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This We Believe

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Lesson 11 Sabbath, March 14, 2009

The Ceremonial Law

“[Christ Jesus] having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace” (Ephesians 2:15).

“We have the types and the shadows in the ceremonial laws, and these were to last until they should meet the reality.”—The Review and Herald, July 15, 1890.

Suggested Reading:   Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 363-373

Sunday March 8

1. THE CEREMONIAL LAW ABOLISHED

a. In what sense was the ceremonial law a “shadow of good things to come”? Galatians 3:19; Hebrews 9:9, 10; 10:1.

“Men who claim to be teachers of the people blind the eyes of the ignorant by blending the moral law with the ceremonial, and using the texts which speak of the ceremonial law to prove that the moral law has been abolished. This is a perversion of the Scriptures. There are two distinct laws brought to view. One is the law of types and shadows, which reached to the time of Christ, and ceased when type met antitype in His death. The other is the law of Jehovah, and is as abiding and changeless as His eternal throne. After the crucifixion, it was a denial of Christ for the Jews to continue to offer the burnt offerings and sacrifices which were typical of His death.”—The Signs of the Times, July 29, 1886.

b. How long was the ceremonial law to be in force? Ephesians 2:14, 15.

“There is a law which was abolished, which Christ ‘took out of the way, nailing it to His cross’ (Colossians 2:14). Paul calls it ‘the law of commandments contained in ordinances’ (Ephesians 2:15). This ceremonial law, given by God through Moses, with its sacrifices and ordinances, was to be binding upon the Hebrews until type met antitype in the death of Christ as the Lamb of God.”—Ibid., September 4, 1884.


Monday March 9

2. SEVEN CEREMONIAL SABBATHS

a. Name the seven days of feasts called “sabbaths.”

1. The first day of the Passover week. Exodus 12:15; Leviticus 23:5–7; Numbers 28:17, 18.

2. The seventh day of the Passover week. Exodus 12:16; Numbers 28:24, 25.

3. The first day of the seventh month. Leviticus 23:24, 25; Numbers 29:1.

4. The tenth day of the seventh month. Leviticus 16:29–31; 23:27–32; Numbers 29:7.

5. The fifteenth day of the seventh month. Leviticus 23:34, 35; Numbers 29:12.

6. The twenty-second day of the seventh month. Leviticus 23:39.

7. The fiftieth day (Pentecost), known also as the “feast of weeks.” Leviticus 23:15, 16, 21; Deuteronomy 16:9, 10.

“Anciently the children of Israel were commanded to keep three annual feasts each year: the Passover, the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Feast of Weeks.”—The Review and Herald, December 11, 1879.

b. What does the apostle Paul say about keeping the ceremonial Sabbaths which were “a shadow of good things to come”? Colossians 2:14–17.

“We have the types and the shadows in the ceremonial laws, and these were to last until they should meet the reality. The sacrificial offerings were continually revealing the fact that Christ was coming to our world, and when type met antitype in the death of Christ, then the sacrificial offerings, typifying Christ, were no more of any value, but the royal law of God could not be changed. . . . There is no shadow in the precepts of the decalogue. The ten commandments are not a type.”—Ibid., July 15, 1890.

“The Lamb of God was a complete and perfect offering. Types and shadows, offerings and sacrifices had no virtue after Christ’s death on the cross; but God’s law was not crucified with the Saviour.”—Ibid., October 10, 1899.

“In the death of Christ, the sacrificial offering ceased. The ceremonial law was done away. But by the crucifixion the law of Ten Commandments was established. The gospel has not abrogated the law, nor detracted one tittle from its claims.”—Ibid., June 26, 1900.


Tuesday March 10

3. A SHADOW OF THE REALITY

a. Who was the Saviour of patriarchs, prophets, and holy men in the Old Testament? Isaiah 43:11; Hosea 13:4; John 5:39.

“There is no such contrast as is often claimed to exist between the Old and the New Testament, the law of God and the gospel of Christ, the requirements of the Jewish and those of the Christian dispensation. Every soul saved in the former dispensation was saved by Christ as verily as we are saved by Him today. Patriarchs and prophets were Christians. The gospel promise was given to the first pair in Eden, when they had by transgression separated themselves from God. The gospel was preached to Abraham. The Hebrews all drank of that spiritual Rock, which was Christ.”—The Signs of the Times, September 14, 1882.

“The Jewish services all testify of [Christ], pointing out the attributes of His divine character. Important truth concerning Him was veiled in types and shadows and symbols, and was to be fulfilled in Christ’s mission and ministry.”—Ibid., December 10, 1894.

b. If we were to keep the ceremonial law, offer sacrifices, and keep the feast days, (which were a shadow), what would it mean? Galatians 2:21.

“The ceremonial law, given by God through Moses, with its sacrifices and ordinances, was to be binding upon the Hebrews until type met antitype in the death of Christ as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. Then all the sacrificial offerings and services were to be abolished.”—The Review and Herald, September 27, 1881.

“The ceremonial law was glorious; it was the provision made by Jesus Christ in counsel with His Father, to aid in the salvation of the race. The whole arrangement of the typical system was founded on Christ. Adam saw Christ prefigured in the innocent beast suffering the penalty of his transgression of Jehovah’s law.”—Ibid., May 6, 1875.

“It was Christ’s desire to leave to His disciples an ordinance [the foot washing and communion service] that would do for them the very thing they needed—that would serve to disentangle them from the rites and ceremonies which they had hitherto engaged in as essential, and which the reception of the gospel made no longer of any force. To continue these rites would be an insult to Jehovah.”—Ibid., June 14, 1898.


Wednesday March 11

4. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE TWO LAWS

a. Where were the ten commandments written—and by whom—and where were they placed? Exodus 31:18; Deuteronomy 10:1, 2; In contrast, where was the law of ceremonial commandments written, and where was the book placed? Deuteronomy 31:24–26; Galatians 3:10.

“In the ark were placed the tables of stone upon which God had engraved with His own finger the ten commandments. It was made expressly for this purpose, and hence was called the ark of the covenant, and the ark of the testament, since the ten commandments were God’s covenant, and the basis of the covenant made between God and Israel.”—The Signs of the Times, June 24, 1880.

“Nothing written on those tables [of testimony] could be blotted out. The precious record of the law was placed in the ark of the testament.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 1, p. 1109.

“The ceremonial law was . . . given to Moses, and by him written in a book. But the law of Ten Commandments spoken from Sinai had been written by God Himself on the tables of stone, and was sacredly preserved in the ark.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 365.

b. Name some of the ordinances contained in the book of the law. Hebrews 9:9, 10; 10:1; 2 Kings 23:21; Ezra 3:2; Nehemiah 8:14.

“After the completion of the tabernacle [God] communicated with Moses from the cloud of glory above the mercy seat, and gave him full directions concerning the system of offerings and the forms of worship to be maintained in the sanctuary.”—Ibid., pp.364, 365.

“Moses completed the work of writing all the laws, the statutes, and the judgments which God had given him, and all the regulations concerning the sacrificial system. The book containing these was placed in charge of the proper officers, and was for safe keeping deposited in the side of the ark.”—Ibid., p.466.

“During the first Passover celebrated by Hezekiah, provision had been made for the daily public reading of the book of the law to the people by teaching priests. It was the observance of the statutes recorded by Moses, especially those given in the book of the covenant, which forms a part of Deuteronomy, that had made the reign of Hezekiah so prosperous.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 392.


Thursday March 12

5. THE ONLY TRUE SACRIFICE

a. What was the significance of the Passover feast and the slain lamb? Exodus 12:26, 27; John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:7.

“All the ceremonies of the feast [Passover] were types of the work of Christ. The deliverance of Israel from Egypt was an object lesson of redemption, which the Passover was intended to keep in memory. The slain lamb, the unleavened bread, the sheaf of first fruits, represented the Saviour.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 77.

b. What was the meaning of the day of atonement, and what is its significance today? Leviticus 23:27–32; Isaiah 22:12–14.

“As you come with humble heart, you find pardon, for Christ Jesus is represented as continually standing at the altar, momentarily offering up the sacrifice for the sins of the world. He is a minister of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man. The typical shadows of the Jewish tabernacle no longer possess any virtue. A daily and yearly typical atonement is no longer to be made, but the atoning sacrifice through a mediator is essential because of the constant commission of sin. Jesus is officiating in the presence of God, offering up His shed blood, as it had been a lamb slain.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, pp. 343, 344.

“We are living in the great antitypical day of atonement. We must individually seek God. This is a personal work. Let us draw near to God, allowing nothing to come into our efforts that would misrepresent the truth for this time. Let everyone confess, not his brother’s sin, but his own sin. Let him humble his heart before God and become so filled with the Holy Spirit that his life will show that he has been born again.”—Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 218.


Friday March 13

PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS

a. Why was the ceremonial law added?

b. Why is it no longer appropriate to keep the ceremonial sabbaths?

c. How does God view the keeping of these rituals today?

d. What were the main differences between the two laws?

e. Explain the day of atonement today.

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