OT Elemental use of musical instruments ceremonial and gone in NT or not?

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Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
I find it distasteful to force element or circumstance on this issue when it is praise itself that is the element. There is inherent diversity in how we praise God in song.
I'm struggling to figure out how this contributes to the discussion at hand.
 

G

Puritan Board Senior
I find it distasteful to force element or circumstance on this issue when it is praise itself that is the element. There is inherent diversity in how we praise God in song.
Tim,

Do you think by your logic here that we could rightfully still use incense as praise?
 

iainduguid

Puritan Board Sophomore
I may not be following your line of thought, so forgive me if I'm missing something. Yes, absolutely, the singers and musicians in 1 Chronicles 15 are Levites. Only Levites could carry the ark and only Levites could play upon instruments. (And they also were male.)

As mentioned before, a different dispensation existed for the church in the wilderness. Miriam and the other women rejoicing with their tambourines provide the imagery for the rejoicing of Psalm 68. Now in 1 Chronicles 15, God is beginning the institution of Temple worship.

I'm missing how I sealed your case- please help me out!
As I pointed out earlier, the Hebrew b compels understanding the event taking place in (or "into") the sanctuary, as almost all translations, ancient or modern, render it (including the KJV). But let's suppose that it is the occasion when David brought up the ark to Jerusalem and into the tent he had prepared for it there. 1 Chronicles makes it clear that the same regulations applied to this event as temple worship - hence the need for Levitical singers and musicians, among whom you have just placed the women of psalm 68! And yes there were sacrifices there (1 Chron 15:26). If that's not a worship service, I don't know what one looks like.

For meshorerim as temple singers see 1 Chron 9:33; 15:16; 15:19; 27; 2 Chron 5:12; 20:21; 29:28; 35:15; Ezr 2:41, 65, 70; 7:7; 10:24; Neh 7:1, 24, 67; 72; Neh 10:29, 40; 11:22, 23; 12:28, 29, 42, 45, 46, 47; 13:5; 10.

That's 27 usages (apart from the disputed ones in Ezra 2:65 and the parallel in Neh 7:67), all of which clearly refer to temple singers. The disputed uses are surrounded by two or three other uses in their immediate context that clearly refer to temple singers. Why would it mean something different here than it does anywhere else?
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
I understand that, but is there ever a time when we sing to God and it is not worship?
My initial thought is that when we sing to God, we are approaching his throne and he is holy. We should approach his throne in the manner he has prescribed. So I would consider it worship and a time to bring him a song he has prescribed, a Psalm addressed to him.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
Tim,

Do you think by your logic here that we could rightfully still use incense as praise?
No. Praise existed outside of temple worship. This is why tracking it outside of the temple is important.

On another note, I'm not trying to ignore people. I am incredibly busy right now and don't have much time to contribute though I do enjoy the conversation.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
1 Chronicles makes it clear that the same regulations applied to this event as temple worship - hence the need for Levitical singers and musicians, among whom you have just placed the women of psalm 68! And yes there were sacrifices there (1 Chron 15:26). If that's not a worship service, I don't know what one looks like.
I didn't place the women of Psalm 68 into the occasion of David bringing up the ark! If you read what I wrote earlier I placed them in the victory at the Red Sea, agreeable to the first part of the Psalm's context. I think the Psalm is alluding to that event and to Miriam's and the women's rejoicing. Women aren't specifically mentioned as being among "all Israel" in the narrative of 1 Chronicles 13 or 15. Could they have been? Perhaps? Again, this did not take place in the stated place of public worship, but was a procession. So I'm still reluctant to call it a stated worship gathering. Got a commentator who makes the argument that it was?

So yes, I agree that the occasion of bringing up the ark was regulated (the 2nd time). But importantly, the first time David attempted to bring up the ark (1 Chronicles 13), God broke out against them for their carelessness in ordering the procession. "And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets." Did all Israel here include non-Levites, women...?

When David went back again the 2nd time to bring up the ark, he repented for how he had approached it at first (1 Chronicles 15:13); he appointed the proper Levitical office to their places. "And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of musick, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy. 17 So the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel; and of his brethren, Asaph the son of Berechiah; and of the sons of Merari their brethren, Ethan the son of Kushaiah; 18 and with them their brethren of the second degree, Zechariah, Ben, and Jaaziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, Eliab, and Benaiah, and Maaseiah, and Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Mikneiah, and Obed-edom, and Jeiel, the porters. 19 So the singers, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, were appointed to sound with cymbals of brass; 20 and Zechariah, and Aziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, and Eliab, and Maaseiah, and Benaiah, with psalteries on Alamoth; 21 and Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Mikneiah, and Obed-edom, and Jeiel, and Azaziah, with harps on the Sheminith to excel. 22 And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was for song: And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was for song: he instructed about the song, because he was skilful."

"So David, and the elders of Israel, and the captains over thousands, went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the house of Obed-edom with joy. 26 And it came to pass, when God helped the Levites that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, that they offered seven bullocks and seven rams. 27 And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen. 28 Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps."

"All Israel" brings up the ark of the covenant upon both occasions. Who is included in "all Israel?" Every member of Israel? Every child, every adult? Or is all Israel, especially this second time, defined by the properly appointed Levites (and David) in their stations as described?
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
...praise itself that is the element. There is inherent diversity in how we praise God in song.
Tim, I believe the praise to God we are to give, and that is spoken of over and over in the Psalms, is the singing and speaking and praying of Psalms. These words are what have been given to us to ensure our praise is pure, particularly when we are speaking and singing and praying corporately. I won't be able to get much into this issue- sorry to be provocative, if it is, and then not discuss it or defend it. I can talk a little about it, but like you have a lot to do in the next few days. You here called praise an element, therefore you'd expect its content to be regulated by God.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
You here called praise an element, therefore you'd expect its content to be regulated by God.
Yes, which is why we have ample examples in the old testament, many of which use instruments and are outside of temple worship. If you find positive instructions about what it means to praise God in the Psalms, you would also see that using instruments is appropriate. Cherry picking what parts of the Psalms teach us positively about praising God is a demonstration of a bias towards your own presuppositions. If the Psalms teach us how to praise God, we are also instructed in the lawfulness of using instruments. If I can be frank: I find your reasoning in general on this subject to be very speculative and fraught with verbal gymnastics.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
I didn't place the women of Psalm 68 into the occasion of David bringing up the ark! If you read what I wrote earlier I placed them in the victory at the Red Sea, agreeable to the first part of the Psalm's context. I think the Psalm is alluding to that event and to Miriam's and the women's rejoicing. Women aren't specifically mentioned as being among "all Israel" in the narrative of 1 Chronicles 13 or 15. Could they have been? Perhaps? Again, this did not take place in the stated place of public worship, but was a procession. So I'm still reluctant to call it a stated worship gathering. Got a commentator who makes the argument that it was?

So yes, I agree that the occasion of bringing up the ark was regulated (the 2nd time). But importantly, the first time David attempted to bring up the ark (1 Chronicles 13), God broke out against them for their carelessness in ordering the procession. "And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets." Did all Israel here include non-Levites, women...?

When David went back again the 2nd time to bring up the ark, he repented for how he had approached it at first (1 Chronicles 15:13); he appointed the proper Levitical office to their places. "And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of musick, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy. 17 So the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel; and of his brethren, Asaph the son of Berechiah; and of the sons of Merari their brethren, Ethan the son of Kushaiah; 18 and with them their brethren of the second degree, Zechariah, Ben, and Jaaziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, Eliab, and Benaiah, and Maaseiah, and Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Mikneiah, and Obed-edom, and Jeiel, the porters. 19 So the singers, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, were appointed to sound with cymbals of brass; 20 and Zechariah, and Aziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, and Eliab, and Maaseiah, and Benaiah, with psalteries on Alamoth; 21 and Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Mikneiah, and Obed-edom, and Jeiel, and Azaziah, with harps on the Sheminith to excel. 22 And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was for song: And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was for song: he instructed about the song, because he was skilful."

"So David, and the elders of Israel, and the captains over thousands, went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the house of Obed-edom with joy. 26 And it came to pass, when God helped the Levites that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, that they offered seven bullocks and seven rams. 27 And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen. 28 Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps."

"All Israel" brings up the ark of the covenant upon both occasions. Who is included in "all Israel?" Every member of Israel? Every child, every adult? Or is all Israel, especially this second time, defined by the properly appointed Levites (and David) in their stations as described?
I'm very surprised you left our vs. 29:

"And it happened, as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the City of David, that Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through a window and saw King David whirling and playing music; and she despised him in her heart."

This proves that the playing of instruments the first time was not the issue.
 

G

Puritan Board Senior
If you find positive instructions about what it means to praise God in the Psalms, you would also see that using instruments is appropriate. Cherry picking what parts of the Psalms teach us positively about praising God is a demonstration of a bias towards your own presuppositions.
Tim,

Not sure this is warranted. Do the Psalms not also positively teach the use of other ceremonial aspects of OT worship? Would you still approve of worship proper through dancing, incense, or candles? Why or why not (I have asked this a few times)?

Perspective bears much in this discussion. Not sure throwing the “cherry-picking” moves the discussion any. I myself am still wondering how you would handle bowls, incense, and candles being brought in or excluded from NT worship. It is a genuine question.

P.S. While I know you might be sightly annoyed by the persistence of @Romans922 , I think he and @NaphtaliPress raise good questions about your overall approach.
 
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G

Puritan Board Senior
This proves that the playing of instruments the first time was not the issue.
How? Jeri’s point (I think) was not the “playing” of the instruments generally, but rather the specific “who” was playing. There does appear to be a difference in the “who” between the two separate events. Wasn’t King David a Levite?:detective:
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
How? Jeri’s point (I think) was not the “playing” of the instruments generally, but rather the specific “who” was playing. There does appear to be a difference in the “who” between the two separate events. Wasn’t King David a Levite?:detective:
He was of Judah, Grant, but sort of transcended, I guess you might say, that lineage in wearing the ephod of a priest and performing the office of a Levitical priest- he was a type of Christ who also was of Judah and not Levi, but became our great high priest.
 

G

Puritan Board Senior
He was of Judah, Grant, but sort of transcended, I guess you might say, that lineage in wearing the ephod of a priest and performing the office of a Levitical priest- he was a type of Christ who also was of Judah and not Levi, but became our great high priest.
Thanks.... brain fart, so either way he was of a called OT Ordained Ceremonial Office?;)
 
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Phil D.

Puritan Board Junior
Wasn’t King David a Levite?
Actually, no. He was of the tribe of Judah, as of course was his physical seed Jesus. However, David does seem to act in a very priestly manner in certain instances. I've seen some commentators suggest that as the conqueror of Salem/Jerusalem David may have assumed a priestship of the order of the Salemic king/priest Melchizedek. Not much direct to go on from Scripture on this point, but it is an intriguing possibility...
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
Cherry picking what parts of the Psalms teach us positively about praising God is a demonstration of a bias towards your own presuppositions. If the Psalms teach us how to praise God, we are also instructed in the lawfulness of using instruments.
The psalms are full of OT ceremonial language, from hand-washing to anointing, to incense, to animal sacrifice. If anyone is cherry-picking....
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
"And it happened, as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the City of David, that Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through a window and saw King David whirling and playing music; and she despised him in her heart."

This proves that the playing of instruments the first time was not the issue.
Please clarify this for me.

You are using this passage to show that playing musical instruments is acceptable outside of gathered temple worship, correct? Where does that leave whirling?
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
The use of instruments is often associated with joy (Gen. 31:27, Judges 11:34, Job 21:12). When sadness is being described, it is often accompanied by the use of musical instruments ceasing (Isaiah 24:8). In Psalm 137, does hanging the harps suggest that they couldn’t play their instruments because they were not permitted being apart from the temple? More naturally, it is a metaphor for the cessation of joy (see Isaiah 24:8).

The use of instruments was associated throughout the OT with joy. Such expression of joy was an appropriate expression of praise as was seen both in the temple (as no one would dispute) and outside the temple (Ex. 15:20, Psalm 98:4-6).

Did non-Levites worship God outside of the temple? We would all agree on this. Did they praise God outside of the temple? We would again agree. Did Israel praise God using instruments outside of the temple? Miriam did. David did. Consider Psalm 98:4-6:

“Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth [inclusive, not exclusive to Levites];
Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises.
Sing to the Lord with the harp,
With the harp and the sound of a psalm,
With trumpets and the sound of a horn
;
Shout joyfully before the Lord, the King.”

Notice the coupling of harp and psalm, the etymology also linking the association. In the minds of the Jews, these things were linked. In contrast, many on this board try to separate the use of instruments to Psalms. Jeri emphasized how the Psalms teach us to sing, but dismisses what they have to say about instruments.

Furthermore, 1 Chron. 15 lists the instruments the Levites were playing "stringed instruments, harps, and cymbals" (vs. 16), yet Israel rejoiced with the horn and trumpet as well (vs. 28). Were these additional insruments also played by Levites, or by other members of Israel rejoicing with them by using them?

Now, is there biblical warrant to say that the use of instruments is exclusive to temple worship? On the contrary, we have contrary evidence. Can the OT Scriptures teach us anything about worshipping God, or does it have to be again validated in the NT? If so, where is the Scriptural warrant for that? Paul instructs Timothy to preach the word, which would have primarily been a reference to the OT at that time since the NT was not largely written/distributed. Yet was Timothy not to use the OT as any pattern for worship? Could Timothy be instructed in worship by the OT?


It is a shame that we find fault in baptists because they do not see the OT as instructive for the covenant in the NT, yet EPAO do not seem to see any pattern for worship in the OT unless explicit in the NT. Perhaps we’d be a better testimony to our baptist brethren if we employed a consistent hermeneutic!
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
Tim,

Not sure this is warranted. Do the Psalms not also positively teach the use of other ceremonial aspects of OT worship? Would you still approve of worship proper through dancing, incense, or candles? Why or why not (I have asked this a few times)?
Yes, they do. However, I have shown that the use of instruments in praise is not only ceremonial. What biblical indicators lead you to believe they are only ceremonial?

Perspective bears much in this discussion. Not sure throwing the “cherry-picking” moves the discussion any. I myself am still wondering how you would handle bowls, incense, and candles being brought in or excluded from NT worship. It is a genuine question.
We can only prove that incense and bowls were used in relation to the temple. We cannot do so for musical instruments as we have non-temple examples. Therefore, using positive instructions about the non-ceremonial use of the Psalms (which by definition permits musical instruments) while condemning other uses of the Psalms as ceremonial without any biblical warrant is cherry-picking, I am quite certain.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
Please clarify this for me.

You are using this passage to show that playing musical instruments is acceptable outside of gathered temple worship, correct? Where does that leave whirling?
Nearly every time instruments are brought in to the conversation, you bring in dancing. Please see Dr. Duguid's post from a previous thread.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
Tim,

Is this just for Jeri? From my viewpoint, even if you prove instruments outside the temple in the OT, the Acapella practice from the veil being torn and forward still stands. Again, from your own reasoning if something is permissible/commanded for the saints in corporate OT worship, then it is not surprising to see it in other worship proper settings in the OT (again assuming your stance on worship use outside the temple is valid). BUT the ceremonial use has now been abrogated. So since we do not have a NT command or practice in worship proper then we should not just pick it back up since it is never condemned in the NT as that seems to favor the NPW. Where are incense expressly condemned as will-worship in the NT? Bowls? Candles? Therefore, since we know instruments in the Temple (corporate worship proper) were often intimately related to and commanded with sacrificing then it should follow that their use passed with the ceremonial. I remember reading some commentaries where those instruments also served, among other ceremonial ways, to cover the sounds of animal screams during the sacrifices, which still reflected the mercy of the Lord towards us in a more shadowy dispensation.

Even if you say, “we can use them as a circumstance”, I still raise the question:

Why would you risk bringing something back into the service of the saints that was in fact intimately related to ceremonial worship? The 2nd commandment reflects on us that we will always struggle with will-worship while on earth. IF it were likewise possible to bring back incense as a circumstance we would run the same risk of placing an unnecessary temptation in front of congregants prone to 2CVs (myself included). Another example could be candles, while they CAN be used as a valid circumstance (ex. power outage)....we need to make clear that we are NOT worshipping through the candles. Further, look what’s happened, many reformed (RPW claiming) congregations likely brought in a single piano as a “circumstance”.... but now I think you don’t have to look to hard to find that those same reformed congregations have built the instruments up and become attached to them in ways that pull them back into being used in a ceremonial shadowy way, which Jesus abrogated. Thus instead of honoring Christ, bring dishonor (hopefully ignorantly).

You stated earlier that you don’t like to use “element” and “circumstance” for instruments.... why? What do you call them? Would you also permit incense to be used today to assist worship? Do you categorize incense as an OT element, circumstance, or neither?
I think I've answered this in the last few posts? If not, what would you like me to clarify? Thanks!
 

G

Puritan Board Senior
Yes, they do. However, I have shown that the use of instruments in praise is not only ceremonial. What biblical indicators lead you to believe they are only ceremonial?
I don’t think I ever said “only ceremonial”.
I think I've answered this in the last few posts? If not, what would you like me to clarify? Thanks!
Yes, I think you have given your answer now (though we disagree). Thanks for replying brother. Until next time (regarding instruments).:cheers2:
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
So are you saying you know of no one that holds your view...or?
I know that many Reformed churches allow for the use of instruments as part of the praise. I wish I could list written sources for you, but I think the practice makes my point abundantly clear. The problem comes with your narrow exclusions when it comes to praise. Honestly, I think most Reformed churches likely feel these objections are petty, unnaturally fabricated and inconsistent with our biblical example, unless we take a dispensational approach to defining praise where the OT is essentially thrown away in this regard.
 
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G

Puritan Board Senior
Honestly, I think most Reformed churches likely feel these objections are petty, unnaturally fabricated and inconsistent with our biblical example, unless we take a dispensational approach to defining praise where the OT is essentially thrown away in regards to defining praise.
Do you think this is how Calvin, Henry, and Spurgeon approached the matter?
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
I don’t think I ever said “only ceremonial”.
It would only need to be abrogated if it was ceremonial. Praise was not abrogated because it was not ceremonial. Yet you insist that part of OT praise was ceremonial, but have not proven that it was.

:cheers2:
 

G

Puritan Board Senior
It would only need to be abrogated if it was ceremonial. Praise was not abrogated because it was not ceremonial. Yet you insist that part of OT praise was ceremonial, but have not proven that it was.

:cheers2:
Well I tried to end it. Tim I only insist that instrument use in corporate worship was ceremonial just like incense and candles. You disagree. Please don’t apply your approach of “praise” category (vs. element/circumstance) to my line of reasoning. That is not fair and ignores that I have tried to be careful in my word choice. I may not have proven my case to you, just like you have not proven your case to me.

Many historical reformed commentators on scripture agree that they were ceremonial and now their use is abrogated. I think you know this without me having to quote. Let me know if not.:detective:
 
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Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
Nearly every time instruments are brought in to the conversation, you bring in dancing. Please see Dr. Duguid's post from a previous thread.
You, not I, brought in a verse that mentions "whirling" in the same sentence as a musical instrument. I think it's a fair question to ask how you deal with that.
 

G

Puritan Board Senior
@timfost

My last question to you for this thread my friend:):

Wouldn’t your view on instruments also allow a musical ensemble on stage to accompany the singing?
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
Well I tried to end it. Tim I only insist that instrument use in corporate worship was ceremonial just like incense and candles. You disagree. Please don’t apply your approach of “praise” category (vs. element/circumstance) to my line of reasoning. That is not fair and ignores that I have tried to be careful in my word choice. I may not have proven my case to you, just like you have not proven your case to me.

Many historical reformed commentators on scripture agree that they were ceremonial and now their use is abrogated. I think you know this without me having to quote. Let me know if not.:detective:
Brother, I'm not following here. We both believe that singing praise is an element of worship. In this way praise is not against ("vs") an element. I'm simply not breaking up praise into parts since we have no biblical warrant. You seem to want to break up singing praises into parts that necessarily exclude instruments. Since this is the case, the only inclusion for instruments could possibly be as a circumstance. I'm saying that separating the parts of praise as you are doing is the only reason you have a dilemma in the first place. If we understand singing praises as a continuum from OT to NT, there is no need to redefine NT praise as having less parts than OT praise.

I hope this helps.

I do appreciate our conversation, but realize it's coming to an end, which is probably a good thing after so many pages. :)

Many blessings, brother.
 
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