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Home The Light Articles from 1999 When God Does Not Speak

When God Does Not Speak

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When God Does Not Speak

Inseparable from what a pattern portrays, what an example demonstrates, is the "silence" of the pattern/example—what the example does not say. The Supper example says "Jesus took bread." Every edible object outside the definition of "bread" (in this case, unleav-ened), is forbidden if we respect the example. This is the area of silence—what the example (or command) does NOT say.

Even with an example originating with the Lord, we cannot expect Scripture to name the thing he took, and then follow with everything he did not take. The list would be endless. Exemplifying what Jesus did eliminates all need to list everything he did not do. This is why it is so important that we respect the silence surrounding an example, as well as the silence of the Scriptures generally. The silence of the Scriptures is never permissive—it never allows more than is stated. It is always restrictive. This forbids our going beyond that which is written (1 Cor. 4:6). It is this major truth that will remove the organ from the singing, the missionary society from evangelism, multiple cups from the communion, and any other innovation which has been added to the work and worship of the church.

The Law of Silence

An excellent example of the silence of the Scriptures in practical application is He-brews 7:14. Jesus was in prophecy and in fact, a priest. But the priesthood under Moses was ordered to be of Levi. The Hebrew writer reasons that if Jesus, being of the tribe of Juda, was to be a priest, then there must be a change in the law, "For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake NOTHING concerning priesthood." The Levites were named as priests, but Moses said nothing about the other tribes. He did not verbally forbid them, but they were clearly excluded by the simple fact that Levi was named. Every other tribe fell under the restrictive silence of the law.

This "law of silence" is exercised every day in common things. Mother sends her son to market to buy a loaf of bread and a dozen eggs. He returns with a loaf of bread, a dozen eggs, and a pound of bacon. The young man violated his mother's will. A pound of bacon, even though unnamed, was routinely eliminated when he was told what to buy.

Just so, what inspiration says about the communion is both inclusive and exclu-sive. That which is recorded must be included; that which is not penned—the silence of the Scriptures—must be excluded. One abides in the teaching of Christ, the other trans-gresseth, or "goeth onward" (2 John 9). One can be safely followed, the other cannot. Using a single loaf of unleavened bread and a single cup of the fruit of the vine is in per-fect harmony with Scripture and respects Divine silence. To hold closely to the com-munion pattern honors the silence of God's Word. As we have shown, using multiple breads and multiple cups is not only a failure to speak where the Bible speaks, but is also in complete disregard of Biblical silence.

Recorded Silence

The New Testament illustrates immersion, is silent on sprinkling. It speaks of the music of singing, but is silent on mechanical music. We read of the church spreading the gospel, but nothing of missionary societies. We read a God ordained name, but nothing of denominational names. The Record establishes one bread and one cup in the communion; it is as silent as the tomb on multiple breads and multiple cups. Is this not significant?

King David learned that God must not only be sought, but must be sought scrip-turally—"after the due order" (1 Chron. 13 and 15:13). He had transported the Ark of the Covenant on a cart when God had specified that it was to be carried by the Kohathites of the tribe of Levi (Num. 3:29-31). It was unnecessary that God specifically forbid trans-porting it on a cart. His silence forbade it. The "end" never justifies unscriptural "means." (See Prov. 16:25, Mat. 15:9, 2 John 9.)

In Leviticus 10:1-2, Nadab and Abihu died as a result of presumption. God had not specifically forbidden taking fire from an alternate source, but by instructing where it should originate, He excluded all others. The record states they offered "strange fire ...which he commanded them not." "Unauthorized fire" others render it. They died, violating divine silence. Things "unauthorized" are sinful. Whether King David's cart, the priest's unsanctioned fire, the use of instrumental music in worship, or multiple breads or multiple cups in the Lord's Supper—all are equally unauthorized. As brother Wallace once said: "If you can't read it in the Book, don't do it."



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