PURSUING THE ETERNAL WORD
The Bible teaching ministry of John Lifflander

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THE EXTRAORDINARY SPIRITUAL POWER OF MUSIC

"You were in Eden, the garden of God;

Every precious stone was your covering:

The sardius, topaz, and diamond,

Beryl, onyx, and jasper,

Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold.

The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes

Was prepared for you on the day you were created." Ezek 28:13 (NKJV)

The Scripture above is referring to Satan before he decided to rebel against God. Interestingly, the next verse says "You were the anointed cherub who covers…" Satan held a very high position before God. On the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant, we find two cherubs, or angelic beings, touching above where God literally dwelt, before the New Covenant was made based on the atonement of Jesus Christ. Satan was created with special musical gifts, that he might be anointed to lead praises to God. However, he has since used them against mankind.

The Spiritual Power of Music

The Scripture tells us, in Hosea 4:6, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." It may be that our lack of understanding regarding the power of music has wreaked destruction on our society, and even on the church. In the 1960’s a mop-headed group called the Beatles changed society with their music. One of their leaders, John Lennon, declared in a press conference that Christianity was on its way out, and that the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus Christ."

As outrageous and arrogant as Lennon’s words were, it is true that the Beatles were amazingly popular. Their music began as rather tame, as they sang about wanting to "hold your hand". But soon they were crooning "I’d love to turn you on," and the adolescents of those years would soon find out that that meant to take drugs. It was light and fluffy – peace and love were in the air. The old taboos were broken with apparent impunity. Sex outside of marriage was not sin – it was just some fun that prudish parents with a concept of God had tried to withhold from the Aquarius generation.

More musicians pushed drugs in their music, and soon America, with the rest of the world following, became a nation of drug users, if not drug addicts. Inhibitions continued to evaporate, the difference between right and wrong became hazy and debatable, and we ended up, thirty to forty years later, with a decaying, perverse society. Our country has legalized the murder of innocent babies, spawned an epidemic of sexual diseases and sexual predators, and is drowning in a sea of drugs. And amazingly, most of this started with music.

Paying the Piper

"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap." Galatians 6:7 (NKJV)

There is a little tale that many of us heard as children, call the Pied Piper of Hamelin. However, this story is not a fictional fable, but one of fact. Old writings on the walls of several houses in Hamelin say that on July 26, 1284, a piper led 130 children out of town and that they were never seen again after going in the direction of Koppen Hill. The Pied Piper had contracted with Hamelin to rid the city of rats, and was not paid by the citizenry. Consequently, he played his fascinating music and carried most of the children away.

The spirit of the Pied Piper carried the children away in the sixties, also. As Americans became comfortable after World War 2, they still went to church, but mostly because of tradition. Science became the religion of the 1950’s, and soon true faith waned dramatically. As the country turned away from God, the door opened for the enemy of our souls to enter through a generation of youth.

God’s Use of Music

"’But now bring me a musician.’ Then it happened, when the musician played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him." 2Kings 3:15 (NKJV)

When the prophet Elisha was asked to seek God for a word of prophecy, he asked that a musician be brought. After the musician played, the prophecy came forth. In the following Scripture, we also see how music was used to chase away a distressing spirit from King Saul:

"And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him." 1Samuel 16:23 (NKJV)

When Solomon dedicated the temple to God, the praise accompanied by music brought the very presence of God:

"Indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying: "For He is good, For His mercy endures forever," that the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God." 2Chronicles 5:13-14 (NKJV)

Music helped Elisha prophesy, when King David played, the music from his harp repelled an evil spirit, and when the temple was dedicated with music, the literal glory of God came. Can we not see from these examples the tremendous spiritual power of music? Is it not clear that music has the ability to sway mankind, both in the physical and psychical sense? Furthermore, with the technology of this century, that power is made even more pervasive, since we can surround ourselves with music in a way never before possible. Moreover, we are sometimes even forced to listen to music we do not like, because it has become ubiquitous through technology.

What Spirits Surround Us Due to Music?

Spirits are still attracted to music, and depending on the type of music, a different type of spirit will be attracted. The question is, what type of music do we listen to? Considering how difficult most of us find it is to truly live the Christian life, it would seem that we would not want to do anything to hinder our ability to do so. And, obviously listening to the wrong type of music will hinder us.

First of all, if we are not listening to Christian music, than we are listening to music which was conceived without the spiritual influence of God. Consequently, if it has no godly influence, it will have no power to bring us closer to God. And, if it is not bringing us closer to God, and not attracting spirits of a godly nature, what type of spirits is it attracting? Although some music may at first seem innocuous to us, let us use spiritual discernment and not underestimate its influence. Besides the spiritual aspect of worldly music, there is also a more mundane influence which is directly related to its words.

It’s Only a Silly Love Song

Even if the lyrics seem foolish, perhaps childish, what is really being said? Is human love being exalted into a position which it should never hold in a Christian’s heart? Typically secular music ties personal happiness to a physical relationship with a man or a woman. The words tend to brainwash one into thinking that the sole source of joy can be found there, instead through a relationship with God. And, although we may think we are immune from such repeating lyrics, we rarely are. Music has a way of going down into our soul, somewhat like poetry. It communicates with our hearts at a deeper level than reading or talking does, and it has a way of staying with us, even when we do not want it to. Have we not all experienced hearing a song and not being able to get it out of our minds? Perhaps we have even spoken (confessed) the lyrics without thinking. And the reason is revealed in Matthew 12:34: "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." Music in its highest form glorifies God; in it lowest form it becomes a societal plague.

I Did it My Way

When the lyrics do not emphasize human lust, and exalt it as an idol, it may exalt man. If we think that lyrics written by people who do not know God are harmless, let us carefully consider what the lyrics mean the next time we are listening. We might be surprised to find out that the messages being communicated are more anti-god than we think. Not that they attack Him personally, but that they exclude Him. If we were at a social gathering, and the host completely ignored us, would that not constitute rude treatment? The host may not say anything bad to us, but if he said nothing at all, we would still feel dishonored. Can we not see then, that to ignore the Creator in our stories and songs is to effectively dishonor Him, even if we are not doing so directly?

Music and The Church

"Take away from Me the noise of your songs, For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments." Amos 5:23 (NKJV)

The word "noise" here is not just an antiquated word for music. The Hebrew word is "hamown," and it means, noise, tumult, confusion and rumbling. The root word for it is "hamah," and it means "roaring, disquieting, troubling, raging and clamorous.

In recent years, the music in many churches has changed dramatically. "Praise" in some of them sounds like a rock concert, and the decibel level in many is so high that it can actually cause hearing damage. Drums beat so loud that everything else is drowned out. Is this the type of music we will hear in heaven? When one desires to move his or her body sensually, is this conducive to the worship of God, or the gratification of the flesh?

Moreover, will we actually bring in the "youth" with this music, or will we only degrade our own worship of God, and attract spirits that defile us and the church? Will God inhabit the praises of His people with this type of music, or are we simply satisfying the flesh of those who have not been delivered from the praise of the god of rock and roll?

Yes, certainly these are controversial sentiments in our current society. However, before discarding them, let us open our hearts to the Holy Spirit and ask if He is confirming them or denying them. If the Spirit is insulted by this type of music, and if, being grieved, He is leaving our presence because of this, a vacuum will be made available for a different type of spirit to come. Music is tremendously powerful and it is not neutral. It is either to be used in the praise of God or it is not worthy of being used in that fashion. If it is not worthy of the praise of God, then Satan is stealing God’s worship for himself. This corresponds to his agenda outlined in Isaiah chapter 14. Verse 14 reads this way: "I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High."

If he can not usurp the praise that is given to God, than he can surely attempt to nullify it by defiling the music in the church. It is interesting to note that almost every major "Christian" music company is owned or controlled by a secular company. This was not the case until Christians began to embrace the world’s music, because there was little monetary gain to be had. However, now "Christian" music is big business. Let us remember what Christ said, in response to this type of thing: "Take these things away! Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise!" John 2:16 (NKJV)

What is it Worth – the Loss of Souls?

I have been told by many that it is only the seniors in the churches who dislike the loud rock-type music, as if this is reason enough to ignore the pleas to reduce the volume. However, even if this were true, which it is not, that would be reason enough to change it. For the Scripture says,

"You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the Lord." Leviticus 19:32 (NKJV)

Moreover, let us consider the plight of an elderly lady who does not know Christ. Her husband dies, and she is lonely. She seeks comfort but has none, because she has no relationship with God. Finally she realizes her need, and decides to visit a church. Walking in, several people greet her, and she feels as if she has made the correct decision in coming. Suddenly, however, the praise begins with drums beating and guitars turned up to a deafening pitch. Disturbed and annoyed, she hurries out of the church, does not hear the message of salvation her soul so dearly needs, and dies lost and estranged from God.

Who would be responsible for this tragedy? Why is it that stubbornness has been allowed to prevail in the church on such as matter as music? Is it the Christian way to be insensitive to disturbing others? Is this raucous music worth the loss of even one soul? Do we not believe that Jesus would have died for just one?

If we are going to offend other Christians, and keep them and those who do not believe out of church because we want to make it sound like a rock concert, how will we answer to God in that Day? Will He question why we made this music into a ridiculous idol? Will he ask the pastors how many times they were told that the music was too loud, and how many times they ignored these pleas? Will he ask the elders and those in the congregation who knew better, but did not want to "rock the boat," why they did not have the backbone to stand up on this issue?

Will He ask the youth pastors why they led the adolescents in praise with music that drowned out their conscience instead of convicting it? Will He remind those who would not relent of how Paul was willing to sacrifice anything that might stop the Word of God from going forth, even as the Scripture says:

"Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble." 1Corinthians 8:13 (NKJV)

And will He also mention to the church leaders His words to Saul, when He said:

"…stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry." 1Samuel 15:23 (NKJV)

Music From Heaven

Perhaps the saddest part of all of this is the fact that so many talented Christian musicians eagerly listen to the world’s music and copy the latest worldly styles and sounds. Surely the Author of all creativity can give these musicians original music that surpasses anything the ungodly are able to compose. However, this "music from heaven" will only come to those who have experienced a yielding to the cross of Christ, with humbleness and a broken and contrite spirit. Those who want to be exalted as "stars" in Christian music, and those who "perform" in the pulpit as if it were a stage, are working contrary to the One who made Himself of no reputation. For the true "stars" of Christianity are the humble ones who take up the cross daily and have cast down worldly ambition. It is the father of the children of pride who said, "I will exalt my throne above the stars of God…"(Isaiah 14:13), and his music is in harmony with those who have confused praise with performance.

Discerning between the Holy and the Unholy

Music is a difficult thing to discuss, because it is somewhat abstract. Moreover, a gentle hymn can be made raucous if played in a certain way. Contradistinctively, there is modern music which is greatly anointed by the Holy Spirit. How then can one make a distinction? Certainly if the music is loud we already know it will be annoying to some, and that is a simple matter to remedy.

However, the next question is whether or not it is holy. King Solomon prayed to God for discernment, saying: "Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil…" in 1Kings 3:9. Also, God tells us that the priests will teach discernment in Ezekiel 44:23, "And they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean." But under the New Covenant, we have a greater promise for instruction by the Holy Spirit: "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you." John 14:26 (NKJV)

If this message angers you, or seems foreign to you, please give the Holy Spirit an opportunity to show you if it is from Him. This subject is not a minor one, for the worship of God it an intimate matter and it should be considered solemn and highly sacred. We must become neutral before God to hear His guidance, but our hearts can be trained in this manner, for we read in Hebrews 5:14: "…those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."


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