Adventists argue as de facto that the Law of God is the transcript of God’s character. They do this by stating the case and then showing that certain qualities of God exist in the Law.  But it would be important for us to start at the beginning of this argument. What does it mean for the Law to be the transcript of God’s character?

 “A transcript is a written, printed, or typed copy of something, especially a copy of recorded or dictated material. The word “transcript” can also mean an exact copy or reproduction, especially one with official status. For example, an academic transcript is an official record of a student’s coursework and academic performance, including grades, courses taken, and degree awarded. A court transcript is a record of court proceedings, including the words spoken by judges, lawyers, witnesses, and defendants during a trial or hearing.” [1]

It is important to understand that a transcript implies that the written document is an exact replica of what it represents. Also, remember that when Adventists use the phrase ‘Law of God,’ they are only referring to the Ten Commandments. So, the assertion is that the Ten Commandments are a perfect and exact replication of God’s character. This is a bold statement!  Is this what scripture teaches, or is this overextending the concept that the Law reflects God’s character but isn’t an exact copy of His character?

Remember, in the Adventist framework, everything must align with the statements of Ellen White.  It should come as no surprise that she boldly asserted, “The law of God is the transcript of the character of God.” [2] She also claimed that the Law (Ten Commandments) is as sacred and holy as God himself. The Law reveals God’s will for mankind, and through it, His divine love and wisdom are manifested.

“The law of God is as sacred as God Himself. It is a revelation of His will, a transcript of His character, the expression of divine love and wisdom. The harmony of creation depends upon the perfect conformity of all beings, of everything, animate and inanimate, to the law of the Creator.” [3]

Remember, Ellen White gives the final and authoritative stamp of approval on any confusing or erroneous interpretation. Since she said it, we now have to go back into Scripture and find the evidence of her divine understanding. (Sarcasm intended.) Adventists will then attempt to prove this erroneous assumption by connecting what God is or what he has revealed about his character in Scripture with what is said about the Law. (See figure below)

All of these statements seem sound, and at first glance, there doesn’t seem to be a way to out-maneuver this way of thinking. Many Adventists would argue that this is a rock-solid argument, proving that the Law of God is the very transcript of His character. But I ask that we pause for a second and ask ourselves if the logic statement is true.

Logic Statement: If something in Scripture shares communicable attributes of God, then these attributes are the transcript of the character of God.

True or False: Undeniably FALSE

Just because some places, people, laws, emotions, and things in Scripture are described using certain shared attributes of God doesn’t make those things the transcript of God. There are many things in Scripture that share similar characteristics of God. Let’s look at one simple example: The City of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is described as:

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  • Free (Freedom or Independence)
    • But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. (Ga 4:26)
  • Beloved
    • And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, (Re 20:9)
  • Faithful, Full of Justice, and Righteous
    • How the faithful city has become a whore, she who was full of justice! Righteousness lodged in her, but now murderers. (Is 1:21)
  • Holy
    • “O Lord, according to all your righteous acts, let your anger and your wrath turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy hill, because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a byword among all who are around us. (Da 9:16)
  • Perfection of Beauty
    • Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth. (Ps 50:2)
    • All who pass along the way clap their hands at you; they hiss and wag their heads at the daughter of Jerusalem: “Is this the city that was called the perfection of beauty, the joy of all the earth?” (La 2:15)
  • Abides Forever (Eternal)
    • Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. (Ps 125:1)

Just because these attributes are shared with the attributes of God does that logically mean that Jerusalem is the transcript of God’s character?  You would be absurd to land on this conclusion, but Adventists use this same logic with the Law and God.  Just because something has similar characteristics, even if they are only at a moment in time, doesn’t mean they are the same.

Scripture can describe people, places, and things as having shared characteristics but there is nothing created that can be the transcript of God’s character, something that has no beginning or end. And most certainly isn’t created.

“That which is finite and created cannot be a transcript of the Eternal God nor can it ever fully encapsulate who He is and what He does or can do. It takes a special level of myopia and theological small-mindedness to attempt to squeeze the Eternal God into a finite creation to the point of making them equal.” [4]

What happens to the status of the Law when a denomination elevates it to the level of being the very transcript of God? It lowers the omniscience of an eternal Triune God. We can trace the roots of raising the importance of the Law, specifically the 4th commandment, as an early tactic of Ellen White.

“Jesus stood by the ark. And as the saints’ prayers came up to Jesus, the incense in the censor would smoke, and He offered up the prayers of the saints with the smoke of the incense to His Father. In the ark, was the golden pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded and the tables of stone which folded together like a book. Jesus opened them, and I saw the ten commandments written on them with the finger of God. On one table was four, and on the other six. The four on the first table shone brighter than the other six. But the fourth (the Sabbath commandment,) shone above them all; for the Sabbath was set apart to be kept in honor of God’s holy name. The holy Sabbath looked glorious—a halo of glory was all around it. I saw that the Sabbath was not nailed to the cross. If it was, the other nine commandments were; and we are at liberty to go forth and break them all, as well as to break the fourth. I saw that God had not changed the Sabbath, for He never changes. But the Pope had changed it from the seventh to the first day of the week; for he was to change times and laws.” [5] (Emphasis added)

This vision supposedly took place on April 7th, 1847, and was taken as clear evidence that the Sabbath was important. What many Adventists do not know about these Broadside visions is that this wasn’t the first time she had this vision. A year earlier, on April 6th,1846, she had an identical vision, but nothing was “given to her” about the Sabbath.  Not even a mention of the extra emphasis placed on the Sabbath.

“In the ark, beneath where the angels wings were spread, was a golden pot of Manna, of a yellowish cast; and I saw a rod, which Jesus said was Aarons; I saw it bud, blossom and bear fruit. And I saw two long golden rods, on which hung silver wires, and on the wires most glorious grapes; one cluster was more than a man here could carry. And I saw Jesus step up and take off the manna, almonds, grapes and pomegranates, and bear them down to the city, and place them on the supper table. I stepped up to see how much was taken away, and there was just as much left; and we shouted Hallelujah—Amen.” [6]

One must ask the question: Did God not think it important to share the need for Sabbath in the first ‘vision’? Is God in the business of giving misinformation and then correcting it later?  This was just the beginning of Ellen putting extra ‘divine’ emphasis on the Sabbath.  She would even make the unbiblical claim that the keeping of the Sabbath was the seal of God and the Mark of the Beast was ‘the Pope’s sabbath (Sunday).’

“The sign or seal of God is his Sabbath, and the seal or mark of the beast is in direct opposition to it; it is a counterfeit Sabbath on the ‘day of the sun.’”[7]

Ellen even went so far as to put guilt and blame on the parents of children that make the Sabbath common and not special:

“If parents allow their children to receive an education with the world, and make the Sabbath a common day, then the seal of God cannot be placed upon them. They will be destroyed with the world; and will not their blood rest upon the parents?” [8]

All of this, despite the fact that Scripture is clear that the seal of God has NOTHING to do with the Sabbath or the Decalogue. The Bible doesn’t teach that Sabbath worship will be the ultimate test of loyalty and the seal of the true believer!  Instead, scripture explicitly teaches that the Holy Spirit is the seal of God and is given to all believers as a down payment of the inheritance that we have in Christ, sealing us for the day of redemption.

“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (Eph 1:13–14)

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Eph 4:30)

“And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” (2 Co 1:21–22)

“He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” (2 Co 5:5)

Ellen White contradicts what the Bible says.  And yet, she also claimed that “whatever contradicts God’s word, we may be sure proceeds from Satan.” [9]

 

I’ll let you start connecting the dots.

 

No, the Ten Commandments ARE NOT the transcript of God’s character!

 

[1] AI, “What Does It Mean for Something to Be the Transcript of Something – Google Search.”

[2] Ellen Gould White, The Signs of the Times, n.d., 1650.

[3] Ellen Gould White, The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets as Illustrated in the Lives of Holy Men of Old, vol. 1, Conflict of the Ages Series (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1890), 52.

[4] Lauriston, Hiding In Plain Sight. Pg.129

[5] Ellen Gould White, A Vision, n.d., 8.

[6] Ellen Gould White, To the Little Remnant Scattered Abroad, n.d., 9.

[7] Ellen Gould White, The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan; Great Controversy (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1888), 691.

[8] Ellen Gould White, Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-Day Adventists (Basle: Imprimerie Polyglotte, 1886), 217.

[9] Ellen Gould White, The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets as Illustrated in the Lives of Holy Men of Old, vol. 1, Conflict of the Ages Series (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1890), 55.

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