THE TEN COMMANDMENTS ARE NOT FOR ALL MANKIND
Russell Earl Kelly, PHD, 2-7-2017
Reply to “Chapter 28: The Law of God”
Although the article does not claim such, it is most likely written by Sabbath-advocating Seventh-day
Adventists. It is an attack on out-of-context Dispensationalist William Darby’s comments about the law.
Paragraph #2: The first and greatest
error of this article is equating “the Law of God” only with the Ten Commandments. This is a very common SDA argument.
The second paragraph equates the “wishes” of God, His will and His commandments. While it is proper to define
“law” as “the revealed will of God,” that which has been “revealed” is not the same for
all peoples and nations. God only holds mankind accountable for rejecting that which is revealed and known. For O.T. Israel
the “revealed will of God” included everything God had revealed to them in His Word – from Genesis to Malachi.
That is why Paul could call Isaiah and Psalms “law” in Romans 3:11-18. For Gentiles the “revealed will of
God” is found in nature and conscience (Rom 1:18-20; 2:14-16). Each revelation is enough to condemn sinners (Rom 3:19-20).
Paragraph #4 seriously miss-interprets
the Dispensational explanation of law in order to justify the SDA explanation. Dispensationalists are not “without law”;
in fact, we teach a higher law. A true born-again Christian is a “new creation in Christ” (2 Cor 5:17) and the
eternal moral parts of the “thou shalt nots” of the Old Covenant Law of Moses are now “you will obey”
God because of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Jn 16:13-14). Our law is the law of love and it is “the law of the Spirit
of life in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:2). Our “law principle” is to be totally like Christ (2 Cor 3:18).
Paragraph #10 is wrong when it
states “The laws which God gave unto Israel fell into three classes: the moral, the ceremonial and the civil.”
First, the word “moral” is not biblical. Second, the law was divided into moral commandments, moral statutes and
moral judgments. An Israelite committed a moral offense against God when he/she violated any of God’s commands –
whether commandments, statutes or judgments. Third, many of the judgments and statutes are not included in the Ten Commandments
but are, nevertheless, equal in force and penalty (such as death for sex with animals and death for mistreating the poor).
It is wrong to state “The
law of the Decalogue … as to its substance is one and the same with the law of nature (the work of which is written
on man’s heart).” First, nature and conscience teach to rest, but they do not teach a certain day of the week.
Second, the laws of nature and conscience do not approve of slavery but the Sabbath commandment does not condemn it. Third,
the laws of nature and conscience are not addressed to a nation which has been redeemed from Egyptian bondage.
STATUTES/ORDINANCES: It is also
wrong to call God’s statutes and ordinances “ceremonial” as if they only concerned worship laws. First,
the word “ceremonial” (like “moral”) is unbiblical and is man’s designation for God’s
statutes and ordinances. Second, the statutes and ordinances included far more ceremonial worship instructions which only
cover half of Leviticus’ 27 chapters. Like the Ten Commandments, violation of a statute/ordinance was an immoral punishable
sin. No Hebrew would accept the teaching that statutes/ordinances were not moral for Israel. They included
the Passover (Lev 23), Day of Atonement (Lev 16) fornication (Lev 18-19), respecting the aged (19:32), treatment of strangers
(19:33), honest scales (19:35-36) and inheritance rights (25) --- none covered by the Ten Commandments.
JUDGMENTS: Again, it is wrong to discard
the judgments as merely “political laws.” First, the judgments contained the PENALTIES for presumptuous willful
transgression of the Ten Commands and usually prescribed the death penalty. Second since laws do not exist without penalties
for violation, the Ten Commandments would not exist if there were no penalties for violation. Third, the judgments do not
simply modify the Ten Commandments; in fact they add to and supplement the Ten Commandments by including laws not covered
by them. Read Exodus 21-24 and take notes. Again, sex with animals is an immoral sin punishable by death but it is not covered
by the Ten Commandments.
Paragraph #11 states “The Ten Commandments are binding upon all men.” Yet God did not tell that to Old Covenant
Israel! God told them not to make covenants with other nations (Ex 23:32; Deut 7:2). He forbade intermarriage
and not a single tithe ever built a mission station to convert Gentiles.
Paragraph #12 [first] pretends to prove that the Ten Commandments are
for everybody and only quotes Ps 103:20. First, since unfallen angels do not make idols, disobey their
parents or commit adultery, “commandments” does not refer to the Ten Commandments. Second, “covenant”
in 103:18 includes the judgments and ordinance in addition to the Ten Commandments. Third, the SDA doctrine of the Investigative
Judgment denies 103:12.
Paragraph 13 [second] states “not a single New Testament word announces the cancellation of the Ten Commandments.”
First, the Ten Commandments were an integral part of the Old Covenant
Law which contained moral laws throughout in its commandments, judgments and statutes. Second, their part, function and wording
in the covenant did indeed end but their moral essence were immediately restated as part of God’s New Covenant in terms
of grace and faith (Rom 7:4; 8:2; Gal 3:19; Heb 7:12, 18; 8:13)(2 Cor 5:17).
Paragraph 14 [third] states “If the covenant people of old were
required to have such statutes, are the Gentiles today any less self-sufficient”? First, no texts are given to prove
that Gentles ever were under the same law as O.T. Gentiles. Second, a flaw in the argument is evident because it only mentions
Gentiles today” --- the flaw is a silent admission that O.T. Gentiles were not under that literal law.
Paragraph 15 [fourth] is self-defeating
when it states that the Ten Commandments are binding on all men because “the Lord Jesus Himself respected them.”
First, this argument proves too much because Jesus respected the whole law of commandments, judgments and statutes. Second,
the “law” mentioned in Ps 40:8 is the whole law of commandments, judgments and statutes as is very clear in Psalm
119 which mentions all three numerous times. Second, quoting Matthew 22:36 destroys the argument that only the Ten Commandments
are the moral law because Jesus’ answer in 22:37-40 quotes Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18 --- neither are in the
Ten Commandments. Jesus actually proved that Deuteronomy and Leviticus also contained moral laws for Israel.
Paragraph 16 [fifth] is self-defeating
by quoting Matthew 5:17-19 to prove that the Ten Commandments are binding on all mankind. The text actually proves that the
“law” of 5:17 is the whole law of commandments, judgments and statutes. “Once of these least commandments”
must refer to the examples Jesus gave in 5:21-48 which are from the commandments, judgments and statutes.
Paragraph 17 [sixth] is self-defeating
by referring to Romans 3 to prove that the Ten Commandments are binding on all mankind. In fact 3:11-18 quote Isaiah and Psalms
and concludes that they are also part of the law. This proves that the laws to Israel included far more than the Ten Commandments.
The argument closes by an obvious total misquote of First Corinthians 9:21.
Paragraph 18 [seventh] is self-defeating by using Psalm 89 to prove
that the Ten Commandments are binding on all men. Psalms 89 is about the Davidic covenant and his throne.
It is not about the Ten Commandments. It is doubly out of SDA context because they deny that David (or Jesus) will literally
reign on earth again.
paragraph 19 SDAs conclude that the Ten Commandments are the Divine Will of God for all mankind. Yet SDAs violate this Sabbath
when they cause others to work on the Sabbath: they drive, use electricity, city water, city sewage, city gas, telephones,
etc. contrary to the literal Sabbath commandment.
since they abolish the judgments, there is no biblical PNALTY for breaking the Sabbath – therefore the law does not
20 SDAs admit they will not answer objections except in their written literature. This is true. Although they have many TV
and radio programs, they will not engage in deep discussions. This is sad since they teach that the world depends on them
to bring their unique plan of salvation.