Of late there have been many postings of people dancing in church after being so-called, “filled with the Spirit”, and the justification used is, “Well, David danced before the Lord and lost his clothes!” In fact, one sister who attend my church posted on her page a guy dancing who claimed since his wife wouldn’t let him go to the club the night before, he would dance in the church, and he did! What was worse than making a fool of himself was her statement, “I love to see people feel free in the Lord to praise Him.” Is this true “praising” the Lord or a form of spiritualism taking the similitude of spiritual? Don’t be confused by the words because they are not the same, one meaning satanic influence and the other Godly.
I remember my brother sharing an experience he recounted when attending Southeast SDA Church in my beloved home, Cleveland, where an elder “danced”. Being of the same stock as my grandfather, my brother approached this elder and asked him regarding his activity, to which the elder responded, “It is a part of our (African American) culture.” My brother then asked, “Wasn’t it your culture back in the days of Glenville? What’s the difference now?” There was no response, at least a credible one. I would have given anything to see his face, actually, both of them. I would have done the same thing.
What most people fail to understanding, David DID NOT dance in the church. The church, or Sanctuary, even in the outer court was a place too holy to consider showing any emotion other than solemnity because of being before the Lord. David’s dance took place while escorting the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem. There is no record of any kind of display of emotions within the Sanctuary of God, whether in Heaven or on Earth and to base one’s whole justification on one text which has no direct reference to the type of “dancing” we see going on in churches today is not credible and need to understand what “spirit” is really influencing this in the so-called, “name of the Lord”. I remember catching a program on the Discovery Channel which recorded a voodoo service, I believe, in Haiti. My friends, what I saw those people doing in the name of the evil spirit was the same I have seen in some churches! I contend, it is the same spirit who is inhabiting that praise, and has nothing to do with God. I also contend what is seeping into my beloved Adventist church is a desire to continue replicating what takes place in first day churches, the music, the appearance, the dancing, the preaching and in some cases you will not know the difference between the two.
Now, if you wish to use Scripture, and I do, these verses are often overlooked where it concerns God’s people and dancing,
“And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.” Ex 32:19 (KJV)
We know this account of them dancing was done improperly, indecently and as an affront against the Lord especially after all He had so recently done on their behalf. However, I’m sure the Lord considered the people, their experience of having lived in a pagan environment for 400 years and it would certainly take a “wilderness” experience to get them back on track.
Now, in all fairness to those who support dancing, there are text which are more adequately provided to support your view. These are:
“And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.” Ex 15:20 (KJV)
“Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints. Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.” Psalms 149:1-3 (KJV)
“Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.” Psalms 150:1-6 (KJV)
If you examine these verses, the only one which can come close to justifying “dancing” would be Psa. 150; however, whenever “firmament” is used in the Bible, Gen. 1, it is speaking outside, not within the Sanctuary; however, again, “praising God in his sanctuary” could be used to say, “There it is, Bro. Roy, right there, “praise God in his sanctuary”. His “sanctuary” takes on many different meanings; however, I challenge anyone to find one text of Scripture which supports the Israelites ever having these great displays “within” the confines of the Sanctuary which Moses and David saw. There is none. Most people forget this text,
“But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.” Hab 2:20 (KJV)
A sister posted a comment, “Ellen G. White says we need to go back to primitive worship, but what does that mean?” I suggest, in order to understand what we are to do today we need to go back and see what they did then. This is why I like this particular quotation:
“The work of God in the earth presents, from age to age, a striking similarity in every great reformation or religious movement. The principles of God’s dealing with men are ever the same. The important movements of the present have their parallel in those of the past, and the experience of the church in former ages has lessons of great value for our own time.” –Christ In His Sanctuary, Page 69.
It appears Habakkuk is comparing pagan worship to worship which is given to God. It appears Sis. White’s counsel about going back to a primitive time would be good counsel for understanding our worship during this time. My continued focus on the Sanctuary Service and it’s relation to our time, our worship is that what took place on the Day of Atonement. Are we not in the “anti-type” of that day? If we would study what ancient Israel went through during that period of time, there was no dancing. There was much anxiety, solemnness, because the people were examining their lives, repenting of their sins, making sure there were none overlooked because they sought to be wholly cleaned so they could go from that place for the next feast, that of Jubilee. If Judgment, (Atonement) is going on presently in the Heavenly Sanctuary, and our lives are being examined, we’re having our “Jubilee” too soon and for many there won’t be any joy because they’ve broken God’s Ten Commandments and their “dancing and praising” is out of order. Sure, there will be a time to praise Him with the instruments, with singing and with a “holy” dance, which today NONE of us can account for what it is truly because NONE of us have actually seen the “dance of David” or anybody else, for that matter. Not one single person on this planet alive, but I do believe there will come a time when truly those filled with God’s Holy Spirit along with an understanding of their place before God will make movements which are honorable, pleasing to Him, and done with the utmost modesty and respect. But until that time comes, I choose to “keep silent before Him” and personally wish if you’re attending my church to do the same!
June 11, 2015