Lou: I want to go back to this matter of the law as an emergency measure. If I heard you correctly, you were saying that both the ceremonial law and the Ten Commandments were emergency measures. Now I can hear some Seventh-day Adventists saying, “Is that really the Adventist position? Haven’t we made a distinction in Galatians 3 and said `well, the ceremonial law was added, but the Ten Commandment Law is a transcript of God’s character; therefore, it’s eternal?’” How would you respond to that?
Graham: I’m including them all in the context of Galatians 3. But when one raises the question, “Is this the Seventh-day Adventist view?” then one has a right to say, “Who is authorized to say what the Adventist view is?” I would nominate the most influential person who ever helped shape this movement, and that would be Ellen White. When she was asked, “What law was added?” She responded, “Both the ceremonial law and the moral code of Ten Commandments” (based on Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, vol. 1, page 233). So I feel secure and in very good company when I take the same position.
Lou: It seems to me that you illustrated that very well when you spoke about the home and dealing with children and so on. It’s hard to imagine God having to say to the angels, “Now, angels, please don’t murder!” A commandment like that was an emergency measure in a sadly broken world.
Graham: While that is true, there is an aspect of the commandments which is universal. In the next chapter, where we talk about what the law requires, there will be an opportunity to show how the principles in the law are eternal. And I certainly hope they are, or this won’t be a safe universe to live in. While the giving of the law on Mount Sinai was an emergency measure, the principles of the law are also a transcript of God’s character.
Lou: Are there any other emergency measures that are still in use?
Graham: Yes, I think the fire and brimstone of the third angel’s message (Rev 14:9-11) is an emergency measure! That’s hardly “still, small voice” language. And then there is the Sabbath. We need this still. It speaks eloquently to us and reminds us of the truth.
Lou: That ties in with another question I wanted to ask. If the Ten Commandments were added, as you have suggested, then will there come a day when the fourth commandment, the Sabbath, won’t need to be kept anymore?
Graham: If it were merely a legal requirement or a test of obedience, that could be true. But I can see Isaiah’s point that for eternity we will keep Sabbath to celebrate the end of the emergency. We will keep it as a perpetual reminder of the price that was paid and the evidence that was demonstrated to establish peace and freedom in the family. Because the Sabbath is so eloquent with meaning rather than arbitrary, that’s the reason why it would be so widely observed for all eternity.