Musical Instruments in Worship

"I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also"  [1 Corinthians 14:15]How are we to praise our Savior through song? Let's study the beginning, use, and ending of musical instruments in praising our Lord.   

David, around 970 BC, making Solomon his son King over Israel, "gathered together all the princes of Israel with the priests and Levites. Now the Levites were numbered from the age of thirty years and upward:  and their number by their polls, man by man, was thirty and eight thousand. Of which twenty and four thousand were to set forward the work of the house of the Lord; and six thousand were officers and judges:  Moreover, four thousand were porters; and four thousand praised the Lord with the instruments which I made, said David to praise therewith"  [1 Chronicles 12:2-5]

Throughout the Psalms, David instructs praise to the Lord with the instruments which he had made. 

How were they used?  Hezekiah provides detail.  "And the Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priest with the trumpets. And Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering upon the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the Lord began also with the trumpets, and with instruments ordained by David King of Israel. And all the congregation worshipped and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded; and all this continued until the burnt offering was finished." [Notice that the musical instruments began playing when the burnt offering began and stopped when the offering was finished.]           

"And when they had made an end of offering, the King and all that were present with him bowed themselves and worshipped. Moreover, Hezekiah the King and the princes commanded the Levites to sing praise unto the Lord with the words [not instruments - the offering was finished] of David and Asaph the seer. And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshipped."  [2  Chronicles 29:26-30]          

Remember the words of Christ while upon the cross, "It is finished" [John 19:30]. The perfect sacrifice is finished. The perfect offering: "Christ who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God"  [Hebrews 9:14]. We have an altar - which is Christ. "By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name"  [Hebrews 13:10-14].          

The prophet Amos, preaching 785-740 BC, speaking of this better time "though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them; neither will I regard the peace offering of your fat beasts. Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols"   [Amos 5:22-23]. No burnt offerings, no meat offerings, no peace offering of fat beast, and no instruments for melody with the songs. Not only are we instructed to take those instruments away, the Lord does not hear the melody made by them.           

Further, "Woe to them...that chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of musick like David."  [Amos 6:1,5] - we are instructed not to sing to instruments or invent new instruments to praise using David to justify their use. If melody is not to be made with instruments, then how?             

The Apostle Paul to the church at Ephesus; "speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord."  [Ephesians 5:19]  The Lord Himself sang without instruments; "And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the Mount of Olives." [Matthew 26:30]           

God's children should not sit quietly during the song service because we are afraid someone will hear our imperfect singing voice. We are not singing to those around us, but to the Lord.  Let us raise our voices, the harps the Lord has made, in singing to Him. 

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."  [Colossians 3:16]

Elder Don Watson

Commission or Command

"Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests," [Acts 26:12]. You have just read the one and only time the term "commission" is found in the entire Bible. It was given to Saul to make havoc of the Church [Acts 8:3].

"...and many of the saints did I shut up in prison,...and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities." [Acts 26:10-11]

As an Army officer, I was given a commission to support and defend the Constitution of the United States [very broad.] The commission gave me no specific guidance at all. Those early ministers were not given a commission, but a command [very specific].

Consider the Apostles.

"These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The Kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils; freely ye have received, freely give." [Matthew 10:5-8]

Look at the signs that followed them as Christ sent them into all the world.

"...In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." [Mark 16:17-18]

Paul, an Apostle: "And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them." [Acts 19:11-12]

Did they fulfill their command? Consider to whom they preached on the day of Pentecost: "And they were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven" [Acts 2:5]. "So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world." [Romans 10:17-18].

Paul, speaking to the Gentiles:

"Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant" [1 Cor. 12:1]. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way."

[1 Cor 12:39-31]. "But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away." [1 Cor 13:10]

The early church did not have the New Testament. They witnessed the miracles personally. We now have a more excellent way. That which is perfect is come. We witness the same miracles and the finished work of Christ through the inspired word of God.

When Christ preached upon the earth, did He do so with a commission or through a commandment?

"For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak." [John 12:49-50]

"For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me." [John 17:8]

The tern "reverend" is used only once in the entire Bible and refers only to God: "He sent redemption unto his people; he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name" [Ps 111:9]. We should not think of applying the term "Reverend" to us today. Likewise, the term "commission" is only used once in the entire Bible-in reference to Saul [Acts 26:12]; neither should we think of applying the term to us today.

There is no Great Commission or a Final Commission taught in the Bible. May we use biblical terms as we "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." [2 Tim 2:15].

Elder Don R. Watson

Understanding Science

"Children in whom was no blemish, but well favored and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science...."

[Daniel 1:4] These children carried into Babylonian captivity around 605 BC understood true science. God's children should study - not avoid - science, but search out true science. "It is a glory of God to conceal a thing, but the honour of kings is to search out a matter." [Proverbs 25:2]

How do we avoid the "oppositions of science falsely so called?" [1 Timothy 6:20] What should we know first? The Apostle Peter; "Knowing this first that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." [uniformitarianism]. Peter tells us "they willingly are ignorant" of the scientific evidences of the universal flood of Noah. [2 Peter 3:3-7]. Remember, God is not the author of confusion [1 Cor. 14:33]. There is no conflict between true science and the Bible. We know the earth was created with the appearance of age but I think we have much more than that. I think we have "good science," scientific proof that the earth is very young.

1].     Oil gushers, oil bed pressures indicate an age less than 10,000 years. If dinosaurs died out seventy million years ago to become oil beds, even the most dense earth materials could not have prevented these pressures from dissipating long ago.

2].     Carbon 14 disintegration vs. production ; The C-14 clock should have begun between 5,600 -11,200 years ago. Scientists know it is physically impossible to use C-14 to determine dates beyond that.

3].     Decay of the earth's magnetic field; The magnetic field is decaying so fast that an age older than 10,000 years would have resulted in nuclear reactions originally.

4].     Delta filling; By measuring the rate of growth of the Mississippi Delta, it is about 4,000 years old.

5].     History; Human history is only a few thousand years old. The 6th day of creation when male and female were created [Gen. 1:27] was not seventy million years ago; billions of years after creation, "But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female." [Mark 10:6] Notice that plants appeared on the third day [Gen 1:13] and the Sun on the 4th day [Gen 1:19].

6].     Earth spin: Based on the slowing of the earth's spin , the earth cannot be 4.8 billion years old. A leap second was added to our clocks at 6:PM CST December 31, 1998 making the preceding minute 61 seconds long. The National Institute of Standards in Boulder, CO and the U. S. Naval Observatory in Washington DC must make these adjustments every few years. The previous leap second was added June 30, 1997. Without leap seconds, after 10,000 years or so clocks would read noon just as the sun was coming up.

7].     Sun Shrinkage: The Sun is consuming 400 million tons of hydrogen every second shrinking at the rate of about five feet per hour [8.3 miles per year]

Billions of years old? It would have been so large we would have burned up.

8].     Influx of cosmic dust: The measurement of meteoritic dust influx indicates a few thousand years old [14 million tons of dust per year].

9].     Cosmic dust velocities observations of interstellar cosmic dust show velocities of particles are almost static, indicating a young galaxy.

10]     Atmospheric oxygen : The present level of atmospheric oxygen could be generated within 5,000 years assuming no oxygen to start with.

11].     Earth's heat: The earth cannot be billions of years old based on Stefan's law of radiation.

12].     Stalagmites and stalactites. Both have been observed to form rapidly.

13].     Lunar inert gases: If the present concentrations of lunar inert gases are due to solar winds of present-day intensity, it would require less than 10,000 years for the moon and the solar system to form them.

14].     Lunar Orbit: The moon is leaving earth's orbit at about one foot every 30 years. Its closeness indicates youth.

15].     Moon radioactive dust: The surprising absence of the moon radioactive dusts points to a young moon.

16].     Short lived lunar Isotopes U-236 and TH-230 speak for a young moon in terms of thousands of years.

17].     Lunar soil scientists have calculated there should be 54 feet of lunar soil based on old age. Only an average of 6 inches were ever found. A young moon.

18].     Meteorites: Meteoritic impacts on earth, are only found in surface rocks indicating a young earth.

The abrupt appearance of complex life in the fossil record, the systematic gaps between fossil categories, the mathematical improbability of vertical evolution, the genetic limits of viable change [Mendel's laws] are all true science and confirm God's Word. We could go on and on and on!

Our final thought - God created a perfect world. When Adam sinned a natural scientific law began. We know of this law as the second law of thermodynamics. It simply means that left to themselves in nature, things fall apart. They rust, rot, age and die. Just the opposite of what vertical evolution requires. Sin brought this "scientific law" upon us, Noah's flood, in forty days/nights, what would have taken nature millions of years.

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth His handiwork." [Psalms 19:1]

Elder Don Watson