Adventist Online

Not trying to cause a war here, and if your intention is to hurt/humiliate anyone responding to this post please save all of us the trouble and don't post!. A friend and I were talking and honestly I don't know if there is biblical basis for us not dancing. So, what can you tell me on the subject, why do we as SDA's not dance?

Views: 6901

Replies are closed for this discussion.

Replies to This Discussion

No dancing was ever done by the Israelites in the temple. It was done at festive occasions, and ceremonial gatherings apart from the worship of God. textual evidence for vs. 4 of Pslalm 150 suggests that the word "dance" should not be there. Instead the word "pipes" meaning a musical instrument should instead be inserted.
Sensuous dance in the churches to deviant music styles is akin to the dancing done in nightclubs, bars, strip joints, and other related debauchery. One cannot "sanctify' dancing just because it is done in church, instead of the roadhouse, or ballroom. Music with dancing in church fulfills the following prophecy:

It is impossible to estimate too largely the work that the Lord will accomplish through His proposed vessels in carrying out His mind and purpose. The things you have described as taking place in Indiana, the Lord has shown me would take place just before the close of probation. Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting, with drums, music, and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions. And this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit. {2SM 36.2}
The topic of this thread was not dancing in the temple.
the topic of this thread is dancing.Period. No distinction was made by Evelyn as to where of how dancing is referred to or questioned. Please do not be concerned about what I post by citing relevancy. Her ending question is:

"why do we as SDA's not dance?" Do you see any mention of where and how?

Evelyn also requested:

"and if your intention is to hurt/humiliate anyone responding to this post please save all of us the trouble and don't post!"

It would be most helpful to respect this request. Thank you for your understanding!


Just as applause or clapping, waiving of hands, and drumming in the church, dancing is also making its way into some of our churches. However, from a careful study we learn the following:

(1) Scripture and history indicate that dancing was never part of divine worship in the temple, synagogue, and early church;

(2) Of the twenty-eight references to dance or dancing in the Old Testament, only four can be considered to refer to religious dancing (Ps 149:3; 150:4; 2 Sam 6:14-16), but none of these relate to worship in God’s house, and two of them may not actually refer to dancing at all;

(3) Social dancing in Bible times was done mostly in conjunction with the celebration of religious events, especially the annual festivals. The dance was performed outside the temple by women, children, or men, as separate groups, and not as male-female couples.

(4) The Levitical choir was to be accompanied only by stringed instruments, the harp and the lyre (2 Chron 5:12-14; 1 Chron 16:42). Percussion instruments like drums and tambourines, which were commonly used for making dance music, were clearly omitted.

David and the Dancing Texts. David, who is regarded by many as the primary example of religious dancing in the Bible, never instructed the Levites regarding when and how to dance in the temple. Had David believed that dancing should be a component of divine worship, no doubt he would have given instructions regarding it to the Levite musicians he chose for the ministry of music at the temple.

Also, David is the founder of the music ministry at the temple. He gave clear instruction to the 4,000 Levite musicians regarding when to sing and what instruments to use to accompany their choir (1 Chron 23:5, 25-31). His omission of dancing in the divine worship can hardly be an oversight. Rather, it tells us that David distinguished between the sacred music performed in God’s house and the secular music played outside the temple for entertainment.

“Praise Him with Dance.” As mentioned earlier, there are four explicit references in the Bible to so-called “religious dancing” (Ps 149:3; 150:4; 2 Sam 6:14-16). Two of them consist of an invitation to praise the Lord “with dancing” (Ps 149:3; 150:4) and two describe David’s dance before the ark (2 Sam 6:14-16; cf. 1 Chron 15:27-29). Let’s briefly look at these.

Psalm 149:3; 150:4--“Praise the Lord with dancing. . .” It is important to note first of all that the invitation to praise the Lord with “dancing” is based on a disputed translation of the Hebrew term machowl, rendered as “dancing” in Psalm 149:3 and as “dance” in Psalm 150:4.

Some Bible students believe that machowl is derived from chuwl, which means “to make an opening”—a possible allusion to a “pipe” instrument. In fact this is the marginal reading given by the King James Version. Psalm 149:3 states: “Let them praise his name in the dance” [or “with a pipe,” KJV margin]. Similarly Psalm 150:4 reads: “Praise him with the timbrel and dance” [or “pipe,” KJV margin].

The marginal reading of the KJV is supported by the context of both Psalm 149:3 and 150:4, where the term machowl occurs in the context of a list of instruments to be used for praising the Lord. Besides machowl, in Psalm 150 the list includes eight instruments: trumpet, psaltery, harp, timbrel, stringed instruments, organs, cymbals, clashing cymbals (KJV).

Since the Psalmist is listing all the possible instruments to be used to praise the Lord, it is reasonable to assume that machowl also is a musical instrument, whatever its nature might be.

Another important consideration is the figurative language of these two psalms, which hardly allows for a literal interpretation of dancing in God’s house. Psalm 149:5 (RSV) encourages people to praise the Lord on the “couches.”

In verse 6, the praising is to be done with “two-edged swords in their hands.” In verses 7 and 8, the Lord is to be praised for punishing the heathen with the sword, binding kings in chains, and putting nobles in fetters.

It is evident that the language is figurative because it is hard to believe that God would expect people to praise Him by standing or jumping on couches or while swinging two-edged swords.

Figurative Language. Similarly, Psalm 150 speaks in a highly figurative way of praising God. The psalmist calls upon God’s people to praise the Lord “for his mighty deeds” (v. 2) in every possible place and with every available musical instrument. Included in the psalm are:

(a) some specific places to praise the Lord, namely, “his sanctuary” (where His people can go) and “his mighty firmament” (where they cannot go);

(b) the reason to praise the Lord, namely, “for his mighty deeds . . . according to his exceeding greatness” (v. 2); and

(c) a selection of instruments to be used to praise the Lord, namely, the eight (or nine) listed above.

The purpose of the psalm, then, is not to specify precisely and literally the location and the instruments to be used to praise God musically in the church. Nor it is intended to give a license to dance for the Lord in church. Rather, its purpose is to invite everything that breathes or makes sound to praise the Lord everywhere. To interpret the psalm as a license to dance or to play drums in church misreads the intent of the Psalm and contradicts the very regulations which David himself gave regarding the use of instruments in God’s house.

David’s “Dancing before the Lord” in 2 Samuel 6:14. This passage (which reads: “And David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was girded with a line ephod”) has often been exploited to justify dancing in the church. Is it really so?

Note, however that David’s dance was not the kind of sensuous dances being introduced into the church today. Writes Ellen G. White:

“David's dancing in reverent joy before God has been cited by pleasure lovers in justification of the fashionable modern dance, but there is no ground for such an argument. In our day dancing is associated with folly and midnight reveling. Health and morals are sacrificed to pleasure. By the frequenters of the ballroom God is not an object of thought and reverence; prayer or the song of praise would be felt to be out of place in their assemblies. This test should be decisive. Amusements that have a tendency to weaken the love for sacred things and lessen our joy in the service of God are not to be sought by Christians. The music and dancing in joyful praise to God at the removal of the ark had not the faintest resemblance to the dissipation of modern dancing. The one tended to the remembrance of God and exalted His holy name. The other is a device of Satan to cause men to forget God and to dishonor Him” (Patriarchs & Prophets, p. 707).

Can proponents of dance in worship today claim that its movements, which are often sensuous in themselves, have “not the faintest resemblance” to secular modern dance?

Second, David’s dance was not a part of the worship service, nor was it done in the precincts of the place devoted to the worship of God. It was a joyful celebratory dance as part of the procession when the ark was being brought to Zion. It was not in the temple. The example of David provides no basis for bringing into our worship services the kind of dancing we are being urged to embrace. This is bringing “strangefire” before the Lord in His house.

No Dancing Music or Instruments in the Divine Service. It was David who established music ministry in the temple. If David had believed that dancing should be a component of divine worship, he would have instructed the Levitical choir on how and when to dance during the temple service. After all, it was David who instituted the times, place, and words for the performance of the Levitical choir. He also “made” the musical instruments to be used for their ministry (1 Chron 23:5; 2 Chron 7:6); these were called “the instruments of David” (2 Chron 29:26-27).

David never instructed the Levites to accompany the temple’s choir with the percussion instruments associated with dancing, instruments such as the timbrel, tambourines, or drums. Instead, he established that the Levitical choir was to be accompanied by lyres and harps. These were called “the instruments of song” (2 Chron 5:13) or “the instruments of God’s song” (1 Chron 16:42). As their descriptive name indicates, their function was to accompany the songs of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord (1 Chron 23:5; 2 Chron 5:13). The musicians who played the harps and the lyres would themselves sing the song to their own accompaniment (1 Chron 9:33; 15:16, 19, 27; 2 Chron 5:12-13; 20:21).

David’s Instructions Binding for Later Generations. The restriction on the use of instruments was meant to be a binding rule for future generations. When King Hezekiah revived temple worship in 715 b.c., he meticulously followed David’s instructions. We read that the king “stationed the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, harps, and lyres, according to the commandment of David . . . for the commandment was from the Lord through his prophets” (2 Chron 29:25). The cymbals were used to mark the transition between stanzas, and not to accompany the singing.

Two and a half centuries later, when the temple was rebuilt under Ezra and Nehemiah, the same restriction applied again. No percussion instruments were allowed to accompany the Levitical choir or to play in an orchestra at the temple (Ezra 3:10; Neh 12:27, 36). The singing and the instrumental music of the temple were to differ from that used in the social life of the people.


Often, drumming, shouting, and dancing are characteristics of pagan worship. The Bible records examples of such practices in Exodus 32 (apostasy that was led by Aaron) and 1 Kings 18 (in connection with the Baal worshippers on Mount Carmel.

Sister White also wrote that shortly before probation closes for the world, drumming and dancing will be introduced into the worship services of the church. Though proponents will claim that such expressions are evidence of the Spirit’s leading, according to Ellen White, no encouragement should be given it—for it is Satan’s counterfeit to deceive. She made this prophecy in connection with a similar even that took place at a Muncie, Indiana, camp meeting in 1900.[8]

“The things you have described as taking place in Indiana, the Lord has shown me would take place just before the close of probation. Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting, with drums, music, and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions. And this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit.

“The Holy Spirit never reveals itself in such methods, in such a bedlam of noise. This is an invention of Satan to cover up his ingenious methods for making of none effect the pure, sincere, elevating, ennobling, sanctifying truth for this time. Better never have the worship of God blended with music than to use musical instruments to do the work which last January was represented to me would be brought into our camp meetings.

“The truth for this time needs nothing of this kind in its work of converting souls. A bedlam of noise shocks the senses and perverts that which if conducted aright might be a blessing. The powers of satanic agencies blend with the din and noise, to have a carnival, and this is termed the Holy Spirit's working.

“Those participating in the supposed revival receive impressions which lead them adrift. They cannot tell what they formerly knew regarding Bible principles. No encouragement should be given to this kind of worship. {Selected Messages, 2:36-37; emphasis mine}.

In view of the above statement, Seventh-day Adventists should be extremely careful with the applause, waiving of hands, drumming, and dancing in the church. In my opinion, the practice in the so-called contemporary worship services is a 21st Century Jeroboam Experiment.[9] Ellen White calls upon us to take a decided stand against this “frivolity” and “nonsense” that can only lead to “perdition.”

“I feel alarmed as I witness everywhere the frivolity of young men and young women who profess to believe the truth. God does not seem to be in their thoughts. Their minds are filled with nonsense. Their conversation is only empty, vain talk. They have a keen ear for music, and Satan knows what organs to excite to animate, engross, and charm the mind so that Christ is not desired. The spiritual longings of the soul for divine knowledge, for a growth in grace, are wanting.

“I was shown that the youth must take a higher stand and make the word of God the man of their counsel and their guide. Solemn responsibilities rest upon the young, which they lightly regard. The introduction of music into their homes, instead of inciting to holiness and spirituality, has been the means of diverting their minds from the truth. Frivolous songs and the popular sheet music of the day seem congenial to their taste. The instruments of music have taken time which should have been devoted to prayer. Music, when not abused, is a great blessing; but when put to a wrong use, it is a terrible curse. It excites, but does not impart that strength and courage which the Christian can find only at the throne of grace while humbly making known his wants and, with strong cries and tears, pleading for heavenly strength to be fortified against the powerful temptations of the evil one. Satan is leading the young captive. Oh, what can I say to lead them to break his power of infatuation! He is a skillful charmer luring them on to perdition. {Adventist Home, p. 407-408}
probably because most of the time it's WHERE we do the dancing.
Personally, i see nothing wrong with dancing with or for your husband in your home,
or taking a dance class as a form of exercise.
If we are looking for a Biblical basis then it is certain that we have times recorded in the Bible when people danced and we know that there were times when people danced "before the Lord" (although, as Stephen said, never in the temple). However, what we are not told is *how* these people danced. This is very important. What often happens is that when people find that there are Biblical examples of dancing they immediately want to use contemporary styles of dancing that may be very inappropriate. So we are stuck with the problem of not knowing how the Biblical characters danced.

In my pre-Christian life I loved the Jamaican Dancehall - that's where I was at weekends - but all the styles we danced were not appropriate as they were either specifically sexually or a form of showing off. As Christians we can never know the effects that our behaviour can have on those watching.

Did you know that the Twin Towers in New York were brought down in 2001 because of Christians dancing?

I'll tell you the story...

In the 1950's an Egyptian by the name of Said Qotb was sent by his government to learn about education in the USA. When he returned to Egypt he was horrified by what he had seen in the USA and advised the Education Department not to copy the US style. Specifically he was shocked to find that Americans cared more about their cars and lawns than they did about their children and he felt that American society had very bad morals. This was confirmed in his head when he attended a High School dance. He saw the pastor of the local church playing the music and when he put on a record called "Baby It's Cold Outside" the pastor encouraged the youngsters to hold each other closely and dance slowly. Qotb thought that this was very immoral and was disgusted that a church leader was actively encouraging it.

Back in Egypt Qotb's fears were soon realised as Egyptians adopted more and more the morals and styles of the West. Qotb was disillusioned with Abd El Nasser, the Egyptian President, and was one of the main people in a plot to assassinate him and put a pro-Islamic president in his place. The plot failed, Qotb was imprisoned and tortured before finally being executed in the early 60s. Whilst in prison he wrote his book "Milestones" which laid out the Islamic fundamentalist justification for killing Muslims and non-Muslims in the pursuit of a government of holy men appointed by God to rule under Sharia Law. Ayman Zawaheeri adopted Qotb's philosophy and in turn he introduced it to Osama bin Laden and the rest, as they say, is history. The end result is the gap in the New York skyline.

So... if we are going to dance, *how* are we going to dance? Are we dancing for our own pleasure, or for God. If it is the latter we had better make sure that we know what kind of dancing God likes. Trusting in our own judgement we are more than likely going to get it wrong and be concentrating on how cool we look dancing.
While it is true that there are no records of anyone dancing in the temple it is also true that we a record of David dancing before the Ark of the covenant. Now since it was the Ark of the Covenant that actually gave the temple it's Holiness as it contained the mercy seat with the two cherubims that represented the Shekinah Glory. It can be argued that wherever the ark was is the temple. The temple without the ark was just a fancy designed room and David danced before the Ark. His wife was most displeased and took it upon herself to to tell him of her disapproval, the ending of the chapter stated that she had no children to the day of her death. You can read the story in 2 Sam 6.

I asked the question before in another post and I will ask again here, does the church of today have the same restrictions of the Old Testament Temple/ Sanctuary. I was also led to believe that there is no longer any earthly sanctuary and we the individuals are the church. So why do we always try and reference the Old T Temple/ Sanctuary with the New T church. Women were not allowed in sanctuary/ temple and neither were the common folks so why do we allow common folks and women in the church today, if we are in keeping with the Old T principles?
As the Ark was being transported at the time it was not an act of corporate worship on David's behalf, it was a personal reaction.

Whilst one can argue whether the temple was still a Holy Place without the Ark it must also be realised that when the curtain was divided in two at the time of Christ's crucifixion it was then revealed that the Ark of the Covenant was not there and had not been in the temple for some years - yet the temple continued to function and Christ respected it.

In regard to a modern church: just because it is not the temple it doesn't mean that "anything goes" in church. God tells us how He will be worshipped - we don't tell Him what worship He must accept. As God changes not I will assume that what He laid down for the Israelites is the same for us, unless, as in the case of the sacrificial system it has been specifically abrogated.
So am I to assume that i can worship God anyhow in my personal worship but when it comes to corporate worship I must be more reverent? I am asking a question?

With regards to Jesus the fact that Jesus went into the temple brought glory and reverance to the temple.
Because Jesus was greater than the temple and greater than the gifts at the temple and greater than Solomon and Herod who built the temples.

I was not arguing that anything goes in the church, I was simply exploring your reasoning to see how far we could go using your premise. Jesus told the woman at the well that neither in Jerusalem or in the mountains will they worship. But they will worship him in spirit and in truth, Jesus spefically took away the concept of worshipping in buildings perse. We are worshippers the building does not make us worshippers. And when the veil was rent from top to bottom the significance of the temple was done away. And we now have access to the throne of grace without the temple or the church building.
Well, I think the answer to your question is contained withn your response. As you said, it doesn't mean that "anything goes". As a sinner I cannot trust myself to be able to judge correctly what is acceptable/reverant/correct. So, I go to the Bible and see what God requires, i.e. how did He require worship from the Children of Israel.
But how God required worship from COI is not the same as how He expect us to worship Him today. As indicated for the Jews worship was all about the Tabernacle/Sanctuary/Temple/Jerusalem. However Jesus clearly indicated that worship is not confined to a place or a building. It's all about the individual now the temple service is done away with. We now worship him is spirit and in truth not in a building perse, the very said COI put so much emphahsis on the temple that Jesus had to remnd them that a greater than the temple was is here.

Bless up
Charlie, I'm speaking of the principle, which doesn't change.

Looking at the spiritual application I would also consider that we are in the antitypical Day of Atonement.


Site Sponsors


Adventist Single?
Meet other Single
Adventists here:
Join Free

USA members:

Support AO by
using this link:


© 2020   Created by Clark P.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service