Archives For Discipleship

The Battle for Kingdom Music

The vast majority of biblical content about music is not explicitly pertaining to music in the Church. Properly understood, all that the Bible says about music, however, is about music in God’s eternal kingdom. Therefore, we need to engage in The Battle for Kingdom Music because engaging in the battle for Christian music is too narrow a focus to treat properly what Scripture reveals about music.

Of course, in the battle for kingdom music, we must use Scripture to address the problems that we have in Christian music today. In particular, we must explain why God does not accept in His kingdom the use of rock music and music related to it.

Why Rock Music Is Not Acceptable Kingdom Music

To do so, we must help believers understand that the Bible does not teach that God created all musical styles or genres. We also need to explain to them why it is not biblical to hold that music without words is inherently neutral, amoral, or good.

Beyond that, we must make known that God has given categorical prohibitions to His people that completely preclude them from borrowing any music from wicked people who have crafted their music for wicked purposes or used it for wicked purposes. Many rock musicians have testified that they have designed their music to promote evil so we must reject it entirely.

Furthermore, we have testimonies from rock musicians that their music is demonic or sourced in demonic influence on them. God commands Christians not to have anything to do with anything sourced in or connected with human contact with supernatural evil. We must therefore completely reject all rock music and music that is derived from it or based upon it.

In order to fight the battle for kingdom music properly, we must give ourselves to prayer and the ministry of what God says about music that is fit for His kingdom. As God brings it to mind, I would appreciate prayers for God’s good hand to be on me for this ministry.

What does ungodly worship music sound like? Two verses describe the sound of the music on a premier occasion of ungodly worship, the Golden Calf Incident:

Exodus 32:17 And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp. 18 And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear.

Scripture reveals here that the idolatrous playing in the GCI (cf. 1 Cor. 10:7) included corporate shouting that was an aspect of their singing. To understand why this was the sound of ungodly worship music, consider what these two men said about that sound.

Joshua’s Remark about the Sound of Their Idolatrous Worship Music

Joshua did not identify this composite musical sound emanating from the camp as music at all. Instead, he said that it was the noise of war.

Joshua certainly had heard godly Israelite worship music in the past (Ex. 15). He was was very familiar with its sound. His not identifying this sound as music shows that these idolaters were not playing instruments and singing in any godly Israelite style(s).

Moreover, the people, in fact, were not engaged in any battle yet their worship music sounded like war to Joshua. The Bible never says that any godly Israelite worship music sounded like war.

We know that these people were partnering with demons in their idolatrous playing (1 Cor. 10:20 applied to 1 Cor. 10:7). They were co-participants with demons in their unfruitful works of darkness (Eph. 5:11).

Certainly, therefore, the Spirit did not energize or control any of these idolaters to produce godly music (Eph. 5:18-20; Col. 3:16-17). Joshua’s testimony about their music shows that it did not display any of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).

Joshua’s testimony about the music of the GCI points to its being ungodly music.

Moses’ Response to Joshua Illumines What Ungodly Worship Music Sounds Like

Concerning the music of the GCI, Joshua remarked, “There is a noise of war in the camp.” Moses responded that the sound was not two specific sounds of war that they could recognize accurately, even from afar.

Moses first said, “It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery.” He explained that when people in a battle gain mastery over their opponents, they respond by shouting in a manner that communicates their victory in the battle.

The sound emanating from the camp was not the recognizable sound of people shouting in their singing to celebrate their mastery. Such people sing joyfully with a shout of triumph that has a distinctly recognizable sound even from a distance.

Moses then added, “Neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome.” Moses explained that there is a distinctively recognizable sound that people produce when they have lost a battle and are mourning at their defeat.

People defeated in a battle do not sing joyfully with a triumphant shout because they did not win the battle. Their shouting is the mournful sound of people bemoaning their having lost the battle.

The Combined Force of the Remarks of Both Joshua and Moses

Taken together, the inspired revelation in Exodus 32:17-18 about the sound of the singing in the GCI shows us that the musical composite sound emanating from the camp was neither the sound of people joyfully shouting in celebrating their victory nor the sound of people mournfully shouting in lamenting their defeat. This revelation, therefore, tells us that the war-like musical composite sound emanating from the camp sounded like the uncertain, indistinct, chaotic sounds of people engaged in a battle where neither side is winning the battle and the battle is still raging.

These musical sounds were not at all the distinctive sound of godly Israelites worshiping God with the joyful sound of people praising the Lord in a religious feast that pleased Him. Moses’ response to Joshua illumines Joshua’s remark by further showing that the musical sound emanating from the camp in the GCI was the ungodly composite musical sound of people celebrating in an ungodly way.

NT Revelation That Shows the Ungodliness of The Sound of Their Music

Explicit NT revelation shows us that the composite musical sound emanating from the camp was an ungodly sound because it did not at all meet the divinely revealed criteria of producing sounds that are distinctive such that they communicate clearly the meaning of those sounds:

1 Corinthians 14:7 And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? 8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

When worship music has an indistinct, uncertain sound, it does not meet God’s criteria for the proper use of music.

By comparing Scripture with Scripture, 1 Cor. 14:7-8 applied to Exodus 32:17-18 decisively shows us that the musical sound of the people shouting in their singing in the GCI was not the godly sound of people celebrating a religious feast in a godly way with singing and the use of musical instruments that produced a distinctively recognizable composite sound.

Instead, the composite musical sound emanating from the camp was an ungodly sound of people singing and playing musical instruments in ungodly ways. Their music did not sound like any of the godly worship music of Israel.

Believers disagree sharply on whether it is biblical to use music to evangelize unbelievers. To know what the correct view is concerning this important matter, consider the following verses from biblical songs:

Deuteronomy 32:43
Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.

Judges 5:3 Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto the LORD; I will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel.

Psalm 2:10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 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.

Psalm 117:1 O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.

In light of this data from biblical songs, is it biblical to use music to evangelize unbelievers?

In addition to in the Psalms, Scripture records the lyrics of several key songs at considerable length. The song in Deuteronomy 32 has 43 verses; the songs in both Judges 5 and Isaiah 5 have 30 verses; and the song in 2 Samuel 22 has 50 verses.

Second Samuel 22:2-51 and Deuteronomy 32:1-43, the two longest songs in Scripture (outside of the Psalms), share a common feature that is noteworthy—Scripture records that both of these songs were spoken:

Deuteronomy 31:30 And Moses spake in the ears of all the congregation of Israel the words of this song, until they were ended.

Deuteronomy 32:44 And Moses came and spake all the words of this song in the ears of the people, he, and Hoshea the son of Nun.

2 Samuel 22:1 And David spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul.

Strikingly, both 2 Samuel 22 and Deuteronomy 32 lack any mention that these songs were sung on the first occasions of their use.

Moreover, David spoke the words of his song “unto the LORD” (2 Sam. 22:1).

Based on this data, we learn that oral recitation of the lyrics of entire songs is biblical, both to one another (cf. Moses to the people [Deut. 31:30; 32:44]) and to the Lord (2 Sam. 22:1)!

Do any ungodly ways of playing music exist? How can we know if there are any such ways?

By considering whether demons influence humans to play music in ungodly ways, we can answer both of these questions definitively!

Do Demons Influence Humans to Play Music in Ungodly Ways?

Demons incorrigibly and irredeemably oppose God. They are especially intent on denying Him the glory and worship due His name.

On every possible occasion and in every possible way, they seek to influence humans to worship in ungodly ways.

God has commanded that humans use musical instruments to worship Him. We, therefore, must hold that demons unceasingly seek to influence humans to play worship music in ungodly ways.

Only by presupposing that there are no ungodly ways to play music in worship can we deny that demons influence humans to play music in ungodly ways. Holding such a presupposition, however, does not have any biblical basis.

When, therefore, humans engage in activities that put them in fellowship with demons and subsequently produce music, we must hold that they play it in ungodly ways. Of course, we could not hold this view if a passage provides explicit biblical evidence that humans played music in godly ways in spite of demonic influence on them.

A Biblical Account of Demonically Influenced Music

In the Golden Calf Incident (GCI), humans in a worship context consumed what was offered to an idol (Ex. 32:6). When they did so, they came into fellowship with demons (1 Cor. 10:18-20).

After they had consumed the sacrificed foodstuffs, they produced music (Ex. 32:17-18). Because Exodus 32 does not provide us with any evidence that they played their music and sang in godly ways, we must hold that they did so in ungodly ways.

Again, the only way to escape this understanding is to presuppose that there are no ungodly ways to produce music in worship. Because such a presupposition does not have any valid basis, we must hold that the people in the GCI played demonically influenced music in ungodly ways.

Conclusion

Demonically influenced music does exist; in fact, the Bible provides indisputable evidence that demons have influenced humans to produce music in ungodly ways. Holding that there are no ungodly ways to play music, therefore, is an indefensible presupposition and position that we must reject.

Few believers understand that Scripture provides us with an inspired record of demonically influenced music!

To understand where and how it does so, see my posts in this thread: We Must Heed the Vital Message of 1 Corinthians 10:18-20.

God provides much additional revelation in the NT about OT personages, events, and passages that the OT does not provide. Believers must, therefore, use the NT to interpret the OT in all such cases.

If they do not do so, Christians will lack information and understanding in their views that God intended for them to have.

Numerous Examples

Numerous examples show that the NT illumines our understanding of the OT with information not provided in the OT. The following 13 passages show just how important it is to use the NT to interpret the OT.

Examples in the Gospels

Matthew 6:26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

The OT speaks of God’s feeding the birds (Job 38:41; Ps. 147:9), but the NT makes clear that it is the Father who does so.

John 6:45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

Readers of only the OT did not know that this divine teaching ministry spoke of what the Father would do.

Examples in Acts

Acts 7:43 Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them.

The OT does not provide any revelation about any god named Remphan or that the Israelites did these things at that time.

Acts 13:33 God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.

Acts 13:33 tells us that God fulfilled an ancient promise by raising Jesus, as it is written in Psalm 2.  Anyone reading just the statement about the Son in Psalm 2:7 would not have the ability to know that truth.

Examples in the Epistles

1 Corinthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

Any believer reading just the OT would never know that the Rock that followed them in the wilderness wanderings was Christ.

Hebrews 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

The OT does not provide any information about Abraham’s seeking for such a city.

2 Peter 2:5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness.

Reading just the OT, a believer would never have known that Noah was a preacher of righteousness.

2 Peter 2:7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked.

Anyone who just reads the OT would not have any confident basis to know that Lot was a just man.

1 John 3:12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother.

Having only the OT, a believer would not have sufficient basis to know confidently that Cain was of the devil.

Jude 1:9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

The OT speaks of God’s burying Moses (Deut. 34:6), but only the NT reveals this battle between Michael and the devil over the body of Moses.

Jude 1:14 Enoch  . . . prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15 To execute judgment upon all.

From the OT alone, a reader would not know that Enoch was a prophet who proclaimed a glorious Messianic prophecy!

Examples in Revelation

Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Revelation 20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.

Anyone reading just the OT would not know that the devil controlled and directed the serpent who deceived Eve.

Application

These thirteen examples show that it is essential to use the NT to interpret the OT whenever the NT provides information that the OT does not. Only then will we understand properly what God wants us to know about those personages, events, passages, etc.

Furthermore, these examples show how vital it is to read the whole Bible and not just certain parts of it. Only by reading the whole Bible will we have the fullness of understanding that God wants us to have!

Genesis 4:21 provides the earliest recorded information about human musical activity. Consequently, I have been studying it extensively to probe what it reveals to us about music.

Recently, God has provided me with much additional illumination related to interpreting this revelation properly. Therefore, I would like to invite you to profit from this ongoing discussion: What Does Genesis 4:21 Teach Us about Music?

One of the most challenging aspects of Spanish grammar is understanding the many different uses of the pronoun se. Using several grammar books and the search capabilities of BibleWorks 10, I have compiled several examples of seven different uses of se in the Bible.

Reflexive Se

R60 Numbers 30:3 Mas la mujer, cuando hiciere voto a Jehová, y se ligare con obligación

KJV Numbers 30:3 If a woman also vow a vow unto the LORD, and bind herself by a bond

R60 Luke 16:19 Había un hombre rico, que se vestía de púrpura y de lino fino

KJV Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen

R60 Revelation 18:7 Cuanto ella se ha glorificado

KJV Revelation 18:7 How much she hath glorified herself

 

Process Se1

R60 Matthew 25:5 Y tardándose el esposo, cabecearon todas y se durmieron.

KJV Matthew 25:5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

R60 Acts 11:21 Y la mano del Señor estaba con ellos, y gran número creyó y se convirtió al Señor.

KJV Acts 11:21 And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.

R60 1 Peter 1:24 La hierba se seca, y la flor se cae;

KJV 1 Peter 1:24 The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

 

Impersonal Se

R60 Ecclesiastes 6:10 Respecto de lo que es, ya ha mucho que tiene nombre, y se sabe que es hombre.

KJV Ecclesiastes 6:10 That which hath been is named already, and it is known that it is man:

R60 Isaiah 45:24 Y se dirá de mí: Ciertamente en Jehová está la justicia y la fuerza;

KJV Isaiah 45:24 Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength:

 

Passive Se

R60 Ecclesiastes 7:21 Tampoco apliques tu corazón a todas las cosas que se hablan

KJV Ecclesiastes 7:21 Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken;

R60 Matthew 10:29 ¿No se venden dos pajarillos por un cuarto?

KJV Matthew 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?

 

Indirect Object Pronoun Se

R60 Genesis 38:18 Entonces Judá dijo: ¿Qué prenda te daré? Ella respondió: Tu sello, tu cordón, y tu báculo que tienes en tu mano. Y él se [‘to her’] los [‘them’] dio.

KJV Genesis 38:18 And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet, and thy bracelets, and thy staff that is in thine hand. And he gave it her.

R60 2 Kings 10:7 Cuando las cartas llegaron a ellos, tomaron a los hijos del rey, y degollaron a los setenta varones, y pusieron sus cabezas en canastas, y se [‘to him’] las [‘them’ = the heads] enviaron a Jezreel.

KJV 2 Kings 10:7 And it came to pass, when the letter came to them, that they took the king’s sons, and slew seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets, and sent him them to Jezreel. 

R60 Mark 9:19 Y respondiendo él, les dijo: ¡Oh generación incrédula! ¿Hasta cuándo he de estar con vosotros? ¿Hasta cuándo os he de soportar? Traédmelo. 20 Y se [‘to him’] lo [‘him’] trajeron;

KJV Mark 9:19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. 20 And they brought him unto him:

R60 John 2:8 Entonces les dijo: Sacad ahora, y llevadlo al maestresala. Y se [‘to him’] lo [‘it’ = the wine] llevaron.

KJV John 2:8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.

R60 Acts 7:4 Entonces salió de la tierra de los caldeos y habitó en Harán; y de allí, muerto su padre, Dios le trasladó a esta tierra, en la cual vosotros habitáis ahora. 5 Y no le dio herencia en ella, ni aun para asentar un pie; pero le prometió que se [‘to him’] la [‘it’ = the land] daría en posesión

KJV Acts 7:4 Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell. 5 And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession

 

Reciprocal Se

R60 2 Kings 14:11 Pero Amasías no escuchó; por lo cual subió Joás rey de Israel, y se [‘each other’] vieron las caras él y Amasías rey de Judá, en Bet-semes, que es de Judá.

KJV 2 Kings 14:11 But Amaziah would not hear. Therefore Jehoash king of Israel went up; and he and Amaziah king of Judah looked one another in the face at Bethshemesh, which belongeth to Judah. 

R60 Psalm 85:10 La misericordia y la verdad se encontraron; La justicia y la paz se [‘each other’] besaron.

KJV Psalm 85:10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

 

Unplanned or Unexpected Occurrence/ “No-Fault” Se2

R60 Deuteronomy 22:3 Así harás con su asno, así harás también con su vestido, y lo mismo harás con toda cosa de tu hermano que se le perdiere y tú la hallares;

KJV Deuteronomy 22:3 In like manner shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his raiment; and with all lost thing of thy brother’s, which he hath lost, and thou hast found

R60 Isaiah 5:27 No habrá entre ellos cansado, ni quien tropiece; ninguno se dormirá, ni le tomará sueño; a ninguno se le desatará el cinto de los lomos, ni se le romperá la correa de sus sandalias.

KJV Isaiah 5:27 None shall be weary nor stumble among them; none shall slumber nor sleep; neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken:

R60 Acts 12:7 Y las cadenas se le cayeron de las manos.

KJV Acts 12:7 And his chains fell off from his hands.


1 “The Process Se” (Pasajes Lengua Quinta Edición, 241).

2 “No-Fault” Se Constructions The passive se construction is also used with a group of Spanish verbs to indicate unplanned or unexpected occurrences” (Pasajes Lengua Quinta Edición, 270).

Tertullian, a Latin Church Father, wrote about how the believers in his day cared for the poor with money that they gave regularly. He specifies that money was used “to support and bury poor people.”

Chapter XXXIX.

I shall at once go on, then, to exhibit the peculiarities of the Christian society, that, as I have refuted the evil charged against it, I may point out its positive good.131 We are a body knit together as such by a common religious profession, by unity of discipline, and by the bond of a common hope. We meet together as an assembly and congregation, that, offering up prayer to God as with united force, we may wrestle with Him in our supplications. This violence God delights in. We pray, too, for the emperors, for their ministers and for all in authority, for the welfare of the world, for the prevalence of peace, for the delay of the final consummation.132 We assemble to read our sacred writings, if any peculiarity of the times makes either forewarning or reminiscence needful.133 However it be in that respect, with the sacred words we nourish our faith, we animate our hope, we make our confidence more stedfast; and no less by inculcations of God’s precepts we confirm good habits. In the same place also exhortations are made, rebukes and sacred censures are administered. For with a great gravity is the work of judging carried on among us, as befits those who feel assured that they are in the sight of God; and you have the most notable example of judgment to come when any one has sinned so grievously as to require his severance from us in prayer, in the congregation and in all sacred intercourse. The tried men of our elders preside over us, obtaining that honour not by purchase, but by established character. There is no buying and selling of any sort in the things of God. Though we have our treasure-chest, it is not made up of purchase-money, as of a religion that has its price. On the monthly day,134 if he likes, each puts in a small donation; but only if it be his pleasure, and only if he be able: for there is no compulsion; all is voluntary. These gifts are, as it were, piety’s deposit fund.  For they are not taken thence and spent on feasts, and drinking-bouts, and eating-houses, but to support and bury poor people, to supply the wants of boys and girls destitute of means and parents, and of old persons confined now to the house; such, too, as have suffered shipwreck; and if there happen to be any in the mines, or banished to the islands, or shut up in the prisons, for nothing but their fidelity to the cause of God’s Church, they become the nurslings of their confession. But it is mainly the deeds of a love so noble that lead many to put a brand upon us. See, they say, how they love one135another, for themselves are animated by mutual hatred; how they are ready even to die for one another, for they themselves will sooner put to death.

—ANF03. Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian; http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf03.iv.iii.xxxix.html; accessed 3/26/19, 8:05 pm; bold and underlining added to the original

As the followers of Jesus Christ in our day, we should display our love for our brethren by setting aside money in our churches specifically to help with burial costs for our needy brethren in our churches so that as many as possible of them may have a proper burial at the end of their earthly lives.