Archives For Theology

Gathered church worship is our offering up together to God the Spiritual, devotional responses of which He alone is worthy.

—Pastor Mark Minnick

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Scripture reveals a vast number of comparative statements and superlatives that instruct us in various ways to hold that there are things that are superior to other things in their same categories. Meditating on such statements has provided me with several important insights that I hope to present in at least one future post.

I encourage very careful examination and contemplation of the following compilation of such statements.

Gen. 43:11 And their father Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds:

Num. 18:12 All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the firstfruits of them which they shall offer unto the LORD, them have I given thee.

Jdg. 8:2 And he said unto them, What have I done now in comparison of you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer?

Ps. 81:16 He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.

Ps. 147:14 He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat.

Exodus 30:23 Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels

Cant. 4:14 Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices:

Cant. 7:9 And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.

Ezek. 27:22 The merchants of Sheba and Raamah, they were thy merchants: they occupied in thy fairs with chief of all spices, and with all precious stones, and gold.

Gen. 47:6 The land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell: and if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle.

Gen. 47:11 And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded.

Exod. 22:5 If a man shall cause a field or vineyard to be eaten, and shall put in his beast, and shall feed in another man’s field; of the best of his own field, and of the best of his own vineyard, shall he make restitution.

1 Sam. 8:14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.

1 Ki. 21:2 And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money.

Ezekiel 20:6 In the day that I lifted up mine hand unto them, to bring them forth of the land of Egypt into a land that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands:

 

Num. 18:29 Out of all your gifts ye shall offer every heave offering of the LORD, of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it.

Num. 18:30 Therefore thou shalt say unto them, When ye have heaved the best thereof from it, then it shall be counted unto the Levites as the increase of the threshingfloor, and as the increase of the winepress.

Num. 18:32 And ye shall bear no sin by reason of it, when ye have heaved from it the best of it: neither shall ye pollute the holy things of the children of Israel, lest ye die.

1 Sam. 2:29 Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?

1 Sam. 15:9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.

1 Sam. 15:15 And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.

1 Ki. 10:18 Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold.

2 Ki. 5:12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.

 

1 Sam. 21:9 And the priest said, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom thou slewest in the valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod: if thou wilt take that, take it: for there is no other save that here. And David said, There is none like that; give it me.

2 Chr. 9:11 And the king made of the algum trees terraces to the house of the LORD, and to the king’s palace, and harps and psalteries for singers: and there were none such seen before in the land of Judah.

Lk. 15:22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

2 Kings 20:13 And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.

Amos 6:6 That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.

Est. 2:9 And the maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness of him; and he speedily gave her her things for purification, with such things as belonged to her, and seven maidens, which were meet to be given her, out of the king’s house: and he preferred her and her maids unto the best place of the house of the women.

 

1 Cor. 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

Heb. 7:19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

Heb. 7:22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.

Heb. 8:6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

Heb. 9:23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

Heb. 10:34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.

Heb. 11:16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

Heb. 11:35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

A friend recently called my attention to a blog post by Pastor Brian Fuller, “A Familiar Fundamentalist Dog Whistle.”1 In the post, he assails certain fundamentalists whom he has judged to be in sin because of their efforts to direct people’s attention to certain highly disputed theological and practical issues.

Having read his piece several times, I am compelled to make what I believe is a necessary response to his post. I am going to limit my response to him in this post to the one point that I believe most needs to be made prior to my possibly addressing in the future other issues with his post.

Unhelpful and Unedifying Use of Inflammatory Rhetoric

Choosing to title his piece, “A Familiar Fundamentalist Dog Whistle,” and speaking of believers as using their “dog whistles” to “screech” plainly shows that Pastor Fuller was not properly mindful of how his words would come across to the very people to whom he apparently thinks that he has made a substantive and gracious (?) appeal.

Immediately upon encountering this title, it was clear to me that this post was not the edifying offering of an obedient servant of the Lord who had given much careful thought to vital divine instruction about how to engage in such ministry:

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

2 Timothy 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

I urge Pastor Fuller to give serious attention to his unhelpful and unedifying use of such inflammatory rhetoric in his post and to take whatever public steps are needed to make right this unrighteous public conduct by a minister of Christ.


1A Familiar Fundamentalist Dog Whistle (scriptureandplainreason.com)

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

As a Christian, I passionately hate the practice of cremating human bodies. God’s people should hate and reject cremation for many reasons, including the following:

—Cremation is a horrifically unnatural and unfitting approach to the final disposition of the bodies (especially the bones) of our dead loved ones.

—Christian acceptance of cremation is teaching God’s people to devalue the sanctity of the bones of their dead loved ones.

The proper disposition of human bones is not to burn and smash them in the horrifically gruesome and dishonoring practice of cremation.

God’s people should not cremate their loved ones!


See also Ezekiel 39: A Test Case for Certain Notions about Cremation versus Burial | A People for His Name

Burial Was Not a Jewish Cultural Practice in the OT

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Acronyms are useful tools for conveniently and repeatedly referring to longer expressions. Through my intense biblical and theological studies over the past 12 or so years, I am convinced that we can only come to greater unity and work toward ending the so-called worship wars by rigorously examining what Scripture says that pertains to what we should believe about two key realities that apply to all human beings: the image of God in man and common grace.

To that end, I think that a good way to speak about the combined force of these two realities is to speak about all people as being “commonly graced image bearers.” Instead of using this long phrase repeatedly, I am going to start using the acronym “CGIB” in my writing and speaking.

Thoughts?

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

I have actively participated in many discussions on Sharper Iron since November of 2018. In this post, I have compiled nearly all my discussion posts on music and worship as well as on other topics.

In addition, I have also listed other discussions that I did not start, but I did participate in them. The numbered listing for my posts on music and worship are in chronological order; those in the second listing are grouped by topic.

Posts on Music and Worship

  1. How does God want Christians to profit concerning worship from Exodus 32:17-20?
  2. Is Exodus 32:17-18 divine revelation about worship music? | SHARPER IRON
  3. Does Job 41:11b apply to all musical styles/genres?
  4. Bible passages that guide us about secular/unbelieving criticisms of Christian worship music/ministry?
  5. What does Scripture teach about all music without words?
  6. Are there any Bible passages that specifically support the use of music to evangelize unbelievers?
  7. Little interest in discussing what the Bible says about music
  8. Does Scripture record that musical instruments were used in pagan worship?
  9. Best books that support the use of CCM, CWM, etc?
  10. Adding Regular Corporate Shouting of Praise in Our Worship
  11. What does Genesis 4:21 teach us about music?
  12. What does Genesis 31:27 teach us about music?
  13. We Must Heed the Vital Message of 1 Corinthians 10:18-20
  14. Did OT Israel create anything new in terms of music?
  15. Who do you think is the most important musician in human history?
  16. “Why a Series on Psalms?” | SHARPER IRON
  17. Does God accept worship from some unbelievers?
  18. What Is the Greatest/Best Sacred Song of All Time?
  19. What Does 1 Samuel 16:14-23 teach about music?
  20. Who do you believe is the greatest songwriter of all time?
  21. How many classes of *living* beings exist that produce music?
  22. What Does 1 Corinthians 2:14 Teach about What Unbelievers Cannot Know?
  23. Does Romans 8:19-22 apply to music without words?
  24. What Do Daniel 3:5, 7, 10, and 15 Reveal about Worship Music?
  25. Wrong Views, Disunity, and “The Worship Wars”
  26. Does God love all kinds of music because He invented it all?
  27. The Bible and Music: What Does God Want Us to Know, Believe, and Do?
  28. Was Jesus of Nazareth the Greatest Singer and Musician of All Time?
  29. Divine Selectivity in Worship: What Should We Believe?
  30. Shamanism, Percussion, and First Corinthians 6:12
  31. Did the Israelites Use Drum-Like Instruments in The Worship in the Solomonic Temple?
  32. Are Some Kinds of Instrumental Music Objectively Better Than Others?

Posts on Other Topics or Other Discussions That I Did Not Start

Steve Pettit and the Skillman Family

Public worship and Exodus 28:42: “from hips to the thighs”

Golden Calf in Psalm 106

How Acts 7:39-41 Illumines A Proper Understanding of the Golden Calf Incident (GCI)

Is food good but amoral? | SHARPER IRON

Why is 1 Timothy 5:23 in the Bible?

Does Scripture teach that cremation is an acceptable practice for believers?

“Is Cremation Christian”?

How does God want Christians to profit concerning evangelism from Acts 22:14-15?

Toward a More Accurate Theology of Evangelism

Ezekiel 40-48: National Israel, the Church, or something else?

How are you going to keep yourself unspotted from the world?

“Assailment-by-Entailment”

Does *the Bible Itself* “Use” Guilt by Association (GBA)?

Two Important Insights from the Biblical Record about Manasseh

What perspicuity of the Scripture does not mean

What Is Sound Doctrine concerning the Doctrinal Importance of Narratives in Scripture?

Was Solomon a true believer who “lost his salvation”?

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

I recently posted the following line of biblical reasoning online on two different sites:

Instrumental music that is not pleasing or acceptable to God

All true believers must accept anything that God says when He says it explicitly.

James 3:15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

This revelation from God teaches us that there is wisdom that is not His that is earthly, sensual, and demonic.

If we do anything with wisdom that is not from God, that thing that we do will be and is done with earthly, sensual, and demonic wisdom.

Doing anything, therefore, that pertains to instrumental music with *wisdom that is not from God* produces instrumental music that is earthly, sensual, and demonic.

Such instrumental music, of necessity, is not pleasing or acceptable to God.

To say that it is not possible to do anything pertaining to instrumental music with wisdom that is not from God must be proven from Scripture–it cannot and must not be merely asserted, assumed, or presupposed.

Is there any proof from Scripture itself that it is not possible to do anything pertaining to instrumental music with wisdom that is not from God?

I believe that this line of reasoning is solidly biblical and guides us correctly about a key issue that has profound ramifications for both our doctrine and practice of music.

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

In several previous articles, I have treated Scripture concerning various aspects of the surpassing musical wisdom of Solomon. Beyond the evidence that God has given us in Scripture for Solomon’s surpassingly excellent wisdom concerning songs and singing, He has even provided us with explicit revelation concerning Solomon’s surpassing excellence concerning two musical instruments.

Surpassingly Excellent Harps and Psalteries

Using algum trees supplied to him by Huram, Solomon made harps and psalteries:

2 Chronicles 9:11 And the king made of the algum trees terraces to the house of the LORD, and to the king’s palace, and harps and psalteries for singers: and there were none such seen before in the land of Judah.

This revelation is striking for what it says about the harps and psalteries that Solomon made—”there were none such seen before in the land of Judah.” The harps and psalteries that Solomon made were the finest that had ever been seen in Judah!

Given that the Israelites had been using these two instruments in divine worship prior to God’s giving Solomon the all-excelling wisdom, understanding, and knowledge that He gave him (cf. 1 Chron. 13:8), we thus learn from this explicit biblical statement that these instruments were superior even to the best harps and psalteries that the Israelites had previously been using for the worship of God! Moreover, given that Solomon made these instruments with the wisdom that God gave him that excelled “all the wisdom of Egypt” (1 Kings 4:30), we have certainty that these instruments were superior to any harps and psalteries that the Egyptians had ever had.

Conclusion

Based on what God has explicitly revealed to us about the harps and psalteries that Solomon made, we learn that the all-excelling wisdom, understanding, and knowledge that God gave Solomon included all-excelling wisdom, understanding, and knowledge about these two key musical instruments that God Himself ordained were to be used to worship Him (Ps. 33:2-3; 98:5; 150:3). Through Solomon, God thus gave to the Israelites the finest harps and psalteries in the world so that they would be used in His temple to glorify Him with the finest music in all the world!

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Scripture explicitly reveals some information about Solomon and music that could be easily overlooked:

Ecclesiastes 2:8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.

The Spirit here reveals to us that Solomon acquired for himself male and female singers. Given the context of this information in its own verse (his statements in the first part of the verse that he acquired the most precious metals and the distinctive treasure of kings), we understand that these were not just ordinary singers—they were singers who knew how to sing at excelling levels and did so.

In order to rightly assess the fuller significance of this information, we must learn more from Scripture about how Solomon acquired these singers.

Solomon Acquired Singers through All-Excelling Wisdom

Rightly assessing just how good these singers were requires that we give careful attention to what the broader context within the book teaches us about how Solomon acquired these singers:

Ecclesiastes 1:16 I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge. 17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.

These passages show that Solomon knew that he had excelled in wisdom above everyone that had been before him in Jerusalem (Eccl. 1:16). His knowing that he had that all-surpassing knowledge makes what he then says even more remarkable—he applied his heart to know wisdom (Eccl. 1:17a)!

When, therefore, we read in Eccl. 2:1-8 of all the areas in which Solomon applied his heart to know wisdom—including his acquiring to himself male and female singers (Eccl. 2:8)—we must hold that Solomon got those singers to himself by giving his heart to know wisdom about singers and singing.

We further know that this interpretation is correct because Solomon explicitly said even earlier in the book that he gave his heart to search out and seek by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven, which, of necessity, therefore, included wisdom concerning singers and their singing:

Ecclesiastes 1:13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.

Given that God enlarged Solomon’s heart exceedingly and gave him exceedingly much wisdom, understanding, and knowledge (1 Kings 4:29; 2 Chron. 1:12) and given that he applied his heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning everything that is done (Eccl. 1:13), we can be certain that Solomon acquired these singers through the application of all-excelling wisdom, understanding, and knowledge!

Conclusion

Based on this line of biblical reasoning, we learn all the following from the biblical information about Solomon’s acquiring singers for himself:

As the richest king ever (cf. 1 Kings 3:13; cf. 10:23), Solomon had the position, power, and wealth to acquire for himself the finest singers possible. As the wisest person ever in the history of the world (except for Jesus of Nazareth), king Solomon had the unparalleled wisdom, understanding, and knowledge to rightly assess who were the finest singers that he could get for himself.

These two considerations coupled with the explicit statement that by way of necessary application shows us that Solomon sought out and acquired these singers by applying his heart to that matter proves that Solomon had to have and did have all-excelling wisdom not just concerning musical lyrics but also concerning the singing of those lyrics and who the people were who could sing them in the best ways possible.

We must also conclude, therefore, that Solomonic Israelite kinds of singing were the best kinds of singing in the world (cf. God’s revealing that Solomon’s wisdom excelled “all the wisdom of Egypt” (1 Kings 4:30), which necessarily therefore included all Egyptian wisdom about singing and kinds of singing). We thus have biblical basis to hold that through Solomon God gave Israel the best singers, singing, and kinds of singing in all the world.


See also The Importance of the All-Excelling Musical Supremacy of Solomon’s Wisdom

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

To fully understand and accept the all-excelling musical supremacy of the wisdom that God gave Solomon, we must rightly appreciate and accept the importance of Solomon’s all-excelling calling to build a house for the name of the Lord. The following nine passages reveal these truths to us:

2 Sam. 7:12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.

1 Chron. 22:5 And David said, Solomon my son is young and tender, and the house that is to be builded for the LORD must be exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries: I will therefore now make preparation for it. So David prepared abundantly before his death.

1 Chron. 22:9 Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. 10 He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever.

1 Chron. 29:1 Furthermore David the king said unto all the congregation, Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet young and tender, and the work is great: for the palace is not for man, but for the LORD God.

1 Chron. 29:25 And the LORD magnified Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed upon him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.

2 Chron. 1:1 And Solomon the son of David was strengthened in his kingdom, and the LORD his God was with him, and magnified him exceedingly.

2 Chron. 2:1 And Solomon determined to build an house for the name of the LORD, and an house for his kingdom.

2 Chron. 2:4 Behold, I build an house to the name of the LORD my God, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him sweet incense, and for the continual shewbread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the LORD our God. This is an ordinance for ever to Israel. 5 And the house which I build is great: for great is our God above all gods.

2 Chron. 2:9 Even to prepare me timber in abundance: for the house which I am about to build shall be wonderful great.

These passages profoundly and abundantly set forth the matchless glory of the Solomonic temple. Unlike any other physical structure ever built by any other peoples in the history of the world, this house was a house for the name of the LORD (2 Chron. 2:1).

This house had to be and was of unmatched greatness because it was “not for man, but for the LORD God” (1 Chron. 29:1) who was and is great “above all gods” (2 Chron. 2:5). This house was “wonderful great” (2 Chron. 2:9). It had to be and was “exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries” (1 Chron. 22:5).

The combined force of all these inspired statements shows that there has never been another physical structure in the history of the world that has even remotely compared to the greatness of the Solomonic temple. Keeping that truth in mind and accounting for the divinely ordained immense importance of music in the Solomonic temple (for example, 2 Chron. 5:11-14), we must accept and recognize that God gave Solomon the all-excelling musical wisdom, understanding, and knowledge that He did because the music of that temple had to be the greatest music ever in the history of the world for the sake of the glory of the one and only living and true God!

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.