She quotes 1 Corinthians 10: 1– 4, and then says: Christ, the angel whom God had appointed to go before His chosen people, gave to Moses statutes and requirements necessary to a living religion and to govern the people of God.
Christ, who went before Moses in the wilderness, made the principles of morality and religion more clear by particular precepts....
What are the three kinds of laws, according to her arrangement of them? Two, as we might expect, are the moral law and the ceremonial law. She introduces the moral law, the Ten Commandments, in the first two paragraphs of her article and makes several comments on it later.
Putting these comments together, we can make a list of 10 characteristics which she ascribes to the moral law:
- It dates back to creation.
- It points back to creation.
- It was worded to meet the case of fallen intelligences.
- It was repeated at Sinai, where it was spoken and written by Christ.
- It is as unchangeable as God Himself.
- It is based on love to God and love to man.
- I it binding upon all men in every dispensation.
- It will exist through time and eternity.
- It is not a shadow.
- It is as enduring as the throne of Jehovah.
This agrees with all that we have understood about the moral law, the Ten Commandments, and so we move on.
Next she introduces the ceremonial law and points out that it is “clear and distinct” from the moral law. From her various comments on the ceremonial law, we can also gather a list of its characteristics as she saw them:
- It was given by Christ [page 1]
- It was glorious.
- It was given because of man's transgression of the moral law and did not exist from eternity like the moral law.
- It “consisted in sacrifices and offerings, pointing to the future redemption.”
- The sacrifices and offerings typified Christ.
- She calls it a law of types.
- She calls it the law of Moses.
- She calls it the Jewish law.
- She calls it “shadowy types” and “a shadowy ceremony of types.”
- She emphasizes strongly that it lasted only to the sacrifice of Christ Thus unlike the moral law, it had an earthly beginning and an earthly ending. This, again, agrees with what we have understood. There would probably be no disagreement among Seventh- day Adventists about these descriptions of the moral law and the ceremonial law. Agreement would probably be without exception.
But what of the third kind of law that she describes? Here, unfortunately, our agreement is not full and complete, without exceptions. What is the third kind or category that she describes? She calls it statutes and judgments, and she sometimes includes it in the more general term, precepts. Let us make a list of the characteristics of these statutes and judgments as she describes them:
- Christ gave them to Moses.
- They were not the Ten Commandments, the moral law, but were given to guard it “These statutes were explicitly given to the Ten Commandments.” “. . . guarding the sacred law of God. . . .” (They could not be part of the moral law if they were given to guard it)
- They were not part of the ceremonial law. “They were not shadowy types to pass away with the death of Christ.”
- They were to govern the people of God.
- They were to govern the everyday life.
- They were for the purpose of protecting life.
- They made the principles of morality and religion more clear.
- They specify the duty of man to God and to his fellowman.
- They clearly and definitely explained the moral law and were enforced by it
- They define and simplify the principles of the moral law.
- They increase religious knowledge.
- They applied to marriage.
- They applied to inheritances.
- They applied to strict justice in business affairs.
- They were to keep the people from following the customs of other nations.
- They were to be binding upon all men in all ages as long as time should last
These are the statutes and judgments. She tells us that they are not part of the moral law nor yet part of the ceremonial law. They have an explaining, applying, and enforcing relationship [page 2] to the moral law, but apparently no relationship at all with the ceremonial law. They are not shadowy types, to end at the cross, but will retain their validity as long as time shall last. Where did she find these statues and judgments? In Exodus 21: 1 and on to 23: 11, right after the Ten Commandments in chapter 20.
“Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them.” Exodus 21: 1 (Compare Deuteronomy 4: 1, 5— 6, “statues and judgments.”)
Exodus Chapter 21: (Numbers indicate where sections begin.)
1. Laws for men servants.
7. For women servants.
12. For manslaughter
16. For stealers of men.
17. For cursers of parents.
18. For smiters.
22. For a hurt by chance
23. For an ox that goreth.
33. For him that is an occasion of harm.
Exodus Chapter 22:
1. Of theft.
5. Of damage
7. Of trespasses
14. Of borrowing
17. Of fornication
18. Of witchcraft
19. Of bestiality
20. Of idolatry
21. Of strangers, widows, orphans
25. Of usury
26. Of pledges
28. Of reverence to magistrates
Exodus Chapter 23:
1. Of slander and false witness
3. Of justice
4. Of charitableness
12. on—( returns to the sabbaths, feasts, etc.)
These do not typify anything. They are not types and shadows. These statutes sometimes fall short of New Testament ideals, but are far in advance of other nations of that time. For example, the “man- servant” (or slave) in other nations had no rights. He could be killed by his master. Under Hebrew law a “man- servant” (or slave).
1. Could not serve longer than six years— then he was free.
2. Was still “thy brother” Deuteronomy 15: 12
3. Was not to go away empty. Deuteronomy 15: 13— 14
4. In year of Jubilee all went free regardless of term of service.
We must look for the principles of these statues. We could make some modem comparisons. For example, Ellen White recommends that young girls should be taught how to harness horses. In our time she would say, no doubt, they should be taught how to change a tire [page 3] on a car. We don't have an ox to gore someone, but what about our dog, horse, or car? The principle of not letting them do damage to someone else still applies. These, of course, are not found in the ceremonial law.
Ellen White writes that these are not “shadowy types.” As we look them over, we recognize that this is true. There is nothing about them that points forward to the sacrifice of Christ, as t the types and shadows do.
Now we come to a crucial question. We have seen several statements that define the types and shadows as sacrifices and offerings and affirm that they ended at the cross of Christ, when” type met antitype.” But what about the days upon which these sacrifices and offerings were celebrated? They are called sabbaths. Should we still honor and observe them as holy days, sabbath days, even though we do not make sacrifices?
Perhaps we can find the answer in two ways. According to Colossians 2: 14- 17, which Ellen White refers to in her discussions, the ceremonial Sabbaths are shadows, just as the sacrifices are shadows:
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us. and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Clearly then, according to Paul, the days are shadows. Second, we remember that the same law that establishes the sacrifices also establishes the days, and that law, the ceremonial law, is done away. This is the message of Colossians 2: 14— 17 and of Ephesians 2: 11— 15. It is also the message of many references in Ellen White's writings.
There are two distinct laws brought to view. One is the law of types and shadows, which reached to the time of Christ, and ceased when type met antitype in his death. Signs of the Times, 7- 29- 86. The Jewish ceremonial law has passed away. Review and Herald, 10- 10- 99 If Adam had not transgress the law of God, the ceremonial law would never have been instituted. Selected Messages, book 1, 230
While the Saviour' s death brought to an end the law of types and shadows, it did not in the least detract from the obligation of the moral law. Patriarchs and Prophets, 365
When Jesus at His ascension entered by His own blood into the heavenly sanctuary to shed upon His disciples the blessings of His mediation, the Jews were left in total darkness to continue their useless sacrifices and offerings. The ministration of types and shadows had ceased. The Great Controversy, 430
His lessons to his disciples are received by all who would become His disciples, to the end of time. These lessons discharge his followers from the bondage of the ceremonial law, and leave them the ordinance of baptism to be received by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as the only one who can take away sin. Review and Herald, 06- 21- 98. When type met antitype in the death of Christ, the sacrificial offerings ceased. The ceremonial law was done away. Review and Herald, 06- 26- 00
After Christ died on the cross as a sin offering, the ceremonial law could have no force. Lift Him Up, 147
Peter here referred to the law of ceremonies, which was made null and void by the crucifixion of Christ. The Acts of the Apostles, 194 [page 4]
Many in the Christian world also have a veil before their eyes and heart. They do not see to the end of that which was done away. they do not see that it was only the ceremonial law which was abrogated at the death of Christ. Selected Messages, book 1, 239
This ritual law, with its sacrifices and ordinances, was to be performed by the Hebrews until type met antitype in the death of Christ, the Lamb of god that taketh away the sin of the world. Then all the sacrificial offerings were to cease. It is this law that Christ “took. . . out of the way, nailing it to His cross.” Colossians 2: 14) Patriarchs and Prophets, 36
But there is a law which was abolished, which Christ “took out of the way, nailing it to his cross.” Paul calls it “the law of commandments contained in ordinances.” This ceremonial law, given by God through Moses, with its sacrifices and ordinances, was to be binding upon the Hebrews until type met antitype in the death of Christ as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. Then all the sacrificial offerings and services were to be abolished. Paul and the other apostles labored to show this, and resolutely withstood those Judaizing teachers who declared that Christians should observe the ceremonial law. Signs of the Times, 09- 04- 84
There would seem to be no reason for doubt that the ceremonial law is passed away, according to Ellen White. If we put together the various expressions that she used to describe its passing, we are not left with any doubts. She writes that the ceremonial law of types and shadows is ended, ceased, has no force, has passed away, is null and void, is abrogated, was nailed to the cross, and has been abolished.
It would seem strange to believe that although she argued so forcefully that the ceremonial law had passed away, nevertheless the feast days, the ceremonial sabbaths, that were established by that law yet remain. Such a position would need to be sustained by very strong evidence, since it would contradict Paul's statement that these sabbaths are “shadows” (Colossians 2: 17). And those who advance this proposition should also present a clear explanation as to why Ellen White did not lead the church to observe the feast days while she was alive.
But no such strong evidence is offered. Instead, we are led to Ellen White's May 6, 1875 article on “The Law of God,” and in particular this paragraph:
In consequence of continual transgression, the moral law was repeated in awful grandeur from Sinai. Christ gave to Moses religious precepts which were to govern the every- day life. These statues were explicitly given to guard the ten commandments. They were not shadowy types to pass away with the death of Christ. They were to be binding upon man in every age as long as time should last. These commands were enforced by the power of the moral law, and they clearly and definitely explained that law.
We are asked to believe that the words “these statues” in this paragraph are a reference to the feast days of the ceremonial law. this would seem to be a grievous misunderstanding of the intention of the writer.
Our first question would be how could these words enforce the feast days of the ceremonial law without enforcing the sacrifices of the ceremonial law? Second, why should we ignore here statement that these statues are not “shadowy types to pass away with the death of Christ'? Third, why should we ignore her own definitions and descriptions of the statutes and judgments?
There are five passages in Ellen White's article in which she discusses the statutes and judgments. Let us place them altogether and examine them. The statutes and judgments specifying the duty of man to his fellow- men, were full of important instruction, defining and simplifying the principles of the moral law, for the purpose of increasing religious knowledge, and of preserving God's chosen people distinct and separate from idolatrous nations. [page 5]
The statutes concerning marriage, inheritance, and strict justice in deal with one another, were peculiar and contrary to the customs and manners of other nations, and were designed of God to keep his people separate from other nations. The necessity of this to preserve the people of God from becoming like the nations who had not the love and fear of God, is the same in this corrupt age, when the transgression of God's law prevails and idolatry exists to a fearful extent If ancient Israel needed such security, we need it more, to keep us form being utterly confounded with the transgressors of God's law. The hearts of men are so prone to depart from God that there is a necessity for restraint and discipline.
In consequence of continual transgression, the moral law was repeated in awful grandeur from Sinai. Christ gave to Moses religious precepts which were to govern the everyday life. These statutes were explicitly given to guard the ten commandments. They were not shadowy types to pass away with the death of Christ They were to be binding upon man in every age as long as time should last These commands were enforced by the power of the moral law, and they clearly and definitely explained that law.
Christ, the angel whom God had appointed to go before his chosen people, gave to Moses statutes and requirements necessary to a living religion and to govern the people of God.
God graciously spoke his law and wrote it with his own finger on stone, making a solemn covenant with his people at Sinai. God acknowledged them as his peculiar treasure above all people upon the earth. Christ, who went before Moses in the wilderness, made the principles of morality and religion more clear by particular precepts, specifying the duty of man to God and his fellow- men, for the purpose of protecting life, and guarding the sacred law of God, that it should not be entirely forgotten in the midst of an apostate world.
Christ, to enforce the will of his Father, became the author of the statutes and precepts given through Moses to the people of God.
A relationship between the “statutes and judgments” and the moral law is stated eight times. No relationship to the ceremonial law is suggested.
All the way through this discussion she relates the statutes and judgments to the moral law and never to the ceremonial law. Their purpose is made so clear as to require no comment. And let us note in her last paragraph a reference to the mistaken practices of the Jewish people.
They attach as much importance to shadowy ceremonies of types which have met their anti- type, as they do to the law of ten commandments....
When we remember that the Jewish people honor the feast days but make no sacrifices, we are forced to the conclusion that these feast days are the “shadowy ceremonies of types” to which she is referring.
Let us heed the appeal of Paul in Galatians 5: 1: Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
As an aid to the careful student, we are providing at the end of this paper a copy of Ellen White's article of May 6, 1875, which is marked to show the passages in which she discussed the “statutes and judgments.”
The Law of God
“The fact that the holy pair in disregarding the prohibition of God in one particular, thus transgressed his law, and as the result suffered the consequences of the fall, should impress all with a just sense of the sacred character of the law of God. If the experience of our first parents in the transgression of what many who profess to fear God would call the lesser requirements of the law of God, was attended with such fearful consequences, what will be the punishment of those who not only break its most important precepts, as clearly defined as is the fourth commandment, but also teach others to transgress?
“All will yet understand, as did Adam and Eve, that God means what he says. Men who pass on indifferently in regard to the especial claims of God's holy law, and who turn from and reject the light given upon the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, and seek to ease their consciences by following traditions and customs, will be held responsible by God, and in a greater degree, than if Christ had not come to the earth, and suffered on Calvary. The fact that the redemption of man from the penalty of the transgression, required this wonderful sacrifice on the part of Christ, gives unmistakable proof of the unchanging nature of the law of God.
“God gave a clear and definite knowledge of his will to Israel by especial precepts, showing the duty of man to God and to his fellowmen. The worship due to God was clearly defined. A special system of rites and ceremonies was established, which would secure the remembrance of God among his people, and thereby serve as a hedge to guard and protect the ten commandments from violation.
“God's people, whom he calls his peculiar treasure, were privileged with a two- fold system of law; the moral and the ceremonial. The one, pointing back to creation to keep in remembrance the living God who made the world, whose claims are binding upon all men in every dispensation, and which will exist through all time and eternity. The other, given because of man's transgression of the moral law, the obedience to which consisted in sacrifices and offerings pointing to the future redemption. Each is clear and distinct from the other. From the creation the moral law was an essential part of God's divine plan, and was as unchangeable as himself. The ceremonial law was to answer a particular purpose in Christ's plan for the salvation of the race. The typical system of sacrifice and offerings was established that through these services the sinner might discern the great offering, Christ. But the Jews were so blinded by pride and sin that but few of them could see farther than the death of beasts as an atonement for sin; and when Christ, whom these offerings prefigured, came, they could not discern him. The ceremonial law was glorious; it was the provision made by Jesus Christ in counsel with his Father, to aid in the salvation of the race. The whole arrangement of the typical system was founded on Christ. Adam saw Christ prefigured in the innocent beast suffering the penalty of his transgression of Jehovah's law.
“The law of types reached forward to Christ All hope and faith centered in Christ until type reached its antitype in his death. The statutes and judgments specifying the duty of man to his fellow- men, were full of important instruction, defining and simplifying the principles of the moral law, for the purpose of increasing religious knowledge, and of preserving God's chosen people distinct and separate from idolatrous nations.
“The statutes concerning marriage, inheritance, and strict justice in deal with one another, were peculiar and contrary to the customs and manners of other nations, and were designed of God to keep his people separate from other nations. The necessity of this to preserve the people of God from becoming like the nations who had not the love and fear of God, is the same in this corrupt age, when the transgression of God's law prevails and idolatry exists to a fearful extent If ancient Israel needed such security, we need it more, to keep us form being utterly confounded with the transgressors of God's law. The hearts of men are so prone to depart from God that there is a necessity for restraint and discipline.
The love that God bore to man whom he had created in his own image, led him to give his Son to die for man's transgression, and lest the increase of sin should lead him to forget God and the promised redemption, the system of sacrificial offerings was established to typify the perfect offering of the Son of God.
Christ was the angel appointed of God to go before Moses in the wilderness, conducting the Israelites in their travels to the land of Canaan. Christ gave Moses his special directions to be given to Israel. “Moreover, brethren I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses [page 7] in the cloud, and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them; and that Rock was Christ.”
“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink” These words were called out by witnessing a representation by the Jews of water flowing from the flinty rock. This commemoration of bringing water from the rock in the wilderness moves the heart of the Son of God to tenderest compassion and pity for their darkened understanding; for they will not see the light which he has brought to them. Christ tells them that he is that rock. I am that living water. Your fathers drank of that spiritual rock that followed them. That rock was myself. It was through Christ alone that the Hebrews were favored with the especial blessings which they were continually receiving, notwithstanding their sinful murmuring and rebellion.
“In consequence of continual transgression, the moral law was repeated in awful grandeur from Sinai. Christ gave to Moses religious precepts which were to govern the everyday life. These statutes were explicitly given to guard the ten commandments. They were not shadowy types to pass away with the death of Christ They were to be binding upon man in every age as long as time should last. These commands were enforced by the power of the moral law, and they clearly and definitely explained that law.
Christ became sin for the fallen race, in taking upon himself the condemnation resting upon the sinner for his transgression of the law of God. Christ stood at the head of the human family as their representative. He had taken upon himself the sins of the world. In the likeness of sinful flesh he condemned sin in the flesh. He recognized the claims of the Jewish law until his death, when type met antitype. In the miracle he performed for the leper, he bade him go to the priests with an offering in accordance with the law of Moses. Thus he sanctioned the law requiring offerings.
“Christians who profess to be Bible students can appreciate more fully than ancient Israel did the full signification of the ceremonial ordinances that they were required to observe. If they are indeed Christians, they are prepared to acknowledge the sacredness and importance of the shadowy types, as they see the accomplishment of the events which they represent The death of Christ gives the Christian a correct knowledge of the system of ceremonies and explains prophecies which still remain obscure to the Jews. Moses of himself framed no law. Christ, the angel whom God had appointed to go before his chosen people, gave to Moses statutes and requirements necessary to a living religion and to govern the people of God. Christians commit a terrible mistake in calling this law severe and arbitrary, and then contrasting it with the gospel and mission of Christ in his ministry on earth, as though he were in opposition to the just precepts which they call the law of Moses.
“The law of Jehovah, dating back to creation, was comprised in the two great principles, “Thou shalt love the Lord they God with all they heart, and with all they soul, and with all they mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first commandment And the second is like, namely this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandments greater than these.” These two great principles embrace the first four commandments, showing the duty of man to God, and the last six, showing the duty of man to his fellow- man. The principles were more explicitly stated to man after the fall, and worded to meet the case of fallen intelligences. This was necessary in consequence of the minds of men being blinded by transgression.
God graciously spoke his law and wrote it with his own finger on stone, making a solemn covenant with his people at Sinai. God acknowledged them as his peculiar treasure above all people upon the earth. Christ, who went before Moses in the wilderness, made the principles of morality and religion more clear by particular precepts, specifying the duty of man to God and [page 8] his fellow- men, for the purpose of protecting life, and guarding the sacred law of God, that it should not be entirely forgotten in the midst of an apostate world.
“Professed Christians now cry, Christ! Christ is our righteousness, but away with the law. They talk and act as though Christ's mission to a fallen world was for the express purpose of nullifying his Father's law. Could not that work have been just as well executed without the only beloved of the Father coming to this world and enduring grief, privation, and the shameful death of the cross? Ministers preach that the atonement gave men liberty to break the law of God, and to commit sin, and then praise the free grace and mercy revealed through Christ under the gospel, while they despise the law of God.
“They cast aside the restraint of the law, and give loose rein to the corrupt passions and the prompting of the natural heart, and then triumph in the mercy and grace of the gospel. Christ speaks to such: “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.” What is the will of the Father? That we keep his commandments. Christ, to enforce the will of his Father, became the author of the statutes and precepts. given through Moses to the people of God. Christians who extol Christ, but array themselves against the law governing the Jewish church, array Christ against Christ.
“The death of Jesus Christ for the redemption of man, lifts the veil and reflects a flood of light back hundreds of years, upon the whole institution of the Jewish system of religion. Without the death of Christ all this system was meaningless. The Jews reject Christ, and therefore their whole system of religion is to them indefinite, unexplainable, and uncertain. They attach as much importance to shadowy ceremonies of types which have met their antitype, as they do to the law of the ten commandments, which was not a shadow, but a reality as enduring as the throne of Jehovah. The death of Christ elevates the Jewish system of types and ordinances, showing that they were of divine appointment, and for the purpose of keeping faith alive in the hearts of his people”
We trust that the evidence presented in “Types and Shadows, Part I,” has satisfied the reader on two points:
1. According to Ellen White, the ceremonial law is ended, ceased, has no force, has passed away, is null and void, is abrogated, was nailed to the cross, and has been abolished.
2. In her Review and Herald article of May 6, 1875, Ellen White discusses the “statutes and judgments” given by Christ through Moses and clearly disassociates them from the ceremonial law. She writes eight times that these “statutes and judgments” were explanations and applications of the principles of the moral law, the Ten Commandments.
Therefore, those who are recommending to us the observance of the feast days— Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles— are finding it impossible to maintain that the ceremonial law is still in force. How, then, can they prove that these feast days are binding upon us? Their answer to this question is breathtaking in its boldness. They tell us that the feast days are a part of the moral law!
We must resist the temptation to simply turn away and refuse to consider such a proposition as this. Promoters of this idea appear to be earnest and sincere, and they will not be helped by a scornful attitude on our part. Our responses, to be helpful, must be presented in Christian love and with sound evidence. So— let us soberly examine this proposition that the three festivals— Passover (the Feast of Unleavened Bread), Pentecost (the Feast of Weeks), and the Harvest Festival (The Feast of Tabernacles)— are actually part of the moral law.
We may begin by noting that God wrote ten commandments in the tables of stone, not thirteen. [page 9] And he declared unto you His covenant, which He commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and He wrote them upon two tables of stone. Deuteronomy 4: 13
And He wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments ... Deuteronomy 10: 4
These words the Lord spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me. Deuteronomy 5: 22
This was the moral law. The Bible does not use either of the two terms, moral or ceremonial, but God's messenger to the remnant, Ellen White, does.
(God) would remove all possibility of misunderstanding, of mingling any tradition with the ten commandments of the moral law, or of confusing the divine requirements with the practices of men; and to do this He not only spoke the ten words of the moral law, but He wrote them with His own finger on tables of stones. Signs of the Times, vol. 2, 36.
Will you not compare your character with God's moral law, the ten commandments? Signs of the Times, vol. 2, 150
In addition to the tables of testimony that were given to Moses in the mount, he there received the ritual or ceremonial law. . . It is this law of ceremonies, which was to find its fulfillment in the death of Christ, when type should meet antitype, that is so frequently in our day confounded with the moral law often commandments, which was engraven with the finger of God upon the stone, and which is as enduring as the throne of Jehovah. Signs of the Times, vol. 1, 170.
When we remember the many differences between both the giving and the use of the moral and the ceremonial laws, it is forcibly impressed upon our minds that it was God's purpose to maintain a sharp and clear distinction between them.
The Moral Law
- Written by God
- Written on stone
- Kept in the ark
- Deals with morality
- Defines sin
- Is as eternal as God Himself
The Ceremonial Law
- Written by Moses Written on parchment
- Kept in the side of the ark
- Deals with ceremony
- Was added because of sin
- Was for a limited time only
Further, in view of the several Ellen White statements that the moral law was known by the unfallen Adam and Eve (Patriarchs and Prophets, 363) as well as by the unfallen angels (Mount of Blessings, 48), we are required by this proposition to envision the feast days as having been observed in Eden and heaven itself.
This proposition, that the feast days were part of the moral law, is the center piece of evidence placed before us by those who are urging upon us the observance of the feast days. It is their first and strongest major argument. We will leave it to the considered judgment of the reader whether the claim is adequately supported by the evidence.
The second major argument being advanced by those who are urging observance of the feast days involves the use of the word “statutes.” Here we need to remember Ellen White's [page 10] caution that in the Bible: Different meanings are expressed by the same word: there is not one word for each distinct idea. Selected Messages, book 1, 20
This is emphatically true of the Biblical uses of the words “statute” and “statutes.” Strong's Concordance lists about 165 occurrences of these words in the Old Testament. (Neither word is found in the New Testament.) As we examine the list, we quickly discover that the words “statute” and “statutes” are used in four very different ways in the Scriptures.
First, we observe that the majority of the Biblical uses of the words “statute” and “statutes” are general and all- inclusive in nature, having reference to any and/ or all of the instructions God has given to His people.
The second largest occurrence of these words is in reference to specific details of the ceremonial law. In Exodus, chapters 27– 30, Leviticus, chapters 3— 24, and Numbers, chapters 18– 19, are set forth a host of detailed instructions regarding the ministry of the priests. These instructions are frequently accompanied by the phrase, “It shall be a statute forever.”
The third largest occurrence of the words “statute” and “statutes” are in reference to the explanations and applications of the moral law. In this usage the word “statutes” is frequently linked with the word “judgments.” As we have seen, many such usages are recorded in chapters 21– 23 of Exodus, immediately following the moral law, which is recorded in chapter 20. These were discussed in our “Types and Shadows, Part I.”
Fourth, there are a few references in Scripture which use the words “statutes” in a manner that might be understood to apply to the ten commandments, the moral law, in whole or in part. (See Nehemiah 9: 12– 14 and Psalms 19: 7, 8.)
Ellen White's writings reflect these four different uses of the words “statute” and “statutes,” though with slightly different emphases. She applies the word “statutes” to the moral law more frequently than the Bible writers do, often adding the words “divine” or “sacred.” Thus she sees the Ten Commandments as God's “Divine Statutes.”
As if entranced, the wicked have looked upon the coronation of the Son of God. They see in His hands the tables of the divine law, the statutes which they have despised and transgressed. The Great Controversy, 668.
Atheists, infidels, and apostates oppose and denounce God's law; but the results of their influence prove that the well being of man is bound up with his obedience of the divine statutes. The Great Controversy, 285
The sacred statutes which Satan has hated and sought to destroy, will be honored throughout a sinless universe. Sons and Daughters of God, 38
(See also Patriarchs and Prophets, 69, 88, 123, 143, 339, 342, 732, and Prophets and Kings, 15.)
Ellen White makes a few uses of “statutes” in a general sense (Patriarchs and Prophets, 332, Evangelism, 308, and Signs of the Times, vol. 2, 173), and at times refers to the entire Bible as the “statute book” (as in The Faith I Live By, 354). She makes several uses of “statutes” in reference to the ceremonial law, in whole or in part. (Some are quotations from the Scriptures. See Patriarchs and Prophets, 361, Prophets and Kings, 392— 393, Signs of the Times, 01- 09- 96, Review and Herald, 07- 22- 15, et al.)
She follows the example of Bible writers in referring to the explanations and applications of the moral law as “statutes and judgments.” (See discussion of her Review article of May 6, 1875, in Part I of this paper.) In an interesting aside, she points out in Spiritual Gifts vol. 3, 299– 300:
If man had kept the law of God, as given to Adam after his fall, preserved in the ark by Noah, and observed by Abraham, there would have been no necessity of the ordinance of circumcision. And if the descendants of Abraham had kept the covenant, which circumcision was a token or pledge of, they would never have gone into idolatry, and been suffered to go [page 11] down into Egypt, and there would have been no necessity of God's proclaiming his law from Sinai, and engraving it upon tables of stone, and guarding it by definite directions in the judgments and statutes given to Moses. Moses wrote these judgments and statutes from the mouth of God while he was with him in the mount. If the people of God had obeyed the principles of the ten commandments, there would have been no need of the specific directions given to Moses, which he wrote in a book, relative to their duty to God and to one another. The definite directions which the Lord gave to Moses in regard to the duty of his people to one another, and to the stranger, are the principles of the ten commandments simplified, and given in a definite manner that they need not err.
Truly, as Ellen White wrote in Selected Messages, book 1, 20, Different meanings are expressed by the same word: there is not one word for each distinct idea.
As we have now seen, this is certainly true of the words “statute” and “statutes” in both the Scriptures and in the writings of Ellen White. Both use these words in at least four different ways, with very different meanings. It is apparent that serious errors will result if the words are not used in careful conformity to the intentions of the original authors.
How, then, may we protect ourselves from these errors? Obviously, by paying careful attention to the context of each usage of the words. This is a fully satisfactory safeguard. The context is usually crystal- clear. To illustrate the problem: Suppose we look at such a “statute” as is found in Leviticus 7: 34 which requires that the “wave breast” and the “heave shoulder” from peace offerings shall be given to the Levites for their food. Then we place beside this one of Ellen White's several references to the moral law as “divine statutes” which will endure through all eternity. We are brought to the conclusion that throughout all eternity there will be priests eating the flesh of animal sacrifices. Obviously, these are two different uses of the term statutes,” and they do not belong together. To place them together produces serious error.
There is nothing unusual or mysterious about using words in harmony with their context. Consider, for example, our word fast. A speedy horse is called a fast horse. But when the same horse is tiedfast to a tree, the meaning of fast is quite different. To abstain from food is a fast. A person of loose morals is fast. Colors which do not fade are fast. The word is spelled alike in all these usages, but the meaning is indicated by the context. We practice this continually and have no trouble with it.
Disregard of this principle of context is the specific and very serious problem that we find in the writings of those who are urging upon us the observance of the feast days. They find in the Bible the word “statutes” used in reference to these feast days, and they place beside it a usage of the word “statutes” in reference to the moral law which will endure as long as God lives. Thus they arrive at the conclusion that the feast days are for all eternity.
Similarly, they take Ellen White's discussion of the “statutes and judgments” that were given to explain and apply to the moral law, and especially her statement that:
These statutes were explicitly given to guard the ten commandments. They were not shadowy types to pass away with the death of Christ. They were to be binding upon man in every age as long as time should last. Review and Herald, May 6, 1875
They place this together with references to the feast days as “statutes,” and again come to the conclusion that it is the feast days that are binding upon man as long as time shall last.
This ignores the obvious truth that the various usages of the word “statutes” in both the Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy are in four different categories, and should not be used interchangeably without regard to their context. In her Review and Herald article of May 6, 1875, Ellen White makes no reference to the feast days, except when she faults the Jews for still observing them, in the last paragraph of that article. [page 12]
These two propositions, that the feast days are part of the moral law and that the feast days are the “statutes” that will be binding as long as time shall last, are the two major arguments that are put forth in support of the concept that we should now be observing the Passover (The Feast of Unleavened Bread), the Pentecost (The Feast of Weeks), and the Harvest Festival (The Feast of Tabernacles). As we have seen, these arguments are seriously flawed. They do not bear up well under investigation.
The lesser arguments also require careful examination. Before me as I write are two “public letters” that are being circulated by an enthusiastic promoter of the “feast days.” What has been written thus far in this paper is in response to his two major arguments. Let us now consider his minor arguments:
1. The writer alleges that Ellen White was “withheld” from seeing the feast days. How do we know this? No proof is offered.
2. The writer asks why God should show her what He had already shown to various Bible writers, that the feast days are for all time. We have not found any convincing evidence that God did show this to the Bible writers. We are reminded in Selected Messages, book 1, 41:
The instruction that was given in the early days of the message is to be held as safe instruction to follow in these its closing days. Those who are indifferent to this light and instruction must not expect to escape the snares which we have been plainly told will cause the rejecters of light to stumble, and fall, and be snared, and be taken.
3. The writer alleges that until 300 A. D. the feast days were kept by Christian churches, but provides no evidence. We ask for documentation.
4. The writer quotes a Catholic version of the Bible that translates Daniel 7: 25, “He shall think to change the feast days and the law,” instead of “He shall think to change times and the law,” as it is translated in the King James version. But the Hebrew has neither a word for “feasts” nor a word for “days” in this passage. The Hebrew word is zemaum, which means “times.” It is the same word used in Daniel 6: 10, where it is stated that Daniel prayed three times a day. Did Daniel observe three feast days every day?
5. The writer alleges, in reference to Galatians 4: 10, that these people were not observing Jewish ceremonial laws because the Jews did not observe any “months.” Actually, they observed the beginning of every month, which they marked by the appearance of the crescent moon (new moon) with ceremonies and sacrifices. See Numbers 10: 10 and 28: 11— 14.
6. The writer alleges that Ellen White makes no reference to Col. 2: 16— 17. This is hardly candid. In Col. 2: 16 Paul writes, “Let no man therefore judge you... .“ “Therefore” means, “Because of what I have previously stated.” It introduces a conclusion drawn from previously supplied evidence. Ellen White quotes with approval the stated evidence in the previous verses. (See Patriarchs and Prophets, 32, Bible Echo, 04- 16- 94, Signs of the Times, 09- 04- 84, Signs of the Times, 01- 09- 96, et al.) To say that she accepts the evidence but not the conclusion based on that evidence is strange indeed.
7. Equally unconvincing is the writer's allegation that some unidentified persons were not judging the Colossians about “days” but were rather judging them for the meats and drinks that they were consuming on those days. We submit that these were meat and drink offerings.
Compare Leviticus 23 with Hebrew 9: 10. 8. The writer, in his attempt to lump together the weekly sabbaths and the feast days, seems to overlook Leviticus 23: 37— 38: These are the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day: [page 13]
Beside the sabbaths of the Lord, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill offerings, which ye give unto the Lord.
More could be added, but perhaps this is enough. Let us look again at the simple and clear message of the apostle Paul:
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. This does not forbid the observance of the feast days, but it clearly forbids the judging of those who do not observe them. The writer, in one of the two public letters before me, dated March 7, 1993, seems to recognize this point, but proposes a solution to the problem that will surely be startling to Seventh- day Adventists, who throughout our entire history have been meeting and refuting the claim advanced by Sabbath opponents that Paul's expression, “Sabbath days which are a shadow of things to come” includes the weekly Sabbath days.
Surely this is an alarming argument, one which places in the hands of our detractors a weapon which they will be happy to use against our message.
May we earnestly entreat all of those dedicated Christians who have fully committed themselves to following the Lord and performing all of His will to examine carefully the entire structure of arguments being advanced by those who are promoting observance of the feast days. We have been warned in advance that as we near the end of time:
. . . there will be great perplexity and confusion. Satan, clothed in angel robes, will deceive, if possible, the very elect. There will be gods many and lords many. Every wind of doctrine will be blowing. Testimonies, vol. 5, 80.
May God preserve His people. [page 14]
[Bracketed italicized page numbers refer to the original printed document