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A Response to the Video:
Seventh-day Adventism, the Spirit Behind the Church

by Bob Pickle

Answers to Questions Raised by:
Mark Martin, Sydney Cleveland
Dale Ratzlaff, The White Lie
. . . and
Others

Discern Fact from Fiction


Salvation, Grace, and Obedience

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#150 & #151: "Yet the Bible teaches that we are under a New Covenant and the Old Covenant is obsolete. Christ is the end of the law."—Mark Martin.

#150: We're under the New Covenant now. Though this is a popular antinomian argument, it doesn't make sense in the light of the only New Testament passage that describes the New Covenant:

For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: . . . For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people. (Heb. 8:7-10)

First of all, this passage clearly says that the problem with the Old Covenant was the people, not [p. 99] the law. This harmonizes with how Romans 7:12 says that "the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good." There is nothing wrong with the law.

Secondly, the passage clearly says that the New Covenant is God's writing His laws in our hearts and minds. If we don't have to obey the law under the New Covenant, how then can the New Covenant be God's writing His law in us?

In looking for what the difference between the Old Covenant and New Covenant is, the following verses can be helpful:

And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. (Ex. 19:8)

And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do. (Ex. 24:3)

And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. (Ex. 24:7)

They said they would obey, but since their promise didn't last forty days, they must have been trying to do it on their own. It is utterly impossible for us to write God's laws in our own hearts and minds. Only God can do that, for only He can convert the heart and bring us into repentance and obedience.

Therefore, a major difference between the Old and New Covenants must be who does the writing upon the heart. Under the Old, the people try to do it themselves, all in vain. Under the new, we let God do it.

Is the law of the New Covenant that's written in our hearts the Ten Commandments, or is it some other law? That's a fair question, and it deserves a fair answer.

"And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament" (Rev. 11:19). Since "testament" is translated from the Greek word for "covenant," what we are seeing in this verse is the ark of God's covenant. But is it the ark of the Old Covenant or the New? Two points may be considered.

First, this verse is speaking of events that happen at the end of time. Since the Old Covenant is long since gone by the end of time, this ark must be the ark of the New Covenant.

Second, the sanctuary and its furniture that Moses made were but copies of the heavenly originals, and these originals belong to the New Covenant (Heb. 8:2, 5; 9:1). Since Revelation's ark is in a temple in heaven, not a temple on earth, it must therefore be the original ark, the ark of God's New Covenant.

But what was the purpose of the ark? Primarily, it served as a box to hold the Ten Commandments, the "tables of the covenant" (Deut. 9:9-11; 10:4). This is how it got its name. Thus Revelation's ark of God's New Covenant must likewise have "tables of the covenant" inside. Otherwise, the phrase "ark of his testament" is meaningless.

There is but one question left. Do the tables inside the ark of the Old Covenant and the tables inside the ark of the New Covenant read the same? Well, if the sanctuary that Moses made was but a copy of the heavenly, and if the ark he made was but a copy of the original in heaven, would not the earthly tables also be a copy of the originals in heaven? Of course!

#151: Christ is the end of the law. This too is a popular antinomian argument, taken from Romans 10:4. Yet it contradicts what Christ said:

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. (Mat. 5:17, 18)

It also makes Paul contradict himself in the very same book: "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law" (Rom. 3:31).

So what does "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth" mean? "Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy" (James 5:11). Apparently, "end" has more than one meaning, unless we want to say that the "Lord" has ended.

"End" in Romans 10:4 means "that which the law leads to." This makes the text parallel the thought of another passage of Paul: "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster" (Gal. 3:24, 25).

The law tells us what God requires and what sin is (Rom. 3:20; 7:7). When we realize our helplessness to atone for the past and to live in the present, we are drawn to Christ as our only hope. Christ is thus the "end" of the law because the law leads us to Christ.

Back to the ark of the covenant for a moment. "And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened" (Rev. 15:5). Notice how the heavenly temple is described as the "tabernacle of testimony." Often in the Old Testament the tabernacle was called the tabernacle of testimony or witness. Why? Because the ark was inside, and it was called the ark of testimony or witness. And why was it called that? Because it [p. 100] contained the "tables of testimony" (Ex. 38:21; 25:16; 31:18; 32:15; 34:29). And why are the Ten Commandments called tables of testimony? Because they testify and tell us exactly what sin is, and how we are in dire need of a Savior.

The prophet Micah foretold the second coming (Mic. 1:3, 4). In that context, he had this to say to everyone in the end of time, whether Jew or Gentile: "Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple" (Mic. 1:2).

Will we let God testify to us about our sins through the Ten Commandments of His heavenly temple? Or shall we shut our ears to what God says through His Word, go on in our disobedience and sin, and be lost in the end? Dear reader, won't you choose to follow Christ wherever He leads?

A Response to the Video

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