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We must solemnly consider that Scripture reveals the horrific extent to which demons can corrupt humans in a passage that makes several key revelations about an ancient sorcerer:

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: 7 Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. 9 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, 10 And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?

This profound revelation is noteworthy for many reasons because of what it reveals about the fearful malignity of a professional occultist.

First, it says that he was a professional occultist (who was also a false prophet) who sought to turn away from the faith an unbeliever who wanted to hear God’s truth. Such people thus are profoundly dangerous to unbelievers.

Second, it infallibly reveals key truths about the sorcerer by infallibly recording what the leader of the apostolic company being filled with the Spirit said to the sorcerer. This shows that the statements that Paul made about the sorcerer were exactly what the Spirit directed him to say about the sorcerer. None of Paul’s statements about him were in any way just his own thinking, perspectives, or even possible biases against a particular kind of person because of that person’s ethnicity or any other important aspects of his person.

Third, it shows how consummately this human being was a corrupted human being.

Elymas was “full of all subtilty and all mischief.” He was a profoundly crafty and fraudulent person who used deceit to accomplish his objectives.

He was an “enemy of all righteousness.” He actively opposed everything that was an aspect of righteousness before God. He thus openly fought against the doing of anything that was righteous in the sight of God.

He also would “not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord.” This man continually did whatever he could to corrupt the doing of something in a way that was right before God.

Fourth, and most disturbingly, he was a “child of the devil.” Through his involvement and participation in the occult, this man whom God made in His image had become so corrupted that he was now a child of the most evil being in the universe. In effect, the image of God in him had been completely overcome so that he effectively was a human being who was at least in some respects in the image of the devil!

This passage thus shockingly reveals that there are occultists (at the very least those who are sorcerers) who actively and passionately seek to promote demonic interests in every possible way!

Application

As believers, we must soberly and solemnly heed what God has revealed to us about the fearful malignity of this professional occultist. May God grant all of us grace to have nothing to do with such people and to have no fellowship with their unfruitful works of darkness (Eph. 5:11).


In this post, I have used much of the same material about Elymas that I presented in this earlier post: Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians: The Importance of Daniel 1:20 and 2:2 for Interpreting Daniel 3

Copyright © 2011-2023 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

God inerrantly, infallibly, and indisputably attests to us repeatedly in Scripture of the fully authentic existence and practices of many professional occultists (for example, magicians, wizards, people with familiar spirits, and sorcerers). Scripture speaks of these people in many passages from Genesis 41 to Revelation 22.

Based on this indisputably true divine revelation, we must understand all of the following truths as being indisputable realities about spiritual warfare and professional occultists:

Professional occultists have existed throughout most of human history, exist in our day, and will continue to exist throughout all the future times of human existence.

Professional occultists have had fully authentic knowledge of fully authentic occult practices. They continue to have that fully authentic knowledge.

Professional occultists have fully authentically engaged in those fully authentic occult practices and continue to do so.

Professional occultists have had and continue to have fully authentic sources for their obtaining fully authentic information about fully authentic occult practices and for their learning how to fully authentically engage in those fully authentic occult practices.

Professional occultists have had and continue to have fully authentic capabilities of transmitting fully authentic knowledge of how to engage in fully authentic occult practices.

Professional occultists have been and will continue to be among the chief enemies of God, His people, and unbelievers who are seeking to hear God’s Word and learn of the faith (cf. Exod. 7-9; Acts 13:6-8).

Application

Because of all of these indisputably true realities about fully authentic professional occultists, we can say with absolute certainty that unbelievers have provided and can provide fully authentic information about fully authentic occult practices. They have done so, can do so, and continue to do so without any need for any biblical information from any source.

God’s people, therefore, must not hold to the exceedingly dangerously wrong notion that information about the occult that is not from the Bible is inherently false, inauthentic, unreliable, and untrustworthy. Rather, they must properly heed such information and profit fully from it so that they fully obey God’s command for us to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness” (Eph. 5:11).

Copyright © 2011-2023 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

In order to determine more carefully what “blessed” means in Psalm 1:1, I did a BibleWorks 10 search on the Hebrew lemma for that word. In addition, I identified some additional verses that pertain directly to this study.

By studying this list of all those verses, I hope to understand for myself more accurately what that opening word of the Psalms means.

Gen. 30:13 And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.

Deut. 33:29 Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.

1 Ki. 10:8 Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom.

2 Chr. 9:7 Happy are thy men, and happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom.

Job 5:17 Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:

Job 29:11 When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me:

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.

Ps. 2:12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

Ps. 32:1 <A Psalm of David, Maschil.> Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

Ps. 32:2 Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

Ps. 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.

Ps. 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

Ps. 40:4 Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

Ps. 41:1 <To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.> Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.

Ps. 41:2 The LORD will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies.

Ps. 65:4 Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.

Ps. 72:17 His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.

Ps. 84:4 Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.

Ps. 84:5 Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.

Ps. 84:12 O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

Ps. 89:15 Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.

Ps. 94:12 Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law;

Ps. 106:3 Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times.

Ps. 112:1 Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.

Ps. 119:1 ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.

Ps. 119:2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.

Ps. 127:5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

Ps. 128:1 <A Song of degrees.> Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.

Ps. 128:2 For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.

Ps. 137:8 O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.

Ps. 137:9 Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

Ps. 144:15 Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.

Ps. 146:5 Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:

Prov. 3:13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.

Prov. 8:32 Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways.

Prov. 8:34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.

Prov. 14:21 He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.

Prov. 16:20 He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.

Prov. 20:7 The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.

Prov. 28:14 Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.

Prov. 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Prov. 31:28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

Eccl. 10:17 Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!

Cant. 6:9 My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her.

Isa. 30:18 And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.

Isa. 32:20 Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass.

Isa. 56:2 Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.

Dan. 12:12 Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.

Mal. 3:12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.

Copyright © 2011-2023 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

2 Peter 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.

I praise God that He allowed me to read through the Bible in 2022, read the New Testament twice, and read Psalms, Jude, and Revelation five times.

I have now made it through the Psalms 88 times. Lord willing, I would like to read the Psalms twelve times in 2023 to get to 100 times through this incomparable book!


Photo by Marion Shires. Used by permission.

Copyright © 2011-2023 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Book Update 12.31.22

December 31, 2022 — Leave a comment

I have been studying what the Bible teaches about music for more than 11 years now. I have also been working for several years on writing my book The Battle for Kingdom Music: A Call to Worldwide Consecration.

On December 23, I began an extended time off from work. My goals for this time were to do at least 30 hours of work on my book and read the Psalms through twice while doing so to saturate my mind with God’s own thoughts about music.

This morning, I finished my second time going through the Psalms since December 22!

This afternoon, I finished working 30 hours on my book since December 23! God has given me tremendous progress on my book during this time!

It seems that I am getting close to having the rough draft of the book done. Lord willing, I hope to complete the book and have it published by September 2023.

Praise God for His faithfulness!

Copyright © 2011-2023 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

I have been studying and pondering the account of Cain’s unacceptable worship in Genesis 4. Here is what I think is a very plausible scenario concerning that unacceptable worship.

Adam instructs Cain that God demands that we offer animal sacrifices and that the animal sacrificed must be the best of the flock. Adam also tells Cain that the fat of the animal offered has to be offered as well.

Cain pretends to agree with his dad, but in his heart, he questions whether what he was told was true. The serpent comes to Cain and says to him,

“God will accept other things in worship. After all, God is the Creator of everything. He created the ground and everything that comes from the ground. Do not listen to what your father said to you. He does not know what he is talking about. God will surely accept what you have worked so hard to obtain through your tilling the ground.”

Cain does not believe the divine revelation that was given to him from his dad who had received that revelation directly from God. He does not offer what he had been told God required.

God rejects his worship and appeals to him to do what he knows he should do. Cain refuses.

Cain’s unbelief of God’s revelation, acceptance of demonic teaching, acting on that demonic teaching, and refusing to repent when God confronts him with the demand that he do what is right seals Cain’s fate. From that point onward, Cain is of the devil.

Copyright © 2011-2023 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Does God accept for use in corporate worship all kinds of instrumental music or are there some kinds of instrumental worship that He accepts and some that He does not? How many kinds of instrumental music does God accept for use in corporate worship?

To answer these questions properly, we must carefully consider five key requirements for a kind of instrumental music to be acceptable to God for use in corporate worship.

Not Sinful

For any kind of instrumental music to be acceptable to God for use in corporate worship, it must not be sinful. Most Christians hold that there are no kinds of instrumental music that are themselves sinful.

Not Prohibited

To be acceptable for use in corporate worship, a kind of instrumental music must also not be prohibited by God. Most Christians hold that there are no kinds of instrumental music that God has prohibited for use in corporate worship.

Lawful

It is not enough that a kind of instrumental music not be sinful and not be prohibited. It must also be lawful for use in corporate worship. Many Christians in effect seem to believe that all kinds of instrumental music are lawful for use in corporate worship.

Expedient

Just because a kind of music is not sinful, not prohibited, and is lawful does not mean that it is expedient (cf. 1 Cor. 10:23a). For a kind of instrumental music to be acceptable to God for use in corporate worship it must be both lawful and expedient.

Edifying

In order for any kind of instrumental music to be acceptable to God for use in corporate worship, it must not just be lawful and expedient. It must also be edifying (cf. 1 Cor. 10:23b).

Conclusion

Scripture plainly teaches that not all things that are lawful are expedient. It also teaches plainly that not all things that are lawful are edifying.

Applying these truths to the realm of kinds of instrumental music, we learn that even if it were true that all kinds of instrumental music are lawful, it still would not be true that all kinds of instrumental music are acceptable to God for use in corporate worship.

Because only the kinds of instrumental music that are not sinful, not prohibited, lawful, expedient, and edifying are acceptable to God for use in worship, we can be certain that it is not true that all kinds of instrumental music are acceptable to God for use in corporate worship.

Copyright © 2011-2023 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

The notion that everything made by humans “has guilty associations” that are relevant because of Romans 3:23 is a faulty notion.1 Consider what Scripture teaches in the following passages about something that certain humans made or used.

The Holy Anointing Oil

God commanded certain humans to make this holy anointing oil:

Exodus 30:25 And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil.

All the humans that ever obeyed this command had “sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Nonetheless, God commanded them to make an oil that God declared was holy. In obedience to God, many people in Israel’s history made this holy oil.

Asserting that this holy anointing oil had “guilty associations” because of Romans 3:23 because those who made it were sinners does not establish anything of relevance or significance concerning divine acceptance of the legitimate human making of that oil and of the legitimate human use of that oil for the purposes for which God commanded that it would be used in His service.

The Sacrifices of Cain and Abel

From the standpoint of Romans 3:23, both Cain and Abel were humans who had “sinned and come short of the glory of God.” God, however, accepted Abel and his sacrifice, but did not accept Cain and his sacrifice:

Gen. 4:3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.

4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:

5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

Clearly, the notion that everything “has guilty associations” because of Romans 3:23 is a faulty and irrelevant notion for explaining God’s differing responses to the worship offerings and activities of these two sinful humans.

A Woman’s Anointing Jesus with Spikenard

Mark 14 provides another passage that refutes the faulty notion that everything “has guilty associations” based on the teaching of Romans 3:23:

Mark 14:3 And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. . . .

6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. . . .

8 She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.

9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

A woman anointed Jesus with some very precious ointment of spikenard. Scripture does not reveal anywhere that there were any divine commands for her to do so. We know, therefore, that the divine acceptance of her use of that ointment was not because she was doing something that God had commanded to be done.

Furthermore, because Scripture does not provide any evidence that Jesus Himself made the ointment, we know that whoever formulated or compounded the ointment was a sinner. The woman who applied the ointment to Jesus was also a sinner.

Nonetheless, Jesus declared that she “wrought a good work on” Him. Undeniably, therefore, what she did was acceptable to God, and the manmade product that she used to do what she did was acceptable to God for use in the way that she used it.

Any possible considerations about the ointment or the woman or her actions having “guilty associations” because of Romans 3:23 were totally irrelevant and are of no significance for our understanding that what she did with something made by sinful humans was acceptable to God and did not have any “guilty associations” worth considering or mentioning.

Conclusion

The treatment above of three passages shows clearly how Scripture itself refutes the notion that everything “has guilty associations” that are relevant and must be taking into account because of Romans 3:23. Arguing on such a basis and in such a manner is unbiblical and invalid.


1 This post combines and expands on material from three posts that I made in a discussion on Sharper Iron.

Copyright © 2011-2023 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

In building the temple of God, king Solomon employed a skillful craftsman from Tyre whose father was not an Israelite:

1 Kings 7:13 And king Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre. 14 He was a widow’s son of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in brass: and he was filled with wisdom, and understanding, and cunning to work all works in brass. And he came to king Solomon, and wrought all his work.

Because Solomon used such a man to build the very house of God, some might try to argue from that fact to say that we should also use all kinds of instrumental music of unbelievers to worship God in our churches.

Would you agree or disagree with using such reasoning from what Scripture reveals about what Solomon did in building the temple?

Copyright © 2011-2023 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Over the years of my being a Christian, I have heard some people say that they think the account of how Jesus evangelized the Samaritan woman is a good passage for us to learn how we are to evangelize people. To examine that perspective, I would encourage those who hold that view to think carefully about three aspects of what Jesus did when He evangelized her.

First, He explicitly made it an issue that something about how she was living was not what it should have been:

John 4:16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.

Second, He made it an issue that her worship was not what it should have been:

John 4:21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Third, after the woman’s encounter with Jesus, she testified to His dealing with her in a remarkable way:

John 4:29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?

A later statement about people that she evangelized shows that this was a key point in His evangelistic ministry to her:

John 4:39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.

If you think that the account of His evangelizing the Samaritan woman is an excellent example of how we should evangelize people, are you prepared to do what He did when He evangelized her by directly confronting them about what is wrong in both their lives and their worship? Moreover, are you able to tell them all that they have ever done?


See also Evangelize Jesus and the Resurrection!

Copyright © 2011-2023 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.