Archives For Music

Suppose that a group of evil humans in a remote land gets together and smokes some psychedelic substances. Doing so puts them all into a state of altered consciousness. While in that state, they all suddenly see a towering being of light appear to them.

This being proceeds to tell them that he is the true god and that there is no other god besides him. The being is frog-like in appearance. The spirit being commands the men to make an image of itself and worship that image.

The being orders them to make the image to have three heads even though it only has one head. The men do so and originate an entire religion around the worship of their three-headed frog-like god.

Christian Refusal to Believe What Happened

Some Christians later come to the remote area where these idolaters live and see the idol. The Christians conclude that the people just used their imagination to make an idol that was somewhat like real frogs that they had seen somewhere in their land.

When they try to evangelize some of the idolaters, the Christians refuse to believe what the idolaters tell them had happened to guide them to make the idol. They reject their testimony that they really had seen a spirit being that was frog-like in appearance and that had ordered them to make that idol.

Would such Christians be right or wrong? According to Scripture, there are demons who are frog-like in appearance:

Revelation 16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

Therefore, Christians who would refuse to believe such a testimony— if it were ever to be given to them—would actually be wrong in thinking that demons cannot appear to humans to guide the humans to engage in any such kind of creative activity that is of demonic origin.

Application

An important conclusion follows from applying the dynamics of the story related above to the realm of instrumental music. Demons can easily influence evil humans in a similar manner to produce demonic music on instruments so that the music is of demonic origin and not solely a product of human imagination and creativity.

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.

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.

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?

Many believers may not understand the profound importance of what Psalm 117 teaches because of its brevity–it is the shortest chapter in the Bible.

Psalm 117:1 O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. 2 For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.

In spite of its brevity, examining how the NT uses Psalm 117:1 makes clear the profound importance of that teaching in a way that any believer can readily understand.

The Use of Psalm 117:1 in Romans 15:11

The following comparison shows that Romans 15:11 cites verse 1 of Psalm 117:

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

Romans 15:11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.

The first two words of Romans 15:11 show that Paul cites Psalm 117:1 as biblical proof of what he teaches earlier in the passage:

Romans 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: 9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. 10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. 11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.

Specifically, Paul teaches that Psalm 117:1 is proof that “Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God” in order that “the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy”! The NT thus instructs us that Psalm 117:1 is a divine mandate to all the Gentiles and all people to glorify God by praising and lauding Him!

Because glorifying God is the premier obligation toward God that every human being has, we see the profound importance of what Psalm 117:1 teaches about what God mandates. Moreover, because Psalm 117:2 explains the bases for that divine demand and reiterates the divine demand of praising Him given in Psalm 117:1, we learn that Psalm 117 emphatically makes known the universal obligation for all humans to glorify God by praising Him for His mercy!

Application

God wants all the world to glorify Him by praising Him for His mercy. We must use Psalm 117 to make known to all men everywhere the divine mandates for them to do so!

Reading recently in John 2, a directly stated distinction between two wines caught my attention. Pondering that passage led me to consider whether something similar is also true about instrumental musics.

Some Wine That Was Better Than Other Wine

It was apparently commonly agreed among the Jews that some wine was better than other wine:

John 2:10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.

Since Jesus was the One who created the wine in this account, we can be certain that it was wine that was objectively better than other wine that the ruler of the feast had previously tasted.

Are There Similar Differences among Instrumental Musics?

We have seen that there was some wine that truly was better than other wine. Does something similar also apply to styles/genres of instrumental music, or are there no styles/genres of instrumental music that we can objectively say are better than others?

If there are not any instrumental musics that are better than others, why are instrumental musics different than wines? How do we know that instrumental musics are different than wines in that respect?

In a recent thread on Sharper Iron, I posted the following remarks concerning why many believers reject secular testimonies that speak about demons and music:

Another frequently used basis for rejecting these testimonies is the claim that believers who use these testimonies to argue for the rejection of music of the occult commit multiple logical fallacies in how they use those testimonies. Such claims include the purported use of guilt-by-association (GBA), the genetic fallacy, hasty generalization, and ad hominem.

To address the claim that GBA is routinely used to support the fallacious rejection of music of the occult, it is necessary to examine various passages of Scripture. Consider the following comparison of passages about Balaam:

Numbers 31:14 And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle. 15 And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? 16 Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD. 17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.

Revelation 2:13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. 14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

In spite of 1400-1500 years (we do not know this time span exactly but can approximate it closely enough for our purposes) having elapsed after Balaam’s death, the glorified Christ indicted believers in a Christian church for having people in their midst who were holding the doctrine of Balaam. We know with certainty that Christ was not guilty of using the GBA fallacy when he rebuked the believers in this church for doing so.

Scripture does not provide any basis for our understanding that the doctrine of Balaam had been faithfully transmitted by his followers for all those hundreds of years since his death and had spread from where the Midianites had been all the way to Pergamos. How, then, was the glorified Christ able to validly declare that in essence the same perverse doctrine that greatly corrupted ancient Israel was corrupting a first-century church?

Because I have not received any interaction on that thread for several weeks now, I have decide to discontinue posting on that thread and continue posting further information on the topic here. To profit fully from what I plan to treat in future posts, I encourage you to go and read all my preceding remarks in the thread, “What Does 1 Corinthians 2:14 Teach about What Unbelievers Cannot Know?

Many people believe that they have the ability to decide whether music is fit for human use by listening to the music and analyzing it musicologically. They even think that they have the ability to analyze music of the occult in the same manner.

The following comparison between consuming spiked beverages and listening to music of the occult shows just how faulty and deadly this thinking is.

Consuming Spiked Beverages

Suppose a malicious scientist invents a colorless, odorless, sweet-tasting liquid that slowly poisons people so that their brains very gradually malfunction more and more. In collaboration with a corrupt, secret government organization, beverage manufacturers mix this poison in various beverages and then ship them to select grocery stores in neighborhoods of enemies of the state.

Not knowing what the government has done, scores of political enemies gradually go insane because they were never able to detect that the beverages were spiked. Because of the properties of the poison that make detecting its presence impossible through ordinary means, those who drink it have no ability to know of its presence and its poisonous effects merely by tasting, smelling, seeing, or drinking the spiked beverages.

To them the spiked beverages look, smell, and taste perfectly fine. Using their aesthetic abilities to determine the fitness of the beverages has disastrous consequences for them.

Listening to Music of the Occult

Music of the occult is music that evil humans produce either under the influence of demons or for summoning them or both (see footnote 1 in this post for some information about such music). Because demons are supernatural beings whose knowledge, ability, and experience concerning music far surpasses any ability or knowledge of humans, such music is incredibly dangerous music.

Humans who assert that we must listen to such music to know whether it is demonic music wrongly think that they have the ability to understand and detect anything about the music that would make it either harmful for humans to listen to it or unrighteous for them to listen to it or both. As with the spiked beverages, however, humans completely lack the understanding and capabilities to detect and determine accurately the deadly properties of this music.

Application

Christians should never assent to challenges to listen to music of the occult for the purposes of analyzing it and explaining what is demonic about it. Rather, we must totally reject all such music without exposing ourselves to it in any way.

 

The Holy Spirit inspired the writers of the Psalms to write exactly the words that He wanted to be written in every Psalm. Comparing the frequency in the Psalms of two key titles for God reveals that the Psalms stress the one title considerably more than the other.

God as Judge in the Psalms

The Psalms speak of or speak to God as the Judge four times:

Ps. 50:6 And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah.

Ps. 68:5 A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.

Ps. 75:7 But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.

Ps. 94:2 Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud.

God as Savior in the Psalms

The Psalms speak of God as the Savior one time:

Ps. 106:21 They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt;

A Revealing Comparison

Speaking of or to God, the Psalmists speak of God as the Judge four times, but they only speak of God as the Savior once. The inspired hymnal thus uses the title Judge for God four times as often as it does the title Savior for God.

Questions for Application

The revealing comparison presented in this post raises some questions for us to consider about how we are to apply this biblical information.

Should our sacred music also have this same biblical proportion in it for the use of these titles?

If so, does our sacred music presently have this biblical proportion in it for the use of these titles?

If so and if our sacred music does not do so, why does it not do so?

If so and if our sacred music does not do so, what should we do to change what we are singing in our sacred music so that it is in keeping with this biblical proportion?