The "ceremonial law" and the "moral law"
- A distinction is made by S.D.A.'s between the "ceremonial law" (written in a
book), which it is argued was done away with in Christ, and the "moral law"
(inscribed in the tables of stone) which it is said is eternal and immutable. A S.D.A.
publication puts it this way:
- "We feel that there are ample Biblical grounds for making this distinction. The Ten
Commandments, or the Decalogue, constitute in principle God's eternal law. Not only is
this law eternal, but it is immutable." 1
- S.D.A.'s impose on Scripture a division not made by Scripture itself. Consider the
- Hezekiah appointed "the king's portion of his substance for the burnt offerings . .
. for the sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts, as it is written in the
law of the LORD." (2 Chron. 31:3). This passage indicates that the "law of the
LORD" includes "ceremonial" aspects (i.e., feasts, burnt offerings) as well
as "moral law". (S.D.A.'s teach that the "law of Moses" refers to the
ceremonial aspects, whereas the "law of the LORD" refers to the moral law.)
- In Numbers 31:21 the ordinance of "the law which the LORD commanded Moses" is
stated concerning the men who had returned from battle with the spoils of war. "The
law which the LORD commanded Moses" is not, therefore, an expression exclusively used
for the decalogue. The passage also indicates that "the law" cannot be divided
between "ceremonial" and "moral aspects" since the above instructions
regarding war had a moral intent.
- God's decree forbidding marriage with the alien is not specifically indicated in the
decalogue but is written in the "book of the law of Moses" (Josh. 23:6,12) and
likewise contains a moral intent.
- Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine: An Explanation of Certain
Major Aspects of Seventh-day Adventist Belief, (Washington: Review and Herald Publishing
Ass., 1957), p. 129. Return