The Silence of the Scriptures

Bible Text

Does God’s silence authorize or prohibit? This question has been discussed for centuries. Some believe that a thing is wrong only if there is a specific prohibition against it. This reasoning is used to defend such practices as the use of instrumental music in worship and taking money the church has collected and using it for recreational purposes.

The following passage is helpful to consider on this question:

For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests” (Hebrews 7:14).

In this context, the Hebrew writer was making the point that the law had changed (Hebrews 7:12). This was necessary before Jesus could be a priest because Jesus could not be a priest under the old law. Why? He was from the tribe of Judah. Why was this prohibited? It was prohibited because nothing was said about it. When the Law of Moses specified the tribe of Levi as the tribe from which priests would descend, all the other tribes were automatically excluded even without a specific prohibition.

We should not defend a practice by saying, “God hasn’t said not to.” Instead, we need to find where the practice is authorized. Notice in the passage above that even Jesus, the Son of God, could not have the rules bent so as to allow Him to be a priest under the old law (Hebrews 7:14). Let us not think so much of ourselves that we bend the rules and expect God to be pleased. Instead, let us do only those things authorized in His word.

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