Tag Archives: Old Testament

Is there Personal Responsibility?

By Eusebio Tanicala, Ph.D.

There are many passages that teach personal responsibility as regards decisions and actions of the individual. Let us open to two sections of the Book of Ezekiel. We quote from the NKJV.

Ezekiel 14 v.3 “these men have set up their idols in their hearts.” Who makes the choice of setting up idols?

v.13. “When a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness” and is punished says God. Who decides to do sin?

v.14, 16, 18,21. “…Noah, Daniel and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness?”

Did the three righteous men exercise their free will to live a righteous life? Yes. Could their righteousness be imputed upon their sons and daughters? NO. Is there free will here? Yes.

v.11, 23. God ‘s penalty is based on a cause or transgression. Who chooses to transgress? The individual.

Ezekiel 18:

v.4. “The soul who sins shall die.” Does this prove free will and individual responsibility? Yes.

vs. 5-9. Is there free will to do what is just? Is walking in God’s statutes and keeping God’s judgments the free will of a person? Yes. Or is a person forced by God? No, not forced.

vs. 10-13.Does the father pass on to the son his righteousness? No Is there free will on the part of the son? Is the choice of the son his own responsibility? Yes.

vs. 14, 17. “If, however, he begets a son who sees all the sins which his father has done, and considers but does NOT DO LIKEWISE… He shall not die for the iniquity of his father.” Is there free will here? Yes. Is the unrighteousness of the father automatically imputed on the son? No. (So the unrighteousness and the spiritual consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin should not be imputed on their off springs). But are the physical and biological consequences suffered by the off springs? Yes. Just as it is true today. For example, a father drinks and drives and runs over a person on the highway. The guilt and penalty of drunken driving and killing a person is on the father, but not imputed on the son. However the physical consequences like the lack of bread and other physical needs that should be supplied by the father would now be suffered by the son. This is true in the case of Adam and Eve. The spiritual consequence of their sin is not imputed on us. But the withdrawal of the protective shield of God’s grace against physical aging, physical pain, destructiveness of nature like typhoons and bacteria exact their toll on the off spring.

vs. 14-17. Is there free will here? Yes. Does the son reap the fruits of his own deeds? Yes. What is the basis of God’s favorable impression on this son? His avoidance of the prohibited acts and his proactive observance of God’s judgments and statutes.

v. 18. “As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, robbed his brother by violence, and did what is not good among his people, behold, he shall die for his iniquity.” Is there free will here? Yes.

Does God hold the father personally responsible for his own deeds? Yes. Is the iniquity of the father automatically passed on to the son? No.

v. 19. Does the son bear the guilt of his father? No. What is the basis of God’s favorable acceptance of the son? His acts that are lawful and right, keeping and observing God’s statutes.

v. 20. The son does not bear the guilt of his father; the father does not bear the guilt of his son. Each individual is answerable for his own decision and action. (This should apply in the case of Adam and Eve).

v. .21. Is repentance possible? Yes. Is free will exercised in repentance? Yes.

v. 22. Is there value of free will obedience? Yes, there is. Should a person boast about his obedience? No.

Does his obedience earn and demand reward? No. Reward is volunteered by God. Is it against the nature of God to give rewards to the obedient? No. That is sovereign exercise of grace.

Read vs. 23-32 and observe the exercise of free will in the choice of either direction: obey God or disobey God.

The proof given by the Bible is clear. Proof should not be based on the philosophizing and wild imaginations of some people religious leaders and essayists.

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Abraham’s Series of Faith Demonstrations

By Eusebio Tanicala, Ph.D.

Abram/Abraham demonstrated a series of actions in situations when things were humanly impossible.

Abram was born in Ur of the Chaldeans, a town in the southeastern part of Iraq or within the territory of Kuwait. See Genesis 11:27-32. Following are the events in Abraham’s life:

  1. He was called out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to a land more than 1300 kilometers away which land he had not previously seen. See Acts 7:2-3; Hebrews 11:8. He was motivated by FAITH and acted on it. He and his family moved to Haran of Syria and eventually to Canaan.
  2. He dwelt in Canaan as in a foreign country living in movable tents but was promised that his descendant would inherit the land much later. This he BELIEVED that God would do in His own time. See Heb. 11:9.
  3. He was promised at the age of 86 and his wife was at the age of 76 that he would have an heir that would issue out from his very own body.This he BELIEVED God would fulfill. See Hebrews 11:11; Genesis 17:19; 18:11-14; 21:1-7.
  4. He was promised descendants that will be as the number of stars in the heavens. This he BELIEVED that God would fulfilll. See Genesis 15:1-6.
  5. When he asked for a sign that this promise of a great number of descendants will be given, God told Abram to offer these sacrifices: a three year old heifer, a three year old she goat, a three year old ram, a dove, and a pigeon. He was moved by FAITH and obeyed as instructed. See Genesis 15:8-11.
  6. A covenant of blessings promised: Abram would be a father of many nations, of many descendants, of many nations, kings among them, inherit the land of Canaan, but sealed by circumcision; Abraham BELIEVED and he and Ishmael and all males in his household were all circumcised even if painful. See Genesis 17:1-27.
  7. At age 99, God promised Abraham that a son would be born to him through Sarah. In Genesis 17:17 Abraham laughed at this promised, but when repeated in Genesis 18:9, he no longer laughed but believed.It was Sarah who laughed. See Genesis 18:9-15.
  8. When Yahweh revealed to Abraham the coming destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and he haggled about sparing the cities if there were some righteous inhabitants God said He would not destroy the cities if there were some five righteous people. This Abraham BELIEVED and went home. See Genesis 18-19. The following day Abraham returned on top of the hills to view the destruction of the two cities.
  9. When Isaac was born and he had reached 8 days, Abraham circumcised the little boy even if it was painful and bloody. This act showed his FAITH and obedience to a covenant with God. See Genesis 21:1-7.
  10. When Isaac was about 13 years old, God told Abraham to get the boy and offer him as a burnt sacrifice on an altar at Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. We could imagine Abraham talking to himself: Isaac was promised as a seed to produce millions of descendant, but even if he offered this boy as a burnt sacrifice, he told himself that God would somehow raise him up from the ashes so that he could produce the promised descendants. See Hebrews 11:17-19. That attitude of obedience showed this faith.

These series of testings where Abraham displayed an attitude of trust and confidence in Yahweh made him “a friend of God forever.” See James 2:23. James’ conclusion is this: “Do you see that faith working together with his works and by works faith was made perfect?” (2:22).

It is clear that in the life of Abraham, it is not “faith only.” Not “works only.’ It was faith working together with activities in obedience to God’s commands or requirements.

Romans 4:3 refers to Genesis 15:6 and points to Series #4 which is the promise of many descendants as the stars in number issuing from Abraham’s body. Abraham had faith in God and that faith was accounted as righteousness. Yes, it was accounted, listed under the debit column. Any act of faith or belief is accounted, listed under the debit column. But was this faith in the millions of descendants the point when Abraham’s sins were initially forgiven? No! So Romans 4:3 should not be cited by Bible teachers as the point when alien sinners are initially forgiven.

OT Water Ceremonies and Forgiveness of Sin

Baptism

© 2007 PunchStock

There’s a continuing discussion on how water is related to a God-given process of cleansing and the forgiveness of sins. One side says, water is not related to God’s process, while the other side says it is a God-given requirement. This lesson helps to clarify this debate.

Propostion: Water ceremony is a God-given element in the process of cleansing and forgiveness of sin, therefore it is essentially related to the forgiveness of man’s sins.

In this study, we continually ask the questions: (1) Were the uncleanness and the penalty threat pronounced for not heeding the process of cleansing taken off a person before or after the water ceremony? (2) Did the power of forgiveness reside in God Himself or in the water in itself? (3) Did God forgive if His command or process of cleansing was not obeyed? (4) Where water element was commanded as part of the cleansing process, did people in the Mosaical Dispensation have the right to disregard water and be cleansed of the uncleanness? (5) If you were there in the Wilderness of Sinai, would you have debated with Moses about the essentiality of washing in water for your cleansing and freedom from penalty? (Quotations are taken from the New King James Version of the Bible).

Awesome Glory and Authority of the LORD.

In our relationship with God, we should recognized the awesome and majestic glory and sovereignty of God. Those who want to disregard water in baptism in the Christian dispensation as an essential element in obeying God want to reduce God and Christ Jesus as confused and ignorant Rulers. But if we recognize Christ Jesus as Sovereign Lord, Master and one who knows all things including Greek Grammar, then we should not argue with him. We should meekly and humbly obey His command.

We submit a study on the use of water in the Mosaical Dispensation. This will help us understand the background of the Christ Great Commission Baptism in water.

Exodus 40:34-35. “Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.”

Leviticus 27:34. “These are the commandments which the LORD commanded Moses for the children of Israel on Mount Sinai.”

Numbers 36:13. These are the commandments and the judgments which the LORD commanded the children of Israel by the hand of Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan, across from Jericho.”

Joshua 1:6-8. “Be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

Book of Exodus– Use of Water in OT Religious Ceremonies

Exodus 29:4. “Present Aaron and his sons at the entrance of the Tabernacle, and wash them with water.”

40:12. “Bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the Tabernacle, and wash them with water.”

Book of Leviticus—Use of Water in OT Religious Ceremonies

Leviticus 1:9. “But he shall wash its entrails and its legs with water. And the priest shall burn all on the altar as a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire as sweet aroma to the LORD.”

6:27,28. “… And when its blood is sprinkled on any garment, you shall wash that on which it was sprinkled, in a holy place. But the earthen vessel in which it is boiled shall be broken. And if it is boiled in a bronze pot, it shall be both scoured and rinsed in water.”

8:6. “Then Moses brought Aaron and his sons and washed them with water.”

11:32. “Anything on which any of them falls, when they are dead shall be unclean…it must be put in water. And it shall be unclean until evening; then it shall be clean.”

14:5-9. “And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water…that was killed over the running water. And he shall sprinkle it seven times on him who is to be cleansed from the leprosy, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose in the open field. He who is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes…wash himself in water, that he maybe clean…He shall wash his clothes and wash his body in water, and he shall be clean.

16:4. “He shall put the holy linen tunic and the linen trousers on his body; he shall be girded with a linen sash, and with the linen turban he shall be attired. These are holy garments. Therefore he shall wash his body in water, and put on them.”

16:24, 26, 28. “And he shall wash his body with water in a holy place, put on his garments, come out and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people and make atonement for himself and for the people…And he who released the goat as the scapegoat shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water and afterward he may come into the camp…Then he who burns them shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp.”

Book of Numbers – Use of Water in OT Religious Ceremonies

17:15-16. “And every person who eats what died naturally or what was torn by beasts, whether he is a native of your own country or a stranger, he shall both wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. Then he shall be clean. But if he does not wash them or bathe his body, then he shall bear his guilt.”

Num. 19:7,8,13. “Then the priest shall wash his clothes, he shall bathe in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp; the priest shall be unclean until evening. And the one who burns it shall wash his clothes in water, bathe in water, and shall be unclean until evening…Whoever touches the body of anyone who has died, and does not purify himself, defiles the tabernacle of the LORD. That person shall be cut off from Israel. He shall be unclean, because the water of purification was not sprinkled on him; his uncleanness is still on him.”

19:17-21. “And for an unclean person they shall take some of the ashes of the heifer burnt for purification from sin, and running water shall be put on them in a vessel. A clean person shall take hyssop and dip it in the water, sprinkle it on the tent, on all the vessels, on the persons who were there, or on the one who touched a bone, the slain, the dead, or a grave. The clean person shall sprinkle the unclean …and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, wash his clothes, and bathe in water, and at evening he shall be clean. But the man who is unclean and does not purify himself, that person shall be cut off from among the assembly, because he has defiled the sanctuary of the LORD. The water of purification has not been sprinkled on him; he is unclean…He who sprinkles the water of purification shall wash his clothes; and he who touches the water of purification shall be unclean until evening. Whatever the unclean person touches shall be unclean; and the person who touches it shall be unclean until evening.”

Book of Deuteronomy –Use of Water in OT Religious Ceremonies

31:21-24. “…This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD commanded Moses: Only the gold, the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin, and the lead, everything that can endure fire, you shall put through the fire, and it shall be clean; and it shall be purified with the water of purification. But all that cannot endure fire you shall put through water. And you shall wash your clothes on the seventh day and be clean, and afterward you may come into the camp”

23:9-11. “When the army goes out against your enemies, them keep yourself from every wicked thing. If there is any man among you who becomes unclean by some occurrence in the night, then he shall go outside the camp; he shall not come inside the camp. But it shall be, when evening comes, that he shall wash with water; and when the sun sets, he may come into the camp.”

Question: Do the above verses give you any hint that any Israelite had the privilege to disregard water as an essential element in his cleansing and forgiveness of sin?

John the Baptist and Water Ceremony

The ministry of John the Baptist was a transitory period from the Mosaical Dispensation to the Christian Dispensation. Whereas, during the Mosaical period, the external aspect of life was given focus and the ceremony of water was included but repentance was not mentioned; on the other hand, in the Christian Dispensation, emphasis is in the internal aspect—the heart, and the water ceremony remains. John the Baptist combines the external and the internal: the water ceremony and the change of the heart through repentance and fruit of repentance which is the change of attitude and way of life before the water ceremony took place.

In analyzing the verses below, ask these two questions: (1) Did God forgive the sins of the people before or after they were baptized by John? (2) If you were alive in the days of John the Baptist, would you have dared to debate John about the essentiality of water baptism for the remission of your sins?

Matt. 3:2, 5, 6. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand…and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan confessing their sins”

Mark 1:4, 5 “John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.”

Luke 3:3 7, 8, 21. “And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins…Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him ‘Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance,…’ When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened.”‘

Do you believe that some people debated with John the Baptist by taking the negative side and expounded that water baptism was not essential to the forgiveness of their sins? ©

Rethinking Some Old Premises That Are Based On Amos 6:5

By Eusebio Tanicala, Ph.D.

It’s from PBC alumni that I’ve heard wrong arguments that are derived from Amos 6:5. So it is fitting that I put this reminder and caution in the PBCAA blog. I especially address the PBC alumni. Please read and analyze this article so that understanding of Amos 6:5 would improve and become correct.

There are two wrong notions related to Amos 6:5 that are used by some PBC alumni in arguing against the use of mechanical instruments of music in Christian worship that need to be corrected: (a) Some presume that the meaning of the term ”invent” in Amos 6:5 means to discover, originate and use something for the first time; and (b) By using Amos 6:5, some presume that King David, out of the presumptuousness and hardness of his heart, introduced musical instruments in the tabernacle worship just as divorce for any reason was insisted by Israel out of the hardness of their heart (Matt. 19:7-8). Both presumptions are incorrect. We shall show why.

  1. It is not true, as some believe, that the term “invent” in Amos 6:5 means “to originate, to discover something new and use it for the first time.” It is a fact that the term “invent” in Amos 6:5 is chashab in Hebrew and it means, “to think, to devise, to design” (Young’s Analytical Concordance, p. 519). Thomas Edison invented the incandescent lamp which means, there was no incandescent lamp before his time. The meaning of “invent” in the case of Edison is NOT the same meaning in the case of Amos 6:5.
  2. It is not true, as some claim, that King David was the first one to use musical instruments. Fact is that thousands of years before King David was born, Jubal and his sons played harps and flutes according to Gen. 4:21. Jubal and sons lived some 4000 years B.C.; whereas, David became king about 1010 B.C
  3. It is not true, as some claim, that Jubal’s sons’ playing the harps and flutes as stated in Gen. 4:21 was a sinful beginning act, for if it were so, then to dwell in tents and have livestock like Jabal in Gen. 4:20 would also be sinful. It would also be sinful for Tubal-cain to instruct others on the use of bronze and iron (Gen. 4:22). It was not sinful for Abraham to dwell in a tent (Gen. 18:1) and not sinful today. We use bronze and iron today and it is not sinful.
  4. It is not true, as some claim, that King David was the first to use musical instruments because hundreds of years before David was born, God Himself sounded the trumpet at Mt. Sinai in the giving of the Decalogue. Read Exodus 19:19; 20:18; Heb. 12:19. The date is about 1450 B.C.
  5. It is not true, as some claim, that King David was the first to invent and use musical instruments because some 500 years before David was born, the Levitical priests in the wilderness were commanded by God to sound the trumpets in various religious events like in the New Moon and Full Moon, over various animal offerings, on the Day of Atonement, etc. Read Num. 10:1-10; 19:1; Lev. 23:24; 1 Chron. 15:24; 2 Chron. 5:12.
  6. It is not true, as some claim, that King David’s rebellious heart caused him to invent musical instruments and used them in the tabernacle. Fact is that God commanded him to design, craft and manufacture the instruments. The palace seer, Gad, as well as the palace prophet, Nathan, approved of the making and use of the musical instruments. Or perhaps the two revealed to King David God’s commandment. Read 2 Chron. 29:25.
  7. It is not true, as some claim, that the use of musical instruments was unacceptable in David’s time because when the young David played the harp in the palace, the distressing spirit that God sent to plague King Saul would depart. Read 1 Sam. 6:14, 23.
  8. It is not true, as some claim, that the use of musical instruments in the OT was started due to David’s rebellious heart and was grudgingly allowed to be used in the tabernacle and temple, just as the Israelites were permitted by Moses to write a certificate of divorce due to the hardness of people’s heart. The parallelism is not true because the first part has no basis. I couldn’t find any verse that suggests that God grudgingly allowed musical instruments to be used in the OT.
  9. It is not true, as some claim, that musical instruments were grudgingly allowed in the tabernacle and temple worship. Fact is God personally instructed Moses to make for himself a trumpet to be used by the priests. (Read Num. 10:1-2). Miriam and the women joyously danced with their timbrels (15:20-21) in celebrating God’s deliverance. King David exultingly encouraged the use of musical instruments in praising God as in 1 Chron. 6:31; 25:7; 2 Chron. 29:27; Psalm 28:7; 33:3; 45:96; 65; 66; 67:75-76; 69:30; 83; 87; 88; 96; 98; 144:9; 149:1: 150; Isa. 42:10. Ezra, the well respected priest and scribe during the return from exile, and the priests in Jerusalem in the restoration of the wall used musical instrument to praise God in the dedication of the wall. (See Ezra 3:8-11). Nehemiah, the governor, praised God with musical instruments (Read Neh.12:35-43). No rebuke in the use of musical instruments could be found in these instances. On the other hand, divorce was never used to praise God. Fact is Malachi denounced the practice of divorce when the Israelites freely discarded their wives (2:16).

Any reactions to the items affirmed in this article are welcomed.

Instruments of Music in Worship in Old Testament Times Were Commanded of God

Lev.23:23-25, “The LORD told Moses to give these instructions to the Israelites, ‘On the appointed day in early autumn, xxxxx You will call the people to a sacred assembly – the Festival of Trumpets – with loud blasts from a trumpet. You must do no regular work on that day. Instead, you are to present offerings to the LORD by fire.” (New Living Translation. Following quotes are from the same version.)

Num. 10:10, “Blow the trumpets in times of gladness, too, sounding them at your annual festivals and at the beginning of each month to rejoice over your burnt offerings and peace offerings. The trumpets will remind the LORD your God of his covenant with you. I am the LORD your God.”

Psalm 81:1-3, “Sing praises to God, our strength. Sing to the God of Israel. Sing! Beat the tambourine. Play the sweet lyre and the harp. Sound the trumpet for a sacred feast when the moon is new, when the moon is full. For this is required by the laws of Israel; it is a law of the God of Jacob.” (This Psalm is assigned to Asaph, a prophet of God. He was an inspired writer. See also 147:7; 149:3; 150:3-5).

1 Chron.25:1-2, “David and the army commanders then appointed men from the families of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun to proclaim God’s messages to the accompaniment of harps, lyres, and cymbals …They worked under the direction of their father, Asaph, who proclaimed God’s messages by the king’s orders.

2 Chron. 29:25-30, “King Hezekiah then stationed the Levites at the Temple of the LORD with cymbals, harps, and lyres. He obeyed all the commands that the LORD had given to King David through Gad, the king’s seer, and the prophet Nathan. The Levites then took their positions around the Temple with the instruments of David, and the priests took their positions with the trumpets. Then Hezekiah ordered that the burnt offerings be placed on the altar. As the burnt offerings were presented, songs of praise to the LORD were begun, accompanied by the trumpets and other instruments of David, king of Israel. The entire assembly worshipped the LORD as the singers sang and the trumpets blew, until all the burnt offerings were finished. Then the king and everyone with him bowed down in worship. King Hezekiah and the officials ordered the Levites to praise the LORD with the psalms of David and Asaph the seer. So they offered joyous praise and bowed down in worship.”

Neh.12:24-46, “These were the family leaders of the Levites ….. who stood opposite them during the ceremonies of praise and thanks-giving, one section responding to the other, just as commanded by David, the man of God. x x x x x During the dedication of the new wall of Jerusalem, the Levites throughout the land were asked to come to Jerusalem to assist in the ceremonies. They were to take part in the joyous occasion with their songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, lyres, and harps. x x x x x They used the musical instruments prescribed by David, the man of God. Ezra the scribe led this procession. x x x x x The two choirs that were giving thanks then proceeded to the Temple of God, where they took their places. So did I, together with the group of leaders who were with me. We went together with the trumpet-playing priests –Eliakim, Maaseiah, Minia-min, , , , and the singers . . . and Ezer. They played and sang loudly and clearly under the direction of Jezrahiah the choir director. x x x x The custom of having choir directors to lead the choirs in hymns of praise and thanks to God began long ago in the days of David and Asaph.”

2Chron.8:14 This passage teaches that the services arranged by David, including the singers and musical instrument players, were permitted by God.

From the above verses, it is clear that the use of mechanical instruments of music in the tabernacle and temple worship and even in open air religious celebrations, was commanded by God through Moses, Gad, Nathan, David and Asaph who were all seers or prophets. It is not true that instruments of music in Old Testament worship were prohibited. Our passages clearly prove these were used because of God’s commands or their use were instructed through prophets.

Some, including several preachers in the Church of Christ, argue that David invented musical instruments and introduced them in the tabernacle worship out of his own vain imagination and pride This supposition cannot be supported by scriptures and history. Not supported by scholars. It is a position taken by ignorant preachers and writers, some teachers and preachers of churches of Christ included.

How then should we interpret Amos 5:21-25 and Amos 6:4-6? Are the items enumerated prohibited? How do we interpret “You sing idle songs to the sound of the harp, and you fancy yourselves to be great musicians, as King David was”? (NLB)

First, look at the theme of Amos about sin and the judgment of God in the following expressions: “the people of Damascus have sinned again and again, and I will not forget it” (1:3); “the people of Gaza have sinned again and again, and I will not forget it” (1:6); “the people of Tyre have sinned again and again, and I will not forget it” (1:9); “the people of Edom have sinned again and again” (1:11); of Ammon (1.13); of Moab (2.1); “the people of Judah have sinned again and again, and I will not forget it” (2:4-5); “The people of Israel have sinned again and again, and I will not forget it. I will not let them go unpunished any longer! They have perverted justice by selling honest people for silver and poor people for a pair of sandals. They trample helpless people in the dust and deny justice to those who are oppressed. Both father and son sleep with the same woman, corrupting my holy name. At their religious festivals, they lounge around in clothing stolen from their debtors. In the house of their god, they present offerings of wine purchased with stolen money.” (2:6-8)

Continue reading 3 and 4 to see the wickedness and hypocrisy of the Israelites. “I hate all your show and pretense – the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies. I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings. I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings. Away with your hymns of praise! They are only noise to my ears. I will not listen to your music, no matter how lovely it is.” All the above acts enumerated are good and are commanded by God Himself, but what is lacking is the sincerity of heart, respect for God and the daily application of moral and social precepts. Israel had the motions and material elements of worship but the people did not have the spirit and the heart in their religion. That made their religious acts vain, condemnable, unacceptable. The religious acts mentioned were not prohibited. God wanted Israel to apply God’s laws in their daily lives so that their religious activities would be acceptable. There’s a negation of one part by God because the people negated the other part. God wanted both aspects to be present in religion. The negation, though, is not a prohibition due to illegality or lack of authority. In the use of figures of speech, this is called “relative negation.”

Illustrations

Sa Tagalog, ito ay tinatawag na pagtutuwid at hindi pagbabawal. Kagaya ng Mateo 5:21-26, for a Jew to bring his gifts at the altar with his heart burdened and stained with hatred against his brother would be unacceptable. Not that the gift/offering is bad in itself. Ganyan din ang kaso sa Mtt. 7:21-23: prophesying in the name of Jesus, casting out demons in the name of Jesus, doing wonderful works in the name of Jesus are not acts that in themselves are wrong. These things become unacceptable because these were not done as the will of the Father but as a means of making a living, or that some other laws of God were scandalously discarded. Pareho rin sa 1 Corinto 1:17. Hindi isinasatabi ang bautismo, pero ang ibig sabihin ay ang bautismo ay walang kabuluhan kung and sentro ng ebanghelio (kamatayan ni Cristo, burial of Christ, resurrection of Christ) ay pababayaan. Ganyan din ang 1 Cor. 11: 17-22. Hindi pagbabawal ng pagganap ng Banal na Hapunan kundi pagtutuwid kung paano isagawa ang Banal na Hapunan with sincerity centered on the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The activity of breaking bread and drinking the fruit of the vine became unacceptable and condemnable when the Agape Feast (Love Feast) of the early Christians became pasiklaban, pasikatan ng baon, pagbubukod-bukod ng mga magkakabarkada at may nalalasing pa.

Second, we should be consistent. Look at the context. If the portion, “I will not hear the melody of thy viols” (5:23). were a prohibition on the use of instruments of music at the time of Amos, then to be contextually consistent, all others in the context disliked by Yahweh, like feast days, solemn assemblies, burnt offerings, meat offerings, peace offerings, drinking with the use of bowls, eating fatted cows, lying on soft beds, and singing should all be prohibited.

With Authority

Does the passage “and invent for yourselves musical instruments like David” teach that David invented and introduced musical instruments in the tabernacle worship without permission from God? No, this passage does not teach that David invented and introduced the instruments without God’s permission. King David made the instruments as directed by God Himself thro the prophets Gad and Nathan as we have proved in 1 Chron 25 and 2 Chron. 29. The passage tells that the people wanted to imitate King David and be recognized like King David as artistic and worshipful by doing what King David did. King David had a sincere heart in doing what God wanted him to do. So to be pronounced as “doing something as King David did” was an obsession among the Israelites. (see Psalm 51:10,17; 1Kings 3:6; 1 Kings 11:4; 1 Kings 15:3,4,5; 2 Chron. 7:17; 2 Chron. 17:3; 2 Chron. 34:2 ) but the Israelites in Amos’ days were insincere in their hearts. The religious motion was present, but the heart and the spirit were absent. That was the atmosphere that Yahweh discredited.

And that’s what Jesus wanted to correct among the Jews in John 4:24 when he was on earth: worship in spirit and in truth. For worship to be acceptable, magkasabay ang dalawa: Tamang forma at tamang puso’t kaluluwa.

I plead with fellow preachers and church leaders to STOP using Amos 5 and Amos 6 as proofs against the use of instruments of music in worship. Using them as proofs against instrument of music in worship would only reveal ignorance and would help perpetuate wresting of scriptures. Further, a foolish and weak argument against a practice removes the sting of one’s advocacy. ( Eusebio Tanicala, Ph.D.)