Understanding the New Covenant vis-à-vis the Old

i agree that the goal cannot be the supernatural because satan can counterfeit miracles…in fact my understanding is that at the end of time, divine and satanic miracles will be happening side by side, and the only way we’ll know which is which is by testing everything by the inspired account, which is why it’s so important to understand that inspired account…we are even going to be seeing a false second coming of christ - the beast is going to call down fire from heaven, probably literally, just like elijah did…

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Sure thing.

I understand.

What Christ would have been referring to, in summary, is the meaning of His life as God incarnate; the Gospel.

That meaning, however, is inseparable from anything He said or did.

Re: the Sabbath, He kept it. In Matthew 24, He said his believers would, too, and long after His death. Indeed, if it’s true that in His prophecy, he was speaking, dually, of 70 A.D. and the near-end of the world, then it appears His believers would be keeping it then, also.

But, most of all, the Sabbath is part of the Ten Commandments, which, in the order of primacy regarding Jewish law, is comparable to the U.S. Constitution in ours.

When the rich young ruler sought Christ’s approval, Jesus challenged him based on the Ten Commandments. In one of His sermons, He reframed adultery, not whether one should mix fabrics, or eat shellfish.

You’re correct that the word “law” was used to mean multiple things in the Bible. But, inevitably, in any culture, synonymic usages are not interchangeable, but context-dependent. The same is certainly true in language systems such as Hebrew and Greek.

I think Adventism has a certain amount of crockery in it, and I’ve said this, here, a number of times. I agree that aspects of the way SDAs both keep, and focus on, the Sabbath, is part of this.

But I’ve always found the arguments against the continuity of the Sabbath, given its place in the Ten Commandments, pretty much weak sauce.

Because the way the Commandments work together, and by their individual austere, elemental construction, it’s fairly clear to me that, with them, God was forging something extremely reduced and essential; something pocket-sized and rapidly translatable.

I say this apart from the fact that it’s the only part of the Bible God wrote, without human interlocutors, on stone, and that it was placed in the ark. This all inarguably assigns a highly singular role and position to this document, at least within the bounds of the biblical narrative.

I was making this precise reference to Wayiqraʾ, the 3rd book of the Torah, when I cited Noah’s ark.

God was differentiating between clean and unclean matters hundreds of years before he initiated a priestly order.

It’s an “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” issue, I’d argue.

Jesus did address the Sabbath. For example, famously, in Matthew 12, when He and his disciples were eating grain out of a field, and the Pharisees set upon them.

But Christ’s conflicts with the Pharisaical order were never about whether or not one should keep the Sabbath, but on questions of what was appropriate for doing so; a tuning issue. Had it been Christ’s position one need not keep it, his accusers would have charged Him with it at His trial.

Presumably, people in the future may be unsure as to whether or not Joe Biden, as a Catholic president, was for, or against, pederasty, because he never addresses it. Those with an insight into this era will say that he never addressed it because, since Americans overwhelmingly abhor it, there wasn’t a national debate about it for him to settle.

I’d say Sabbath-keeping, pre-, para-, and post-Christ, is a similar issue; not one on which people took sides. This is why, historically, Christianity was a Sabbathkeeping enterprise, literally, for hundreds of years. This is also why it took considerable political force for Sunday keeping to usurp it.

This is not extreme when one understands Paul is responding to a church in crisis; one being torn in differing directions by people advancing a wide range of contemporary philosophical arguments and positions. His message, in response, is that Christ is what they need to focus on, not the various claims that are coming at them high-speed. It’s excellent counsel today, as well.

Further, Paul mentions sabbath once; in chapter 2, verse 14. The typical debate is over whether Paul is referring to rest days, or the Sabbath commandment.

All I’ll urge is, if it’s the latter, contextually, this seems like such a low-key, innocuous way to drop the news that, via some method, Paul has reasoned the 4th commandment nullified; the very definition of burying the lede. It just seems like such a weird argument to make, and one completely out of place, in the context of the Colossian narrative.

What I wish people—not you—would just say, instead, that they don’t think Sabbath is important, or that they want to show their independence of it. Or that, given the mass of Catholic and Protestant tradition over centuries, it’s hard to argue for the Sabbath, even though the Bible never solemnifies Sunday, and no Sunday keeper who knows his history will make such a claim.

The Gospels are dialogic, while the Pauline Letters are monologic. (Thank God for Acts.) So, Paul’s work often requires more context to decipher the meanings of what he’s saying.

Their power is they present the fresh contemporaneous insights of a great, uniquely chosen, inspired scholar, going on at length, without interruption, on the science of this new power; the Gospel. It’s a headrush.

The downside is that we are often hearing half of a conversation. Many read the Letters not knowing the context of Paul’s statements; what has he heard that has made him say this, if anything? Why did he write this?

Here, I’d go back to my “evidence of absence” argument: Matters of dispute in the New Testament seemed to be addressed as those issues were raised. If Sabbath isn’t talked about a lot, presumably it’s because this was not a point of high conflict for believers.

I mean, when you think about it, what would be the topic of dispute? That we think there should be one seems kind of anachronistic; like wondering why more contemporaneous historians didn’t mention Jesus, or why more people didn’t buy gobs of Amazon stock in 1994.

I think that you’re correct.

I just don’t think one can verifiably make claims like, “Adventism [is] the only true church of God, ‘the remnant church of bible prophecy,’” or “Adventism [is] the most true teaching of the Bible.”

As a lifelong SDA, I know Adventists believe this, and make these claims. However, at minimum, I don’t see how one can verify them, objectively, from the Bible; i.e., without believing, first, in Adventism.

So, for me, those claims drop off as errors and noise, and the issue becomes one of the ecclesiastical charge; teach what Christ commands, according to our soteriological understanding.

I actually also agree with you, here.

But I think the issue is not a baptismal issue, but one of Adventism’s own sense of self-importance.

I believe that the Bible calls for us to keep Sabbath. I believe that the Levitical dietary laws are, if not binding, extremely good sense, and may ultimately prove good science; I don’t think it’s an accident that SDAs are the only Blue Zoners organized by religion, not geography.

But I don’t think this is for what SDAs should be known.

I think if SDAs were know as the most loving people in the world—almost the way, for example, the Amish are known as the most sober and forgiving people, or Buddhists are known as the most peaceful—it would accomplish everything else for which we seek to be known.

As a lifelong SDA, I know that, growing up, and reading Christ’s commands about love, I did so uncomprehendingly. I didn’t understand why what He was talking about was so special.

Now, unbending in my middle age, I am beginning to get that to be loving is the hardest, most important thing that Christ ever asked human beings to do; to even love those who would whip you, or drag you with a chain behind a roaring car; or hang you from a tree, before they roast your flesh, break off your clenched fingers, and give them away as souvenirs.

To love such people.

Pure and utter insanity.

Like the Incarnation.

Like the Gospel.

Thank you, Frank.

I think I may disagree with you about some of the details of Christian commitment, in the wake of Christ’s commission.

But I do agree, mostly, with your analysis of SDA emphasis, and overemphasis.

I don’t see these kinds of distortions as uniquely SDA; I think all churches suffer from them, in their own form.

Perhaps your argument is that SDAs say they are supposed to be better than others.

To which I’d say, taking that claim seriously is, really, the most SDA thing one can do.



This made me emotional! This nails it! Thanks, Harry…




Did you just discover these writers, Bruce, or, more likely, quotes by them that you like, and just decide to rock 'em? :slightly_smiling_face:

It’s obvious one cannot prove a text by the text. One can’t prove the Bible by the Bible.

But you can’t disprove a text by something incommensurable with the text either. One can’t disprove the Bible by logic.

The best, then, one can hope to do, if one thinks the Bible is nonsense, is to argue it contains internal inconsistencies. (This is what one would also do to purify a logical system, by the way.)

It was this, then, I was urging you do, Bruce: Argue the internal inconsistencies of the Bible, not that it is “illogical.”

Put another way, logic is unbiblical. So, does the Bible falsify logic?


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Bless you, @frank_merendino!


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The entirety of all my comments is one cliche after another so I’d suggest you look for enlightenment and logic elsewhere.

Thanks, @NY_G_Pa.

I don’t know if the entirety of all your comments is one cliche after another, or not.

My questions, responses, and/or objections, on the other hand, are clearly stated, above.


Your response assumes that Muslims are incapable of subterfuge. This despite the fact that some Muslims interpret the Koran in such a way as to insist that it is acceptable to lie to infidels if it will further the cause of Islam.

Thus, you have yet to conclusively prove a negative and your assertion that my response is not responsive is a clear case of projection on your part.

Further, one can reasonably deduce that the other rebuttals you didn’t provide would be similarly fallacious and inconclusive.

1)None of this was said in response to your actual response and 2)wasn’t it you who said that insults were out of place in this forum?

As to the claim that the Bible is a “supervening text”, I maintain that such a text is superfluous in the relationship between an omnipotent creator and any of his creatures, given that an omnipotent being must, by definition, have the power to communicate directly with all of his creation.

Further, and contrary to your assumption that I left Adventism because one or more of the members must have somehow “hurt” me, it was instead my desire to hear the “living word”, promised by Jesus and emanating directly from my creator, that compelled me to renounce my baptism. That is, I saw no need for the middle-man role SAD-ism (sic) said it could provide, provided of course, that I cheerfully continued to abide by a lifelong commitment, (which momentous decision I was encouraged to make at the age of 11 or 12, BTW) to turn over to the cult a seventh of my time and a tenth of my income. In other words, it was to this unwanted and unnecessary “agency of god” role claimed by the church, with its attendant claim on my assets, to which I, at the age of 25, politely said “thanks but no thanks” and asked to be officially disfellowshipped and was happily removed from the church roles.

Lastly, and what I find most interesting in your response is what didn’t say. That is, you made absolutely no mention of my comments in regards to the work of the Holy Spirit. I conclude from this that you are not interested in what I’m convinced is the most efficient and vital link to the consciousness of god, and therefore have nothing interesting to say on the topic, preferring instead, to reinsert out of context, 2,000 year old hearsay not only between yourself and your fellow man, but also to somehow magically supervene between you and your maker.


Thanks, @NY_G_Pa:

No, Bruce. My response does not assume "Muslims are incapable of subterfuge."

My response asserts there are no Muslims in the U.S. Senate.

I assert this for a set of valid reasons. I have laid them out, along with the reasons for the reasons I have laid out.

Further, I included, in my statement, a series of questions to you; ones which, given my argument, naturally arise in wake of your position; ones to which you have still not responded.

I’m confident, at this juncture — you having stated your points, and I, having made my statement — this matter can be adequately adjudicated in the future, by 3rd parties considering both responses.

See above.

My observation is that it should have been.

That you didn’t respond, and didn’t say why, is a rhetorical shortcoming on your part.

I did.

They are.

What I’m also saying is that there is a qualitative difference between saying—twice—someone is a “fool” (Matt. 5:22), and saying the way someone is doing something, “with all due and appropriate respect,” is “somewhat mediocre.”

One is a callous attack on a person and their cognition. Not only is it impolite, but it’s unverifiable; you have no direct access to anyone’s cognition.

The other is a deferential critique of the way a person is performing a task.

Do you see the difference?

You’re not making a good argument.

a) The manner by which God communicates has nothing to do with the supervenience of those communications.

Imagining it would is like asking, “Is a comment rude because you say it in a letter, instead of on the phone?”

Answer: It doesn’t matter.

b) An omnipotent Creator, by virtue of His omnipotence, may have morally, epistemologically, and temporally sufficient reasons for communicating with all of His creation via a written text—e.g., the Bible—as opposed to via some other means.

For your charge to stand, you would have to prove that He cannot have such reasons.

How in the multiverse would you do that?


I didn’t assume you were hurt by an Adventist. I assumed you might have been.

If you recall, in my statement, I also stated you may not have been.

However, I’m glad that you weren’t hurt by a, then, fellow SDA.

It appears you feel you did not need a church, and it would be more beneficial you not belong to one.

I’m certain you know your spiritual needs, more than I ever could, and Christ knows them better than either of us.

So, objectively, if your desire was to hear from Him, and you were successful doing so, then He was, and is, able to tell you what you need to think, say, and do.

When you think about it, a more effective approach might be simply to ask me what I think. I might have had other reasons for not commenting.

In response:

I think that Christ was absolutely correct about the role the Holy Spirt would play in the lives of His believers, particularly as a) a Comforter, and b) an Authenticator of Christian faith.

Part of the genius of God, however, was that He wrote this all down in a book. He did this, I believe, because He knew written text, once developed, would become a global continuum across millennia of human culture, undergirding technologies as varied as clay tablets and quantum computers.

He also knew that people would need to test the spirits (1 John 4:1-6), in order to error-check messages they would get through their own spirits about what God wanted.

The Bible plays this error-checking role re: the Holy Spirit, because it says

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. — John 16:13

This tells us, because God’s Word is truth (John 17:17), and because the Holy Spirit is God, whatever the Holy Spirit says will concur with God’s Word.

So, to your question, I’m thankful God has, again, mercifully chosen to dwell with human beings, pre-glorification. I’m thankful God the Holy Spirit knew what was to come, and particularly knew how much we would need Him.


I have been thinking about your upcoming SS class and would like to offer a word of caution (which I hope you take in a positive way.)
My advice would be to pray about presenting the views of the NC expressed here by some of us to your class. Ask God if the time is right for your group.

My Adventist experience was that I was taught to be leery about the spiritual realm. I was told it’s the devil’s playground. Yet after His resurrection Christ said ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth’ so people need not be afraid of contemplating mystical things, or ‘things of the Spirit’, but many are.

Also, there are many multi-generational Adventists who have much invested in the traditional, Adventist way, the ‘faith of their fathers’, so to speak. So, some of the ideas we have exchanged about salvation and the NC may be viewed as threatening to some people in your class. I believe some will take them as challenging Adventist theology, or at least what is emphasized in Adventism.
If you review what Ray, Frank and I have written you will see the contrast with Jeremy’s view. I know you want to present something new but if your group is primarily older folks who don’t read much outside Adventism, I think you have to be especially careful. Be receptive to the Spirit’s leading. Ask for wisdom.


As in other areas we should emulate Jesus. Uh oh! Not what we expected? (“Whited sepulchers”?)

Super kind of you! I thank you for thinking about my possible situation and for your wish to help and for your spirituality. You are truly a blessing to this forum, dear Dave!

I am very sorry about your Adventist experience. I think most of us had these experiences in their life. But you should not worry for me. At all. My SS group is … let’s say … different in a very positive way. I have never met such a group before. No censorship at all. We want to explore, learn, and each of us shares the expertise of our particular academic or practical field in the conversations. Like you said, I, too, would never share some ideas with brethren who are not ready or don’t have a need for learning different things.

You said that I want to present something new. That’s actually not really my motivation. Why I want to share what you three wrote: You presented the covenants in a very condensed and profound way that I know that my SS group has now words to express what we ponder for years now. It seems that I come across as a bit naive because I ask many questions and am interested in many things. There is always a risk (that I’m willing to take) regarding opening up and listening instead of presenting knowledge of my own field.

I am so over the top grateful for my local church and SS group, for the way we can discuss and connect, for their questions and answers, for their hunger for more and for their hunger for applying Scripture to their daily life.

Be blessed, dear Dave! My brother in Christ who watches out for his brethren.


Thanks for your kind words, Kate.
I don’t lament my Adventist experience - it was of great benefit to me.
I sense you are an honest seeker and as we are all trying to understand the nature of God, what His plan for us is and how it is unfolding, it’s never wrong to ask questions. I think He can give each of us something to contribute to the discussion.
I’m glad you have a class that is open to differing perspectives.

I took a quick look at this week’s SS lesson entitled ‘New Covenant Sanctuary’. The subject is Christ’s heavenly ministry on our behalf.
If you are able to conduct a positive discussion with your group about the new creation life of Christ in us, the NC, you might venture to introduce the following statements by Paul about its complement - our life in Christ:
Colossians 3:1-4 tells us that as believers, in a sense, we’re already in heaven with Christ: ‘Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory’, and
‘But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and He raised us up and seated us together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.’ (Eph 2:4-6).

Thus, in a metaphysical sense, we’ve already entered heaven’s community. God already sees us as co-heirs with Christ, as Christ’s divine siblings. To see ourselves in the spirit realm as God does is quite a leap for us physical human beings. Perhaps the Spirit of Christ in us is the way we are able.
If we believe we are presently in Christ in heaven, I wonder if we can even have an active role in Christ’s heavenly ministry for mankind.


I believe we do, Dave. Christ, through his Spirit does this through us, his body, to bring God’s gracious love, peace, and restoration…his kingdom…on earth, as it is in heaven. Christ’s heavenly ministry is an extension of what he did here, to bring the full reconciliation of heaven and earth to fruition. Isn’t this really the whole point of the gospel? Aren’t we all called to be involved in this?



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I, too, happily leave it to any prospective readers to make up their own minds in this matter, after having made a few closing remarks.

First, while you may have proved to your own satisfaction that there are no muslim senators in Washington, you have not and cannot prove this to a logical certainty given that you, like every other human being, have a finite intelligence and an incomplete set of facts.

Further, your proposal that we simply line up the perps…I mean, senators, :wink: and ask them to tell us the truth about their religious affliation, would likewise prove nothing. In fact, such an approach to the dispensation of justice would be a boon if applied similarly to the American prison system. That is, I feel safe in predicting that the number of incarcerated individuals would drop like an olympic diver from the 30 meter platform if every prisoner’s conviction could be overturned on nothing other than his own sworn testimony that “he didn’t do it”.

Also, it is not a coincedence that the choice presented to the American jurors is only ever between voting “guilty” and “not guilty”, as opposed to pronouncing the defendant absolutely innocent. This gets back to my original assertion–and which the judicial system that we inherited from the English affirmed from a time well before the American Revolution–which is that proving a negative, such as that anyone is innocent or the claim that “god cannot lie”, is now, and has always been, a logical impossibility.

Lastly, the phrase “beyond a reasonable doubt” has implications, here, as well. For example, I’m compelled by Reason to agree with you that there probably are not any Muslims serving in the US Senate. However, given that neither of us can read people’s minds, our shared “truth” in the matter is necessarily compromised and, being based on an essentially incomplete discovery process, there is no way for me, you, or any other human to claim that he has established this as an irrefutable fact.

(See the infamous tale of the supposedly extinct coelacanth for more on the possiblity of disproving the existence of any ancient animal species while also admitting that you do not have a comprehensive list of the technologies with are now being used at such mystery-shrouded places as Area 51 or DARPA and thus you also cannot prove to an aboslute certainly that either of these, or some perhaps even more clandestine group, cannot possibly have access to time travel devices.)

Now a comment regarding the interactions between god and man.

First, God did not write the Bible.

Nor did Jesus.

This despite the fact that both are said to necessarily possess the power to do so.

So again, while I cannot climb inside the mind of either, I suspect the reason for this is that both of them knew that talk is cheap, while was also being aware that there are more efficient means of communication than words and writing.

Further, an omniscient being know that almost all physical wars have their genesis in skirmishes over words. So the fact that our creator has not personally written anything–nor emblazoned the 10 commandments across the sky every evening, as I heard one evangelist suggest he could and should do–leads me to believe that he would rather we didn’t pick fights over supposedly “holy” words nor argue about how divinely inspired any part of book may or may not be.

Lastly, it seems obvious to me that an overarching concern may have been the desire to not present humans with the temptation inherent to all books; that is, that credulous persons, using their power to believe in anything, have the potential for mistaking the essentially ambiguous words of all sorts of books for supposed “absolute truths” and fall into idolatrous worship of those words, rather than understanding that the truths to which any book alludes, always and only ever exist outside the book itself.

Having said all of which, I rest my keyboard.:grinning:

Agreed Frank, we are to be involved.
I was not thinking of our part as part of the body of Christ here on earth, as the Bible says, ambassadors for Christ, to spread the word that ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their sins against them’ (one way to express the gospel), I was trying to propose something in Adventist terms - that we are present in spirit in Christ in the heavenly sanctuary.

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