This article was written in response to a challenge put forth on the inter-net. Challenger's words are written in yellow. A critic of Adventism declared that we must change our view of the law, and after debating with other Adventists, declared the following issues are unanswerable by Adventists who remain true to their understanding of God's commandment law. We let the reader judge if his "unanswered" issues are really unanswerable. You will see the challengers words written in yellow, and my responses in pink.

Background of challenge by the critic:
Quoted from this original challenge site
In my experience Adventists have a number of misunderstandings on the law To hopefully avoid this repetition and move the debate forward I have come up with a list of 21 items I regularly mention in discussions but which get overlooked. It would be interesting to hear some responses to them.

Evening and Morning Sabbaths

It is claimed by the Dual Law people that the Sabbath at creation was an "evening and morning" Sabbath, and such a Sabbath will be kept in the New Earth.

Is 66:23 "from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me," says the LORD."

This is often given as a proof text of the Evening/Morning Sabbath being kept in the new earth. However it also includes a reference to the New Moon festival, which Christian's don't keep. When I pointed out the reference to the New Moon festival Jose claimed it wasn't a festival ("I don't see any festival here John"), and when I then referred him to other parts of Isaiah which refer to the New Moon festival nothing more was said.

My response:
"As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me...from one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all will come and bow down before me," says the Lord." The text is plain enough that from one Sabbath to another we will worship together in the new earth.

New Moons happen once a month and often connoted something important in the Jewish calendar. So it will be in the new earth! In Revelation 22:2 we read more on the new earth where there is the tree of life bearing twelve crops of fruit, and it yields its fruit every month. And all nations will come for healing.

Why do we keep the Sabbath but not the New Moons now?

Because the Sabbath is part of the ten commandments! The Seventh-day Sabbath was created and sanctified for man at creation. (Mark 2:27, Gen. 2:1-3) It was something established before sin entered. And it is part of God's moral law, which is NOT done away with! (We are not now free to lie, steal, take God's name in vain, committe adultery, or BREAK THE SABBATH.
The tree of life was also in the garden of Eden, but until we are restored to Eden made new, we do not have access to it. But someday we will!
The New Moons were part of the cerimonial requirnments. These were NOT the ten commandments which consititute God's moral law, they were the sacrificial system portraying the "GOSPEL" and pointing to Christ. Now Christ HAS COME! We no longer do the sacrifices etc. BUT WE STILL set aside that special sanctified and blessed time to spend with Christ, who is LORD OF THE SABBATH DAY. (Mark 2:27) We need that special time NOW, in this (rat-race driven) modern society more than ever before!

Isaiah 66 continues with the righteous seeing the wicked burning — I'm surprised this critic did not throw that in as well as most do. However, that text only confirms the truth that this is indeed after the thousand years.
In Rev. 20:7-10 — when the saints are in the New Jerusalem and the wicked move to attack the city, fire will come down from heaven to consume them — and the righteous within the city will be very much aware of it.

Protestants or Catholics.

On 21st September I posted a series of questions which distinguish Protestantism from Catholicism. Since we were discussing the law it seemed useful to check if those participating in the discussion were "Protestants" or "Catholics". For 4 weeks there was no reply, then Jose posted an "amen" to a reply which scored mostly for a Catholic view of the law. Since then nothing has been heard.

My response:
There are a number of unadressed issues here:
First, the idea that "works" earn merits. No, we can not earn ANY MERITS. But, a child of God, DOES THE THINGS OF GOD, and a child of sin, DOES THE THINGS OF SIN. (See Romans 6:16; 8:13-14) Whose child are you?

Has it ever occurred to you that the issue, when it comes to OBEDIENCE, is not obedience or none obedience to a moral law?
Or are you saying a Christian shows he is a Christian by throwing out God's law? That is calling evil, good, and good, evil, and NO, that is NOT God's way of sanctification.
Not everything the Catholics believe is false and not everything the Protestants believe is truth. The bottom line is what does the Bible teach. We then discover that the issue is obedience to God's laws vs. Obedience to man's law? You cannot read far in the NT without reading that God's people "KEEP" commandments— argue what you may — the Bible says they "KEEP" commandments.

If you are honest you will soon realize the issue is not obedience or none obedience — the issue is man's laws vs. God's laws. Until a person sees that issue, they will never realize the true meaning of worship or the place of God's commandments. Nor will they realize the true problem presented to the world by the Catholic Church who, through the centuries imposed a man made commandment to replace one of God's commandments and enforced it by legal measures.

"In vain they worship me," Jesus said, "teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." Note too, that Jesus is making reference here to one of the ten commandments that has been transgressed by doctrines of men. "Honour your father and mother" "Why do you transgress the commandment of God because of your traditions?" Jesus asks?
"You have made the commandment of God of no effect with your traditions--hypocrites — you honor me with your mouth, but your heart is far from me, you worship me IN VAIN, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Matt. 15:3-9)
"For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
"And Jesus said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition." Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Mark 7:6-8)

Are the Ten Commandments "the words of the covenant" (Ex 34:28)? "And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant--the ten commandments." Jose has repeatedly quoted from Exodus where God writes the Ten Commandments, arguing that this makes them eternal and applicable to all mankind. I have repeatedly said that such a description is not found in Scripture. Instead the Bible says the Ten Commandments were written by God and are special because they are "the words of the covenant", the central agreement between God and Israel. Jose has not responded to this.

My response:
First of all— please note what was written upon the tables of stone!
This will be of great value as we look further at the 21 supposedly unanswered issues.
It was specifically mentioned that the TEN COMMANDMENTS were written upon those tablets!

As to the argument, and it is a well known argument -- one that I've answered at some length in the past. The covenant is NOT just THE TEN COMMANDMENTS! To use the text above BY ITSELF is like taking one line out of a contract and declaring that the whole contract is composed of that one line. Yes, God's moral law is a central part of each and every covenant. The purpose of the covenants is God's dealings with sinful people. All are sinful because they have transgressed God's commandment law. Sin is the transgression of the law. Yet once a person has sinned (and we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God) Keeping the commandments never redeem any sinner, not in the old covenant or the new, that is why there must be a covenant if there is any hope for salvation or restoration of a sinful people into a right relationship with God. The covenants which God makes with sinful people are promises of deliverance from sin! To say the old covenant was the ten commands is saying the commandments had the ability to save people under the old covenant, which they did not. Because the people were sinners in violation of God's law, the covenant was a promise of how God will bring sinners back into righteous relationship with him. And yes, the law has an important part in the whole process in all of God's covenants.

Remember, the ark of the covenant also has a mercy seat. Remember too, that the old covenant was ratified with blood (typifying Christ's blood) and sinners were forgiven by the sacrifice system (typifying Christ's sacrifice for sinners whose blood alone really took care of the sins). And remember too, the law holds a central place in the New Covenant, for God has promised to write His law on our minds and in our hearts!

The term "the law" in the Bible.

Many have given quotes on "the law" that they unquestioningly apply to the ten commandments. I have shown repeatedly that the term "the law" is used to refer to the TORAH, the whole law of Moses, no one has ever responded to these arguments.

My response:
It takes too much time to look up all his arguments —but I think, by the time we are finished with all 21 issues, the arguments will be answered. We've heard the challenge before, — how can you tell the difference between all those laws given to Moses, from the ten commandments?. As far as I'm concerned it's just a bunch of loop hole hopping and evasion tactics that only make one sick at heart —
First of all, God spoke the ten commandments, from Mt. Sinai — it was the ten commandments that were written upon the tablets of stone with God's finger, they received very special emphasis! The rest of the law was given to Moses. But consider also the obvious: The New Testament upholds ALL the moral law — the ten commandments and their magnification — moral living (with the appeals to commands in the ten commandments) these are very much upheld in the NT, including the declaration that Christ created the Sabbath for mankind and that He is Lord of the Sabbath day. ( Mark 2:27,28 Col. 1:16)

As far as I'm concerned the NT makes it plain that it is the ceremonial law of the sanctuary with it's priests and sacrifices which is no longer needed. Those have been ended, but not once does it abolish the moral law. The difference is obvious! Not once does it say, the law against stealing, lying, murdering, worshiping other gods etc. is abolished!

The "ceremonial law"

Often those arguing for the ten commandments applying to gentiles say the TORAH is divided into the "moral law" and the "ceremonial law". I have that thse terms do not appear in Scripture and that the Bible never divides the law in this fashion. Indeed it goes against the whole concept a covenant with Israel, whole details are contained in the book of the law, whose agreement is signed by God in the words of the covenant, and which is kept in the ark of the covenant. No one has shown the law can be separated from the covenant.

My response:
Just because a person doesn't have "ceremonial law" "moral law" spelled out, they can still see that the practice of sacrificing lambs and goats, etc. has ended, but the law forbidding murder, stealing, lying and adultery, worshiping other gods, etc. is still very much in force in the NT.

No, the moral law is not separated from ANY covenant — For God will write the HIS LAW within the heart, these are the words applied to THE NEW COVENANT — So we see that the moral law is upheld by the apostles. We see that the sacrifices and ceremonies of the earthly temple are declared abolished — anyone who honestly reads the NT will be able to see that. So why do we encounter so much antangonism to God's moral law? It is because the dragon (Satan) is very angry with those who keep the commandments of God, so he introduces all manner of ideas into men's minds for THEY MUST GET RID OF THE SABBATH ( the enemy of souls will enforce a rival commandment to substitute God's plain words) so, to do this, they throw out the whole moral law -- even though it is totally plain and obvious that the moral law is upheld by the apostles.

Hebrews 8.10
"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:"

According to this critic, the law always refers to the Torah, or the whole book of Moses. So by this is he saying it would mean that God is writing the TORAH upon the hearts of new covenant Christians— while the ten commandments, which according to his definition, is the old covenant is abolished! Talk about getting things backwards and then attacking others who agree with the Bible that it is the earthly sanctuary services which are ended, being fulfilled by Christ's death and work in the heavenly sanctuary, but the moral law is still applicable to our lives and is written upon the hearts of God's children.

Jesus and the rich young ruler

Some argue for applying the ten commandments to gentiles by quoting Jesus telling the rich young ruler how to gain eternal life - "keep the commandments". However Jesus telling a Jew to keep the TORAH does not make them applicable to gentiles. No one has responded to this obvious fact.

My response:
This is another old argument — Jesus WORDS are relegated to the old covenant, which to me is blasphemy. Jesus is not referring to the whole TORAH — the commandments are quoted right there in the passage! They are all from the last six of the ten commandments and then Jesus sums them up as "love your neighbor."

The critics will probably shrug with equal nonchalance at Christ's words in Matt. 7.21-23:
"Not every one that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work lawlessness."

And Paul makes the issues pretty clear as well:
Ephesians 5.3-6
"But fornication, and all uncleanness,(7th commandment breakers) or covetousness, (10th commandment breakers) let it not be once named among you, as becoming saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting,( 7th, 3rd , 9th commandment breakers) For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, (7th commandment breakers) nor covetous man, (tenth commandment breakers) who is an idolater, (1st and 2nd commandment breakers) has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience."

Jesus has not come to destroy the law and the prophets.

This text is often cited in defense of the ten commandments, however the term "law and the prophets" is just another way of referring to the Old Testament. I have pointed out that saying "Jesus does not destroy the Old Testament, he fulfils it" makes perfect sense and certainly does not imply the ten commandments apply to gentiles, but this has not been responded to. Following this text comes the phrase "one jot or tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" which is just another way of saying the same thing.

My response:
Read on — the text continues and says the person who breaks and teaches others to break God's law receives the lowest possible marks in the kingdom of heaven. Not only that, Jesus tells us that we must keep the commandments MORE fully — not do away with them! He magnifies the moral law in this chapter (Matt. 5) he certainly does not abolish it. Are you going to tell me the WORDS OF THE SON OF GOD HIMSELF do not apply to ALL people. Did not God speak to US "by His Son, Who is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being. (Hebrews 1:1-2) How could any finite, mortal human being, stand up and say Christ's words do not apply to Gentiles?
Christ also said heaven and earth would pass away before the law passes away— seems heaven and earth are still here.

But, I guess, according to the critic's logic:
Gentiles can lie, steal, kill, commit adultery, covet, swear, worship Idols etc. all in the effort to escape the Sabbath. --- HARDLY TRUE— I can't buy that logic. We already know why there is this campaign against God's holy, righteous law. It is to destroy God's Sabbath of rest and enforce a man made tradition in it's place, for even if the critic himself is not aware of where he is pushing people, all roads lead to the final showdown. That showdown is: will we be engaged in the vain worship of the beast of Revelation, or will be among the patient saints who keep God's commandments and have not set them aside to honor the traditions of men.

The ten commandments applied to Adam, Abraham and those before Sinai

This is a strange claim, although often made. This simply denies the text "it was not with our fathers that the LORD made this covenant" (Deut 5:3).

My response:
Of course the critic is building on the false idea that the old covenant is the ten commandments which God made with Israel. However the commandments are part of EVERY covenant— they are part of the EVERLASTING covenant — God's covenant of salvation and restoration to sinners who have broken His God's laws and who will respond to His mercy.

It is true that there was no written copy upon tables of stone before Sinai, God's words were passed down by word of mouth, but the principles of all the moral law were known and practiced long before Sinai, because people knew what sin was long before Sinai, and the law identifies sin.

God made a covenant with Adam and Eve promising to put enmity between them and evil (writing the law in their hearts?)
God made a covenant with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.
Gen. 17.7-9 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land... And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations."

Why does Genesis 26.5 say
"Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." Yes, Abraham obeyed God's direct charge to him, but how could he also obey those commandments and statutes and laws if there were no commandments, statutes and laws before Sinai?

Consider too: why was it wrong for Cain to kill Abel? Or Jacob to steal the birthright? Why did Joseph say to Potopher's wife: "How can I do this and sin against God", if there was no law to define it as sin against God?

Consider as well, that the ten commandments are specifically mentioned as the part of the covenant— yes they are part of the everlasting covenant! And so is the Sabbath!

See the Sabbath in the New Covenant

21 Issues Answered Continued