LAW: The Ten Commandments are not for All Mankind
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.
In 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.
Also, since they abolish the judgments, there is no biblical PNALTY for breaking the Sabbath – therefore the law does not exist.
In paragraph 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.