When God Doesn’t Say “Thou Shalt Not”

For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood” (Hebrews 7:13-14).

The less common sense you have the harder it is to understand the Bible correctly. Just as the Scriptures employ the principles of logic and common sense (see yesterday’s blog), they also adhere to the basic principles of communication and common sense.

If, for example, you go to a restaurant, order a steak, and then are brought a chicken dinner, are you obligated to eat and pay for what was brought to you? If you pointed out to your server that you ordered a steak, would a retort of “You did not say you didn’t want a chicken dinner” genuinely answer your objection?

A restaurant would have grave difficulty staying in business if every one of its customers had to go through the entire menu and state everything he did not want. Common sense tells us that when a patron in a restaurant states what he wants, his specificity eliminates everything else found on the menu.

This is the precise point of the passage above. When God told Moses that the Old Testament priests were to come from the tribe of Levi, He did not have to name the other twelve tribes and declare that they were to be excluded. They were implicitly excluded when God specified the tribe of Levi.

This everyday use of language plus a modicum of common sense authoritatively settles the question of whether Jesus (of the tribe of Judah) could ever officiate at the temple’s altar.

It also serves as an essential principle for rightly dividing and accurately handling God’s word.

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Author: jchowning

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