SS Lesson #12–Christ’s Church and the Law
This article is a study of the law of God from Eden to Eden, that is Eden lost to Eden restored. The aim is to determine if this law has been changed in the transfer from Adam to the Remnant people of God. This transfer is likened to the baton in a relay, and we note with candor, that the same baton handed at the start of the race must be delivered at the finishing post, in order to determine a successful race and ultimate winner. Similarly, in this spiritual race for salvation, we aim to prove that the same law which was handed down to Adam prior to sin’s tarnishing the human race, must be discovered in the final consummation of all things. The Sabbath School Lesson Study Guide is here: http://ssnet.org/lessons/14b/less12.html
From Adam to Noah:
Central to the directive given Adam is the “command” from YHWH, to have “no other gods before him,” ( ) by loving “YHWH his God with all his heart, soul and might.” ( ) This relationship of love was intended to bond Adam to his God as “one,” and bond Adam to his wife as “one.” It is to this oneness which Y’shuah speaks when he said, “father let them be ONE, even as you and I are ONE.”( John 17: 21). It is impressive that the centrality of the “two commandments on which hang all the law and the prophets” (Matt. 22: 40) were handed down and revealed to Adam while in Eden. In a sense, we can honestly say that God introduced Adam and Eve to both the “moral” and “ceremonial” law, ere sin was known in the family tree of man! This is an important concept which I’ll develop below.
Special note if interest: The Bible nowhere teach the concept of “moral” vs. “ceremonial” laws, and I treat this later as an invention of Roman Catholicism. Therefore whenever I shall use these terms, it is purely from an almost satirical nature, to show how incomplete this unbiblical concept really is with respect to the totality of the Torah.
The Ceremonial Law Before Sin?
“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:” Gen. 1: 14.
When we realize that there were no Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter seasons, respectively, as we now do since the flood (Gen. 8:22), nor were there rainy season and dry (drought) season (Gen. 2: 5), we will better appreciate the truth that these “seasons” in Eden served for the sacred festivals, divinely appointed times—in Hebrew, moedims—during which man was to appear before his maker, in harmony with the rest of the unfallen worlds, in harmonious worship to their King. It should also be noted that, in Eden, there were no planting season and harvest season, for the tree of life “bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month” (Rev. 22: 2), it reinforces the conclusion that the “seasons” in Gen. 1: 14, are purely spiritual, or sacred, in nature, bespeaking the annual and lunar festivals.
“And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years,’” Gen. 1: 14, NIV.
The NIV actually correctly translates the Hebrew “moed” to be “sacred times,” for that is truly what they were, and before sin, we see that these sacred “days and years” were already recognized and established in the punctuation of time, prior to the corruptions caused by sin, in the family of Adam!
That these sacred times of the so-called “ceremonial law” will also be observed in the New Earth, the Bible further testifies through Isaiah that, “And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.” Isa. 66: 23.
Note carefully that nowhere in the so-called “moral law” is the New Moon called for, although the Sabbath is there mentioned, yet in the so-called “ceremonial law,” which most Christian Denominations including the SDA, teach has been nailed to the Cross with Christ, we find the “new moon,” which marks the new month so as to calibrate to the annual festivals. For example Passover is on the 14th of day of the first month (new moon), while the Day of Atonement is on the 10th day of the seventh new moon (month), and Tabernacles, accordingly commences on the 15th day of the seventh new moon (read Lev. 23: 5-40). Therefore, central to understanding when the appointed times are, is to know the timing of the “new moon” in the Divine calendar, and this knowledge was taught to Adam prior to the fall. It should not surprise us then, to find out that it was at the time of the evening sacrifice, in “the cool of the day,” that YHWH appeared for His appointment with Adam and Eve:
“And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.” Gen. 3: 8.
The phrase “cool of the day,” is an idiomatic expression used in reference to the evening tide, when the sun’s heat is not as intense as at the meridian, or noontide heat. Hence, it was at the time, which after sin, is called “the time of the evening sacrifice.” (1 Ki. 18: 29). The truth towers forth in clarity of all the associated facts gathered above, that the notion of the so-called ceremonial law was a truth early known to the sinless pair in Eden, devoid of the sacrifices. When sin came into the human experience, the Creator supplemented sacrifices as a means of symbolically atoning for man’s sins, till the perfect Sacrifice should come, in the person of His Son, Y’shuah. Even the weekly Sabbath, which in Eden had not known sacrifices, would be tainted with the blood of animals in a double sacrifice on that day.
“And on the Sabbath day two lambs of the first year without spot, and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and the drink offering thereof: This is the burnt offering of every Sabbath, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.” Num. 28: 9, 10.
So we see, and for some in the Adventist faith, it will be the first time realizing that the weekly Sabbath was not exempt from its share of double sacrifices, to which Christ would later comment, “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. Christ was here teaching that on the Sabbath days, the priests profaned the Sabbath by conducting a double-duty sacrifice on that day, yet they were counted as “blameless” in God’s sight. The Sabbath, therefore, had more bloodshed committed on it than had the weekly days, yet this was in keeping with the commandments of YHWH. The sacrifices therefore, are no reason to accept or reject a holy day, it only requires YHWH’s declaration on any given day, and that alone makes it holy.
From Noah to Abraham
With this knowledge then, it will not frustrate us to learn that Noah knew the difference between “clean” versus “unclean” animals (Gen. 7: 2, 3), Abraham was “circumcised” (Gen. 17:10), knew the importance of “tithes” (Gen. 14: 20), and worshipped with “unleavened bread” (Gen. 19: 3) long before the law was repeated at Sinai. In other words, the so-called ceremonial law was in force thousands of years before Moses, and God used him to simply write down the tenets of the Torah, which in prior ages had been known by the patriarchs, and orally handed down from one generation to the next.
From Abraham to Moses
The Quarterly suggests that, “The Bible gives no criteria for God’s call of Abraham.”—Tuesday, June 17, 2014. This is not accurate, but having missed the point as to why the “sons of God” were so named, it caused them to equally miss the point regarding the call of Abraham. Let’s now open our spiritual eyes and see more clearly:
Seth’s lineage was known as the “sons of God.” The Bible record is clear, “And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.” Gen. 4: 26. Seth’s descendants are the ones who called upon YHWH, and were therefore known as the Sons of Elohim (God). Noah was a descendant of Seth, thereby making him one of “the sons of God.” The righteous lineage was transferred to Shem, and so Shem’s descendants after the flood carried the title “sons of God.” Abraham is from the line of Shem, which also make him one of “the sons of God.” Just as there is a goodly remnant throughout all ages who have kept the truth, like the athletes in a relay passing the baton, we can see a clear line of transition points of the baton of truth, from one generation to the next. It is also important to note that the baton does not get changed in this relay of life, and the student of the Scriptures must assess the baton from Eden and closely compare it at each change point to see if it has been tampered with, for at the end of the race, we must have the same baton handed off at the start of the race!
I shall now quote from an earlier article I wrote this year:
That Which Was “Handed Down” To The Saints
Since the Christian Church is “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, [with] Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone,” (Eph. 2: 20), the question must now be asked: what is it that they have collectively “handed down to the saints” once and for all time? Did they leave for us, Christmas Day, New Years, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Parents Day (Mother’s & Father’s), All Saints Day, Thanksgiving Day, Sunday as the Sabbath, among other church-appointed and globally recognized holidays? Though many Christians are loath to doing so, I believe the candid reader can honestly state without equivocation, that none of the above-mentioned days of Christian import have been “handed down” to us by the prophets, Jesus Christ or the apostles themselves. This being true, we must here ask other pertinent questions: From whence came these church holidays or holy days? And more importantly, in terms of holy days, which are the ones that were “handed down” to us by the three principals mentioned in Eph. 2: 20? The correct answer to these questions will lead us on the path of rediscovery, a rediscovery which will be as real to us as was the doctrine of Justification by Faith to the early Protestants of the 16th century.
The Apostle Paul has often likened the Christian’s life to the relays of the Greco-Roman Olympiads of his days, and has left on record, these inspiring words: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Heb. 12:1.
In the Olympics, one of the most emotional parts of the games is the relays, the science of which is the effective passing of the baton from one athlete to another. Those who master this feat in human athleticism and ultimately win their respective games, must have a number of things correct: (1) They must correctly transfer the baton from the exhausted athlete to the one standing in wait, (2) the waiting athlete must carry to the finish line the same baton that was “handed down,” or delivered at the start of the race, (3) the transferred baton must be carried with a sense of urgency and duty while the athlete endures the grueling competition from the fast-stepping thuds of their challengers for the prize, and (4), it is utterly pointless for an athlete, even with Bolt-like speed, to break the finish line without the baton in hand, and expect to win the prize! Such an athlete would be disqualified for that race.
My objective here is not to give the mechanics of good baton transfers in a competitive athletic relay, but to learn from this man-made sport the value of the sacred treasure with which we have been entrusted, and commanded to earnestly contend for, as we faithfully transmit it from one generation to the next.
There are today many Christian apologists who will lisp Jude 1:3, and present themselves as the defenders of the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints, yet they break with impunity God’s holy commandments, “and teach men so,” (Matt. 5: 19!), and expect for their wilful transgression to be specially honored of Christ, and called “great in the kingdom of heaven!” It is high time then for us to examine the baton of purported truth we see in the Christian world today, and determine if it is the same baton of truth which was “handed down” by the three principals in this life-enduring relay. To do this, we must examine the record of what they taught and practiced, and compare it against what we have today. If there is a “different baton” of truth today, we must take one more step—determine where, when and by whom the change has occurred.—Happy Mother’s Day, Garrick Augustus, May 8, 2014.
The Quarterly’s attempt to excoriate Abraham for his cowardice in the face of threats to his personal safety is to miss the mark completely. Here it states, “He does not appear to have had the righteous profile of Noah. In fact, soon after the call he proved himself to be cowardly and deceptive (Gen. 12:11-13), violating God’s law.” –Tuesday, June 17, 2014.
Noah the drunkard, who was so intoxicated that he fall asleep naked, exposing himself to the his children, and thus world?
“20And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: 21And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. 22And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without… 24And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.” Gen. 9: 20-24.
The phrase “done unto him,” is wrapped in mystery and wonder, as to suggest that Ham had more than merely a sight at his father’s nakedness, but must have gone beyond the pale of merely looking to carrying out some displeasing act against his father. We will better know of these details in glory, if it is of any importance then. Suffice it to say, that Ham did not “honor” his father as required in the 5th commandment, but treated him with disrespect. I bring this out to show that it is a cheap shot to compare Abraham with the “righteous” Noah, for none is righteous, no not one! Jesus Christ, the only sinless One, came to save sinners, of whom I am chief, and the story of the Bible is the story of sinners, it is the story of how the loving YHWH stooped down to rescue mankind from the bottomless pit of degradation and sin into the glorious liberty of his eternal kingdom. O, what a mighty God we serve!
From Moses to Jesus
“Therefore you shall keep the commandment, the statutes, and the judgments which I command you today, to observe them.” Deut. 7: 11.
It is of interest to do a baton check at this juncture. We find Moses handing off “the commandment, the statutes, and the judgments” to Israel. This was formerly given to Abraham: “Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” Gen. 26: 5. So far we see that the baton of truth has not been switched, and we can have confidence that that which was given by YHWH to Adam, has been safely transferred down to Moses, unabridged. We are also confident that since Moses’s teachings reached to the time of Christ, that the same baton was available to Him, the original Law Giver, and it must be of interest to us to determine if He has changed the baton at his exchange point to His Apostles and the Early Church.
From Jesus To The Remnant
The Bible is clear that Jesus practiced the whole law, not just the Ten Commandments, as many Adventists suppose. As a matter of custom through divine obligation He not only kept the law, but taught men so. When challenged about the great commandment, Jesus Christ (Y’shuah) responded thusly:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38This is the first and great commandment. 39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matt. 22: 38-40.
It is profound that Christ saw “all the law” summarized in these two commandments which were not quoted from the Ten Commandments (so-called Moral Law), but from the full body of the law, the so-called ceremonial law! What does this mean to us today as Christians, and more so as Adventist Christians professing to be the remnant? A lot!
When Was This Baton Of Truth Changed?
With the above catalogue of divinely appointed holy days, which were “handed down” to us by the Founder of our faith, clearly identified, we must now consult church history to see when this order had been changed, and if He authorized it. The evidence is clear that somewhere along the path of time, since the death of the faithful Apostles, the sacred baton of truth has been switched on us, and a new baton has been extended to the church in its place! The Christian Church was set apart as the trustees to whom was bequeathed this sacred trust—the divine baton of truth, to be kept unsullied from the encroachments of heathenism, the superstitions of paganism or the denegation of modernism. Till her glorious presentation on the grand coronation day for all saints (2 Tim. 4: 8), the saints are to walk in the light of “the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus Christ.” (Rev. 14: 12). But alas! Those commandments have been changed and otherwise tampered with by an interloper, who is no more pious than were the Scribes and Pharisees of Christ’s days!
This new baton, which many who are ignorant hold as “the original”, operates at the exclusion and absolute negation of YHWH’s Holy Days! We know this to be true simply on account of the fact that this verily might be the first time the reader has confronted these divine requirements, which have been laid down by the Almighty One in the Scriptures, given for all true worshippers to observe. And since these divinely appointed Holy Days are very unfamiliar to Christians in general, and have been relegated by theologians as “Jewish feasts” in particular, we must again ask the question: By Whom, Where and When were these holy assemblies removed from the liturgical calendar of the Christian church? I believe I have found the answer, and will now share it with you, in hopes that it will not simply give you an intellectual ascent to the confession of truth, but a heart surrender to the Author of Truth. Here is the record:
April 26, 1902
Dear Friend: Your note was forwarded to me here where I reside at present. …I still offer $1,000 to anyone who can prove to me, from the Bible alone, that I am bound under pain of grievous sin to keep Sunday holy. We keep Sunday in obedience to the law of the Catholic Church. The Church made this law long after the Bible was written; hence the law is not in the Bible. The Catholic Church abolished not only the Sabbath, but all the Jewish Festivals.
Those who deny the authority of the Catholic Church and obey only the Bible must answer correctly the following: 1. Where does the Bible teach that we must keep Sunday holy; 2. Where does it teach that we must keep Sunday once a week and not once a year like Christmas; 3. Where does it teach that we must keep Easter always on the 1st Sunday after the full moon of the Vernal Equinox; 4. In Lev 23 you find 7 holy days binding as strictly as the Sabbath. Where does the Bible say that they are abolished? … Here also you obey the Catholic Church and not the Bible.”
Signed, T. Enright CSSR. The Mission Church of the Most Holy Redeemer, Detroit, Michigan. [Italics and emphasis added.]
So, we see in this letter how Cardinal Enright has correctly informed us that it was the Roman Catholic Church (his own denomination), “long after the Bible was written,” that has been the responsible party for these changes in the Christian Church’s worship calendar. In other words, the Church of Rome has deliberately changed the baton that was “handed down” by the fathers to the Saints for future ages! Prophesy has actually placed us on alert that such a day would have come. Speaking of Papal Rome, the Lord through Daniel declared: “He will defy the Most High and oppress the holy people of the Most High. He will try to change their sacred festivals and laws, and they will be placed under his control for a time, times, and half a time.” Dan. 7: 25, NLT. In light of this prophecy, it is worth repeating a line from the Cardinal’s letter, juxtaposed with the prophetic pen of Inspiration:
|“The Catholic Church abolished not only the Sabbath, but all the Jewish Festivals.”||“He will try to change their sacred festivals and laws.”|
Do you see how the “he,” of Dan 7: 25 accurately forecasts the mission of the Roman Catholic Church, who has accepted responsibility for having “abolished” what is today represented as “Jewish Festivals”? The evidence is clear also, that what is today pawned off as the original baton of truth, handed down by the three principals in Eph. 2: 20, is a false baton, one that was “changed,” and when we get to the finishing line we shall be disqualified by the Master, on the grounds of having ran a bogus relay, so to speak. In more accurate Biblical language, this is how the Founder of our Faith sees it:
“(11) And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: (12) and he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.” Matt. 22: 11, 12, KJV.
The servant was rendered “speechless” because he knew his master’s will and failed to do it—he wilfully refused to correctly attire for the sumptuous wedding feast. There is another wedding festival to which we are invited, and Christ is calling you today, he is calling me today to start our wedding festival dress rehearsals, and in our obedience to His Torah, we will have honored all His requirements.
“(21) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (22) 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? (23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (24) Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock.” Matt. 7: 21-24, KJV.
Since we are saved unto good works, let us be obedient to all that he has taught us in Lev. 23, and teach men so, for said He, “ye shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
On the question of whose authority changed the holy appointed festivals which were handed down to the Church by the three principals in Eph. 2: 20, here is the Roman Catholic Philosopher and patron saint, Saint Thomas Aquinas:
- “As to the Sabbath, which was a sign recalling the first creation, its place is taken by the Lord’s Day, which recalls the beginning of the new creature in the Resurrection of Christ. In like manner other solemnities of the Old Law are supplanted by new solemnities because the blessings vouchsafed to that people foreshadowed the favours granted us by Christ. Hence the feast of the Passover gave place to the feast of Christ’s Passion and Resurrection; the feast of Pentecost when the Old Law was given, to the feast of Pentecost on which was given the Law of the living spirit; the feast of the New Moon, to the feast of the Blessed Virgin, when appeared the first rays of the sun, that is Christ, by the fullness of grace; the feast of Trumpets, to the feasts of the Apostles; the feast of Expiation [Day of Atonement], to the feasts of Martyrs and Confessors; the feast of Tabernacles, to the feast of the Church Dedication; the feast of the Assembly and Collection, to the feast of the Angels, or else to the feasts of All Saints.”—Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Question 103, Of The Duration Of The Ceremonial Precepts, Article 3. [Added]; Also found in The “Summa Theologica” of St. Thomas Aquinas, Volume 6, pp. 233-234; also at: Google Books.
Saint Thomas’ theology, you see, is a direct repudiation against, and replacement of, the divinely appointed holy convocations called forth in Lev. 23. In obedience to that command, I dutifully urge you to take pause and contemplate all that we have discussed up to this point, and make a Joshua-like commitment to yourself and to the Most High, YHWH: “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Jos 24:15.—Happy Mother’s Day, Garrick Augustus, May 8, 2014.
Further Study And Considerations (Friday):
“And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of Godand have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Rev. 12: 17, NKJV
When we Adventists read the phrase “the commandments of God,” we automatically conclude that they have reference only to the Ten Commandments, but a closer study of the word “commandments” from the Greek will help to remove the blinders.
This word “commandments” is the Greek Entolē (pronounced en-to-lae), and is defined as, “an order, command, charge, precept, injunction; that which is prescribed to one by reason of his office; a commandment; a prescribed rule in accordance with which a thing is done; a precept relating to lineage, of the Mosaic precept concerning the priesthood; ethically used of the commandments in the Mosaic law or Jewish tradition.”—Strong’s Greek Dictionary.
This is word is used in various places of the New Testament to speak broadly of the law without specifically denoting the Ten Commandments, such as: (Matt. 22: 38, 40; 1 Cor. 14: 37; Eph. 2: 15; Heb. 9: 19). The searcher for truth will discover in the above mentioned verses, as well as other passages, that the word “commandment” in Rev. 12: 17 is not exclusive to the ten, but inclusive of the Torah, the so-called “Jewish law,” for even Christ used this word and applied it to the whole law, when he was challenged about the “great commandment.”
Further, in the Revelation, we are also admonished concerning “the saints”, in conflict with the Beast, and the Scriptures declare: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Rev. 14: 12. This is the same Greek word used in Rev. 12: 17, as discussed above.
In the handing over of the baton of truth to the Apostles and vicariously to the Early Church, Christ was clear in that which he passed on, that it was unchanged from Moses’s time and before: “19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matt. 28: 19-20.
Christ therefore, at His coming, when He sees that the flock is being fed “meat in due season,” (Matt. 24: 45), will definitely be expecting his “faithful servant” to be teaching the flock “all things” he “commanded.” What are some of those things He has commanded us to observe and teach?
- Love to God and Love to Man (Matt. 22: 35-40). This contains all the statutes, judgments and commandments of YHWH
- Passover (Luke 22: 13-20)
- Humility—washing one another’s feet (John 13: 1-22)
I shall close with another quotation from an earlier article I published on this topic:
Today, you and I have the opportunity, and yea, the high calling to change the Church and the World for Y’shuah’s sake. As a denomination, we did this with the Sabbath, at a time when the general Christian world called the first day of the week the Sabbath. We can start now, with the rediscovery of the original baton of truth, by giving heed to all his commandments and appointed times so clearly outlined for us in Leviticus 23. Let us start this tradition today, “and teach men so.” How wonderful to the cause of truth and righteousness if the World Church should today embrace the totality of the Torah in its theology and practice! There are some shocking beneficial results which will follow, among these will be a revival and reformation of true worship, a respectful name for Christianity, a revival of primitive godliness, the evangelization of the world, and the ushering of the Messiah’s Kingdom of glory. The days are coming, and yea, they are at the doors when this prophecy will be fulfilled:
“Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.” Nahum 1: 15.
Let us hasten that glad day, by His grace—the day when Judah keeps her solemn feasts, the day when “the wicked,” the tares, are no longer comingled with the righteous, the day when YHWH’s kingdom is restored! O Christian, perform your vows and “keep His solemn feasts!”—Happy Mother’s Day, Garrick Augustus, May 8, 2014.