3

Why do Seventh Day Adventists change the moral law using the ceremonial law?

Seventh Day Adventists say that the Law of Moses is divided into two sets of laws, the moral law and the ceremonial law.

They say that the moral law is the ten commandments written on stone and placed inside the ark of the covenant. They say that the moral law is immutable and can't be changed in any way.

SDA's say that the ceremonial law was written by Moses in the book, and placed beside the ark.

SDA's say that the greatest and most important commandment in the moral law is that everybody in the world must keep the sabbath from sunset friday to sunset saturday.

However, if you search the moral law for laws about the sabbath, you find Deuteronomy 5:12-15. Nowhere in these verses can you find the words "sunset" or "friday" or "saturday".

So where does "sunset friday to sunset saturday" come from? The SDA's had a meeting in Battle Creek Michigan, in November 1855, where they decided that the sabbath should start at sunset. To support their decision, they select a few words from Genesis 1:5, and a few words from Leviticus 23:32.

Obviously Genesis 1 was not written on stone and placed inside the ark. Neither was Leviticus 23 written on stone and placed inside the ark.

Clearly Genesis 1 and Leviticus 23 are both "ceremonial law" according to the SDA definitions.

According to SDA definition of moral law, the moral law is only Deuteronomy 5:6-21, and nothing else. Only Deuteronomy 5:6-21 was written on stone and placed inside the ark.

Why do SDA's change the moral law by using ceremonial law? Isn't the moral law immutable and can't be changed in any way?

Do SDA's really believe that the ceremonial law has been abolished? Or do they tell people to obey whichever parts of the ceremonial law they select?


Dr McGowan asks for a reference showing that they decided this in 1855:

A division among them was arising over this question. So Elder J. N. Andrews, the best scholar they then had, was requested to study the subject and present his conclusion to the conference held at Battle Creek, Mich., Nov. 16, 1855. This he did, and decided that sunset was the Scriptural time to begin the Sabbath. The conference voted to accept his view....

“Then, four days after Andrews and the conference had settled it, Mrs. White had a vision in which an angel told her that sunset was the right time!!! ... In that vision she complained to the angel and asked for an explanation. She says: ‘I inquired why it had been thus, that at this late day we must change the time of commencing the Sabbath. Said the angel, “Ye shall understand, but not yet, not yet.”’ (‘Test.,’ Vol. I., p. 116). https://m.egwwritings.org/en/book/756.2590

  • In order for this to answered, you must include some references. Technically, I believe SDA did not exist until 1863 and so could not have decided anything in 1855. Can this question be made more specific? – user43409 Nov 28 '18 at 11:57
  • To give you some starters thinking about your question, the Ten Commandments talks about "the seventh day". When does the seventh day start? Midnight? That's something only true for modern western Europeans. If you had asked an Israelite of three thousand years ago "when does a day start" they would say "sunset". They would not have needed anything written in stone to tell them that. – DJClayworth Nov 28 '18 at 14:31
  • 1
    It is widely held, by those who assert that Christians must keep the law, that the law is in three parts - moral, ceremonial and civil. The ceremonial, say they, is superseded by the sacrifice of Christ, but they retain the moral part and obligate Christians to keep it. – Nigel J Nov 28 '18 at 19:54
  • DJClayworth says that days start at sunset because that's what Israelites of 3000 years ago would say. However the Jewish Shabbat is clearly "evening to evening" and not "sunset to sunset": "According to halakha (Jewish religious law), Shabbat is observed from a few minutes before sunset on Friday evening until the appearance of three stars in the sky on Saturday night." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shabbat – user43574 Nov 28 '18 at 20:27
  • 1
    There is an old saying that "nothing is written in stone" (set in concrete, etc.). But that is not true, because the Ten Commandments were. – Constantthin Dec 27 '18 at 9:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.