Chapter two: THE ORIGINS OF MUSIC
"Our hearts desire should be to worship God: we have been designed by God for this purpose. If we dont worship God, we'll worship something or someone else - John Wimber from EQUIPPING THE SAINTS.
It is very obvious even from the briefest look at the Bible that music was created by God for preaise and worship. That is evident from teh words of Revelation 4:11:
"...for thou hast creating all things, and for thy pleasure they are creatd and were created."
The Psalms, of course, was the first songbook. The great choirs of Jerusalem, under Davids direction, would assemble together and sing these great songs. One section would sing a certain part and another would raise their voices in a responsive chord.
It is recorded in history that the children of Israel were the first people to sing, to clap, to play musical instruments, and to worship God in song. There are over 800 indivicual references to music in the Bible, either to singing or to the use of musical instruments. David is commonly referred to as "the sweet singer of Israel"
The Jewish people were an emotional people. Their worship was often characterized by great exclamations of joy, shouting, clapping hands, or waving of arms, and at times, with tears. One can easily see these characteristics in the Psalms of David or by simply reading selected passages from the Old Testement.
Music was even used by the prophets when prophesying by the Holy Spirit. Thats confirmed from the wordsof Samuel, the great judge and prophet of Isreal.
"...thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy" (1 Sam. 10:5)
The Bible uses frequent references to musical instruments such as the harp, the lyre, the tabret, and the tambourine. The word "psalms" in the Greek is psalmos, which means a set piece of music, a sacred song, to be accompanied with the harp or other instruments.
The word also means to celebrate divine worship with music and singing. This is the meaning of the Hebrew word translated as "psalms" in the following verses:
"Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works" (1 Chron. 16:9).
"Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms" (Psa: 95:2)
"Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works" (Psa. 105:2)
PRAISE AND WORSHIP
The Bible is literally filled with music. Again and again the word of God records amazing incidents where Gods people burst forth with music and singing to honor the exploits of the Lord on their behalf.
We read in Exodus 15 of Moses and the children of Israel singing a song unto the Lord after their miraculous crossing of the Red Sea. The song reflects the great joy of Gods people who have seen the hand of the Almighty in sparing them from the host of Pharaoh's army:
"...I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him..."(Exo. 15:1,2)
The song is actually nineteen verses in length, which gives you some idea of the children of Israles fervor to praise God. Then in verses twenty and twenty-one, the Bible records how Miriam took a timbrel in hand to lead the women in a time of great rejoicing.
"And Miriam, the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. "And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea" (Exo. 15:20,21)
1 Chronicles 15 records the extensive preparations arranged by David for teh thousands of musicians to accompany the Ark of the Covenant on its return to Jerusalem. Verse 25 notes the dominate attitude over-shadowing this effort:
."So David and the elders if Israel, and the captains over thousands, went to bring up the ark of teh covenant of the Lord out of the house of Obed-edom with joy (1 Chron. 15:25)
Scripture further records much of the preparations and the peoples response to the activities:
"And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the are, and the singers, and the Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen.
Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the corent, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps" (1 Chron. 15:27,28)
1 Chronicles 16:7-36 recounts the magnificent psalm which David composed to honor the Lord for His goodness in returning the Ark of the Covenant to His people. Verse 23 in that chapter observes:
"Sing unto the Lord, all teh earth; shew forth from the day to day his salvation.
When Jesus Christ came into this world, His appearance was made known by a chorus of angels who serenaded some obscure shepherds watching their flock. God had chosen the medium of music to herald this signal event in human history - the coming Emmanuel - God with us.
"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on eart peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:13,14)
In one of the most exceptional battle stories in the whole Bible, Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, took an unprecedented course of action to victory. The Scripture records:
"And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord: for his mercy endureth for ever. And when they began to sing and to praise the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten (2 Chron. 20:21,22)
In another instance in the New Testament, the mighty power of God was unleashed when Paul and Silas were arrested in Philippi, beaten, thrust into the inner part of the jail, and confined in wooden stocks. Then, a miracle happened.
"And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened and every one's bands were loosed" (Acts 16:25, 26)
In looking at both the Old and New Testaments, it is also obvious that God has given scriptural approval to the use of musical instruments in worship. To sing with accompaniment is a command of the Word of God. The following Scriptures verify the use of musical instruments in worship:
>The righteous are commanded to use them in their worship of God (Psa. 33: 1-5; Psa. 81: 1-5; Psa. 98: 4-9; Psa. 147:7; Psa. 149:1-4; Psa 150:1-6)
>In the Old Testament, it wa actually a law of God to use musical instruments (Psa. 81:1-4; 2 Chron. 29:25)
>When dedicated to God, musical instruments were called holy (Num. 31:6)
>Gods glory (as recorded in 2 Chron 5:11-14) came down when instruments were used with singing - and this still happens today.
>It was prophesied that musical instruments will be used in the reign of the Messiah (Psa. 87:7)
>Fifty-five Psalms were dedicated to the chief musician to be used in worship. And it was only when Israle misused them -to commit sin - that any rebuke came as described in Psalm 32 and Amos 6.
>In heaven, we are told that the twenty-four elders and four angelic beings play harps (Rev. 5:8)
>The 144,000 Jews will also play harps in heaven (Rev 14: 1-5)
>All tribulation saints in heaven will play harps (Rev. 15:2)
>The New Testament commands their use in the church. In Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, the saints are commanded to use psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, and to make melody in their heart to the Lord.
Without question, the Word of God from beginning to end has given its approval to the use of musical instruments in worship. To believe and practice otherwise would be contrary to Scripture.
THE WAYS OF WORSHIP
According to John Wimber, there are various ways described in the Old and New Testaments for worshiping God. Among them he lists the following
"Confession: the acknowledgement of sin and guilt to a holy and righteous God"
"Thanksgiving: giving thanks to God for what He has done, especially for His works of creation and Salvation"
"Adoration: praising God simply for who He is - Lord of the Universe."
Throughout the Bible, worship can be seen in such forms as singing, playing musical instrumetns, dancing before the Lord, lifting hands, bowing down, and kneeling.
A.W. Tozer, in his book, WORSHIP: THE MISSING JEWEL IN THE EVANGELICAL CHURCH, adds a vital element to worship which the Jews of the Old Testament and the first century understood - "feeling". Dr Tozer wrote
"Now I happen to belong to that segment of the church of Christ on earth that is not afraid of the word "feeling." We went through a long deep-freeze period at the turn of the centure, when people talked about "naked faith" They wanted to hang us out there like a coonskin drying on the door. And so they said, "Now, dont believe in feeling brother; we dont believe in feeling. The only man who went by feeling was led astray: and that was Isaac when he felt Jacobs arm and thought it was Esau."
But they forgot the woman who felt in her body that she was healed! Remember that? A person that merely goes through the form and doesnt feel anything is not worshiping.
Worship also means to "express in some appropriate manner" what you feel. Now, expressing in some appropriate manner doesn mean that we always all express it in the same way all the ime. And it doesnt mean that you will always express your worship in the same manner. But it does mean that it wil be expressed in some manner.
And what will be expressed? "a humbling but delightful sense of admiring awe and astonished wonder." It is delightful to worship God, but it is also a humbling thing. And the man who has not been humbled in the presence of God will never be a worshipper of God at all. He may be a church member who keeps the rules and obeys the discipline, and who tithes and goes to conference, but he'll never be a worshipper unless he is deeply humbled.
There's an awesomeness about God which is missing in our day altogether; theres litle sense of admiring awe in the church of Christ these days. "Awesome wonder and overpowering love" in th presence of that ancient mystery, that unspeakable Majesty, which the philosophers call the MYSTERIUM TREMENDUM, but which we call our Father which art in heaven. Now thats my definition of worship - that we are to feel something in our heart that we didnt have before we were converted: that we're going to express it in some way and ist going to be a humbling but a most enjoyable sense of admiring awe and astonished wonder and overpowering love in the Presense of that most ancient Mystery"
Dr. Tozer has focused upon one of the magnificent aspects of worship - that feeling deep in your soul. Surely that was the emotion that must have gripped Jesus' folowers on His triumphal entry into Jerusalam in Luke 19:37, 38.
"And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen" Saying Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest."
LUCIFER'S INVOLVEMENT IN MUSIC
While it is obvious that God is the source of music, it must also be recognized from Ezekiel 28 that Lucifer, before his fall, was heavily involved in music.
In the latter portion of Ezekiel 28:13, the Bible says:
"...the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared for thee in the day that thou wast created,"
Many Bible scholars believe this pertains to the tremendous musical talents that God gave to Lucifer - referring specifically to music and song.
In Isaiah 14:12, he is called Lucifer, "son of the morning" In ezekiel 28:14, he is described as "the anointed cherub" who "wast upon the holy mountain of God: thaouh has walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire."
In Job 38, the creation of the world is described in great detail. When one considers verse seven - "the mourning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy" - it is quite possible that Lucifer was the director of the great choirs of heaven, who literally led the angelic host in songs of praise and worship when God made the world.
But Lucifers music changed.
"Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, though hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee" (Ezek. 28:17)
Since that day, the devil has played a different tune and much of the world has danced to its sound. Like every good gift from God, Satan has often counterfeited and perverted Gods gift of music to serve a demonic purpose. The "anointed cherub" created sounds that induced the worship of those angelic beings who fell from their heavenly estate with him.
Even Gods own people gave heed to the satainc sound until the Lord declared
"Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs: for I will not hear the melody of thy viols"
MUSIC FOR SATAN
Daniel 3 contains the classic example of music that was used as worship to Satan. The story focuses upon Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king who set upa a large monument to himself "in the plain of Dura" Then the command goes forth:
"...To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, 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: And whoso falleth not down and worshipeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace" (Dan. 3:4-6)
That is music used in a demonic setting. It is offered only as worship in a godless, carnal sense. Yet, who can deny it is still music?
Though an entire Babylonian nation could be coerced into bowing before this satanic music, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to heed this muisc. They knew it paid homage to a false god. They would not bow. Their ears were tuned to the Lords melody.
THE GREEK INFLUENCE
The English word "music" comes from the Greek word mousike, which means any art presided over by the Muses. The Muses were Greek mythical characters considered to be a source of inspiration that would cause a portion to be absorbed in a thought and thereby would create a state of being or mood.
Though we dont believe in Muses, we do know that music deals with the emotions and that music can create a state of being or mood in a person. This is obvious in our use of such terms as happy songs, sad songs, and other such references.
1 Samuel 16:16-23 recounts how music was used to soothe the demonic oppression of King Saul. The kings servants evidentally knew something about the soothing nature of music in certain instances, for the Scripture says:
"And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand" so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him" (verse 23)
THE CHRIST FACTOR
Before Jesus Christ was born into this world to live among men - and later to die and rise again - most music was in the minor chords. All the great psalms orignated by David for worship were basically in minor chords.
It should be noted that the majority of music fromm other parts of th world of that day was demonic in origin and had little or no melodic flow.
However, after the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, music gradually changed from the minor chords to the majors, and only then was its full potential realized. IT was as if Jesus' life, death and resurrection opened up the hearts of men to a higher level of worship - thus the progression from the minor to the major chords.
The first popular music in the American colonies came from the church. The Pilgrim settlers particularly enjoyed singing psalms. The first book published in the colonies was the BAY PSALM BOOK in 1640. It contained translations of biblical psalms with directions on how to sing them.
If you look at the nations of this world which dont worship the Lord today, or which worship in a distorted or erroneous manner, you will find that their music has a strange and eerie sound disturbing to the western ear.
Not long ago while visiting Cairo, Egypt, I went out to walk and pray just before dark. During the walk I could hear the eerie wail of the Moslems as they worshipped and prayed. The music had no melody. It was simply recurring pattern like a chant suggesting despair and darkness. OF course, there is no joy or victory in a false way of worship.
From this level of misguided worship, we can follow the further degeneration of musical form until it reaches its ultimate base level in lands where idol worship, animal sacrifice, and even human bondage exists. Without question, demonic influence provides the key for such worship.
Music, as we know it in western culture, stems from our Judeo-Christian heritage and was originally intended for the worship of God.
Yet Satan - with tremendous abilities in musical knowledge given to him by God at his creation - has subverted all of this. He has enslaved hundreds of millions with drugs, alcohol, and illicet sex through demon-inspired music.
Music is an incredibly powerful tool - either in the realm of the Gospel or as a tool of darkness. It can usher one right into the presence of Almighty God or call forth the most vile, demonic activity imaginable on the face of planet earth.
The medium of music is just that powerful.