Archives For Theology

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.

Many times in Scripture, God uses undefined or unspecified terminology. At least twelve such expressions instructively deal with similar subjects and show the biblical importance of such terminology.

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.

Ps. 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

Jer. 10:2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

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.

Rom. 1:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

1 Cor. 10:20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.

Gal. 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Eph. 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

1 Tim. 1:10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

1 Tim. 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

Rev. 2:24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.

Observations

Every one of these expressions deals with the practices, products, or some other aspects of evil entities, either human or supernatural or both.

Several have to do with things that are directly of the devil and his demons or indirectly so.

God’s frequent use of such terminology displays His profound wisdom, and we must pay close attention to His use of such terminology.

We do not have to be able to precisely define and delineate what this terminology means in order to speak about and discuss it.

We do not and cannot know comprehensively what all any of this terminology comprises.

 

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.

Scripture reveals a remarkable pervasiveness of practitioners of the occult among the enemies of God’s people. Both in the OT and in the NT, these evil people were continually active in the world engaging in opposition either to God’s people or to other people or to both.

Old Testament

In the Old Testament, Scripture reveals that four major enemies of God’s people were profoundly characterized by the presence of practitioners of the occult.

Egyptians

Genesis 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.

Exodus 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.

Isaiah 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.

Philistines

1 Samuel 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 Samuel 28:9 And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?

Assyrians

Nahum 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.

Babylonians

Isaiah 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.

Isaiah 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.

Daniel 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.

Daniel 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.

New Testament

Unlike in the OT, Scripture speaks mostly of individuals in the NT that were practitioners of the occult. Also, not all of them are presented explicitly as being among the enemies of God’s people.

Individuals in Various Places

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

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.

Rev. 9:20-21 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: 21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

Babylonians

Revelation 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.

 

Is there any biblical basis for believers to choose to abstain totally from drinking alcohol today? An application to believers today of two OT passages about divine prohibitions of drinking by certain people in certain places shows why choosing total abstinence from drinking alcohol is biblical.

Priests Were Prohibited from Drinking Alcohol in the Tabernacle and Will Be in the Millennial Temple

God demanded that Aaron and his sons who were priests in OT Israel could not drink any alcohol whenever they would enter into the tabernacle of the congregation:

Leviticus 10:8 And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, 9 Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye dieit shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: 10 And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; 11 And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.

God will also make the same demand of those who will serve as priests in the millennial temple:

Ezekiel 44:21 Neither shall any priest drink wine, when they enter into the inner court.

To understand how these passages have profound relevance to believers’ choosing to abstaining totally from alcohol today, we must bring to bear on our understanding not only what these passages teach us but also what the NT teaches is true of every believer.

NT Priests Who Choose to Abstain from Drinking Alcohol in Their Temples

Whereas only some of the people in Israel were priests, the NT teaches that every believer is a priest (1 Pet. 2:5; Rev. 1:6). Moreover, every believer’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19), which was not the case with the OT priests in Israel.

Arguing from the lesser to the greater in applying what God has revealed about His prohibiting priests from drinking alcohol within the tabernacle and the millennial temple to the truth that every NT believer is a priest whose body is the temple of the Spirit, it is biblical for NT believers to choose to abstain totally from drinking alcohol today.

It is understandable that unbelievers understand and practice music from a man-centered perspective. Believers, however, must reject a man-centered understanding and practice of music.

Three lines of biblical reasoning show that we must reject such an understanding and practice of music.

The Existence of Angelic Beings Who Produce Music in Heaven

Scripture reveals the existence of angelic beings who play music in heaven:

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

Revelation 8:6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. 7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.

The existence of angelic beings who produce music in heaven shows that humans are not the originators of all music and that they are not the producers of all the music of heaven. In fact, we do not have any basis that any of the music that these heavenly beings play is of human origin in any way.

Because the music of heaven is the most important music of all, we must reject an understanding and practice of music that is man-centered.

The Existence and Use of Musical Instruments Not Originated by Humans

Not only does the Bible reveal to us that angelic beings play music in heaven that is not at all of human origin, but also it reveals the existence and use of musical instruments that are not at all of human origin.

Revelation 8:2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.

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

We do not have any basis to hold that these instruments used in heaven were originated by humans. Humans, therefore, are not the originators of all musical instruments.

Because the music of heaven is the most important music of all, the existence and use of musical instruments in heaven that are not at all of human origin teaches us that we must reject an understanding and practice of music that is man-centered.

The Reality of Divine Production of Music

Most importantly, Scripture reveals that God Himself plays a musical instrument:

Zechariah 9:14 And the LORD shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the Lord GOD shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south.

Certainly, God did not learn anything about music from humans. His playing a musical instrument profoundly shows us that humans are not the originators of all music.

Furthermore, because any music produced by God is music that is perfect in every way, we plainly understand that we must reject an understanding and practice of music that is man-centered.

Application

By considering carefully what certain Scripture passages reveals about music and musical instruments that are not at all of human origin, we learn unmistakably that we must reject an understanding and practice of music that is man-centered. Rather, we must base our understanding and practice of music foremost on what Scripture reveals about the music of heaven and of heavenly beings, most of all of God Himself.

Many people think that seeing is believing. As a result, they hold that their never having seen supernatural beings with their own eyes disproves the existence of the supernatural.

Scripture, however, provides several remarkable passages that show that not seeing anything does not disprove the existence of the supernatural.

Balaam and His Donkey

Numbers 22:21 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab. 22 And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him. 23 And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way.

Numbers 22:31 Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.

For some time, Balaam’s donkey saw the angel of the Lord, but Balaam did not. Had someone asked Balaam whether there was an angel before him, he would have responded that there was not.

Only when the Lord opened his eyes did he see the angel of the Lord. Balaam’s not seeing the angel earlier was not proof that there was no angel present.

Elisha and His Servant

2 Kings 6:15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? 16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

Faced with a dire threat, Elisha’s servant only saw the enemies’ forces surrounding them. Only after Elisha had prayed did the Lord open the servant’s eyes to see the supernatural forces that also were all around them. His not having seen them earlier was not at all an indication that they were not there.

Daniel and Those with Him

Daniel 10:4 And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel; 5 Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: 6 His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. 7 And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.

Although Daniel saw a profound vision, the men with him did not see it even though it was real. Had they testified that they did not see anything at that time, their testimony would not have been proof that the supernatural does not exist.

Paul and Those with Him

Acts 9:3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. 7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.

Acts 9:27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus

When the Lord appeared to Paul and those who were with him, only Paul saw the Lord. Although the men who were with him did hear a voice, they did not see anyone.

Even though the Lord was present with them all, they did not see Him, as Paul did. Their testifying that they did not see anyone would have been a faulty testimony that no one was there with them.

Conclusion

In four explicit passages, Scripture reveals that various people did not see anything when there were supernatural beings actually present with them. These passages show that not seeing anything does not disprove the supernatural.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Application

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

No other chapter in Scripture highlights the importance and nature of faith the way Hebrews 11 does. This morning, I understood something about how this marvelous chapter underscores the importance of the Pentateuch for Christians in a way that I do not remember seeing before today.

Of the 40 verses in Hebrews 11, 37 verses either directly or indirectly concern named individuals who were exemplary for their faith in God. Of those 37 verses, Hebrews 11:4-29 comprises the largest unit because all of the people named in this unit are people whose primary accounts are all in the Pentateuch.

Named People in Hebrews 11:4-29
Name Verse(s) in Hebrews 11 Primary Accounts
Abel Heb. 11:4 Gen. 4
Enoch Heb. 11:5 Gen. 5
Noah Heb. 11:7 Gen. 6-9
Abraham Heb. 11:8-19 Gen. 11-25
Sarah Heb. 11:11 Gen. 11-23
Isaac Heb. 11:20 Gen. 21-35
Jacob Heb. 11:21 Gen. 25-50
Joseph Heb. 11:22 Gen. 30-50
Moses Heb. 11:23-29 Exod. 2 – Deut. 34

Based on this feature of Hebrews 11, we learn that Hebrews 11:4-29 distinctively underscores the importance of the Pentateuch for a believer’s having a right understanding of their having faith in God! Feeding on the Pentateuch is vital for our having the faith in God that He wants us as Christians to have!

Scripture reveals that God pronounced everything that He had made very good after He had finished His original work of creating everything (Gen. 1:31). After the Fall of man, however, it reveals that God has repeatedly made clear His displeasure with many angelic beings and many human beings.

Certain passages even raise the issue of divine displeasure with subhuman entities after the Fall, but do these passages really show God’s displeasure with them? The following treatment examines such passages and attempts to provide at least some understanding of them.

Cursing of the Serpent

God cursed the serpent for its role in the Fall of man:

Genesis 3:14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

His cursing the serpent shows His displeasure with it because of its sinful role in the deceiving of Eve.

Judgment of Beasts That Shed Human Blood

After the Noahic Flood, God revealed that He would hold accountable all beasts that shed human blood:

Genesis 9:5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man.

Later revelation that ordained the killing of oxen that gored humans shows God’s displeasure with animals that kill humans:

Exodus 21:29 But if the ox were wont to push with his horn in time past, and it hath been testified to his owner, and he hath not kept him in, but that he hath killed a man or a woman; the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death.

These passages teach us that God is displeased with animals that kills humans.

Cursing of a Fig Tree

Christ cursed a fig tree, showing His displeasure with it:

Mark 11:21 And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.

Remarkably, this passage reveals divine displeasure that was not even with an animal, but with a plant!

Cursing of Certain Lands

Whereas Scripture revealed that God cursed the ground after the Fall of man (Gen. 3:17), that revelation does not provide any indication of differences in God’s dealings with the ground depending on its having or not having certain characteristics. Later revelation, however, shows that some lands yet are blessed of God but others incur His displeasure:

Hebrews 6:7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: 8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

This passage is noteworthy because it shows that God is even displeased with certain lands that are not fruitful in the ways that they should be and produce things that are not desirable for them to bring forth.

Discussion

The passages discussed above reveal divine displeasure with various subhuman entities, including certain animals and plants. Scripture even reveals divine displeasure with certain lands!

How do we explain such displeasure? Certainly, God’s cursing of the serpent resulted from its sinful actions in deceiving Eve. Perhaps, we can even understand His ordering the execution of animals that shed human blood as resulting from their sinful actions.

Understanding divine displeasure with a fig tree and with lands, however, hardly could be the result of their having sinned. It seems that God’s displeasure with these entities must stem in some humanly inexplicable way in connection with the bondage of corruption to which God subjected all creation (Rom. 8:20-21).

Conclusion

Divine displeasure with something does not always result from the sinfulness of the entity itself. At least for some subhuman entities, such displeasure seems to display a noteworthy aspect of the Curse on the entire Creation that we cannot explain but must nevertheless account for in our theology of the state of all things after the Fall of man.