Archives For Exposition

The Spirit has revealed that there will be a binding of Satan for a thousand years that will take place:

Revelation 20:1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

Some believers assert that this binding has already happened. One person with whom I recently interacted said that this binding happened when Jesus sent out the seventy (cf. Luke 10:17-20).

A close examination of Revelation 20:2-3, however, shows that it is false to hold that Satan has already been bound in the way spoken of in this passage.

Shut Up and Sealed in the Bottomless Pit

Revelation 20:2-3 expressly states that Satan will be bound for a thousand years in a bottomless pit, shut up in it, and have set a seal upon him during the time that he is in that pit.

The text is very plain that Satan will not be free to do anything on the earth during this time. To assert otherwise is to make a mockery of the text’s saying that he will be shut up and sealed in that pit.

Furthermore, many NT passages speak explicitly of Satanic activity in the world during the entire lifetimes of the Apostles, as recorded in Scripture. A right handling of these passages shows that the binding of Satan revealed in Revelation 20:1-3 could not have taken place and did not take place at any time prior to the writing of the book of Revelation.

1 Peter 5:8

For example, Peter taught that the devil was freely walking about on the earth seeking people to devour:

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

It is nonsensical to say that the devil was bound in the specific manner spoken of in Revelation 20:1-3 at the time that 1 Peter 5:8 was inspired by the Spirit.

Comparing 1 Peter 5:8 with two texts in Job further confirms that there had not been any change in Satan’s freedom to roam around on the earth from the time of Job to the time 1 Peter was written:

Job 1:7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

Job 2:2 And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

Both in Job’s day and at the time First Peter was written, Satan was freely walking about on the earth. He was not bound, shut up, and sealed in a bottomless pit when Peter wrote First Peter.

Revelation 2

Moreover, the glorified Christ directed the apostle John to write seven letters to seven churches late in the first century AD (Rev. 2-3). In 2 of those letters, Christ Himself revealed the active workings of Satan at the very time those letters were written:

Revelation 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

Here, Christ talks about the devil’s direct attacks on believers in the church at Thyatira. Satan certainly was not bound, shut up, and sealed in the bottomless pit at that time.

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.

Here, Christ talked about Satan’s seat being in Pergamos and his dwelling there. Obviously, because Satan was dwelling there, he certainly was not at that time bound, shut up, and sealed in the bottomless pit.

Conclusion

It is a faulty handling of Scripture to say that the NT supports holding that the binding of Satan spoken of in Revelation 20 has already taken place. It has not taken place!

Through my continuing studies in the book of Daniel, I have found several significant ways that comparing Scripture with Scripture provides important illumination about passages. Looking closely at Daniel 5 compared to Daniel 3 reveals a valuable insight about the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar made.

Daniel 5

The Spirit begins Daniel 5 by telling us that Belshazzar made a great feast in which a large number of people participated:

Daniel 5:1 Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.

A thousand lords were present at this feast! Beyond the king and the 1000 lords, others were also participants:

Daniel 5:2 Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein. 3 Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them.

From Daniel 5:1-3, we learn that there were considerably more than a 1000 participants in this feast.

Daniel 5 versus Daniel 3

Strikingly, the Spirit has chosen to give us a large specified number for how many people participated in Belshazzar’s feast, but He has not done so for how many people worshiped the image that Nebuchadnezzar made! Why did the Spirit want us to know numerical information about the former but not about the latter?

Although we cannot know the answer to this intriguing question, Daniel 5 illumines Daniel 3 in an important way, as follows.

We know that there were more than 1000 participants in Belshazzar’s feast. Given the greater importance of the event in Daniel 3, we should therefore hold that there were more people at the dedication of the image than at Belshazzar’s feast.

This comparison thus teaches us that there surely were well over a thousand people at the dedication of the image in Daniel 3.

Because at least some of the king’s army also seems to have been present at the dedication (cf. Dan. 3:20), and a well-armed presence of a sufficient number of trusted soldiers would have been necessary for ensuring the safety of the king and his guests, we should expect that there would have been more armed soldiers present than there were present officials in Nebuchadnezzar’s government. Reasoning in this way teaches us that there were at least more than 2000 people present at the dedication of the image.

Even if one says that Nebuchadnezzar may have had only half as many lords in his government as Belshazzar did in his, the presence of the army would still mean that there were more than 1000 people at the dedication of the image.

Daniel 3 records King Nebuchadnezzar’s making a colossal image and then acting to bring about the dedication of the image. Some advocate that sound interpretation of the passage limits what we can say happened to what amounts to a minimalist interpretation.1

One minimalist interpretation holds that the only thing that we can say with certainty took place was that those assembled bowed before the image and that bowing itself was the worship rendered to it. For at least seven reasons, we should reject such a minimalist interpretation.

A Royal Event

The king of the most powerful empire of his day ordained what activities the dedication of the image would include. A royal event necessarily would have involved a certain protocol, decorum, pageantry, pomp, majesty, etc.

A minimalist interpretation requires the understanding that the entire event almost entirely lacked any such features fitting for a royal event. Moreover, what kind of dedication event fitting for a king would consist only of a brief bowing down to the image and nothing more than doing that?

No Known Constraining Factors

A royal event ordained by the most powerful human authority of his day necessarily entails certain realities about the situation. No human authority limited the king about what activities the dedication could include. The king did not lack any needed finances to pay for what would take place.

No evidence exists for any time constraints to the event that limited it in any way. No evidence exists for any circumstantial factors that required the event to be as minimal as possible, such as mass famine in the land or an empire-wide plague or impending weather-related calamities or impending invasions by powerful enemies etc.

Given that there are no known factors constraining what could have been done on this occasion, no basis exists for holding to a minimalist position.

The Biblical Witness about the Central Activity in Idolatrous Worship

Scripture provides numerous passages that show that offering sacrifices to idols was a central activity in idolatrous worship about which God informs and warns His people (cf. Exod. 34:11-17). Positing that an idolatrous emperor would dedicate an image of a god without offering any sacrifices to that god goes against that evidence and also goes against what we already know would have been his own previous experience in his own temple.

Explicit Contextual Evidence That Refutes a Minimalist Interpretation

Comparing what the king did earlier to honor Daniel with what Daniel 3 explicitly says brings out a crucial point. The king honored Daniel by bowing to him, worshiping him, and commanding that certain offerings would be made to him.

Daniel 2:46 Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him.

Using the same verbs for bowing and worshiping found in Daniel 2:46, Daniel 3 says that the people bowed and worshiped the image. To hold that the king honored Daniel by doing more to honor him than he ordained to be done to honor his image is an indefensible position.

Understanding what Daniel 2:46 compared with Daniel 3 shows requires that we hold that the dedication event in Daniel 3 included the offering of things to the image to honor it more than the king had offered to honor Daniel. A minimalist interpretation of Daniel 3 is therefore an impossible reading given what Daniel 2:46 reveals.

Would the King Have Dishonored All the Rulers of the Provinces?

To hold a minimalist interpretation of Daniel 3 would include holding that the king did not provide any amenities for his royal guests. Given that the king had previously ordained on a separate occasion that some captives be fed from his choice food, would the king surely not have fed his royal guests with such food?

Moreover, eating what has been offered to an idol in worship is such a vital aspect of the biblical witness concerning idolatry that there would have to be a very compelling basis to hold that this event did not include such eating. No such basis exists so we must reject a minimalist interpretation that asserts that there were no sacrifices offered on this occasion and no eating of those sacrifices afterward.

An Extravagant “Signal” for a “Bare-Bones” Event?

Some proponents of the need to hold a minimalist interpretation say that the musical instruments mentioned in the account were used to sound a “signal blast” to initiate the worship.The explicit mention of at least six different instruments to sound that supposed blast (and a phrase that may signify the use as well of many other instruments) would seem to be a perplexing extravagance for a “bare-bones” event when the herald himself could have given a sufficient signal or one trumpeter could have done so.

Why would a king who supposedly chose to forgo all other extravagances in a dedication yet choose to use an extravagant signal? Taking a minimalist position about everything else that happened hardly makes sense given the diverse nature of the musical instruments used in the event.

Consideration of the Aftermath of the Event

A minimalist interpretation of Daniel 3 promotes a lack of consideration about the aftermath of the event. Had the king only directed all those present to bow to the statue and then return to their homes, the people would have returned to their homes having experienced a strange event in which the emperor bestowed less honor on his god in a dedication ceremony of kingdom-wide importance than the people were routinely used to bestowing on their gods.

Had the king done so, he would not have communicated to them the proper appreciation of the greatness of his god that he would have wanted them to come to have. A minimalist understanding of what happened would thus mean that the king did not accomplish his objective of setting forth the surpassing greatness of his god in a manner that would have been in keeping with the greatness of his colossal image.

Because there are no reasons to accept such an interpretation that the king failed to furnish his people with a proper appreciation of the greatness of his god, we must reject a minimalist interpretation of what took place.

Conclusion

A minimalist interpretation of Daniel 3 is unsupportable for many reasons. The king did not only just command that all the people bow as the worship that they offered to the image of his god.

We should reject such a minimalist interpretation of Daniel 3.


1Cf. “Chapter 3 of the book of Daniel revolves around a strange religious ceremony that involved no priests, prayers or sacrifices:

Who were Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians? In the first article in this series, I treated Daniel 1:2 and Daniel 3 to show that they were profoundly idolatrous people who were thereby regularly in fellowship with demons. Later in Daniel 1, the Spirit provides another vital statement that reveals another key aspect of who Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians were.

Profound Consultation with Occultists

At the end of their three years of preparation for entering into the king’s service, Daniel and his friends excelled profoundly in their wisdom and understanding:

Daniel 1:19 And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. 20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.

Specifically, they vastly excelled the wisdom and understanding of all the leading practitioners of two types of occult practices in the entire Babylonian kingdom.

The king could have compared them with philosophers or prophets but instead they were compared with all such leading occultists in the kingdom. Pondering who they were compared with brings out that Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians were people who profoundly consulted with occultists and esteemed their counsel very highly.

It also shows that the king himself had fully consulted with all such leading practitioners of the occult in his entire kingdom. Two later statements in the book show that the king even had various occultists among his leading advisers (Dan. 2:2; 4:6-7).

Because all practitioners of the occult engage in demonic activities, the profound consultation with occultists reveals a second key way that demons influenced Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians. To understand just how immensely the occultists corrupted Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians, we must compare Scripture with Scripture concerning the exceedingly great corruption of at least certain occultists.

Immense Corruption by the Occultists

To understand how immensely Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians were corrupted by all the occultists in all his kingdom, 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.

First, it says that he was an 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 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!

We know that sorcerers were among the leading advisers of king Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2:2). We also know that the Babylonians were a shockingly occult people (Is. 47:9, 12).

Applying what this profoundly sobering passage (Acts 13:6-10) reveals to what we know about the pervasive influence that occultists (including sorcerers) had with Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians shows that the king and his people were people who had been immensely corrupted by demonically corrupted humans who actively sought to corrupt them from doing anything that was righteous before God.

Application to Daniel 3

Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians were people who were profoundly influenced by demons through their idolatry. Furthermore, they were also profoundly influenced by demons through their profound consultation with occultists.

The musical perspectives and practices of such demonically corrupted people were thus routinely directed into following every possible way to produce instrumental music that does not please God. Given the role that music played in the profoundly important idolatrous worship event in Daniel 3, we have further biblical basis to hold that the music played in the event in Daniel 3 was profoundly ungodly music.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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!

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.

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.

Any song that God has inspired to be in Scripture is a perfect song. Scripture reveals that God has provided us with a song that is a perfect love song!

“A Song of Loves”

The Spirit inspired Psalm 45 to begin with an explicit statement that it is a love song:

Psalm 45:1 <To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim, for the sons of Korah, Maschil, A Song of loves.> My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

From this divine love song, we learn many striking lessons that God intends us to profit from greatly. This post will only treat a few selected truths from the song. The post is by no mean an exhaustive treatment of the valuable lessons that this song provides.

The Subject of This Perfect Love Song

From the beginning of the song, we learn that the subject of this perfect love song is a king (Ps. 45:1). New Testament use of Psalm 45:6-7 teaches us that the ultimate Subject of this perfect love song is God’s own anointed King, the divine Messiah:

Psalm 45:6 Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. 7 Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

Hebrews 1:8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. 9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

Fearful Activity Revealed in This Perfect Love Song

Second, the Spirit teaches us that this divine King is a mighty Warrior (Ps. 45:3-4) who will engage in fearful activity:

Psalm 45:5 Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.

Strikingly, this perfect love song speaks explicitly of the King’s destroying His enemies in battle! We thus learn that far from being inappropriate content in a love song, fearful activity by the divine King as the Messianic Judge who judges evil people is fitting content to include in such a song!

The Glorious Character of the Subject of This Perfect Love Song

Third, this perfect love song highlights two key aspects of the glorious character of its Subject (Ps. 45:7). The first key aspect of the glorious character of the King is that He loves righteousness. The Spirit thus teaches us that extolling someone who loves what is right and loves doing right is fitting content for a perfect love song.

The second key aspect of the glorious character of the King is that He hates wickedness. Saying this, the Spirit teaches us that extolling someone who hates what is wicked and hates evildoing is also fitting content for a perfect love song.

Application

Psalm 45 is a perfect love song because God inspired it to be in Scripture. The lessons treated above teach us that speaking about the Messianic Judge as the divine King who renders divine judgment on wicked people is fitting content for a perfect love song!

Moreover, extolling the glorious character of the One who loves righteousness and hates wickedness is fitting content for a perfect love song!

We must sing songs of love that include this glorious content.