Archives For Theology

Writing about ungodly people who had infiltrated the people of God, Jude declared the following:

Jude 1:11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.

In this statement, Jude pronounced a divine woe on these evil men for their sinfulness, including their having gone in the way of Cain. Clearly, this part of his statement thus makes known an aspect of their wickedness for which they had incurred this declaration of God’s judgment on them.

We must also not fail to notice that the Spirit inspired Jude to issue this condemnation of these people without defining in any way what comprises “the way of Cain.” In fact, we are not given any information in Scripture by which we can know what this sinfulness of these wicked people actually was that resulted in this inspired statement that explicitly associated them with the wickedness of Cain.

God clearly condemned these people for being wicked, and He did so by associating them with one or more unspecified aspects of the wickedness of Cain. This passage therefore certainly shows that Scripture does “use” guilt by association to speak about the wickedness of people without explaining or showing how their wickedness was the same or similar to the wickedness of another sinful person with which they were associated!

 

Copyright © 2011-2021 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Over several years of online exchanges with various believers who defend the use of CCM, I have encountered persistent claims that I believe are very mistaken and dangerous claims. What’s even more disturbing is that I have had several exchanges with believers who themselves are generally musically conservative but have fiercely made some of the very same claims that some of those CCM defenders have made.

The Claims of Some CCM Defenders concerning Addressing Music of the Occult

I have had some very intense exchanges with some supporters of CCM who have claimed that I must do the following concerning various musics of the occult against which I have spoken and written:

1. Show how and why it is demonic

2. Define the terms that I use to speak of it

3. Provide specific examples of it

4. Give detailed, specific information about it

Are these legitimate claims or are they very mistaken and dangerous claims? To address this matter, we need to look carefully at how the glorified Christ handled issues concerning the occult in a church late in the first century AD.

The Glorified Christ’s Confrontation of Issues about the Occult in a Church

The glorified Christ fiercely confronted believers in the church in Thyatira concerning issues about the occult in their midst:

Rev 2:18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;

19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.

20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

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.

In this passage, Christ reproached sinful people in a church who had allowed a false teacher in the church named Jezebel to have very perverse influence in the church (Rev. 2:20-23).

By striking contrast, Christ later spoke of people in the church about whom He said that they had not come to know “the depths of Satan,” as others in the church spoke of (Rev. 2:24).

Saying these things, Christ implicitly revealed that there were both people in the church who had come to know “the depths of Satan” and those who had not.

This key revelation about what some people in the church had come to know requires very careful treatment to address whom we should follow in our day concerning issues about occult music—various CCM defenders or the glorified Christ.

Notice carefully all the things that the glorified Christ did not do concerning what He implicitly revealed about certain people in the church having known “the depths of Satan.”

1. Having accepted at face value their characterization of whatever that knowledge was as being demonic, He did not argue for why it was demonic or explain how it was demonic.

2. He used their term for describing that knowledge and did not define in any way their term that He used to speak out implicitly against people’s knowing what these demonic depths were!

3. He did not provide any examples—specific or otherwise—about what these demonic depths were!

4. He did not give any detailed, specific information about what these demonic depths were!

5. He did not place any burden on those who had not known these demonic depths to do research and learn more information about what these demonic depths were!

Discussion

Applying directly how we see the glorified Christ Himself dealt with people in a church about coming to know about things of the occult, devoted believers do not have to show how or why music of the occult is demonic—they must accept as valid that characterization of it by those who use that music. They do not have to and must not seek to show how or why it is demonic.

Devoted believers are fully justified in using the terms that occultists use to speak of their music and in not defining those terms in any way. They must not seek to define for themselves what those terms mean.

Devoted believers must not provide specific examples or give specific, detailed information about music of the occult! It is fully biblical to reject music of the occult without doing any of these things.1

Conclusion

Devoted believers must not follow what some CCM defenders claim must be done concerning addressing issues about music of the occult; rather, we must follow the glorified Christ in addressing such things by holding as valid designations from occultists that their music is occult music.

Furthermore, we must speak only generically about it using their terms, not seek to define those terms, not provide any examples, and not provide any specific, detailed information!2

Finally, we must not seek any in-depth knowledge about music of the occult. Rather, we must reject all of it categorically!


1 Concerning understanding Jesus’ example as establishing these prohibitions, I believe that this approach applies specifically to things concerning the occult; I am not arguing that is necessarily the case concerning addressing other matters for which Jesus did not provide specific information, etc.

Furthermore, what Jesus did here is in keeping with the divine mandate not to even inquire how certain evil people worship their gods (Deut. 12:30-31) and the command to be simple concerning evil (Rom. 16:19) as well as the teaching of Ephesians 5:11.

2 For additional biblical support, see my article, “Is Defining Terms Vital in the CCM Debate?

Copyright © 2011-2021 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Many believers wrongly think that for something to be sinful, the Bible must tell us that it is sinful. At least 6 passages teach us the key truth about human sinfulness that in Scripture God has not provided us with exhaustive information about everything that is sinful.

Deut. 23:9 When the host goeth forth against thine enemies, then keep thee from every wicked thing.

Ps. 101:3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.

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

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.

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;

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.

We must learn from the combined force of these six passages that it is not true that if Scripture does not say that something is sinful, it is not and cannot be sinful.

Copyright © 2011-2021 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Everything that God has ever said is right. Psalm 66:4 speaks of a future time when all the earth will worship God and sing to Him:

Psalm 66:1 <To the chief Musician, A Song or Psalm.> Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: 2 Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious. 3 Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee. 4 All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah.

All the earth has never yet done so. Whatever God says is going to happen will happen.

Someday, Psalm 66:4 will be fulfilled! All the earth is going to worship God and sing to Him someday!

Copyright © 2011-2021 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

By examining what Scripture reveals about divine rejection of certain altars, an important truth emerges that must inform our understanding concerning divine rejection of certain instrumental music used in worship.

Divine Rejection of Altars

Scripture explicitly reveals to us that there were altars made by humans that God rejected:

Deuteronomy 7:5 But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.

God commanded His people to destroy these altars of the Canaanites as well as all their objects of false worship. It is important to note that the altars were not themselves objects that were worshiped; they were man-made objects that were used in worship.

Those altars were made by people who were made in God’s image. Although they were cultural products made by such people, God rejected those altars and demanded that His people do likewise.

Divine Rejection of Instrumental Music Used in Worship

Just as God commanded His people to reject the altars of those people, so His people were to reject as well the other facets of how they worshiped their false deities (Deut. 12:29-30). Because this divine mandate necessarily included their instrumental music that they used in worship, we see that God rejected their instrumental music used in their worship as well as their altars.

The fact that people made in the image of God made that instrumental music did not mean that music itself had to have been acceptable to God for use by His people in worship.

Discussion

In response to this line of reasoning, some claim that God created all music. Such a claim has no explicit biblical basis.

Even so, to arrive at that position, some say that God made people in His image and they are sub-creators so that He is the Creator of all music in that way.

By the same reasoning, we would have to hold that God is the Creator of all altars. Yet, we see that God demanded the complete rejection of pagan altars.

If one, therefore, yet takes the approach that God is the Creator of all music, then one would not have any basis to deny that there is also instrumental music that God created that He wants His people to reject. That conclusion, however, is precisely what many believers who reason in these ways will not accept.

Conclusion

Just as God has rejected certain altars, so He has rejected certain instrumental music used in worship. The image of God in man does not mean that God will accept whatever instrumental music humans have chosen to use in worship.

Copyright © 2011-2021 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Through both his example and his teaching, the apostle Paul highlights the importance of thanking God continually for other believers in our prayers for them. Learning from him, let us do likewise.

Paul’s Example

Rom. 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

1 Cor. 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;

Eph. 1:15-16 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

Phil. 1:3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,

Col. 1:3 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,

1 Thess. 1:2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;

1 Thess. 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

2 Thess. 1:3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;

2 Thess. 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

Phlm. 1:4 I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers,

Paul’s Teaching

1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

Application

In our praying for other believers, let us express thanks to God continually for them. Doing so, we will pray for them the way that God wants us to pray for them.

Copyright © 2011-2021 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

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

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

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

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

Shut Up and Sealed in the Bottomless Pit

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

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

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

1 Peter 5:8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Revelation 2

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

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

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

Revelation 2:13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

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

Conclusion

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

Copyright © 2011-2021 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

I recently participated in two discussions about the millennium that were quite eye-opening for me:

Pre-Mil Fallacy

What Do You Believe about The Millennium?

I am very disappointed that only 12 out of 29 people who voted in the poll in the second discussion said that they believe in a future, literal 1000-year millennial reign of Christ on the earth.

Copyright © 2011-2021 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Scripture provides revelation about drink offerings in 60 verses, all in the Old Testament. Psalm 16:4 is unique among those verses because it attests to an undeniably evil aspect of idolatry that was never part of any worship that pleased God:

Psalm 16:4 Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips.

David here attests to his knowledge of idolaters who offered blood as drink offerings to their gods. This aspect of their worship was not just evil because it was offered to the wrong object of worship—it was also evil because God has never authorized the offering of any blood as a drink offering in any worship.

Theological Significance

A right theology of idolatrous worship recognizes that such false worship is not limited to worship directed to the wrong object of worship or to wrong motives or heart state; it can and does also extend to doing things in worship that are wrong regardless of the object to whom they are offered.

Application

When we interpret biblical accounts of idolatrous worship, we must take into account that Psalm 16:4 explicitly reveals the offering of blood as a drink offering in such worship. We are therefore never justified in automatically asserting that what was offered to the idol(s) in a given account was acceptable to God and the only problem in that idolatry was that it was offered to the wrong object.

For example, consider what took place in the Golden Calf Incident(GCI) when the Israelites first engaged in idolatrous worship as a nation:

Exodus 32:5 And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD. 6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.

We know from Scripture that God required drink offerings of wine to be offered daily with the burnt offerings that were offered to Him (Exod. 29:40; cf. Num. 15:5; 28:7, 9). He also required drink offerings of wine to be offered with the burnt offerings in the Feasts of the Lord (Lev. 23:12-13;18, 37).

We do not know whether drink offerings were offered as a part of the burnt offerings in the feast to the Lord in the GCI (Exod. 32:5-6). It would seem that the Spirit intends us to infer that they were, but we cannot be certain that they were.

If they did offer drink offerings with their burnt offerings, because they were worshiping an idol, we cannot just assume that they offered drink offerings of wine but just offered it to the idol instead. Based on Psalm 16:4, it may very well be that they offered blood as a drink offering on this occasion in some or all of their burnt offerings.

Conclusion

Psalm 16:4 teaches us that we must keep in mind that idolaters in Scripture offered drink offerings of blood to their idols. Our understanding of the evil character of their worship therefore should not ever automatically be in any given account that they were only worshiping the wrong object but everything else about their worship was acceptable to God.

Copyright © 2011-2021 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

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

Daniel 5

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

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

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

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

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

Daniel 5 versus Daniel 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2011-2021 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.