The Psychic Hotline May be Hotter than You Think

August 24, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Posted in Q&A, Where There's a Way There's a Will | 4 Comments
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Question: (1) Are mediums and psychics really communicating with the spirits of dead people, or with demons? (2) Based on Deuteronomy 29:29, is it okay to even ask this question?

Answer: I tend to think the majority of “mediums” and “psychics” are really con artists that prey on gullible (sometimes desperate and distraught) people who want some type of closure with a deceased loved one, or some kind of hope that their future is going to be okay. However, the Bible does not rule out the possibility that some of them could be communicating with demons, either willfully or unwittingly. Satan is a great deceiver, and he would like for people to look anywhere besides the Bible for comfort, guidance, and truth. Possibly for both of these reasons, the Bible clearly condemns all of the following: fortunetelling, sorcery, witchcraft, magic, necromancy (trying to talk to dead spirits), soothsaying, sign-reading, consulting familiar spirits, divination, trance-induced visions, horoscopes, and false prophecy (Exodus 7:11; 22:18; Leviticus 20:6, 27; Deuteronomy 18:9-12; I Samuel 15:23; II Kings 21:6; Isaiah 8:19; Acts 8:9-13; 16:16; Galatians 5:20-21; Revelation 21:8).

As to your second question, God’s will about certain things is intentionally hidden from us for our good and His glory. It is wrong for us to inquire into what He has chosen to keep secret for now. However, a question like this, which is just about how we are to think about those who attempt to violate Deuteronomy 29:29, is not itself a violation. It is right and good to think about anything God has revealed in Scripture, including the revelation that there are some things He has chosen not to reveal.

Properly Promoting the Principle of Personal Property

March 2, 2015 at 4:19 pm | Posted in Exodus | 4 Comments
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The Decalogue’s 8th Word prohibited stealing, thereby promoting the principle of personal property. The Covenant Code further developed this concept by making application to specific “case law” examples, from which the proper enforcement and spirit of the law could be gleaned.

If a man shall deliver unto his neighbour money or stuff to keep, and it be stolen out of the man’s house; if the thief be found, let him pay double. If the thief be not found, then the master of the house shall be brought unto the judges, to see whether he have put his hand unto his neighbour’s goods. For all manner of trespass, whether it be for ox, for ass, for sheep, for raiment, or for any manner of lost thing which another challengeth to be his, the cause of both parties shall come before the judges; and whom the judges shall condemn, he shall pay double unto his neighbour.

Exodus 22:7-9

Earthly judges are not omniscient like the Divine Judge, so the law made provision for cases where there was no proof of theft.

If a man deliver unto his neighbour an ass, or an ox, or a sheep, or any beast, to keep; and it die, or be hurt, or driven away, no man seeing it: Then shall an oath of the Lord be between them both, that he hath not put his hand unto his neighbour’s goods; and the owner of it shall accept thereof, and he shall not make it good.

Exodus 22:10-11

There is always this understanding under the Law that it can not be perfectly enforceable by finite humans, but God is all-knowing, so an oath of the Lord could be required, with the faith that God would ultimately accomplish true justice even when the magistrates got it wrong.

In Exodus Chapter 22, the Covenant Code speaks of three offenses other than murder which warranted the death penalty. One was witchcraft or occult practices.

Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

Exodus 22:18

This was a serious crime because it evidenced such a brazen lack of trust in God.

The next one was bestiality.

Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death.

Exodus 22:19

Bestiality was singled out by God as especially heinous even though it was common among the pagans in ancient times, and was even part of pagan worship.

Finally, idolatry was once again addressed and made punishable by death.

He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed.

Exodus 22:20

Idolatry is treason against the Creator.

Setting Up Your Own Place

October 27, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Posted in Bible Studies | 7 Comments
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Saul was the first earthly king of Israel. Samuel was the prophet told by God to anoint him.

Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.

I Samuel 15:1-2

The Amalekites were enemies of God. They had picked off the stragglers when the Israelites were in the wilderness.

Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

I Samuel 15:3

God sees what people are not able to see, and He always does what is right and best. In His providence, His command was to kill them all.

And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah. And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and laid wait in the valley. And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye shewed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt. And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.

I Samuel 15:4-9

Saul decided to keep, and not to kill, the “best” and the “good” and the “king.” He may have tried to rationalize this decision, but it is clear that his motives were not right, and, regardless, it was an act of disobedience.

Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying, It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night.

I Samuel 15:10-11

Samuel stayed up all night praying for Saul and the people, just as he had promised he would.

And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal.

I Samuel 15:12, emphasis added

Saul “erected” a monument to himself. (Pardon me for being crude, but, despite those inappropriate pharmaceutical commercials that come on during sports programs, this episode of Saul’s is what I think of when I hear the term “erectile dysfunction.”) God gave him the victory. Saul killed everything small and worthless, but he kept the biggest, best, and most important. This is a picture of how we too often deal with sin. We’re tough on the “little things.” We don’t get drunk. We don’t use curse words. We try to be nice to our wives. But we spare the “king” of sin from our wrath: for some of us it might be pride, or some form of idolatry, or simple disobedience. We take control of our own lives, forget that anything good we’ve been able to do is because of God, and we erect a monument to ourselves.

Saul lied to Samuel:

And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD. And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed. Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on. And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel?

I Samuel 15:13-17

Samuel accuses Saul, and it’s as if he’s saying, “God made you the king of God’s people, and you erected a monument to yourself?”

And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD?

I Samuel 15:18-19, emphasis added

You may see yourself as doing something for God, when in His eyes you are just being greedy and lustful.

And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal. And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 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.

I Samuel 15:20-23

Rebellion is like witchcraft. It is misplaced fear. It is misplaced consultation. It is self-worship. Stubbornness is like idolatry because it’s disobedience. It’s placing our own desire over what God desires.

Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past. And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal.

I Samuel 15:32-33

Sin can’t be handled by just poking around at it. Like cancer, it should be exposed to the scalpel and cut out completely, or it might spread.

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