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A Written Discussion ... Upon the Sabbath

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    ELDER PETER VOGEL’S FIFTH NEGATIVE

    5. That the ten commandments were abolished is further evident from Colossians 2:14, where we read expressly about God’s ‘blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us.’ and that He ‘took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross.’WDUS 80.1

    (1.) The ten commandments are the only ‘handwriting’ God ever had (Exodus 31:18; 24:12; 32:16); therefore they are here specifically referred to and are declared to be ‘blotted out’ and taken out of the way’ in so far as they were ‘ordinances.’WDUS 80.2

    (2.) ‘Ordinance’ (Gr. dogma, from dokeo, to think) signifies a decree, a statute, a positive ordinance; Luke 2:1, ‘There went out a decree from Cæsar; Acts 16:4, ‘They delivered the decrees.’ See also Dr. Webster.WDUS 80.3

    (3.) ‘Blotted out’—Gr. exaleipho—Lat. obliterare, to obliterate, to cancel; opposed to anagrapho, to record.—Liddell & Scott.WDUS 80.4

    (4.) The ten commandments as ‘ordinances’ were ‘against us’ and ‘contrary to us,’ since [a] They were largely political and the New Dispensation is not; [b] The New Dispensation has the Messiahship of Jesus as its basis or constitution (Matthew 16:16-18); hence the ten commandments could not be received in their constitutional aspect, [c] As a political constitution they had a temporal death penalty [thus treason is punished in political governments] and so were contrary to a dispensation of grace.WDUS 80.5

    (5.) When this handwriting was blotted out the whole law fell with it as the whole house must fall when the foundation is taken away. Hence Paul says, ‘Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of sabbath-days; which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. ’WDUS 80.6

    6. “God also made us sufficient ministers of a new covenant; not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life. But if the ministratration of death, in the letter, engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly on the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance, which glory was to be done away, how shall not the ministration of the spirit be more glorious? * *WDUS 80.7

    * * * For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which abides is glorious.”—Bible Union.WDUS 80.8

    There are two things here spoken of as ‘done away,’ (1) ‘glory was done away,’ and (2) another something is done away which had glory or ‘was glorious.’ That which ‘was glorious’ is ‘the ministration of death in the letter,’ as contained in the ten commandments ‘engraven in stones.’ In other words, the ten commandments were done away (a) In their death penalties attached or as ‘the ministration of death,’ and (b) ‘In the letter,’ i. e., as ‘ordinances,’ ‘statutes,’ or positive enactions. Hence there remains nothing of the ten commandments but their moral basis, the principles that underlay them. The sabbath having no moral basis, but being purely, positive is wholly gone.WDUS 80.9

    I turn now to Eld. W.’s fourth affirmative.WDUS 80.10

    That of which he complained in a private note was, as I supposed (for he made no definite charge), to the effect that I had added new matter in my last negative on the first proposition. I expressed myself as unaware of having done so, and said that to such matters he had yet an opportunity to reply and a right to rebuke me publicly for it. This differs the width of the heavens from a re-discussion of a closed question.WDUS 80.11

    Just as in the Greek with reference to Exodus 16:23, Bro. W. evaded the issue by talk about ‘manuscripts’ differing in the use of the article (Crosby § 489) when we had nothing to do with differing ‘manuscripts,’ but with a settled text, so has he done with reference to the Hebrew. He claimed a definite construction for Exodus 16:23, which is impossible since lamed is not there used ‘in its possessive sense’ [Green § 257], and hence not in a construct way as in Exodus 16:10. Here he shifts the issue by saying that I place him in this blunder with Gesenius and the old grammarians generally. No. He has the honor of being alone in this blunder; he cannot escape it. It was with reference to the assertion that the predicate does not take the article that I said he blundered with the old grammarians. Winer is not quoted by Green for the simple reason that his grammar is Greek, though on the point on which I quoted him he takes in other languages. Green lays down the same rule—“A noun in the predicate may receive the same adjuncts as in the subject,’ § 259. Hence while he considers Gesenius ‘the prime of lexicographers,’ as a grammarian he condemns him on this point.WDUS 80.12

    Elder W. has ‘never thrust’ his profession of scholarship before the reader. No, no, he was only the first to enter into a disquisition on the Hebrew, telling us the equivalent for ‘rest!’ And how wonderfully he hangs on! It is equal to the turtle which is said not to let go its bite till it thunders, though its head be cut off. In Eld. Vogel this would be ‘pedantry,’ but the case is altered by the ox which is gored!WDUS 81.1

    Respecting the Lordship of Jesus Christ I shall speak more fully in its proper place, the next proposition. Meanwhile I would say that I do not mean that the Father has ceased to be in His nature Lord, i. e., Jehovah, the Self-existent One, but that in the official sense of ‘head over all to the church (Ephesians 1:22)’-hence also head over the ‘Lord’s day’-Jesus is the only head, the ‘one Lord (Ephesians 4:5),’ without a rival, with ‘all authority (Matthew 28:18). ’WDUS 81.2

    In his Word-state Christ was indeed present at creation, but only as agent, not as proprietor: By him the Father made the worlds, Hebrews 1:2. Hence if the sabbath had even originated “there Jesus would no more be the Lord of it than a carpenter is the owner of the house he builds for another. Nor does Jesus set up such a claim in Mark 2:28, as I have abundantly shown without reply.WDUS 81.3

    But what means this trying to prove that Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath? Is it not a latent conviction that ‘Lord’s day’ in Revelation 1:10 refers to him as the Lord?WDUS 81.4

    The Old Testament Scriptures furnish us ‘unto all good works,’ or make us ‘wise unto salvation,’ only ‘through faith which s in Christ Jesus,’ i. e., through the Gospel. 2 Timothy 3:15. The ten commandments—‘the law’—which my brother would extol beyond measure, could neither furnish ‘unto all good works’ nor make one ‘perfect’ even in the day when they stood as given from Sinai. ‘All these have I observed from my youth,’ said a young man. ‘One thing thou lackest yet (Mark 10:21),’ replied the Savior, ‘If thou wilt be perfect,’ etc. Matthew 19:21. Therefore, the ten commandments are not perfect.WDUS 81.5

    If my brother would distinguish between a principle and its application he would experience no difficulty in seeing that a moral law can be abolished and yet the underlying principle remain intact. Then also my position would cease to seem to him contradictory.WDUS 81.6

    I would not object to the terms ‘the moral law,’ ‘the ceremonial law,’ etc, if there were separate laws corresponding to these terms. But since the law is one, and portions of it are ‘moral,’ it is obviously proper to speak of moral ‘parts. ’WDUS 81.7

    ‘The beginning of the gospel (good news) of (concerning) Jesus Christ,’ that is, the beginning of a history of Jesus, is the introduction of Mark’s biography of Jesus. At most it can only refer to the gradual exhibition of the principles of the reign of Christ; for long after this Jesus still said ‘I will build my church (Matthew 16:18).’ The gospel in fact could only begin after the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, since these are essential items in it. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.WDUS 81.8

    It is simply not true that I said that I am not concerned whether marriage is moral or not. Eld. W. must have described himself when he said, “There is a certain peculiarity in him which prevents his doing justice to an opponent.” I spoke only with reference to this discussion.WDUS 81.9

    If I have done my brother injustice in saying that he regards all ‘duty’ as having originated before the fall, it is with pleasure that I stand corrected. But he certainly argued that the ten commandments are ‘primary law’ and that all ‘primary law’ is moral, intending thus to prove the sabbath moral. I showed the defect in his reasoning by pointing to the command not to eat of a certain tree in Eden as ‘primary’ and yet positive.WDUS 81.10

    Galatians was indeed written to Gentiles but not with reference to their paganism. The law, the law, the law, was their cry, and Paul addressed them as those who ‘desired to be under the law.’ Hence the ‘times’ of Galatians 4:10 are not identical with those of Deuteronomy 18:10, and the ‘days’ are clearly Jewish days. Nor is it a question as to the number of days observed, but as to the kind; if mine are gospel days and my brother’s Jewish, then he is condemned and I approved. Neither must he be too hasty in calling Christian Sunday-keeping a ‘heathen time.” on mere human authority; we will soon hear the Scriptures on this point.WDUS 81.11

    I said that I knew of no text which calls the ten commandments the law simply (Please note this little word when you quote me again, Bro. W.); certainly Exodus 24:12 does not do it, but qualifies it by ‘which I have written,’ so making ‘law’ definite and sufficiently accounting for the presence of the article. Says Kerl, Comp. Eng. Gram., p. 180, a noun may be ‘definite, as being made so by some accompanying descriptive words,’ and so take the article; as, ‘The man who is upright.’—Having so often had occasion to chide my brother, I must here give him credit for a clever thing. The Hebrew accent over ‘law’ in Exodus 24:12 is indeed pashta and not kadhma; they are just alike in character, and often nearly and sometimes wholly in position, so that they may be easily mistaken for each other, as I inadvertently did. But the practical result remains unchanged—‘law’ is less disjoined from ‘commandments’ than this from ‘which I have written.’ The latter is so separated by zakeph katon that it must qualify ‘law’ as well as ‘commandments.’ This is not ‘fanciful,’ as bro. W. says, but as Green says, § 28, “The punctuators have attempted * * * to represent to the eye the precise position held by each word in the structure of the sentence.”WDUS 82.1

    I can easily account for God’s writing only the ten commandments. They were the Jewish constitution, and constitutions are usually better cared for than other laws.WDUS 82.2

    On Jeremiah 7:22-23 Eld. W. has not even tried to grapple with my explanations. The surface meaning of words is not always their intended import. ‘If thy hand offend thee, cut it off’-who would take the surface meaning here?WDUS 82.3

    Bro. W. seems unfortunate in his collation of evidence in favor of two laws. If there are two laws, and Ephesians 2:15 refers to one exclusively, it is to the ten commandments—‘the law of the commandments’—and ‘blots’ them ‘out.’ Moreover the same law maybe ‘spiritual’ or ‘carnal,’ according to the stand-point from which it is viewed or the standard with which it is compared. In different conditions of a patient the same dose may be poison or medicine; and any one’s love as compared with that of his fellows may be warm, but as compared with God’s, cold.WDUS 82.4

    Romans 3:31—‘Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law’—requires a few words. If we accept the Common Version here the allusion is to the entire Mosaic code, with special reference to its moral or basic principles. So Conybeare, who retains the article before law, construes it. If the reference were even exclusively to the ten commandments it would recognize only the binding force of the moral principles therein contained, and would in no wise prove the perpetuity of the sabbath, which is purely positive. This is not simply a possible explanation, but a necessary one, since the sabbath, together with every positive enaction of the law, is elsewhere declared abolished.WDUS 82.5

    But as Paul wrote it the case is still stronger. McKnight renders him literally thus: ‘Do we then make law useless through the faith? By no means, for we establish law.’ While the word law without the article may and often does refer to the Mosaic law (though the conception is necessarily different from that in which the article is used), it is also the only way we can use that word when we wish to speak of law in general. And who shall say that this last is not Paul’s thought? It is the very expression best calculated to set it forth, and the Jewish law would have been better referred to in the use of the article. See, too, how it suits the connection. Paul is proclaiming a universal system of pardon upon faith in Christ (v. 30). A Jew objects that a system of pardon so accessible would render law useless, since there is no sense in condemning a man and pardoning him in one breath; it would make condemnation a mere farce and law a sham; it would be better to have no law. On the contrary, replies Paul, we establish law; that is, (1) A system of pardon recognizes the existence of law, for pardon without law (transgressed) is impossible, and (2) The presence of a system of pardon in the economy of God declares it a necessity, and by implication law, with reference to which it is made, a necessity. And so far is a system of pardon from being an evil that even the Jews’ own scriptures speak well of it: David pronounced it a ‘blessed’ thing (Romans 4:6-8) and even father Abraham was pardoned upon faith (v. 3; Genesis 15:6).WDUS 82.6

    We come now to passages that are such excellent proof-texts in favor of the abolition of the law that I shall not be content with simply rescuing them from a wrong service into which they are pressed, but shall duly marshal them for aggressive warfare. When I turned aside from my first argument I had made three counts.WDUS 83.1

    4. ‘Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law,’ Galatians 3:13. This implies redemption from the law itself. In fact just as ‘the gift of the Holy Spirit’ denotes the Holy spirit as a gift (Acts 2:38), so to be redeemed from ‘the curse of the law’ is to be redeemed from the law as a curse, as ‘a yoke upon the necks of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear.’WDUS 83.2

    Am I asked how Christ redeemed the Gentiles from the curse of a law under which they never were? The answer is twofold: (1) The curse of the law as applied to the Gentiles need not denote identity with that of the Jews, but simply similarity, just as ‘the reproach of Christ’ (Hebrews 11:26) as predicated of Moses denotes not identity but similarity. (2) In one sense the Jewish law was a curse even to the Gentiles. The Gospel could not come to them till it came first to the Jews (Jeremiah 31:31)-for ‘salvation is of the Jews’-and to these it could not come till the law was removed.WDUS 83.3

    The law, so far from being the basis of the Abrahamic covenant, was a mere appendage, ‘four hundred and thirty years after,’ and ‘was added because of transgression till the Seed (Christ) should come,’ Galatians 3. ‘For the promise (or covenant), that he should be heir of the world was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law.’ Romans 4:13.WDUS 83.4

    5. ‘And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law (not being myself under the law), that I might gain them that are under the law.’ 1 Corinthians 9:20. The parenthesis is not in the Common Version, but in improved versions. If we accept it, Paul says expressly that he is not under the law; if we reject it, he says no less-he ‘became as under the law’ for special purposes. And if Paul, who was a Jew by nature, was not under the law, who will presume to put this yoke upon the necks of the disciples?WDUS 83.5

    But, says Eld. W., ‘under the law’ means under condemnation. So then Paul became as ‘under condemnation’! and the Galatians ‘desired to be under condemnation’! (Ch. 4:21). ‘O foolish Galatians!’ No; Paul himself puts ‘under the law’ in antithesis with ‘without law’ (1 Corinthians 9:21).WDUS 83.6

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