“Though most loudly denounce salvation by works, when examined closely, all false religion is works religion. Augustus Toplady put it this way – “Every religion except one puts you upon doing something in order to recommend yourself to God…It is the business of all false religion to patch up a righteousness in which the sinner is to stand before God. But it is the business of the glorious gospel to bring near to us, by the hand of the Holy Spirit, a righteousness ready wrought, a robe of perfection ready made, wherein God’s people, to all the purposes of justification and happiness, stand perfect and without fault before the throne.”
This is what I am saying – False religion always makes room for the flesh to glory. The great contest between the religion of the world and the religion of Christ is just this – Who is entitled to the praise and glory of the sinner’s salvation? Is salvation by free-will or by free-grace? To answer that question I make no appeal to the preachers and theologians of the past, though I thank God for what he has taught me through the writings of those faithful men who served him in past generations. And I make no appeal to the preachers and theologians of the present, though I truly thank God for his faithful witnesses who minister to my soul. I turn, instead to the Book of God, our only rule of faith and practice (Psa. 115:1).
Who is entitled to the praise and glory of salvation? What does the Bible say? “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake!”
Is salvation by the free-will of man, or by the free-grace of God? What does the Bible say? “It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy!” (Rom. 9:16).
What do I mean when I use that vile, ugly, reprehensible term – “free-will”? I mean anything decided, determined, or done by the sinner to attain God’s salvation.” – Don Fortner
“This is a group for sharing resources and discussing the Historicist interpretation of the book of Revelation. This group is not for those who adhere to premillennialism or are outside of confessional Reformed Protestantism.”
Most Protestants have never heard of “Aerial Toll Houses.” The idea of Aerial Toll Houses are built upon some personal revelations of Eastern Orthodox saints, Tradition and a verse or two from scripture. Father Thomas Hopko stated on an episode of The Illumined Heart that virtually every church Father held some form of this doctrine. According to Eastern Orthodox Tradition the soul, when it leaves the body, must go through a series of “Aerial Toll Houses” which are essentially check points and the last chance demons have to encourage you to sin. Eastern Orthodoxy believes these check points are spiritual, not literal, and will affect how one receives Particular Judgement. It is believed that a departed soul awaits The Last and Final Judgement of Christ in a conscious blessed or tormented state, depending on your deeds and moral behaviour. Justification is always a future event for the Orthodox. When the soul and body separate it is believed, that demons have 20 “last ditch” efforts to rob you to your merit (so to speak) after physical death. The most detailed vision of Aerial Toll Houses was given to Gregory of Thrace in the 10th century which include:
- At the first aerial toll-house, the soul is questioned about sins of the tongue, such as empty words, dirty talk, insults, ridicule, singing worldly songs, too much or loud laughter, and similar sins.
- The second is the toll-house of lies, which includes not only ordinary lies, but also the breaking of oaths, the violation of vows given to God, taking God’s name in vain, hiding sins during confession, and similar acts.
- The third is the toll-house of slander. It includes judging, humiliating, embarrassing, mocking, and laughing at people, and similar transgressions.
- The fourth is the toll-house of gluttony, which includes overeating, drunkenness, eating between meals, eating without prayer, not holding fasts, choosing tasty over plain food, eating when not hungry, and the like.
- The fifth is the toll-house of laziness, where the soul is held accountable for every day and hour spent in laziness, for neglecting to serve God and pray, for missing Church services, and also for not earning money through hard, honest labor, for not working as much as you are paid, and all similar sins.
- The sixth toll-house is the toll-house of theft, which includes stealing and robbery, whether small, big, light, violent, public, or hidden.
- The seventh is the toll-house of covetousness, including love of riches and goods, failure to give to charity, and similar acts.
- The eight is the toll-house of usury, loan-sharking, overpricing, and similar sins.
- The ninth is the toll-house of injustice- being unjust, especially in judicial affairs, accepting or giving bribes, dishonest trading and business, using false measures, and similar sins.
- The tenth is the toll-house of envy.
- The eleventh is the toll-house of pride- vanity, self-will, boasting, not honoring parents and civil authorities, insubordination, disobedience, and similar sins.
- The twelve is the toll-house of anger and rage.
- The thirteenth is the toll-house of remembering evil- hatred, holding a grudge, and revenge.
- The fourteenth is the toll-house of murder- not just plain murder, but also wounding, maiming, hitting, pushing, and generally injuring people.
- The fifteenth is the toll-house of magic- divination, conjuring demons, making poison, all superstitions, and associated acts.
- The sixteenth is the toll-house of lust- fornication, unclean thoughts, lustful looks, unchaste touches.
- The seventeenth is the toll-house of adultery.
- The eighteenth is the toll-house of sodomy: bestiality, homosexuality, incest, masturbation, and all other unnatural sins.
- The nineteenth is the toll-house of heresy: rejecting any part of Orthodox faith, wrongly interpreting it, apostasy, blasphemy, and all similar sins.
- The last, twentieth toll-house is the toll-house of unmercifulness: failing to show mercy and charity to people, and being cruel in any way. (source Wikipedia)
To better understand the Eastern Orthodox position I have read two titles, one that should be foundational for anyone interested in understanding Orthodoxy, the second deals with the subject of Aerial Toll Houses specifically. They are, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology by Michael Pomazansky and The Soul After Death by Seraphim Rose (often considered a Saint). I’ve read through both titles making plenty of notes along the way but for the sake of this blog post I’ll keep it short and simple.
Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky on the subject of toll-houses from Orthodox Dogmatics:
“Due to the availability of the Lives of Saints, the account of the toll-houses by the righteous Theodora, depicted by her in detail by Saint Basil the New in his dream, has become especially well known. Dreams in general express the state of soul of a given man, and in special cases are also authentic visions of the souls of the departed in their earthly form. The account of Theodora has characteristics both of one and the other. The idea that good spirits, our guardian angels, as well as the spirits of evil under heaven participate in the fate of man (after death) finds confirmation in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Lazarus immediately after death was brought by angels to the bosom of Abraham. In another parable the unrighteous man heard these words: “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee” (Luke 12:20); evidently, the ones who “require” are none else than the same “spirits of wickedness under the heavens.”
In accordance with simple logic and as also confirmed by the Word of God the soul immediately after its separation from the body enters into a sphere where its further fate is defined. “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement,” we read in the Apostle Paul (Heb. 9:27). This is the Particular Judgement, which is independent of the universal Last Judgement. [end quote]
We see an argument being made from selected traditions, upon a dream and poor eisegesis and use the above example as a typical misuse of the Bible. Let me point out the portion from Hebrews where we read of the result of Christ’s atonement:
“For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”
The offering Christ made on behave of His people always results in the perfection and sanctification of them. In contrast to the Eastern Orthodox teaching scripture states we are sanctified by Christ alone through faith.
“…with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)”
For a more detailed response A. W. Pink’s Exposition on Hebrews is to be recommended. Using the text of Hebrews Pink demonstrates the fallacious use of Hebrews 9.27 for the shameless proof-texting it is.
First, that the “offering” (verse 25) and “suffering” (verse 26) of Christ are inseparable. It was in and by His suffering that the Lord Jesus offered Himself unto God, and that because He was Himself both the Priest and the Sacrifice. Aaron “offered” repeatedly, yet he never once “suffered,” for he was not the sacrifice itself. It was the bullock which was slain, that suffered. But Christ being both Priest and Sacrifice could not “offer” without “suffering,” and herein does the force of the argument principally consist. The very especial nature of Christ’s offering or sacrifice, which was by the shedding of His blood in death, precluded a repetition thereof.
Second, the apostle’s argument here is also built on the fact that there was a necessity for the expiation of the sin of all that were to be saved from the foundation of the world. Sin entered the world immediately after it was founded, by the apostasy of our first parents. Notwithstanding, numbers of sinners, as Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and the spiritual remnant in Israel had their sins pardoned and were eternally saved; yet no sacrifice which they offered could remit moral guilt or redeem their souls. No; their salvation was also effected by virtue of the sacrifice of Christ. Hence it follows unavoidably that unless the merits of His own one offering extended unto the taking away of all their sins, then either He must have suffered often, or they perish. Contrariwise, seeing that elect sinners were saved through Christ “from the foundation of the world,” much more will the virtues of the Great Sacrifice extend unto the end of the world.
“But now,” not at the beginning of human history; “once,” that is, once for all, never to be repeated; “in the end of the world,” or in “the fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4). This expression “end of the world” or more literally, “consummation of the ages” is here used antithetically from “since the foundation of the world” which usually has reference to the first entrance of sin into the world. and God’s dispensation of grace in Christ thereon; as “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4, etc.) expresses eternity and God’s counsels therein. The Divine distinctions of time with respect to God’s grace toward His Church, may be referred to three general heads: that before the law, during the law, and since the incarnation of Christ unto the end of the world. This last season, absolutely considered, is called the “fullness of times” (Eph. 1:10), when all that God had designed in the dispensation of His grace was come to a head, and wherein no alteration should be made till the earth was no more.
“Hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” He “appeared” here on earth (the Greek word is quite different from the one used in verse 24): of old He had been obscurely shadowed forth in types, but now He was “manifest in flesh” (1 Tim. 3:10). The end or purpose of this appearing of Christ was to “put away sin”—the Greek word is a very strong one, and is rendered “disannuling” in Hebrews 7:18. Let it be carefully noted that this declaration is made only as it respects the Church of Christ. He made a complete atonement for all the sin of all His people, receiving its wages, expiating its guilt, destroying its dominion. The results are that, when God applies to the penitent believer the virtues of Christ’s sacrifice, all condemnation is removed (Rom. 8:1), and its reigning power is destroyed (Rom. 6:14).
“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (verses 27, 28). In these verses the apostle concludes his exposition of the causes, nature, designs and efficacy of the sacrifice of Christ, wherewith the new covenant was dedicated and confirmed. In them a three-fold confirmation is made of the uniqueness and sufficiency of the Savior’s atonement. First a comparison is drawn: pointed by the “as” and “so”. Second a declaration is made as to why Christ died: it was to “bear the sins of many.” Third, the resultant consequence of this is stated at the end of verse 28. [end quote]
In “The Soul After Death” Seraphim Rose relies on similar argumentation for Aerial Toll Houses. A few quick points:
- Rose explains the “out of body” or after death occult experiences and, using descriptions of the accounts, explains how they are similar to Eastern Orthodox teaching. He struggles to create differences between the two beliefs but they are very similar.
- Rose (and Pomazansky) rarely quote scripture and when they do it’s out of context.
- Eastern Orthodox experiences of Toll Houses are accepted without criticism. The occult experiences are outright denied even when strikingly similar. One troubling detail, the Orthodox are surrounded and attacked by demons, while the non Orthodox are usually at peace and rest.
- Rose accepts the teaching on Toll Houses without attempting to provide argumentation for it. It’s accepted without pause.
- The emphasis throughout both works is the sinner and the sinners ability to perform works and to live morally, almost as if training to outrun their attacks after death, thus escaping the snares of demons.
- St. Mary, Guardian Angels and Saints are viewed as guiding and guarding the soul after death with the prayers of the faithful living relieving the suffering of departed souls. These are the means by which God is said to save a soul, through St. Mary, Angels and the intercession of Saints, what is often lacking is an emphasis on Christ alone to save. There is an edifice built around Christ that obscures Him.
- Christ is mentioned in the “out of body” occult experiences more often than in Rose’s account of the Eastern Orthodox description. That is the impression.
- The final court of appeal for both Rose and Pomazansky are the subjective experiences recorded in Eastern Orthodox tradition.
In chapter 10, Rose uses the letters of John of Shanghai and San Francisco (St. John Maximovitch) as an authority to provide more details of this teaching.
According to John of Shanghai and San Francisco the soul is hindered by the body and becomes more active after death. This struck me as a Gnostic holdover. It is admitted that all cultures have after death or “out of body” experiences and again, the Eastern Orthodox teaching is not examined but stated and believed without criticism. In the letters we read that a soul has two days to linger on earth, visiting places that were special to the individual when alive, but on the 3rd day the soul moves into “another spheres” and “passes through legions of evil spirits which obstruct its path and accuse if of various revelations…”
According to The Soul After Death the soul visits heavenly habitations and hell for 37 days, still not knowing where it will end up… On the 40th day the soul will stop in heaven or hell until the Last or Final Judgement. This is considered a taste of blessedness or torment. The Priest may offer a Liturgy (similar to the Roman Catholic Mass) and prayers on behalf of the deceased resulting in a change in the departed soul.
A word in closing:
I’m left haunted by this seemly pagan teaching founded on a dream, a nightmare and forced upon the scriptures. It maybe true, that this doctrine of Aerial Toll Houses is not considered universally “orthodox” by the Orthodox, but it is still embraced by millions of Eastern Orthodox believers. It is considered “dogma” by a large portion of the Eastern Church. It’s soul shaking to think that for 1,500 years Christians in the East have believed in such a doctrine, one that utterly lacks confidence in Christ to save, that places such emphasis on fallen sinners to evade demons and find rest for their wicked souls. It’s haunting to think that even after death we have to struggle to prove our faithfulness to Christ before we can enter our eternal rest. There is no rest in Christ for the Orthodox. The idea that demonic powers are seeking to “devour the soul of the spiritually weak,” even after death, robs Christ of His promises to save by faith alone. Simple, heartfelt faith in Christ’s work on the Cross is almost never in view. For the Orthodox the sinner is on a constant hamster wheel of merit and faith, faith and merit never finding rest.
I will end with 1 John 5.11-13 and with an old prayer:
“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
Let us prayer:
O God, most high, most glorious, the thought of Your infinite serenity cheers me, for I am toiling and moiling, troubled and distressed, but You are for ever at perfect peace. Your designs cause You no fear or care of unfulfilment, they stand fast as the eternal hills. Your power knows no bond, Your goodness no stint. You bring order out of confusion, and my defeats are Your victories: The Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
I come to You as a sinner with cares and sorrows, to leave every concern entirely to You, every sin calling for Christ’s precious blood; revive deep spirituality in my heart; let me live near to the great Shepherd, hear His voice, know its tones, follow its calls. Keep me from deception by causing me to abide in the truth, from harm by helping me to walk in the power of the Spirit. Give me intenser faith in the eternal verities, burning into me by experience the things I know; Let me never be ashamed of the truth of the gospel, that I may bear its reproach, vindicate it, see Jesus as its essence, know in it the power of the Spirit.
Lord, help me, for I am often lukewarm and chill; unbelief mars my confidence, sin makes me forget You. Let the weeds that grow in my soul be cut at their roots; grant me to know that I truly live only when I live to You, that all else is trifling. Your presence alone can make me holy, devout, strong and happy.
Abide in me, gracious God.
Yours in the Lord,
Theological positions: Independent Particular Baptist, Predestinarian.
Soteriological Position: What theologians call “Calvinistic” (Supralapsarian)
Eschatological Position: Amillennial Historicist
Covenantal Position: 1689 Federalism
Creeds and Confessions: London Baptist Confession of 1689
(Some questions I had to fill out on a forum that I thought I would include.)
Are some men elected to salvation?
Are some men elected to damnation?
Is salvation by works?
Jesus died for all men?
God loves all men?
Christ experienced sin in His person?
Was sin imputed or imparted to Christ?
Is righteousness imputed or imparted to believers?
God predestines all things, including sin?
God wanted Adam to fall into sin?
Yes, it was decreed.
God has how many wills?
One. (His decretive will of purpose is His will of pleasure)
Do you believe in Justification from Eternity?
What point in time is righteousness imputed to the elect based upon?
The entire life of Christ culminating in His death.
Baptism is required for salvation?
Baptism is the sign of the new covenant?
THE CARTER LANE DECLARATION OF 1757 with some adjustments
(Those words in red have been added or indicate change to the DECLARATION in light of personal belief and for clarity of position. The plural “we” and “our”, etc has been changed to reflect a singular statement of belief.)
- I believe, That the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Words of God, and the only rule of faith and practice. The Holy Scriptures, composed of the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, are the verbally inspired Word and Revelation of God. The Bible is inerrant and infallible. Divine inspiration of the original autographs extends to the divine preservation of a pure text to this day. The preserved Word of God is found in the Hebrew Masoretic Text and the Greek Textus Receptus.
- I believe, That there is but one only living and true God; that there three Persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, Who are equal in nature, power, and glory; and that the Son and the Holy Ghost are as truly and properly God as the Father. These three Divine Persons are distinguished from each other by peculiar relative properties. The distinguishing character and relative property of the First Person is begetting; He has begotten a Son of the same nature with Him, and Who is the express image of His Person; and therefore is with great propriety called the Father. The distinguishing character and relative property of the Second Person is that He is begotten, and He is called the Only Begotten of the Father, and His own proper Son; not a Son by creation as angels and men are, nor by adoption as saints are, nor by office as civil magistrates are, but by nature, by the Father’s eternal generation of Him in the divine nature; and therefore He is truly called the Son. The distinguishing character and relative property of the third person is to be breathed by the Father and the Son, and to proceed from Both, and is very properly called the Spirit or Breath of both. These three distinct Divine Persons, we profess to reverence, serve and worship as the one true God.
- I believe, That before the world began, God did elect a certain number of men unto everlasting salvation leaving other men in their sin; those whom He did predestinate to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ of His own free grace, and according to the good pleasure of His will; and that in pursuance of this gracious design by means of secondary and direct causes that work to accomplish His eternal plan and purpose, He did contrive and make a covenant of grace and peace with His son Jesus Christ, on behalf of those persons, with all their grace and glory, were put into the hands of Christ, and made His care and charge.
- I believe, That God created the first man Adam, after His image, and in His likeness, an upright, holy, innocent creature, capable of serving and glorifying Him, but he sinning, all his posterity sinned in him, and came short of the glory of God; the guilt of whose sin is imputed; and a corrupt nature derived to all his off-spring descending from him by ordinary and natural generation; that they are by their first birth carnal and unclean; averse to all that is good, incapable of doing any in the sight of God, and prone to every sin; and are also by nature children of wrath and under sentence of condemnation, and so are subject, not only to a corporal death, and involved in a moral one, commonly called spiritual, but are also liable to an eternal death, as considered in the first Adam, fallen and sinners; from all which there is no deliverance, but by Christ the second Adam.
- I believe, That the Lord Jesus Christ, being set up from everlasting as mediator of the covenant, and He having engaged to be surety of His people did in the fullness of time really assume human nature, and not before neither in whole nor in part; His human soul being a creature, existed not from eternity, but was created and formed in His body by Him that formed the spirit of man within Him, when He was conceived in the womb of the virgin; and so His human nature consists of a true body and a reasonable soul, both which, together, and at once the Son of God assumed into union with His Divine Person, when made of a woman and not before, in which He really suffered and died as the substitute of His people, in their room and stead; whereby He made all that satisfaction for their sins which the law and justice of God could require, as well as made way for all those blessings which are needful for them both for time and eternity.
- I believe, That the eternal Redemption which Christ has obtained by the shedding of His blood is special and particular, that is to say that it was only intentionally designed for the Elect of God, and Sheep of Christ, who only share the special and peculiar blessings of it.
- I believe, That the justification of God’s Elect is only by the righteousness of Christ imputed to them, without the consideration of any works of righteousness done by them;and that the full and free pardon of all their sins and transgressions, past, present and to come, is only through the blood of Christ according to the riches of his grace.
- I believe, That the work of regeneration, conversion, sanctification and faith is not an act of man’s free will and power, but of the mighty, efficacious and irresistiblegrace of God.
- I believe, That all those who are chosen by the Father, redeemed by the Son, and sanctified by the Spirit are sealed unto the day of redemption, these shall certainly persevere, so that not one of them shall ever perish but shall have everlasting life.
- I believe, in the true, literal reign of Christ mentioned in Revelation 20. It is a literal reign, but the 1000 years mentioned are symbolic of the entire period of time between Christ’s first and His second coming.
- I believe, That Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances of Christ, to be continued until His second coming; and that the former is absolutely requisite to the latter; that is to say, that those only are admitted into the communion of the church, and to participate of all the ordinances in it, who upon profession of their faith, have been baptised by immersion, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
- I believe, That singing of Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs vocally is an ordinance of the Gospel to be performed by believers, but that as to time, place, and manner, everyone ought to be left to their liberty in using it.
Yours in the Lord,
Amen, be encouraged, it is all of GRACE!
“That there are universal offers of grace and salvation made to all men, I utterly deny; nay I deny that they are made to any; no not to God’s elect: grace and salvation are promised for them in the everlasting covenant, procured for them by Christ, published and revealed in the gospel, and applied by the Spirit.” John Gill, The Doctrine of Predestination Stated
Just to pique your interest…
Samuel Waldron explains the Regulative Principle in his Exposition of the 1689 using the following example. “Mr Anglican must use the materials of the Word of God, but has no blueprint and may use other materials. Mr. Puritan must use only materials of the Word of God and has a blueprint. It takes no special genius to discern which will be more pleasing to God.” Mr. Anglican represents the normative principle and Mr. Puritan represents the regulative principle.
Waldron also notes:
– God alone is to determine how the sinner approaches God in worship
– extra biblical practices usually tend to nullify true biblical worship (see video I posted earlier of holy laughter)
– we call into question the sufficiency of scripture when we add or make additions to the biblical norm
– the Bible explicity condemns all worship that is not commanded (Waldron lists the following scriptures: Lev. 10.1-3; Deut. 4.2, 12.29-32, 17.3; Josh. 1.7, 23.6-8; Matt. 15.13; Col. 2.20-23)
– how God is to be worship is explained here Deut. 12.29-32
John Owen is quoted, ” Three things are usually pleaded in the justification of the observance of such rites and ceremonies in the worship of God: First, that they tend unto the furtherance of the devotion of the worshipers; secondly, that they render the worship itself comely and beautiful; thirdly, that they are the preservers of order in the celebration thereof. And therefore on these accounts they may be instituted or appointed by some, and observed by all.”
Owen recognizes that some are changing the biblical order and practice by instituting what they like forcing others to observe and practice it. I see the regulative principle as freeing me from observing false traditions, human forms of piety, etc.) Owen hits the nail on the head with swift efficiency. All three points tend toward the preferences of man, they are man centered, rather than centered in the word of God.
Considering Deuteronomy: 12:
21. If the place which the LORD thy God hath chosen to put his name there be too far from thee, then thou shalt kill of thy herd and of thy flock, which the LORD hath given thee, as I have commanded thee, and thou shalt eat in thy gates whatsoever thy soul lusteth after. 22. Even as the roebuck and the hart is eaten, so thou shalt eat them: the unclean and the clean shall eat of them alike. 23. Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life; and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh. 24. Thou shalt not eat it; thou shalt pour it upon the earth as water. 25. Thou shalt not eat it; that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the LORD. 26. Only thy holy things which thou hast, and thy vows, thou shalt take, and go unto the place which the LORD shall choose: 27. And thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, upon the altar of the LORD thy God: and the blood of thy sacrifices shall be poured out upon the altar of the LORD thy God, and thou shalt eat the flesh. 28. Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God. 29. When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; 30. Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. 31. Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. 32. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
v. 1.-2 destroy Temples belonging to false religion
v. 4-19 worship is prescribed where God reveals His name the Tabernacle
v. 4. You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way.
v.8 You shall not do according to all that we are doing here today, everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes,
v. 20-21 the revealed will of God regulates worship
v. 29-21 we are not to be influenced by culture
v.31 You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the Lord hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.
v. 32 Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.
Just a few notes from my reading on musical instruments being used in worship:
– David was given divine revelation to use them (when to use them, how to use them, etc.) which is why we find them listed in the Psalms (in the AV with instructions on what to use)
– The inclusion of musical instruments was not commanded/given by divine revelation in the NT
– Musical instruments were associated with worship in the Temple
– Synagogues did not use musical instruments because they were apart of worship in the Temple
– The early church, following the pattern of the NT, did not use instruments
– The church at large refused to use instruments in worship until the 19th century
– The new covenant deals with the heart, circumcision was of the heart not flesh, worship in the NT is a matter of the heart
– When Protestants, following the lead of Roman Catholicism, wanted to use instruments the argument was made, “to keep our children from leaving the church”
To say I read a lot is an understatement. My notes in the past have been a mess so I am not sure where the argument, “to keep our children from leaving” was used but I believe it was and Anglican.
Should we use instruments during worship? Comment and let me know your thoughts.
Yours in the Lord,