Thursday: Why Turn Back to Slavery?
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Read Galatians 4:8–20. Summarize on the lines below what Paul is saying there. How seriously does he take the false teachings among Galatians?

Paul does not describe the exact nature of the Galatians’ religious practices, but he clearly has in mind a false system of worship that resulted in spiritual slavery. Indeed, he deemed it so dangerous and destructive that he would write such an impassioned letter, warning the Galatians that what they were doing was akin to turning away from sonship to slavery. 1

Though he didn’t get into specifics, what does Paul say the Galatians were doing that he found so objectionable? Gal. 4:9–11.



Many have interpreted Paul’s reference to “days and months and seasons and years” (Gal. 4:10 ESV) as an objection not merely against ceremonial laws but against the Sabbath, as well. Such an interpretation, however, goes beyond the evidence. For starters, if Paul really wanted to single out the Sabbath and other specific Jewish practices, it is clear from Colossians 2:16 that he easily could have identified them by name. Second, Paul makes it clear that whatever it is the Galatians are doing, it has led them from freedom in Christ to bondage. “If observance of the seventh-day Sabbath subjects a man to bondage, it must be that the Creator Himself entered into bondage when He observed the world’s first Sabbath!”—The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 967. Also, why would Jesus not only have kept the Sabbath but taught others how to keep it, if its proper observance were in any way depriving people of the freedom that they have in Him? (See Mark 2:27, 28; Luke 13:10–16.)

Might there be any practices in Seventh-day Adventism that take away from the freedom that we have in Christ? Or instead of the practices themselves being problematic, what about our attitudes toward the practices? How could a wrong attitude lead us into the kind of bondage that Paul warned the Galatians about so vehemently?  

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Thursday: Why Turn Back to Slavery? — 25 Comments

  1. our altitude towards obseving the sabbath can cause us to be in bodage in that we dont allow God to help us obseve it.we can be in bondage if we want to obseve it using our own strength. the sabbath can be obseved if we have faith in God

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  2. There seems to me to be one thing that we need to keep in mind. The problem that Paul faces in Galatia was essentially the same problem that existed to some extent in all his churches. As an example his letter to the Colossians, especially chapter two is interesting in this respect. We have generally thought of that chapter as pertaining to the ceremonial law but it really doesn’t deal with any law that God ever gave.

    First of all Paul mentions the practice of worshiping angels (Col 2:18) which is something that angels themselves are repulsed by (Rev 19:10; Rev 22:9). He also mentions delight in humility as a hypocrite would do (the ESV translates it as, “insisting on asceticism” (Col 2:18 ESV) which is what the Pharisees were doing (see Mat 6:16; Lk 12:1).

    Second and the main point is what the context is. Colossians 2:13-21 is bracketed by, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Col 2:8 NKJV) at the beginning and, “which all concern things which perish with the using-- according to the commandments and doctrines of men” (Col 2:22 NKJV) at the end. What Paul was referring to is all the added requirements of rabbinical tradition that the Pharisees were involved in. It had nothing to do with any law of God and I wish to suggest here that that is what Paul is referring to in Gal 4:9-10. It is not the commandments and laws per se that were the problem but the sticky requirements that surrounded them that the Judaizers were insisting on that was the problem with all their regulations on how the laws were to be kept. And as though that wasn’t bad enough they were enforcing them as a requirement in order to be saved. As Peter said at the Jerusalem council, “Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear” (Act 15:10 NKJV)? The principle holds for what was happening in the Galatian churches.

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  3. this topic is very hard for me I don't perceive clearly. though I've read three or more. actually why we turn back to slavery?

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    • Nantu, I am assuming that you are asking a question about the Sabbath School Lesson and not my comment. If it is about my comment then I am sorry for introducing confusion in the study and you should address me in a reply comment concerning it.

      The lesson is basically simple if you would read only the first paragraph. Where it gets hard to understand is in the second paragraph that starts out, “Many have interpreted Paul’s reference . . .” where the lesson author is justifying the Sabbath.

      What was happening in the Galatian church was that people were joining the church from non-Christian religions, both pagan and Jewish. Both religions had rites and rituals that were being done in order to secure salvation under a works oriented regime. Because the obtainment of salvation through those rituals was stressed so much, those rites and rituals were overshadowing Christ who is the real means though which the people were saved.

      When they joined the church they had abandoned their former practices and accepted Christ as their savior solely on the basis of faith. But soon afterward people were coming in from other churches and were teaching things that diminished the "faith only" doctrine of Paul and were being led to believe that their salvation depended on doing things rather than simply having trust in God to save them. Soon everyone’s focus was on doing things, causing enslavement to perfection in performance. And if they didn’t do it right the first time they just tried a little harder the next time, and so the endless round goes. It is an egocentric view that the world is constantly preaching about which is a dependence on self rather than on Jesus.

      What Paul was asking them was why they wanted to abandon Christ’s easy yoke for the hardship they were once under.

      The day’s lesson is really only one argument that Paul uses to persuade the Galatians that what he taught them was the real truth. Unfortunately, these lessons break up the flow of argumentation that Paul uses to prove his point and we start arguing over details and begin to major in the minors. What we really need to see is the overall point that Paul is making in his letter to the Galatian churches.

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  4. Several times the lesson discussion centers on the person before and after conversion when I think Paul is speaking pre-Christ and post-Christ. The son's relationship before reaching maturity and after maturity is speaking of Israel's relationship to the law before Christ came and after Christ came not before and after baptism. He was always a son and therefore accepted by the Father, but the relationship to the law changes when he is no longer a minor.

    So again, I don't think that Paul is speaking about a 'sinner' who comes to Christ, but a 'believer' whose status has changed because Christ came.

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    • Ray,

      Thank you for your comment. :)

      It seems to me that in this section, Paul is contrasting the relationship of slaves to their master with sons to the father. (Gal. 4:7) Slaves become sons only by adoption. (Gal. 4:5; Rom. 8:15; Eph. 1:5) They are not sons by nature. And Paul uses the adoption analogy in other places.

      Thus, it seems to me that in this passage, Paul clearly refers to persons before and after "adoption" into the family of God, that is, conversion.

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  5. "The day’s lesson is really only one argument that Paul uses to persuade the Galatians that what he taught them was the real truth. Unfortunately, these lessons break up the flow of argumentation that Paul uses to prove his point and we start arguing over details and begin to major in the minors. What we really need to see is the overall point that Paul is making in his letter to the Galatian churches."

    And if we do see the point Paul is making, his letter is easily understood. While other points may be valid, or not valid, confusion comes in when the original point is lost in a maze of re-applications.

    So, Paul's only historical and original argument is this, the ceremonial law was added, and is now subtracted.

    If we start here, we may well find other valid applications, but other applications may not fit precisely all the conclusions Paul comes to in his singular focus.

    This is true of how we use all of the bible. The better we understand the original historical meaning and application, the less likely we are to make faulty applications and meanings.

    So, we ask, who is Paul writing to and why?

    Circumcision was being advocated as part of the Christian norm for all believers. Stick with this point first and follow the letter in this context. Every aspect of the letter fits the ceremonial law. But every aspect of the letter does not fit other applications.

    The ceremonial law was added, and is now subtracted. This will not fit the moral law, even though the moral can be seen as a "schoolmaster". So, "until faith is come" easily fits the ceremonial law. But when we try to explain how the moral law fits this scenario, we can only mis-understand and even convolute the total function of the moral law.

    The moral law always functions as a "schoolmaster" and faith does not negate this function of the moral law. Even the fact that we are now "heirs" and not "slaves" does not diminish the fact the moral law continues to act as a "schoolmaster".

    First to lead all men to Christ, and then to keep all who believe in Him "in Christ" lest they again come under condemnation.

    This "schoolmaster" application does not fit the ceremonial law since it was "subtracted" when faith came. Christ's ministry in heaven is now the focus of forgiveness and His intercession was the point of the ceremonial law as a "schoolmaster".

    So it is commendable to show in what way the moral law can and does act as a "schoolmaster", but we can not make it fit the original historical context and meaning Paul is useing to negate the ceremonial law.

    Bill Sorensen

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    • Bill, well said. I already got that same feeling after reading through Galatians a number of times. Your comments will be an added advantage as we continue studying Galatians. Will remember to keep that in mind.

      Thanks!

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      • The Spirit of Prophecy tells us something a bit different than what Bill posted here. Our schoolmaster is ALL the Law found in the OT. The moral law, the statutes, the judgments etc ALL were/are designed to teach us about Christ.

        "Which Law Is the Schoolmaster?—I am asked concerning the law in Galatians. What law is the schoolmaster to bring us to Christ? I answer: Both the ceremonial and the moral code of ten commandments.

        Christ was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy. The death of Abel was in consequence of Cain’s refusing to accept God’s plan in the school of obedience, to be saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, typified by the sacrificial offerings pointing to Christ. Cain refused the shedding of blood, which symbolized the blood of Christ to be shed for the world. This whole ceremony was prepared by God, and Christ became the foundation of the whole system. This is the beginning of its work as the schoolmaster to bring sinful human agents to a consideration of Christ.

        All who did service in connection with the sanctuary were being educated constantly in regard to the intervention of Christ in behalf of the human race. This service was designed to create in every heart a love for the law of God, which is the law of His kingdom. The sacrificial offering was to be an object lesson of the love of God revealed in Christ—in the suffering, dying victim, who took upon Himself the sin of which man was guilty, the innocent being made sin for us.

        In the contemplation of this great theme of salvation, we see Christ’s work. Not only the promised gift of the Spirit, but also the nature and character of this sacrifice and intervention, is a subject which should create in our hearts elevated, sacred, high ideas of the law of God, which holds its claims upon every human agency. The violation of that law in the small act of eating of the forbidden fruit, brought upon man and upon the earth the consequence of disobedience to the holy law of God. The nature of the intervention should ever make man afraid to do the smallest action in disobedience to God’s requirement.

        There should be a clear understanding of that which constitutes sin, and we should avoid the least approach to step over the boundaries from obedience to disobedience."

        http://egwtext.whiteestate.org/publication.php?pubtype=Book&bookCode=6BC&lang=en&pagenumber=1109

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    • Why are we constantly wrestling over which law Paul is referring to in Galatians. Paul's main thesis in Galatians is whether a man is justified by doing something or justified through faith in a loving God who gives salvation to us. That's probably why Ellen White said that the "schoolmaster" referred to both the moral and the ceremonial law. (See last week's Thursday lesson.) Of the 31 times the word “law” is found in Galatians using Young’s Literal Translation, only 11 of them have the article. This means that for the most part Paul is not differentiating between laws but is talking about law as a principal.

      In the first two chapters of Galatians Paul is defending his apostleship and authority to say what he is going to say. Paul basically states his thesis in the last part of chapter 2 where he recalls his confrontation with Peter at Antioch. “knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified” (Gal 2:16 NKJV). In this verse in all three places where the phrase “works of the law” is found there is no article involved, nor in any other place in the book where that phrase is found. That means that Paul here is not referring to any particular law. From this point on Paul uses various things in support of his thesis. Some of those things refer to the ceremonial law and some to the moral law but mostly to law in general.

      In fact, the first place in Galatians where we run into a situation where there is an article with the word “law” is found in Galatians 3:10 and even then it cannot really be used because the article is in a quote from the Old Testament as an example of the idea that those who live under law are under a curse. The next two places are found a couple of verses away in Gal 3:12 and Gal 3:13. In Galatians 3:12 Paul quotes from the Old Testament again which is discussing the same law that is in the next verse. In Gal 3:13 Paul is speaking about Christ becoming a curse for us which obviously is referring to the moral law that condemns us as sinners.

      The next incident is in Gal 3:17 which speaks of the law setting aside a previously ratified covenant. An object within a covenant can never affect the status of another covenant. It would have been more consistent for Paul to say, “And this I say, that the COVENANT, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God.” In this case we are dealing with a specific covenant and not a specific law since both laws were given at Sinai.

      Next is Gal 3:19 and Gal 3:21 where he says that the law was added at Sinai. The only thing that was really added was the ceremonial law. The moral law was only restated. The conclusion to these verses is that, “For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe” (Gal 3:21-22 NKJV). So Paul uses what was given at Sinai in defense of his thesis.

      After that comes, “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Gal 3:24 NKJV) which is more about the ceremonial law than the moral law even though the moral law also acts in the capacity of a tutor as well.

      Then, in Gal 4:21 Paul says, “Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law” (Gal 4:21 NKJV)? The article is only with the second word “law.” Paul then goes on to explain the application of law to the two covenants symbolized in Abraham’s two wives and its application to faith vs. works. Therefore he is once again defending his thesis.

      Gal 5:14 and Gal 6:2 obviously refer to the moral law while Gal 6:13 can refer to either the ceremonial law or the moral law.

      These are all the texts where Paul uses the article with “law” that specify what law. Since Paul is using examples from both laws he is not talking about one law or the other but about how we relate to law in general with respect to salvation. Paul’s argument is simply that we are saved not by doing some law but through having faith in God who is the only one who can save us and produce righteousness within us.

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  6. Might there be any practices in Seventh-day Adventism that take away from the freedom that we have in Christ? Or instead of the practices themselves being problematic, what about our attitudes toward the practices?

    Of course this is better as an individual soul searching question. We all need to search our hearts and see if there are any practices that we carry on, as a result of fear. Fear that, if practice A,B, C is not done, I will be cast out of the family. Please do not get me wrong, once again we are not saved by our works but the Bible also makes it clear that there is a group of people that will be turned away from the kingdom of God because of failure to do certain things. There is also another group of people who will be turned away from the kingdom of God because they did certain good things but with a wrong attitude; those who say, Lord, Lord, didn’t we do A,B,C in your name…?

    The point here is that God wants us to have the right attitude in all our practices. Should we do good to earn salvation? Should we do good to avoid Hell? Or Should we do good out of our love and appreciation for God?

    The Bible makes it clear that our attitude towards doing good or obedience should be out of love and not as a result of obligation. God has already accepted us as His children and we do not have to do anything additional to earn this privilege.

    Doing good out of fear not only torments but it makes our Christian walk burdensome (see 1 John 4:18). Even, worse, it takes us back to square one i.e., being slaves. It therefore makes sense why Paul would be worried to see God’s children turning back to slavery.

    How could a wrong attitude lead us into the kind of bondage that Paul warned the Galatians about so vehemently?

    Wrong attitude could lead me into performing certain practices as an obligation or fear. God has not given us a Spirit of fear… (2 Timothy 1:7). Before the protestant reformation, some believers had been led to believe that certain acts would earn them favor before God. They had to go through some human imposed steps of torture with hopes that their works would catch God’s attention. I can imagine some of them worrying that their works were not good enough, fearing that the fire of hell would consume them. Little had they known that “Perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 5:18).

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  7. Angeline said.....

    "The point here is that God wants us to have the right attitude in all our practices. Should we do good to earn salvation? Should we do good to avoid Hell? Or Should we do good out of our love and appreciation for God?

    The Bible makes it clear that our attitude towards doing good or obedience should be out of love and not as a result of obligation. God has already accepted us as His children and we do not have to do anything additional to earn this privilege."

    We should be careful not to create an "either/or" scenario in the context of the true motive to obey God.
    EGW has well said, "We have a heaven to win and a hell to shun."

    And the idea of "obligation" has not been removed from the motive to obey God.

    While the obligation may be from a different perspective, none the less, the idea of condition, obligation and requirement remain an important factor to motivate God's children to obey Him.

    Simply put, love does not remove the idea of obligation even as children who love their parents must retain the idea that they have an obligation to "obey their parents in the Lord" as Paul exhorts.

    We distinguish the obligation by stating our "legal" obligation has been fulfilled by Christ and He has merited and earned for us and in our behalf the gift of heaven. Thus, we can not and should not try to earn and merit the favor of God and thus obtain eternal life.

    None the less, when we accept Jesus, we become members of God's family and have moral and love obligations within the family relationship. And these obligations have such a dynamic consequence, that it is possible to be cast out of the family if we reject or even ignore these obligations and rebel against God and His government.

    To understand the difference between the legal and moral obligation is imperative to define the law of God as it relates both to unbelievers and believers.

    When believers are taught they have no obligation from any perspective, they lose an important aspect of the true motive to "fear God and keep His commandments." It can easily degenerate into a false idea of "love God and do as you please." Instead of "love God and keep His commandments."

    Remember, the word "commandment" denotes authority and we are still under God's authority.
    Have a great Sabbath.

    Bill Sorensen

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  8. EGW said......

    "This whole ceremony was prepared by God, and Christ became the foundation of the whole system. This is the beginning of its work as the schoolmaster to bring sinful human agents to a consideration of Christ."

    Certainly the moral law acts as a "schoolmaster" as I stated earlier.

    In the old covenant system, a violation of the moral law pointed the sinner to the ceremonial law as a picture of how God can and will forgive sin. What point would there be in a ceremonial law, if there was no sin? None.

    So, the ceremonial law was "added" because of transgression. Jesus would not have had to die, had there been no sin.

    None the less, Paul is dealing with a singular issue in particular and that was circumcision. Circumcision is not a part of the moral law. It was a part of the ceremonial law that was "added" because of transgression.

    So, in the historical context of His letter to the Galatian church, he is not dealing with the moral law. He was not dealing with the Judaizers for following him and telling people they must keep the ten commandments to be saved.

    And ultimately, we must conclude that it is only the ceremonial law when he deals with a law that has been "added" and is now "subtracted".

    Faith in Christ takes the place of what the ceremonial law typifies and is now done away in Christ. The moral law is never done away in Christ. And thus, the moral law continues to act as a "schoolmaster" something the ceremonial law no longer does.

    As I said, it is OK to make broader applications to any biblical concept as EGW does as she points out how the moral law also acts as a "schoolmaster".

    But the moral law does not fit all the conclusions Paul speaks of, because he is only talking about the ceremonial law. And even if "the Holy Spirit" speaking through Paul makes a broader meaning and application, it does not mean this was Paul original intent.

    Some Sunday keepers use Paul's letters in the same way to include the moral law and we are very careful to make a clear distinction between the two laws.

    Why do we ignore this distinction in explaining Galatians and actually take the same view of the two laws Sunday keepers do, and then apply it in the same way they do? And just as there is a moral law application to the principle in Galatians, just so, there is equally a moral law application to Col. and Eph. as well as Paul's exhortation not to judge concerning Sabbath observance.

    Well, you say, those are ceremonial "sabbaths". And so they are. None the less, there is a moral law application about not "judging" whether it is a ceremonial sabbath, or the moral law Sabbath.

    Do we then ignore the distinction and act as if Paul is speaking of both in his letters? No. We carefully define the function of one and then the other. Showing parallel and contrast.

    Small wonder Paul is so misunderstood in modern Christainty and in some cases even the SDA church.

    Let the bible speak for itself. And if EGW draws a broader application, then let's benefit by that. But let's not abandon the original intent of the author and super-impose a meaning he did not intend and then attribute that meaning to his letter.

    Paul is dealing with the ceremonial law.

    Bill Sorensen

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    • Bill, you said, "None the less, Paul is dealing with a singular issue in particular and that was circumcision. Circumcision is not a part of the moral law. It was a part of the ceremonial law that was “added” because of transgression."

      I am curious, where in the entire Old Testament do you find scripture that leads you to believe that circumcision was part of the ceremonial law?

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  9. Justification by faith is the "milk" Paul speaks of in Hebrews. When we discuss the covenants we are then working with "meat". It is not necessary to understand what Paul meant when taking about the old and the new covenants, but it is helpful in trying to understand much of what he wrote in the New Testament.

    Paul had a burden from the day he was converted to the day he died. He hated legalism. He was the chief legalist before his conversion so he understood all about it. Much of his writings deal with legalism. He is the expert teacher when it comes to the law, both moral and ceremonial. When he said the "letter killeth" he meant the law, all law. The law does not save, it condemns. Jesus saves.

    In Romans seven, Paul is very clearly stating the purpose of the moral law, the commandments. It reveals to the sinner that he is dead in trespasses and sins. The moral law and the ceremonial laws functioned as a schoolmaster to lead the sinner to see his need of help, the only help in the world comes from Christ. After conversion the law no longer condemns, but becomes a revelation of the character of our God. The moral law is always binding and includes quite a bit of the statutes and judgments in the law given to Moses and placed in the outside of the ark. Many think they can ignore everything but the ten commandments. Here there err. The ceremonial law and the civil law are no longer binding on man, but all moral law is. It is not meritorious, but it is still binding. Even though we are justified by faith, the wages of sin is still death.

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    • Richard,
      Thank you for your comment. It appears to be in line with my post on God’s Law: The One, the Two, the Ten and the Many

      I'd be interested in your comments on that.

      As for covenants, I believe that Tyler Cluthe's two articles, What Is a Covenant? and Why the Old Covenant? go far towards clarifying the matter, though much more can be said.

      I believe you are "right on" with your comment that "When he said the “letter killeth” he meant the law, all law. The law does not save, it condemns. Jesus saves."

      And I might add, that law keeping doesn't add anything to our salvation. Jesus alone saves. It is precisely the idea that salvation depended on Christ plus something that Paul was addressing in Galatians.

      Obedience is the result of a saving relationship with Christ. It is not the prerequisite. We can no more obey without the Holy Spirit than we can be born again without the Holy Spirit.

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  10. Tyler said......

    "This means that for the most part Paul is not differentiating between laws but is talking about law as a principal."

    I don't think Paul would agree with you on this point. While your conclusion about "law" and "laws" may well be true, none the less, this was not Paul's point in this particular letter.

    Paul's obvious point is this, there has been a "law" that was "added" and is now "subtracted."

    Law in general is not "subtracted" because Jesus has come. Moral law, civil law, family law,.....etc have not been "subtracted" by way of the cross.

    Even if all these laws function as a "schoolmaster" (and they do) they are not subtracted by the cross.

    Paul is speaking of a law that is "subtracted" by the cross. If we imply any other law is the focus of his exhortation, we are by implication "subtracting" this law.

    For he says, "when faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." This can only apply to the ceremonial law and not to law in general.

    Bill Sorensen

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    • Bill wrote: For he says, “when faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” This can only apply to the ceremonial law and not to law in general.

      If such is the case Bill what are you going to do with the health laws? They certainly are not part of the "moral law."

      Now as far as your comment about the "ceremonial laws" were "added because of transgressions, that particular word means to "repeat," "to increase," to "lay beside." When God spoke of Abraham's faithfulness He made this comment:

      Genesis 26:5 KJV Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.

      Please note Bill, God speaks of five categories of "laws" that Abraham obeyed. Which is exactly the number of categories given, "repeated," at Mt. Sinai. They were:

      1. The Moral Law
      2. Laws regarding marriage, sex etc.
      3. Health Laws
      4. Laws regarding worship, etc.
      5. Judgments, how to judge correctly.

      The children of Israel had lost sight of God and His laws, we know God brought them BACK once again to the truth that had been lost. Basically He brought them back to "kindergarden." Christ said the Scriptures were about Him, everything involved in the Jewish economy was about Him, NOT just the Moral Law. The ENTIRE law is a reflection of His character, not just the Ten Commandments. When Christ said "I am the way" that word "way" means more than just a lifestyle but the very way of thinking, feeling and doing. We are told that "character" is a combination of "thoughts and feelings." God's Law, all of it, reflects exactly "His thoughts and feelings." Remember this, Bill, there is NOT one single aspect of the Laws given to Israel that was not for their good. They was designed to protect them and to honor the God they served.

      And last but not least what are we to do with this statement?

      Precepts Given to Guard Decalogue. - "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 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 men 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 (ST April 15, 1875)." (Ellen G. White Comments on Exodus 20:3; 1 BC 1104; emphasis mine)

      Daniel Shannon

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  11. Richard said.....

    " It is not necessary to understand what Paul meant when taking about the old and the new covenants, but it is helpful in trying to understand much of what he wrote in the New Testament."

    I guess I would totally disagree with this idea. If you don't know what Paul meant, how could you possibly think it would be "helpful" to understand what he wrote?

    And let me say that hopefully, everyone is in agreement that the moral law functions as a "schoolmaster". This is not an area of disagreement. The question is, is this Paul's intent in the book of Galatians?

    Now don't run to Romans to find the answer. Paul deals with "law" in Romans in a little different context. Nowhere in Romans does he suggest there is a law that was "added" and is now "subtracted" useing these words coupled with " schoolmaster" that ends the laws function. The book of Galatians is self explanatory.

    But it is clear that a huge portion of Paul's writings are in the context of the Judaizers who follow him all over the world claiming the gentiles should follow the ceremonial law.

    The whole book of Hebrews deals with this issue. And not a single letter he writes fails to mention this issue in some way.

    It so transparent, that if this obvious reality is not discerned, no one could possible understand or correctly interpret Paul's writings.

    The book of Galatians is classic in this respect.

    Bill Sorensen

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    • Hello Bill. My comments were in regards to all of Paul's writings. Some parts are hard to understand. If we rightly understand his teaching on the covenants, then it will unlock much of the New Testament writings of Paul. We do not need to understand the covenants to understand the gospel, the "milk" as Paul called it.

      In Galatians Paul intermingles the ceremonial law and the moral law. Both are the "schoolmaster". Much of the time he is directly speaking to the ceremonial law because that is what the Judaizers were exalting. But, both the moral and ceremonial were included in many of his statements regarding the schoolmaster.

      Yes, one was removed and the other eternal. I believe we are in agreement on that. The "feastkeepers" are without support in their attempt to bring into bondage the Christian church. They are not moral law. We, who abide in Christ, have been set free from the law of sin and death. We are no longer slaves to sin.

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    • Bill, I must agree with Richard Myers re Paul's writings. We cannot disconnect what Paul wrote elsewhere from what he wrote to the believers in Galatia. We cannot make it seem as if Paul was writing "two gospel messages," one to the Romans and one to the Galatians.

      The comment about what the Judaizers were exalting it would seem to me it was indeed circumcision, which BTW was NOT given at Mt. Sinai, but to Abraham hundreds of years before.

      And again if I may Mrs. White was VERY clear about the "schoolmaster" in Galatians. There was quite a battle going on amonst the brethren over this same issue, she at first had nothing to tell them but after a while God made it clear to her, which she then made it clear to the brethren, it was BOTH.

      Daniel Shannon

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  12. Tyler Cluthe says:
    November 20, 2011 at 8:22 am
    Bill, you said, “None the less, Paul is dealing with a singular issue in particular and that was circumcision. Circumcision is not a part of the moral law. It was a part of the ceremonial law that was “added” because of transgression.”

    I am curious, where in the entire Old Testament do you find scripture that leads you to believe that circumcision was part of the ceremonial law?"

    What law is circumcision a part of, Tyler, if it is not the ceremonial law?

    Bill Sorensen

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    • Bill, I wasn't looking for a question answering a question. What I really wanted was some good solid scripture that places beyond any reasonable doubt the idea that circumcision was part of the ceremonial law.

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