Archives For Theology

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.

 

Scripture certainly teaches that God is love (1 John 4:8) and that He loves the world (John 3:16). Knowing these truths about God, many think that to hate anyone is to not be like God.

Scripture, however, shows that such thinking is wrong. Scripture plainly teaches that God hates evil people:

Psalm 5:5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

Psalm 7:11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.

Psalm 11:5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.

Moreover, not only does Scripture teach that God hates evil people, but also it teaches that His people hate evil people:

Psalm 26:5 I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.

Psalm 31:6 I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the LORD.

Psalm 139:19 Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. 20 For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain. 21 Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.

Application

Scripture teaches that God hates evil people. It reveals that His people hate evil people. To hate evil people is to be like God!

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?

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!

Verses about the Occult

August 7, 2020

Scripture has at least 61 verses in it that concern the occult in various ways. Only by studying all of these texts (and any others that I may have missed) thoroughly and carefully will we have the understanding about this subject that we should.

Genesis–Deuteronomy

Gen. 41:8  And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled; and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof: and Pharaoh told them his dream; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh.

Gen. 41:24  And the thin ears devoured the seven good ears: and I told this unto the magicians; but there was none that could declare it to me.

Exod. 7:11  Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.

Exod. 7:22  And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the LORD had said.

Exod. 8:7  And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt.

Exod. 8:18  And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not: so there were lice upon man, and upon beast.

Exod. 8:19  Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.

Exod. 9:11  And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.

Exod. 22:18  Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

Lev. 19:26  Ye shall not eat any thing with the blood: neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times.

Lev. 19:31  Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.

Lev. 20:6  And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.

Lev. 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.

Num. 23:23  Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought!

Num. 24:1  And when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness.

Deut. 18:10  There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,

Deut. 18:11  Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.

Joshua–2 Chronicles

Jos. 13:22  Balaam also the son of Beor, the soothsayer, did the children of Israel slay with the sword among them that were slain by them.

1 Sam. 15:23  For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

1 Sam. 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.

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.

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.

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?

2 Ki. 9:22  And it came to pass, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, Is it peace, Jehu? And he answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?

2 Ki. 17:17  And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

2 Ki. 21:6  And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

2 Ki. 23:24  Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD.

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;

2 Chr. 33:6  And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

Psalms–Ecclesiastes

Ps. 58:5  Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely.

Eccl. 10:11  Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.

Isaiah–Jeremiah

Isa. 2:6  Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers.

Isa. 8:19  And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?

Isa. 19:3  And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards.

Isa. 29:4  And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.

Isa. 47:9  But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments.

Isa. 47:12  Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail.

Isa. 57:3 But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore.

Jer. 27:9  Therefore hearken not ye to your prophets, nor to your diviners, nor to your dreamers, nor to your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, which speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon:

Daniel

Dan. 1:20  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.

Dan. 2:2  Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.

Dan. 2:10  The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king’s matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean.

Dan. 2:27  Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king;

Dan. 4:7  Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers: and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known unto me the interpretation thereof.

Dan. 4:9  O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof.

Dan. 5:7  The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.

Dan. 5:11  There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers;

Micah–Malachi

Mic. 5:12  And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers:

Nah. 3:4  Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.

Mal. 3:5  And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.

Acts

Acts 8:9 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:

Acts 8:11 And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.

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:

Acts 13:8  But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.

Acts 16:16  And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:

Acts 19:19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.

Galatians

Gal. 5:20  Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

Revelation

Rev. 9:21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

Rev. 18:23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.

Rev. 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.

Rev. 22:15  For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

 

What should we think and do concerning making use of the abilities of unbelievers and of products made by them? Because believers should base all their doctrine and practice on what God has revealed in Scripture, this post compiles biblical passages that provide direction about this matter.

David and Solomon made use of non-Israelite people and products on various occasions. Considering these passages provides instruction for us.

David

David used Goliath’s sword to kill Goliath and later availed himself of the sword again when he needed a weapon.

1 Samuel 17:51 Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.

1 Samuel 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.

David also had put on him a crown that was on the head of an Ammonite king.

2 Samuel 12:30 And he took their king’s crown from off his head, the weight whereof was a talent of gold with the precious stones: and it was set on David’s head. And he brought forth the spoil of the city in great abundance.

David employed skilled craftsmen from Tyre to make his house.

1 Chronicles 14:1 Now Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and timber of cedars, with masons and carpenters, to build him an house.

After defeating an enemy, David took for himself chariots belonging to the enemy.

1 Chronicles 18:4 And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven thousand horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: David also houghed all the chariot horses, but reserved of them an hundred chariots.

Solomon

Solomon recognized the excellence of the Sidonians in hewing timber and availed himself of that resource.

1 Kings 5:6 Now therefore command thou that they hew me cedar trees out of Lebanon; and my servants shall be with thy servants: and unto thee will I give hire for thy servants according to all that thou shalt appoint: for thou knowest that there is not among us any that can skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians.

Solomon employed a highly skillful half-Israelite man in making the temple of God.1

1 Kings 7:13 And king Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre. 14 He was a widow’s son of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in brass: and he was filled with wisdom, and understanding, and cunning to work all works in brass. And he came to king Solomon, and wrought all his work.

Solomon had his servants collaborate with knowledgeable sailors of Tyre.

1 Kings 9:27 And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon.

Solomon imported chariots from Egypt and then exported them to others.

1 Kings 10:29 And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and an horse for an hundred and fifty: and so for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, did they bring them out by their means.

Application

These passages show that both David and Solomon took advantage of the skillfulness of certain non-Israelites (or half-Jewish men) in certain areas of their expertise. They also made use of some products made by non-Israelite peoples.

These passages provide a biblical basis for believers’ making use of certain unbelievers for accomplishing certain tasks in their lives. This revelation also shows that believers may make legitimate use of certain products made by some unbelievers.


1 Scripture does not provide definitive information for us to know with certainty whether this skillful half-Israelite was an unbeliever or a believer.

“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?

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

God as Judge in the Psalms

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

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

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

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

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

God as Savior in the Psalms

The Psalms speak of God as the Savior one time:

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

A Revealing Comparison

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

Questions for Application

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

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

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

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

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

Revelation 11:3-10 powerfully attests to the biblical importance of burial:

Revelation 11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. 6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.

7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. 8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. 10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.

During the cataclysmic event of the last days, God will direct two witnesses who will prophesy in a unique ministry lasting for 1260 days. These two witnesses will engage in a miraculous ministry that will bring great torment to the whole world.

When they have accomplished their God-given mission, the beast that will arise from the bottomless pit will slay them. The world will rejoice greatly at their demise and will not permit their dead bodies to be buried.

Three and a half days after their deaths, God will miraculously raise them from the dead and then cause them to ascend up into heaven while their enemies watch (Rev. 11:11-12).

Discussion

Although these witnesses will die in Jerusalem (cf. 11:8, “where our Lord was crucified”), the Spirit does not explicitly say that they are Jewish people. Yet, the Spirit highlights that the world will not allow them to be buried.

By doing so, the Spirit highlights in a profound way that burial will continue to be the will of God for His servants regardless of how far removed in time from biblical times their deaths take place! He also teaches us that He wants His people buried after their deaths even when the entire world stands in opposition to their being buried.

Application

Burial is an important part of the testimony of believers to a world that stands in opposition to God. God’s people should not have anything to do with the unbiblical practice of cremation. They should bury their own whenever they have any say in what happens to His people after they die!

The harp is the most important musical instrument in Scripture. This importance comprises at least the following truths that can be grouped into three categories:

Earliest Information about Music Mentions the Harp

The oldest chronological information in Scripture about human musical activity mentions the harp:

Genesis 4:21 And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.

The first canonical statement about music mentions the harp:

Genesis 4:21 And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.

Divine Commands about the Use of the Harp

God has commanded His people multiple times to use the harp to worship Him:

2 Chronicles 29:25 And he set the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, and of Gad the king’s seer, and Nathan the prophet: for so was the commandment of the LORD by his prophets.

Psalm 33:2 Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.

Psalm 81:2 Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery.

Psalm 147:7 Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:

Psalm 150:3 Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.

God has commanded the whole world to use the harp to worship Him:

Psalm 98:4 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. 5 Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.

Uniqueness of the Harp among Musical Instruments

The harp is the only musical instrument used in the only account in Scripture of God’s using humanly played music to deliver a human from demonically caused affliction:

1 Samuel 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.

The harp is the only musical instrument that Scripture describes as pleasant:

Psalm 81:2 Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery.

Scripture mentions only the harp as the musical instrument that is played in the worship music of heaven1:

Revelation 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

Revelation 14:2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:

Revelation 15:2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.

Applications

1. Christians should accept the surpassing biblical importance of the harp above all other musical instruments. They should also disciple others about that importance.

2. Christians should learn to play the harp for use in corporate worship, and they should use it regularly in corporate worship.

3. Christians should disciple the whole world to learn to play the harp and use it in corporate worship.

4. Christians should listen to instrumental sacred music played on the harp by consecrated believers. In addition, they should esteem such musical use of the harp as pleasant.


1 Scripture does also reveal the use of trumpets in heaven, but none of those statements are explicitly about their use in the worship music of heaven.