The law our schoolmaster

 By Garrick Augustus; November 8, 2011

 

In the book of Galatians we find Paul teaching the believers, in an effort to lead them back to Christ, in which he used various analogies and cultural words, if possible to get them thinking again on the right track to salvation.  The Galatians, you see, were fast falling away from Christ and were turning to “another gospel,” indeed; they were to the point of loosing their salvation in Christ by turning to the “weak and beggarly things” of the earth, even to “no gods” worship.  Paul, after berating the brethren for non orthodox teachings which were pulling away the Christians from Christ, then came to the climax of his sermon (letter), and spoke singularly to the Law in Chapter three.  The purpose of this essay, therefore, is to analyze the allegory of the law as our schoolmaster, and see the intrinsic meaning of this word to the Galatian believers then, and by extension, its meaning to us today.

To begin, we must define terms very carefully, and realize that we ought not to use Catholic definition of words in our quest for truth.  So, when I say “law” I am speaking of the Torah, and not the so-called “ceremonial law” which is a Catholic term, which to the Christian world means the statutes and judgments, excluding the Ten Commandments.  Also, I will not dissect the Torah into “moral” and “ceremonial law” because the Bible does not teach this view.  What the Bible teaches is that there are three branches of the law: Statutes, Judgments and Commandments, thus the Law is triune as its Giver.

Realizing that Paul was a teacher of righteousness, and above all a Jew of Jews, we need to step back and ask the question, was Paul in Galatians, or anywhere in the Scriptures, teaching that the law is abrogated?  If the answer is no, as in truth it is, then the apparently contradictory passages must be taken with a closer look, given a more patient survey, and thus the purpose of this essay.

The Schoolmaster/ Educator

The cardinal truth of the “schoolmaster” in Paul’s analogy might well be catalogued among the Apostle’s most misunderstood theological subjects, yet it teems for with the vital truths of salvation.

Gal 3: 24-25 “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” The word “schoolmaster” is better understood by its similes which includes: educator, instructor, guide, and teacher, to mention a few.  It is the most central word in Greek thought, and in the human experience, because it embraces all the learnings of life, be they theological, scientific, social, moral, or otherwise. The Greek word for schoolmaster is paidagogos, the English pedagogues, which literally means a “child teacher.”  In its native context the word is defined as, “a tutor i.e. a guardian and guide of boys. Among the Greeks and the Romans the name was applied to trustworthy slaves who were charged with the duty of supervising the life and morals of boys belonging to the better class. The boys were not allowed so much as to step out of the house without them before.” The New Testament Greek Lexicon. On Strong’s Greek # 3807

From the Lexicon, we realize that this pedagogue overshadows the child in an effort to ensure that the Master’s will in the child’s life is carried out.  While the pedagogue was given such authority, he was not at liberty to abuse the child, for the child is the Master’s, and the slave will always be a slave, no matter how compassionate, or trustworthy. The relationship of Masters and their slaves (servants) in Paul’s days, clearly indicate that masters have not infrequently mistreated their servants (Eph. 6: 5), and thus would not sit for a slave to vengefully mistreat his heir to the family’s wealth.  To suggest then that the pedagogue had plenipotentiary sway over the son’s discipline is to go beyond the illustration of the Apostle.  We must agree though, that in dealing with human growth and development, sometimes a guide will out of frustration, over reach his bounds of authority, much like in our modern days, teachers and guardians have overreached their authority in handing down punishment on a child.  However good the teacher’s intention in seeking to extend corporal punishment  for the good of the child, it is not socially acceptable now, and neither was it socially acceptable then.  So when reading the “schoolmaster.” we must not belabor the point of the brutality, or punitive side of this office, but the educating side thereof, which is the aspect from which the Apostle speaks.

For most individuals the Lexicon’s rendition settles the matter, but truth must be understood “line upon line” and “precept upon precept,” and to this end, we must examine the rest of Scripture to see this word’s fuller meanings and obtain a clearer presentation of the matter.  The word paidagōgos (G3708), and its derivatives are used multiple times throughout the bible, and I shall cite a few of its applications below.

“I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. For though ye have ten thousand instructors3807 in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.” 1 Cor. 4: 14-16.  Here Paul taught the Corinthian believers that while they’ve had many instructors (paidagōgos)­–schoolmasters, leading them deeper into the knowledge of Christ (these are other disciples, the lay evangelists, deacons, etc), yet he was the one who first witnessed to them and thus became their spiritual Father, hence he commissioned them to follow his pedagogy—his teaching, instructing, or leadership.  Because a father is also a teacher, he is, by definition a pedagogue—a schoolmaster.

Now the word paidagōgos is derived from paideia, Strong’s Greek #3809, and means “1) the whole training and education of children (which relates to the cultivation of mind and morals, and employs for this purpose now commands and admonitions, now reproof and punishment). It also includes the training and care of the body; 2) whatever in adults also cultivates the soul, esp. by correcting mistakes and curbing passions.; a) instruction which aims at increasing virtue; b) chastisement, chastening, (of the evils with which God visits men for their amendment)”  Strong’s Greek Dictionary. 

With this working knowledge, we can look at the function of this word in the life and manners of Christians everywhere as enunciated by the Apostle. “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture3809 and admonition of the Lord.” Eph. 6:4. This word “nurture” is the same root word for schoolmaster, it means to tenderly lead by instruction and example, with correction as necessary to reinforce learning.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction3809in righteousness.” 2 Tim 3:16. Here again, Paul used the root word for schoolmaster, in illustrating the functional qualities of “all Scripture.”  Now let’s broaden this discussion, in parallel with that of Gal. 3:24.  We see then, that when Paul was writing his letters the “all” that he and his associates know of the Scriptures, are the proverbial Old Testament writings—the Law and the Prophets, and these were their “instructors” or schoolmasters, leading them to faith in Christ.  We would never suggest that after having come to Christ, they should abandon the Scriptures—torah (law and the prophets), rather, they need them more, because they, revealing Christ, now made sin appear exceedingly sinful, and righteousness, all the more beautiful.  In like manner with us today, with the Bible in our reach (both Old and New Testaments), we do not abandon them simply because we have found a new life in Christ, we need them more, we study them more, we read them more to see more clearly his perfect will for our lives.

The Apostle still makes himself plainer when he said, “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening3809 of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him”  Heb. 12:5. The context here illustrates that the “chastening” is part of our instruction in Christ, and represents Him here as the Christian’s paidagōgos.  Thus in our formative years of coming to know Him, we are treated as little children being nurtured by their parents.  We do not abandon the teachings of godly parents after we are grown, no, we exalt them!  From proverbs we are told to “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Pr 22:6.  We do not despise the training of godly parents after we are grown, no, we celebrate them. We do not abandon the teachings of the Bible after we have found Christ, no we exalt them.  Men do not burn the bridges which have crossed them over life’s chasms, and troubled seas, no they enshrine them.  In like manner, therefore, with the law, we do not abandon it after having been led to Christ, rather “we exalt” it!

“Now no chastening3809 for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Heb. 12:11.  Here we see that the training of earthly children is likened to training children for the Kingdom of Heaven, and carries the overtone of “correction,” which is an undesirable reality of instruction. For during the formation (learning) process the correction is grievous to us personally, but as we mature, and our former challenges (rocks of offense) now become our stepping stones unto a victorious life in Christ, we glory in the corrections (tribulations) knowing what they have proffered to our character development.  We are complete in Christ only after we have learnt how to allow him to live out his perfect life in our sinful flesh, and this perfect life is one of obedience to the whole torah—the entire Bible.

An additional derivative word from paidagōgos, is paideutēs, Strong’s G3810 –  which means “1) an instructor, preceptor, teacher; 2) a chastiser.”  Says the Apostle, “And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, An instructorG3810 of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?” Rom. 2:19-21

The truth now comes full-circle, that the instructor (schoolmaster) is the teacher of righteousness which does not lead us into disobedience, but unto a life of obedience.  Hence, we ought not, as Christians, after having been tutored by the schoolmaster—the Bible, return to the beggarly elements of the world, by teaching one thing while we live another, that is hypocrisy!  And this concept the Apostle labored to show the Roman Christians that while they teach the law they must correspondingly live it. “Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?”  The law has brought us to Christ, but when we come to Christ, we do not then abandon the law and return to breaking it with impunity.  As long as we live in obedience to its righteous precepts, we do not fall under its condemnation, we do not depend on the external written law to bring condemnation, because it is now written on our hearts, and the voice of the Holy Spirit reads it in our consciences, and brings conviction when we stray there from.

Coming back to the believers in Galatia, we can summarize that the law, being our schoolmaster leading us to Messiah, is in no wise suggesting that we should abandon the law now that we know Christ, or are known of him, but that we ought the more to depend on Him to live out the law in us.  Hence, when the tutor has instructed us in the way of righteousness, we see sin in its exceeding sinfulness, and come to Christ and ask him to live out his perfect life of obedience to the law—torah—the entire Bible, in our very own sinful flesh.  And believe me friends, He will. 

Today, we have the whole bible (Old and New Testaments) which acts as our schoolmaster leading us to Christ; do we abandon its teachings once we have discovered a new life in the Saviour, or do we more earnestly seek his will through that Word?  Clearly, the latter is the case.  Similarly, it was the divine purpose of our Redeemer that the Hebrews, with their knowledge of Torah, that they would be lead to the One who can and has lived out the principles of the Torah perfectly, for a whole life time in human flesh.  Indeed, this was the desire of the “rich young ruler.”   He was being obedient to Torah in his own strength and felt within his conscience s great “lack,” and so his striving after righteousness lead him (paidagōgos) to Christ.  Thus the law was his paidagōgos (tutor), leading him to Christ.  Let’s revisit his experience for the purpose of this study:

Matt. 19: 16 ¶ “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

Matt. 19: 17  And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

Matt. 19: 18  He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

Matt. 19: 19  Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Matt. 19: 20  The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?”

How beautiful to know that we are not left to fight the battles of life on our own, in order to attain unto the righteousness of Christ!  The rich ruler was frustrated with his efforts, because after having kept “all” the commandments from his “youth up,” he sensed within himself a wide chasm between his present life and the super-abundant sanctified life of  having the assurance of “eternal life”—the assurance of being saved in YHWH.  The revelations of his “lack” after having “kept” the law lead him fast to the feet of Messiah—the only one who can live out the law perfectly through human flesh.  This was Paul’s experience when he triumphantly exclaimed: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Gal. 2: 20.

My personal witnessing experience is worthy of sharing at this time:   Several years ago, while I lived in California, I met a young man on the job, Robert, who, after talking with me confided that “before I leave this job, I will make a Satan worshipper out of you. “ I retorted, my purpose on this job is to make a Christian out of you.  I did manage to pray with Robert that same day, and offered him a pocket New Testament I carried with me.  I instructed him, Robert, do please take this book and read it.  Tonight, I invite you to read the book of John, and you don’t even need to pray, just read it and consider the meaning of the words to you.  I saw him the next day and he assured me that although he did not get to read the book last night, he has it right here, and placed his hand on his left breast pocket.  Over time he came to my office at lunch and just wanted to talk about the wonderful words of Jesus he was reading in this book of John.  After leaving the job, about eight months passed, and I received a phone call at work.  The caller asked, “Brother Augustus, do you remember me?”  I stumbled and could not pick up the voice.  He then relented and said “This is Robert S_____, I just want to let you know how thankful I am for you to have given me that bible and taken me to church.  Today I am the youth leader of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas.  When I go to church in the mornings, I don’t leave until Sabbath has ended.  I love the Lord and I love the Church.”

What was it that led Robert to Christ?  It was the Bible, the Christian’s Torah.  The Bible led him to Christ, and he continued to abide in Christ by reading the Word and going to the Saviour for the ability to live out that word in his sinful flesh.  In this sense then, the Bible became his paidagōgos, leading him to Christ.  Once we have come to the foot of Calvary and seen the bleeding lamb, it is not the condemnation of the law which now smites us, but the conviction of the Holy Spirit which unveils our own sinfulness that hammered the nails those noble hands and feet, and jabbed the spear in our precious Saviour’s side.

The Law Was “Added”

Gal. 3: 19 ¶  “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.” 

“In the fifth chapter of Deuteronomy Moses rehearses to the children of Israel the circumstances of the giving of the law. Verses 5-21 contain the substance of the Ten Commandments, and of these Moses says in the twenty-second verse: “These words the Lord spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice; and He ADDED no more.”

The term “added,” in this verse, is in the Septuagint exactly the same as that rendered “added” in Galatians 3:19. The Hebrew word is the same that is rendered “add” in Genesis 30:24. That it has unmistakable reference in Deuteronomy 5:22 to the moral law, and to that alone, no one can deny. I care not whether you render it “added,” “spoken,” or “promulgated’‘—it makes no difference.

In Hebrews 12:18, 19 we have unmistakable reference to the voice of God speaking the law from Sinai, and the request of the people that God should not speak to them any more (Exodus 20:18, 19), in the words, “which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more.” Here the word rendered “spoken” is the same as that rendered “added” in Galatians 3:19 and Deuteronomy 5:22.

If we chose we might render it, “they entreated that the word should not be added to them any more,” and then we would have a uniform rendering. Or we might render it uniformly “spoken,” and then we would read in Deuteronomy that the Lord spoke all those words in the mount, out of the midst of the fire, etc., with a great voice, “and He spoke no more;” and this would be the exact truth and a good rendering. And likewise for uniformity we might justly render Galatians 5:19, “it was spoken because of transgressions.”

Or we might take the word in Deuteronomy 5:22 in the same sense in which it is used in Genesis 30:24, and the same idea would appear. When Rachel said, “God shall add to me another son,” it was the same as though she had said, “God will give me another son.” So the meaning in Deuteronomy 5:22 is that after the Lord had given them the commandments recorded in the preceding verses, He gave them no more. It seems to me very reasonable to apply the term “added” to the moral law; and whether it is reasonable or not I have certainly quoted two texts besides Galatians 3:19 which apply it so.”  The Gospel in Galatians, E.J. Waggoner, (1886),   http://dedication.www3.50megs.com/1888/waggonerbutler_twolaws3.html

Gal. 3: 20-21.  “Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.” 

The “mediator” here is not Moses, as is taught by some, but instead is Christ, the Messiah.  Hence “there is one God, and onemediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Tim. 2:5.

Gal. 3: 22-23 “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.  But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.” 

In another expansion to this essay I will deal with the other verses in Galatians 3, as well as those in chapter four. 

May Christ teach you how to live his law by allowing him to work within us to will and to do of his good pleasure is my prayer.

 

2 thoughts on “The law our schoolmaster

  1. Garrick the comments below from Geoof and myself regarding the law. He did not see your replies to some of his questions. Do you think you can post these comments and the answers to his questions as a feature here somewhere? Thanks. T.

    Geoof,
    Great to hear from you my brother, I am T. I was raised SDA and am appreciative of that foundation. I have two SDA uncles that are pastors. I am a third generation SDA. However, I use the bible and history only and have never quoted from Ellen White to sustain a point of scripture and have never accepted a quote from her to believe or refute scripture.I do not hold her writings as scripture. I do not believe the writings she has called Spirit of Prophecy or Testimonies are what the bible refers to by the same name.

    I usually ignore any quote from her writings that you send to establish a point of doctrine. I have read her books and am reading them now for devotion and have been blessed.
    The points you raise are important and so I will comb through this email and respond to some of them each time, but not all at once.
    Here is a quote from Ellen White as evidence of why I don’t use her materials to prove or disprove the bible.
    “The hour of the evening sacrifice arrives. The priest stands in the court of the Temple in Jerusalem ready to offer a lamb as sacrifice. As he raises the knife to kill the victim, the earth convulses. Terrified, he drops the knife and the lamb escapes. Over the din of the earthquake he hears a loud ripping noise as an unseen hand rends the veil of the Temple from top to bottom.
    Across town, black clouds enshroud a cross. When Jesus, the Passover Lamb of God, calls out, “It is finished!” He dies for the sins of the world.
    Type has met antitype. The very event the Temple services have pointed to through the centuries has taken place. The Saviour has completed His atoning sacrifice, and because symbol has met reality, the rituals foreshadowing this sacrifice have been superseded. Thus the rent veil, the dropped knife, the escaped lamb.
    But there is more to salvation history. It reaches beyond the cross. Jesus’ resurrection and ascension direct our attention to the heavenly sanctuary, where, no longer the Lamb, He ministers as priest. The once-for-all sacrifice has been offered (Heb. 9:28); now He makes available to all the benefits of this atoning sacrifice.”
    And at the very same Passover here is the bible:
    “I have eagerly desired to eatthis Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” Luke 22:15, 16.
    If I understand sister white correctly, it would seem that at the very moment when Jews kill the Passover lamb, Christ was on the cross and said “It is finished.” Then the lamb that was going to be killed escaped and that would have been the last lamb that represented Christ.
    However, the bible says that Jesus was not on the cross at the time of Passover meal because he was eating with his disciples.

    In this instance, I must accept or reject the bible based on what EGW says.I only accept the bible. EGW’s comments here are emotionally entertaining at best.
    You have already established that the Law is eternal from eternity past.The point you and I have a disagreement on is that the LAW means just the 10 commandments.

    Here you suggest that Moses received only the 10 commandments: “andHe added no more. And He wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.”
    The 10 Commandments are a transcript of God’s character:
    “The law of God in the sanctuary in heaven is thegreat original, of which the precepts inscribed upon the tables of stone and recorded by Moses in the Pentateuch werean unerring transcript.”

    But, the bible teaches that Moses himself recorded a vast amount of law beyond the two tables of stone.Ex 24 4 And Moseswrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.

    Again, you correctly lay the following text and summary:’Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law.’ Matthew 5:18. The law of God, being a revelation of His will, atranscript of His character, mustforever endure, ‘as a faithful witness in heaven.’Not one command has been annulled; not a jot or tittle has been changed.

    Yet, if I understand you correctly, you are saying, at the cross other laws were actually fulfilled.That means, not merely jots and tittles wiped out but whole chunks and chapters are passed away, although heaven and earth are not.

    That means you disagree with your own quote thatnot one command has been annulled because you have reduce that “not one command” to just ten, plus, plus (diets, and tithing).I feel you have not a reliable biblical source to extract diets and tithing from the death of the ceremonial law ashes, because as you claim, they were before the ceremonial law was given or because theymake sense to you.

    This is not a hermeneutical stance. This is here a little there a little picking and choosing.It is an unfair form of reasoning.
    My two year old does the same thing.

    Don’t be offended here. I know that we have established a seriousness for truth seeking.But, as I was saying, I tell my two year old “No, you cannot have it. It is dangerous. Daddy says no!”And he just says “I want it” until I give in or go nuts. He is not considering my points, he is not using sound reasoning.He is not weighing the evidence. He is just having his own way.

    You cannot have your own way with the ten commandments and add the other two, one for good measure, and one to grow on.
    The commandments came in a package.They are a set. I would even say yes, they came in two sets; the Ten on stone and the others written and placed in the side of the ark; the totality is called the Law of God.

    What biblical exegetical standard do you use to rescue the dietary laws and tithing from the other ceremonial laws? What measure do you use to determine which laws get in the ceremonial packet and which are left out?

    And when choosing the dietary laws why did you not accept the commandment against eating of blood and how to properly kill an animal to drain the blood, as did the gentiles in Acts 15?The meat that Adventist call “clean” is not clean do to the blood violation!Why did you not take the whole law on dietary cleanliness?

    Here you quote Psalms:
    ‘Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven.’ ‘All His commandments are sure.They stand fast for ever and ever.’ ” Psalm 119:89
    But just like the Sabbath School Quarterly, in one breath you say we keep his whole law, but you have your fingers crossed, because you mean only the Ten Commandments will last and forever. You teach the other commandments have expired except for homosexuality and beastiality.

    We should note here that SDA’s have images of“Jesus” as well as statues of Jesus and therefore only keep 9 of the 10 commandments.

    Everything else has been fulfilled prior at the cross.Although, of Passover Christ said it would not be fulfilled until he comes in the Kingdom (Luke 22:16).So, is Passover yet to be fulfilled, as Christ taught, or was it fulfilled at the cross as SDA’s teach?

    In this line of “Ten Commandments only” thinking, please explain acts 15:19-20
    19Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:
    20But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and fromfornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

    None of the four instructions given to the gentiles are from the Ten Commandments.These four are from the “ceremonial”law. Why were new believers exempted fromany of the Ten Commandments?

    Among the fulfilled laws you have listed the feast days.Your stance, I believe, is post-cross we need only the Ten Commandments, because the other laws could not be fully carried out unless we can establish their pre- “modified” state.This is what I intend to do.

    GEOOF: “I still must ask, how can you insist we keep the feast exactly as prescribed initially, especially when there is no scriptural evidence of their modification to make them appropriate (extracting the parts requiring animal sacrifice)?”

    Well, the answer is simple. Num 28:9And on the sabbath day two lambs of the first year without spot, and two tenth deals of flourfor a meat offering, mingled with oil, and the drink offering thereof:
    Geoof, we need an admission from you here.

    Did the Sabbath ever have sacrifices commanded to be carried out?
    If you truthfully answer yes, the Sabbath had sacrifices, but now we do not sacrifice, yet the day is still holy, then you already understand how to keep the Feast Days.Yes, the Feast Days had sacrifices, but now we do not sacrifice, yet the day is still holy. You agree that the law is from eternity past. Then that would include the Feast Days, naturally.

    And Col 2:16

    14Blotting 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;

    15And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

    16Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

    You want to focus on the “handwriting of ordinances.” But I want to focus on the “Sabbath days”You would be hard pressed to findany commentary any where that says that Sabbath days is NOT a reference to the weekly Sabbath, in Col 2:16.

    ONLY the SDA commentary says it is not the weekly Sabbath. So in the very verse you use to get out of the Feast Days you condemn the weekly Sabbath that you try to up hold. This is approach, that Col 2:16 does not refer to the weekly sabbath is not honest.

    This position would discredit you in the eyes of any Non-SDA scholar or lay person. The theology is dishonest here and the interpretation of Col 2 is wrong!

    You are an engineer and obviously a well educated man. How do you explain that the word for Sabbath used in Col 2:16 in all the rest of the New Testament always refers to the weekly Sabbath, but some how it does not mean weekly Sabbath in Col 2:16 according to only Seventh- Day Adventist?

    GEOOF: “Till this day I am still waiting the answer from Garrick, and I extend the question to you, whether you believe physical circumcision is still required of male believers.
    “And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.” Genesis 17:14.”

    In one of your letters you said “for obvious reasons” we need to keep the dietary laws due to the health benefits.I would think that you would use the same rationale for circumcision?But, the biblical position must be did Paul, or any of the Apostles and Elders have permission to adjust, or abolish any law?

    The answer is no!
    Jesus himself cannot change his law! For he said “if it is possible, take this cup”but it was not possible. The law required the shedding of his blood. Circumcision is representative of his blood on your behalf. This too is true of the eating of meat with blood. It represents the soul.

    The law of circumcision is still binding today. Think of it like baptism. If one were scheduled to be baptized and for some unfortunate reason they died on the way to the ceremony, that would not affect their salvation, because the Baptism of the Spirit trumps that of the Water, though both are required.

    Circumcision was never a means of salvation, because it is trumped by the circumcision of the heart.However, like Baptism of the Spirit does not remove the necessity for Baptism of Water, the circumcision of the heart does not remove the necessity for the circumcision of the flesh.It is used as a sign that separates Israel from the heathen. It is still a sign, like those of diet and Sabbath.Those of us that here his voice follow him. Jesus was circumcised, and so am I and so should you be.
    Blessings to you and family.
    Awating your reply.

    T.

    ________________________________________

    Hi T.,
    Allow me to properly introduce myself. I am striving to be a humble servant of the Lord. I am a Seventh-day Adventist Christian and so I value fervent prayer and diligent study of the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy (SOP). I have found them to be unquestionably reliable and so I have been able to consistently rely on them. I also take sharing my faith very seriously; for me it’s a command and not an option. Oh, and I’m Jamaican by birth, but I’ve lived in England and I was raised in Baltimore, MD, although I’ve lived elsewhere, Florida. I’m a family man… And I’m a civil engineer. That’s a little about me. How about you?

    I want to encourage an honest study of scripture, not just a debate. The purpose is to better understand and communicate and live out exactly what God says, nothing more, nothing less. I don’t know about you yet, but since I am a Seventh-day Adventist Christian and unashamed and un-doubtful (confident in the Bible and SOP), I have no problem quoting them quite freely and applying them to my life and understanding. They inform my dim understanding.

    “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”Psalm 119:130.

    No need for me to quibble over the law because I think the Bible and SOP make it quite clear that God’s holy precepts are captured in the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17, recapitulated in Deuteronomy 5:6-21). These 10 are a unit.

    Please notice what it says in Deuteronomy:5:22:
    “These words the Lord spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: andHe added no more. And He wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.”

    The 10 Commandments are a transcript of God’s character:
    “The law of God in the sanctuary in heaven is thegreat original, of which the precepts inscribed upon the tables of stone and recorded by Moses in the Pentateuch werean unerring transcript.

    Those who arrived at an understanding of this important point were thus led to see the sacred,unchanging character of the divine law. They saw, as never before, the force of the Saviour’s words:

    ‘Till heaven and earth pass,one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law.’ Matthew 5:18. The law of God, being a revelation of His will, atranscript of His character, mustforever endure, ‘as a faithful witness in heaven.’Not one command has been annulled; not a jot or tittle has been changed.

    Says the psalmist: ‘Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven.’ ‘All His commandments are sure.They stand fast for ever and ever.’ ” Psalm 119:89; 111:7, 8. – from the Great Controversy, p. 434.1

    Now, God’s character did not originate at Mt Sinai and did not pass away at Mt. Calvary. However something did change at Mt Calvary and I’m not making this up.

    “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.” Colossians 2:14, 15.
    The handwriting of ordinances were blotted out at the cross.

    “Through Christ the hidden glory of the holy of holies was to stand revealed. He had suffered death for every man, and by this offering, the sons of men were to become the sons of God. With open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, believers in Christ were to be changed into the same image, from glory to glory. The mercy seat, upon which the glory of God rested in the holiest of all, is opened to all who accept Christ as the propitiation for sin, and through its medium, they are brought into fellowship with God.

    The veil is rent, the partition walls broken down, thehandwriting of ordinances cancelled. By virtue of His blood the enmity is abolished.” Letter 230, 1907, also in Sons and Daughters of God, p. 228.3.

    Allow me to share this with you:
    “The gracious promise of our Lord in this commission, when He says, “And lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world,” is the strongest proof of the perpetuity of the gifts. He was not to be personally with His people, no; but how was He to be with them? The inspired record states that after the Lord was received up into heaven, ‘they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.’

    “This promise cannot be restricted to the lifetime of the chosen twelve, nor to the Christians of the first century, for it extends to the end of the world [aion] age. ‘Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world,’ to the end of the Christian age. If it be said that the Jewish age is her meant, we reply,that dispensation closed with the death of Christ, forty-two days before this commission was given.

    We give two passages as proof. Colossians 2:14. ‘Blotting out the hand-writing of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.’ Daniel 9:27. ‘In the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease.’ This prophecy was fulfilled at the death of the Messiah, in the middle of the last of the seventy weeks. Therethe Jewish typical sacrifices ceased to be of any virtue, when the great antitypical sacrifice was offered. Christ gave this commission just before His ascension, Mark 16:19, which was at least forty-two days after His crucifixion.” Spiritual Gifts, Volume 3, p. 10.2.
    I will also share this again because you may not have been in on the conversation at this point:
    “Christ did not contradict His own teaching. The unfermented wine that He provided for the wedding guests was a wholesome and refreshing drink. This is the wine that was used by our Saviour and His disciples in the first Communion.” The Ministry of Healing, p. 333.

    Christ instituted the first Communion.
    “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For evenChrist our passover is sacrificed for us: thereforelet 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.

    And to answer Garrick’s question about Paul’s statement about observing the feasts, we must study the context:
    “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.
    My question is why does Paul need to “by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem”? The answer is found two verses earlier:
    “And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.” Acts 18:19.

    We see that pattern with Paul of reasoning with the Jews conveniently at any special gatherings and observances:
    “And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.” verse 4
    “And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.”

    verse 5
    “And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man’s house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue.” verse 7
    “And he [Paul] continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.” verse 11
    There was great excitement when Jews were converted (see verse 8) and great disappointment and reluctant withdrawal when Christ was rejected (see verse verse 6).

    But let me ask you, did Paul keep the feast as the unconverted Jews he was trying to win to Christ? I say absolutely NOT! He did not continue offering the Passover lamb as prescribed in Exodus 12. That’s what the Jews he hoped to convert would have still been doing because they had not yet accepted Jesus our Passover as theirs. Yet Paul could not be convicted by his accusers of “persuad[ing] men to worship God contrary to the law” (verse 13).

    Now how could Paul not offer animal sacrifices and still not be guilty of persuading men contrary to the law? That’s because like Jesus (Luke 24:27), Paul showed the Jews how the feasts lead to Jesus (Acts 17:2, 3; 18:4).

    This is a good time to review the Sabbath School lessons on Christ and His Law.

    Christ and His Law
    Christ and His Law, Adult Bible Study Guide or Sabbath School Lesson including links to resources for teachers, youth, children, discussion forum and blog.
    View on ssnet.org
    Preview by Yahoo

    There has never been a time God’s law did not exist. God put in place what we call the ceremonial law to point His people to Christ. When Jesus died on the cross it brought to an end that sacrificial system, making such as physical circumcision and animal sacrifice obsolete.

    Certainly animal/blood sacrifice is totally inappropriate for the believer in Christ and an empty charade for Jews still trying to practice it (or hypocritically not practicing it). Feast days and circumcision are optional and do not put one in any better or worse standing with God.

    I still must ask, how can you insist we keep the feast exactly as prescribed initially, especially when there is no scriptural evidence of their modification to make them appropriate (extracting the parts requiring animal sacrifice)?

    Till this day I am still waiting the answer from Garrick, and I extend the question to you, whether you believe physical circumcision is still required of male believers.

    “And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.” Genesis 17:14.
    God richest blessings to you,
    *** Geoff ***

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  2. T: {My responses are in brackets; T.}

    Geoof: Hi T.,
    I spotted your 8:45 response just now, but I’m responding to this earlier response in order to include your response.

    Let’s be quite honest. I have made a similar response to Garrick. Why in the world would you rely on a Bible and a prophet as the ones you present? If Ellen White and Peter were racists and the SOP and portions of scripture present inaccurate prophecy, then honestly, why depend on them?

    T: {Hello Geoof, Do you deny that Peter was being a bigot and had to be corrected “to his face by Paul?” or do you deny that EGW wrote statements that lean toward calling some races of people lower than whites? Listen, I worship Yahovah; not Peter and certainly not EGW.}

    Geoof: And why even profess to be a Seventh-day Adventist if you no longer share the Seventh-day Adventist world view?

    T: {I do not profess to be SDA. I could careless about that label. I was born SDA. The foundation is an excellent place to start. It is not the end of the line of truth however. Nor is the SDA church without error. I am not here to defend or discuss the SDA church. I am presenting the bible speaks of the law as a unit verses any doctrine or worldview that wants to separate the law into disposable chunks.}

    Geoof: I’m not casting you out of the church, but it seems that somehow you have jumped tracks. Often there is some darling sin or lifestyle that prevents folks from accepting tried and true standards.

    T: {So, must I be living in sin if I don’t fully accept EGW or the SDA worldview? This is arrogant.}

    Geoof: You are not saved by believing in Ellen g. White, but history has proven those who follow the spirit of prophecy and adhere to the Bible and not private interpretation fare much better.

    T:{I have stated that EGW devotional study has been beneficial to me. I was baptized because of the little book called Steps to Christ.
    But my allegiance and confidence are to El-Shaddai not El-len White.}

    Geoof: “Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.” 2 Chronicles 20:20

    T: {Your comment here seriously exposes you. You mean by this quote that Judah is the SDA church. You mean that Jerusalem is “in your heart.” I reject both of those “replacement theologies.” Judah, are the literal physical and spiritual children of Abraham. Jerusalem is really Jerusalem. It is not “in your heart.” God still keeps his promises. He promised to bless the literal, blood physical and spiritual children of Abraham in the exact physical location of the promised land on the earth prior to going to heaven.

    SDA’ s erroneously teach that God turned from the Jews at “the stoning of Steven.” The truth is that Israel was blinded for a time- until the fullness of the gentiles- then God will return them to the real tangible Jerusalem on earth before “take off” to heaven.}

    Geoof: The SOP is reliable, not because it proves or disproves the Bible, but because it 100% agrees with and promotes the Bible.

    T. {Your comment here sounds like that of Islamic peoples when they claim that the angel Gabriel spoke to directly Mohammed and that he, Mohammed, is without error. Mormon’s make a similar claim. You would not see any errors presented about EGW and I am fine with that. In seminary, several of her errors and disagreements are presented. I could list 100 disagreements, but that is not my point, to tear down confidence in EGW or not. My objective is to state that I only accept the bible and am not concerned with what EGW states. Do you have a problem with people accepting just the bible?

    If you have found truth in Ellen White’s writing that agrees with the bible, then simply show it to me from the bible, and not from her writings. If it can be found in the bible then why not use the bible?}

    Geoof: Being a “lesser light” to the “greater light” of the Bible does not relax the requirement for the prophet to pass or fail the Biblical tests of a prophet. And so she is either in or out just as all of the prophets recorded in the Bible. Please don’t hold on to her for mere emotional entertainment. What an insult to the Holy Spirit!

    T: {The Holy Spirit is a big God; He can respond accordingly to any insults on himself. I hold the bible canon finished with the book of Revelation. I see none of your EGW quotes as anything other than WHITE noise. Is it that you cannot prove your ideas using the bible only, so you depend on EGW?}

    Geoof: As for the law, you seem to make the case for me. The reasoning is this. Since God’s holy ten commandment law is consistent and never changing and you wish to add to it more than the 10 on the two tables of stone,

    T: {Wait, wait wait. I have not added to the ten commandments. I am telling you that the ten commandments are not the full extent of the law. For example where in the ten commandments does it say to give 10% of your income to the church? Did you see how in the same sentence you said LAW and then 10 commandemnts? That is intellectual dec.i e tThe the ten commandments are not the LAW, they are a part of it. So, it is not I that have added to the commandments but that you have limited the commandments to 9 of 10 that you like. SDA churches break the 2nd commandment regarding images of God in the use of Jesus pictures.}

    Geoof: then the others must be of the same nature and needs no adjustment. Therefore we should still be sacrificing animals regardless if Jesus came and died and rose again.

    T: {I have provided for you on 3 occasions Num 28:9 that states that sacrifices of animals is to be made each weekly Sabbath. That is twice as many animals commanded to be killed each Sabbath than on any other day. Yet, you have never sacrificed an animal on Sabbath, why? It is because you recognize that the day is holy and to be kept without sacrifices post- Christ’s’ sacrifice. The Feast of the Lord are Holy and are to be kept without sacrifices because his law is from eternity past.}

    Geoof: You correctly stated the law was kept in the ark. What you failted to recognize is the specific geographics. The 10 were stored inside the ark:
    “And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee.” Exodus 25:21.
    While the covenant with all the other laws and statutes supporting the 10 commandments was placed in the side of the ark”
    “Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.” Deuteronomy 31:26.
    Please notice the “witness against thee.” Sound familiar?

    T. {Did you fail to see the geographic location of the Ark? It is in the Most Holy Place in the Heavenly Sanctuary (and on earth)! So, though the Ten Commandments are in the center of the ark and the BOOK of the LAW in the side of the Ark, both are in the Ark and the Ark is in the most holy place. This book of the law that you deem as less than the Ten Commandments, because it is geographically in the side of the Ark, is it from GOD or from MOSES?

    Are the other commandments (the Book of the Law) from GOD or from MOSES?

    Do you mean that placing them in the side of the Ark means they are not of equal value but are somewhat lesser and not everlasting?

    Eve, if you recall was taken out of a rib the was in the side of Adam. Is she lesser or not worthy of eternity because she is from the side and not the head?}

    Geoof: Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances

    T. {Again, respectfully be informed about handwriting of ordinances. You seem to come up short in understanding them. I was there before. You owe it to yourself to discover what that means. Hint, it is a legal term that does not refer to the keeping of the law.

    Whenever you come up short you start to do personal digs such as “are you living in sin, because you do not fully embrace sister white?” You are reading with another man’s or in this case woman’s (EGW’s) glasses on.

    You are inserting the Feast Days any where you like without study. The handwriting of ordinances is NOT a reference to the Feast Days.

    You have ordinances every 13 sabbath- communion. Where did that ordinance come from? Why 13 sabbaths? Where is the command to have the ordinance of communion? Where is the command to have it every 13 sabbaths?}

    Geoof: that was against us, which was contrary to us,

    T: {Sunday Christians say the law was against us when we present the Sabbath. It is because they would rather remain ill informed than to educate themselves on the law and follow that up with obedience.

    You too would like to remain under informed and teach that God gave us a LAW that was against us and then PUNISHES us for not keeping a LAW that he KNEW was CONTRARY to us.

    This makes little sense. You must restudy this angel when you see it’s logical conclusions. The Law is holy just and good. It was never against us. Without being rude, I am willing to explain it to you just what it is that was against us and taken out of the way, if you are ready to hear it?}

    Geoff: and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross” Colossians 2:14.
    More on this a little later as time permits.
    Happy Preparation Day and Sabbath,

    ** Geoff ***

    T: {Happy Sabbath. T.}

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