Old Theology Quarterly


Dear Sir and Brother: -

Even though differing from you in my views of the Law, I feel constrained to express admiration for the zeal with which you and your co-workers have endeavored to promulgate [HGL75] what you believe to be the truth of God. If we believe anything to be right we must act upon it until the Lord grants us to see

otherwise. I had far rather be wrong and consistent than right and inconsistent, though it is best of all to be both right and consistent.

I feel justified in addressing you as a Brother in Christ because of the many points upon which we can hold harmonious fellowship. We look to the same Father in heaven. We trust in the merit of the same great sacrifice for sin. We are seeking light from the same inspired Scripture. We are both striving to live in the way that will be to the glory of God. We see eye to eye upon the nature of the soul, the penalty for sin, earth's restitution to Edenic conditions, the Babylonian state of so-called Christendom, and the impending time of trouble along financial, political and social lines. Then last, but not least, we each see the necessity of suffering with Christ if we would be glorified with him, and have already suffered a little of the scorn and derision which the world hurls at the soldier of the cross. The enumeration of all these points on which we are agreed will enable you to realize that what I am about to say respecting our differences is not meant in a spirit of wrangling, but solely for the purpose of sharing with you the blessedness and joy which has dawned in our hearts with this comforting light; and with almost every sentence, I breathe a prayer that the dear Lord will bless and condescend to use this feeble ministry to his glory.

Our differences seem to hinge largely upon the Sabbath question, so I will come immediately to its consideration.

We agree with our Adventist friends that God never authorized anyone to change the Sabbath of the Decalog from the seventh day of the week to the first, but we do believe that just as truly as the Christian has a greater High Priest, and a greater sacrifice, and a greater tabernacle than Israel had, so, too, the follower of Christ has a much greater Sabbath than the follower of Moses. Everything under the Jewish dispensation was typical of "good things to come." (Heb. 10:1.) The Atonement Day, the passover, the sabbatic years, the jubilees, etc., were all figures of more important things; so why should it seem strange that the seventh or Sabbath day was typical any more than the seventh or sabbatic year? But in order that you may see this to be the Scriptural thought hear Paul in Col. 2:16, 17: "Let no man therefore judge you, in meat or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: Which are a shadow of good things to come; but the body is of Christ." The seventh-day keepers will argue that the Sabbath here refers to some of those yearly occasions, which were also called Sabbath, because part of their observance required rest from ordinary labor; for instance, the Day of Atonement. But this cannot be the meaning of Paul's language, for he had already included all these yearly sabbaths under the words, "an holy day." In harmony with his usual systematic forms of expression Paul first spoke of the yearly holy days, then came the monthly festivals, the new moons, and next the weekly rest days. The Christian has a Sabbath too, but, as we shall see, his Sabbath is as much greater than the Jewish Sabbath as the substance of a thing is greater than its shadow.

You may ask "Did not the Lord in Exo. 31:16 speak of the seventh day Sabbath as being given for 'a perpetual covenant'?" I answer to this that the very identical language which the Lord used here of the Sabbath he uses elsewhere of the harvest offering (Leviticus 23:14), the pentecostal sacrifice (Leviticus 23:21), the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:31, 32) and the Feast of Tabernacles. (Leviticus 23:41.) The same Hebrew word "olam," which is translated "perpetual" in the seventh day reference, is the word translated "forever" in the other passages. See Young's Analytical Concordance. So if the Advent view is correct we should still be keeping the Feast of Tabernacles as well as the Sabbath, but as some of your own brethren have shown, when dealing with the punishment of the wicked, the word "olam," like the Greek "aion," really means "agelasting," or "lasting to a consummation." It is sometimes used in the sense of eternal but not necessarily. Thus in Exo. 29:9 we read of the priestly office being given to Aaron and his descendants "for a perpetual statute," the same word "olam" being used. But that it does not properly mean "perpetual" in this passage is evident, for Aaron's family lost the priesthood 1800 years ago. Note Heb. 7:11-14.

We find, then, that Jehovah used the very same language in speaking of the weekly Sabbath which he used respecting other Jewish institutions which passed away when that of which they were typical came; so similarly may not the Jewish Sabbath have passed away, being supplanted by a greater Sabbath? Notice our Lord's words in Matt. 5:17, 18 , "Think not that I am come to destroy the Law or the prophets; I am not come to destroy but to fulfill; for verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law till all be fulfilled" Our Savior did not say the Law should not pass away, but that it should not pass away until it was fulfilled. But he tells us first that he came to fulfill it; so if it was fulfilled in him is has passed away. There is a vast difference between a thing being destroyed and passing away as a result of fulfillment. The law of circumcision was never destroyed, but it passed away and was abolished when that to which it pointed, circumcision of the heart, was set forth, and it is this higher circumcision we must observe. (Rom. 2:28, 29.) Likewise Christ did not destroy the Law, or set it at naught, but his perfect life fulfilled its every requirement, as we imperfect creatures could not, and thus he became the great inheritor of all the promises of the Law, with the right to distribute what he inherited under the Law to all who would become his. Additionally the Law led to Christ and pointed him out as the holy One of whom Moses had said, "Hear ye him." (Acts 7:37; Gal. 3:24, 25.) Therefore to consider the Law given through Moses as binding upon the Christian is to doubt whether Christ has accomplished what he came for; "to fulfill" the Law. Of course the Christian must study that Law, and he finds jewels of inspired wisdom in it, but he studies it as a shadow of better things, as typical of the blessings promised under the greater than Moses Christ.

Then is the follower of Christ under no law? Yes, he is under a new law, a higher law. Just as he has a better High Priest, a better sacrifice, a better everything than the Jew had, so he has a better law, and it contains a better Sabbath. Isa. 42:21 foretold that Christ was to "magnify the Law and make it honorable," and we are now under this magnified law. The Law said: "Thou shalt not kill," but Christ [HGL76] magnified that when he taught that whosoever hateth his brother without a cause is guilty of murder. (See Matt. 5:21, 22, 27, 28.) The Law said: "Thou shalt not steal," but Christ taught us that we should not merely refrain from robbing our neighbor, but be ever ready to share with him what we had, even to the extent of laying down our lives for our brethren. (John 13:24; 1 John 3:16.) The Law said: "Honor thy father and thy mother," but we are instructed to "honor all to whom honor is due." Rom. 13:7.

Now, dear brother, the Adventists see that Christ magnified the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th commandments, but they fail to realize that he magnified the 4th, the Sabbath commandment, too. To the contrary, they believe he made it smaller. One of your brethren put it to me this way: "Before Christ every little act contrary to the Sabbath commandment, even the building of a fire, was to be severely punished, but since Christ's sacrifice, so long as we try to do our best to keep the Sabbath, the Lord will pardon and overlook where we come short in our obedience to that command." That would have magnified God's mercy, but it would not have magnified the commandment. Would it be magnifying the 6th commandment if we should say: "Before Christ murder was to be severely punished, but since then, if you try to keep the Law - 'thou shalt not kill' it will be all right if you do kill a man once in a while?" Yet that is the only sense in which I have ever been able to find the seventh-day Adventists viewing the Sabbath differently from the Jews of old.

Let me now present our understanding of how Christ magnified the Sabbath Law. The Israelite was to consider one-tenth of what he had as holy unto the Lord; but do we ever hear the Christian advised to give a tithe to the Lord? Not once. How much are we advised to give him? All that we are and have. We are to give all that we can in as direct a way as we can, and the balance is to be given him in a more indirect way; e. g., we give him the money we spend for food and clothing, because our body belongs to him and is being used to glorify and serve him. The food gives us strength to do more for him, therefore the money we spend for food is being spent for our Lord. (Rom. 12:1; 1 Cor. 6:20; 10:31; 2 Cor. 5:15.) In Luke 14:33 our Master does not tell us to forsake or surrender a tenth, but "all that he hath." But the Christian not only gives the Lord more than the Jew gave; he also gives it in a higher sense. The Jew gave to the Lord by giving to the priests and Levites, but the Christian gives to the Lord by trying to do everything in the way the Lord would approve. "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do with this dollar, or this hour, or with these hands?" is his heart's constant sentiment.

The Jew sang: "Some of self and some of thee." The Christian sings: "None of self but all of thee."

Likewise the Jew gave God one-seventh of his time, but the Christian is to give him seven-sevenths. The Lord said in Leviticus 19:30 , "Ye shall keep my sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary." The sanctuary was the holy structure through which God manifested himself to Israel; so to them the word meant a certain definite holy place; but the Christian finds his sanctuary wherever he is; every place is a holy place to him. Similarly every day is a holy day, a Sabbath of rest to him. He has a better sanctuary to reverence and a better Sabbath to keep. But not only does his Sabbath differ from the typical Sabbath, the nature of his rest also differs. It does not merely mean a cessation from manual labor, but a rest from laboring for self in order to work and live for God. It means to rest as God rested after he had completed the work of creation, as the Word expresses it: "To enter into his rest." God's rest does not mean idleness, "He sends his rain and causes his sun to shine" on the seventh just as much as on any other day. Then how did he rest? He ceased working for himself in order to work for man through his Son. And how do we rest like him? By ceasing to work for self in order to work for him through Christ. Hear Heb. 4:10, "For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his." And then Paul continues in verse 11, "let us labor therefore," not let us cease from labor, but labor to put down those selfish propensities which would lead us, contrary to God's will, to live for self, instead of permitting us "to enter into that rest." This rest of which the seventh day was a type will not end with this life, but it will continue an eternal rest, begun here and consummated in eternity.

Let me digress here to say that God's rest day was not a period of 24 hours, but, like the six days of creation, was a long period of time. In our own language this is a very common use of the word "day," and it is equally frequent in Bible language. (2 Pet. 3:8; Psa. 95:7-10). While the day of salvation of 2 Cor. 6:2 is already over 1800 years long, so it was with the great days of creation; they were long periods of time, and likewise the seventh day, in which God rested, is a long period; it is not over yet. However, time will hardly permit me to give you the Scriptural proofs here on this point, but if you wish I may take it up later.

But to return to the subject of this letter. In Isa. 58:13 we have a description by the inspired Prophet of what constitutes Christian Sabbath keeping. We must refrain from doing our own ways, and from finding our own pleasures, and from speaking our own words. That is Sabbath keeping. But the Christian must do that every day, therefore every day must be a Sabbath to him. For fear you may not apply the latter part of the verse to the Sabbath let me refer you to the Revised Version, which reads: "And shalt honor it, not doing thine own ways," etc. Every day we are to "speak as the oracles of God." (1 Pet. 4:11.) Every day God is to work in us "to do of his good pleasure" (Philip. 2:13). Every day "the steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord." (Psa. 37:23.) So again I say, every day is a Sabbath to him who liveth "not unto himself." Is not this a glorious magnifying of the Law?

We can now see how "Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth." Rom. 10:4. We can understand why Paul could say in Gal. 3:19, "The Law was added" . . . "TILL THE SEED SHOULD COME," and then in verses 23 to 25 he boldly compares the Law to a severe pedagogue to whom they were committed for a season, "but after that faith is come we are no longer under a pedagogue." And we can comprehend why Paul mourns because "ye observe days" Gal. 4:10, 11, and intimates that the brother is weak who "esteems one day above another" Rom. 14:1-7, failing to realize that they are all to be counted as days in which His glory is to be sought. [HGL77] I know how the seventh-day Adventists divide the Law into two parts, calling the Decalogue "the law of God," and the remainder "the law of Moses," and then claiming that Christ did away with the law of Moses, but not with the law of God. This is an awful mistake; it was all the Law of God, because it came from Him, and it as all the Law of Moses in that it came through him. (Leviticus 26:46; Deut. 5:5.) Thus our Savior, in Mark 7:10, quotes one of the ten commandments (Exo. 20:12; Deut. 5:16), and then in the same verse a law which was not in the Decalogue (Exo. 21:17; Leviticus 20:9), and yet attributes them both to Moses. He was not the author of either, but he was the agent through whom God delivered both commands. Furthermore, the fact that the Law, which was until John (Luke 16:16; Matt. 11:13), included the Decalog as well as the ceremonial features of the Law, is proved by Rom. 7:6, 7; for Paul, after saying, "we are delivered from the law," leaves no doubt as to what law is meant by quoting from the tenth commandment. And as his words show we are no longer under the letter (it was the letter which was on the stones), but under the spirit, the antitype, that which was shadowed forth in the words on stone, the greater law of love. (Jas. 1:26; 2:8.) When we read, therefore, in the books from Acts to Revelation about the redeemed keeping "the commandments of God," we do not think of the letters in stone given through Moses, but of the magnified "law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus." (Rom. 8:2.) Notice another passage, viz., 2 Cor. 3:3-11. The expression, "written and engraven in stones," and the reference to Moses' face shining at the time is evidence that Paul is speaking of the Decalog. In verse 7 he tells us how the Law was accompanied with such glory that it even caused Moses' face to shine. Then in verse 8 he refers to something which would be accompanied with more glory, and following this up shows that when "the glory that excelleth" (v. 10) should come then that which was given with glory i. e the Law written and engraven on stones was to be "done away." (v. 11). Note the remarkable similarity between the Revised Version rendering of verse 11 and Matt. 5:18. Then in 2 Cor. 3:12 to 18 Paul shows that while Israel had Moses cover his face so they could not see the glorious results of the giving of that glorious Law, yet we should refrain from covering our hearts with the veil of prejudice, etc., as we wish to see the more glorious results of this more glorious law upon the hearts and lives of our brethren, especially as it was reflected in our great Elder Brother, the Lord Jesus. 2 Cor. 3:18.

Dear brother, much more might be written, but I must refrain from more than one or two brief statements. Paul's preaching upon the seventh day, etc., is no endorsement of seventh-day Adventism. That was a day when the cessation from labor brought the Jews together in their synagogues and gave Paul an opportunity he gladly used. Wherever and whenever he found ears to hear he was ready to preach. There were crowds in the synagogues on the seventh day; so Paul went there, and there were numbers at the market every day; so Paul preached there on other days (Acts 17:17.) So just as Paul esteemed those opportunities, so we esteem the opportunities afforded us on the first day, not because there is a divine command to consider that day a Sabbath above other days, although we consider it a very appropriate day for meetings of the people of God, being our Lord's resurrection day. However, refraining from actual labor on the first day is not an endorsement of the wrong ideas many have held about it, any more than a belief in the Bible would mean an endorsement of the many wrong views which have been entertained of its teaching.

I fear the seventh-day keepers have been putting the new wine into the old bottles; let us rather use the new bottles provided through our Savior. (Matt. 9:17.) "Prove all things," including these things, and if found in harmony with the Word of God may you have grace to act upon this fuller light, of which Sinai's light was but a type, and to rest in this better sense. It has been a great comfort to me to find that salvation did not hang upon such a slender cord as the keeping of a weekly rest day.

There are other features of the Sabbath, for instance it s foreshadowing of the Millennium, which I have not touched upon at all. Pastor Chas. T Russell, of Allegheny, Pa., has treated that phase of the subject most beautifully. Have you ever read his book, "The Divine Plan of the Ages?" It is a book of 386 pages, cloth bound, for 25 cents. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 612 Arch Street, Allegheny, Pa., supplies them. It puts the Scriptures upon the Millennium in a new light by helping to lay aside that "veil" we have already referred to.

Trusting you will be willing to receive this in the same spirit in which is was written, and asking our heavenly Father's blessing upon its mission, I subscribe myself,

Your Brother in the service of the King of kings,

B H Barton


Question l. Were two laws given to Israel, a ceremonial law and a moral law; and was it the former only that was done away by Christ, while the moral law remains?

Answer. There is no Scriptural authority for such a division. On the contrary, there was but one Law, its ceremonial features providing typically for the cleansing away of sins resulting from the violation of its moral precepts. If it could be seen as the Covenant mediated by Moses, it would be evident that all of its parts must stand or fall together. But after comparing Exo. 34:28; Deut. 4:13, 14, and Heb. 8:6-8, there should be no question on the part of any one that the Ten Commandments were a part of the Law Covenant which is to be supplanted by the New Covenant sealed with the blood (death) of Christ, its Mediator Jesus the Head and the Church his Body.

When the apostles wrote to the new Gentile converts respecting the Law determined not to put upon them the yoke of the Law which they as Jews had been unable to keep and contradicting certain teachers who had said that they "must be circumcised and keep the Law," James remarked incidentally that the Law of Moses to which they referred was that "read in the synagogue every Sabbath day." Acts 15:9-11, 24, 28, 29, 19-21.

Question 2. We Seventh-day keepers claim that God's commands are, that we labor six days and rest on the seventh; and many of us have gone to prison because of our conviction that it is our duty to labor on the first day and on all days except the seventh. And we believe that the time [HGL78] is coming when the keeping of Sunday will be a yet more severe test, and bring further suffering upon us.

Answer. We have nothing to do with the making of the social laws which prohibit labor on the first day of the week; but we obey them as civil laws, as commanded in the Scriptures (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13); and we find it to be to our profit as well as to our pleasure. We sincerely sympathize with the poor people who are deluded by such an argument, and suffer therefor; and we admire their willingness to suffer for what they consider to be the truth. But they are mistaken. The laws of this land do not compel any man to violate his conscience by working on the seventh day or any other day.

And it is not sound reasoning to claim that a man must labor during the other six days. If so, are those days of twenty-four hours, or of how many hours? In such a case, for a man to be sick, or to go on a journey or on a visit, would be to violate the Law, and fall under its curse. What nonsense! False reasoning has surely blinded whoever cannot see that the Fourth Commandment of Moses' Law means, "(Within) six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work!"

As for future persecution on these lines, it is probable; not because of any opposition to Seventh-day-keeping, but because, according to the Scriptures, there will ere long be a federation or union of religious systems which, gaining increased prestige and honor, will make the demands of popular religionists more arrogant supposedly in the interest of peace and the cause of Christ.

Question 3. We Seventh-Day Adventists claim that as the Mosaic Covenant had a tabernacle, with a holy place in which the high priest offered for the sins of the people during the entire year, and a most holy in which he finished that work on the last day of the year, so there is a Holy and Most Holy in heaven; and that Christ has officiated for the sins of his people in the Holy during the Gospel Age, and will for a short time before its close officiate in the Most Holy. This we understand to be the "cleansing of the Sanctuary." We consequently used to teach that all probation ended about 1845, when Christ (we believe) went from the Holy into the Most Holy. We hold, therefore, that the judgment is all over, and that naught remains except for Christ to come forth and receive us Seventh-Day Adventists, and to destroy all the remainder of mankind.

We hold, too, that we Seventh-Day Adventists are fulfilling the "Third Angel's Message" of Rev. 14:9-12. In the Expression, "Fear God and keep his commandments," we place the stress upon the Fourth Commandment. Answer. You err respecting the antitypes of the Jewish Atonement Day and Tabernacle. The antitypical Holy and Most Holy are "heavenly," in the sense of being higher (such is the meaning of the word heavenly). In Israel's typical service these were places: in the antitype they are conditions. All of the antitypical or "royal priesthood" have access to the Holy condition as soon as they consecrate themselves or present their bodies living sacrifices to God's service. (Heb. 9:6.) They at once have access to the antitypical "shewbread" (Leviticus 24:9), "meat to eat that the world knoweth not of." They at once have the light of divine revelation, represented by the "golden candlestick," which the natural man perceiveth not. (1 Cor. 2:5, 7, 9-12.) They at once have access to the Incense Altar, and their prayers and services are acceptable to God through Christ as sweet incense. Thus the first apartment of the Tabernacle represents the present condition of the Church while still in the flesh; and thus we are now blest with Christ Jesus "in heavenly places (higher conditions)." Eph. 1:3.

But the vail (death) still separates between us and the perfect spiritual condition the divine nature into which Christ has entered, and into which he has promised to conduct all his faithful joint-sacrificers and joint-heirs at the close of the Antitypical Day of Atonement.

You err also in supposing that Israel's typical Day of Atonement was at the end of the year, to atone for past sins. It was, on the contrary, for the nation, and at the beginning of their year, to make atonement for the whole nation and to bring the whole nation into God's favor for the year following it. And the thank-offerings, peace-offerings, and trespass-offerings, offered by individuals during the year following, were acceptable upon the basis of that Atonement Day offering. At the close of the year, for which the Atonement Day sacrifices applied, the people were again as defiled as the residue of Adam's race, and required a new Day of Atonement as a basis for another year's acceptance with God as a typically justified nation.

You err also in supposing that the coming out of the Great High Priest at the close of the Day of Atonement will be for the blessing of Seventh-Day keepers. He comes out to bless, first, the "royal priesthood," they that have made a covenant with him by sacrifice. (Psa. 50:5.) "They shall be mine, saith the Lord, in that day when I make up my jewels." (Mal. 3:17.) But, as in the type, not priests only were blessed, but "all the people," so in the antitype all the families of the earth shall be blessed at the revelation of Christ Jesus, when he shall come to be "glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that (Millennial) day." (2 Thess. 1:10.) The sacrifices and offerings subsequent to the typical Day of Atonement will find their antitypes in the Millennial Age, when all those who desire fellowship with God will come to him through the Royal Priesthood; who will offer their sacrifices for them.

You are in serious error also respecting the Cleansing of the Sanctuary; but for our view of this subject we must refer you to DAWN-STUDIES, Vol. 3, Chap. 4.

As to the Third Angel's message: Suppose we were to admit your claim, that you are fulfilling Rev. 14:9-12. That would prove nothing as to the truth or untruth of your message. The Book of Revelation is a symbolic prophecy, a history written in advance. What is occurring and what will occur are faithfully related, often without comment, just as the Old Testament prophecies relate evil things as well as good things, and often without comment. For instance, Dan. 7:8 tells about the Papal horn "speaking great things," but does not say whether they are great truths or great untruths. So, too, in Revelation, Papacy is described and its language quoted without adverse criticism.

Question 4. Christ said that he came not to destroy the Law and the prophets, but to fulfill them Matt. 5:17.

Answer. Yes, that is just what we hold: He fulfilled the Law Covenant, met all of its requirements, and obtained [HGL79] its reward, Life. That fulfilled it, for that was the end for which it was intended and given.

Question 5. Christ said, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." (Mark 2:27) We understand this to mean that the Sabbath was made for all mankind.

Answer. Your inference is not reasonable. If the Sabbath were meant for all mankind, the fact should and would have been clearly stated to all mankind. But the facts are that it was commanded only of one nation, and that Christ and the apostles did not so command. In this text our Lord is showing to the Jews, to whom the command was given, that they were putting an extreme construction upon the command when they refused to do good on that day to a fellow creature, as well as to an ox and an ass. The Sabbath was intended for the blessing of the men who were commanded to keep it: they were not created nor called as a nation simply to serve the day.

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