Paying close attention to how the Spirit has chosen to depict people and empires in Scripture provides important insights that can easily be overlooked. This post examines key insights from Daniel 1 and 3 that illumine vital aspects of the lives of Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians.

Profound Participation in Idolatry

The Spirit chose to begin the book by speaking of Nebuchadnezzar as a royal agent of God’s judgment on His own people (Dan. 1:1-2a-b). Immediately after saying that, He speaks of how the king brought vessels from God’s temple and put them in his idolatrous temple in Babylon (Dan. 1:2c).

Daniel 1:1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. 2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.

The positioning of this statement at the beginning of the book communicates divine emphasis on Nebuchadnezzar as a royal idolater and the Babylonians as idolaters. Furthermore, it provides many insights about the king’s profound participation in idolatry.

Participation in Idolatry Prior to Any Influence from Daniel and His Friends

Because Daniel 1:2 reveals that he brought the vessels of God’s house into the house of his god, we know that his idol temple had already been built prior to that point and had been in operation prior to that point. Daniel 1:2 thus signifies that Nebuchadnezzar had been a devoted patron of false gods and had routinely participated in all key aspects of Babylonian pagan idolatry for at least three years (“three years” [Daniel 1:5]; “at the end of the days” [Dan. 1:18a]) before Daniel and his friends ever influenced him in any of the ways revealed in Daniel 1:18b-20.

Whenever he had participated in that idolatrous worship in the temple, he had placed himself under the direct influence of the most important and most wicked idolatrous priests in the empire. His perspectives about idolatry, therefore, had already been profoundly shaped by his participation in and patronage of the false worship in the temple of his god before Daniel and his friends ever influenced him in any way.

Moreover, as an idolater worshiping one or more gods in his temple, he had routinely participated in worship that sacrificed things to idols. Explicit NT revelation teaches us that all such sacrifices to idols were sacrifices to demons (1 Cor. 10:20a).

Furthermore, whenever they had thus sacrificed to demons, the king routinely had come into fellowship with demons by eating and drinking in a worship context what had been offered to idols in a worship context (1 Cor. 10:20b). In fact, based on Daniel’s not wanting to defile himself daily by eating and drinking what the king ate and drank (Dan. 1:5-8), we know that the king had been defiled on a daily basis by eating and drinking such things.

Participation in Idolatry After Influence from Daniel and His Friends

Daniel 1:2-17 shows us that king Nebuchadnezzar profoundly participated in all important aspects of Babylonian idolatrous worship prior to Daniel and his friends having any influence on him at all. Because there is no evidence that the king ever allowed them to influence him in any way concerning his idolatrous worship even after they began serving him in his court, we can be certain that none of Nebuchadnezzar’s idolatrous activities were ever shaped by any counsel from Daniel and his friends.

When, therefore, we read of a preeminently important idolatrous event commanded by the king in Daniel 3, we can be certain that what he directed to be done on that occasion fully reflected his prior experiences and understanding of what idolatrous practices pleased his gods. Because the king had been in fellowship with demons routinely for at least 3 years prior to the idolatry in Daniel 3, we can also be certain that idolatry was idolatry that had a profoundly demonic character to it.

Because the idolatry in Daniel 3 did not involve any effort to deceive anyone in any way about what was done, the demonic influences on him that directed him about what to do on that occasion would not have directed him to include any elements designed to deceive people into worshiping the idol. Because there were no human constraints on what could or could not be done on that occasion, we can be certain the demonic influences on him acted on him to make that event unrighteous in every possible way.

Because the Spirit features the playing of a vast array of musical instruments on that occasion (Dan. 3:5, 7, 10, 15), we can know with certainty that unrighteous music was played on those instruments as part of that worship. Regardless of whether that playing only served as a signal for the worship or continued as part of the worship after it had begun, that playing was the unrighteous playing of unrighteous music.

Conclusion

A detailed analysis of Daniel 1:1-2 in connection with other revelation in Daniel 1 shows that Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians were profoundly idolatrous prior to any influence from Daniel and his friends. Daniel 3 reveals that Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians were also profoundly idolatrous after he had received influence from them.

Moreover, a detailed analysis of Daniel 1:1-2 in connection with the other revelation provided about Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians shows that the playing of music in the idolatrous worship in Daniel 3 was the unrighteous playing of music that was itself unrighteous music. Daniel 3 is a biblical record of unrighteous music used in false worship.

Many times in Scripture, God uses undefined or unspecified terminology. At least twelve such expressions instructively deal with similar subjects and show the biblical importance of such terminology.

Exod. 7:11 Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.

Ps. 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

Jer. 10:2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

Acts 19:19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.

Rom. 1:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

1 Cor. 10:20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.

Gal. 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Eph. 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

1 Tim. 1:10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

1 Tim. 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

Rev. 2:24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.

Observations

Every one of these expressions deals with the practices, products, or some other aspects of evil entities, either human or supernatural or both.

Several have to do with things that are directly of the devil and his demons or indirectly so.

God’s frequent use of such terminology displays His profound wisdom, and we must pay close attention to His use of such terminology.

We do not have to be able to precisely define and delineate what this terminology means in order to speak about and discuss it.

We do not and cannot know comprehensively what all any of this terminology comprises.

 

John 16:13-14 is an important passage that reveals what Jesus taught about the Holy Spirit:

John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

Some believers think that Jesus said that the Spirit would not talk about Himself. They further think that Jesus said that the Spirit would always only glorify Christ and never glorify Himself.

To understand why this understanding is not correct, we need to consider what the Spirit inspired would be written about Himself elsewhere in Scripture. In this post, we will consider what the Spirit inspired to be written in the book of Acts.

What the Spirit Inspired Luke to Write about Himself (the Spirit) in the Book of Acts

(1) The Spirit did not have Luke write that Ananias lied to Christ. He directed him to write that he lied to the Spirit.

Acts 5:3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

(2) The Spirit did not inspire Luke to write that Christ caught away Philip. He directed Luke to write that the Spirit did so.

Acts 8:39-40 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.

(3) The Spirit did not inspire Luke to write that Christ was the One who spoke to Peter and directed him about what to do; He directed Luke to write that the Spirit spoke to Peter to direct him.

Acts 10:19 While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.

Acts 11:12 And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house:

(4) The Spirit did not inspire Luke to write that Christ was the One who directed the church at Antioch about what they were to do; He directed Luke to write that the Spirit directed them.

Acts 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.

(5) The Spirit did not inspire Luke to write that Christ was the One who directed the Jerusalem Council about what they would decree to believers everywhere; He directed Luke to write that the Spirit was the One who directed the Council.

Acts 15:28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;

(6) The Spirit did not inspire Luke to write that Christ was the One who directed Paul and others about where they could not go; He directed Luke to write that the Spirit was the One who did so.

Acts 16:6-7 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, 7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.

(7) The Spirit did not inspire Luke to write that Christ was the One who told Paul in every city what he was going to experience in every city; He directed Luke to write that it was the Spirit who did so.

Acts 20:23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.

(8) The Spirit did not inspire Luke to write that it was Christ who made people overseers over churches; He directed Luke to write that the Spirit was the One who did so.

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

Conclusion

The Spirit has spoken about Himself many times in Scripture, and He has glorified Himself in many ways in Scripture. Jesus did not teach in John 16:13-14 that the Spirit would not speak about Himself or glorify Himself.

Scripture reveals a remarkable pervasiveness of practitioners of the occult among the enemies of God’s people. Both in the OT and in the NT, these evil people were continually active in the world engaging in opposition either to God’s people or to other people or to both.

Old Testament

In the Old Testament, Scripture reveals that four major enemies of God’s people were profoundly characterized by the presence of practitioners of the occult.

Egyptians

Genesis 41:8 And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled; and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof: and Pharaoh told them his dream; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh.

Exodus 7:11 Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.

Isaiah 19:3 And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards.

Philistines

1 Samuel 28:7 Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor.

1 Samuel 28:9 And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?

Assyrians

Nahum 3:4 Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.

Babylonians

Isaiah 47:9 But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments.

Isaiah 47:12 Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail.

Daniel 1:20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.

Daniel 2:2 Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.

New Testament

Unlike in the OT, Scripture speaks mostly of individuals in the NT that were practitioners of the occult. Also, not all of them are presented explicitly as being among the enemies of God’s people.

Individuals in Various Places

Acts 8:9 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one

Acts 13:6 And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus . . . 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.

Acts 19:19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.

Rev. 9:20-21 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: 21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

Babylonians

Revelation 18:23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.

 

Is there any biblical basis for believers to choose to abstain totally from drinking alcohol today? An application to believers today of two OT passages about divine prohibitions of drinking by certain people in certain places shows why choosing total abstinence from drinking alcohol is biblical.

Priests Were Prohibited from Drinking Alcohol in the Tabernacle and Will Be in the Millennial Temple

God demanded that Aaron and his sons who were priests in OT Israel could not drink any alcohol whenever they would enter into the tabernacle of the congregation:

Leviticus 10:8 And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, 9 Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye dieit shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: 10 And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; 11 And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.

God will also make the same demand of those who will serve as priests in the millennial temple:

Ezekiel 44:21 Neither shall any priest drink wine, when they enter into the inner court.

To understand how these passages have profound relevance to believers’ choosing to abstaining totally from alcohol today, we must bring to bear on our understanding not only what these passages teach us but also what the NT teaches is true of every believer.

NT Priests Who Choose to Abstain from Drinking Alcohol in Their Temples

Whereas only some of the people in Israel were priests, the NT teaches that every believer is a priest (1 Pet. 2:5; Rev. 1:6). Moreover, every believer’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19), which was not the case with the OT priests in Israel.

Arguing from the lesser to the greater in applying what God has revealed about His prohibiting priests from drinking alcohol within the tabernacle and the millennial temple to the truth that every NT believer is a priest whose body is the temple of the Spirit, it is biblical for NT believers to choose to abstain totally from drinking alcohol today.

Progress on My First Book

January 23, 2021

For the past decade, God has directed me to study Scripture intensely to learn what He has revealed about music. Lord willing, I hope to write my first book this year: “The Battle for Kingdom Music: A Call to Worldwide Consecration.”

I worked for several hours on the book today and am very thankful to God that I made some good progress!

As the Lord leads, please pray with me for Spirit-filled wisdom, skill, and grace to finish writing this book this year. Thanks in advance to any who pray for me about this matter in the days to come.

It is understandable that unbelievers understand and practice music from a man-centered perspective. Believers, however, must reject a man-centered understanding and practice of music.

Three lines of biblical reasoning show that we must reject such an understanding and practice of music.

The Existence of Angelic Beings Who Produce Music in Heaven

Scripture reveals the existence of angelic beings who play music in heaven:

Revelation 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

Revelation 8:6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. 7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.

The existence of angelic beings who produce music in heaven shows that humans are not the originators of all music and that they are not the producers of all the music of heaven. In fact, we do not have any basis that any of the music that these heavenly beings play is of human origin in any way.

Because the music of heaven is the most important music of all, we must reject an understanding and practice of music that is man-centered.

The Existence and Use of Musical Instruments Not Originated by Humans

Not only does the Bible reveal to us that angelic beings play music in heaven that is not at all of human origin, but also it reveals the existence and use of musical instruments that are not at all of human origin.

Revelation 8:2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.

Revelation 15:2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.

We do not have any basis to hold that these instruments used in heaven were originated by humans. Humans, therefore, are not the originators of all musical instruments.

Because the music of heaven is the most important music of all, the existence and use of musical instruments in heaven that are not at all of human origin teaches us that we must reject an understanding and practice of music that is man-centered.

The Reality of Divine Production of Music

Most importantly, Scripture reveals that God Himself plays a musical instrument:

Zechariah 9:14 And the LORD shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the Lord GOD shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south.

Certainly, God did not learn anything about music from humans. His playing a musical instrument profoundly shows us that humans are not the originators of all music.

Furthermore, because any music produced by God is music that is perfect in every way, we plainly understand that we must reject an understanding and practice of music that is man-centered.

Application

By considering carefully what certain Scripture passages reveals about music and musical instruments that are not at all of human origin, we learn unmistakably that we must reject an understanding and practice of music that is man-centered. Rather, we must base our understanding and practice of music foremost on what Scripture reveals about the music of heaven and of heavenly beings, most of all of God Himself.

I recently began reading an excellent book by John Flavel, Triumphing over Sinful Fear. The following paragraph arrested my attention:

It cannot be said of any person, as it is said of Leviathan: he is ‘made without fear’ (Job 41:33b). The strongest people are not without some fears. When the church is in the storms of persecution, and almost covered with the waves, her most courageous passengers may suffer as much from this boisterous passion within as from the storm without. This is the result of not thoroughly believing or seasonably remembering that the Lord—Admiral of all the oceans and Commander of all the winds—is on board the ship to steer and preserve it from the storm.

—Triumphing over Sinful Fear, 2

Bible Reading Report 2020

December 31, 2020

I praise God that I was able to read the entire Bible again in 2020!

I read the following books more than once this year:

2x Ecclesiastes; Isaiah; Minor Prophets; all the books of the NT

3x Proverbs

4x Daniel; 2 Peter; Jude; Revelation

5x Psalms

Psalm 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

Praise God for the perfection of His Word and for revealing Himself to us through it!

Suppose you arrive late to a temple where people are worshiping. As you head toward the building, you hear loud sounds emanating from it

Because you are outside the building and still quite a distance from it, you are unable to tell what exactly you are hearing. All you hear are composite, pulsating sounds that you can feel even in your body. What you hear sounds chaotic and raucous to you.

When you get to the heart of the temple, you discover that the people are wildly dancing and chanting and moaning with words and sounds that you cannot make any sense about what they mean. You are also completely unfamiliar with the strange instrumental music that is blaring deafeningly throughout the building.

Because you cannot make any sense of either the verbal sounds being produced or the instrumental music being played, the composite sound sounds to you like confused noise. Would you think that God would be accepting that worship that sounded like confused noise from a distance and sounds like confused noise even when you are directly in the middle of it?