"Moses Spake Nothing"


     Contained in Hebrews 7: 14, is a wonderful truth: "For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood" (see more later).

     There was a great movement experienced from 1517 until 1648 AD. This movement that sought to challenge and reform the Catholic Church is known as "The Reformation." During this time, men arose who challenged the atrocities of the Catholic Church and demanded that these obvious scriptural violations be put away. Two men who were leaders in the reformation were Martin Luther (Germany) and Ulrich Zwingli (Switzerland). The Reformation necessarily involved the issue of authority. Later, many men would come to realize that the Catholic Church was apostate Christianity and that they needed to restore the church that Jesus built rather than attempt to reform Catholicism. Hence, The Restoration Movement was begun. The Reformation, however, was imperative in that it calls to the attention of thinking individuals the matter of having Bible authority for what is believed and practiced.

     Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli had a similar plea, on the surface, regarding Bible authority. They both realized that in order for biblical truth to prevail and all the man-made doctrines to be removed, they had to present the need of Bible authority in a practical manner. Martin Luther taught that any religious activity is permissible unless God has specifically forbidden it in the Bible. On the other hand, Ulrich Zwingli contented that Christians may not participate in any religious act unless the Bible positively authorized it. As you would expect, Luther and Zwingli could not consistently agree on a number of biblical issues. For instance, Luther (his approach) could justify baptism for infants, while Zwingli condemned the practice. Using Luther's logic, infant baptism is not even mentioned in the scriptures; hence, infant baptism is permissible. According to Zwingli's rational, since the scriptures do not positively authorize infant baptism, it is condemned (more later).

     Back to Hebrews 7: 14. The scriptures are replete with teaching regarding the importance of having authority for what is believed and practiced. For instance, Jesus said many would be told to "depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matt. 7: 21-23). W. E. Vine makes the following observation regarding the word iniquity:

     "Anomia:    literally., "lawlessness" (a, negative, nomos, "law"), is used in a way which indicates the meaning as being lawlessness or wickedness. Its usual rendering in the NT is "iniquity," which lit. means unrighteousness. It occurs very frequently in the Sept., especially in the Psalms, where it is found about 70 times. It is used (a) of iniquity in general, Matt. 7:23; 13:41; 23:28; 24:12; Rom. 6:19 (twice); 2 Cor. 6:14, RV, "iniquity" (AV, "unrighteousness"); 2 Thess. 2:3 ... "lawlessness" and "lawlessness" (AV, "transgresseth the law" and "trangression of the law"); ... See LAWLESSNESS, TRANSGRESSION, UNRIGHTEOUSNESS" (Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words).

     Jesus amplified and explained what "work iniquity" means when he taught about building on the rock versus building on the sand. "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them…(regarding building on the rock, dm) and "every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not…(regarding building on the sand, dm., Matt. 7: 24-27). Notice the importance of authority: those who build on the sand shall suffer destruction (vs. 27).

     Beloved, the Bible does not present the concept of authority as pharisaic legalism, as many today claim. The writer of the Hebrew Epistle is arguing that Jesus could not be a high priest on earth because he was of the tribe of Judah and not of the Levitical order (Heb. 7: 11-14, Num. 16, 17). Hence, the inspired writer is respecting Bible authority. Involved in his inspired reasoning is also the expressed principle that if a matter is not taught, it is unauthorized. This is seen in the phrase, "Moses spake nothing" (Heb. 7: 14). There is no scripture authorizing a man to serve as high priest who was of the tribe of Judah. Therefore, such a practice would have been wrong (see addendum). In this respect, Ulrich Zwingli was correct.

     An application of Hebrews 7: 14. Learning God's word is useless if we do not apply it. In fact, we can actually be worse off in knowing but not doing what we know (cp. Lk. 12: 41-48).

     Take for instance the matter of baptism, where is the authority for "baptizing" infants? We read how, "…believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women" (Acts 5: 14). In order for one to be a candidate for baptism, one must be a sinner, believe, repent, and confess Jesus' deity (Acts 2: 38; Mk. 16: 16; Acts 2: 38; Acts 8: z36, 37, KJV). Infants, therefore, do not qualify regarding being candidates for scriptural baptism. Where is the authority for sprinkling or pouring for baptism? Baptism is a burial, according to the scriptures Rom. 6: 4, Col. 2: 12). It is apparent from the examples of men and women being baptized that they were immersed (cp. Acts 8: 35-40). The scriptures also know nothing regarding a person being saved and then being baptized. Baptism was (is) "for the remission of sins" (Acts 2: 38, 22: 16). Hence, the scriptures "spake nothing" regarding these matters.

     The church is a social society that seeks simply to improve the standard of living for man. Jesus gave his life for his church (Acts 20: 28). Jesus is married to his church, is the head, and he is the savior of the church, his body (Eph. 5: 22-33). The church is the "pillar and ground of the truth" (I Tim. 3: 15). Salvation, all spiritual blessings, and redemption are said to be in Christ or his church (2 Tim. 2: 10; Eph. 1: 3; vs. 7). Where, then, do we find the teaching that the church was just an afterthought of Jesus in view of his failure to set up his kingdom (Matt. 16: 18, 19, Col. 1: 13)? Where do we read the command or observe the practice of the local church simply being a benevolent institution, designed to fill the stomachs of the masses? Concerned reader, the scriptures "spake nothing" regarding denominationalism and church membership being optional (I Cor. 1: 10; Heb. 10: 25-31).

     We could make many additional applications of the principle found in Hebrews 7: 14 of "Moses spake nothing." Possessing Bible authority for all we believe and practice is urgently important (Col. 3: 17). Jesus said that those who go beyond his teaching "have not God" (2 Jn. 9). To the converse, those who abide in his teaching have "both the Father and the Son" (Ibid.).

     Intelligent reader, a matter does not have to be expressly forbidden for it to be condemned. When a specific is taught either by express command or statement, approved example, or necessary inference, such teaching excludes and forbids any other dissimilar specific. Moreover, for a matter to be an expedient (help execute the command), it must not be a substitute. For instance, a songbook helps expedite the command to sing (Eph. 5: 16). However, a piano constitutes a different kind of music (mechanical in addition to vocal, Eph. 5: 19, Col. 3: 16, the human heart is the authorized instrument of music).

     In closing, how about the church of which you are a member, does it exist by the authority of the scriptures and is its teaching authorized; or concerning it would we have to say, "the scriptures spake nothing"?  (You may also want to read, "Authority" and "How to Study the Bible," click on to visit.)

     Addendum: Not a few recognize the Pope as their authority. Some say "the church" is the final authority. Others point to creeds, synods and the conclaves of men as the authority. A few today view preachers as the authority. Beloved, none of these proposed authorities are sanctioned by the Bible as the final authority in religion (cf. Mk. 7: 5-13). God speaks today through His Son (Heb. 1: 1,2). In the setting of Moses, Elias, and Jesus, the Father exclaimed, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am will pleased, hear ye Him" (Matt. 17:5). Jesus has all authority in heaven and in earth (Matt. 28: 18). All we do must be done in Jesus’ name or by His authority (Col. 3: 17). Jesus possesses legislative, judicial, and executive authority (Matt. 7: 21-28; Jn. 5: 22; Matt. 28: 18-20). Jesus’ teaching is, indeed, authoritative (Matt. 7: 24-29). Inspired writers such as Paul taught Jesus’ will (I Cor. 14: 37). Jesus said, "... the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" (Jn. 6: 63). "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God...," Peter taught (I Pet. 4: 11). The New Testament, the last will and testament of Jesus Christ, then, is our authority in matters religious (Heb. 8; Matt. 7: 21 ff.).