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Are Adventists Old-Covenant Christians? (Part 5) — 27 Comments

  1. Good day Mr. Torres,

    I really struggle with this Michael the Arch Angel being Christ business. I always felt that God's Angels (those closest to his throne) would be very much like him. And that if God chose to show himself to someone he could use an Angel in his stead. Even though I understand the scriptures that could seemingly point to this. There is one in Hebrews that let us know that Christ took on the nature of mankind for sure, but it states that he did not put on the nature of Angels. To me that answered my questions considering Michael being Christ. What are your thoughts on that scripture in Hebrews?

    Amen!(2)
    • Great question Joy! My thoughts on the scripture in Hebrews is that its dealing with Jesus' incarnation as a human being. Paul is not discounting that Jesus could have had a pre-human angelic manifestation because that's not the point he is discussing. In the Old Testament we see Angels come in human form all the time. They didn't become human, they simply appeared human. Paul seems to be emphasizing that Jesus did not merely appear human but that he truly became a man. But more to the point, Paul is emphasizing that Jesus knows what its like to suffer and be tempted because he was one of us. He came in human nature not in angelic nature. Because of this, we are assured that he understands us and sympathies with our struggles.

      So to my understanding, Paul is speaking to persecuted Christians who are tempted to turn away from Jesus and pointing out that he knows their pain because he too was human, not angel, and he felt real human pain when he suffered. Paul is not addressing the question of Christ's pre-incarnation existence though. It's not on his agenda.

      For me its a really simple concept. God in scripture is always pictured as wanting to be near his creation. In the OT he came near via the sanctuary, in the gospels he comes near via Jesus, and in the modern age he comes near via the Holy Spirit indwelling us (his church). So he is always bridging the gap between his creation and himself. It seems perfectly reasonable to suggest that before man was created, he had a similar relationship with the angels and that Michael was a means by which Jesus bridged the gap between God and creation in a way that could not be otherwise bridged. God can certainly use an angel to reveal himself to others (we see this in the Bible) but he also seems to like showing up in person. And for me, thats what the whole Michael thing is about. Its God doing what he always does (condescending for the sake of relational intimacy) for the angels.

      However, I dont make a big deal over it Joy. If you or anyone else just doesnt see the connection its OK. Its one of those doctrines that we can agree to disagree on because its not central in the development of SDA thought at all. It is a result of our "God-in-time" or "sanctuary-God" presupposition. Thats pretty much it. Im pretty comfortable with saying that I see the connection but am happy to leave it until i get to heaven and then Ill know for sure. Of course, you cant do that with every doctrine, but this is one that I think is just not that serious.

      Hope that helps a bit,

      Amen!(5)
      • Thank you for your reply Mr. Torres. I appreciate your having taken the time to answer my question.

        I guess you are correct when you say we will have to agree to disagree with this one. I guess I still lean toward the belief that Christ is the Son of God exclusively. That Angels still long to look into these things and That Christ has the power and ability to appear to someone as an angel without having to be an angel....But Thanks again 🙂

        Amen!(2)
        • I believe Marcos's statements regarding Michael are sound.

          It seems to me that there was no way for Christ to be an angel, the way He became a human being. Recall that Christ became human through human birth. Angels, on the other hand, are spiritual beings, without the ability to procreate.

          However, Christ could take the form and function of an angel (the Archangel/ First Angel) without "becoming" an angel. What Marcos wrote does not necessitate His "becoming" an angel, the way He truly became human. Since angels are also spiritual beings they can also take on different physical forms. The difference is that Christ is the Creator, and they are created beings. How would you suggest that Christ could communicate with and lead the angels without appearing to them in some form?

          Also see this post on our site: "Michael, My Savior and Rescuer" which helps to show that Michael the Archangel can hardly be anyone other than Christ Himself.

          Amen!(4)
        • Just to clarify Joy. I too believe Jesus is the son of God exclusively. Believing Jesus has an angelic manifestation called Michael doesn't throw his identify as God's son into question. He is the son of God exclusively but also the son of man. And he manifested himself to the angels in a way they could relate and understand as well via Michael.

          Also, I think Inge's answer below is really good. What do we mean by having to "be" an angel? He had to become a man to save us. But he did not have to become a man to communicate with us as Genesis implies he did so before the fall. An angelic manifestation doesn't necessarily mean he became an angel. It just means Michael is Jesus in angelic form.

          Amen!(3)
    • Sis Joy(love your name)I was always advised to never rest my understanding on one text. I have adopted the biblical recommendation of "Line upon line...here a little, and there a little. When relying on one text, you have to decide the context, which involves reading preceding, and oftentimes following text to get a proper understanding.
      After reading the other comments, my question to you is, who do you say Michael is, because if He's not The Christ (another role), I'll eat my shoe.

      Amen!(3)
      • In my Bible, after Hebrews 10:12 "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever (Praise God), sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool...Daniel 12:1 "And at that time shall Michael Stand up..." which, in my mind, picks up where verse 13 leaves off, "here a little, there a little". He is no longer in His priestly attire, He's got another job, He's got to assemble His legions of angels, and as their Commander in Chief (A.K.A. "MICHAEL"), He will lead the procession that is soon to be heading our way. Even so, come Lord Jesus!

        Amen!(3)
        • Our Lord Jesus Christ is named Lord of Lords and King of Kings 1 Tim 6:15; Rev 17:14; 19:16. He is also named Prince of Princes (Dan 8:25).
          Michael is titled Prince (Dan 10:13,21), and Archangel (Jude 1:9). He was assigned Israel’s guardian and protector Prince (Dan 10:21) being ONE of the Chief Princes (Archangels).
          Satan, God’s antagonist, assigned his angel princes too - Prince of Persia, Prince of Greece {Dan 10:13,20). The unnamed messenger of God in Dan 10 needed Michael’s help in his struggle with the Prince of Persia in his three week effort to persuade the King of Persia concerning Israel’s restoration (Dan 10:11,20,21).
          In Jude false teachers entered the church who “turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our ONLY Master and Lord, Jesus Christ”, and who rejected authority and mocked angelic majesties. Jude 4,8. Verse 9 describes Michael, not Christ of verse 4, as being respectful to Satan, a higher created majesty.
          Rev 12:7-12 brings to view the ultimate battle that occurred in Jerusalem to which all the nations were summoned (Joel 3:12,13; Zech 12:1-4; 14:2), when the cup “trembled” in Christ’s hand (John 12:31). Michael and his angels triumphed over Satan and his angels just like in Persia. Christ drank all of it and vanquished Satan.

          Amen!(3)
  2. On Jesus as being Michael before His incarnation as the Seed of Abraham:

    Angel is not a species, but an occupation. The words translated as angel in both Hebrew and Greek are defined as messenger. An angel is a messenger. Jesus, as One with the Father from eternity is in fact the "chief messenger"(the strict interpretation of archó aggelos) Read what Malachi (My messenger) has to say about the Christ in Mal 3:1, "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. "

    This is none other than the Christ, who is Jesus.

    We also have Michael raising Moses (see Jude:9), while Jesus claims to be "the resurrection and the Life". Also in Rev 12, depicting the war in heaven, the angels are commanded by Michael, yet it was the Lord that told Joshua that HE was "captain (sar) of the Lord's Host", whom we know now as the Lord Jesus. Notice He never gives His name in the Old Testament, even when asked.

    We also see Jesus in 1 Thess 5 coming "in/with the voice of the archangel", who is also "the resurrection and the life".

    Jesus is God incarnate as man. Is it too difficult to believe He has other names/roles? He is going to be given a new name as well. Consider that the one called the "messenger of the covenant", He spoke the covenant from Sinai, He spoke it Himself, and not another, so we could call Him the chief messenger of the covenant. His voice, His finger, who else would be above Him?

    For me, the real convincing is found in the words of Gabriel to Daniel in 10:13, referring to Michael as "one(echad) of the Chief(rishon) Princes(sar). Look up the meaning of those Hebrew words. Also, consider who Gabriel is and his position before God. The only beings above Gabriel, whom he would address as "rishon sar" is the Godhead, and Michael is one(echad) of them.

    That's the condensed version.

    Amen!(5)
  3. Marcos, please explain the concept: “God’s law is an expression of His character of love”. Is it the language of the Law, the Ten Commandments,…? Is it in the actual giving of the Law on Sinai?

    Amen!(1)
    • Hi Kenny! Sorry for the late reply. I have been very busy. I am not sure if you have managed to read the entire series this individual post is a part of. If not, I encourage you to do so as the short answer I will give is explained further in the previous posts.

      My answer is yes and no. The ten commandments in Sinai is the law of love adapted to the condition of fallen beings. So its not the law of love in its purest sense. The law of love is not an arbitrary "because I said so" thing. It is simply the design God used to create reality - a design which finds its root in Gods character of love. God created our world to operate off of the principle of other-centeredness. When a person is self-centered they bring harm. When we are other centered we bring joy and happiness. That is the law of love - it is the parameters in which life is designed to thrive.

      Because the fall of man rendered man (for lack of a better word) "dumb" God had to adapt his law for our fallen condition. He had to make it "dummy proof" which is what we find post-eden. It still reflects his character of love, but not in the original sense in which the law is intended to operate. this is why, in the new covenant, the law is written in our hearts. The law on tables of stone was temporary. God doesnt want a people who obey him because "he said so" but a people who have been restored to love. the law written in our hearts is Gods other centered love becoming a part of our being.

      I hope this short answer answers your question,

      Blessings.

      Amen!(3)
      • So Marcos, if "the law on tables of stone was temporary", does that mean that it was replaced by something permanent?

        Amen!(2)
          • That was always the purpose of the everlasting covenant. It's not new at all. God hasn't changed. We are just slow to comprehend His purposes. Sin clouds the mind.

            Amen!(0)
          • What law is that? Is it written? Is it the command of Jesus to love as I have loved you!?

            Amen!(0)
          • Sorry guys, it appears there are too many comments here and we are running out of space to keep hitting reply. I am replying to myself here but responding to your questions so I hope this works out OK.

            Once again, I recommend you read the previous posts on this series as I interact with your questions there in more detail than I can here. But allow me to now answer your questions with a bit more meat. I have been responding with brief answers because I wanted to see if I could get a better idea of what angle you guys are coming from first. I may still not know entirely, but here is my responce.

            1) A conversation on the law will lead knowhere if our presuppositions are different. My presupposition is this: that there is only one law and that it is based on Gods character of love. That law is eternal. It can never be abrogated unless God himself changes. However, that eternal law of love is communicated in different ways throughout history. But those different ways do not have strict lines of demarcation. Rather, they have overlap into one another. So to speak of one law being replaced by another implies that there are different laws entirely. But to my understanding there is only one law and it is rooted in Gods love. So the New Covenant law is different not in its content but in how it is communicated. The old covenant law written on stone was communicated externally. The new covenant law written in the heart is communicated internally but it is the same law. But of course, even the communication of the law has overlap. We see clear examples in the OT of God's law being internal and of course, we see that the conscience of even pagans includes a kind of internal law of love. So when speaking of the law, we often separate them into categories (conscience, tablets of stone, heart) for the sake of simplifying the conversation. But in real life there is considerable overlap in all of them. But when it comes to the narrative of scripture and what God wanted to communicate to his people in the Old Covenant it is the external law that is emphasized and in the New Covenant it is the internal that is emphasized. However, because human beings are fallen the external law remains necessary. But once we enter into covenant with God, the law is written in our hearts (as a process not a one time thing) and we begin to be restored to the love-design we were originally intended to be. So our obedience flows not out of allegiance to a written code but out of the renewed desires of our heart which is brought back into harmony with God. I say this to 1) emphasize the complexity of the issue and 2) provide the clearest answer i can despite that complexity. The written law and the law of the heart are the same law, but communicated differently. The written law was communicated on tables of stone. The heart law is communicated via the transforming power of Gods grace. In the NT the written law still serves the function of helping someone who is internally opposed to God recognize just how far gone he/she is. But once a person enters into covenant with God the promise is that the law is written in the heart so that the person does not find themselves trying to comply with an external set of commands but rather their very desires undergo a transformation journey that puts them in harmony with Gods design. So the New Covenant law is not different to the Old Covenant law. But how they are communicated is different. Both are based on the law of love which is where God wants his people to be fully restored to.

            I hope this helps a bit.

            Amen!(2)
  4. I too would like to understand how the Ten Commandments is a transcript of God's character.

    I am not trying to be disrespect to God, but I do not see how telling me to: have no other gods before Him; not make for myself a graven image of heavenly or earthly things; not take God's name in vain; keep the Sabbath day; honor my father and mother; not murder, commit adultery, steal, bear false witness, or covet my neighbor's possessions, teaches me anything positive about God's character.

    More so, I see the teachings of Jesus Christ revealing a lot about God's character. If we see Him, we see the Father. Through stories like the Prodigal Son, the Father's willingness to give good gifts to His children; then His examples of physical and spiritual healing, granting forgiveness; restoring the dead to life; His compassion to the Samaritans and to non-Jews; teaching about love; abiding in Him; bearing fruit; and many, many more, and of course, the cross and the resurrection, and His patience with the disciples. All that blares out loudly that God is a God of love, and all that is a true, transcript and imprint of God's character.

    Please show me what I am missing.

    Amen!(2)
    • Jennifer you are saying God saying do not commit murder does not tell you anything about His character? It tells me a lot! It tells me He delights in love and mercy instead of hatred and killing! Moreover, the first four tell us God loves us and will care for us as He promises we will need no other God besides Him to care for us. While the Hebrew children did all the work in Egypt so pharaoh could rest, God gave them the Sabbath so they could rest. In the first four commandments I see God's character in putting us first, promising to be the only God we will ever need, and then teaching us to share the love He has for us with our family and community. On the cross Jesus showed the character of God by putting others first and dying to Self. The law is all about others first.

      Amen!(2)
      • God does kill, at least in the Old Testament.
        "And Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord slew him." Gen 38:7. There are MANY cases where the Old Testament God kills, and commands others to kill. He destroyed almost all living beings at the time of the "Flood".

        We should stop pretending that everything God does or says in the Bible or the Law is a transcript of God's character, unless you are willing to include passages such as this.

        Amen!(2)
        • It helps to remember that execution after judgment is not murder. It is justice, and justice is the other side of the coin of love.

          In order to secure the continued safety and happiness of the universe, God will cleanse the world from sin and sinners. That is perfectly consistent with His character of love.

          Amen!(2)
    • Dear Jennifer, Christ certainly shows us God the Father's character. And his greatest testimony of his love for us was shown in his giving his son at the cross. I too think that Jesus is the expressed love of God, and speaks much more loudly of the Father's love than the 10 commandments. I do think God was showing us some of his love within the Law, but it was definitely a lot clearer through Jesus Christ.

      Amen!(2)
    • Jennifer,

      You mention the teachings of Jesus revealing the character of God. What about Jesus life? As Peter told his gentile audience, Jesus went about "doing good". Then there is Jesus' death for sinners, that He might be the means of their salvation. Does any of this reveal the character of God. In fact, Jesus claimed that all He said and did was only revealing His Father.

      Now Paul, under the Spirit writes that Jesus "is the END(telos: full-meaning, or perfect fulfillment) of the law for righteousness". This means that if you took the principles of the law and demonstrated them in a human life, you would have Jesus. Jesus came to "fulfill the law", and in doing so, revealed the character of God.

      We tend to look as the commandments from their negative side, which is needed when trying to convict sinners that their course is wrong, and destructive. But look at the law from the positive side, the side Jesus demonstrated in His words and deeds. For example, if warned: "thou shalt not commit adultery", what would be the positive result? Faithfulness to ones vows and promises. Is God faithful with His vows and promises? Has He kept His promises to you? (realize, they are conditional) Paul also writes of the "righteousness of the law" which would be this positive side when not violating the law. it is seen in honoring one's parents, spouse, neighbor, and God. As converted Christians, we come to see this positive, righteous side of the law rather than the negative condemning side. it's like one coin with two sides. The written, and the unwritten. Why do you think the psalmist loves the law of God so much? Why would they treasure it in their heart/memory? Why is it seen as a "lamp for my feet and a light for my path"? It is "holy, just and good" according to Paul. At least when fulfilled, and not violated.

      Lastly: "The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul". (Ps 19:7)

      Amen!(2)
  5. Please read the scriptures below carefully. Especially those that mention the ministry of death written on stones.....God has to convict/convince us of each and every sin and turn our hearts away from them and to him and enable us to give up whatever sin we are struggling with. If anyone (church included) try's to just tell us what we should and should not do...we come under the law and end up in bondage..

    Galatians 3:15-29New International Version (NIV)

    The Law and the Promise

    15 Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,”[a] meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.

    19 Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one.

    21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.

    Children of God

    23 Before the coming of this faith,[b] we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

    26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

    Romans 7:7-10New International Version (NIV)

    The Law and Sin

    7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”[a] 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. 9 Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.

    2 Corinthians 3:5-16New International Version (NIV)

    5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

    The Greater Glory of the New Covenant

    7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9 If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!

    12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

    Amen!(1)
  6. Marcos

    Therefore, based on your comments I am left to conclude the following:
    "The law on tables of stone was temporary." It was replaced by something permanent, which is the New Covenant law. If it was “replaced” then the New Covenant is different from the law on tables of stone. By saying “new” are we saying that something was old, as Joy Knowles mentioned her post about 2 Cor 3:7,8 “if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?”

    Amen!(1)
    • The law only brings(the merciful warning of) death to sinners. The righteous love the law, which "converts the soul", and allow God to write it upon their heart/mind so it's glory can be seen in their lives. Isn't this the meaning of Paul in 2 Cor 3?

      Amen!(0)

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