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.


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.


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.

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.

Daniel 3 records King Nebuchadnezzar’s making a colossal image and then acting to bring about the dedication of the image. Some advocate that sound interpretation of the passage limits what we can say happened to what amounts to a minimalist interpretation.1

One minimalist interpretation holds that the only thing that we can say with certainty took place was that those assembled bowed before the image and that bowing itself was the worship rendered to it. For at least seven reasons, we should reject such a minimalist interpretation.

A Royal Event

The king of the most powerful empire of his day ordained what activities the dedication of the image would include. A royal event necessarily would have involved a certain protocol, decorum, pageantry, pomp, majesty, etc.

A minimalist interpretation requires the understanding that the entire event almost entirely lacked any such features fitting for a royal event. Moreover, what kind of dedication event fitting for a king would consist only of a brief bowing down to the image and nothing more than doing that?

No Known Constraining Factors

A royal event ordained by the most powerful human authority of his day necessarily entails certain realities about the situation. No human authority limited the king about what activities the dedication could include. The king did not lack any needed finances to pay for what would take place.

No evidence exists for any time constraints to the event that limited it in any way. No evidence exists for any circumstantial factors that required the event to be as minimal as possible, such as mass famine in the land or an empire-wide plague or impending weather-related calamities or impending invasions by powerful enemies etc.

Given that there are no known factors constraining what could have been done on this occasion, no basis exists for holding to a minimalist position.

The Biblical Witness about the Central Activity in Idolatrous Worship

Scripture provides numerous passages that show that offering sacrifices to idols was a central activity in idolatrous worship about which God informs and warns His people (cf. Exod. 34:11-17). Positing that an idolatrous emperor would dedicate an image of a god without offering any sacrifices to that god goes against that evidence and also goes against what we already know would have been his own previous experience in his own temple.

Explicit Contextual Evidence That Refutes a Minimalist Interpretation

Comparing what the king did earlier to honor Daniel with what Daniel 3 explicitly says brings out a crucial point. The king honored Daniel by bowing to him, worshiping him, and commanding that certain offerings would be made to him.

Daniel 2:46 Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him.

Using the same verbs for bowing and worshiping found in Daniel 2:46, Daniel 3 says that the people bowed and worshiped the image. To hold that the king honored Daniel by doing more to honor him than he ordained to be done to honor his image is an indefensible position.

Understanding what Daniel 2:46 compared with Daniel 3 shows requires that we hold that the dedication event in Daniel 3 included the offering of things to the image to honor it more than the king had offered to honor Daniel. A minimalist interpretation of Daniel 3 is therefore an impossible reading given what Daniel 2:46 reveals.

Would the King Have Dishonored All the Rulers of the Provinces?

To hold a minimalist interpretation of Daniel 3 would include holding that the king did not provide any amenities for his royal guests. Given that the king had previously ordained on a separate occasion that some captives be fed from his choice food, would the king surely not have fed his royal guests with such food?

Moreover, eating what has been offered to an idol in worship is such a vital aspect of the biblical witness concerning idolatry that there would have to be a very compelling basis to hold that this event did not include such eating. No such basis exists so we must reject a minimalist interpretation that asserts that there were no sacrifices offered on this occasion and no eating of those sacrifices afterward.

An Extravagant “Signal” for a “Bare-Bones” Event?

Some proponents of the need to hold a minimalist interpretation say that the musical instruments mentioned in the account were used to sound a “signal blast” to initiate the worship.The explicit mention of at least six different instruments to sound that supposed blast (and a phrase that may signify the use as well of many other instruments) would seem to be a perplexing extravagance for a “bare-bones” event when the herald himself could have given a sufficient signal or one trumpeter could have done so.

Why would a king who supposedly chose to forgo all other extravagances in a dedication yet choose to use an extravagant signal? Taking a minimalist position about everything else that happened hardly makes sense given the diverse nature of the musical instruments used in the event.

Consideration of the Aftermath of the Event

A minimalist interpretation of Daniel 3 promotes a lack of consideration about the aftermath of the event. Had the king only directed all those present to bow to the statue and then return to their homes, the people would have returned to their homes having experienced a strange event in which the emperor bestowed less honor on his god in a dedication ceremony of kingdom-wide importance than the people were routinely used to bestowing on their gods.

Had the king done so, he would not have communicated to them the proper appreciation of the greatness of his god that he would have wanted them to come to have. A minimalist understanding of what happened would thus mean that the king did not accomplish his objective of setting forth the surpassing greatness of his god in a manner that would have been in keeping with the greatness of his colossal image.

Because there are no reasons to accept such an interpretation that the king failed to furnish his people with a proper appreciation of the greatness of his god, we must reject a minimalist interpretation of what took place.


A minimalist interpretation of Daniel 3 is unsupportable for many reasons. The king did not only just command that all the people bow as the worship that they offered to the image of his god.

We should reject such a minimalist interpretation of Daniel 3.

1Cf. “Chapter 3 of the book of Daniel revolves around a strange religious ceremony that involved no priests, prayers or sacrifices:

Suppose that a group of evil humans in a remote land gets together and smokes some psychedelic substances. Doing so puts them all into a state of altered consciousness. While in that state, they all suddenly see a towering being of light appear to them.

This being proceeds to tell them that he is the true god and that there is no other god besides him. The being is frog-like in appearance. The spirit being commands the men to make an image of itself and worship that image.

The being orders them to make the image to have three heads even though it only has one head. The men do so and originate an entire religion around the worship of their three-headed frog-like god.

Christian Refusal to Believe What Happened

Some Christians later come to the remote area where these idolaters live and see the idol. The Christians conclude that the people just used their imagination to make an idol that was somewhat like real frogs that they had seen somewhere in their land.

When they try to evangelize some of the idolaters, the Christians refuse to believe what the idolaters tell them had happened to guide them to make the idol. They reject their testimony that they really had seen a spirit being that was frog-like in appearance and that had ordered them to make that idol.

Would such Christians be right or wrong? According to Scripture, there are demons who are frog-like in appearance:

Revelation 16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

Therefore, Christians who would refuse to believe such a testimony— if it were ever to be given to them—would actually be wrong in thinking that demons cannot appear to humans to guide the humans to engage in any such kind of creative activity that is of demonic origin.


An important conclusion follows from applying the dynamics of the story related above to the realm of instrumental music. Demons can easily influence evil humans in a similar manner to produce demonic music on instruments so that the music is of demonic origin and not solely a product of human imagination and creativity.

Comparing Scripture with Scripture is essential for interpreting Scripture properly. A comparison of Daniel 2:46 and Daniel 3:5 illumines Daniel 3:5 in a way that many may have missed.

Daniel 2:46

When Daniel was able to tell the king his dream and its interpretation, the king responded as follows:

Daniel 2:46 Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him.

This revelation is remarkable because the king did not just fall down before Daniel and worship him; he also commanded others to make offerings to him. This action by the king to bestow exceptional honor on Daniel underscores the extent to which the king went to honor him.

Daniel 3:5

After having greatly honored Daniel in the manner treated above, the king later made and set up a colossal image. He then summoned a vast number of civil officials to come to the dedication of his image.

At the dedication, he commanded a herald to proclaim the following:

Daniel 3:5 That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:

All the people present except for Daniel’s three Hebrew friends obeyed the king’s command and fell down and worshiped the image.

Some say that we can only say with certainty that what the people did to honor the image is whatever the text says and nothing more. On that reading, all that we can say is that the people fell down before the image and worshiped it, but we cannot say anything else with certainty about the nature of what they did.

To understand why this approach to interpreting Daniel 3:5 is wrong, we must compare it closely with Daniel 2:46.

A Vitally Illuminating Comparison

Comparing Daniel 2:46 with Daniel 3:5, we find that both verses use the same Aramaic verbs to speak of honoring someone or something by falling down and worshiping him or it. Daniel 2:46 goes beyond speaking of falling down and worshiping because it speaks also of making offerings to a man to honor him.

If we can only say with certainty whatever the texts say, we would have to hold that Nebuchadnezzar bestowed greater honor on Daniel than on his golden image because Daniel 2:46 teaches that Neb. commanded people to offer an oblation and sweet odors to Daniel but there is no mention of such offerings being offered to his golden image in Daniel 3.

Plainly, holding that the king commanded that offerings be offered to honor Daniel but did not command the doing of any such thing in honoring his image is not a legitimate understanding of what the king did to honor his image. Undoubtedly, the king bestowed greater honors upon the image that he ordered people to worship as a god than upon Daniel whom the king seemingly did not regard to be a god.


By comparing Daniel 2:46 with Daniel 3:5, we can be certain that the king commanded that his image be honored either by having things offered to it or by the doing of other actions that would have bestowed even greater honor than making an offering to it. We are not to understand that Daniel 3:5 teaches that the people honored the golden image in any way that honored it less than the honor that the king bestowed on Daniel in Daniel 2:46.

Who were Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians? In the first article in this series, I treated Daniel 1:2 and Daniel 3 to show that they were profoundly idolatrous people who were thereby regularly in fellowship with demons. Later in Daniel 1, the Spirit provides another vital statement that reveals another key aspect of who Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians were.

Profound Consultation with Occultists

At the end of their three years of preparation for entering into the king’s service, Daniel and his friends excelled profoundly in their wisdom and understanding:

Daniel 1:19 And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. 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.

Specifically, they vastly excelled the wisdom and understanding of all the leading practitioners of two types of occult practices in the entire Babylonian kingdom.

The king could have compared them with philosophers or prophets but instead they were compared with all such leading occultists in the kingdom. Pondering who they were compared with brings out that Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians were people who profoundly consulted with occultists and esteemed their counsel very highly.

It also shows that the king himself had fully consulted with all such leading practitioners of the occult in his entire kingdom. Two later statements in the book show that the king even had various occultists among his leading advisers (Dan. 2:2; 4:6-7).

Because all practitioners of the occult engage in demonic activities, the profound consultation with occultists reveals a second key way that demons influenced Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians. To understand just how immensely the occultists corrupted Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians, we must compare Scripture with Scripture concerning the exceedingly great corruption of at least certain occultists.

Immense Corruption by the Occultists

To understand how immensely Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians were corrupted by all the occultists in all his kingdom, we must solemnly consider that Scripture reveals the horrific extent to which demons can corrupt humans in a passage that makes several key revelations about an ancient sorcerer:

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: 7 Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. 9 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, 10 And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?

This profound revelation is noteworthy for many reasons.

First, it says that he was an occultist (who was also a false prophet) who sought to turn away from the faith an unbeliever who wanted to hear God’s truth. Such people thus are profoundly dangerous to unbelievers.

Second, it infallibly reveals key truths about the sorcerer by infallibly recording what the leader of the apostolic company being filled with the Spirit said to the sorcerer. This shows that the statements that Paul made about the sorcerer were exactly what the Spirit directed him to say about the sorcerer. None of Paul’s statements about him were in any way just his own thinking, perspectives, or even possible biases against a particular kind of person because of that person’s ethnicity or any other important aspects of his person.

Third, it shows how consummately this human being was a corrupted human being.

Elymas was “full of all subtilty and all mischief.” He was a profoundly crafty and fraudulent person who used deceit to accomplish his objectives.

He was an “enemy of all righteousness.” He actively opposed everything that was an aspect of righteousness before God. He thus openly fought against the doing of anything that was righteous in the sight of God.

He also would “not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord.” This man continually did whatever he could to corrupt the doing of something in a way that was right before God.

Fourth, and most disturbingly, he was a “child of the devil.” Through his involvement and participation in the occult, this man whom God made in His image had become so corrupted that he was now a child of the most evil being in the universe. In effect, the image of God in him had been completely overcome so that he effectively was a human being who was in the image of the devil!

This passage thus shockingly reveals that there are occultists (at the very least those who are sorcerers) who actively and passionately seek to promote demonic interests in every possible way!

We know that sorcerers were among the leading advisers of king Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2:2). We also know that the Babylonians were a shockingly occult people (Is. 47:9, 12).

Applying what this profoundly sobering passage (Acts 13:6-10) reveals to what we know about the pervasive influence that occultists (including sorcerers) had with Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians shows that the king and his people were people who had been immensely corrupted by demonically corrupted humans who actively sought to corrupt them from doing anything that was righteous before God.

Application to Daniel 3

Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians were people who were profoundly influenced by demons through their idolatry. Furthermore, they were also profoundly influenced by demons through their profound consultation with occultists.

The musical perspectives and practices of such demonically corrupted people were thus routinely directed into following every possible way to produce instrumental music that does not please God. Given the role that music played in the profoundly important idolatrous worship event in Daniel 3, we have further biblical basis to hold that the music played in the event in Daniel 3 was profoundly ungodly music.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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.


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.