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Are Adventists Old-Covenant Christians? (Part 1) — 82 Comments

  1. Thank you,great research on the topic of a progressing covenant relationship. Indeed, many of our friends in other denominations are argueing in favour of a more or less broken covenant relation of the Old and New Covenants, especially as far as the decalogue in that covenant setting is concerned, and as far as different types of laws are concerned, whether moral,sacrificial or other. There is no space and time right now to retrace these elements within the New Covenant setting.

    As we currently are studying the second epistle of Peter, I again come across the view of most commentators argueing for a second century date of the epistle due to gnostic elements of that century. (2 Peter 2) See also the epistle of Jude. I myself do not share that view as only embryonic elements are seen in both epistels, such as the teaching of freedom in sin (2 Peter 2:18-19) in comparison with the gnostic systems of the second century in their fully developed stage.

    As to covenant theology, I notice that there is, in early history of christianity, a radical break between the 0ld Covenant and the New. Gnostic traces in the early stage may be reflected by Paul speaking of a pseudo-Gnosis with their "antithesis" (some kind of putting one set of belief against the other). (1 Timothy 6:20-21) In gnosticism the creator is believed to have fallen in sin by creating evil matter. Light sparks, having fallen from the world of light in another cosmic drama, are believed to be chained in evil matter, the body. At death the light spark is set free to return to the light world. There is a dichotomy between evil matter und the light sparks, between creation and redemption, between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Salvation within the New Covenant becomes salvation from the 0ld Covenant, salvation form the God of the Jews. This dichotomy goes so far as to deny incarnation, as this would mean that Christ was born with evil flesh. So his body was not a reality but rather a phantom with no real substance at all. (1 John 4:2-3) What kind of Christ would have died on the cross? To avoid this dilemma, somenone other than Christ is believed to have died on the cross.

    It seems to me that this kind of dichotomy, of radical separation of the New Covenant from the Old covenant dies hard in the history of salvaion theology, although such extremes of gnosticism are not expressed as such today. However, the main characteristic of a radical break between both Covenants are still alife.

    The God of the Old Testament, in the epistles of Peter, is the same as the God of the New covenant, as Peter is pointing back to the holy God of the Old Covenant, calling for a holy life. (1 Peter 1:16-17) The eternal word of God of the Old Covenant climaxes in the apostolic preaching. (1 Peter 1:24-25) The suffering servant of God (Isaiah 53:4.7), predicted in the Old Covenant, is fuliled in the New Covenant. (1 Peter 2:21-24) The same God who carried out judgement in the Old Covenant is the same God who will carry out judgement at the end of time. (2 Peter 2:4-9) Sin distorted creation will be created anew as the Old Testament has predicted, now taken up and proclaimed by Peter (Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13).

    The author of the book of Hebrews makes it clear: The same God who has spoken to the Fathers through the Prophets of the Old Covenant has now spoken through His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2). The speaker of both Testaments is the same, although the culmination of God`s revelation is consummated in His Son. Within this setting there is a progression of covenant history moving to a climax.

    Thank you for bringing up this topic for discussion, reflection and further consideration.

    Winfried Stolpmann

  2. Marcos, what ever you think is important,it may have escaped your understanding of the problem that you have created. If our understanding of God, His Love, and Grace is questionable under the subheading of covenants, what a waste of precious time. Yes Marcos, there may be some essence of criticism. Label the doctrine as you wish

      • Marcos without discussing an enormous amount of research and reference material regarding Seventh Day Adventism for the purpose of determining time lines. This could come under the heading of, here say. As I see it there is a driving need to authenticate what is suggested and believed by some learned scholars, as fact. What is important to many, hopefully all, is our eternal destiny. That information can easily be found in a number of Biblical texts with little or no effort. I apologize for my grammatical errors.

        • But one of our primary purposes is to share God's love with people who don't know him and give them a more accurate view of Him. If they are searching for Him in a covenant context, then I have to agree with Marcos that we have to talk to them in terms they can relate to.
          God's principles are unchanging, but one thing we see strongly throughout the Bible is that God's methods constantly change to adapt to us. If we are to reflect Him, our agility must mimic His.

  3. Thank you for presenting this argument. It is refreshing to me as a third generation Adventist. It has peeked my interest to put this to study not only for me but as a way to present Adventism to others that is refreshing in this modern age.

  4. Thanks Marcos for this perspective. I like it first because of the "story". A number of years ago there was a battle raging in Adventist theological circles as to whether the Bible was best described as a "casebook" - stories, or a "codebook", which I would claim harks back more to Calvinism. Yes it is a story, a story about God and His relationship to his created beings.

    From that flows nicely the Big Story (who God is) and out of that the Little Story (how he acts). And I especially appreciate the Middle Story. I believe that one of the reasons God brought this denomination into existence is to share that Middle Story--The Great Controversy. While other Christian thinkers occasionally prove me wrong, for the most part, I find that Middle Story largely absent outside of Adventism, and the question of how a good and all powerful God could allow evil is very real and common, and I know of no reasonable answer other than The Great Controversy.

    We need to be sharing that perspective. But I also recognize your point that we need to share in a context that others can relate to, which means covenantal.

    Thanks for some excellent research and clearly putting the pieces together.

  5. Thank you, Marcos, for providing some fresh insights into how Adventism fits into Protestant covenantal theology. Although I see God's covenant as central to biblical theology, I believe this teaching, along with an understanding of the sanctuary services apart from a historical date, seems to have been neglected for the last 50 years at least. So it's time we took a fresh look.

    If we wish to share our faith with other Protestants it is helpful to have a clear understanding of where they're coming from and what we have in common as well as how we differ. Thank you for helping to provide that understanding. It has helped me personally

    I pray that this post may help some of our readers to a better understanding of the subject which will help them to share our distinctive faith more effectively. (It may help to read it more than once.)

  6. Marcos, I'm glad you found your questions answered by the understanding you gained from your research. Here's my reaction.

    Adventists are branded Old Covenant Christians by non-Adventists only when they emphasize the validity of the Fourth Commandment, i. e., the Sabbath Commandment! (None of us would ever be accused of being an Old Covenant Christian if we preached a sermon on any of the other nine commandments!) This is because in the minds of most Christians the Old Covenant is defined as "the covenant between God and Israel in the Old Testament". Many who hold this view may not even be aware that the concept of the New Covenant was first given in the the Old Testament!

    In my simplistic thinking, I look at the Old and New Covenants as follows:

    The Old Covenant: Man trying to be good enough to be accepted by God ("All that the Lord hath spoken we will do". Exodus 19:8). In other words, it is righteousness by works. This is doomed to failure. Hence, the need for the New Covenant.

    The New Covenant: God through His Spirit writes the law of love in our hearts. (Jer. 31:31-34, Heb. 8:10 and Heb. 10:16). This is the essence of righteousness by faith.

    EGW in Patriarchs & Prophets p. 372 writes as follows: "The same law that was engraved upon the tables of stone is written by the Holy Spirit upon the tables of the heart. Instead of going about to establish our own righteousness we accept the righteousness of Christ."

    Thus, salvation is the process of moving from the Old Covenant to a New Covenant understanding.

    • And, Pramod, that same law is referred to in scripture as the Ministry of Death (2 Corinthians 3:7). Why would anyone want to have the Ministry of death, engraven upon stones, written on their hearts? Not I!!

  7. Pramod Hansdak, Is my salvation dependent on a covenant? Is Grace and Faith important? Ephesians 2:8

    • Paul Blanke, we are saved by God. The covenant is only an expression of the divine plan "to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven" (Col. 1:20).

      "Saving faith is a transaction by which those who receive Christ join themselves in covenant relation with God." {DA 347.1}

      'Ellen White elaborated on the deep significance and eternal nature of the everlasting covenant. In an article entitled “Christ our Hope,” she placed side by side the expressions “covenant of redemption,” “covenant of grace,” and “everlasting covenant,” and appeared to use them as synonyms'. (www.perspectivedigest.org)

      "The terms of this oneness between God and man in the great covenant of redemption were arranged with Christ from all eternity. The covenant of grace was revealed to the patriarchs. The covenant made with Abraham four hundred and thirty years before the law was spoken on Sinai was a covenant confirmed by God in Christ, the very same gospel which is preached to us. “The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.” The covenant of grace is not a new truth, for it existed in the mind of God from all eternity. This is why it is called the everlasting covenant." {ST August 24, 1891 para 10}

      • This is an excellent explanatory quote! I have rather long ago wondered why Isaiah 56 and 57 seem not to be part of this type of discussion. What "mind bending" contemplations, hindered - temporarily - by earth bound minds!

  8. Marcos, I read your description of the "new covenant" proposed by the critics including the thoughts "Of the Sabbath pointing to Jesus and meeting its fulfillment in him. Of freedom from the law, and at times, from the Old Testament in its entirety." Part of the contention might in the definition of terms. I've heard some equate "covenant" with "Testament" to support rejection of the authority of Old Testament passages. It seems to me it might be difficult to persuade someone to accept the Biblical definition of the New Covenant if they consider that the Old Testament is not for Christian.

    This also may illustrate the folly of conversion by logic alone. As someone said, "A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still." Some battles are won only by prayer.

  9. Thanks for the comments guys! Part 2 will be coming soon. Just keep in mind that this series has a narrow purpose and that is to identify where Adventist fits in the spectrum of protestant covenant theology. It will open up as we go along!

  10. If the division about the Old Covenant's relevance is based on the Sabbath commandment, then let's get real and discuss the validity of that commandment. I don't keep the seventh-day Sabbath because of some binding I feel to the Old Testament covenant with God's people. I keep the Sabbath commandment because it represents God's power to create the world and live in our hearts.

    I don't want to keep a day derived from paganism (sun worship) and supported by the Roman Catholic church stating boldly that they have authority to change Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday and that they stand in the place of God. Make a list of the non-Biblical doctrines of the Catholic church (transubstantiation, the deity of Mary, veneration of images etc) Either you follow Constantine and the Roman church or you follow the Bible.

    Now we're being told the Old Covenant honored the seventh day Sabbath, but the New Covenant honors Sunday worship. That is not Biblical. The unchanging God we worship doesn't hop about from one belief to another to please the pagans and the Catholics. If God decided to change the seventh day Sabbath to Sunday, we would have heard about it--and not from the Catholic church or paganism but from God Himself, the God that created the universe and established the seventh day Sabbath in honor of His creative power. Nowhere does He say, "Okay, folks. This seventh-day Sabbath has run its course. From now on we're going to worship on the day of the sun. The Catholic church wants it that way, so that's the way we're going." How foolish of us to take God's word as a joke with no eternal value.

    • Hi, Joyce! I think we may have gone to Milo together. But I want to say that nobody I know "keeps" Sunday or any other day. We worship EVERY day. We work EVERY day, and we rest EVERY day (God gave us sleep and rest for every day). Attendance at church for a couple of hours does NOT constitute the "keeping" of a day, especially when the remaining hours of that day are just like any other day - chores, shopping, TV, laundry, yardwork, or whatever. I attend church on Sundays, but I do NOT "keep" Sunday. There is nothing special or holy about Sunday for me, and I would be happy to attend church on Tuesdays or any other day. It makes no difference to me since I worship EVERY day. Nowhere in scripture is there any verse stating a requirement for church attendance on any specific day.

      The weekly Sabbath was given exclusively to Israel to be a sign between Himself and Israel throughout THEIR generations (Ex. 31:12-17) under the Old Covenant. It was a mere shadow of the TRUE rest - Resting full-time in Jesus and His finished work on the cross, under the NEW covenant.

      • Grammy thanks for clarifying this often misunderstood point. Us Adventists would do better to understand the views of others and express them appropriately. In the next post I will explain how contrary to your point, there are many protestant traditions who do in fact advocate "keeping" Sunday holy, and in the third post I will explain how there are others who advocate your point above. The key is understanding one another rather than debating with each other. Blessings.

        • Marcos, if you reread my post you will see that I never said there is NOBODY who "keeps" Sunday. Of course, I know better than that. What I actually said is, "Nobody I know "keeps" Sunday, or any other day." To clarify, I am primarily speaking of those of us who have left Adventism and many of us now attend church on Sunday, but the day itself has no special significance to us.

          • And I thank you for that clarification Grammy. But my point is that if we are looking at the whole of protestant thought you only represent half. The historic protestant positions still held by many evangelicals is that Sunday is the new Sabbath and is to be kept holy from sun up to sun down. The alternative view which is somewhat new is that no day is the Sabbath and none of them have any significance. So you represent that new alternative view. My point is that there remains a strong traditional view in which Sunday Sabbath is very strong. more on that in the next post. 🙂

      • Hi Grammy:

        I wish I could agree with your assertion that "the weekly Sabbath was given exclusively to Israel".

        The Sabbath was given to man at Creation. So it was not just for Israel. Rather "the sabbath was made for man" or mankind. (Mark 2:27). Also it was different from other days of the week because "God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made" (Gen. 2:3).

        The Fourth Commandment, as given both in Exodus 20 and in Deuteronomy 5, is referred to as "the Sabbath of the Lord thy God" which He Himself tells us to "Remember...to keep it holy" (Ex. 20:8). Jesus said, "therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath" (Mark 2:28). Jesus is not only our Savior, but He is also the Lord of the Sabbath!

        Lastly, Jesus, in the sermon on the mount, tells us, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets" (Matt. 5:17, NIV). So the law of love (Matt. 22:37-40) is still valid as it was never His purpose to bring law/s to an end. Again Jesus Himself gives us the reason to "keep" the law, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments"(John14:15). So Sabbath observance is an expression of our love to God just as honoring our parents must be out of love for them.

        • Ex. 31:12-17 clearly states that the Sabbath was given exclusively Israel -
          Not just my "assertion" (as you are ASSERTING), but spoken clearly in God's Holy Word.

          The "man" Jesus was speaking to in Mark 2 was a Pharisee, a Jew. Jews considered non-Jews (Gentiles) to be sub-human (referring to them as dogs!), so the term "man" or "mankind" in that passage referred ONLY to Jews, since that was Jesus' audience when He made that statement. Additionally, Mark 2:27-28 is Jesus declaring His Lordship - please notice the wording: "27 Then He told them, “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. 28 Therefore, the Son of Man is Lord EVEN of the Sabbath.”

          EVEN of the Sabbath! He's the Boss, applesauce! And He was reminding the Pharisee of that - a declaration of His all-encompassing (EVEN of the Sabbath) Lordship!

          And I believe Jesus kept His promise that He had come to FULFILL (bring to completion, to its intended end) the Law AND the Prophets. He said it, and I believe it!! If we love Him, we WILL (quite naturally) keep HIS commandments - all of those which He gave during His earthly ministry, not The Ten (and ALL of the O.T. law - the Pentateuch), which were given exclusively and only to Israel. Paul's writings tell us that the Gentiles (myself and most likely everyone here on this forum) were NEVER given the law. What do you do with THAT, Pramod?

          • Hi Grammy,

            I have never ready anywhere that Jesus was only talking to the Jews in Mark 2. Furthermore the Sabbath was given in Genesis 2 before there was a Jew or even the commandments. Also Isaiah 66:23 says that all flesh will continue keeping the Sabbath. To me the Sabbath is key to the new covenant that we are saved by grace and not by works. We rest from our works showing our works do not save us. This is also why the third angels message is key to righteousness by faith. Those who take the mark are trusting their works to save them and rejecting the cross. Those who accept the seal of God and the Sabbath trust God to provide for them instead of their ability to work, do business and buy and sell.

          • The Sabbath was given to our first parents, Adam and Eve. Which I interpret as being given to all mankind. There weren't any Israelites then.

            So what about the law not being given to the Gentiles (you and me)? Well, we are now the spiritual Israel. "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Gal. 3:29).

            Much of the the gospel story does involve the Jews, but we do not brush it aside because Jesus was interacting with them. God did choose the Hebrews in ancient times, but His purpose was that through them the Gentiles should come to His light (Isa.60:3).

            Thank you for raising challenging viewpoints. Fortunately, the Bible has answers for them all.

      • Isaiah 56 and Isaiah 57 mitigate your present position in my opinion. Two of many available mitigations ... (though there are many verses in those passages)

        • C.C. Schmidt, Isaiah was a prophet to Israel. All of the O.T. pointed forward to the coming Messiah, but Jesus has already come! He fulfilled ALL of the O.T. prophets, just as He said He would do.

  11. All good points. Ironically most of the talk about setting aside the ten commandments is directed soley at the fourth. It is claimed that CHrist set aside the ten commandments (nailed them to the cross) but reinstated nine of them. That has two huge holes in it. First, it isn't true. Christ had quite a bit to say about the
    Sabbath. Most of it was correcting mis-applications of it. Second, it isn't reasonable that he would have spend time correcting these abuses of the Sabbath if he was going to do away with it. He would have jusr said, "none of this matters, since this is about to be done away with." For example when asked by the Samaritan women about where to worship, he made it clear that the place was about to become a non-issue.

    • Wilton, ALL of the O.T. laws were fulfilled (completed, brought to an end) at the cross, not just the 4th, and not just the Ten - All 613 laws AND the O.T. prophets were fulfilled, just as Jesus said He had come to do. I believe He did just what He said He would do, don't you? And we no longer need a mere physical rest once a week because now in place of what was a shadow of things to come, we have the Real Thing - Resting FULL-TIME in Jesus and His finished work on the cross!

      • Hi Grammy! Thanks for your comment. The points you shared will become more relevant in the following posts. But please understand, this series was not written to argue for the validity of Adventism. It was written to provide a framework by which Adventism can be better understood by its members in terms of covenant theology and it was also written to provide a framework by which non-Adventists could better understand our theology. Feel free to disagree but what I am really interested in is - do you understand Adventism a little more because of this series? However, that question is best reserved for the end of the series. There are another 6 articles that follow this one so watch this space. 🙂

        • For \"Grammy\"
          Christ fulfills all righteousness. I guess that means righteousness is ended?
          Mat 3:13  Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 
          Mat 3:14  But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 
          Mat 3:15  And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

          • C.C. Schmidt, Jesus didn't simply fulfill righteousness, HE IS OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS!! None of us has any of our own, which is why we desperately need HIM! However, scripture clearly says Christ is the "end of the law to everyone who believes." Rom. 10:4 Only He had the authority to cause and be THAT END!

          • For \"Grammy\" Of course Christ is our only righteousness. But you skipped over the application of \"fulfill\" which begs your application of \"fulfill\". If you are not \"stuck\" on a particular Bible translation, \"culmination\" is used to translate Roms 10:4, another translation speaks that He is the end of the law for righteousness. Paul says many other things that show he is not against the present use of law, \"holy, just, and good\", \"the perfect law of liberty\", ... At least we can agree that He is that end, though end and fulfill don\'t have only simple meaning ... The Law gets blamed for humans failures when humans should get the total[wanted to use all caps ...] blame. Studies are available which show that the law is synonymous with God\'s character - why else does he PROMISE to write it on our hearts?

      • Fulfilled, yes. Provided that doesn't mean done away with. Salvation has never been achievable by DOING anything, which is why we all need Christ, and as you say so well, resting on his completed work seven days a week. But murder never was part of God's perfect creation, and never will be. As we rest we become more like Christ. The same applies to all ten.

        • The born-again believer in Christ, that NEW creation with a NEW heart that is filled with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, no longer desires to commit murder, or any other act that is unloving (toward God OR man), and needs no list of rules or laws. The law WAS (past tense!) our guardian UNTIL Christ, and is no longer needed! Not "done away with," simply no longer necessary. Though we remain imperfect (and in need of Christ's imputed righteousness), our new, Spirit-filled heart is fully committed and wholly tuned to following these commands:

          1. BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.
          2. LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.
          3. LOVE others unselfishly, not as we love ourselves, but as Christ loves us.

          • Hi Grammy,

            I understand what you are saying and agree. I like the way Ellen White puts it in Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, page 109 "When Satan rebelled against the law of Jehovah, the thought that there was a law came to the angels almost as an awakening to something unthought of. In their ministry the angels are not as servants, but as sons. There is perfect unity between them and their Creator. Obedience is to them no drudgery. Love for God makes their service a joy. So in every soul wherein Christ, the hope of glory, dwells, His words are re-echoed, "I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart." Psalm 40:8.

          • When we follow 2 and 3 above, we are upholding the law (Rom. 3:31). Loving God supremely and our neighbors as ourselves is the essence of commandment-keeping. (Matt. 22:37-40 and Romans 13:10).

          • Hi Grammy:

            I heartily agree with this entire post of yours! It is an excellent 3-step summary of a prescription for a Christian.

            I would just note that when we love God wholeheartedly and our neighbors as ourselves, we are in compliance with the law of love.

            To illustrate the contradictions in some of our past assertions, let me point out something from your post. You have said that the law was our guardian until Christ. Well, if the law was not given to the Gentiles (as you had said in one of your posts), how could it be our guardian?😊 Therefore, it is my sincere belief that the law including the Sabbath was given for all mankind.


  12. Seeking our Saviour,Jesus Christ,through the Word of God as interpreted by the Seventh Day Adventist Church.Are you telling me to quit?And where should I go?

    • Michael is this comment in reply to someone elses comment? Or is it in reply to the article? If it is in reply to someones comment ignore my questions. But if it is in reply to the article I would like to know what in the article gave you the impression that you should quit the SDA church?

    • Run to Jesus, Michael. Focus ONLY on Him, and the Holy Spirit will guide you and lead you in all things, including the best group for you to join for worship and Christian fellowship.

  13. A lot of this discussion tends to gravitate towards a view that New Covenant Christians ignore the fourth commandment but still validate the remaining nine.

    A bigger and foundational issue is the view that the law is divided into Moral and Ceremonial - the Law of God (LOG) versus the Law of Moses (LOM). Both the LOG and LOM were spoken by God Himself. Sometimes we place great significance on the fact that the Ten Commandments (TC) were written by the finger of God, versus the remaining laws, statutes. When God states something, it is LAW - whether written or spoken. When God gave the commandment to Adam and Eve that they should not eat of the tree, it was not written, but it was the commandment, whose violation has created the sin problem in the world. Therefore it was as sacred, holy and significant as the TC.

    First, we must understand the style of writing in Genesis through Deuteronomy. It is not always sequential, and does not always flow. (For example, if you read Gen 2 you could think that Eve was created after the work of creation was complete. There are many other examples of this type of writing style.) When you read the TC in Ex 20, you would note that in Ex 20:18, the people heard God speak, but decided out of fear to request that God not speak directly to them. Then you see from Gen 20:22 throughout Exodus 31, it is God who is speaking His commandments. None of it is from the mind of Moses. None of it is the LOM. They are all God's words, God's commandments.

    Yes, God wrote the TC with His finger on stone. However, the TC is but an executive summary of everything He spoke in what we call the LOM. In literary expression, an executive summary does not add or take away anything from the full treatise which is being summarized. Similarly, the full treatise does not contradict the Executive Summary. They both have to be taken together. Consequently, the TC which we deem to be the LOG and the LOM are complete together and cannot, or should not be separated. Both the Old and New Testament writers recognized them as one homogenous, non-separable unit. When Jesus was asked about the great commandment in the law, He did not pull from the TC, but from what we deem to be the LOM. Matt 22:35-60. The LOG and the LOM were used interchangeably. Look at Luke 2:22, 23, 29; 1 Chron 16:40; 2 Chron 31:3; Matt 15:4 and Mark 7:10; Neh 8:1-18; Ezra 7:6; Neh 10:29.

    In summary, the Law of God and the Law of Moses are the same thing - as far as the bible is concerned, and they have equal weight.

    • I can only speak for myself, but I never give a momentary thought to ANY of the Ten Commandments. I no longer have need of them as my guardian or guide. My focus is fixed on Jesus, and my NEW heart is naturally inclined to actively look for ways to demonstrate His love to my fellowmen.

      • Exactly Grammy. God told the Israelites that He delivered them from Egypt. They did not deliver themselves. The He goes on to tell them and us that if we trust in Him, we will not need any other gods. If we trust in Him, we will be true to Him and not be taking His name in vain. If we trust in Him we He will provide all we need so we will not need to defraud our family or community. The NEW heart sees the commandments as promises to have a right Spirit placed in our heart by God. And our focus should be on Jesus and His love, because Jesus is the law of love in the flesh. This is what Jesus tried to get over to the pharisees and never could, that we need to follow the Spirit of the law which is love, instead of the letter of the law.

    • Yes . . . and no. The 10 commandments have a character that is distinctly different from the rest of "LOM". Take the sacrifices of the sanctuary service. In some sense they date back to Gen 3, just after the fall. So they are broader than just Israel. But they clearly come to an end, because they met their fulfillment in Christ's sacrificial death, which they pointed forward to. Take the laws concerning property, particularly inheritance. They are clearly part of the social fabric of the nation God was creating. Or the law about tearing down a house that was growing mold. We clearly understand the importance of the concept, but now that we have bleach, we have other ways to address the underlying problem and don't follow that specific directive--which was also part of the social fabric of Israel. But there is nothing comparable in the ten commandments. They are timeless in their applicability. They are a concise statement of how to live the life of love that Christ spoke about--love to God and love to Man, and anyone who understands what Christ was saying will have them written in their heart and instinctively follow them. And that includes all ten. They are all part of a loving God's description of how to live successfully. Why wouldn't a person who loves God want to come apart for a weekly restful vacation appointment with God. As has been stated, that appointment was made in the Garden of Eden to the ancestors of every human on the planet, and is affirmed all the way through the Bible even to Revelation indicating a future appointment in the earth made new. No other appointment is similar in nature nor is there any word replacement we've been invited to.

  14. The answer to the question, "Are Adventists Old Covenant Christians," from my observation as a third-generation SDA for the first 54 years of my life, is that SDA's attempt to straddle the fence with one foot firmly stuck in the Old Covenant and the other dangling on the other side attempting to reach over into the New Covenant.

    • Hold that thought Grammy! Remember this is a 7 part series. I would love for you to engage the discussion as it naturally progresses. Love your thoughts! Just want to encourage you to save some steam for the future posts 😉


  15. Grammie, I am sorry that you have been listening to someone who has led you astray. Remember the last bit of advice by John, (who firmly believed and kept God\'s 10 commandment law.) i.e. Revelation 20:14 which means keeping the Sabbath holy too, just like Jesus did. Why do you think He rested in the grave on the Sabbath?

    • Jean Riley, I am listening to God's Holy Word and His Holy Spirit - No risk of being misled there! And by the way, Jesus (born in human form) was a Jew, so of course He kept the Sabbath! He was LORD of the Sabbath, and was the only One who could fulfill the the weekly Sabbath, which was a shadow of resting fully in Him and His finished work on the cross. We no longer have to sweat, strive and work to be good enough for salvation (which will never happen, anyway). All was accomplished in Him, by His shed blood, His death and victorious resurrection - Praise God, it is finished!!

      Here is Rev. 20:14 (I don't see anything about the Ten C's in this verse):

      Rev. 20:14 Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.

      Perhaps you meant to cite another passage??

    • Jean Riley, please tell me what I've said that you disagree with. In what way do you believe I have been "led astray" (be specific, please)??

    • I remember several years ago talking to an older lady in my church, who was very concerned about the views of a younger church member. She told me, "I think he is being led astray." Then she smiled as she rocked back in her chair, and with a twinkle in her eye she conceded, "And he thinks I'm being led astray too." I've never forgotten that, I learned that day to just stick with sharing the Bible instead of telling folks they've been led astray. 🙂

      • Excellent advice, William! That is certainly what I'm doing - Just sticking to God's Holy Word and asking the Holy Spirit to lead me into all truth, as promised! Using this plan, honest seekers of truth will not risk being led astray. God bless!

  16. It sounded to me from reading what you wrote that you no longer believed in the seventh-day Sabbath. If I misunderstood what you said, forgive me-I apologize immediately!

    • Is this message intended for the author of the article? Or are you in discussion with someone in the thread? If it is intended for the author (that would be me) please point me to the exact location where you were confused regarding my stance on the Sabbath. I would like to correct whatever may have given that impression. I very much believe in the seventh-day Sabbath.


    • Jean Riley, you are correct. I no longer believe that weekly Sabbath observance is a salvific requirement for New Covenant believers in Christ. In fact (before you can ask if we are now free to steal, kill and commit adultery), I don't believe any of the Ten Commandments are needed in the life of the New Covenant believer, who is a NEW creation with a NEW heart that is led by the Holy Spirit, rather than by a list of laws or rules.

      • Who is a New Covenant believer?

        He/She in whose heart and mind, God, through His Holy Spirit, has written His laws. (Heb. 8:10, Heb. 10:16 & Jer. 31:31-34). Thus, God's laws are enshrined in our hearts.

        The Holy Spirit's leading is always in conformity with the Scriptures because He is the One who inspired their writing.

        Therefore, He will lead us to enter into His Sabbath rest ("the Sabbath of the Lord thy God", Ex 20:8), given to our first parents in Eden prior to fall.

        • Pramod, here are the laws God has written on my NEW heart:
          1. BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ.
          2. LOVE the Lord with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength.
          3. LOVE others as Christ loves us.

          Salvation is NOT about Sabbathkeeping, nor is it about the law. It isn't about me or anything I do (or refrain from doing). It is ALL and ONLY about Jesus and what He has done.

          • Grammy when I believe and love God I autoamtically keep the commandments without even thinking about it. You are right, it is all about what Jesus has done for me (justification) and what Jesu does in me (sanctification) so it is all Jesus from beginning to end as I crucify self and let Him live in me. Galatians 2:20. The Sabbath is a wonderful reminder that I am saved by resting my faith in Jesus instead of my works. The Sabbath will always be crucial to my salvation as it will always warn me against trusting in my own works instead of Jesu doing all the work for me. This is why Satan hates the Sabbath and wants people to forget it, becasue He wants us to forget God's grace and trust in our own works.

            • William, when you say "the commandments," what exactly are you referring to? There are 613 O.T. commands, and more than a thousand commands in the N.T. that Jesus gave while He was here on earth.

            • I am referring to everything Jesus wants me to do. Everything Jesus commanded us centers around love.

              All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
              2 Timothy 3:16 NLT

          • Grammy, I agree with the top half of your answer. The three points which you have called "laws" written on your "NEW heart" are very well summarized in Rev. 14:12 which, you'll remember, reads as follows: "Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus."

            The faith of Jesus or faith in Jesus -- > BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ

            Here are those who keep the commandments of God --> LOVE the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. LOVE others as Christ loved us (Matt. 22:37-40, John 13:34, John 15:12-13, Ephesians 5:25). Love is the essence of commandment-keeping.

            Now, what is salvation? Let's just take two familiar texts.

            Luke 7:50 --> Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” (NKJV)
            Luke 8:48 --> Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” (NIV)

            The word translated as "saved" in Luke 7:50 and as "healed" in Luke 8:50 is the Greek, "sozo" which has both these meanings. So salvation is healing of our hearts and minds from the infection of sin. This is the NEW heart and mind God creates in us (Heb. 10:16). This is what David prayed for in Psalm 51:10: "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." Thus salvation is healing from selfishness to other-centered LOVE.

            This love-filled heart---this clean heart and right spirit---does not steal, kill or commit adultery. In fact, it does not even want to (10th commandment)! And it is LOVE to God that compels us to a dedication of our time on the Lord's Sabbath to the Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28) and we can "call the Sabbath a delight" (Isa. 58:13).

            • From the day I was baptized at age 13, Jesus has been my God, my Savior, my Judge. and I praise Him for His love and Justice, for His great mercy, and forgiveness of which I have needed plenty for these past 80 years, and I love Him, and praise His name every day I have breath!! What ever covenant!!

  17. Hi Marcos,

    I had the pleasure of speaking to one of the SDA church's most knowledgeable scholars on Old Testament issues, particularly the covenants. His name is Richard Davidson. Even though he has written on the issue he told me to read a book titled, "In Granite or Ingrained? by Skip MacCarty". I have been reading this book and so far it is absolutely a blessing. If you haven't read it, you should and I believe it will be a blessing to you also.

    Thanks for your article, I look forward to reading more!
    [Editor: "In Granite or Ingrained? by Skip MacCarty" is available on Amazon, as well as a guide for individual study. ]

  18. Pramod, LOVE compels my new heart to actively seek ways to demonstrate the love of Christ to others. This is the love that fulfills the requirements of God for His people. I rest fully and completely - ALL DAY, EVERY DAY - In Jesus and His finished work on the cross, and have no inclination or compulsion to observe a mere 24-hour rest once a week, when I'm already at rest in Him 24/7, 365. This rest of body, mind, soul and spirit far eclipses a one-day physical rest. I highly recommend it!!

    • Joanne, I affirm what you share in your first sentence and am happy to see that we are on the same page there. However, re your second sentence, I have to ask you this, if you observe the Sabbath rest - i.e. no work for a living, no business, no buying, no selling, no housekeeping - are you expecting other people to do all this for you, so you can rest and still live? I mean, where do your food and clothing come from if you keep every day as Sabbath? (Just trying to help you see the nonsensical nature of your argument.)

      Please understand that we hear you as across as rather patronizing when you write in a manner that assumes that those who keep the seventh day as holy to the Lord do not rest in Jesus. As a matter of fact, we believe that it is impossible to "keep the Sabbath" without first resting in Jesus. The Sabbath is both a symbol of that rest and a reminder of Christ's Creatorship and His act of redemption that purchased not only our rest here but our rest for eternity. And it is literally just "what the doctor ordered" in this fast-paced world. We get to have a mini vacation every single week! God is so awesome! And you know, you could have the same mini vacation every week as well. God offers it to you. He is the great Physician who wants us to be happy, healthy and holy, and He gave us the great gift of this weekly sanctuary in time to help us towards being happy, healthy and holy. 🙂

      Another thing: if you'll read Pastor Torres' second installment, "Are Adventists Old-Covenant Christians? (part 2)" it becomes evident that you are putting down a very large portion of Protestant Christianity by asserting that keeping Sabbath is not consistent with rest in Jesus.

      • Pramod, I am saying that if you are truly and fully resting in Jesus, you will have no need for a weekly one-day rest. I am fully at rest, even while performing strenuous chores and work tasks. When Jesus said, "Come unto me and I will give you rest," He was NOT speaking of mere physical rest. I have gratefully accepted His gracious invitation. I worship EVERY day. I work EVERY day. I rest EVERY day in Jesus. He gives me rest unto my very soul! God, in His infinite wisdom, provided for sleep and rest for our physical bodies EVERY day. If you believe Sabbath is only about physical rest, you've missed the point, my friend.

        Following Jesus isn't about observing a day, it's about a Savior who has already done all the work necessary for our salvation, and we can now rest in His finished work on the cross in our behalf.

    • Yes, Grammy, Sabbath observance is prescribed by not by any human being, but by "the Lord thy God"

      1) because He blessed it, sanctified it and rested on it (Gen. 2:1-3)
      2) "For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." (Exodus 20:11). A MEMORIAL OF CREATION.
      3) because "the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day" as A SIGN OF DELIVERANCE. (Deut. 5:15,6)
      4) God wants us to "call the Sabbath delight" (Isa. 58:13)
      5) Jesus worshipped on the Sabbath "according to His custom" (Luke 4:16) and according to the commandment.
      6) Paul still keep the Sabbath 20 years after Jesus ascended to heaven (Acts 13 & 18)
      7) "Moreover...I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them." (Eze. 20:12, 20). A SIGN OF SANCTIFICATION.
      8) "Six days shalt thou labor" and not on the Sabbath (Ex. 20:9-10 & Deut. 5:13-14)
      9) because, in the NEW EARTH, "it shall come to pass...from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD". (Isa. 66:22-23).
      10) because there is a power that is seeking to enforce Sunday as the day of rest. (Lord's Day Alliance, in existence since 1888, declares that its mission is to encourage all people to recognize and observe a day of Sabbath rest ON SUNDAY! The Pope's encyclical issued in 1998 entitled DIES DOMINI says that Sunday is the fulfillment of the Sabbath. "Therefore, also in the particular circumstances of our own time, Christians will naturally strive to ensure THAT CIVIL LEGISLATION RESPECTS THEIR DUTY TO KEEP SUNDAY HOLY." (Article 67 of the encyclical, DIES DOMINI). Please read the entire encyclical and also ROME'S CHALLENGE from the Catholic Mirror dated September 9, 1893). You will find it informative.


      This will be my last response on the Sabbath commandment. Blessings!

  19. Heb 4:8-11 spells out clearly why we must make effort to enter that Sabbath rest.

    For anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work. God has blessed the seventh day and made it holy (Gen 2:3). Although he created the 7 day cycle, the Lord only bless the Sabbath day (Ex 20:8).

    If you keep the Sabbath, you will find joy in the Lord and the blessings He bestows for the people of God (Isa 58:13-14).

    Not making effort to enter that rest is an act of disobedience (Heb 4:11). For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath (Luke 6:5).

    Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it (Heb 4:1).

  20. Kevin Lim, your efforts are directed toward keeping a weekly one-day Sabbath, rather than entering into "THAT REST," resting completely (body, mind, soul and spirit) full-time in Jesus and HIS FINISHED WORK. The last part of Heb. 4:3 clearly says that God finished His work (ceased working, began resting) since the foundation of the world. Is He still resting today, or did He go back and create our world some more? The rest God has for us is the same perpetual, unending rest He began after the completion of creating our earth. It is a cessation from work and effort, NOT a rest to ease weariness or physical exhaustion. It was this perpetual, unending rest that God intended for Adam and Eve, but they blew it and sin entered the picture. Since then NOBODY has truly rested. It has been turmoil in the world ever since. Read the Old Testament and then look around your world at this very moment! Is there rest? Has there ever been? Absolutely NONE! But we can be fully at rest, even in the storm of all that turmoil.

    And why was God angry with Israel to the point of saying they would NEVER enter His rest (and they still haven't!)? Israel rigorously observed the weekly Sabbath, and yet God was angry with them because of their disbelief. THEIR DISBELIEF, not their lack of obedience to the law or their less-than-perfect Sabbathkeeping!

    Hebrews 4 isn't about the weekly Sabbath at all, though like you, I once believed that it was. What about "another day" that is spoken of in vs. 8? What day is that? Please tell us. It is TODAY! And what day is "today?" Isn't EVERY day "today?" You can rest TODAY folks, and EVERY day ALL day, if your rest is in the completed work of a Savior, and not just in a day once a week. Though I may not have explained it very well, THAT is what Hebrews 4 is trying to tell us, friends. It took me 54 years to see it, but it truly is!!

  21. The gospel was preached to them but was no value to them because they did not combine it with faith (Heb 4:2). Hence, they shall never enter my rest if they keep the Sabbath alone without basic faith (Heb 4:3).

    I think Hebrew 4 is empahsizing the importance of faith, the blessings of Sabbath rest and the gospel. At no point, it refers to any other perpetual or unending rest or the removal of the Sabbath day. There is a special blessing God has reserved for His people when they keep the Sabbath. To suggest otherwise is not God's will.

    Heb 12:14 Make every effort to be holy; without holiness no-one will see the Lord. The Sabbath day is a holy day (Gen 2:3). By observing the Sabbath, it place us on the same holy platform to spend time with God.

    Sabbath is made for the benefit of men and not men for the Sabbath. It is meant to bring blessings on a special day. God could have made everyday Holy but he didn't. Why? Because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done (Gen 2:3).

    Jesus said if you love me, keep my commandments (John 14:15). Not 9 Commandments but all 10 and everything he taught in the gospel, the word of the Lord stands forever (1 Peter 1:25).

    James mention that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone (James 2:24). Faith without deeds is dead, even the demon believe in God (James 2:19, James 2:26).

    God doesn't want us to idlers (2 Thess 3:7-10, Gen 3:19). Neither is He a slave master. He just wants us to remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Is that too much to ask?

    f we are toiling day and night, it is difficult dedicate our minds totally to God. God wants us to have a physical Sabbath rest (a full day) because we need it and a spiritual day dedicated to spend time with Him.

    If you want to do it everyday, I applaud you but I don't think it is practical for most of us. Do it the Lord's way, not your way or mine and lean not on your own understanding (Prov 3:5).

  22. Yes, Kelvin Lim. That is what I, too, was taught for the first five decades of my life in Adventism. May God bless us all and may His Holy Spirit lead us out of the darkness of error and into His Marvelous Light as we seek the beautiful truths of The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Good News, and its significance in our lives.

  23. Grammy I didn't know you were an Adventist for such a long time. Then something or event must have happened to have you take such a drastic turnaround for your belief. Care to share?

    I left the church for 20 years and recently I am back because it is easy to take a man out of a church, but not easy to take Adventism out of a man (if you know what I mean).

    We are all here today in this forum because we want to be united with God. The Lord will reveal His Marvelous Light to us all in the darkness of error and misinterpretations. Everyday we are learning new things as we keep eyes on Jesus and the scriptures.

    Last Sabbath, a visitor came to church to dispute about the Adventist belief. Very opinionated young men who says we are Old Testament Christians. I ask him whether I can show him some New Testament text and he refused my gesture. He told me he has Christianity all figured out and the scriptures text will be twisted to suit my interpretation. And he left.

    I am saddened by his remarks because I believe through fellowship and discussion and prayer, we understand the Bible better. It is not about who wins or lose the debate, but about uncovering the Truth.

    • Kelvin Lim:
      Isn't God great? Even though you had left the church, God never left you. He kept working on your heart and you responded to His invitation of love. Praise God! Many of us haven't "left the church". Yet we slip and fall in various ways. Each time He picks us up and accepts us "as though we had never sinned" {3SM 140.3}.
      You are right. It isn't about winning or losing a debate with our fellow human beings. "We do not war after the flesh" (2 Cor. 10:3). Our debate is really with the Lord who speaks to us through His Spirit, His word and our conscience. He is "longsuffering to us-ward not willing that any should perish, but that all may come to repentance" (2 Pet. 3:9). What love!

    • Kelvin, I appreciate all comments, however, we all need to keep your young visitor in prayer...Like All, its always in God's time...May the Spirit of the Lord filled us with our daily walk with Him..

  24. Grammie, I guess I did print the wrong text, sorry but at 93 sometimes my fingers hit the wrong key on the computer. I did mean Rev.22:14-\"Blessed are they that keep His commandments, that they may have a right to \"etc. You see, I trust Jesus to guide me every day of my life, and I love Him for giving His life that I may have eternal life with Him some day. His death on the cross was a terrible price to pay for my life, but I love Him and I intend to serve Him in every way He gives me instruction. I do not care what covenant it was, as far as I am concerned His word is my command, no matter when He gave it, I am not Jewish, but I know that from Creation until now He told me to do what He tells me to until the day comes when He would tell me personally that it is finished!!! I did not think my e-mail would be published, and I am distressed to think that I upset you in any way. I hope you decide to keep the Sabbath holy for the rest of your life. I look forward to meeting you at the pearly gates!! Jean
    [Moderator note: Your email, Jean, was not published. You can take a look at your comments to reassure yourself that your email address is not published. You only get email notifications of responses to your comments because you did not elect to not receive replies.]

  25. Thank you for your kind thoughts, Jean, but you have not upset me in any way. I haven't observed a weekly Sabbath in more than 20 years, and have no plans to resume doing so. I am fully at "holy rest" ALL day EVERY day in Jesus and His finished work on my behalf on the cross. I have the full assurance, by His grace through faith in Him, that I WILL be there to meet you at those pearly gates one day, and am looking forward to THAT!

    • Joanne, I am still awaiting your answer as to how you can be "fully at rest" the way God designed us to be on the Sabbath and still live in this world. Who is looking after your housework? Who is providing your food, clothes, housing expenses?

      Remember that the biblical Sabbath gives us complete freedom from our daily work, worries, etc. That means no work, no making money, etc. Even nuns in a monastery, who are supported by donations, still have some work to do. Hence my question to you.

      Please explain how you manage this. (The argument is not about resting in Jesus every day. We are quite familiar with that, and the Sabbath gives us opportunity to have a special date with Jesus, free of all everyday distractions. It's a date God made with us way back at creation, and when we rest in Him, we delight to meet with Him on His special day. )

  26. Grammy,
    Your comments appeared as at the time you earnestly kept God's weekly seventh day Sabbath, your light on daily worship was not sharpened. And this is proven by your constant reference to Matthew 11:28. I'm really trying to figure out possible hard feelings you might have gone through in your walk with Christ but can't overcome my thought of how desperate situations were with you some years ago. But that unfortunate.

    I have seen couple of individuals in same shoes like you with huge doubt on certain leadership issues, relational issues, board issues etc for which a new stance is opted for. But guest what? Our knowing of this glorious truth can only be shackled when we look on humans in the church as the ultimate examples to faith.

    Hence using the phrase "everyday" to justify a worship rest is not scriptural. For the Sabbath standout the most above all other and this is in conformity with scriptural truth. Remember Paul say, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1). Which by practice, can be a note study on Christ's earthly history of Sabbath worship for which He (Paul) dare to follow. What more can one say above these repeated passages (most of which you have heard)?

    My friend, the word of God will not go against itself. That why He says, "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do" (Mark 7:7, 8).

    My cross-study in the Holy Quran and Book of Mormon proved that men are doing their own things far from what their God's ideal is. At least these two agreed in part that THE SABBATH IS TO BE KEPT BY ALL MANKIND.

    Mosiah 13:16-20 declares, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; But the seventh day, the Sabbath of the Lord thy God, thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; For insix days the Lord made heaven andearth, and the sea, and all that in them is; wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. While Mosiah 18:23 provides a line of connection, “And he commanded them that they should observe the sabbath day, and keep it holy, and also every day they should give thanks to the Lord their God.” And reinforce by Jarom 1:5 that, “And now, behold, two hundred years had passed away, and the people of Nephi had waxed strong in the land. They observed to keep the law of Moses and the Sabbath day holy unto the Lord. And they profaned not; neither did they blaspheme. And the laws of the land were exceedingly strict.” (BOM Citations).

    It will interest you to note that no phrase of a "first day" reference appear in the entire Book of Mormon for which the church exalts effort worshipping on the day they worship. All the same, tradition practiced over longed period all most become the norm. And many, once aware, questioned and quit appropriately for not duly obeying their God. I can provide you many other text proving God's Sabbath reality. But why will we want to go this route when Bible evidences standout clearly on this matter?

    But I pray that the Lord grant you another opportunity of seeing His Sabbath a delight.


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