Statutes That Remain
Christ Spoke from the Pillar of Cloud
How to Please Our Christ
A Royal Priesthood
God's Statutes from Two Aspects
Who Established the Holy Days
Who Eliminated the Holy Days
The Sabbath More Fully
The Elijah Message
The Greatest of the Feast Days
Other Feast Days in the Book of Acts
The Passover Question
Apples and Oranges
An Ideal Time for Revival
Continuity of Passover
New Testament References
Additional New Testament
References to Feasts
First Century Christians and the Feasts
The Best Example
Feast of Tabernacles
Ellen White and the Feast of Tabernacles
Sabbaths and Their Shadows
So What Is Exciting?
Colossians Chapter II
The Timing of Last Day Events?
Sacrificing on the 7th-day Sabbath
Principalities and Powers
Dating the Festivals
A Clean and Holy People
James Chapter II ~ Statutes in the New Testament
What's Coming: The Appendix
Statutes from Leviticus
Statutes from Deuteronomy
More Information on God's Holy Days
The statutes given by God through Moses have always puzzled Bible students. To the casual reader, some of God’s statutes are beautiful, some of them are harsh and out of date, and some of them may even appear totally impractical in today’s world.
With the availability of the CD Rom to Ellen White’s writings, a new wave of interest is developing. Many serious Seventh-day Adventists are taking a second look.
In this book, each Ellen G. White quotation has been examined for context, accuracy of content, and location.
Three types of script are used throughout to make it easy for the reader to know whether the Bible is being quoted, or E.G. White is being quoted, or whether it is my own comments.
Most emphasis by underlining, brackets, and italicized words have been supplied by the computer.
I have decided on this subject because of questions asked and statements made to me by our own church members. As an evangelist, I can honestly say I have met people in almost every series of meetings over the past years that are quietly curious, and often serious, about the writings in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.
If there are things presented in this book that might make one’s life happier and more like that of Jesus, then the study is worthwhile.
Elder J. L. VanDenburgh
Key to Abbreviations
of E. G. White Materials
- Acts of the Apostles
- SDA Bible Commentary
- Counsel on Health
- Desire of Ages
- Early Writings
- Fundamentals of Christian Education
- The Faith I live By
- Great Controversy
- In Heavenly Places
- Last Day Events
- Sketches from the Life of Paul
- Ministry of Healing
- Prophets and Kings
- Patriarchs and Prophets
- Sons and Daughters of God
- Selected Messages
- Spirit of Prophecy
- Southern Watchman or The Watchman
- Signs of the Times
Numbers before the initials represent the volume.
Numbers after the initials represent page numbers.
There are three primary schools of thought among those who are studying the Jewish economy and what it might mean to the remnant church of the 144,000. All three schools quote the Spirit of Prophecy to support their beliefs. Here are the three primary but opposing schools of thought.
First, those who believe that most of the Old Testament obligations were met at the cross, except the Ten Commandments, will quote statement like the following:
“In this ordinance (Lord’s Supper) Christ discharged His disciples from the cares and burdens of the ancient Jewish obligations in rites and ceremonies. These no longer possessed any virtue; for type was met in antitype in Himself... He gave this simple ordinance that it might be a special season when He Himself would always be present...” 5 BC 1139
Second, those who believe that the times of God’s holy days in the Old Testament will be meaningful in the last day events publish quotes regarding Passover, Firstfruits, and the Day of Atonement, as follows:
“In like manner the types which relate to the second advent must be fulfilled at the time pointed out in the symbolic service.” GC 399,400 (The word “types” in this quote is referring to God’s holy days.)
Third, those who are searching deeply into the subject of God’s holy days, believing that very definite and important light is yet to be shed on this subject will quote statements like the following:
“The significance of the Jewish economy is not yet fully comprehended. Truths vast and profound are shadowed forth in its rites and symbols...” COL 133
We will now begin to explore exciting Ellen White comments to see what significant gems we can discover. We might uncover explosive truths that are truly vast and profound!
STATUTES THAT REMAIN
For many years, we have profited from observing the statutes regarding tithing and the elimination of unclean meats. In the following paragraphs, we have at least three more statutes to consider.
how to get it!
“The statutes concerning marriage, inheritance, and strict justice in dealing 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 from being utterly confounded with the transgressors of God’s Law.” 1 RH 164 5/06/1875 (italics mine)
Ellen White considered herself one of the “we” who would benefit if the present church kept the above Mosaic statutes.
What is the security that we need according to the above statement? The statutes of Moses regarding marriage, inheritance, and strict justice in dealing with one another. These three items cover a lot of ground. Many, if not most of God’s statutes, deal in these three categories.
“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.” 1RH 164; 1 SDA BC 1104 (italics mine)
Something that guards and explains the 10 Commandments is not the 10 Commandments. These additional religious precepts given to Moses were given to be guards and explanations of the 10 Commandments.
Notice some of the “everyday life” statutes mentioned by Ellen White in 3RH 213:
- “Thou shalt not oppress a hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates.”
- “At this day shalt thou give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it.”
- “Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbor...”
- “The wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.”
This is the principle: What right do I have to draw interest on money that belongs to the poor? Notice what the Spirit of Prophecy says about the above four statutes:
“The Lord Jesus gave these commandments from the pillar of cloud, and Moses repeated them to the children of Israel and wrote them in a book, that they might not depart from righteousness. We are under obligation to fulfill these specifications, for in so doing we fulfill the specifications of the law of God.” 3RH 231, 12/18/1894 (italics mine)
These, then, are some of the statutes that guard and help explain the law of God. Notice that, unlike what I once believed, there are some statutes, written in a book, that are especially important to those of us who do not want to depart from righteousness. We are to fulfill them.
- “Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God. These words had been spoken by Christ when He was enshrouded in the pillar of cloud. The same Teacher had spoken these words as had spoken the sermon on the mount. It was Christ who had said, ‘Ye shall do My statutes, and keep My judgments.’ Christ had presented the same principles on the mount of beatitudes as He had on Mount Sinai.” ST 6/11/1896
Many of the statutes are given in Deuteronomy chapter 26 and their judgments in chapters 27 and 28. Notice Mrs. White’s comments regarding these chapters:
No one wants to
be ignorant or
Here’s how to
get smart and be
Read Deut. 26-28
“This is not the voice of man; it is the voice of Christ from the enfolding pillar of cloud. Read carefully all of Deuteronomy 26, also chapters 27 and 28; for here are stated plainly the blessings of obedience.
“These directions, which the Lord gave to His people, express the principles of the law of the kingdom of God, and they are made specific, so that the minds of the people may not be left in ignorance and uncertainty. These scriptures present the never-ceasing obligation of all whom God has blessed with life and health and advantages in temporal and spiritual things.” 4RH 249 (italics mine)
According to E.G. White, what charge should we take to our heart?
“I counsel you to humble your heart and confess your wrongs. Consider the solemn charge David gave to Solomon on his dying bed: ‘I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and show thyself a man; and keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses that you mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself.’ Take this charge to your own heart (says Ellen White). Let no one flatter you in wrongdoing ...” 5T509 (italics mine)
Does Ellen White really mean that we are to keep God’s statutes, commandments, judgments, and testimonies? Is disobedience to these things really wrongdoing? Should we actually take the above charge to our own heart? Why? Perhaps the next quote, aimed at the final generation, answers these very questions.
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“That God, who reads the heart of everyone, will bring to light hidden things of darkness where they are often least suspected, that stumbling blocks which have hindered the progress of truth may be removed, and God have a clean and holy people to declare His statutes and judgments.
“The Captain of our salvation leads His people on step by step, purifying and fitting them for translation, and leaving in the rear those who are disposed to draw off from the body, who are not willing to be led.” 1T 333
These quotations assure us that at least some of the Mosaic statutes, written in the book of the law, are still worthy of our consideration. Mrs. White, whom most of us believe had more spiritual perception than we, wrote very plainly that these statutes are soon to be presented by a clean and holy people, fitted for translation. Surely the 144,000 are implied.
Some people claim that every time the word ‘statutes’ is mentioned, it refers to the feasts of Leviticus. Not so. Everyone knows that there are many statutes besides the feasts. There is a double truth here. Not all statutes are feasts, yet all feasts are statutes.
Question: How can the 144,000, as a clean and holy people, present the statutes if they don’t even know what they are?
Another question: Which ordinances were nailed to the cross? Ellen White and Paul both say some of the ordinance laws no longer remain. But, which ones?
The prophet Ezekiel refers to ordinances that Ellen White states are no longer to be performed by God’s New Testament church. These are the ordinances of the altar.
“And he said unto me, Son of man, thus saith the Lord God; These are the ordinances of the altar in the day when they shall make it, to offer burnt offerings thereon, and to sprinkle blood thereon.” Ezekiel 43:18
The text goes on to explain the ordinances governing the priesthood in their work of sacrificing animals.
Now let us see what our early pioneers wrote about these ordinances of the sacrificial system:
- “The ceremonial system was made up of symbols pointing to Christ, to His sacrifice and His priesthood. [This law differs from the intent of those statutes given to guard the Ten Commandments.] 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.’” PP 365 (brackets inserted)
“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.” Colossians 2:14
What law was nailed to the cross? PP p. 365 indicates that it is the law of sacrificial offerings, which are contained in the ordinances of the altar.
- “The ceremonial law was to answer a particular purpose of 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.’” 1RH 164, 5/6/1875
Look at the cross and what do you see? The end of the sacrificial system by the Sacrifice of all sacrifices. Jesus’ death completed the ‘ordinances of the altar’ of sacrifice.
(The above “offerings” connected with animal sacrificing were more often grain, oil and wine. They were also known as “oblations.” See Numbers chapter 28. Our SDA Bible Commentary describes “oblations” as grain offerings.)
Recall the prophecy of Daniel 9:27. After the 60 and 2 weeks the “sacrifice and oblation” was to cease. These sacrifices and oblations were the animal sacrifices and grain, oil, and wine offerings that were included.
Daniel said nothing of anything else ceasing at the cross.
- “Not one word that has proceeded from the mouth of God will become void until prophecy becomes history, as in the case of the sacrificial offerings that prefigured Christ. Type met antitype in the death of the Son of God.” 4RH 160, 2/27/1900 (italics mine)
- “(Christ) was the foundation of their system of sacrificial offerings, the great Antitype of all their religious service. The blood shed as the sacrifices were offered pointed to the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. All the typical offerings were fulfilled in Him.” COL 126 (parenthesis added/italics mine)
Once again, the typical offerings, the animal sacrifices, were fulfilled in Him.
- “When type met antitype in the death of Christ, the sacrificial offerings ceased. The ceremonial law was done away.” The Watchman, 8/14/1906; 4RH 193; RH 6/26/1900 (italics mine)
Notice in the above sentence, the Spirit of Prophecy equates the sacrificial offerings with “the” ceremonial law that was “done away.”
- “The Lord gave Moses definite instructions in regard to the ceremonial offerings which were to cease at the death of Christ.” ST 6/17/1880 (italics mine)
Notice again that Ellen White separates the ordinances of the sacrifice from the other statutes and from the 10 Commandments in the next quote:
“After the public rehearsal of the law, Moses completed the work of writing all the laws, the statutes, and the judgments which God had given him, and all the regulations concerning the sacrificial system.” PP 466 [Note: “regulations” is another term for “ordinances.”]
Considering the information studied so far, the Ten Commandment laws, the statutes governing daily life, the judgments which God had given Moses, plus all the regulations concerning the sacrificial system, were all a part of the Jewish economy.
Obviously, Jesus fulfilled the ordinances of sacrificial offerings. But what about the law, the statutes, and the judgments? We all agree the laws of the Decalogue are still with us, but what additional conclusions can we come to regarding the statutes?
REGARDING THE STATUTES
Pam Benton, in her book Diamonds in the Sand, points out which statutes are to be observed forever and which are not. “Our English word statute comes from two original Hebrew words, Strong’s #2706 choq and Strong’s #2708 chuggah. According to Strong’s Lexical Aids, the definitions for both words are the same, except #2708 has the added qualifier of being permanently binding. The word statutes (#2706) most always refers to the sacrificial system and is not permanently binding. The word statutes (#2708) most always refers to the moral law, including God’s holy days in Leviticus chapter 23, and is permanently binding. Thus the original Hebrew words themselves suggest to us which statutes are permanently binding.
Another interesting point she makes is that “sacrificial system statutes (#2706) are in the masculine tense, whereas God’s Holy Day statutes (#2708) are in the feminine tense. Jesus, our Bridegroom who became a man and died for our sins, fulfilled the sacrificial system statutes that are in the masculine tense and were binding until the cross. God’s Church the Bride, fulfills the moral law statutes that are in the feminine tense and are binding forever. The Bride (God’s people) recognizes the tremendous price that the Bridegroom (Jesus) has paid and so she honors her Groom by spending extra time with Him every year for eternity. She does this because of the deep love that she has for Him and not because of a sense of duty that she must “do.” Keeping God’s Holy Days fulfills part of the Church’s covenant to be the Bride. (See Revelation 21:2,9). Only those who wear the white wedding garment (Day of Atonement message), representing the righteousness of Jesus, will be saved. (Matthew 22:11-13).”
Another way to know if these statutes are forever or not is to see what the Bible says about these statutes elsewhere. In Daniel 9:27 the Bible states that the sacrificial system would end at the cross. Also, according to Isaiah 66:22-23, Zechariah 14:16, and Luke 22:15-16, the weekly Sabbath and the yearly feast days will be kept in the future. The Bible is consistent.
Recognizing that some ordinances were nailed to the cross, and some remain, perhaps we can better understand statements like the following:
Do you really
want to be
- “It would be a scene well pleasing to God and angels, would His professed followers in this generation unite, as did Israel of old (referring especially to the revival in the day of Nehemiah), in a solemn covenant to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our God, and His judgments, and His statutes.” ST 1/10/1884; Southern Watchman, 6/07/1904 (parenthesis inserted)
- “There must be no withholding on our part, of our service or our means, if we would fulfill our covenant with God. ‘This day the Lord thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.’” 1MR 117
“This day the Lord thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.” Deut. 26:16
After the above Deuteronomy quote, Ellen White encourages the keeping of the Ten Commandments. She seems to blend both the statutes and the Ten Commandments, as did the Jews, into one, calling them all the law of God.
- “The principles set forth in Deuteronomy for the instruction of Israel, are to be followed by God’s people to the end of time. Our prosperity is dependent on the continuance of our covenant with God.” RH 4/25/1907 (italics mine)
Ellen White ties the Ten Commandments with yet another of the statutes given by Moses:
“It has been declared by some that Christ favored the moderate use of fermented wine. In witness thereof they refer to His miracle of changing water into wine. But we protest that Christ never made intoxicating wine; such an act would have been contrary to all the teaching and example of His life.
“He was the Angel who led the children of Israel in the wilderness. He spoke the law from Sinai. He prohibited those who officiated in holy office from using wine [REMEMBER THE 144,000 ARE TO BE A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD]; and His reasons for so doing are explicit; that they may have clear judgment to distinguish between the common and the sacred, to do justice to the fatherless and widows, to teach his statutes and laws to Israel, and to accept no bribes. Those who abolish the law of God for the sake of getting rid of the Sabbath, do away with the most solemn restrictions against using liquor.” ST 8/29/1879; Health Reformer 7/1/1878, pg. 11 (brackets inserted)
Why does Mrs. White say that “those who abolish the law of God for the sake of getting rid of the Sabbath, do away with the most solemn restrictions against using liquor?” Because she, as the ancient Israelites, included the statutes within the law of God.
There is more than one reason why this statement should be in the book entitled Health Reformer. Originally, wonderful health benefits were promised to God’s church in return for integrity toward His statutes:
God would prevent them from having tumors, festering sores, the “itch,” and inflammation of the knees, etc., if they would carefully follow all His commandments and His statutes. See Deut. 28:15, 27, 25, 45-57.
“...that stumbling blocks which have hindered the progress of truth may be removed, and God have a clean and holy people to declare His statutes and judgments. The Captain of our salvation leads His people on step by step, purifying and fitting them for translation.” 1T 333
The Christian who takes God’s book seriously recognizes the call to a holy office. He wants stumbling blocks removed, and as a New Testament priest he will drink no wine.
a priest? It’s
O.K. with God!
“Ye also, as lively stones, are built upon a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:5
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9
“And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father.” Revelation 1:6
“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” Revelation 20:6
CONFUSION COMES TO THE SUBJECT OF
GOD’S STATUTES FROM TWO ASPECTS:
First, the various and sundry interpretations of Colossians chapter 2 verse 16 which we will look at in chapter nine. The second cause of confusion comes from the fact that some of God’s holy days given to the Israelites at Sinai are also termed statutes. A few examples might be:
DAY OF ATONEMENT:
“It shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations.” Leviticus 23:28, 31 KJV
FEAST OF TABERNACLES:
“It shall be a statute for ever in your generations; ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.” Leviticus 23:41, KJV
“It shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. Leviticus 23:21, KJV
Two Facts of Interest Regarding the
Establishment and Elimination of
Holy Statute Days
FIRST, THE TIME OF THEIR ESTABLISHMENT
“Then God commanded, let lights appear in the sky to separate day from night and to show the time when days, years, and religious festivals begin.” Genesis 1:14 Good News Bible
“God said, ‘Let there be lights in the vault of heaven to divide day from night, and let them indicate festivals, days, and years.” Genesis 1:15 Jerusalem Bible
Festivals are determined by the moon, day and night by earth’s rotation, and years are determined by the sun.
“God said, let there be lights in the vault of heaven to separate day from night, and let them serve as signs both for festivals and for seasons and years.” Genesis 1:14 New English Bible
“And God said, let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.” Genesis 1:14 KJV
Note: Regarding the KJV: The Bible Commentary says under “seasons”: “Yearly returning festival periods and other definite times were to be regulated by the movement of the celestial bodies.” 1BC 213
The word “seasons” comes from the Hebrew word “mo’ed.” Strong’s Concordance #4150 gives the English translation of mo’ed as “feasts = appointed times.”
At the time of creation, at the same time the foundation of the Seventh Day Sabbath was laid, so also were the other mo’eds [appointed times] given by God for His religious festivals.
SECOND, THE TIME OF THEIR REMOVAL
Now, what about fact number two? When were God’s festivals removed from the custody of the saints? By whom and when were they removed? Some say by Jesus, others say by Paul, but still others say by the little horn power of Daniel chapter 7. Let’s explore this last idea regarding Daniel chapter 7. To be consistent, we will read Daniel 7:25 from several Bible versions:
“He will speak against the supreme God and oppress God’s people. He will try to change their religious laws and festivals, and God’s people will be under his power for three and a half years.” Good New Bible
“He shall vaunt himself against the Most High, and harass the saints of the Most High: he shall plan to alter the sacred seasons and the law, and for three years and a half year the saints shall be handed over to him!” Moffatt Bible
“Boastfully he shall challenge the Most High, and do His servants despite; calendar and ordinance he shall think to set aside.” Knox Bible
“And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” KJV
“He shall speak against the Most High, thinking to change the feast days and the laws.” New American Bible
laws of God?
Are you sure
want to know?
It is interesting that the New Catholic Translation published by Thomas Nelson, Inc., says the same thing:
“...thinking to change the feast days and the law.”
When studying the “mark of the beast” Adventist often quote a letter from T. Enright, C.S.S.R., Bishop of St. Alphonsus Church, St. Louis, Missouri, from June, 1905, offering $1,000.00 dollars:
“To anyone who can prove to me from the Bible alone that I am bound under grievous sin, to keep Sunday holy.”
But, the letter contains a good deal more. The Seventh-day Sabbath is not all the letter contains in regard to this matter. It goes on to say:
“The Catholic church abolished not only the Sabbath, but all the other Jewish festivals.”
Now we know the rest of the story. Another source states this truth more simply:
“The new law has its own spirit...and its own feasts which have taken the place of those appointed in the law of Moses. If we would know the days to be observed...we must go to the Catholic Church, not to the Mosaic law.” From a Catholic Catechism as quoted in the Signs of the Times, November 4, 1919
Speaking of the mark of the beast Ellen White writes:
“The mark of the beast is exactly what it has been proclaimed to be. Not all in regard to this matter is yet understood, and will not be understood until the unrolling of the scroll...” 8T 159, CH 520, LDE 17, 6T 17
If God’s holy time is the exact issue, then what unrolling of it will be made plainer near the end of time? What if it is the extension of holy time into the other seven Sabbaths commanded by God at Mount Sinai? If this were the case, surely the language of the mark and the seal would be carried over into those holy times.
In fact, there is a direct mention of such a sign in verse nine in the following text:
6. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the LORD.
7. Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all they quarters.
8. And thou shalt shew thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the LORD did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt.
9. And it (Unleavened Bread) shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the LORD’S law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the LORD brought thee out of Egypt.
10. Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year. Exodus 13:6-10 KJV (parenthesis inserted/italics mine)
Surely God’s saints will have the sign/seal of God on them and the law of the Lord plainly in their mouths as they witness to a rebellious mark-of-the-beast world. (For the statutes in one’s forehead and hand, see Deuteronomy 6:8, 11:1, 18).
There is no question that the Seventh-day Sabbath is the stop-gap regarding the Mark of the Beast as given in Revelation 14:7; but it may also be significant that all the commandments of God are incorporated into the characteristics of those who escape the Mark of the Beast in Revelation 14:12.
Time of Trouble and the Sabbath More Fully
Merwin Abbott’s thoughts on Ellen White’s Early Writings statement are worth pondering. First he quotes Ellen White, and then uses her words as an explanation.
“At the commencement of the time of trouble, we were filled with the Holy Ghost as we went forth and proclaimed the Sabbath more fully.” Early Writings p. 33 (underlining mine)
“As a child I read this statement from Early Writings realizing something special was to be understood about the Sabbath and proclaimed during the ‘commencement’ of the time of wrath. When I asked my mother, ‘What was the Sabbath more fully?’ She did not know. In the years since then, I have heard various views. Sister White explained herself.”
“The minds of the people, blinded and debased by slavery and heathenism, were not prepared to appreciate fully the far reaching principles of God’s ten precepts. That the obligations of the Decalogue might be more fully understood and enforced, additional precepts were given, illustrating and applying the principles of the Ten Commandments.” Patriarchs and Prophets p. 310 (emphasis mine)
“Again, the people were reminded of the sacred obligation of the Sabbath. Yearly feasts were appointed, at which all the men of the nation were to assemble before the Lord, bringing to Him their offerings of gratitude and the first fruits of His bounties.” PP 311 (underlining mine)
Then Mr. Abbott adds in capital letters: “READ THE CONTEXT!” Paul the Sabbath Keeper? And the National Easter Sunday Law, by Merwin H. Abbott, p.15
The Great Statute Book
The Torah is written in the first five books of the Bible. It contains the story of Satan’s deception of mankind in the Garden of Eden and it also contains the horrendous ruin of humanity in the devastation of the flood. The Torah contains much more than just the statutes and judgments. The Torah also contains the story of good and evil from the very beginning of this world.
Actually, Ellen White takes us further back in history to a pre-world era to let us know who the original guilty party really was that began trampling on heaven’s code of ethics. By now you have probably figured it out by yourself, but she leaves no room for doubt as to when the problem started and who started it.
“The great statute-book is truth, and truth only; for it delineates with unerring accuracy the history of Satan’s deception, and the ruin of his followers. Satan claimed to be able to present laws which were better than God’s statutes and judgments, and he was expelled from heaven.” 2RH 370, 6/17/1890
Today, in this final generation, men and women are hearing a call to study deeply into the original commandments, statutes, and judgments. Heaven’s original code of ethics is becoming a thing of beauty to them. They are not willing to be swayed by tradition, peer pressure, social status, or even job security, in their determination to “restore every divine institution” (PK 678). They are also willing to be counted among those who will be a “clean and holy people to declare His statutes and judgments” (1T333). Many among this final generation believe that “the words of Moses to Israel, concerning the statutes and judgments of the Lord, are also the word of God to us” (ST 3/21/1895). Talk about Excitement!
Malachi and the Elijah Message
In the context of the final saints being “purged as gold and silver” to “abide the day of His coming,” Ellen White counsels:
“The closing words of Malachi are a prophesy regarding the work that should be done preparatory to the first and the second advent of Christ. This prophecy is introduced with the admonition, “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” Southern Watchman 3/21/05 (italics mine)
Surely then, those who present the Elijah message against the beast and his image will respect the law of Moses with the statutes and judgments. We will examine the law of Moses and the final Elijah message more closely later in the book.
The feast days [Hebrew: “Mo’ed” appointed times] were given as a gift from God. Since seven of them are observed only once a year, they should never be considered a burden. Quite the opposite, they were designed to be a rich blessing, something to lighten the load and aid in a person’s walk with God.
In many of the new Bible versions, the word “statutes” is often not there. Could it be that an influence from the same horn power that Bible prophecy predicted would change them has influenced these word changes?
In the next section, the reader will find it profitable to adventure into some of the New Testament’s record regarding these very holy times. So get ready to enjoy a discovery of the feast days starting with the one we know and love the most, the Seventh-day Sabbath. And why not? It will soon be used as a badge of honor in front of a decaying civilization.
THE GREATEST OF THE FEAST DAYS
THE SEVENTH DAY SABBATH
“Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are MY feasts: Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings...” Leviticus 23:2 3 KJV
Yes, the Seventh-day Sabbath was the first of God’s several feast days [appointed times]. The Sabbath’s number one position suggests it must have been the most important and dearest to God’s heart.
Though the New Testament apostles did not literally repeat the command to keep the Sabbath as a special day, observance of it was obvious. Notice the next five references from the book of Acts. These five experiences tell us how the New Testament apostles related to God’s holy Seventh-day Sabbath:
- “And went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and sat down.” Acts 13:14
The Holy Spirit was still calling the Sabbath by its right name, and attending church was still the thing to do.
- “The Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.” Acts 13:42
Preaching on the Sabbath was still the norm.
- “And from thence to Philippi...we were in that city abiding certain days and on the Sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made...” Acts 16:12,13
At that time there was no synagogue in this Gentile city.
In the above three texts, we find church attendance, preaching, and prayer services still conducted on the day the apostles knew as the Sabbath.
- “And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.” Acts 17:2
Another apostolic Sabbath custom was Bible study.
- “And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.” Acts 18:4
This is evangelism. Acts 18:11 states that this practice continued in this one church for a year and six months.
Although the Sabbath is mentioned a couple of other times in the book of Acts, these texts are sufficient to show that the apostles followed in the footsteps of the prophets, and also in the footsteps of Jesus who also had the same custom (Luke 4:6) and kept the same law (John 15:10).
The same book of Acts also makes the same type of references to the other feast days with approximately the same frequency. For the sake of consistency, we’ll take a look from here through chapter six:
REFERENCES TO THE “OTHER” SABBATHS
Recorded in the book of Acts
“And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days.” Acts 20:6
Notice that the Holy Spirit was still calling the Feast of Unleavened Bread by its right name. This feast began at the end of Passover. The Passover began on the evening of the 14th day, while the feast of Unleavened Bread began on the evening of the 15th day and continued for seven more days. Only the first and last days of this feast are Sabbaths. Notice how Ellen White combined the two feasts in her comment on the above text:
White see it
as it really
was? I think
“At Philippi Paul tarried to keep the Passover. Only Luke remained with him, the other members of the company passing on to Troas to await him there. The Philippians were the most loving and true hearted of the apostle’s converts, and during the eight days of the feast he enjoyed peaceful and happy communion with them.” AA 390 391
Philippi was a Greek city. Most of the converts in that area had to have been of Gentile origin. The city did not have a synagogue, in fact, still does not. The question some are asking is, “Why were Paul and his converts keeping and enjoying Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread?”
The same question is posed and answered in evangelistic meetings regarding the 7th-Day Sabbath. Why did the apostles meet by a riverside, with their converts of Philippi, on the Seventh-day Sabbath? The answer we have given is, “Because they knew and taught the Sabbath is still binding.” (Acts 16:12,13)
Then to be consistent, why did the apostles meet with their converts of Philippi especially to celebrate the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread? To be consistent, a person should say, “Because they knew and taught that the statutes of the feasts are still binding.”
A large question about these other feast days may come from two references Ellen White made regarding one of them.
THE PASSOVER QUESTION
The Passover, Ellen White says, was done away forever! (See DA 652, SD 158, EV 273 274) The question is this:
Was she referring to the Passover evening with its sacrifices or was she referring only to the sacrifice offered on that evening? Allow me to share a few comments of interest regarding this question.
- “And He said unto them, ‘With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer: for I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’” Luke 22:15, 16 KJV
In the previous verses, Jesus explained that He would keep the Passover with His people in heaven with grape juice and unleavened bread. In other words, if both the appointed time and also the lamb sacrifice passed away forever, why would Jesus keep it with us in the heavenly kingdom? And why did Paul keep it with his converts at Philippi?
- “In the spring of A.D. 31, Christ, the true sacrifice was offered on Calvary. Then the veil of the temple was rent in twain, showing that the sacredness and significance of the sacrificial service had departed. The time had come for the earthly sacrifice and oblation to cease.” DA 233; PK 699
These quotes indicate that only the sacrificial law of Passover was dispensed.
- “This act signified to the heavenly universe, and to a world corrupted by sin, that a new and living way had been opened to the fallen race, that all sacrificial offerings terminated in the one great offering of the Son of God.” 5BC 1109, FLB 201
In other words, both Paul and Jesus referred to an acknowledgement of the Passover on this side of the cross; but neither of them made reference to a continuation of the animal sacrifice. As I read the Ellen White statements in their context regarding Passover’s termination, she was primarily referring to the sacrifice of the Passover lamb.
PASSOVER CAN REFER TO TWO DIFFERENT THINGS
The Bible refers to the evening of the 14th of Nisan (Abib) as the Passover time, but at other times the Bible refers only to the lamb itself as being the Passover.
Examples of the Lamb being called the Passover:
“Take you a lamb...and kill the Passover.” Ex. 12:21
“Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the Passover unto the Lord...” Deut. 16:2, KJV
“Thou mayest not sacrifice the Passover unto the Lord...” Deut. 16:5 KJV
“Then they killed the Passover on the 14th.” 2 Chron. 30:15 KJV
“They ate the Passover.” Numbers 9:5, 10-11 KJV
They were not eating or killing a day, an evening, or a season. It was a lamb that was killed and eaten. Only the lamb is the Passover in the above scriptures.
In other words, sometimes the word “Passover” was referring to only the lamb, and in other scriptures it referred to the appointed time.
Mrs. White does the same thing in the following quote:
“As He (Christ) ate the Passover with His disciples...the national festival of the Jews was to pass away forever.” DA 652
To be consistent, it appears that she is referring to the eating of the lamb as “the national festival of the Jews that passed away. “The feasting (festival) on an unspotted lamb by the Jews was to pass away forever.
On the other hand, if she was referring to a time or the season she might be out of harmony with Jesus and Paul. As I studied her chapter regarding the passing of the Passover in The Desire of Ages, the references to death and sacrifice are the prevalent theme in the context.
I have heard the term “ceremonial Sabbaths” used by members of other churches as a put-down of the Seventh-day Sabbath.
Actually, I have found no such term used in any inspired writing. Why? Probably because there is no such phrase. It is like the comparing of oranges to apples. The apple being the “mo’ed,” the appointed time of the seventh day of creation week. On the other hand, the orange being the ceremony of rituals done on that day. You may wonder what rituals were done on the Seventh-day Sabbath? Several:
“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, besides the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.” Numbers 28:9, 10
The “ceremonial” part (the orange) is done away. But the mo’ed, the seventh day (the apple), remains forever.
“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.” Isaiah 66:23
The “apples” will still be intact, only the “oranges” will be gone. The time is still holy, the sacrificing of animals is no more. The day is still holy, but the ceremonial types are removed.
AN IDEAL TIME FOR REVIVAL
In one New Testament experience, Paul was very upset because fornication, incest, and other sins were tolerated in the church. He used the festival of the Passover time as n occasion for the New Testament church members to clean up their act.
“Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” 1 Cor. 5:7,8
One way of looking at the above text is that Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed, once and for all, but the feast itself is to be continued – that is, continued in a church void of malice and wickedness, enjoying sincerity and truth.
In other words, be clean and holy like Christ. Remember, He is the objective of your service.
What did Paul mean, “as ye are unleavened?” If he had taught them about the feast then they had removed all leaven from their homes. Thus, they were “unleavened.” The problem was they had not yet removed the spiritual leaven of malice and wickedness from their hearts. In other words, they went through the ritual, but didn’t fully comprehend what it meant. The first is to be a reminder and encouragement to do the other.
Although Jesus bore our sins to the cross, His death did not give us an excuse to continue in sin. The Feast of Unleavened Bread can illustrate the putting away of sin, but it cannot compete with the work done for us at the cross. All have sinned and have come short of the glory of Christ.
Please read the following quote carefully:
“Since the whole ritual economy was symbolic of Christ it had no value apart from Him. When the Jews sealed their rejection of Christ by delivering Him to death, they rejected all that gave significance to the temple and its services. Its sacredness had departed... From that day sacrificial offerings and the services connected with them [the ordinances of the altar] were meaningless.” DA 165 (brackets inserted)
The now meaningless services of animal sacrificing are too elaborate to discuss here. Some of these priestly service rituals can be studied in Ezekiel 43:18-27. Suffice it to say:
“The need for the service of sacrifices and offerings ceased when type met antitype in the death of Christ.” FLB 106
Daniel had prophesied that in the “midst” of the 70th week the “sacrifices and oblations” would cease. Daniel 9:27.
With the temple itself desolate (Matthew 23:38), and the gospel reaching around the entire globe, one can readily see why the apostle Paul felt free to keep the feasts at other locations. (See AA 390, 391; Acts 20:6).
The words of Jesus were taking on new meaning. Once He was asked whether we should worship at the temple in Jerusalem or some other place. He replied, we should “worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:19-24
Most people, today, who keep the feasts, admit openly that the yearly Passover ritual, with the sacrificing of a lamb, was done away with at the cross. They believe this ritual of sacrifice, as a “national festival of the Jews passed away forever,” but that a ritual, just as important, is still in place. They also believe that its festival should be kept with unleavened bread and unleavened wine.
They teach that the former festival, with its sacrifice at Jerusalem, was replaced with an international festival to be observed by all people in all lands.
The broken bread of the grape juice represents the same things as did the broken animal bodies and their spilled blood, mainly, the broken body and spilled blood of our Saviour. Please notice the following quote:
“Christ was standing at the point of transition between two economies and their two great festivals. He, the spotless Lamb of God, was about to present Himself as a sin-offering, that He would thus bring to an end the system of types and ceremonies that for four thousand years had pointed to His death. As He ate the Passover with His disciples, He instituted in its place the service that was to be the memorial of His great sacrifice. The national festival of the Jews was to pass away forever. The service which Christ established was to be observed by His followers in all lands and through all ages.” DA 652
Aren’t you glad
you don’t have
to go to
each year to
meet with God?
Where the festival is kept is no longer an issue; however, the time for the festivals was established at creation [see chapter three]. Jesus also said that Passover, with the emblems of unleavened bread and grape juice, would be observed in all ages, including in the kingdom to come in the New Earth. See Luke 22:15-18.
In other words, the “oranges” (ceremonial laws) are done away forever, but the “apples” (appointed times) are sanctified to be with us forever. Speaking of forever, won’t it be a thrill to enjoy these wonderful feasts with our Saviour face to face?
Several things are noted in the above statement taken from the Desire of Ages. One festival, the animal sacrifice, was replaced with the broken bread and wine. There are “two great festivals” mentioned. Therefore, we do have a festival to observe, and we can observe it in any land.
The former festival pointed like a shadow forward toward the cross. The later festival points like a shadow back to the cross. One festival had a sacrifice; the other has the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. Since they represent the same tokens of God’s great gift, I am not surprised that Jesus referred to them both as “Passover.”
Question: When Ellen White wrote the types and ceremonies that for four thousand years pointed to Christ’s death, was she referring just to the ceremonial sacrificing of animal types that pointed to their antitype fulfilled on the cross, or was she referring to the feast days as well? If she was also referring to the feast days and their scheduled calendar dates, then we who believe in the feast day of October 22, 1844, have a real problem. October 22, 1844 would immediately lose validity. If actually nailed as a dead issue to the cross, what right did we have to resurrect it in 1844?
We would also have a problem with Pentecost being observed by the apostles and honored by the Spirit of God on the third month this side of the cross. If the day had been nailed to the cross, why did both God and the apostles give it honor fifty-two days after Passover?
On the other hand, if Ellen White believed that the ritualistic services of the animal sacrifices were done away with at the cross, then all writers are in harmony. Ellen White did often state that the sacrificial system was what was done away with at the cross.
“In the last Passover our Lord observed with His disciples, He instituted the Lord’s supper in placed of the Passover, to be observed in memory of His death. No longer had they need of the Passover, for He, the great antitypical Lamb, was ready to be sacrificed for the sins of the world. Type met antitype in the death of Christ.” Lift Him Up 31
Clearly, she was writing of the lamb’s sacrifice both typical and antitypical.
CONTINUITY OF PASSOVER
Before, During, and After Christ’s Life on Earth
- Probation closed for the Egyptian nation at Passover centuries before Christ’s birth (Ex. 12).
- The Jewish temple was cleansed by Jesus at Passover (John 2:13-16).
- The destruction of Jerusalem began on Passover in A.D. 70, about forty years after Calvary. See GC p. 31
In the above three references we see important events happening at Passover time before Jesus’ day, during Jesus’ day, and, according to Ellen White, after Jesus’ day.
Perhaps two more very important Passovers should be mentioned. Our Lord died on the most important of all Passovers, and the other would be the most exciting Passover feast of the future, promised by our Lord in Luke 22:15, 16.
Note: The feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread are merged into one. Passover begins on the evening of the 14th and the feasts of Unleavened Bread begins on the evening of the 15th day of the first month and lasts for seven days – hence eight consecutive days. Ellen White also blends the two feasts into one:
“At Philippi Paul tarried to keep the Passover. Only Luke remained with him... and he enjoyed a peaceful and happy visit with them during the eight days of the feast.” Life Sketches from the Life of Paul, 196
NEW TESTAMENT REFERENCES
Let’s explore several more references to the feast-day statutes associated with the apostles in the New Testament:
“Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. Then were the days of unleavened bread.” Acts 12:1-2
Note: In teaching the truth about the Sabbath, Adventist evangelists have for years quoted Acts 13:14 showing that the Holy Spirit sent from God was still calling the 7th-Day Sabbath by its right name. Here, in Acts 12, the Spirit is still calling the Feast of Unleavened Bread by its right name as well. Perhaps we should be more consistent.
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” Acts 2:1
Evidently, Jesus had not told them to discontinue observing Pentecost. (Pentecost is also called the “Feast of Weeks.”)
The Feast of Pentecost was one of the three feasts each year that the males of Israel were to present themselves before the Lord. The apostles continued this practice. Notice the next three additional scriptures.
“But bade them farewell, saying I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: But I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus.” Acts 18:21
“For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.” Acts 20:16 KJV
“But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.” 1 Cor. 16:8
It is true that:
“Paul did not bind himself nor his converts to the ceremonies and customs of the Jews, with their varied forms, types, and sacrifices; for he recognized that the perfect and final offering had been made in the death of the Son of God... The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit.” Sketches From the Life of Paul 105; 3SP 411
Paul did not bind himself to the ceremonies (the oranges) and neither should we. But, it is also clear that God’s mo’eds, His appointed times, (the apples) were still prevalent during Paul’s ministry.
Yom Kippur: Day of Atonement
“Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them.” Acts 27:9
Note: The “fast already past” was the Day of Atonement according to the SDA Bible Commentary, Vol. 6, p. 445, and also according to Scripture in Leviticus 16:29-34, 23:26-32. They were to “afflict their souls” on that day. The humbling (or afflicting) of souls is related to fasting. See Psalms 35:13.
Clearly, the annual Sabbaths were not only mentioned but also enjoyed by the apostles. In Acts 15:19-21 the Gentiles were reminded by the new Testament church officers to teach those statute which would be a necessary culture shock to the new Gentile converts, namely the statutes regarding idolatry, fornication, the eating of strangled meats (leaving the blood in the meat for flavor) and the outright eating of blood. Then the apostles to the Gentiles were reminded that the rest of the law could be absorbed by the Gentile converts, as the law of Moses would be read in the churches every Sabbath from then on. See Acts 15:211.
The annual Sabbaths were taught from then on, at least until the Council of Nice in A.D. 325. At that council, not only did the Seventh-day Sabbath receive a deadly blow; but, according to the well-known church history Eusebius, the annual Sabbaths were also a part of the controversy and received the same blow.
After naming several apostles, including John the Revelator (which he refers to as “luminaries”) and other first century martyrs who had kept the law, Eusebius quotes Polycrates who stood up in defense of the feasts:
Did the first century
Christians follow in
the footsteps of Christ
and the apostles?
Yes, they did!
“All of these kept the fourteenth day of the month as the beginning of the Paschal Festival, in accordance with the Gospel, not deviating the least, but following in the rule of faith. Last of all I too, Polycrates, the least of you all, act according to the tradition of my family, some members of which I have actually followed; for seven of them were bishops and I am the eighth, and my family have always kept the day when the people put away the leaven. So I, my friends, after spending sixty-five years in the Lord’s service and conversing with Christians from all parts of the world, and going carefully through all Holy Scripture, am not scared of threats. Better people then I have said: ‘We must obey God rather then men.’” The History of the Church. Eusebius, p. 231
In Merwin H. Abbott’s book entitled Paul the Sabbath Keeper?, the following observations regarding the above quotation can be made:
“According to the historical recorded by Eusebius, Polycrates states that significant ‘luminaries’ practiced observance of the fourteenth of Nisan ‘in accordance with the Gospel,’ and that after ‘going carefully through all Holy Scripture, God was to be obeyed rather than men.’” Paul the Sabbath keeper, pp. 24-39
Clearly, the first century believers kept the same days as did Jesus and the apostles.
Feast of Tabernacles
At this time, I have not found a reference to the Feast of Tabernacles by the apostles, so why do I include it? For two reasons:
First, the gospels show our Lord observing the Feast of Tabernacles in His day. He is always our best example. In the judgment, His people will have proven wise to have followed in His footsteps. He did nothing wrong; He made no mistakes.
“For even hereunto were ye called: Because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin...” 1 Peter 2:21 22
To follow in the footsteps of Jesus is one of our greatest honors. He did attend the feast. John 7:2, 14
Second, Zechariah prophesied that the Feast of Tabernacles would be honored at a time when “the Lord shall be king over all the earth.” Zech. 14:9
Then, in the same context, Zechariah also declares that the Feast of Tabernacles will be kept after that momentous time when Jesus’ feet “… shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley...And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feasts of tabernacles.” Zech. 14:4, 16
Adventists have always applied these contextual events after the Millennium.
Another group of scholars suggest Zechariah chapter 14 will follow the close of final probation and occur before the actual Second Coming. Though I believe they are wrong, at least they do apply the feast to the future. Still others in spite of its context, say Zechariah chapter 14 has no future application at all. My suggestion is that the reader will prayerfully read Zechariah chapter 14.
Special Note: The primary objection to applying Zechariah chapter 14 to the period between the resurrection of the wicked and their final fiery reward is the necessary amount of time needed. Would there be enough time for the events described in Zechariah to take place?
The Word of God and the Spirit of Prophecy both show plenty of time. Ellen White tells us that the skillful artisans among the wicked will have time to construct implements of war. She states:
“They lay their plans to take possession of the riches and glory of the New Jerusalem. All immediately begin to prepare for battle. Skillful artisans construct implements of war...” GC 664; Maranatha 338
Military leaders must teach men the art of fighting in order to “marshal them into companies and divisions. At last the order to advance is given.” GC 664
The final generation of the lost understood nuclear weaponry prior to their death. Resurrected in the second resurrection, they must be confident of better weapons than they had before, and they must build factories to produce them. On this devastated planet, they will have to start from scratch.
Years ago, when this author was studying the doctrines of Adventism, preparatory to his baptism, he asked his mentor, Elder Milton H. St. John, a very direct question. “How long will Satan and the wicked people on the earth live from the time of their resurrection to the time of their death by fire?” In other words, would they have time to build weapons, or homes, or allow a lost youth any time for life?
The answer Elder St. John gave came from Isaiah chapter 65. In that chapter, we first find the saints in the city of the New Jerusalem. Next, we find the accursed, including the accursed youth suddenly dying at one hundred years of age. After this tragic loss of life, the third event describes the righteous leaving their city dwelling, taking possession of a recreated landscape, building their country homes and planting crops on the earth made new. See Isaiah 65:18-21. Yes, there will be plenty of time for the events of Zechariah chapter fourteen.
FEAST OF TABERNACLES
“Well would it be for the people of God at the present time to have a Feast of Tabernacles – a joyous commemoration of the blessings of God to them.” PP 540, 541
Actually, she goes on to list the benefits we would receive should we keep this feast:
- We would become more grateful to God.
- We would become strengthened and encouraged.
- Our hearts would be enlightened with a sanctifying influence.
Elsewhere, the Spirit of Prophecy mentions the Feast of Tabernacles in connection with a camp meeting (Bible Echo 12/8/1893). However, in that quote she compares the camp meeting to the Feast of Tabernacles rather than calling the camp meeting a Feast of Tabernacles. Then, too, of the sixty-four references made by Ellen White to this feast, sixty-two of them have no mention of camp meetings at all; in fact, most of them make direct reference to the feast as observed in the Jewish economy. In other words, when Ellen White referred to the Feast of Tabernacles regarding a December camp meeting in Australia she did not also mean a December camp meeting when she wrote the above quote in Patriarchs and Prophets. In fact, the Patriarchs and Prophets’ quote refers only to the feast as observed in the Jewish economy.
A question that comes to mind is this: Why did God impress her to use the term “Feast of Tabernacles” at all? Remember, many of the things given to the prophets were to be revealed at a later age. Oft repeated mentions of this feast by Ellen White may finally be coming of age.
Was the Feast of Tabernacles only typical of things in the past and therefore nailed to the cross? No so. Its shadow points the strongest towards the future. In order to do that its shadow must still remain. We shall soon see that its future application is even more awesomely typical than its past application.
When will the
wicked be destroyed?
After the Millennium!
But when after the
“The Feast of Tabernacles was not only commemorative but typical. It not only pointed back to the wilderness sojourn, but, as the feast of harvest, it celebrated the ingathering of the fruits of the earth, and pointed forward to the great day of final ingathering, when the Lord of harvest shall send forth His reapers to gather the tares together in bundles for the fire, and to gather the wheat into His garner. At that time the wicked will all be destroyed. They will become ‘as though they had not been.’ Obadiah 16” PP 541
At what time? At the appointed time of the Feast of Tabernacles, according to Patriarchs and Prophets p. 541. Then when, according to Ellen White, will the final destruction of the wicked take place? During the Feast of Tabernacles!
Don’t let anyone convince you that the Feast of Tabernacles was fulfilled. It most certainly was not. Its shadow reaches forward just as surely as it reached backward. Knowing its shadow is still with us makes following in the footsteps of Jesus good counsel.
Christ attended the Feast of Tabernacles as recorded in the following: DA 447-475, 485; MH 86 89, PP 412; and John 7:1-53.
Every Seventh Year:
According to Ellen White, once every seven years, during the Feast of Tabernacles, the book of the law was to be read:
“The writings of Moses were taught by Joshua to all Israel... This was in harmony with the express command of Jehovah providing for a public rehearsal of the words of the book of the law every seven years, during the Feast of Tabernacles... Had this counsel been heeded through the centuries that followed, how different would have been Israel’s history. PK 465
Perhaps it is some of these truths that the Spirit of God had in mind when Ellen White was influenced to write:
“There are glorious truths to come before the people of God. Privileges and duties which they do not even suspect to be in the Bible will be laid open before the followers of Christ. As they follow on in the path of humble obedience, doing God’s will, they will know more and more of the oracles of God, and be established in right doctrines.” That I May Know Him 114, 1888 Materials 333, HP 136; 8T 322 (underlining mine)
THREE UNANSWERED QUESTIONS
- What are the Bible truths not yet suspected in her day?
- Where is the additional information regarding the oracles of God?
- What new truths should we have regarding
- duty, and
These three items are very serious to the child of God who holds loyalty in high regard! What new light should we be so fortunate to receive? What could it be that Ellen White promises will better establish us in right doctrines? Is not this what we want?
Whatever these things are, Ellen White assures us they should be coming to the knowledge of God’s people. She is also abundantly clear they have nothing to do with the sacrificing of animals.
“The ceremonial system was made up of symbols pointing to Christ, to His sacrifice and His priesthood. 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.’” PP 365
In context, it was the ordinances of the priesthood regarding how, when, and what to sacrifice, as well as the sacrificing itself that were to cease. These are the things that made up the “ceremonial system” according to the reference.
SABBATHS AND THEIR SHADOWS
Note: It appears that the Levitical Priesthood and the animal sacrifices were nailed to the cross. But, what about the annual Sabbaths?
Certainly they were not nailed to His cross; otherwise, all of the following would have no meaning: the saying of Jesus, who promised to observe the Passover with us in heaven (Luke 22:15-16); and the actions of Paul, who observed the Passover with his converts (AA 390 391); the set time of the Feast of Tabernacles for the destruction of the wicked after the millennium (Zech. 14:16); as well as our own emphasis on the Day of Atonement, October 22nd, 1844.
The Best Example
“Christ passed through all the experiences of His childhood, youth, and manhood without the observance of ceremonial temple worship.” BE, October 31, 1898
This quote is saying that Jesus never observed the ceremonial law. However, Jesus did observe the feasts as seen in the following quotes.
“Among the Jews the twelfth year was the dividing line between childhood and youth. On completing this year a Hebrew boy was called a son of the law, and also a son of God. He was given special opportunities for religious instruction, and was expected to participate in the sacred feasts and observances. It was in accordance with this custom that Jesus in His boyhood made the Passover visit to Jerusalem.” DA 75
Later in His life:
“Jesus traveled up and down the breadth of the land, giving His invitation to the feast. When the sun illuminated the landscape, Jesus said to the vast throng: ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life,’ He took the opportunity of presenting himself to the people during the feast-days, when they gathered at Jerusalem.” Advent Review & Sabbath Herald, July 7, 1896
See John chapter 7 for the Bible’s exposition on Jesus’ observance of the Feast of Tabernacles. Since Jesus never observed the ceremonial law, but He did observe the feasts, this means that Jesus did not consider the feasts to be part of the ceremonial law. Also, since there are only two laws, moral and ceremonial, this means that Jesus considered the feasts to be part of the moral law.
The following quote shows that there are only two laws.
“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. The other is the law of Jehovah, and is as abiding and changeless as His eternal throne. After the crucifixion, it was a denial of Christ for the Jews to continue to offer the burnt offerings and sacrifices which were typical of His death. It was saying to the world that they looked for a Redeemer to come, and had no faith in Him who had given His life for the sins of the world. Hence the ceremonial law ceased to be of force at the death of Christ.” Signs of the Times, July 29, 1886
1 Peter 2:21 states that Jesus is our Example in all things. Is it not still true that no one will have a problem in the judgment who can honestly say, “I did what Jesus did?” Should we not also follow the example of the apostles? Who can proclaim that the Feast of Pentecost was nailed to the cross? The Feast of Pentecost did meet one fulfillment on the third month after Christ’s death when the early rain fell. It could well be that the latter rain will also fall again at the appointed time of Pentecost, and fall on those who are gathered to worship on that day as did the apostles two thousand years ago.
The apostle Paul also recognized that the ceremonial laws of sacrifice were superimposed over the feasts of Israel, and therefore recognized that the passing away of the ceremonial law did not eliminate the feast days over which they had been superimposed. As an example, in the book of “Acts of the Apostles,” pages 390 and 391, Ellen White first tells how it angered certain individuals because Paul was teaching that the Jews were now released from observing the Ceremonial law; and ,yet, in the very next paragraph she clearly reports that he was continuing to observe the feast days with his converts.
An Interesting Statement:
“Great truths that have lain unheeded and unseen since the day of Pentecost, are to shine from God’s Word in their native purity.” RH Aug. 17, 1897; FE 473; 1888 Materials 1651
We are close to the great consummation. Surely we should be seeing some of these “great truths” that have lain unheeded and unseen since the day of Pentecost.
If these truths have been unheeded since Pentecost, then these truths must have been heeded at Pentecost. So what did the disciples heed at Pentecost that we are not heeding? Certainly the “mo’ed” of the Pentecost itself is one of them.
It would be most exciting if the Spirit of our Elohim fell on the 144,000 on the same day that it fell on their prototypes two thousand years ago.
Seven Shadows of Things to Come
Before looking at Colossians chapter two, we would do well to notice seven shadows that “are” and that still represent “things to come.”
- THE SEVENTH-DAY SABBATH points to THE SEVENTH MILLENNIAL SABBATH:
“For we which have believed do (present tense) enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spoke in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, and God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, if they shall enter into my (eternal) rest.” Hebrews 4:3-5 (parenthesis inserted/italics mine)
“For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” Hebrews 4:10,11
“We think that God chose the period of six days such as are known to man for the work of creation in order to represent to man that in six days of 1000 years each, days such as are known to God, He would accomplish the period assigned to man before the Judgment.” (II Pet. 3:7,8)
“That the great week of 7000 years was indicated by the first week of time has been the judgment of many of the wisest and best of men for the period of more than two thousand years.” (Review & Herald, August 21, 1883, as quoted in Even at the Door, p. 243, by G. Edward Reid)
- THE NEW MOONS also point to a future fulfillment:
“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.” Isaiah 66:23
- TABERNACLES also points to the future fulfillment:
“And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.” Zech. 14:16
- PASSOVER also points to a future fulfillment:
“And He said unto them, with desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer: for I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Luke 22:15-16
- JUBILEE also points to a future fulfillment:
“And at that time shall Michael stand up... and thy people shall be delivered, everyone that shall be found written in the book... And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” Dan. 12:1,3
“The Israel of God stood with their eyes fixed upward, listening to the words as they came from the mouth of Jehovah... at the end of every sentence the saints shouted, ‘Glory! Hallelujah!” Their countenances were lighted up with the glory of God, and they shone with glory as did the face of Moses when he came down from Sinai... Then commenced the jubilee, when the land should rest.” EW 285 286; LDE 272-273
- PENTECOST also points to a future fulfillment:
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.” Joel 2:28
- ATONEMENT also points to a future fulfillment:
Adventists realize that this feast reached forward to A.D. 1844. Our Lord will be consistent if He begins the judgment of the living at the same time, that is, on the Day of Atonement. Regardless, it is clear that we do not believe that this appointed time was nailed to the cross.
So what is exciting?
“In like manner the types (feasts) which relate to the second advent must be fulfilled at the time pointed out in the symbolic service.” GC 399,400 (parentheses inserted)
The question is, “How will the saints that keep His commandments recognize such events if they do not even know when the times (feasts) pointed out in the symbolic service take place?” Another question, “Will the saints that continue to forever ignore the mo’eds really be keeping all of the commandments of God?”
The word mo’ed is translated in various ways: “Appointed times” or “feasts” are often used. Other translations of the word include “congregation” and “assembly.” However, these definitions are all related. In other words, an assembly of people were to gather as a congregation at the appointed time for a spiritual feast. In Leviticus chapter 23, the word mo’ed is translated multiple times simply as “feast.”
Where in the Bible do we find this word, which is translated “feast,” translated into some other word? There are two places that may prove meaningful to those who believe that the spiritual part of the battle of Armageddon will involve God’s Sabbath.
The first is found in Revelation 16:16 where we find the word “Armageddon.” The word “HAR” in Hebrew translates to “MOUNTAIN” (see Strong’s #2022). According to the SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 846, the word “MEGEDDON” is from the word “mo’ed.” Could it be that the spiritual issue in the battle is over the mountain of God’s feasts? Is not His primary feast the Sabbath? (Lev. 23:1-3)
Another place in the Bible that we find this word “feast” translated into some other word is in Isaiah 14:13-14. Speaking of Lucifer the Bible says:
“For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will sit also upon the mount of congregation in the sides of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (italics mine)
“Har” being “mountain” or “mount” (Strong’s 2022), “mo’ed” in this text being interpreted “congregation” (Strong’s #4150).
What does this imply to the Seventh-day Adventist? That Satan would replace God’s mountain of feasts with his own, Sunday being but one example.
However, earlier, in this book, I quoted a writer’s explanation of Ellen White’s statement regarding “the Sabbath more fully” being presented during the time of trouble. Using Ellen White quote he showed that the “Sabbath more fully” may well include the other seven yearly Sabbaths. In this case, we have a bigger mountain: a mountain with a bright side and, also, a dark side. Remember Daniel 7:25?
“He shall speak against the Most High thinking to change the feast days (plural) and the law!” Daniel 7:25 New American Bible (parentheses inserted)
“He will try to change their religious laws and festivals (plural) and God’s people will be under his power for three and one half years.” Daniel 7:25 Good News Bible (parentheses inserted)
Many of today’s holidays and festivals stem from pagan, and sometime occultic, backgrounds. Truly, the festivals given by God have been replaced. The part of the Elijah message that says, “Remember ye the law of Moses My servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments,” (Malachi 4:4) has not been remembered but forgotten. Strange holidays, now commonly accepted, have replaced God’s statute days in the lives and activities of the innocent.
With greater knowledge comes greater responsibility. This greater knowledge can then transform into greater expressions of loyalty.
Lent: The 40 days’ celebration was observed by the Yezdis, (pagan devil worshipers of Koordistan) who inherited this holiday from the Babylonians. Too Long In the Sun, p. 121.
Easter: The egg became one of the symbols of Astarte or Easter. See the occult meaning of this mystic egg of Astarte in The Two Babylons, p. 109.
Halloween: Celtic festival, ancient fire festival. The practice of divination and its association with the dead. It was the only day in which the help of the devil was invoked. Ency. Brit. 1970 Edition p. 15.
Saint Valentine’s Day: Commemoration of patron Catholic priest at Rome in the seventh century. Later adopted as patron saint of lovers. Ency. Am. p. 859.
Christmas: At Rome, a pagan festival of the nativity of “sol invictus” was introduced by the Emperor Aurelian on the 25th of December. “The Church, unable to stamp out this popular festival, spiritualized it.” Chambers Ency. 1970 Edition, p. 538.
Sunday: The day of the sun was considered by Mithraists as sacred day of rest. Sunday observance is of pagan origin. Too Long in the Sun, p. 70.
Many books and Encyclopedias contain information on these and other of today’s holidays and their roots. Babylon means confusion. Babylon has many more feast days than are listed on the above mountain. God only has a few special days. Satan not only replaced them, but has also confused the issue by adding many more religious days from paganism.
In addition to Encyclopedias, two books easily available are The Two Babylons, by Alexander Hislop, Loizeaux Brothers, Neptune, New Jersey; and Two Long in the Sun by Richard Rivers, Partakers Publishing Charlotte, NC.
COLOSSIANS CHAPTER TWO
Let us take a look at Colossians chapter two. Different versions say different things. Integrity demands that we look at several of them:
Colossians 2: Jewish New Testament
Jewish New Testament Publications
96901 Jerusalem, Israel Verses 8-17:
Watch out, so that no one will take you captive by means of philosophy and empty deceit, following human traditions which accords with the elemental spirits of the world but does not accord with the Messiah. You were dead because of your sins, that is, because of your ‘foreskin,’ your old nature. But God made you alive with the Messiah by forgiving you all your sin. He wiped away the bill of charges against us. Because of the regulations, it stood as a testimony against us; but he removed it by nailing it to the execution stake. Stripping the rulers and authorities of their power he made a public spectacle of them triumphing over them by means of the stake. So don’t let any one pass judgment of you in connection with eating and drinking, or in regard to a Jewish festival or Rosh-Chodesh or Shabbath. These are a shadow of things that are coming, but the body is of Christ.”
Note: In the above text, the civil powers could still judge for murder, stealing, etc., but were stripped of their power to judge regarding festivals, Rosh-Chodesh (new moon), and the Shabbat. Do not let anyone, no matter who he is, or what his position on earth, judge you in these matters.
“God shall judge His people.” Hebrews 10:30
Note: The shadows are not eliminated; in fact, this version says they “are” (present tense), and that all of these shadows have yet a future fulfillment.
Colossians 2: Holy Bible, from the ancient Eastern text
From the Aramaic of the Peshitta
Harper, San Francisco
History: From the Aramaic came the Textus Receptus. From the Textus Receptus came the King James Version.
Verse 16, 17:
“Let no man therefore create a disturbance among you about eating and drinking, or about the division of the feast days, the beginning of the months and the day of the Sabbath. These are shadows of things to come; but the main objective is Christ.”
(Do not keep the feasts just for the sake of keeping them. Remember, the main objective is Christ!)
Rather than eliminating the feast days, eating and drinking, the new moons or the 7th Day Sabbath, the apostle Paul says not to let any man create a disturbance regarding them. It appears that there was a problem over being disturbed for observing the feast days, rather than whether or not they should be kept.
Once again, this version states that the feast days still “are” and that they do indeed “have” a future fulfillment, which means that they were not nailed to the cross. Modern versions change the tense to read these things “were” shadows of things to come. But, in the King James version, and going back a little further to the Geneva, or even back to the Douay version, the texts read that these things still “are” shadows of things to come.
Recall that Ellen White refers to several things as “types,” such as the Old Testament sacrificial system and priesthood (see PP 365). In the context of the next paragraph, she also includes Passover, which takes place on the fourteenth of Nisan; the Wavesheaf, which takes place on the sixteenth of Nisan; and the Day of Atonement, which takes place on the tenth day of Tishri, as types. Referring to these special days as types, she stressed that they point forward to things that are yet to come in the final events of earth’s history.
Want to be alert
to the timing of
last day events?
“In like manner, the types which relate to the second advent must be fulfilled at the time pointed out in the symbolic service.” GC 399,400
Question: Can you name the types?
If these types are to be fulfilled in our day, should we not know their names and their times as pointed out in their symbolic services? Otherwise, why would she so clearly have told us that it must be so?
Colossians 2: New American Standard, verses 14-16:
“Having cancelled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us: and He had taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day.”
If people, friends, relatives, church members, priests, preachers, civil rulers, or anyone else, judge you for keeping any of God’s ways, just remember, in God’s court, they have no such right. Let your authority rest in the example of Christ and your supreme ruler be God alone.
No more animal sacrificing on Sabbath
Some are wondering if God’s 144,000 might keep the annual Sabbaths mentioned in Leviticus just like we keep the Seventh-day Sabbath. Would the 144,000 honor the days but rightly ignore the sacrificing of animals that was originally prescribed for those days?
The original observance of the Seventh-day Sabbath did also involve the sacrificing of animals (see 1 Chron. 23:31; 2 Chron. 2:4; 2 Chron. 8:13; 2 Chron. 31:3; Neh. 10:33; Eze. 45:17).
“And to offer all burnt sacrifices unto the Lord in the Sabbaths, in the new moons, and on the set feasts by number, according to the order commanded unto them, continually before the Lord.” 1 Chron. 23:31
Colossians 2:14 in the New American Standard version text spoke of a certificate of debt being nailed to the cross. The Feast of Pentecost could hardly be considered a “certificate of our debt.” On the other hand, Pentecost is most certainly a “shadow of things to come!” Joel 2:28 refers to the final fulfillment of Pentecost just before the second coming of Christ.
In the above text the festivals, new moons, or the holy Sabbaths were not nailed to the cross; rather a certain “certificate of debt” was nailed to the cross. That certificate of debt carried the death penalty!
Verse 17 says, “Things which are a mere shadow of what is to come: but the substance belongs to Christ.”
Note: Also, the “are” is again used as a present tense word, as well as the promise of a fulfillment “to come.”
Colossians 2: New Revised Standard Version: Verses 14-16:
“Erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it. Therefore do not let anyone condemn you in matters of food and drink or of observing festivals, new moons, or Sabbaths. These are only a shadow of what is to come...”
Picture three things: the law of God, the sinner, and the record of transgressions demanding death. Only one of these things can be nailed to the cross. The word “it” is singular. “Nailing it to His cross.”
Noticeable events in this version:
- A record with legal demands was nailed to the cross.
- Matters of food and drink, festivals, new moons, and Sabbaths still “are,” and are also a shadow of what is to come.
- We are not to be judged regarding the things that still “are.” Once again, the prophet Daniel, in writing about what would be eliminated by the death of Jesus, recorded only that the “sacrifices and oblations” were to cease at the death of Christ (Daniel 9:27). Perhaps Daniel was given the whole truth. In other words, nothing else ceased at the cross beyond what he was told – namely the sacrifice and oblation. We all understand the sacrifice of Jesus, but what was an oblation?
OBLATION: “The act of offering something to a deity.” American Heritage College Dictionary, 3rd Ed. 1993
OBLATION: Cereal offerings; Sacrifices and offerings – 8BC 807. See Numbers chapter 28 for oil and wine.
Jesus offered Himself a sacrifice as a propitiation for our sins, praise God! This is the truth that culminated at the cross. He offered Himself willingly, and His sacrifice was sufficient.
We might be wise, if like Daniel, we do not clutter up this most holy and eternal truth by nailing additional items to the cross. We may be wise if we do not clutter the cross at all. Let the truth that is obviously there take the full rays of light. Let Him and His magnanimous gift, His sacrificial offering, be the central and only theme.
Two Opposing Translations
all Bibles read the
same! Write for a
word and thought
In all fairness, two translations make it appear that the festivals, etc., were nailed to the cross: Namely the NIV and the Paraphrased Living Bible. Notice how the Living Bible presents an opposite teaching to all the above translations. The author of the Paraphrased Living Bible nails all Ten Commandments, the Seventh-day Sabbath, and the feast days to the cross:
Colossians 2, Living Bible Paraphrased, Verses 14-17:
“And blotted out the charges proved against you, the list of His commandments which you had not obeyed. He took this list of sin and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross. In this way God took away Satan’s power to accuse you of sin, and God opening displayed to the whole world Christ’s triumph at the cross where your sins were all taken away. So don’t let anyone criticize you for what you drink or for not celebrating Jewish holidays and feasts or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these were only temporary rules that ended when Christ came. They were only shadows of the real thing – of Christ Himself.”
What about the NIV? We know that sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4). The NIV takes the list of commandments that define sin and nails it carte blanche to Christ’s cross. The NIV then explains that since this list is all taken away Satan has nothing on which to base his accusations. The NIV includes in its list of things taken away (1) the Jewish holidays and feasts, (2) new moon ceremonies, and (3) the Sabbaths.
The “Sabbaths” refer to the Seventh-day Sabbaths in the NIV since the Jewish holidays and feasts were referred to in a category of their own. See (1) above. The NIV declares all three items to be temporary that ended when Christ came. I should think all Sabbath keepers today would have a problem with the NIV in this case.
Principalities and Powers
Before reading these Colossians texts from the King James Version, it will prove advantageous to know whom are the “principalities and powers” trying to judge God’s people. The SDA Bible Commentary explains:
“These terms may refer to earthly rulers (Luke 12:11; Titus 3:1) or to supernatural beings... In reality Christ did triumph in a special sense over Satan and his angels.” 7 BC 204
In other literature, the “powers” are explained to be the false Jewish leaders trying to destroy faith in Jesus, and the “principalities” were the Roman civil magistrates such as governors, etc. At any rate, the principalities and powers are the enemies in the following passages: Let no man, regardless of his position as a principality or power, judge you in regard to your religious beliefs.
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 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 a 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.” Col. 2:8, 13 17
Picture the judgment. See the written record of a person’s sins. See the person. Now look at the law. Two things will remain: the forgiven sinner and the law of God. One thing will be eliminated: the written record, the “bill of charges.”
Two Things Changed
There are New
In addition to the written record in the judgment, the Bible points out the circumcision and sacrifices have passed away, but even they have their counterparts beyond the cross.
“Neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh...circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit.” Romans 2:28 29
“He also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:5
Actually, we have benefited for many years by the observance of some of God’s statutes. Tithing (Numbers 18:19 24) has proven to be a tremendously rewarding statute for all. Abstaining from fermented wine or strong drink (Leviticus 10:9) has saved our families untold expense and misery. The exclusion of unclean meats from our diet (Leviticus 10:10) has saved us from many diseases. Not eating fat or blood (Leviticus 3:17) has also given us many health benefits.
What might it do for our immune system to do without yeast fermenting food in our bodies for seven consecutive days once each year, to permanently exclude all blood and fat of animals, and have fifty-nine days of rest per year rather than just fifty-two?
So, what about Sabbaths and shadows? It is true that Spirit of Prophecy writes of “shadows” that are now passed away, but does she mean all shadows? No. In Hebrews chapter 4, the Seventh-day Sabbath points forward to the final rest in Heaven, and no doubt to the Sabbaths we will enjoy in the new earth. Then again, the Christian home is to be a shadow of what it will be like in Heaven. Paul speaks of the new moons as shadows of things to come. There are many shadows that remain.
DATING THE FESTIVALS
Many people want to know when the feasts occur on today’s calendar. One author, who has studied these things much longer than I, states that even the present Hebrew nation does not know the correct dates. He writes:
“The Jews are well aware of their error. They knew about it before we did. They are in fact waiting for a new Sanhedrin to correct their calendar; to bring the Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles back to their divinely appointed positions...” David Looghran-Stewarton Bible School – 1 Ailsa Rd., Irvine, Scotland
Adventists, who believe in the gift of prophecy given to this church, and the dating of 1844 by William Miller and his associates, have an interesting method for determining the dates of God’s appointed times.
So, how do we
know the exact
“time pointed out
in the symbolic
“Anciently, the new year did not commence in midwinter, as now, but at the first new moon after the vernal equinox.” SOP Vo. 4, p. 497; GC, 1888 ed, p. 681
To apply modern dates to these occasions is quite simple. Everyone knows the time of the vernal equinox, March 21, when the day and night are the same length once each spring. Count fourteen days from the first new moon after the vernal equinox and you have the date for Passover. Add one day (day fifteen) and you have the first day for Feast of Unleavened Bread, which lasts seven days. Ellen White states:
“On the fourteenth day of the month, at even, the Passover was celebrated... The Passover was followed by the seven days’ feast of unleavened bread. The first and the seventh day were days of holy convocation, when no servile work was to be performed. On the second day of the feast, (day 16) the day of the Resurrection, the first fruits of the year’s harvest were presented before God... Fifty days from the offering of first fruits, came the Pentecost...” PP 539 540 (parentheses inserted)
One can see that the Wave Sheaf (first fruits) is celebrated on the second day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Pentecost comes fifty days later.
The Feast of Trumpets is on the first day of the seventh month (seven new moons after the vernal equinox). The Day of Atonement is on the tenth day of the seventh month. The Feast of Tabernacles begins on the 15th day of the seventh month and lasts for seven days. An eighth day was added on as a Sabbath at the end of the feast.
Seven Sabbaths in addition to the weekly Sabbaths were enjoyed each year: The first and last day of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement, and the first and eighth day of Tabernacles.
Does it make any difference on which day we keep the Sabbath? Yes, it does. Does it matter on which day we show up for any appointment with the Creator God? Of course! Do we need to be watching for final events? Yes, and fortunately we have been told that some of the more important final events will happen on the very appointed times we have been studying.
Many of us believe in the importance of the Sabbath to the remnant church, and we reverence that command that begins with the word “remember.” We also treasure the Elijah message as an important part of our heritage. It also begins with the same word:
“Remember ye the law of Moses My servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Malachi 4:4 6 (emphasis mine)
The statutes are filled with admonitions regarding divinely established guards for safe, proper, beautiful, and long-lasting family relations.
Ellen White and the Holy Scripture remove any question that the Elijah message will contain the statutes, and those who give the Elijah message will be translated. Notice her comment:
Want to be
clean and holy?
So, what shall
“That God who reads the hearts of everyone, will bring to light hidden things of darkness where they were often least suspected, that stumbling blocks which have hindered the progress of truth may be removed, and God have a clean and holy people to declare His statutes and judgments.
“The Captain of our salvation leads His people on step by step, purifying and fitting them for translation, and leaving in the rear those who are disposed to draw off from the body, who are not willing to be led...” 1T 333 (emphasis added)
There is no question that the 144,000 will not perish from a lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). They will be alert to the times. That the specific times, in the Jewish economy, point to certain last day events is known (GC 399,400). Over and over the Bible instructs us to “watch” that we might not be caught unaware. The question is, when it comes to the times in the Jewish economy, who is watching? Who among us is taught enough about the times in the Jewish economy to know what to watch for? Surely the 144,000 will be watching the recorded times as well as knowing every commandment available as a safeguard from sin.
“The Lord Jesus gave these commandments from the pillar of cloud, and Moses repeated them to the children of Israel and wrote them in a book, that they might not depart from righteousness. We are under obligation to fulfill these specifications, for in so doing we fulfill the specifications of the law of God.” RH 12/18/1894
Paul’s use of authority was powerful in his letter to the Corinthian church. As a Pharisee, he knew the statutes very well and used them to instruct the church.
“It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.” 1 Cor. 5:1
He was right in his judgment. The statute given by God to His church reads:
“Cursed be he that lieth with his father’s wife.” Deuteronomy 27:20
Later, in 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10, Paul says the homosexual, along with other non repentant sinners, will miss the kingdom of God. Today some students of Scripture are questioning his authority to pronounce such strong judgment. They argue no such authority for Paul, but claim he is speaking his own convictions in accordance with the prevailing culture of Judaism.
Actually, Paul opposed certain Jews when they went against the revealed Word of God, but he never pitted Christ against the Word of God. God’s Word recorded in the statutes was clear to the apostle. Notice His word:
“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.” Lev. 20:13
Since the Ten Commandments only mentions the sexual sin of adultery, and say nothing of homosexuality, it is falsely claimed by some that Paul was speaking his own opinion. They are wrong. Paul knew the Spirit of God to echo the same truth as God spoke in the above statute. Friends, the Spirit of God would not alter God’s commands.
The statutes express the Ten Commandments more fully so the child of God will be “thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Mrs. White writes, “We are under obligation to fulfill these specifications; for in so doing we fulfill the specifications of the law of God.” God is right, Paul is right, and she is right.
The apostle James also acknowledged that the statutes written in the Mosaic law, in addition to the Ten Commandments, constitute the law of God. For example, after writing about a rich man dressed in goodly apparel and a poor man in vile raiment, he was able to condemn giving favor to the rich man by quoting from the statutes:
“But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law of transgressors.” James 2:9 (emphasis added)
This is a serious charge! To what law is he referring? He is referring to the law of statutes as recorded in Leviticus 19:15:
“Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge they neighbor.” Lev. 19:15
This is the law James says is a sin to transgress! This statute is repeated, as many of them are, in Deuteronomy 1:17:
“Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great...”
James, in the New Testament, clearly states that transgression of the above statute is sin. In James 2:8, the apostle also refers to another statute and recognizes it as a part of the “royal law.”
“If ye fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well.”
This law, which James quotes “according to the Scripture,” is found in Leviticus 19:18, which says:
“Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.”
James says for one to fulfill the royal law the above statute must be obeyed. In Matthew 22:36-39 our Lord also referred to the same statute, and still another from Deuteronomy 6:5.
“Thou shalt love the Lord they God with all thine heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Matthew 22:37
To transgress any of the above statutes is clearly out of harmony with New Testament teaching.
Continuing in James chapter 2, the apostle quotes two of the Ten Commandments regarding adultery and murder and concludes that all four of the following are a part of the great law of liberty:
- Unfair respect to persons.
- Love thy neighbor as thyself.
- Thou shalt not commit adultery.
- Thou shalt not kill.
Friends, would you be liberated from sin? The blood of Christ will free you from your sins, and the entire law will show you how to walk in liberty. Praise God! We can do all things through Christ who gives us the strength to do His will. He not only forgives your sins, but will cleanse you from all unrighteousness. You can be among those who are seen keeping the law of God and having the testimony of Jesus.
The Fourth Angel
Or Is He The Seventh?
In Revelation 18:1, an angel “lightens the earth with his glory.” He is called the fourth angel because he will add to the message of the 3rd angel of Revelation 14:9. He is called the seventh angel because of the number of angels mentioned in the book of Revelation. Starting with the 3rd angel, and counting the angels mentioned from that point forward to the end of the Bible, he would be the seventh angel.
Ellen White tells us his message is the message rejected by the church of Laodicea. She also ties his message to the Holy Spirit power of God predicted to be prevalent during the “loud cry.”
In Revelation 18, the fourth angel is described as the angel which “lightens the earth with his glory.” In the book Maranatha, p. 219, Ellen White shows more clearly that it is this angel’s message that is being rejected.
“In the manifestation of that power which lightens the earth with the glory of God, they will see only something which, in their blindness, they think dangerous. Something that will arouse their fears, and they will brace themselves to resist it. Because the LORD does not work according to their expectations and ideals, they will oppose the word. ‘Why’ they say, ‘should we not know the Spirit of God, when we have been in the work so many years.’ Because they did not respond to the warnings, the entreaties, of the messages of God, but persistently said, ‘I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.’”
Obviously, the phrase “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing” is the negative response of the Laodiceans in Revelation chapter three. The message they reject is the message of the fourth (seventh) angel “that lightens the earth with his glory” as stated at the beginning of her paragraph. The angel’s message is made clear by Sister White in 2MR 58; 1888 Materials p. 160, and in 3EGW Biography p. 389.
“Said my guide, ‘There is much light yet to shine forth from the law of God and the gospel of righteousness. The message, understood in its true character, and proclaimed in the Spirit, will lighten the earth with its glory.’” (italics mine)
Obviously, the fourth angel’s message contains, as she says, much more light regarding the law of God to shine forth.
Notice a striking statement taken from Advent Review and Sabbath Herald 10/13/1904 in an article entitled “The Closing Work.” Notice how she ties the statutes to the final outpouring of the Spirit of God upon us.
“The saving knowledge of God will accomplish its purifying work on the mind and heart of every believer. The Word declares: ‘Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes.’ This is the descent of the Holy Spirit, sent from God to do its office work. The house of Israel is to be imbued with the Holy Spirit, and baptized with the grace of salvation.”
ARE THE FEASTS PART OF THE MORAL LAW
OR THE CEREMONIAL LAW?
E. G. White
This is a question that has been debated too long. I trust the following few paragraphs will continue to help clear up the question.
In the following quotes, Ellen White says that there are two laws: moral and ceremonial.
“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. The other is the law of Jehovah, and is as abiding and changeless as His eternal throne. After the crucifixion, it was a denial of Christ for the Jews to continue to offer the burnt offerings and sacrifices, which were typical of His death. It was saying to the world that they looked for a Redeemer to come, and had no faith in Him who had given His life for the sins of the world. Hence the ceremonial law ceased to be of force at the death of Christ.” (Signs of the Times, July 29, 1886)
Notice that Ellen White says that to observe the ceremonial law after the death of Jesus is a denial of Him.
Ellen White furthermore states that Jesus never observed the ceremonial law. The ceremonial law consisted of slaying a lamb when someone sinned in order to obtain forgiveness for that sin. This law was instituted when Adam and Eve sinned and ended at the cross, because Jesus was the Lamb of God slain for our sins. Since Jesus never sinned, He did not need to partake of the ceremonial law. Here is Ellen White’s quote saying that Jesus never observed the ceremonial service:
“Christ passed through all the experiences of His childhood, youth, and manhood without the observance of ceremonial temple worship.” (BE, October 31, 1898)
However, Jesus did attend the feasts. John chapter 7 records His experience at the Feast of Tabernacles. Ellen White adds more information:
“Jesus traveled up and down the breadth of the land, giving His invitation to the feast. When the sun illuminated the landscape, Jesus said to the vast throng: ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’ He took the opportunity of presenting Himself to the people during the feast-days, when they gathered at Jerusalem.” (Advent Review & Sabbath Herald, July 7, 1896)
The following quote shows that Jesus also observed Passover.
“Among the Jews the twelfth year was the dividing line between childhood and youth. On completing this year a Hebrew boy was called a son of the law, and also a son of God. He was given special opportunities for religious instruction, and was expected to participate in the sacred feasts and observances. It was in accordance with this custom that Jesus in His boyhood made the Passover visit to Jerusalem.” (Desire of Ages, p. 75)
Luke chapter 22:15-16 records Jesus observing Passover with His disciples and in these verses Jesus states that Passover is not fulfilled until we enjoy it with Him in the kingdom of heaven. Since Christ never observed the ceremonial law, but yet He did, and will, observe the feasts, and since there are two laws, moral and ceremonial, then with which law would Jesus include the feasts? The answer is obvious.
In the following quotes, Ellen White tells us that Paul also did not observe the ceremonial law after the cross and he never taught his converts to do so.
“Paul did not bind himself nor his converts to the ceremonies and customs of the Jews, with their varied forms, types, and sacrifices; for he recognized that the perfect and final offering had been made in the death of Son of God.” (LP 105)
“Factions also were beginning to rise through the influence of Judaizing teachers, who urged that the converts to Christianity should observe the ceremonial law in the matter of circumcision... They vindicated their position, which was in opposition to that of Paul.” (LP 121)
In commenting on the effects of Paul’s preaching, Ellen White also wrote:
“From every quarter were coming accounts of the spread of the new doctrine by which Jews were released from the observance of the rites of the ceremonial law and Gentiles were admitted to equal privileges with the Jews as children of Abraham.” (AP 390)
A little later, on the same page, she adds:
“His plan to reach Jerusalem in time for the Passover services had to be given up, but he hoped to be there at Pentecost.”
Still later, on the same page, she determined:
“At Philippi Paul tarried to keep the Passover.”
Obviously, Paul observed the feasts himself and also with his converts. The Scriptures agree:
“But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast in Jerusalem.” (Acts 18:21)
Ellen White comments on this text.
“After leaving Corinth, Paul’s next scene of labor was Ephesus. He was on his way to Jerusalem to attend an approaching festival, and his stay at Ephesus was necessarily brief.” (AA 269)
Paul did not make it to Jerusalem in time, so he kept this feast with his converts in Philippi.
“And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread.” (Acts 20:6)
“The Philippians were the most loving and truehearted of the apostle’s converts, and during the eight days of the feast he enjoyed peaceful and happy communion with them.” (AA 390-391)
“Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Corinthians 5:7-8)
Since Ellen White tells us that Paul did not observe the ceremonial law and did not teach his converts to do so, but yet, he did observe the feasts with his converts, evidently Paul also thought the feasts were moral.
Our own SDA Commentary also tells us that John the Revelator and many other early Christians observed Passover after the cross. This quote is from the SDA Commentary, Vol. 9, p. 362, and is quoting from an early Christian’s letter, written about 150 A.D.
[p. 505] Therefore we keep the day undeviatingly, neither adding nor taking away, for in Asia [Minor] great luminaries sleep, and they will rise on the day of the coming of the Lord, when he shall come with glory from heaven and seek out all the saints. Such were Phillip...and two of his daughters...
[p. 507] There is also John who lay on the Lord’s breast...And there is also Polycarp at Smyrna, both bishop and martyr, and Thraseas, both bishop and martyr, from Eumenaea... [Also] Sagaris... Papirius... and Melito... all of these kept the fourteenth day of the Passover according to the gospel, never swerving, but following according to the rule of the faith. And I also, Polycrates, the least of you all, live according to the tradition of my kinsmen, and some of them have I followed. For seven of my family were bishops and I am the eighth, and my kinsmen ever kept the day when the people put away the leaven. Therefore, brethren, I who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord and conversed with brethren from every country, and have studied all holy Scripture am not afraid of threats, for they have said who were greater than I, ‘It is better to obey God rather than men.’”
“After the crucifixion, it was a denial of Christ for the Jews to continue to offer the burnt offerings and sacrifices which were typical of His death. It was saying to the world that they looked for a Redeemer to come, and had no faith in Him who had given his life for the sins of the world. Hence the ceremonial law ceased to be of force at the death of Christ.” (Signs of the Times, July 29, 1886)
Since it was a denial of our Saviour to observe the ceremonial law after the cross, if the feasts are part of the ceremonial law, then Paul, John the Revelator, and many other Christians denied Christ. Paul and John the Revelator wrote the majority of the NT. Do you think the Holy Spirit would use someone who id denying Christ to write a major portion of the NT? I think not!
“Anciently the Lord instructed His people to assemble three times a year for His worship. To these holy convocations the children of Israel came, bringing to the house of God their tithes, their sin offerings, and their offerings of gratitude. They met to recount God’s mercies, to make known His wonderful works, and to offer praise and thanksgiving to His name. And they were to unite in the sacrificial service, which pointed to Christ as the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. Thus they were to be preserved from the corrupting power of worldliness and idolatry. Faith and love and gratitude were to be kept alive in their hearts, and through their association together in this sacred service they were to be bound closer to God and to one another...if the children of Israel needed the benefit of these holy convocations in their time, how much more do we need them in these last days of peril and conflict! And if the people of the world then needed the light which God had committed to His church, how much more do they need it now!” (Testimonies, Vol. 6, 39-40) [Emphasis added]
It seems that Ellen White is recommending that we observe the feasts. So, are the feasts part of the moral law or the ceremonial law? The answer is obvious. The feasts are part of the moral law. This would, of necessity, include the Seventh-day Sabbath.
“Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of rest, and holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.” (Lev. 23:2,3)
Yes, the seventh day Sabbath is one of His feasts, and it is; therefore, also under the moral law. Since they are all a part of the moral law this means that the feasts will be observed forever. And, indeed, the Bible does confirm that we will be observing the feasts in eternity.
“And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year, to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.” (Zechariah 14:16)
Read this whole chapter to see that the context of this chapter is in the new earth. Zechariah 14:4 states that Jesus will come down to Mount Olives which will split in half, preparing the way for the New Jerusalem to descend, and then the Lord shall be King over all the earth. See verse 9. Jesus is not King over all this earth until all sin and sinners have been vanquished off this earth forever. We will be keeping the Feast of Tabernacles forever in eternity; just as Leviticus chapter 23 tells us to. In that chapter, God says four times that we are to keep His feasts days forever.
Dear friend, since we will be observing the feasts forever in heaven, and since they are part of the moral law, we invite you to quietly join hundreds of other sincere folk in their observance. Truly, everyone enjoys the benefits of a spiritual feast.
In 2RH 270, Col. 1, several even more interesting statements are given:
“The controversy begun in heaven over the law of God has been kept up upon the earth ever since Satan’s expulsion from heaven.”
Friends, we must be in our moral loyalty to Him no matter how furious the controversy rages. She also added:
“The great statute-book is truth, and truth only; for it delineates with unerring accuracy the history of Satan’s deception and the ruin of his followers.”
The Ten Commandments say nothing of Satan, but the statutes do. For example, Satan’s deception of exaggeration led to Israel’s fear of “giants” and cities walled “up to the heaven.” That led to the ultimate loss of an entire generation of Israelites, except for Joshua and Caleb. The “great statute-book” that contains such stories is her reference. Her reference continues:
“Satan claimed to be able to present laws which were better than God’s statutes and judgments, and he was expelled from heaven.”
Clearly, she is writing about much more than the Ten Commandments. She is showing a larger test of loyalty. The same message is in the Elijah message. The Elijah message actually refutes the above Satanic activities. The Elijah message uplifts the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments.
Question: Shall we follow in the footsteps of Elijah? …or, will we follow in the footsteps of the great deceiver?
In conclusion, this author believes there is no reason for this study to cause the least bit of antagonism form a reader. Only in the unlikely event that someone takes offense, is the following statement included.
“Nothing frightens me more than to see the spirit of variance manifested by our brethren. We are on dangerous ground when we cannot meet together like Christians, and courteously examine controverted points. I feel like fleeing from the place lest I receive the mold of those who cannot candidly investigate the doctrines of the Bible. Those who cannot impartially examine the evidences of a position that differs from theirs, are not fit to teach in any department of God’s cause. ARSH 2/18/90; 1SM 411; 1888 Materials 534
My desire is that we all remain fit to teach.
There is indeed much more light on this subject than is contained in this small book. Since its first edition printed in 1998 many books, pamphlets, VHS and DVD studies by various preachers and authors on this subject have multiplied. We suggest you take advantage of the study materials noted after the Appendix.
What’s Coming: The Appendix
(All texts are assumed KJV unless otherwise noted.)
Because of the abundant counsel from Ellen White on this subject, this author has attempted to include the many practical statutes given by God to Moses for all Israel, in their simplest form, in this appendix.
The two primary books in the Bible that contain the statutes of the Lord are Leviticus and Deuteronomy. In this appendix, the author has made an attempt to share these statutes, eliminating three major items:
- Since the sacrificial system was fulfilled at the cross, there is no need to include the statutes of sacrifice; therefore, they have been eliminated except in such instances where eliminating them might cause the loss of the meaning of another statute.
- Those statutes that have to do with the church’s execution of punitive judgment have also been eliminated. The state governments have assumed this right; therefore, such execution of physical punishment is left with the civil government. See John 18:31; AA 101, 102.
- Sometimes, the same statute is mentioned several times throughout these two books. For the sake of simplicity, I have excluded some of these repetitions.
The person who wishes to read the statutes, including the above three exclusions, should simply read the two books in their entirety. Doing so will impress upon their mind the seriousness that God places on His statues and the seriousness attached to their neglect.
Statutes from Leviticus
- It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood. (Leviticus 3:17)
- And if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether he hath seen or known of it; if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity. (Leviticus 5:1)
“The setting is a court scene, where witnesses are called to testify. One refuses to testify and is declared guilty. There are times when unpleasant duties, ones we would prefer to avoid, must be performed.” 1BC 734
- Or if a soul touch any unclean things, whether it be a carcass of an unclean beast, or a carcass of unclean cattle, or the carcass of unclean creeping things, and if it be hidden from him; he also shall be unclean, and guilty.
- Or if he touch the uncleanness of man, whatsoever uncleanness it be that a man shall be defiled with, and it must be hid from him; when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty. (Leviticus 5:2,3)
“To transgress might lead to epidemics. As a health measure, this principle is still valid.” 1 BC 734
- Or if a soul swear, pronouncing with his lips to do evil, or to do good, whatsoever it be that a man shall pronounce with an oath, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty in one of these.
- And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing. (Leviticus 5:4,5)
“If one of the contracting parties forgets his promise, which he confirmed by an oath, or deliberately repudiates it, when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty.” 1BC 735
- And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying.
- If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the LORD, and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbour;
- or have found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein;
- Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hat deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found.
- Or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering. (Leviticus 6:1-5)
“Restitution is a vital part of the program God sets before the man who would be free from the guilt of sin... This will in many cases include restoration...” 1BC 737
- Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Ye shall eat no manner of fat, or ox, or of sheep, or of goat.
- And the fat of the beast that dieth of itself, and the fat of that which is torn with beasts, may be used in any other use: but ye shall in no wise eat of it. (Leviticus 7:23,24)
- 7:26.Moreover ye shall eat no manner of blood, whether it be of fowls or of beast, in any of your dwellings.
- 27.Whatsoever soul it be that eateth any manner of blood, even that soul shall be cut off from his people. (Leviticus 7:26,27)
- Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor they sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations:
- And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean.
- And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses. (Leviticus 10:9-11)
9. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:
10. Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2:9,10)
Those who take their priesthood seriously should shun all strong drink.
- And the LORD spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them,
- Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.
- Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall yet eat.
- Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof; as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divided not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
- And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
- And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
- And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.
- Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcass shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.
- These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.
- And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the water and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:
- They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcasses in abomination.
- Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shell be an abomination unto you.
- And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray,
- And the vulture, and the kite after his kind;
- Every raven after his kind;
- And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,
- And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl,
- And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle,
- And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.
- All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you.
- Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth;
- Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind.
- But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you.
- And for these ye shall be unclean: whosoever toucheth the carcass of them shall be unclean until the even.
- And whosoever beareth ought of the carcass of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even.
- The carcasses of every beast which divideth the hoof, and is not clovenfooted, nor cheweth the cud, are unclean unto you: every one that toucheth them shall be unclean.
- And whatsoever goeth upon his paws, among all manner of beasts that go on all four, those are unclean unto you: whoso toucheth their carcass shall be unclean until the even.
- And he that beareth the carcass of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: they are unclean unto you.
- These also shall be unclean unto you among the creeping things that creep upon this earth; the weasel, and the mouse, and the tortoise after his kind.
- And the ferret, and the chameleon, and the lizard, and the snail and the mole.
- These are unclean to you among all that creep whosoever doth touch them, when they be dead, shall be unclean until the even.
- And upon whatsoever any of them, when they are dead, doth fall, it shall be unclean; whether it be any vessel of wood, or raiment, or skin, o sack, whatsoever vessel it be, wherein any work is done, it must be put into water, and it shall be unclean until the even; so it shall be cleansed.
- And every earthen vessel, whereinto any of them falleth, whatsoever is in it shall be unclean; and ye shall break it.
- Of all meat which may be eaten, that on which such water cometh shall be unclean: and all drink that may be drunk in every such vessel shall be unclean.
- And every thing whereupon any part of their carcass falleth shall be unclean; whether it be oven, or ranges for pots, they shall be broken down: for they are unclean, and shall be unclean unto you.
- Nevertheless a fountain or pit, wherein there is plenty of water, shall be clean: but that which toucheth their carcass shall be unclean.
- And if any part of their carcass fall upon any sowing seed which is to be sown, it shall be unclean.
- But if any water be put upon the seed, and any part of their carcass fall thereon, it shall be unclean unto you.
- And if any beast, of which ye may eat, die; he that toucheth the carcass thereof shall be unclean until the even.
- And he that eateth of the carcass of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: he also that beareth the carcass of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even.
- And every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth shall be an abomination; it shall not be eaten.
- Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination.
- Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby.
- For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
- For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.
- This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth:
- To make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten. (Leviticus 11:1-47)
- And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
- Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean.
- And in the eighth day of the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.
- And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled.
- But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying three score and six days. (Lev. 12:1-5)
God gave the new mother time off from ordinary labor, and even from attending otherwise required attendance at sanctuary services. In some cultures, girls were not desired as much as boys. God strengthened the bond of love between mother and daughter, commanding more time off be given to the mother to spend with the newly born girl.
It appears that circumcision is no longer an involuntary sign of belonging to the family of the covenant of Abraham, although it may still be good for one’s health to do so.
2. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. (Galatians 5:2)
But yet, in another sense, circumcision is still with us in a very real and important way:
29. But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. (Rom. 2:29)
51. Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. (Acts 7:51)
11. In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
12. Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. (Colossians 2:11,12)
- When a man shall have in the skin of his flesh a rising, a scab, or a bright spot, and it be in the skin of his flesh like the plague of leprosy; then he shall be brought unto Aaron the priest, or unto one of his sons the priests: (Leviticus 13:2)
Leviticus 13 through 14 has to do with the determination of a communicable disease and the laws of quarantine. Also included are laws of cleansing, clothing, bedding, and other furniture that might be contaminated with bacterial or viral infectious life forms.
- Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When any man hath a running issue out of his flesh, because of his issue he is unclean.
- And this shall be his uncleanness in his issue: whether his flesh run with his issue, or his flesh be stopped from his issue, it is his uncleanness.
- Every bed, whereon he lieth that hath the issue, is unclean: and every thing, whereon he sitteth, shall be unclean.
- And whosoever toucheth his bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
- And he that sitteth on any thing whereon he sat that hath the issue shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
- And he that toucheth the flesh of him that hath the issue shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
- And if he that hath the issue spit upon him that is clean; then he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
- And what saddle soever he rideth upon that hath the issue shall be unclean.
- And whosoever toucheth any thing that was under him shall be unclean until the even: and he that beareth any of those things shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
- And whomsoever he toucheth that hath the issue, and hath not rinsed his hands in water, he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
- And the vessel of earth, that he toucheth which hath the issue, shall be broken: and every vessel of wood shall be rinsed in water.
- And when he that hath an issue is cleansed of his issue; then he shall number to himself seven days for his cleansing, and wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in running water, and shall be clean. (Leviticus 15:2-13)
Only a few years ago doctors began to see the light in washing their hands between patients, changing gowns, wearing fresh gloves, and using masks to prevent the spread of virulent organisms.
Long before AIDS and other venereal diseases were understood, the following Levitical health procedures were to be practiced.
- And if any man's seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even.
- And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the even.
- The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the even. (Leviticus 15:16-18)
Bacterial growth seems to blossom in a warm environment, and become more sluggish when in a cold environment. Perhaps that is why a person is unclean until evening.
The Bible is correct in saying that the life is in the blood; however, both good and bad organisms swim in the blood stream. Even cancer can metastasize in this manner. Therefore, God was careful to instruct extreme caution when blood is concentrated outside the body.
- And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even.
- And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean.
- And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
- And whosoever toucheth any thing that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
- And if it be on her bed, or on any thing whereon she sitteth, when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean until the even.
- And if any man lie with her at all, and her flowers be upon him, he shall be unclean seven days; and all the bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean.
- And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation; all the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she shall be unclean.
- Every bed whereon she lieth all the days of her issue shall be unto her as the bed of her separation: and whatsoever she sitteth upon shall be unclean, as the uncleanness of her separation.
- And whosoever toucheth those things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
- But if she be cleansed of her issue, then she shall number to herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean. (Leviticus 15:19-28)
- And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust.
- For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off. (Leviticus 17:13,14)
- Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God.
- Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD.
- None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 18:4-6)
From here to verse 19 is a detailed description listing appropriate behavior with one’s kinsmen.
- The nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she is thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.
- The nakedness of thy father's wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father's nakedness.
- The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover.
- The nakedness of thy son's daughter, or of thy daughter's daughter, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover: for theirs is thine own nakedness.
- The nakedness of thy father's wife's daughter, begotten of thy father, she is thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.
- Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father's sister: she is thy father's near kinswoman.
- Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother's sister: for she is thy mother's near kinswoman.
- Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father's brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she is thine aunt.
- Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter in law: she is thy son's wife; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.
- Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother's wife: it is thy brother's nakedness.
- Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son's daughter, or her daughter's daughter, to uncover her nakedness; for they are her near kinswomen: it is wickedness.
- Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time.
- Also thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is put apart for her uncleanness.
- Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour's wife, to defile thyself with her.
- And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.
- Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
- Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.
- Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: (Leviticus 18:7-24)
- And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
- Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.
- Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths: I am the LORD your God.
- Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 19:1-4)
- And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest.
- And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 19:9-10)
From whatever is our increase, we should share with the poor and the stranger that have little or nothing of their own. What a beautiful principle!
- Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.
- And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.
- Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning. (Leviticus 19:11-13)
“Wages are to be paid promptly, as are debts when they fall due.” 1BC 789
The commentary suggests that a previous agreement had been made as to when the worker were to be paid. Or if, on the other hand, the context is still considering the poor and needy, there is additional need to pay the laborer at the end of the first day’s work so he can purchase food.
- Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD.
- Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour. (Leviticus 19:14-15)
James 2:9 states: “But if ye have respect to persons, Ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.” In this text James clearly stays the one who breaks the law regarding respect to persons is a sinner. The law that he is referring to is not found in the ten commandments. It is found in the above Leviticus 19:15 statute. It is repeated in the statutes recorded in Deuteronomy 1:17 and 16:19.
Deuteronomy 1:17 “Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great;” In his context James refers to this law as a part of the royal law and adds for a person to fall short in any one of these commandments is “guilty of all.”
- Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour; I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:16)
“The Jews interpret it (against the blood of they neighbor) to mean that he who sees anyone in danger, as from drowning, robbery, or wild beasts, is duty bound to help; or that if a man happens to witness a crime or an injustice, he is bound to go to the rescue of the individual wronged, either by personal assistance or by bearing testimony in court. 1BC 789
- Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.
Rebuke that comes from the lips of one who hates his brother would be biased.
- Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.
- Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.
- And whosoever lieth carnally with a woman, that is a bondmaid, betrothed to an husband, and not at all redeemed, nor freedom given her; she shall be scourged; they shall not be put to death, because she was not free. (Leviticus 19:17-20)
“Be scourged” in Hebrew means “biggoreth,” which contains the idea that an investigation is to be made with the objective of determining punishment appropriate to the crime. According to 1BC 790, ‘Biggoreth’ applies equally to both.
- And when ye shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees for food, then ye shall count the fruit thereof as uncircumcised: three years shall it be as uncircumcised unto you: it shall not be eaten of.
- But in the fourth year all the fruit thereof shall be holy to praise the LORD withal.
- And in the fifth year shall ye eat of the fruit thereof, that it may yield unto you the increase thereof: I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 19:23-25)
God was not requiring starvation. He had already demonstrated that He could provide their needs as He had already done for forty years. Perhaps this statute was given as a health benefit that we do not understand; or perhaps this law was given for the protection of the tree. Regardless of God’s reason, His people would not starve.
- Ye shall not eat any thing with the blood: (Leviticus 19:26)
“Christians, as a rule, pay little attention to this health ordinance, forgetful that it was only on this condition that God originally permitted the use of flesh food (Genesis 9:4). The same restriction was later enjoined upon Gentile Christians (Act 15:20, 29).” BC 1790
- ...neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times. (Leviticus 19:26)
Today this might compare to superstitions such as ‘Friday the 13th’ or the observing of pagan holidays.
- Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard. (Leviticus 19:27)
1BC 791 leads us to believe that this was a custom of the heathen showing their devotion to a false god. God’s men were not to imitate the heathen appearance in this regard.
Verse twenty-six refers to heaven religious practices as does verses twenty-eight that follows.
- Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:28)
The first part of the text is still done in certain parts of the heathen world. The second part, according to the SDA Commentary, has to do with the marring of the temple of God, which temple ye are. Acts 17:30 says:
“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.”
- Do not prostitute thy daughter, to cause her to be a whore; lest the land fall to whoredom, and the land become full of wickedness.
- Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.
- Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.
- Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:29-32)
It is a sin to mock, or in any way belittle, an elderly person.
- And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him.
- But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
- Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure.
- Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt.
- Therefore shall ye observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:33-37)
Leviticus 20:2-27 says:
- Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones.
- And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name.
- And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not:
- Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people.
I have conscientiously removed the verses that call for the church to institute the death penalties. Capital punishment can be executed only by the state, not by the church, as it was in the days of the Theocracy.
When judgment is not fair, we have the promise that all such offenses will be made right in the future:
“Dear beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. (Romans 12:19,20)
- And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.
- Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.
These statutes are God’s statutes, not Moses’ statutes. At Sinai, the people became afraid and asked that God speak to them no more, but requested that He speak His commandments to Moses and then afterward Moses would speak God’s statutes to them.
- And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the LORD which sanctify you.
- For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.
- And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
- And the man that lieth with his father's wife hath uncovered his father's nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
- And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood shall be upon them.
Even though the angels will separate the wicked from the righteous, and the truly repentant sinner will stand among the righteous, it is just as true that the wages for the sinner will be eternal death. The principle still stands, and so does the judgment. In the days of Israel, the church carried out the judgment more speedily and thus no one doubted how God looks at such sin. He still looks at sin in the same way.
- If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
- And if a man take a wife and her mother, it is wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they; that there be no wickedness among you.
- And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast.
- And if a woman approach unto any beast, and lie down thereto, thou shalt kill the woman, and the beast: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
- And if a man shall take his sister, his father's daughter, or his mother's daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it is a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister's nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.
- And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.
- And thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother's sister, nor of thy father's sister: for he uncovereth his near kin: they shall bear their iniquity.
- And if a man shall lie with his uncle's wife, he hath uncovered his uncle's nakedness: they shall bear their sin; they shall die childless.
- And if a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother's nakedness; they shall be childless.
- Ye shall therefore keep all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: that the land, whither I bring you to dwell therein, spue you not out.
- And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.
- But I have said unto you, Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey: I am the LORD your God, which have separated you from other people.
- Ye shall therefore put difference between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean fowls and clean: and ye shall not make your souls abominable by beast, or by fowl, or by any manner of living thing that creepeth on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean.
- And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.
- A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them. (Leviticus 20:2-27)
The loss of life in the judgment will not lie on God’s hands, but on the hands of the transgressor. The blood of the souls hurt or lost because of his influence and his transgression will be the cause of his death. Their blood shall be upon him.
Leviticus 21:1-15 says:
- And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto the priests the sons of Aaron, and say unto them, There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people:
- But for his kin, that is near unto him, that is, for his mother, and for his father, and for his son, and for his daughter, and for his brother.
- And for his sister a virgin, that is nigh unto him, which hath had no husband; for her may he be defiled.
- But he shall not defile himself, being a chief man among his people, to profane himself.
The following statutes were for the sons of Aaron and the Levitical priesthood. We are now under a different and better priesthood, that of Melchisedec. We are now the royal priesthood, but it is not clear to what extent these particular statutes apply to us.
The priests were held to a higher calling than the laity, and they, with their families, were called to a higher awareness of holiness, and therefore subject to more severe judgment for sins and/or the higher honor that comes with holy living.
- They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh.
- They shall be holy unto their God, and not profane the name of their God: for the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and the bread of their God, they do offer: therefore they shall be holy.
- They shall not take a wife that is a whore, or profane; neither shall they take a woman put away from her husband: for he is holy unto his God.
- Thou shalt sanctify him therefore; for he offereth the bread of thy God: he shall be holy unto thee: for I the LORD, which sanctify you, am holy.
- And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire.
The son or daughter is to realize that their actions do reflect on the parents and either honor or dishonor the parents. This statute especially applied to the children of a father in the sacred ministry and was applied when the child was old enough to be willfully involved in adult sin.
Verse 10-15 applied only to the high priest. None of us are in that category, but should one read these verses they will impress the reader that the higher the calling the higher the responsibilities, a good principle for those who aspire to be among the 144,000 to remember!
- And he that is the high priest among his brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil was poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not uncover his head, nor rend his clothes;
- Neither shall he go in to any dead body, nor defile himself for his father, or for his mother;
- Neither shall he go out of the sanctuary, nor profane the sanctuary of his God; for the crown of the anointing oil of his God is upon him: I am the LORD.
- And he shall take a wife in her virginity.
- A widow, or a divorced woman, or profane, or an harlot, these shall he not take: but he shall take a virgin of his own people to wife.
- Neither shall he profane his seed among his people: for I the LORD do sanctify him.
The preceding statutes centered around the priesthood. The children of the priest born from a woman as described in verse 14 could not serve in the sanctuary. Also, God demanded that He be served by men in good physical condition.
As the lamb without blemish typified Christ, so the priest without blemish was to officiate in the sanctuary.
All of God’s sheep have been blemished with sin, but the ideal priest in the sanctuary was to appear unblemished as was the Passover lamb.
The priesthood and God’s people were to recognize they were a special people before God. The stranger, that is an unnaturalized person among the Hebrews, might bring an offering, but not approach the altar as would an Israelite. The priest received the offering and offered it for him. To the Christian church Peter said, “Ye are an holy nation.” In other words, we are special to God.
The Statutes for God's Feasts.
Leviticus 23:1-8 says:
- And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
- Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.
- Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.
God is about to list His feasts – not Moses’ feasts, though Moses certainly honored them. One purpose of the Seventh-day Sabbath is to bring honor to God as our Creator. Also, differing from all of His other feasts, is the fact that it was to be observed at the end of each week. All His other feasts are to be kept only once each year.
- These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.
- In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD's passover.
- And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.
- In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.
- ... in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.
[Dotted areas have to do with sacrifices and oblations.]
Leviticus 23:9-11 says:
- And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
- Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:
- And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.
The first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread was a Sabbath. The following day, which would be the 16th day of the first month, was the day that the wave sheaf was to be waved.
Leviticus 23:14-16 and 21 says:
- And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
The wave sheaf, or first fruits, of the harvest represented Christ who is the first fruits of the resurrection. Jesus arose on the very day the first fruits were waved. Another first resurrection is found in Daniel 12:2. Also, the 144,000 are called first fruits in Revelation 14:1-5. Obviously, ‘firstfruits’ has more than one application.
- And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:
- Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days ...
This special fiftieth day had two customary names, the Feast of Weeks and Pentecost. Among the oblations offered on that day were two loaves of ‘unleavened’ bread. Some believe these two loaves represented both the children of Israel and Gentile converts.
Both contained the leaven of sin, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Both loaves waved before the Lord were to be accepted by Him. The blood sacrifices on that day typified the right of God to accept both loaves.
21.And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. (Leviticus 23:1-21)
This concludes the annual spring feasts and
Their three defined Sabbaths.
Next are outlined the fall feasts that all take place in one month – the seventh month.
Leviticus 23:24-44 says:
- Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.
- Ye shall do no servile work therein ...
- And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
- Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.
- And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.
- For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.
Affliction of soul is associated with fasting. See Psalms 35:15; Acts 27:9; SDA Bible Commentary Vol. 2 p. 106, 107; “Solemn fast-day observed on Tishri One,” SDA BC Vo. 9, p. 61:1.
- And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.
- Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
- It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.
- And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
- Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD.
- On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.
- Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein.
- 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:
- 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.
- Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath.
- And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.
- And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.
- Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths:
- That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
- And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD.
“It is well to remember how God has led us in times past. It is well to bring to mind His providences, for we are sometimes prone to complain at the way He leads us today. Is it not well to think of the many blessings God has bestowed upon us, and the wonderful way He has guided our lives? To do so would make us more appreciative and thankful. And thankfulness is a vital part of religion.” 1BC 806
This concludes the fall feasts and their four defined Sabbaths.
We all keep fifty-two Sabbaths each year. Those who choose to keep these seven additional annual Sabbaths should not cause an offense to those who choose to keep only 52 of God’s feast days. (Leviticus 23:1-3, 44)
Leviticus 24:15-20 says:
- And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin.
- And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death.
Stoning is the executive judgment for blasphemy. Stoning by God Himself has taken place in the past (Joshua 10:11), and will take place again in the future (Revelation 16:21).
Truth heartfelt repentance is the anecdote for sin, but blasphemy is a most serious offense and under certain circumstances may not be forgiven.
Matthew 21:31 says, “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.”
- And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death.
- And he that killeth a beast shall make it good; beast for beast.
- And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him;
- Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again. (Leviticus 24:15-20)
- And the LORD spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying,
- Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD.
- Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof;
- But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.
- That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land.
- And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee.
- And for thy cattle, and for the beast that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be meat.
The food that grew on its own was to be used for eating, but this special year’s growth was not to be sold nor stored.
- And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years.
- Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land.
- And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.
- A jubile shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed.
- For it is the jubile; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field.
- In the year of this jubile ye shall return every man unto his possession.
- And if thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, or buyest ought of thy neighbour's hand, ye shall not oppress one another:
- According to the number of years after the jubile thou shalt buy of thy neighbour, and according unto the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee:
- According to the multitude of years thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years thou shalt diminish the price of it: for according to the number of the years of the fruits doth he sell unto thee.
- Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the LORD your God.
Verse 10 was in reference to purchased slaves. They were people who sold themselves to a farmer for a certain price. The money could be used by the indentured servant to pay debts or for the care of his family. Such ‘slaves’ were to go free the year of the Jubilee.
In Israel, the land was divided among the tribes, and each family had its own portion within the tribal territory. This could be sold if necessary, but must be returned to its original owner on the year of the Jubilee. Perhaps this is prophetic of the earth made new when each of us will have our inheritance given to us forever.
Such a program today would eliminate the rich from getting exceedingly rich and the poor from remaining exceedingly poor. Perhaps the true Jubilee dates remain obscure because of the hundreds of years that it has been neglected. A truly great blessing has been lost to the people of Israel and the nations of the world as well.
Diverse students and authors over the years have made reasonable and dedicated attempts to date the Jubilees, but with diversity of opinion. Ellen White speaks of such a Jubilee in the future, but no date is given.
“...when the never-ending blessing was pronounced on those who had honored God in keeping His Sabbath holy, there was a mighty shout of victory over the beast and over his image. Then commenced the jubilee, when the land should rest.” EW 34,35
- Wherefore ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety.
- And the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety.
- And if ye shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase:
- Then I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years.
- And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat yet of old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in ye shall eat of the old store.
- The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine, for ye are strangers and sojourners with me.
Verse 23 was a promise from God to the children of Israel. Their land was not to go to another people. If they would keep His statutes, their territorial inheritance would last forever. God held title to the land, the Israelites were stewards.
One might wonder if our possessions might be more secure if we would honor God’s commandments and His statutes.
- And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land.
- If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold.
- And if the man have none to redeem it, and himself be able to redeem it;
- Then let him count the years of the sale thereof, and restore the overplus unto the man to whom he sold it; that he may return unto his possession.
- But if he be not able to restore it to him, then that which is sold shall remain in the hand of him that hath bought it until the year of jubile: and in the jubile it shall go out, and he shall return unto his possession.
Much of the rest of the chapter has to do with the decreasing value of sold property. The first year after the year of Jubilee is when the property had its greatest value. The property then decreased in value every year until the next Jubilee 49 years later. At that time it reverted back to its original family ownership.
This program eliminated both speculation and inflation of property. These two concepts, speculation and inflation, have been the ruin of governments both small and great.
- And if a man sell a dwelling house in a walled city, then he may redeem it within a whole year after it is sold; within a full year may he redeem it.
- And if it be not redeemed within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city shall be established for ever to him that bought it throughout his generations: it shall not go out in the jubile.
Today, many sales agreements include a thirty-day return. If the purchaser is unhappy with the product, or in some cases merely changes in his mind, he may bring the item back to the seller and demand a full refund.
This statute allowed a full year’s grace to the seller of a home. He had the right to purchase it back. The new owner could not refuse to take back the purchase price and return the property. However, this statute would only protect the seller for one year. After which it protected the purchaser. Since the rest of the chapter is based on this Jubilee concept, I will only include a few special verses that teach vital moral principals.
- Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee.
- Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase.
The church member was not to make a profit on the money loaned, or items sold, to another church member.
- Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession.
- And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour. (Leviticus 25:1 46)
Church members were to deal with one another as God deals with them, which is with an unnatural bond of grace and consideration above and beyond the norm.
Leviticus 26:1-2 says:
- Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God.
- Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.
The rest of chapter twenty-six describes the wonderful blessings that would follow those who would keep the statutes, and the curses that would follow those who would not. Then toward the close of the chapter the willingness of God to forgive the repentant transgressor is presented. I would strongly urge the student to read the entire chapter.
Leviticus 27:1-2 says:
- And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
- Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When a man shall make a singular vow, the persons shall be for the LORD by thy estimation.
Leviticus chapter 27 has to do with vows of a voluntary nature. If a vow is made, it must be kept. However, sometimes the vow becomes too big a burden for the person who made it. In this chapter God sets a value on such vows in order for the one who made the vow to redeem it. Simply put, a price was placed on his vow allowing him to ‘buy’ it back.
Most of us have made vows to God. Some of us have not always kept our part of the vow. God does not require us to make vows, but once made He expects us to keep them.
A fictitious example would be: “Lord, if you help me lose twenty pounds, I promise I’ll never eat a piece of chocolate again.” If a price was $160.00 was place on that vow, would you pay that amount for the right to eat a piece of chocolate again? Maybe, but you would probably hesitate and be more cautious in making future vows.
Some vows were not redeemable at any price (1BC 817, 818 explains them thoroughly).
END OF LEVITICAL STATUTES
Statutes from Deuteronomy
Some of the Levitical statutes are repeated along with several additions and clearer explanations.
Deuteronomy 4:5-9 says:
- Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.
- Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
- For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?
- And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
- Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons; (Deuteronomy 4:5-9)
- 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.
- And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it.
- Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire:
- Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,
- The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air,
- The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth:
- And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven. (Deuteronomy 5:13-19)
In other words God is saying, “Since you don’t know what I look like, don’t make images of things you do see and try to set them up as images of Me.”
Deuteronomy 4:23 says:
- Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee.
The following verses are a beautiful promise of protection for the obedient saint during the tribulation of the latter days.
Deuteronomy 4:29-30 says:
- But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
- When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;
Deuteronomy 4:40-43 says:
- Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever.
Before continuing with the statutes, Moses set aside three special cities to take care of citizens that otherwise would have been abused.
- Then Moses severed three cities on this side Jordan toward the sunrising;
- That the slayer might flee thither, which should kill his neighbour unawares, and hated him not in times past; and that fleeing unto one of these cities he might live:
- Namely, Bezer in the wilderness, in the plain country, of the Reubenites; and Ramoth in Gilead, of the Gadites; and Golan in Bashan, of the Manassites. (Deuteronomy 4:40-43)
- Thou shalt have none other gods before me.
- Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth:
- Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,
- And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.
- Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
- Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee.
- Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work:
- But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.
Deuteronomy 5:15-21 says:
- And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.
- Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
- Thou shalt not kill.
- Neither shalt thou commit adultery.
- Neither shalt thou steal.
- Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour.
- Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour's wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour's. (Deuteronomy 5:7-21)
At this point, the children of Israel became fearful for their lives. God, as a consuming fire, seemed too close for their comfort. So He honored their request to stop speaking to them at that time. Moses became the middleman.
Deuteronomy 5:24-25 says:
- And ye said, Behold, the LORD our God hath shewed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth.
- Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, then we shall die.
God did not stop giving the commandments because He did not have more commandments to give, but because they requested that He give the rest of His commandments to them in a different manner, using Moses as mediator.
Deuteronomy 5:30-33 says:
- Go say to them, Get you into your tents again.
- But as for thee, stand thou here by me, and I will speak unto thee all the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which thou shalt teach them, that they may do them in the land which I give them to possess it.
- Ye shall observe to do therefore as the LORD your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.
- Ye shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.
Deuteronomy 6:5-6 says:
- And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
- And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
Deuteronomy 6:14 says:
- Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;
Deuteronomy 6:16-17 says:
- Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.
- Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee.
As God’s people conquered their enemies, the Lord forbade intermarriage.
- Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.
- But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their alters, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.
- For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
God does not approve of holy representations. He has never wanted any of these items in the religious territory of His people.
- When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.
- Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;
Deuteronomy 12:3 says:
- And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.
Do not compromise your religion as did the religions of the transgressors. They may claim to know God, but God says they do not.
1 John 2:4 says,” He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
- Notwithstanding thou mayest kill and eat flesh in all thy gates, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee: the unclean and the clean may eat thereof, as of the roebuck, and as of the heart.
In this text the clean and unclean refer to people. Those who are unceremonially unclean, those in prison, those who take time off for child bearing, and those of Gentile origin, still have the right to eat whatever God’s people eat. This statute is clearer in chapter 15:22 which says:
“Thou shalt eat it within thy gates: the unclean and the clean person shall eat it alike, as the roebuck, and as the hart.”
- Take heed to thyself that thou forsake not the Levite as long as though livest upon the earth.
Several statutes regarding the proper care and respect for the minister is written in the statutes. These statutes, though not always included in this manuscript, are still worth reading. God’s ordained ministry is special to the Lord and blessings are pronounced upon those who treat them with respect.
Deuteronomy 12:23 says:
- Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life; and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh.
Deuteronomy 12:28 says:
- Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God.
Deuteronomy 13:1-4 says:
- If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,
- And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;
- Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
- Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.
Deuteronomy 13:6-8 says:
- If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;
- Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;
- Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:
I am departing from the statutes to include verses 12-18 to show how serious God detests mixing the religion of the transgressor with His church.
- Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known;
- Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you;
- Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword.
- And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the LORD thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again.
- And there shall cleave nought of the cursed thing to thine hand: that the LORD may turn from the fierceness of his anger, and shew thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers;
- When thou shalt hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep all his commandments which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the LORD thy God.
- Ye are the children of the LORD your God: ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead.
- For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.
These pagan religious signs for grief were offensive to God. Jeremiah 16:6 says, “Both the great and the small shall die in this land: they shall not be buried, neither shall men lament for them, nor cut themselves, nor make themselves bald for them:”
Deuteronomy 14:21-22 says:
- Ye shall not eat of anything that dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates, that he may eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien: for thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk.
God’s people were to be special, and above all others in cleanliness and in health. They were to be examples before the world so the people of the world would see the benefits and eventually become as careful in their diet.
Seething a kid in his mother’s milk is believed to be associated with a pagan religious rite.
- Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.
Deuteronomy 14:28-29 says:
- At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within thy gates:
- And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.
Some commentators believe this offering to be a second tithe.
Notice how the church members were to treat each other in the next few verses.
- At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release.
- And this is the manner of the release: Every creditor that lendeth ought unto his neighbour shall release it; he shall not exact it of his neighbour, or of his brother; because it is called the LORD's release.
- Of a foreigner thou mayest exact it again: but that which is thine with thy brother thine hand shall release;
- Save when there shall be no poor among you; for the LORD shall greatly bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it:
- Only if thou carefully hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all these commandments which I command thee this day.
A person who received a loan should diligently try to repay it before the year of release. However, if he fell into a calamity and lost his wealth, he would then be destitute. After seven years he would be released from his debt, enabling him to climb out of poverty.
- If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother:
- But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.
- For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.
- Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.
- Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life.
They are our ancestors. “And if ye be in Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:29)
- Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread: and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to the LORD thy God: thou shalt do no work therein.
- Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn.
- And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the LORD thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the LORD thy God, according as the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:
- Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine:
- And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates.
- Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD shall choose: because the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice.
The following is a note on the words, “in the place that God shall choose.” Originally the feasts were to be kept at the Sanctuary in Israel. Centuries later Jesus responded to a question regarding the proper place for worship. The Lord told the woman at the well to simply worship in spirit and in truth. A little later, Jesus stated that their house (sanctuary) in Jerusalem was made (spiritually) desolate. Still later, after Jesus’ ascension, Paul began keeping the feasts in Gentile territory. All of the above harmonizes with the fact that God’s religion was sent to the uttermost parts of the earth and we can confidently worship and honor God’s holy days in any location.
- Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:
- Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee.
Women and children also attended these feasts (see vs. 11), but men were required to leave their mundane pursuits to be present.
- Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.
- Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee.
- Neither shalt thou set thee up any image; which the LORD thy God hateth.
God does not want even the appearance of a mixture of religions. Most of all, He hates religious images.
- If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant,
- And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;
- And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel:
- Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.
The last part of the previous text is left in to show God’s firm feelings about such sins.
- At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.
- And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel.
- Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.
Only a true follower of the faith could function in the sanctuary services. This is still sound practice today.
In verse fifteen this idea is extended to civil rulers. We have little or no choice in electing such holy dedicated leaders who would religiously read God’s law (verse 19). But this statute will be in effect on the earth made new. The kings will be holy and righteous people. Speaking of the New Jerusalem, the prophet John wrote:
“And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.” (Revelation 21:24-27)
Deuteronomy 18:10-13 says:
- There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch.
- Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
- For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
- Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.
Deuteronomy 18:15 says:
- The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
Deuteronomy 18:20 says:
- But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.
Deuteronomy 19:2-4 says:
- Thou shalt separate three cities for thee in the midst of thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it.
- Thou shalt prepare thee a way, and divide the coasts of thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee to inherit, into three parts, that every slayer may flee thither.
- And this is the case of the slayer, which shall flee thither, that he may live: Whoso killeth his neighbour ignorantly, whom he hated not in time past;
To protect the innocent person and his family from unjustified harassment was not only kind, it is still a principal intact today. The innocent are sometimes given a new identity and relocated to another area for these same reasons.
Deuteronomy 19:14-15 says:
- Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour's landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it.
- One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.
Deuteronomy 19:18-19 says:
- And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother;
- Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you.
Chapter 20 has to do with the rights of soldiers: right to protect their home, their property, and their marriage. In verse 14 genocide of the enemy is prohibited, and trees bearing food are not to be destroyed.
In chapter 21 the rites and feelings of captured women are recorded. Such a woman was not to be bothered nor molested and was given thirty days to mourn her losses. During that time, symbols of mourning were provided her, such as cutting the nails and shaving the head. These symbols can be compared with the wearing of a black dress at a time of mourning today. At such a time a person’s sadness is not to be mocked, but respected.
- And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife;
- Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house, and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails;
- And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.
- And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her.
- If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated:
- Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn:
- But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.
In the beginning God made but one wife for Adam. The New Testament also recommends that men have but one wife. The verse above do not recommend having more than one wife. Rather, these verses are written to protect the rights of the firstborn.
The firstborn do have special consideration. Jesus was the ‘firstborn’ from the dead. As Creator, Redeemer, and LORD, He has a right to sit on the throne with His Father. The 144,000 ministers in the time of the end are also called ‘firstborn’ and they too have special rights.
- If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:
- Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;
- And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
- And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.
This law affected the parents more than the children. It encouraged the parents to teach their young to be respectful and courteous from the cradle up. The parents were careful to “train up a child in the way that it should go.”
Family relations are important issues in the statutes, such as relations of loyalty and respect between husband and wife, parents and children, and grandparents. Respect for the life, dignity, and health of the family are all included. Obeying the statutes will have a positive effect. Notice these very results of the Elijah message in the last four lines of the following passage:
“Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” (Mal. 4:4-4)
Commenting on Bible discipline E.G. White wrote: “The young man was incorrigible, yet the carrying out of so severe a penalty was not left to the father’s judgment; it was the solemn responsibility of the men of the city (see Chs. 13:10; 17:5; 22:24). To discipline with severity was within the province of the parent (Prov. 19:18), but not the carrying out of the death penalty.” 1BC 1028
- Thou shalt not see thy brother's ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother.
- And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again.
- In like manner shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his raiment; and with all lost thing of thy brother's, which he hath lost, and thou hast found, shalt thou do likewise: thou mayest not hide thyself.
- Thou shalt not see thy brother's ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again.
- The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.
- If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young:
- But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days.
The principle here is to prolong life. The dam can have more young if she is freed.
- When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence.
Building codes are most often designed for the safety of the occupants.
- Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled.
- Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.
This statute is for the sake of the animals. An ox and an as cannot pull evenly together, which would be frustrating to the driver as well as to the animals.
- Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together.
- Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself.
The dress of the true Israelite was to be special. They were not to dress according to the fashions of the people among whom they were living.
Those who believe in the principles taught in the statutes will still not dress according to the fashions of the people around them. God is clear enough regarding the dress of His special people. (For more information regarding dress codes order “A Special Message to the Little Flock” by John VanDenburgh.)
- If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her,
- And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid:
- Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate:
- And the damsel's father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her;
- And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city.
- And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him;
- And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days.
This statute assures four things: First, God expects purity among the youth. Second, He expects honesty among the youth. Third, He expects a young married could to work out their problems from the first day of marriage. Fourth, He expects the marriage contract to be taken very seriously.
Verses 23-29 deal with sex out of wedlock. In each instance the penalty of sexual sin is death with one exception – the virgin couple. In this case, the boy must owe the girls’ father a large sum of money, marry the girl, and stay married to her for life.
Deuteronomy 23:1-3 says:
- He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.
Self mutilation for the sake of celibacy was practiced among the pagans. God wanted His people to know that neither self mutilation nor celibacy for religious reasons would be tolerated. 1BC 1033
A eunuch that did not self-inflict his wound was at times highly respected by kings (2 Kings 9:32), and even honored by God’s ministers and welcomed into the church through baptism. Acts 8:27-40
- A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD.
The original world translated ‘bastard’ in the above text is unknown. It is true that purity of family is important to God, but this word is improperly translated, because no one knows what the original word means.
- An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever:
We are many centuries beyond the 10th generation. The phrase “forever’ often meant ‘until life ceases.’ The Israelites were not to socialize, or mix in any intimate relationships with the pagan people.
Deuteronomy 23:9-18 says:
- When the host goeth forth against thine enemies, then keep thee from every wicked thing.
This would give God every right to defend His human army. Why? Because they were absolutely showing themselves to be ‘His’ people. Satan could not say God was without right to defend them. By their holiness they were showing they belonged to God alone.
- If there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason of uncleanness that chanceth him by night, then shall he go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp:
- But it shall be, when evening cometh on, he shall wash himself with water: and when the sun is down, he shall come into the camp again.
- Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad:
The place without the camp was a sanitary dump site. Cleanliness in the army camp was for both health and morale. Another statute of cleanliness for the soldiers was to put a shovel on the end of their weapons to bury their human waste.
- And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee:
- For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.
God remains close to those who are clean in their minds, clean in their bodies, and clean in their habitations.
- Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee:
- He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him.
- There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.
- Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God.
- Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
- When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.
- But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee.
- That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the LORD thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth.
- When thou comest into thy neighbour's vineyard, then thou mayest eat grapes thy fill at thine own pleasure; but thou shalt not put any in thy vessel.
- When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour's standing corn.
Principles of fair play are almost without number in the statutes.
- Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.
- When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.
- No man shall take the nether or the upper millstone to pledge: for he taketh a man's life to pledge.
Such a token of pledge would make it very difficult for the family to make bread. In other words, his family would pay a price for the pledge of one individual.
- If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you.
Children today are captured to work the streets of large cities. Any adult involve din such trafficking of children will have to meet a stern and angry God. The principles of the statutes stand forever.
- When thou dost lend thy brother any thing, thou shalt not go into his house to fetch his pledge.
- Thou shalt stand abroad, and the man to whom thou dost lend shall bring out the pledge abroad unto thee.
- And if the man be poor, thou shalt not sleep with his pledge:
- In any case thou shalt deliver him the pledge again when the sun goeth down, that he may sleep in his own raiment, and bless thee: and it shall be righteousness unto thee before the LORD thy God.
- Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates:
- At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee.
- The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.
- Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of the stranger, nor of the fatherless; nor take a widow's raiment to pledge:
- When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.
In the earlier pages of this book, you read where Ellen White stated that these same principles were given by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount. Throughout Scripture, blessings are promised to the benevolent.
In the statutes, beatitudes, proverbs, and psalms, the character of God is revealed. God’s character will be reproduced in His people.
- And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt: therefore I command thee to do this thing.
- Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.
- If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her.
- And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel.
- And if the man like not to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother.
- Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her;
- Then shall his brother's wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother's house.
- And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed.
“The only exceptions were the high priest, who was not subject to the levirate law (Lev. 21:13,14), brothers living at a distance, and the aged.” 1BC 1042
- Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small.
- Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small.
- But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
- When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled;
- Then thou shalt say before the LORD thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them.
- The tithe payer divided his tithe and gave it to:
- The Levite, for the sustenance of the minister.
- The stranger who has of yet no work for his support.
- The fatherless who must live without a provider.
- The widow. Some widows yet today are not equipped to support themselves.
Thus, he had fulfilled the law of tithing and could expect God’s favor.
- This day the LORD thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
- Thou hast avouched the LORD this day to be thy God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice:
- And the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments;
- And to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the LORD thy God, as he hath spoken.
The rest of the book of Deuteronomy is filled with the blessings of God promised to his faithful people, as well as the troubles that would befall them if they would not be faithful to His commandments.
- And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the LORD, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day.
- And the LORD thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the LORD will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers:
- I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
- That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
“The closing words of Malachi are a prophecy regarding the work that should be done preparatory to the first and the second advent of Christ. This prophecy is introduced with the admonition, ‘Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments [Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and dreadful day of the LORD].” The Southern Watchman 3/21/1905 (insert is authors note).
The message concerning the statutes will be a prominent part of the work just before the second coming, and the Elijah message will proclaim all the Godly principles that Elijah believed. So what shall we do?
The phrase “all Israel” is exciting to ponder since the 144,000 are made up of the children of the tribes of Israel. In other words they are the last picture of Israel given in Scripture prior to the second coming of Christ. See Revelation 7:1-4.
God’s messages have always been shared by people who believe in God. Will you be willing to see that others have the same opportunity to study this material? Call to see how easily it can be done.
“Remember ye the law of Moses my servant which I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”
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