Archives For Interpretation

Scripture teaches that God subjected “the whole creation” to “the bondage of corruption”:

Romans 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

What does “the bondage of corruption” that God subjected the whole creation to mean? Because the Spirit does not provide additional information in this passage to answer that question, we need to consider other relevant passages.

Passages about Imperfect Animals

To understand what the nature of the corruption is, we must consider three passages about imperfect animals that provide important relevant revelation:

Lev. 22:19-24 Ye shall offer at your own will a male without blemish, of the beeves, of the sheep, or of the goats. 20 But whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer: for it shall not be acceptable for you. 21 And whosoever offereth a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD to accomplish his vow, or a freewill offering in beeves or sheep, it shall be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein. 22 Blind, or broken, or maimed, or having a wen, or scurvy, or scabbed, ye shall not offer these unto the LORD, nor make an offering by fire of them upon the altar unto the LORD. 23 Either a bullock or a lamb that hath any thing superfluous or lacking in his parts, that mayest thou offer for a freewill offering; but for a vow it shall not be accepted. 24 Ye shall not offer unto the LORD that which is bruised, or crushed, or broken, or cut; neither shall ye make any offering thereof in your land.

Deut. 15:19-21 All the firstling males that come of thy herd and of thy flock thou shalt sanctify unto the LORD thy God: thou shalt do no work with the firstling of thy bullock, nor shear the firstling of thy sheep. 20 Thou shalt eat it before the LORD thy God year by year in the place which the LORD shall choose, thou and thy household. 21 And if there be any blemish therein, as if it be lame, or blind, or have any ill blemish, thou shalt not sacrifice it unto the LORD thy God.

Mal. 1:7-8 Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible. 8 And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts.

Because Scripture teaches that God pronounced everything that He had made “very good” after He had created it (Gen. 1:31), we know that God did not create any animals anywhere on the earth at that time that had any of the imperfections that these passages speak about various animals having.

How then do we explain the subsequent existence of animals that have been imperfect in the many different ways that these passages reveal?

Who Made These Animals Imperfect?

We know that these animals themselves did not make themselves imperfect in any of these ways. We also know that human beings did not make these animals with these imperfections.

Furthermore, Scripture does not provide any evidence that Satan and his demons made these animals have these imperfections. This line of reasoning, therefore, shows that God is the only One who could be and is responsible for these animals having these imperfections.

Conclusion

Comparing three passages about imperfect animals with Romans 8:19-22 teaches us that the bondage of corruption to which God subjected His entire creation includes the reality that many animals have various imperfections that such animals did not have when God first created those types of animals.

 

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?

Late in his life, king Saul removed two groups of practitioners of the occult from his kingdom:

1 Samuel 28:3 Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land.

When he did so, he was doing what was right in the sight of God:

Leviticus 20:27 A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.

At a later crisis point, however, Saul consulted with an occultist woman who had a familiar spirit:

1 Samuel 28:4 And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa. 5 And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled. 6 And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.

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. 8 And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee.

Not knowing that he was Saul, the woman responded to his request by telling him what she knew Saul as king had done to others who had familiar spirits:

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?

Hearing this remark from this occultist woman, Saul was reminded of his own previous righteous actions to eliminate the people with familiar spirits out of the land.

Did God providentially use these words from her to implicitly warn Saul not to go through with what he was seeking to do then? If so, these words are a magnificent example of the goodness of God to us as sinners in showing that He sought to warn him not to go through with his sinful intent even when he was on the brink of doing so!

An unbelieving woman at Endor was involved with a demon and the occult. By treating what Scripture reveals about her, we learn that we must beware dangerously wrong views about unbelievers, demons, and the occult!

An Unbeliever Who Had a Demon

Scripture reveals that there was a woman at Endor about whom other people knew and testified that she had a familiar spirit:

1 Sam. 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.

God through the inspired writer of Scripture confirms elsewhere the validity of their testimony that she had a demon:

1 Chr. 10:13  So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it;

Because she had a demon, we know that she was an unbeliever. We also know that she did not have the Spirit.

Furthermore, Scripture does not provide any information about this woman ever having any access to divine revelation, either directly or through reading or hearing read whatever divine revelation that had by then been inscripturated and was available at that time.

An Unbeliever with Authentic Information about Occult Interactions with Demons

Without initially revealing his identity to her, Saul contacted this unbelieving woman to engage for his sake in an occult practice through a demon:

1 Sam. 28:8  And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee.

When Saul did so, she testified of her knowledge that Saul had cut off such people who had demons and engaged in that occult practice:

1 Sam. 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?

She also testified of her belief that for her to comply with this request would be to endanger her own life.

She thus responded in a way showing that she knew that she had a demon. Two points support this reading of what is recorded about how she answered him.

First, her responses imply that she did not protest by saying that she does not believe in demons or that there is no such thing as a demon.

Second, her responses imply that she also did not say that she does not know how to interact with demons to engage in the occult practice that he wanted her to do.

Her responses therefore teach us that she knew and believed that she was a woman who had a demon in keeping with the type of person that they believed her to be.

Furthermore, other divine revelation about this same event shows that she knew that she was being asked to interact with to a demon to receive information through it:

1 Chr. 10:13  So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it;

This unbelieving woman who had a demon authentically knew that she had a demon and that she had had interactions with it in engaging in an occult practice. Without having the Spirit or having access to divine revelation, she authentically knew and believed these things and testified to them.

An Unbeliever Who Knew Authentically about Other People Engaging in Occult Interactions with Demons

This woman knew and believed that there were other people who had demons and engaged in occult interactions with them in the same way that she did:

1 Sam. 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?

We thus learn that not only did this unbelieving woman who had a demon authentically know that she engaged in occult interactions with a demon, but also she knew of others who did the same thing. Because she was an unbeliever, we learn that having the spiritual discernment that only a (mature) believer would have was not necessary for her to have such authentic knowledge and to testify authentically about her having such knowledge.

Discussion

From the points treated above, we learn several key truths. First, we know that people who are unbelievers can authentically know that they truly have had demons and have had occult interactions with them.

Second, we also learn that having the Spirit and having access to or familiarity with divine revelation are not necessary for unbelievers to have such authentic knowledge.

Third, we learn that people’s authentically knowing that they have demons and proclaim information through occult interactions with them does not require that they have the spiritual discernment that only a (mature) believer has.

Application

We must not hold several wrong views about unbelievers, demons, and the occult. To begin with, we must not hold that unbelievers cannot know authentically that they have a demon and have had occult interactions with them.

Furthermore, we must not believe that they cannot authentically speak about their having had occult interactions with demons and being influenced by demons in those interactions.

Moreover, we must not hold that we may safely disregard testimonies from unbelievers about their having had occult interactions with demons.

Conclusion

By holding the wrong views discussed above, there very likely are many believers who have endangered themselves by disregarding information provided by unbelievers about their occult interactions with demons. We must correct any such wrong views that we may have been holding, and we must treat any such information with great seriousness and care and alter our lives properly according to the nature of the information!

“That’s just one verse, and we should not base our doctrine and practice on just one verse.” I have heard and seen a number of statements to this effect.

Is it right to base doctrine and practice on just one verse?

Nearly Universal Practice Based on One Verse

I have probably attended more than a hundred baptismal services. With very, very few exceptions, every person that I have seen baptize other people baptized them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

They have done so in keeping with key teaching that Christ gave to His disciples when He commissioned them:

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

To put this nearly universal practice based on this verse into a proper biblical perspective, we need to consider what else the Bible teaches on the subject.

Baptism in the Triune Name is Not Seen Anywhere Else in the NT

Aside from Matthew 28:19, no other passage in the Gospels speaks of baptizing people in the triune name of God. The book of Acts does not have any records of anyone ever baptizing anyone in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Moreover, the Epistles do not have any teaching about baptizing with that formula. Similarly, there is no teaching about doing so in the book of Revelation.

Therefore, Jesus’ teaching about baptism in the triune name of God is never seen anywhere else in the NT.

Discussion

Many believers likely think that we should not base our doctrine and practice on just one verse. A thorough examination of Scripture, however, shows definitively that only one verse supports the nearly universal practice of baptizing in the triune name of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.

Conclusion

If we should not base our doctrine and practice on just one verse, the doctrine and practice of nearly the entire Church today concerning how we should baptize people is not what it should be.

Is it right to base doctrine and practice on just one verse?

In his gospel message at Caesarea, the apostle Peter proclaimed one of the finest one-verse summaries of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, God’s Christ:

Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

God powerfully used this content—along with everything else that he preached—to save all of Peter’s unsaved hearers on that occasion! A careful examination of this glorious gospel verse shows that Peter proclaimed a gospel message that many may question is suitable content to include in evangelism.

The Gospel Is a Trinitarian Message

First, Peter spoke of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in this gospel statement. He, therefore, gave a Trinitarian gospel message to his hearers. We should not think that witnessing that speaks only about Jesus is the best way because it keeps the message simpler.

The Gospel is a God-and-Jesus Message

Second, in addition to teaching us to give sinners a trinitarian gospel message, Acts 10:38 teaches us to give them a God-and-Jesus message. Note carefully, this verse does not itself directly testify that Jesus is God, even though that certainly is true.

Remarkably, this key gospel statement highlights that God anointed Jesus and that God was with Jesus. Neither of these truths is reducible to stating that Jesus was Himself fully God!

The Gospel is a Jesus-and-the-Devil Message

Third, Peter did not just preach a gospel message about God and human sinners—he testified of Jesus’ delivering multitudes of sinners from a sinful supernatural spirit being, the devil. Because many in our day deny the existence of supernatural evil, testifying to this content is all the more important today.

Furthermore, Peter did not think that telling sinners that Jesus lived a perfect sinless life (when he testified that Jesus “went about doing good”) was all that they needed to hear about His life. Instead, he also talked about His healing all that were oppressed of the devil. This aspect of the life of Jesus is a vital truth that we need to communicate to sinners (cf. 1 John 3:8).

Application

Using Acts 10:38 carefully in your evangelism is one of the best ways to communicate numerous vital truths to lost people! I urge you strongly to use this premier gospel verse in your evangelism.

First Samuel 16:14-23 speaks repeatedly of an “evil spirit” from God that tormented Saul. Does this phrase mean that God sent a demon to afflict Saul?

To answer this question, we need to look closely at certain aspects of the Hebrew words used to speak of that “evil spirit.” In 1 Samuel 16, ruah rangah is used repeatedly to speak of what was on Saul that troubled him.

1 Sam. 16:14  But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.

1 Sam. 16:14 וְר֧וּחַ יְהוָ֛ה סָ֖רָה מֵעִ֣ם שָׁא֑וּל וּבִֽעֲתַ֥תּוּ רֽוּחַ־רָעָ֖ה מֵאֵ֥ת יְהוָֽה׃

1 Sam. 16:15  And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee.

1 Sam. 16:15 וַיֹּאמְר֥וּ עַבְדֵֽי־שָׁא֖וּל אֵלָ֑יו הִנֵּה־נָ֧א רֽוּחַ־אֱלֹהִ֛ים רָעָ֖ה מְבַעִתֶּֽךָ׃

1 Sam. 16:16  Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well.

1 Sam. 16:16 יֹאמַר־נָ֤א אֲדֹנֵ֙נוּ֙ עֲבָדֶ֣יךָ לְפָנֶ֔יךָ יְבַקְשׁ֕וּ אִ֕ישׁ יֹדֵ֖עַ מְנַגֵּ֣ן בַּכִּנּ֑וֹר וְהָיָ֗ה בִּֽהְי֙וֹת עָלֶ֤יךָ רֽוּחַ־אֱלֹהִים֙ רָעָ֔ה וְנִגֵּ֥ן בְּיָד֖וֹ וְט֥וֹב לָֽךְ׃ פ

1 Sam. 16:23  And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

1 Sam. 16:23 וְהָיָ֗ה בִּֽהְי֤וֹת רֽוּחַ־אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶל־שָׁא֔וּל וְלָקַ֥ח דָּוִ֛ד אֶת־הַכִּנּ֖וֹר וְנִגֵּ֣ן בְּיָד֑וֹ וְרָוַ֤ח לְשָׁאוּל֙ וְט֣וֹב ל֔וֹ וְסָ֥רָה מֵעָלָ֖יו ר֥וּחַ הָרָעָֽה׃ 

Many interpreters believe that ruah rangah in this passage should be understood to denote a demon that God sent to afflict Saul. Some, however, deny that interpretation and argue that it means that some kind of impersonal influence from God came on Saul to trouble him.

To determine which understanding is correct, we need to examine a later passage where the Spirit speaks of the coming of that same “evil spirit” on Saul.

Ruah Rangah in 1 Samuel 18

In 1 Samuel 18, the Spirit uses the verb tsalah to speak of the coming of that same “evil spirit” (Heb. ruah rangah) on Saul on a later occasion:

1 Sam. 18:10 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand.

1 Sam. 18:10 וַיְהִ֣י מִֽמָּחֳרָ֗ת וַתִּצְלַ֣ח רוּחַ֩ אֱלֹהִ֙ים׀ רָעָ֤ה׀ אֶל־שָׁאוּל֙ וַיִּתְנַבֵּ֣א בְתוֹךְ־הַבַּ֔יִת וְדָוִ֛ד מְנַגֵּ֥ן בְּיָד֖וֹ כְּי֣וֹם׀ בְּי֑וֹם וְהַחֲנִ֖ית בְּיַד־שָׁאֽוּל׃

According to HOL, this verb means “to be strong, effective, powerful” when it is used with ruah earlier in the book in 1 Samuel 10:6.In 1 Samuel 18:10, therefore, the use of this verb with ruah as its subject conveys that the “evil spirit,” whatever that phrase signifies, came powerfully on Saul.

The following examination of all the other occurrences of tsalah in the Hebrew OT in which it has the same meaning shows us how we must understand what ruah rangah denotes in 1 Samuel 18 (and also in 1 Samuel 16 because the activity of the same spirit is in view in both passages).

Tsalah in Judges

In Judges, tsalah with that meaning occurs three times. Each time, ruah is used as the subject and signifies that the Spirit came powerfully on Samson.

Jdg. 14:6 And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done.

Jdg. 14:6 וַתִּצְלַ֙ח עָלָ֜יו ר֣וּחַ יְהוָ֗ה וַֽיְשַׁסְּעֵ֙הוּ֙ כְּשַׁסַּ֣ע הַגְּדִ֔י וּמְא֖וּמָה אֵ֣ין בְּיָד֑וֹ וְלֹ֤א הִגִּיד֙ לְאָבִ֣יו וּלְאִמּ֔וֹ אֵ֖ת אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָשָֽׂה׃

Jdg. 14:19 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father’s house.

Jdg. 14:19 וַתִּצְלַ֙ח עָלָ֜יו ר֣וּחַ יְהוָ֗ה וַיֵּ֙רֶד אַשְׁקְל֜וֹן וַיַּ֥ךְ מֵהֶ֣ם׀ שְׁלֹשִׁ֣ים אִ֗ישׁ וַיִּקַּח֙ אֶת־חֲלִ֣יצוֹתָ֔ם וַיִּתֵּן֙ הַחֲלִיפ֔וֹת לְמַגִּידֵ֖י הַחִידָ֑ה וַיִּ֣חַר אַפּ֔וֹ וַיַּ֖עַל בֵּ֥ית אָבִֽיהוּ׃ פ

Jdg. 15:14 And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands.

Jdg. 15:14 הוּא־בָ֣א עַד־לֶ֔חִי וּפְלִשְׁתִּ֖ים הֵרִ֣יעוּ לִקְרָאת֑וֹ וַתִּצְלַ֙ח עָלָ֜יו ר֣וּחַ יְהוָ֗ה וַתִּהְיֶ֙ינָה הָעֲבֹתִ֜ים אֲשֶׁ֣ר עַל־זְרוֹעוֹתָ֗יו כַּפִּשְׁתִּים֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בָּעֲר֣וּ בָאֵ֔שׁ וַיִּמַּ֥סּוּ אֱסוּרָ֖יו מֵעַ֥ל יָדָֽיו׃

Tsalah in First Samuel

Aside from its occurrence in 1 Samuel 18:10, which we will examine later, tsalah occurs with that meaning four other times in First Samuel. Each time, ruah as its subject signifies that the Spirit came powerfully on someone, either Saul or David.

1 Sam. 10:6 And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.

1 Sam. 10:6 וְצָלְחָ֤ה עָלֶ֙יךָ֙ ר֣וּחַ יְהוָ֔ה וְהִתְנַבִּ֖יתָ עִמָּ֑ם וְנֶהְפַּכְתָּ֖ לְאִ֥ישׁ אַחֵֽר׃

1 Sam. 10:10 And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them.

1 Sam. 10:10 וַיָּבֹ֤אוּ שָׁם֙ הַגִּבְעָ֔תָה וְהִנֵּ֥ה חֶֽבֶל־נְבִאִ֖ים לִקְרָאת֑וֹ וַתִּצְלַ֤ח עָלָיו֙ ר֣וּחַ אֱלֹהִ֔ים וַיִּתְנַבֵּ֖א בְּתוֹכָֽם׃

1 Sam. 11:6 And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly.

1 Sam. 11:6 וַתִּצְלַ֤ח רֽוּחַ־אֱלֹהִים֙ עַל־שָׁא֔וּל (בְּשָׁמְעוֹ) [כְּשָׁמְע֖וֹ] אֶת־הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֑לֶּה וַיִּ֥חַר אַפּ֖וֹ מְאֹֽד׃

1 Sam. 16:13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.

1 Sam. 16:13 וַיִּקַּ֙ח שְׁמוּאֵ֜ל אֶת־קֶ֣רֶן הַשֶּׁ֗מֶן וַיִּמְשַׁ֣ח אֹתוֹ֘ בְּקֶ֣רֶב אֶחָיו֒ וַתִּצְלַ֤ח רֽוּחַ־יְהוָה֙ אֶל־דָּוִ֔ד מֵהַיּ֥וֹם הַה֖וּא וָמָ֑עְלָה וַיָּ֣קָם שְׁמוּאֵ֔ל וַיֵּ֖לֶךְ הָרָמָֽתָה׃ ס

Tsalah in Second Samuel

In its lone occurrence with that meaning in Second Samuel, tsalah does not have ruah as its subject. Instead, it has a large group of men as its subject and signifies that they rushed to the Jordan:

2 Sam. 19:17 And there were a thousand men of Benjamin with him, and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants with him; and they went over Jordan before the king.

2 Sam. 19:18 וְאֶ֙לֶף אִ֣ישׁ עִמּוֹ֘ מִבִּנְיָמִן֒ וְצִיבָ֗א נַ֚עַר בֵּ֣ית שָׁא֔וּל וַחֲמֵ֙שֶׁת עָשָׂ֥ר בָּנָ֛יו וְעֶשְׂרִ֥ים עֲבָדָ֖יו אִתּ֑וֹ וְצָלְח֥וּ הַיַּרְדֵּ֖ן לִפְנֵ֥י הַמֶּֽלֶךְ׃

Tsalah in Amos

In Amos, tsalah with that meaning occurs once. Although it does not have ruah as its subject, it has the Lord as its subject and signifies His breaking out powerfully to consume sinful people.

Amos 5:6 Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel.

Amos 5:6 דִּרְשׁ֥וּ אֶת־יְהוָ֖ה וִֽחְי֑וּ פֶּן־יִצְלַ֤ח כָּאֵשׁ֙ בֵּ֣ית יוֹסֵ֔ף וְאָכְלָ֥ה וְאֵין־מְכַבֶּ֖ה לְבֵֽית־אֵֽל׃

Discussion

The Spirit uses tsalah seven times in Scripture to speak of His own coming on people (Judg. 14:6, 19; 15:14; 1 Sam. 10:6, 10; 11:6; 16:13). Each time, ruah is the subject of tsalah.

Aside from its occurrence that is in question in 1 Samuel 18:10, tsalah with the same meaning occurs two other times in Scripture (2 Sam. 19:18; Amos 5:6). In both passages, although ruah is not its subject, it does have a personal noun as its subject (a large group of men in 2 Sam. 19:18; the Lord in Amos 5:6).

This evidence shows that aside from the nature of its subject in 1 Samuel 18:10 that we have not yet determined, tsalah with that meaning in Scripture always has a personal noun as its subject.

First Samuel 18:10 is the only other occurrence in Scripture of tsalah with that meaning, and it has ruah as its subject there. In every other passage that the Spirit has used this noun and verb combination, ruah denotes the coming of the Spirit Himself, who is a personal being, on human beings.

We can be confident, therefore, that ruah in 1 Samuel 18:10 denotes a personal entity that was a spirit that came on Saul and not some impersonal influence from God that came on Saul.2 The phrase ruah rangah certainly signifies here that it was an evil spirit, that is, a demon that came on Saul.

Conclusion

A thorough examination of the Spirit’s use of tsalah in Scripture shows that ruah rangah denotes a demon from God that came powerfully on Saul in the incident recorded in 1 Samuel 18:10. Because that activity on Saul was the activity of the same “evil spirit” from God that the Spirit speaks repeatedly of in 1 Samuel 16, we can be certain that God did send a demon to afflict Saul on both occasions.


1 Holladay, Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the OT (HOL) Hol7192 צלח: qal: pf. צָֽלְחָה, צָלֵֽחָה; impf. יִצְלַח, יִצְלָֽח, וַתִּצְלְחִי: — 1. be strong, effective, powerful, of rû­µ 1S 106; — 2. be of use Is 5417; — 3. succeed Nu 1441, be successful Je 121.

hif.: pf. הִצְלִיחַ, הִצְלִיחָה, חִצְלַחְתָּ, הִצְלִיחוֹ; impf. יַצְלִיחַ, וַיַּצְלַח, תַּצְלִיחִי; impv. הַצְלַח, הַצְלִיחָה; pt. מַצְלִיחַ: — 1. be successful, succeed, enjoy success 1K 2212; °îš maƒlî­µ successful man Gn 392; w. acc. in s.thg Dt 2829; — 2. w. acc. make s.thg succeed, bring s.thg to successful conclusion Gn 2421; — 3. make s.one prosper 2C 265. (pg 306)

2 As discussed earlier in this section, this interpretation is confirmed by the Spirit’s also using only a personal noun as the subject of tsalah in the only other occurrences of it with the same meaning in Scripture (2 Sam. 19:18; Amos 5:6).

Multitudes of people believe in reincarnation while multitudes of other people believe in the resurrection of the dead. Which one should people believe in?

The Bible plainly and emphatically teaches that people are not going to die and be reborn over and over again. It does so in various ways, especially by making known that Jesus died only once and that all people die only once.

Dying Only Once

Concerning Jesus, Scripture reveals that He died and God raised Him from the dead:

Rom. 6:9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

Jesus died only once; He will never die again! Death has no more dominion over Him!

Concerning all men, Scripture reveals that God has appointed that people die only once and are then judged by Him:

Heb. 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

They do not die and then be reborn repeatedly, as reincarnation teaches.

These passages make clear that people should believe in the resurrection of the dead and not in reincarnation.

What about The Second Death?

Someone who is familiar with the Bible might object that the Bible speaks of the second death:

Rev. 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Why should we believe in the resurrection of the dead when the Bible itself speaks of a second death? Doesn’t this teaching about the second death support believing instead in reincarnation?

To answer these questions properly, consider that although a surface reading of this passage might lead some to conclude that it contradicts what Hebrews 9:27 says about people’s dying only once, a proper reading shows that it does not contradict what Hebrews 9:27 and other passages teach.

To understand why, note that Scripture teaches that physical death is the separation of the body from the spirit:

James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

The second death, however, is when people who were already dead stand before God and are then judged by Him:

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

In order for people who were dead to stand again, they must experience bodily resurrection.

The second death, therefore, is not when people will die again physically. Rather, these are people who will be cast bodily into a lake of fire.

The Bible’s teaching about the second death does not support belief in reincarnation—people must believe in resurrection, not reincarnation.

The Right Response to These Truths

Reincarnation teaches that people’s bodies die but their souls live on and that they are reborn physically. Jesus, however, warned people to fear God who has the ability to destroy both the soul and the body:

Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

People who die physically are not going to be reborn again and again. They will die once and then stand before God to be judged by Him.

In view of these truths, God wants all people to know what He is commanding to all people everywhere:

Acts 17:30 God . . . now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

People should not believe in reincarnation. God wants all people to believe in the resurrection of the dead and has provided proof that they should do so by raising Jesus from the dead and fixing a day in which He will judge the world by Jesus.

By Jesus, believe in God, who raised Him up from the dead and gave Him glory so that your faith and hope might be in God.

1 Peter 1:21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

God wants you to believe not in reincarnation but in resurrection!

We are living in a time in world history when multitudes are concerned about having sufficient food and drink for them and their families. Two key passages provide vital revelation about how God has promised to certain people that He will provide the food and drink that they need.

Food and Drink Promised in Matthew 6:31-33

Matthew 6:31-33 is a premier passage in the Bible about what people are to do so that they will have the food and drink that they need to survive:

Matthew 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

With these words, Jesus taught that people who seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness will have what they are to eat and to drink added to them.

Food and Drink Promised in Isaiah 33:13-16

Compare the teaching of Matthew 6:31-33 with what Isaiah 33:13-16 says:

Isaiah 33:13 Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge my might. 14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? 15 He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; 16 He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.

This passage ends with a promise that bread and water will be provided to certain people, just as Matthew 6:31-33 does! Because God promises to provide the same things at the end of both passages, we know that what He teaches as the requirements for obtaining those promises in both passages are directly related.

Application

From the comparison presented above, we learn that seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness includes doing all the things that Isaiah 33:15 specifies: walking righteously, speaking uprightly, despising gaining by oppressions, rejecting bribes, stopping our ears from hearing about blood, and shutting our eyes from seeing evil. To have sufficient food and drink, we must be careful to do all these things in our seeking first God’s kingdom and righteousness.

Probably every believer who has been a believer for any length of time has encountered teaching about the main point or big idea of the following passage:

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Most have been taught that this passage is “about” the Great Commission that Jesus gave to His apostles. Probably no one has ever thought or said that the main point or big idea of this passage is to teach us about the Holy Spirit.

A careful examination of nearly every sound work on systematic theology or NT theology would likely reveal, however, that this is an important passage for one’s formulating a proper understanding of what the Scripture teaches us about pneumatology. Any person who does not treat what this passage reveals about the Spirit in formulating their theology of the Spirit is a person who does not profit fully from revelation that God has intended him to profit from theologically.

As this brief but clear example shows, it is a faulty approach to hermeneutics and exegesis to insist that the main point/big idea of a passage is all that matters. Truth that God has revealed about a subject in a passage that does not have that subject as its main point or big idea is nonetheless truth that God wants us to profit from fully.