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?

The phrase “my God” occurs in Scripture 148 times in 137 verses in 32 books. A comparative evaluation of the frequency of the occurrence of this phrase in Psalms with its use in a modern hymnal reveals an important change that needs to be made in our hymnology.

Use in the Book of Psalms

Strikingly, the book of Psalms has the phrase 53x in 53 verses in 34 Psalms, which far exceeds its use in any other book of Scripture.

Because 34/150 Psalms have this phrase in them, we learn that 22.7% of the songs in the perfect hymnal of God use this expression. The significance of this frequency becomes clear when it is compared to the use of the phrase in a modern hymnal.

Use in a Modern Hymnal

Through an examination of more than 700 hymns in a modern hymnal, I discovered that the phrase “my God” occurs only 20 times in 13 songs in this hymnal! This data reveals that the entirety of the hymnal has the phrase in under 2% of the songs.

A Revealing Comparison

Comparing the less than 2% frequency of the songs that have the phrase in a modern hymnal to the 22.7% of the songs in the Psalms shows that the Psalms use this phrase more than ten times as often as this modern hymnal does. Because Psalms is an inspired hymnal, this data teaches us that we do not use this key phrase nearly as often as we should in our hymnody.

Application

Writers of sacred songs should allow the Psalms to shape every aspect of what they write. This study shows that we need to use the phrase “my God” much more often in our sacred songs today.

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.

In his gospel message at Caesarea, the apostle Peter proclaimed one of the finest one-verse summaries of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, God’s Christ:

Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

God powerfully used this content—along with everything else that he preached—to save all of Peter’s unsaved hearers on that occasion! A careful examination of this glorious gospel verse shows that Peter proclaimed a gospel message that many may question is suitable content to include in evangelism.

The Gospel Is a Trinitarian Message

First, Peter spoke of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in this gospel statement. He, therefore, gave a Trinitarian gospel message to his hearers. We should not think that witnessing that speaks only about Jesus is the best way because it keeps the message simpler.

The Gospel is a God-and-Jesus Message

Second, in addition to teaching us to give sinners a trinitarian gospel message, Acts 10:38 teaches us to give them a God-and-Jesus message. Note carefully, this verse does not itself directly testify that Jesus is God, even though that certainly is true.

Remarkably, this key gospel statement highlights that God anointed Jesus and that God was with Jesus. Neither of these truths is reducible to stating that Jesus was Himself fully God!

The Gospel is a Jesus-and-the-Devil Message

Third, Peter did not just preach a gospel message about God and human sinners—he testified of Jesus’ delivering multitudes of sinners from a sinful supernatural spirit being, the devil. Because many in our day deny the existence of supernatural evil, testifying to this content is all the more important today.

Furthermore, Peter did not think that telling sinners that Jesus lived a perfect sinless life (when he testified that Jesus “went about doing good”) was all that they needed to hear about His life. Instead, he also talked about His healing all that were oppressed of the devil. This aspect of the life of Jesus is a vital truth that we need to communicate to sinners (cf. 1 John 3:8).

Application

Using Acts 10:38 carefully in your evangelism is one of the best ways to communicate numerous vital truths to lost people! I urge you strongly to use this premier gospel verse in your evangelism.

Reincarnation is a very widespread religious view. Those who believe in it hold that our souls were pure to begin with, but because of the bad deeds that we have done in our previous lives, we are trapped in an ongoing cycle of birth-death-rebirth-death etc.

This cycle continues because of our bad deeds that we have done in previous lives, do in our current lives, and will do in our future lives.

In the following figure, I symbolize the pure soul with a cloud that has no black spots (karma from our bad deeds). Each blue arrow signifies a cycle of being born, dying, and then being reborn.

 

Because of the bad deeds that are attached to our pure souls, we continue in this cycle.

What People Believe about Deliverance from Reincarnation

Only when through being reborn numerous times and doing more good than evil in each future live will we get rid of all our bad karma. When we do that, our pure souls will be delivered from reincarnation and go to nirvana (symbolized by the cloud going up until it is one with the sun).

 

To many people, this explanation makes sense. A closer look, however, shows why this explanation is not true.

Why Reincarnation is Not True

Look carefully at the following figure. Had our souls originally been pure to begin with, we would never have entered into this cycle (symbolized by the red “x” on the first blue arrow).

 

Instead, the pure soul, because it would have no karma attached to it from any bad deeds that it would have done, would immediately go to nirvana. Because it would be pure to begin with, it would never enter the cycle of reincarnation!

No one should believe in reincarnation because what is taught about it is not true. Had our souls been pure to begin with, they would never have been trapped in such a cycle.

The Truth about Us

The Bible teaches that it is appointed to man once to die and then the judgment. According to God’s Word, reincarnation is not true. We only live once in this life and then we will stand before God the Judge of all.

God tells us that we must accept the truth that we have all sinned and come short of His glory. We cannot be liberated from the sins that we have done by doing more good deeds than bad deeds.

We will not have many future lives to purify ourselves completely so that God will not judge us. No one should believe in reincarnation!

Appeal

We all need to have all our sins forgiven. God promises forgiveness to all who repent toward Him and believe in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: 40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; 41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. 43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

Believe in the gospel of God and His Christ and be saved today!

First Samuel 16:14-23 speaks repeatedly of an “evil spirit” from God that tormented Saul. Does this phrase mean that God sent a demon to afflict Saul?

To answer this question, we need to look closely at certain aspects of the Hebrew words used to speak of that “evil spirit.” In 1 Samuel 16, ruah rangah is used repeatedly to speak of what was on Saul that troubled him.

1 Sam. 16:14  But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.

1 Sam. 16:14 וְר֧וּחַ יְהוָ֛ה סָ֖רָה מֵעִ֣ם שָׁא֑וּל וּבִֽעֲתַ֥תּוּ רֽוּחַ־רָעָ֖ה מֵאֵ֥ת יְהוָֽה׃

1 Sam. 16:15  And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee.

1 Sam. 16:15 וַיֹּאמְר֥וּ עַבְדֵֽי־שָׁא֖וּל אֵלָ֑יו הִנֵּה־נָ֧א רֽוּחַ־אֱלֹהִ֛ים רָעָ֖ה מְבַעִתֶּֽךָ׃

1 Sam. 16:16  Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well.

1 Sam. 16:16 יֹאמַר־נָ֤א אֲדֹנֵ֙נוּ֙ עֲבָדֶ֣יךָ לְפָנֶ֔יךָ יְבַקְשׁ֕וּ אִ֕ישׁ יֹדֵ֖עַ מְנַגֵּ֣ן בַּכִּנּ֑וֹר וְהָיָ֗ה בִּֽהְי֙וֹת עָלֶ֤יךָ רֽוּחַ־אֱלֹהִים֙ רָעָ֔ה וְנִגֵּ֥ן בְּיָד֖וֹ וְט֥וֹב לָֽךְ׃ פ

1 Sam. 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.

1 Sam. 16:23 וְהָיָ֗ה בִּֽהְי֤וֹת רֽוּחַ־אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶל־שָׁא֔וּל וְלָקַ֥ח דָּוִ֛ד אֶת־הַכִּנּ֖וֹר וְנִגֵּ֣ן בְּיָד֑וֹ וְרָוַ֤ח לְשָׁאוּל֙ וְט֣וֹב ל֔וֹ וְסָ֥רָה מֵעָלָ֖יו ר֥וּחַ הָרָעָֽה׃ 

Many interpreters believe that ruah rangah in this passage should be understood to denote a demon that God sent to afflict Saul. Some, however, deny that interpretation and argue that it means that some kind of impersonal influence from God came on Saul to trouble him.

To determine which understanding is correct, we need to examine a later passage where the Spirit speaks of the coming of that same “evil spirit” on Saul.

Ruah Rangah in 1 Samuel 18

In 1 Samuel 18, the Spirit uses the verb tsalah to speak of the coming of that same “evil spirit” (Heb. ruah rangah) on Saul on a later occasion:

1 Sam. 18:10 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand.

1 Sam. 18:10 וַיְהִ֣י מִֽמָּחֳרָ֗ת וַתִּצְלַ֣ח רוּחַ֩ אֱלֹהִ֙ים׀ רָעָ֤ה׀ אֶל־שָׁאוּל֙ וַיִּתְנַבֵּ֣א בְתוֹךְ־הַבַּ֔יִת וְדָוִ֛ד מְנַגֵּ֥ן בְּיָד֖וֹ כְּי֣וֹם׀ בְּי֑וֹם וְהַחֲנִ֖ית בְּיַד־שָׁאֽוּל׃

According to HOL, this verb means “to be strong, effective, powerful” when it is used with ruah earlier in the book in 1 Samuel 10:6.In 1 Samuel 18:10, therefore, the use of this verb with ruah as its subject conveys that the “evil spirit,” whatever that phrase signifies, came powerfully on Saul.

The following examination of all the other occurrences of tsalah in the Hebrew OT in which it has the same meaning shows us how we must understand what ruah rangah denotes in 1 Samuel 18 (and also in 1 Samuel 16 because the activity of the same spirit is in view in both passages).

Tsalah in Judges

In Judges, tsalah with that meaning occurs three times. Each time, ruah is used as the subject and signifies that the Spirit came powerfully on Samson.

Jdg. 14:6 And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand: but he told not his father or his mother what he had done.

Jdg. 14:6 וַתִּצְלַ֙ח עָלָ֜יו ר֣וּחַ יְהוָ֗ה וַֽיְשַׁסְּעֵ֙הוּ֙ כְּשַׁסַּ֣ע הַגְּדִ֔י וּמְא֖וּמָה אֵ֣ין בְּיָד֑וֹ וְלֹ֤א הִגִּיד֙ לְאָבִ֣יו וּלְאִמּ֔וֹ אֵ֖ת אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָשָֽׂה׃

Jdg. 14:19 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and slew thirty men of them, and took their spoil, and gave change of garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father’s house.

Jdg. 14:19 וַתִּצְלַ֙ח עָלָ֜יו ר֣וּחַ יְהוָ֗ה וַיֵּ֙רֶד אַשְׁקְל֜וֹן וַיַּ֥ךְ מֵהֶ֣ם׀ שְׁלֹשִׁ֣ים אִ֗ישׁ וַיִּקַּח֙ אֶת־חֲלִ֣יצוֹתָ֔ם וַיִּתֵּן֙ הַחֲלִיפ֔וֹת לְמַגִּידֵ֖י הַחִידָ֑ה וַיִּ֣חַר אַפּ֔וֹ וַיַּ֖עַל בֵּ֥ית אָבִֽיהוּ׃ פ

Jdg. 15:14 And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands.

Jdg. 15:14 הוּא־בָ֣א עַד־לֶ֔חִי וּפְלִשְׁתִּ֖ים הֵרִ֣יעוּ לִקְרָאת֑וֹ וַתִּצְלַ֙ח עָלָ֜יו ר֣וּחַ יְהוָ֗ה וַתִּהְיֶ֙ינָה הָעֲבֹתִ֜ים אֲשֶׁ֣ר עַל־זְרוֹעוֹתָ֗יו כַּפִּשְׁתִּים֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בָּעֲר֣וּ בָאֵ֔שׁ וַיִּמַּ֥סּוּ אֱסוּרָ֖יו מֵעַ֥ל יָדָֽיו׃

Tsalah in First Samuel

Aside from its occurrence in 1 Samuel 18:10, which we will examine later, tsalah occurs with that meaning four other times in First Samuel. Each time, ruah as its subject signifies that the Spirit came powerfully on someone, either Saul or David.

1 Sam. 10:6 And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.

1 Sam. 10:6 וְצָלְחָ֤ה עָלֶ֙יךָ֙ ר֣וּחַ יְהוָ֔ה וְהִתְנַבִּ֖יתָ עִמָּ֑ם וְנֶהְפַּכְתָּ֖ לְאִ֥ישׁ אַחֵֽר׃

1 Sam. 10:10 And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them.

1 Sam. 10:10 וַיָּבֹ֤אוּ שָׁם֙ הַגִּבְעָ֔תָה וְהִנֵּ֥ה חֶֽבֶל־נְבִאִ֖ים לִקְרָאת֑וֹ וַתִּצְלַ֤ח עָלָיו֙ ר֣וּחַ אֱלֹהִ֔ים וַיִּתְנַבֵּ֖א בְּתוֹכָֽם׃

1 Sam. 11:6 And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly.

1 Sam. 11:6 וַתִּצְלַ֤ח רֽוּחַ־אֱלֹהִים֙ עַל־שָׁא֔וּל (בְּשָׁמְעוֹ) [כְּשָׁמְע֖וֹ] אֶת־הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֑לֶּה וַיִּ֥חַר אַפּ֖וֹ מְאֹֽד׃

1 Sam. 16:13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.

1 Sam. 16:13 וַיִּקַּ֙ח שְׁמוּאֵ֜ל אֶת־קֶ֣רֶן הַשֶּׁ֗מֶן וַיִּמְשַׁ֣ח אֹתוֹ֘ בְּקֶ֣רֶב אֶחָיו֒ וַתִּצְלַ֤ח רֽוּחַ־יְהוָה֙ אֶל־דָּוִ֔ד מֵהַיּ֥וֹם הַה֖וּא וָמָ֑עְלָה וַיָּ֣קָם שְׁמוּאֵ֔ל וַיֵּ֖לֶךְ הָרָמָֽתָה׃ ס

Tsalah in Second Samuel

In its lone occurrence with that meaning in Second Samuel, tsalah does not have ruah as its subject. Instead, it has a large group of men as its subject and signifies that they rushed to the Jordan:

2 Sam. 19:17 And there were a thousand men of Benjamin with him, and Ziba the servant of the house of Saul, and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants with him; and they went over Jordan before the king.

2 Sam. 19:18 וְאֶ֙לֶף אִ֣ישׁ עִמּוֹ֘ מִבִּנְיָמִן֒ וְצִיבָ֗א נַ֚עַר בֵּ֣ית שָׁא֔וּל וַחֲמֵ֙שֶׁת עָשָׂ֥ר בָּנָ֛יו וְעֶשְׂרִ֥ים עֲבָדָ֖יו אִתּ֑וֹ וְצָלְח֥וּ הַיַּרְדֵּ֖ן לִפְנֵ֥י הַמֶּֽלֶךְ׃

Tsalah in Amos

In Amos, tsalah with that meaning occurs once. Although it does not have ruah as its subject, it has the Lord as its subject and signifies His breaking out powerfully to consume sinful people.

Amos 5:6 Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel.

Amos 5:6 דִּרְשׁ֥וּ אֶת־יְהוָ֖ה וִֽחְי֑וּ פֶּן־יִצְלַ֤ח כָּאֵשׁ֙ בֵּ֣ית יוֹסֵ֔ף וְאָכְלָ֥ה וְאֵין־מְכַבֶּ֖ה לְבֵֽית־אֵֽל׃

Discussion

The Spirit uses tsalah seven times in Scripture to speak of His own coming on people (Judg. 14:6, 19; 15:14; 1 Sam. 10:6, 10; 11:6; 16:13). Each time, ruah is the subject of tsalah.

Aside from its occurrence that is in question in 1 Samuel 18:10, tsalah with the same meaning occurs two other times in Scripture (2 Sam. 19:18; Amos 5:6). In both passages, although ruah is not its subject, it does have a personal noun as its subject (a large group of men in 2 Sam. 19:18; the Lord in Amos 5:6).

This evidence shows that aside from the nature of its subject in 1 Samuel 18:10 that we have not yet determined, tsalah with that meaning in Scripture always has a personal noun as its subject.

First Samuel 18:10 is the only other occurrence in Scripture of tsalah with that meaning, and it has ruah as its subject there. In every other passage that the Spirit has used this noun and verb combination, ruah denotes the coming of the Spirit Himself, who is a personal being, on human beings.

We can be confident, therefore, that ruah in 1 Samuel 18:10 denotes a personal entity that was a spirit that came on Saul and not some impersonal influence from God that came on Saul.2 The phrase ruah rangah certainly signifies here that it was an evil spirit, that is, a demon that came on Saul.

Conclusion

A thorough examination of the Spirit’s use of tsalah in Scripture shows that ruah rangah denotes a demon from God that came powerfully on Saul in the incident recorded in 1 Samuel 18:10. Because that activity on Saul was the activity of the same “evil spirit” from God that the Spirit speaks repeatedly of in 1 Samuel 16, we can be certain that God did send a demon to afflict Saul on both occasions.


1 Holladay, Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the OT (HOL) Hol7192 צלח: qal: pf. צָֽלְחָה, צָלֵֽחָה; impf. יִצְלַח, יִצְלָֽח, וַתִּצְלְחִי: — 1. be strong, effective, powerful, of rû­µ 1S 106; — 2. be of use Is 5417; — 3. succeed Nu 1441, be successful Je 121.

hif.: pf. הִצְלִיחַ, הִצְלִיחָה, חִצְלַחְתָּ, הִצְלִיחוֹ; impf. יַצְלִיחַ, וַיַּצְלַח, תַּצְלִיחִי; impv. הַצְלַח, הַצְלִיחָה; pt. מַצְלִיחַ: — 1. be successful, succeed, enjoy success 1K 2212; °îš maƒlî­µ successful man Gn 392; w. acc. in s.thg Dt 2829; — 2. w. acc. make s.thg succeed, bring s.thg to successful conclusion Gn 2421; — 3. make s.one prosper 2C 265. (pg 306)

2 As discussed earlier in this section, this interpretation is confirmed by the Spirit’s also using only a personal noun as the subject of tsalah in the only other occurrences of it with the same meaning in Scripture (2 Sam. 19:18; Amos 5:6).