Musical Instruments in the church
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Some have concluded that, the use of musical instruments within the Church during worship, is forbidden by God. As with all false teachings, a lack of complete Biblical study can lead a man into false doctrine, such as the error of the Church of Christ and some other groups that forbid the use of instruments in the worship services, and the condemnation of the church assemblies that do use such instruments. In this study, I shall try to cover this topic so the student may have a complete resource of scriptures on this topic and be released from Satan's bondage of condemnation and reveal the possibility that those who hold to such a teaching of forbidding instruments of music in worship, may themselves be walking in the sin of Michal, the wife of King David.

I shall begin this study with this New Testament verse:

Rev. 15:2-3
    And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. [3] And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.

Now, if the use of stringed instruments (such as the Harp), are going to be used by the saints of God in heaven as they worship, why do you suppose it should be a sin to play such instruments on earth?  


Instruments as David's invention

Some would use the scripture in Amos to proclaim that such use of instruments was a sinful creation of David.

Amos 6:1, 4-5
    Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came! That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; [5] That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of musick, like David;

To those who do not understand contextual exegesis, it would appear that this scripture is a rebuke against the use of musical instruments in the church. Keeping scripture in context, keeps the correct meaning of the term. For example, if you spread the news that I said “I beat a man” and tell the police that I had confessed to such a horrible crime, you would no doubt be humbled when the officer learned that I had confessed that “I beat a man at a game of chess?” Taking the words out of context changes the meaning of the words spoken which is what all cults do to pervert God's word and create false doctrine which we call "heresies".

The scripture noted above, is clearly defining the worldy use of musical instruments and has nothing to do with worship in the house of the Lord! A sinful rock group playing thier instruments of music in a bar, eating and drinking luxuriously on beds of ivory, satisfying their lustful desires would be a good comparison in context with the book of Amos! It's not the use of musical instruments that God is rebuking, but rather the sin that was in their hearts.

The book of Amos is a letter of open rebuke against the sins of Israel, Damascus, Gaza, Tyrus, Edom, Amon and Judah (which you can read about in the first few chapters). In the following scripture, Judah is rebuked for disobeying the law of the Lord, and telling lies.

Amos 2:4
    Thus saith the Lord; For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have despised the law of the Lord, and have not kept his commandments, and their lies caused them to err, after the which their fathers have walked:

Israel is rebuked in verse 6 for selling the poor as slaves, and in 5:7, for not maintaining righteousness and right judgment.

Amos 2:6
    Thus saith the Lord; For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes;

Amos 5:7
    Ye who turn judgment to wormwood, and leave off righteousness in the earth,

Because of their unrighteousness, their feast days, burnt offerings and worship (including the use of musical instruments), which had once been a sweet fragrance to God, has become a stench to the Lord!

Amos 5:21-23
    I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. [22] Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. [23] Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.

The scripture is not, in any way, stating that musical instruments were a sin any more than burnt offerings, meat offerings, peace offerings and feast days, which were all commanded by the Lord! The correct understanding of these scripture verses is to read the rebuke by which God is angry with Israel and Judah and that God is telling them that He will not accept their burnt offerings and their music of songs and melody of viols because their heart is far from God!

Matthew 15:8     This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

This is NO different a rebuke than the offense of a man who may be in the Church of Christ (or any other church that forbids the use of instruments), who is sleeping with his neighbors wife, and goes to church and sings songs with the other church members using no instruments. That is the summary to the rebuke of God to the house of Judah and Israel in Amos. To interpret the reading of this scripture to declare that the use of Musical instruments in the church is forbidden by God and a creation of the sinful heart of David, is heresy and an attempt to pervert the truth of Gods word to justify a false teaching! Furthermore, what will these false teachers do with the following scripture that clearly shows that all that David did, with the inclusion of the invention of Musical instruments, was pleasing to God!

1 Kings 15:5     Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.




God commanded David to make these instruments!

1 Chron. 23:5     Moreover four thousand were porters; and four thousand praised the Lord with the instruments which I made, said David, to praise therewith.

With the above scripture verse, false teachers claim that the instruments were a creation of the sinful heart of David as though David was an enemy of God. But if you will note the following verses of scripture, you will find that this assumption is simply not true!

2 Chron. 29:25-28
    And he set the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, and of Gad the king's seer, and Nathan the prophet: for so was the commandment of the Lord by his prophets. [26] And the Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. [27] 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 the instruments ordained by David king of Israel. [28] And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded: and all this continued until the burnt offering was finished.

According to the above scripture, The Lord himself had commanded David, through the prophets, to make these instruments and to bring them into the house of the Lord! Unfortunately, the divisive and hardened hearts of those who despise the use of musical instruments in worship liking themselves to David's wife, Michal. She despised the actions of David who worshipped the Lord with musical instruments and dancing.


Michal despises David

1 Chron. 15:28-29
    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.
    [29] And it came to pass, as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looking out at a window saw king David dancing and playing: and she despised him in her heart.

Because of her hardened heart, she remained barren until she died.  But the Lord was pleased with this action of David with the safe arrival of the ark.


Glory of God fills the house

When the building of the temple was completed and was now being dedicated, the priests played musical instruments as they worshipped the Lord. God showed his approval with a thick cloud of his presence filling the temple.

2 Chron. 5:13-14
    It came even to pass, as 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 musick, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord; [14] So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God.



Music caused the evil spirit to depart from Saul


The soothing music of the harp in the hand of David, caused the evil spirit to depart from Saul.

1 Samuel 16:23
    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.

It is interesting to note, that if the lovely music of a stringed instrument brought refreshment and caused evil spirits to depart, that there would be some church groups who forbid such a powerful weapon against the spirits of darkness!




Were these scriptures inspired by the Holy Spirit?

Those who say that the use of Musical instruments in church worship is to be despised, will have to confess that these following scriptures were NOT Holy Spirit inspired.

Psalm 81:2-4     Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery. [3] Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day. [4] For this was a statute for Israel, and a law of the God of Jacob.

Psalm 149:3     Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.

Psalm 150:1-6     Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. [2] Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. [3] Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. [4] Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. [5] Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. [6] Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.

If these psalms were written by men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit, then wouldn't you agree that we are encouraged by the Holy Spirit to include the use of musical instruments in our worship to the Lord?


Isaiah 38:20     The Lord was ready to save me: therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of the Lord.



Musical instruments in the New Testament

While the Old Testament often speaks of the use of musical instruments in worship, the teachers of the heresy that it is now sin to use them in worship services today, claim in their defense, that there is no evidence of the use of instruments of music in the New Testament. This is NOT true!

Rev. 15:2-3
    And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. [3] And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.

The book of Revelation, is a NEW TESTAMENT book. Yet, the saints who overcame the beast, are in heaven with “harps of God!” If the use of musical instruments are approved in the Old Testament, and again in heaven, may I ask why it would be considered “sin” for their use in the New Testament church today?

While the New Testament does NOT show the use of Musical Instruments in the early church worship, does the lack evidence of their use, suggest that they were NOT used! Furthermore, can you show me where the New Testament commands the church NOT to use them, or that it is a sin?

Some would use the following verse to support their view that Instruments should not be used.

Ephes. 5:19
    Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

The real problem with the use of this verse, is that it says  “Speaking to yourselves”  and “making melody in your heart”. For those who claim that this verse is a command NOT to use instruments, they will have to also forbid singing out loud as well. We would then be confined to sing to ourselves making melody in our hearts, forbidden from singing loud enough for others to hear. This, of course, is error!


In Conclusion

I now conclude this study by saying that the Lord is looking at the HEART, not the instrument or method of our worship. One man can worship the Lord with a stringed instrument, with a pure heart of worship, and be pleasing to the living God. Another man, who is living in open sin and rebellion against God, can play the same stringed instrument and pretend that he is worshipping God, and be a stench and offense as the book of Amos declares.

So it is NOT the instrument of music, but the heart of the worshipper, that God is looking at. A church who is deeply in love with the Lord in sincerity and purity, and worshipping the Lord with an orchestra of musical instruments, can be a pleasing fragrance to God, even so can a worshipper who simply sings a song from their heart with no instrument.

I must, therefore, warn these people whom have been leavened with the leaven of the Pharisees and despise the worshippers of church groups who worship God with musical instruments and dancing, that they may be holding to the sin of Michal, David's wife, whom God punished with barrenness!


1 Chron. 15:28-29     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.
And it came to pass, as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looking out at a window saw king David dancing and playing: and she despised him in her heart.

2 Samuel 6:23     Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.