventist legalism and sabbatarianism, and has never been ably refuted. Few sabbatarians / legalists are able to thoroughly study this book and remain unchanged.
The following should be of special interest to all those who feel that Herbert Armstrong taught correct doctrine regarding old covenant law and the Sabbath. Mr. Canright builds a most convincing case, point by scriptural point, directly from the Bible, that is guaranteed to have the sabbatarian reader scratching his head and re-examining his Bible, as previously misunderstood scriptures begin to miraculously take on new meaning.]
"To criticise, expose and condemn others is not a pleasant task; but when religious teachers enthrone error, and mislead honest people, silence would be unkind and censurable."
Being profoundly convinced that Seventh-Day Adventism is a system of error, I feel it my duty to publish what I know of it. I do it in the fear of God. Knowing the sorrow it has brought to my heart and to thousands, I must warn others against it. I do not question the honesty of the Adventists, but their sincerity does not sanctify their errors. I have had to speak plainly, but, I trust kindly. I have had to treat each subject briefly, and leave many untouched, but I have taken up the main pillars of that faith! If these fall, the whole must go down.
It is now nearly twenty-five years since this book was first published. This is the fourteenth edition. It has been translated into several languages, sold by numerous publishing houses, gone to the ends of the earth wherever Adventism has gone, and has been the greatest obstacle that work has ever had to meet. Yet Adventists have ventured no answer to it. Say what they may, it is evident that they would gladly answer it if they could do so safely.
Considering that Adventists are always so ready for debate, discussion and replies, how is it that this book, that has bothered them more than all others which have appeared against them, is so carefully let alone by them? The reason is manifest to all candid people. Here is what my Advent brethren thought of me before I left them:
Advent Review, March 22, 1887: "In leaving us, he has taken a much more manly and commendable course than most of those who have withdrawn from us, coming voluntarily to our leading brethren, and frankly stating the condition of mind he was in. He did this before his own church, in our presence, and, so far as we know, has taken no unfair, underhanded means to injure us in any way. He goes from our midst with no immoral stain upon his character, chooses associations more pleasant to himself. This is every man's personal privilege if he chooses to take it."
I design to be perfectly fair towards my Advent brethren. I was with them twenty-eight years, from the age of nineteen to forty-seven, the most active years of my life. I was dearly loved by them and I loved them. I love them now. I have thousands of dear friends among them still. It was a terrible trial to break away from all these tender ties. Even now the tears fall fast as I write these lines. But truth and duty were dearer to me than social ties.
Again I bear them record that they are a sincere, devoted, self-sacrificing people, thoroughly believing what they profess. They have many excellent qualities, and many lovely Christian people among them. Like all churches, they have their full share of undesirable members, not from any immoral teachings, but from human frailty, common in all churches. Daily I pray for them that the Lord may bless all that is good in them and forgive, and, in some way, overrule for good when they are in error. This is all I dare ask for myself.
D. M. CANRIGHT. 1914.
Introduction: By Rev. Theo. Nelson. LL.D., late President of Kalamazoo College.
I met for the first time the author of "Adventism Renounced" in the autumn of 1865. He was then a rising young minister in high favor with his people. Then, as now, I had entire confidence in his sincerity. Nor do I think it strange that, after more than twenty years devoted to Seventh-Day Adventist propagandism, he should finally renounce their doctrines, and return to the orthodox faith. It is not necessary to impute any sinister or unworthy motives.
Rather, it is easy enough to believe that experience and study, or the evolution of intelligence, as well as the irresistible logic of events, would inevitably bring to pass this result. Seventh-Day Adventists have always made a great deal of the "signs of the times," of earthquakes and falling stars, of "wars and rumors of wars." [Sounds a lot like the old WCG, doesn’t it?] Arguments which might profoundly impress the imagination of a youth during the troubled period of our great civil war, would naturally lose their hold upon the riper judgment of a man in these "piping times of peace."
Toward the Seventh-Day Adventists as a people I cherish none but feelings of kindness. Generally, their piety is undoubtedly genuine, though misanthropic and melancholy. They take a low view of human nature, and practically isolate themselves from their neighbors, and from those affairs which concern the well-being of society as a whole. They stand aloof from every movement which looks to human progress, because they believe that human progress is impossible, and that mankind are already doomed; that destruction is impending, "even at the door." In fact, their religious faith restrains, if it does not destroy, their sentiment of patriotism, and causes them to regard with suspicion, if not with feelings of hostility, the free government under which they live. [Wow! Talk about describing those groups which still hold to Armstrongism! Can any still doubt that HWA got much of what he believed from the Adventists?]
Nothing can be more absurd than their interpretations of current events, and, especially, their belief that our general and state governments are about to be converted into engines of religious persecution and despotism. It cannot be otherwise than that many sincere Seventh-Day Adventists, who have been such by what they believed the imperative necessity of Scripture teaching, will be grateful to Mr. Canright for aiding them to put off a yoke which fetters their usefulness and galls their minds. [Well spoken, for this is exactly what Satan desires to do - “fetter our usefulness.” And he certainly has most of the ex-WCG groups chasing their own tails, as they deludedly thinking that they are hot on the trail of truth.]
Seventh-Day Adventists believe and teach that before the second coming of Christ the United States will form a union of church and state, and, like France and Spain in the seventeenth century, will become a persecuting power. They hold that the prophetic Scriptures clearly foretell this extraordinary change in the form and spirit of our government. Touching the correctness of the interpretations of Scripture upon which their expectations are based, they admit no possibility of mistake. They assume to know that they have the right key to prophecy - that they have the "Present truth." They believe and teach that the Seventh-Day Adventists are to be especially tried in this ordeal that is being prepared by the civil government; that they are to be the chief victims of the fiery persecutions that will be waged against the "Saints of the Most High"; that they are to suffer, at the hands of the secular power, imprisonments, tortures, "the spoiling of their goods," and perhaps death itself.
Indeed, they stake their whole system of doctrine upon this meaning of the Word of God, and they regard these momentous events, which they claim the Bible forecasts, as much a reality as though those events had already transpired. Those events are a reality to them and have the same value in argument, and the same authority in action, as history itself. In their publications and sermons they often adopt the style of the confessor who is already brought to the scaffold, or bound to the stake; they speak out in a tone of defiant, heroic submission, as though the fagots were being kindled and the crown of martyrdom were in full view. To one who is familiar with the history of religious persecutions, and has studied the progress and development of religious freedom, especially in Anglo-Saxon nations; to one who is fairly acquainted with the spirit of the age and country in which we live, this ostentatious martyr-spirit of our Adventist friends seems quite absurd.
Were it not for their well known uprightness and probity of character, we should be disposed to challenge their belief, such is their eagerness to find its proof and confirmation in events which have no such meaning. Under our form of government would it be possible to achieve a more intimate and perfect union of "church and state" than is embodied in the government of monarchical English? Such a change would be a greater miracle than for God to grow a giant oak in an instant. The trend of our civilization, the most powerful currents of public opinion, are all in the opposite direction. Yet, even in England, Adventists are free to publish their peculiar doctrines, to establish churches, and to pursue their vocations like other men. Religious freedom is the spirit of the age, and, most of all, the spirit of the age in America. Hence, we say, there need be no fears for the grave forebodings of our Advent friends.
Who is Deceived?
Seventh-day Adventists dwell much on how easy it is to be deceived, to be led by Satan, when we think it is the Lord - to believe a lie for the truth. It is amusing to see how innocently they apply this to all others, and never dream that it has any application to themselves! What, THEY deceived? THEY misled? Impossible! They KNOW they are right. [Ha! We know that feeling very well, don’t we!] Exactly, and that is just the way all feel, whether they be Mormons, Shakers, Catholics, or what not. The Adventists [and the Armstrongites] themselves are an illustration of the ease with which people are misled.
Lack of Education and Talent Among the Adventist Leaders
The men whom God has chosen to lead out in the great religious movements of the past have, with few exceptions, been men of high education, refinement, and great talents. Moses, the founder of Judaism, "was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds." Acts 7:22. Nehemiah, who restored Jerusalem after the captivity, was cup-bearer to the king. Neh 2. So Daniel, the great prophet, had "knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom." Dan 1:17. He was prime minister of a mighty empire for many years. Paul was so renowned for his learning, that the king said to him: "Much learning doth make thee mad." Acts 26:24. He did for Christianity ten times more than all the other apostles together. It is to him, and not to the other apostles, that the Gentile world is indebted for Christianity. Then the twelve, though uneducated, had the advantage over all other reformers, that they were taught directly by the Son of God, and could work miracles.
St. Augustine, A.D. 353-430, the father of Christian theology, to whom the church owes almost as much as to Paul, was highly educated. As is well known, Luther was a thorough scholar, educated in the best schools of his day, and filled a professor's chair in a university. So Calvin and Melanchton were both profound scholars, occupying professor's chairs in halls of learning. Zwingle, the great Swiss reformer, was celebrated for his learning and scholarship. Wiclif [sp], the "Morning Star of the Reformation," was a graduate of Oxford, England, and a doctor of divinity. Cranmer, the great English reformer, was a graduate, a doctor of divinity, archbishop, and regent of the kingdom. Wesley, the father of Methodism, was a graduate of Oxford, a man of vast reading, the author or editor of commentaries, grammars, dictionaries, etc. It is a false idea that God generally uses ignorant men as leaders in reform, as the above great names will show.
Now look at the founders of our heretical sects. Joanna Southcott (the English prophetess), was wholly illiterate, a mere washer-woman. Ann Lee, the foundress of the Shakers, received no education, worked in a cotton factory, and was cook in a hospital. Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, received no education, and Brigham Young very little. Not one of these persons were of influence in the world, outside of their own deluded followers. [Herbert Armstrong fits in nicely with this group. He only finished high school at his father’s insistence, and had no formal higher education. His attitude throughout life was to spurn education as being of very limited value, unless it originated with him. He also had no influence on the world, outside of his own followers.]
How is it with the leaders of Adventism? Wm. Miller, the founder, was reared in the backwoods, in poverty, and received only the poor advantages of a common district school. Except some general reading, this was the extent of his education.
Elder White, the leader of the Seventh-day Adventists' party, only secured sufficient education to teach a common district school. He was no student of books. In all my travels with him, I seldom saw him read half an hour in any book. Of the languages or the sciences he knew nothing, and little even of common history. Mrs. White received no school education, except a few weeks when a child. She, like Joanna Southcott, Ann Lee, and Joseph Smith, was wholly illiterate, not knowing the simplest rules of grammar. Not one of the leading men in that work ever graduated from college or university, and many are illiterate as Mrs. White herself. Elder J.N. Andrews, Elder Smith, and one or two more, by diligent study and reading out of school, became well informed men in their line.
After Elder White came Elders Butler and Haskell as leaders, neither of them educated men, nor of half the natural talent of Elder White. The present leaders are small men also. Such men are poorly prepared to lead out in a great reformation in this educated age. Not a man among them has now, or ever had, a particle of influence in the world, or any office or responsible position in state or nation. How different from the great reformers of the past, who often had extensive influence for good, not only with the masses, but with the great men and kings of earth. Hence, from whatsoever side we view Adventism, it has none of the marks of a genuine reformation sent of God to bless the world.
Elder A.A. Phelps, for years editor of a First-day Adventist paper says: "I watched and waited, and worked, with patience, meakness and loyalty, in hearty co-operation, and with an earnest desire to see such unity, enterprise, breadth and moral power, as ought to characterize a scriptural and heaven-inspired movement. How slowly and reluctantly I yielded to the conviction - forced by sad facts and illustrations that I have not even dared to detail - that I was only throwing away my life in stemming such waves of discord, indolence, looseness, narrowness, dogmatism and spiritual death as I could not overcome."
Reader, if you are still outside of this spiritual Babylon, take warning from those who have been through the mill, and stay out.
Later, 1914. Already strong men among them admit that, (1) Mrs. White had made many mistakes in her inspired (?) writing; (2) Now contradicts what she once wrote; (3) Has copied from many other authors what she claims as revelations from God; [Sound familiar?] (4) Has often been influenced by others to write what they wanted to help their projects. Time has proved this so clearly that it can no longer be denied. Hence her revelations are steadily losing influence with their able men [just as are HWA’s prophecies]. She is now eighty-seven years old and is reported as having largely lost her mind. The laity, specially in foreign lands, being ignorant of all these facts, still regard her as the voice of God to them.
[With this background established, let’s now get on into the real meat of the matter - a very illuminating, irrefutable look at just what the Bible REALLY teaches regarding the keeping of old testament law.]
Chapter XVII - The Law
From "Seventh-day Adventism Renounced"
by D.M. Canright, 1914
The foundation of the Sabbatarian error, I believe, is the idea that "the law," in all the strictness of the old letter, is binding on Christians. Hence, their constant theme is the law, law, law. They preach it ten times as much as they preach Christ. Unfortunately, a false theory of the law taught by some other churches has led them into this sad error. For twenty-eight years I was held in that "bondage." Now that I have found my way out, if I can help others, I shall rejoice.
The following simple facts with regard to the law helped me out of Adventism and I have never known anyone to get out of it any other way. I believe it to be the correct answer to the Saturday Sabbath error. I write for candid readers. They will examine my arguments fairly and allow others to do the same, even if they should not agree fully with every position. As a result of the present agitation of the Sabbath question, we ought to expect a better understanding of the whole subject than heretofore. Forty years of investigation and discussion of the question have firmly settled me on the following propositions. They are in harmony with the best men and theologians of this and past ages; hence nothing original on my part.
Antinomians, from ANTI, against and NOMOS, law, against law, is a term applied to those who maintain that Christians are under no obligation to keep the law of God or to do any good works. If they commit any kind of sin it will not hinder their salvation at all if they only believe in Jesus. Salvation is wholly of faith without any regard to a man's deeds. See any cyclopedia. This is an abominable doctrine, subversive of the gospel; yet Seventh-Day Adventists brand all as Antinomians who do not agree with them as to what is the law of God. I am as much opposed to Antinomianism as they. I believe in strict obedience to law, in keeping the commandments of God, and in the necessity of good works, as strongly as they do. Luther vehemently opposed Antinomianism and yet taught the abolition of the Mosaic law. It is unfair and unjust for Adventists to call people Antinomians who abhor that doctrine. We plead for a pure life, good works and obedience to God, as necessary to salvation. [I’m not sure exactly what Canright believed about eternal security following repentance, but I would lean toward the explanation that he is not suggesting that salvation is based upon works, but that conversion, if it is legitimate, cannot help but bring forth the fruits of the spirit - Gal 5:22 - in other words, “good works”. If there is no will or desire to please God and to live an upright life, then there was not likely any real repentance and turning to God to begin with. If one has become a “new creation” in Christ, there will of necessity be some outward sign of that transformation.]
Hence it is a falsehood and a slander to represent us as Antinomians. Men who are conscious of being in the right can afford to state the position of their opponents fairly. Bunyan, Judson, and a host of such men have repudiated the Sabbatarian idea of the law, and yet have been holy men. I am not afraid to stand with them. Even Elder Waggoner says: "As to whether the Saviour abolished the ten commandments and with them the Sabbath, is a theological question; it is only a matter of Scripture interpretation." Very well; then men may differ on this question and still be honest Christians. I will now lay down a few propositions concerning the law, which seem to me so plain and well supported by the Bible, that all must agree with them.
PROPOSITION 1. "THE LAW" EMBRACES THE WHOLE MOSAIC LAW, MORAL, CIVIL AND
CEREMONIAL. The term, "the law," when used with the definite article and without qualifying words, refers "in nine cases out of ten, to the Mosaic law, or to the Pentateuch." Smith's Bible Dictionary, article Law. Largely the Adventists use the term, "the law," for the ten commandments only. They hang up a chart of the decalogue and constantly point to it as "the law,” Matt. 5:17; "the law of the Lord," Ps. 19:7; "the law of God," Rom. 7:22. This is their fundamental error on the law. I affirm that "the law" included the whole system of law given to the Jews at Sinai, embracing all those requirements, whether moral, civil or ceremonial, decalogue and all.
Look at the term "law," in a concordance, or in any Bible lexicon, dictionary or cyclopedia. "The law" commonly included the whole of the five books of Moses. Even Elder Butler is compelled to make this confession: "The term, "the law,' among the Jews generally included the five books of Moses, thus including the whole system, moral, ritual, typical and civil." Law in Galatians, page 70. That is the truth exactly. Dr. John Kitto, in his Cyclopedia of Religious Literature, article Law, says: "If, however, the word law alone is used it is almost invariably equivalent to the law of Moses." "The law is especially embodied in the last four books of the Pentateuch."
Now bear in mind this one simple fact, wherever you find the term "the law," and you will have no trouble with Sabbatarian arguments on "the law."
Take a few examples of the use of the term "the law." 1 Cor. 14:34. Women "are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law." Where does the law say this? Gen. 3:16. So Genesis is in the law. Again: "The law had said, Thou shalt not covet." Rom. 7:7. Where? Ex. 20:17. So Exodus is in the law. Once more: "Master, which is the great commandment in the law?" Matt. 22:36. Jesus then makes two quotations from the law; first, "Thou shalt love the Lord with all thy heart." This is taken from Deut. 6:5. So Deuteronomy is in the law. Second, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." This is from Lev, 19:18. So Leviticus is a part of the law. And this: have ye not read in the law, how that on the Sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?" Matt. 12:5. It is from Num. 28:9. These then, embrace all the five books of Moses as "the law." Observe a little where the law is spoken of and you will soon see that it refers indiscriminately to each and all of the books of Moses as "the law." Of course any verse in any of these books is quoted as "the law," because it is a part of the law. So then the ten commandments are quoted as the law because they are a part of the law.
Again, "the law" embraces all parts of the law, moral, civil or ceremonial. Thus the ceremonial precepts: "The parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him after the custom of the law." Luke 2:27. That is, to offer a sacrifice. Verse 24. Moral precepts: "The law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers." 1 Tim. 1:9. This is the decalogue. Civil precepts: "Commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?" Acts 23:3. Notice that every time it is simply the law. "Gamaliel, a doctor of the law." Acts 5:34. Of what law? Was he simply a doctor of some part of the law, as the moral, or civil, or ceremonial precepts? Every intelligent man knows that "the law," of which he was doctor or teacher, was the whole Pentateuch, decalogue included. The law, then, is the whole Jewish law, in all its part. This one point, clearly settled, destroys nine-tenths of all the Seventh-Day Adventist argument for the Jewish Sabbath.
The Two Laws
PROPOSITION 2. THERE WAS NO SUCH THING AS TWO SEPARATE LAWS GIVEN TO THE
JEWS. To sustain their doctrine Sabbatarians have invented a theory of two laws given at Sinai; one the moral law, the other the ceremonial.
Adventists attach the utmost importance to their theory of two laws as well they may; for if this is wrong their cause is lost. Elder U. Smith says: "No question, therefore, more vital to the interest of Sabbath-keepers can be proposed." Synopsis of Present Truth, page 258. But that they are wrong on this vital question is very easily shown.
1. "Moral law," "ceremonial law." Adventists use these two terms as freely as though the Bible was full of them; yet, strange to say, the scriptures make no such distinctions, never speak of one law as "moral" and of another as "ceremonial." Adventists severely criticise those who happen to use an unscriptural word or phrase; yet they themselves do the very thing commonly, as in this case. It would be amusing to hear one of them try to preach on the "two laws" and confine himself to Bible language! He could not possibly do it. If there were two distinct laws given to Israel, so opposite in their nature, it is strange that there is no record of it, no reference to it in the Bible.
If one was abolished and the other was not, strange that Paul should not make the distinction when he has so much to say about the law. Why did he not say, "we establish the moral law"? or, "the ceremonial law was our schoolmaster"? No, he just says "the law" and leaves it there. He seems not to have been quite as clear on that point as Adventists are! On this point Kitto's Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature, Article Law, says: "Neither Christ nor the apostles ever distinguished between the moral, the ceremonial, and the civil law, when they speak of its establishment or its abolition."
2. The two laws contrasted. Adventists have drawn up a long list of things which they claim are true of the "moral" law and an opposite list which can apply only to the "ceremonial" law. These two they contrast and make out two laws. Thus Elder Smith: "Moral law: "Was spoken from Sinai by the voice of God and twice written upon tables of stone by his own finger." "Was deposited in the golden ark." "Related only to moral duties." Synopsis of Present Truth, page 266. Of course this was just the ten commandments, nothing more, nothing less. So here we have their "moral law." Now here is the other one: "The ceremonial law: "Was communicated to Moses privately and was by Moses written with a pen in a book. Deut. 31:9." "Was put into a receptacle by the side of the ark. Deut. 31:26." "Was wholly ceremonial." Same page.
Hence everything not found in the decalogue belongs to the ceremonial law and everything Moses himself wrote in the book of the law placed in the side of the ark is "wholly ceremonial." Deut. 31:26, reads: "Take this book of the law and put it in the side of the ark." The decalogue was in the ark, the book of the law was by the side of the ark. We enquire, then, how much "the book of the law" contained. The answer is easy: it contained all the five books of Moses, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Thus 2 Kings 14:6, says it "is written in the book of the law of Moses," and then quotes Deut. 24:16, as that book of the law. 2 Chron. 35:12', says: "It is written in the book of Moses," and refers to Lev. 3:3. Ezra 6:18, says: "It is written in the book of Moses," and refers to Num. 3:6. Joshua 8:31 quotes Ex. 20:25, as that which "is written in the book of the law." 1 Cor. 14:34 refers to Gen. 3:16, as "the law." Dr. Scott on Deut. 31:26, says "This (book) appears to have been a correct and authentic copy of the five books of Moses."
So what they call the ceremonial law contains scores of precepts as purely moral as any in the decalogue. Read these: "Thou shalt not vex a stranger." "Ye shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child." Ex. 22:21, 22. "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil." Ex. 23:2. "Ye shall be holy." "Thou shalt not go up and down as a tale bearer among thy people." "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Lev. 19:2, 16, 18. Thou shalt not respect persons." "Thou shalt be perfect." Deut. 16:19, 18, 13. Are these precepts, and scores like them, to be classed as ceremonial because God did not write them on a stone but gave them to Moses to write in a book? Surely not. Then the nature of a precept was not determined by the way it was given. God gave them all at different times as it pleased Him.
As we have seen, "the law" embraces the "whole law." Gal. 5:3. Of course, in that law, some precepts refer to moral duties, other to civil, and others to ceremonial but all are only different parts of the same law, called, as a whole, "the law." Thus Jesus quotes from Lev. 19, as "the law." See Matt. 22:36-40. Now read the whole chapter, Lev. 19, and you find moral, civil and ceremonial precepts all mingled together, and often in the same verse. Adventists, to sustain their theory, have to go through this chapter, as they do through the whole Bible, and cut and carve, and split hairs, and label one sentence "the moral law," another "the ceremonial law," etc. This is what is properly termed "the scrapping system." It does great violence to the Scriptures, wresting them out of their evident meaning.
In no place can they find their ceremonial law given by itself. They have to pick it out here and there in scraps. The "book of the law," which was placed in the side of the ark, Deut. 31:24-26, is pointed to as the ceremonial law. But this "book of the law," as we see, embraced the whole five books of Moses.
It contains all of the ten commandments word for word twice repeated. Ex. 20 and Deut. 5. Elder G.I. Butler himself makes this confession: "The "book of the law,' which was placed in the side of the ark, or at the side of it, contained both the moral and ceremonial laws." Law in Galatians, p. 39. That drops the bottom out of the theory that the moral law was "in the ark, and the ceremonial law in the side of the ark," as they usually claim. So, on close examination, every text on which they rely for two laws will fail them. That the "book of the law" did contain moral precepts is settled by Gal. 3:10. "It is written, cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them." Where in the book of the law is this written? In Deut. 27:26. Turning there we have a curse against images, verse 15, disobedience to parents, verse 16, adultery, verse 20; murder, verse 24; bribery, verse 25; then comes the verse quoted as "the book of the law." So if the decalogue contains moral law, then the book did too. This shows the utter fallacy of their theory of two laws.
The following passage alone overturns the two law theory of Adventists: "Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matt. 22:36-40.
1. These two great commandments were "in the law." 2. But neither of them is found in the decalogue. 3. Both of them are in what Adventists call the ceremonial law. 4. Neither of them was spoken by God, nor written by him, nor engraved on stones, nor put into the ark. Both were given by God to Moses privately and he wrote them with a pen in the book of the law which was placed in the side of the ark. And yet these two precepts are the greatest of all. Jesus said of the first one that it is "the first of all the commandments." Of the two he said, "There is none other commandments greater than these." Mark 12:29, 41. And on these two hang all the law. So, then, the greatest commandments are in the book of the law, not on the tables of stone. How utterly this demolishes their two law argument. It shows that the mere fact that the ten commandments were spoken by God, written on stone, and placed in the ark, is no proof that they were superior to those given through Moses in the book of the law.
We will examine a few more of their contrasts of the two laws as they arrange them. Thus: "1. Moral: Existed in Eden before the fall. Ceremonial: Was given after the fall. 2. Moral: Was perfect. Ps. 19:7. Ceremonial: Made nothing perfect. Heb. 7:19. 3. Moral: Contains the whole duty of Man. Eccl. 12:13. Ceremonial: "Stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances.' Heb. 9:10."
1. Where do they read that the decalogue was given in Eden? Nowhere. This they assume not only without proof, but against the plain record of Ex. 19 and 20 that it was given at Sinai. So their very first comparison is a failure.
2. The law is perfect, Ps. 19:7, and again, the law made nothing perfect. Heb. 7:19. This they regard as one of their clearest proofs of the two laws. But where is the proof? Does it follow that if the law is perfect it will or can make sinners perfect? If it could, then, as Paul says, righteousness should be by the law," Gal. 3:21, and "then Christ is dead in vain." Gal. 2:21. The law could be perfect and yet fail to make anybody perfect. So there is no proof of two laws here after all.
3. Eccl. 12:13 is quoted as referring to the ten commandments alone and then it is asserted that these contain every duty of man. Both statements are fallacious. There are scores of duties we owe to God and men not even hinted at in the decalogue. Then there is not a particle of evidence that Eccl. 12:13 refers alone to the decalogue. It manifestly embraces all God's commandments on all subjects. Look at the second quotation, Heb. 9:10. It does not refer to any law whatever but is speaking of the services of the priests in the temple, which service "stood only in meats, drinks," etc. Read it. Thus their "two laws" are made out: 1. By pure assumptions. 2. By misapplications of scripture. 3. By detached phrases here and there taken out of their proper connection. So I could go through their whole list and show that it proves no such contrast as they claim.
But they assert that such opposite things are said of "the law," that it cannot be the same law all the time. This method of proving two laws by contrasting particular expressions about the law when spoken of from different standpoints would make bad work with the Bible if urged on other subjects. Paul said he was "a Jew," Acts 21:39, and again that he was "a Roman," Acts 22:25; two Pauls. So Christ is "a Lion" and "a Lamb," Rev. 5:5, 6. "The everlasting Father," Isa. 9:6. And born of a woman, Luke 2:7; Prince of Life, Acts 3:15, yet died through weakness, 2 Cor. 13:4; a child, Isa. 9:6; and yet God, Heb. 1:1-8; two Christs. It would be much harder to reconcile the apparently opposite things said of Christ, than it would be the different things said about the law.
There were different sides to Christ's nature, yet he was but one person. So there were different sides to the law, but it was only one law for all that. Viewed in the light of its ultimate design, viz.: to prepare the way for Christ, Rom. 10:4; Gal. 3:23-25, in its spirit, Rom. 7:6; in its righteousness, Rom. 8:3, 4; it was "holy and just and good," Rom. 7:12. But viewed from the side of its mere letter, Rom. 2:29; 7:6; 2 Cor. 3:6, 7; its numerous rites, ceremonies, penalties and rigorous exactions, it was "the ministration of death," 2 Cor. 3:7; and a "yoke of bondage," Gal. 5:1-3; Acts 15:1-10. This is the true explanation of their "two laws." Further, it is not true that there was nothing ceremonial in the decalogue. The weekly Sabbath was the chief ceremonial of all the Jewish worship. See this proved in the first part of chapter nine. Also see chapter eighteen on the decalogue. In Chapter XXI I have examined every text they use on the two laws.
PROPOSITION 3. THE TEN COMMANDMENTS ALONE ARE NEVER CALLED "THE LAW OF
THE LORD" NOR THE "LAW OF GOD." Sabbatarians constantly use these two terms, applying them to the decalogue alone. With them "the law of God" and "the law of the Lord" is just the decalogue and nothing more. They are the only ones who keep God's law, as all others break the Sabbath, the seventh day. But now notice this fact which I know to be the truth, after a most thorough examination. The word law occurs in the Bible over 400 times, yet in not one single instance is the decalogue as a whole and alone called "the law." It is never in a single instance called "the law of the Lord," or "the law of God." [emphasis mine] Of course the ten commandments are a part of the law of God, but only a part, not the whole. Examine a few texts: Luke 2:22. "The days of her purification according to the law of Moses;" verse 23, "It is written in the law of the Lord, every male that openeth the womb;" verse 24, It is "said in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtle doves;" verse 27, "To do for him after the custom of the law."
Here "the law," "the law of the Lord," and "the law of Moses," all mean the same thing, viz: the law touching the birth of a son. Again, sacrifices, offerings, Sabbaths, new moons and feasts are all required "in the law of the Lord." Thus: "He appointed also the king's portion of his substance for the burnt offerings, to-wit, for the morning and evening burnt offerings, and the burnt offerings for the Sabbaths, and for the new moons and for the set feasts, as it is written in the law of the Lord." 2 Chron. 31:3. Scores of texts like these could be quoted, showing that "the law of the Lord" includes sacrifices, circumcision, feast days and all the Jewish law. So "the law of God" is not simply the decalogue, but the whole law of Moses. Read Neh. 8:1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 14, 18. "The book of the law of Moses," "the law," "the book of the law," "they read in the book of the law of God," "the law which the Lord commanded by Moses," "the book of the law of God." The law of God, then, includes the whole law of Moses.
No Sabbatarian, therefore, keeps "the law," "the law of God," or "the law of the Lord," for if he did he would offer sacrifices, be circumcised, and live exactly as the Jews did. So all their talk about "keeping the law" amounts to nothing, for none of them do it. Moreover in their attempt to keep a part of that law they thereby bring themselves under obligation to "keep the whole law," as Paul argues in Gal. 5:3. But as none of them keep the whole law, they bring upon themselves the curse of the law, by constantly violating one part while attempting to keep another. This is the very point which Paul made against Judaizing legalists of his day. "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: For it is written, cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to them." Gal. 3:10.
That is, the person who keeps one precept of the law just because the law says so, thereby acknowledges that the law is binding on him. Then if he neglects some other part of the law, he thereby becomes a transgressor of the very law he professes to keep. This is exactly what Sabbatarians do. They keep the Sabbath because the law says so and thereby become "debtors to do the whole law." Gal. 5:3. Then they neglect many things in the same law and so are under the condemnation of the law. Gal. 3:10. But Christians do this or that, not because the law says so, but because so says the New Testament.
PROPOSITION 4. "THE LAW" WAS GIVEN BY MOSES AND THE "LAW OF MOSES" INCLUDES THE DECALOGUE. Not that Moses was the author of it, but it was through him God gave it to Israel. This is stated so distinctly and so many times that it is useless to deny it. Thus: "For the law was given by Moses," John 1:17. "Did not Moses give you the law?" John 7:19. "The law which the Lord had commanded by Moses," Neh. 8:14. "God's law which was given by Moses," Neh. 10:29. This includes the decalogue. "Moses said, Honor thy father and thy mother," Mark 7:10. This is the fifth commandment. Again: "Did not Moses give you the law and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?" John 7:17. The law against killing is here called the law of Moses.
In Heb. 10:28, it is said that "he that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses." Persons were put to death for violating the decalogue. See Deut. 17:6. They were put to death for breaking the Sabbath, Ex. 31:14, blasphemy, theft, and the like. Hence the decalogue is included in the "law of Moses." But in verse 24 they said ye must "keep the law." So in one verse it is "the law of Moses" and in another verse it is simply "the law": Hence there is no difference between "the law" and "the law of Moses."
In Josh. 8:30, 31, we read: "Then Joshua built an altar unto the Lord God of Israel in mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the Lord commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron." It says that this about the altar was written in the "book of the law of Moses." Now turn to Ex. 20:25, the very chapter where the decalogue is found, and there you have the text referred to. "And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone; for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou has polluted it." This proves beyond denial that the ten commandments are in the law of Moses.
PROPOSITION 5. "THE LAW" WAS NOT GIVEN TILL THE TIME OF MOSES AND SINAI.
The texts above quoted prove this. Thus: "The law was given by Moses." John 1:17. "Did not Moses give you the law?" John 7:19. "For until the law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses." Rom. 5:13-14. The entrance of the law is here located at Moses. Again it is located under the Levitical priesthood. "If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, for under it the people received the law." Heb. 7:11. So the giving of the law is located "430 years after the covenant with Abraham." "And this I say, that the covenant that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul." Gal. 3:17. This brings us to the very year the Jews came out of Egypt and arrived at Sinai. "And it came to pass at the end of 430 years, even the self-same day it came to pass, that all of the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt." Ex. 12:41. Beyond dispute, then, what the Bible calls "the law" was not given till Moses, 2,500 years after Adam, or nearly half the history of the world.
To be continued