Music in Church (Part 1) - Musical Instruments in the Old Testament


I. A brief overview of music in the worship service of God's religion. 1. Adam to Noah - No musical instruments in God's worship 2. Noah to Abraham - No musical instruments in God's worship 3. Abraham to Moses - No musical instruments in God's worship 4. Moses to Christ (the Old Testament) A. Moses was commanded to make two silver trumpets that were to be used to call the assembly together at the tabernacle. B. Those were the only musical instruments that God commanded in the law of Moses. C. Long after the law of Moses was written, David added numerous musical instruments to the worship service. 5. The New Testament A. Saints are commanded in the NT to sing in the church (Eph 5:19; Col 3:16). B. There are no commandments in the NT to use musical instruments in the church. C. There are no examples in the NT of musical instruments being used in the church. II. The use of musical instruments in the Old Testament church 1. Musical instruments prior to the law of Moses. A. There is no record of musical instruments being used in worship during the patriarchal age. B. The first mention of musical instruments in the Bible was in Gen 4:21. C. They were created by Jubal the great, great, great, great grandson of Cain (Gen 4:16-21). D. Note that there were musical instruments available to men for hundreds of years prior to Moses, but God never commanded them to be used in worship. 2. Musical instruments in the law of Moses. A. God commanded that two silver trumpets were to be used to call the assembly together at the tabernacle (Num 10:2-3). i. The trumpets were to be blown during their solemn days when they offered sacrifices (Num 10:10). ii. The trumpets were also to be used to call the men to war (Num 10:4-6, 9). iii. The priests (the sons of Aaron) were to only ones who were to be blowing the trumpets in the OT church (Num 10:7-8). B. There is no mention of any other musical instruments used in worship in the law of Moses (Genesis - Deuteronomy). C. The word music or musical is not found in the law of Moses (Genesis - Deuteronomy). 3. The musical instruments in the OT church after the law of Moses was written were added by David. A. David was a talented musician (1Sa 16:16-18). B. The first mention of "instruments of musick" in the service of God is in 1Ch 15:16 when David instructed the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of music (psalteries, harps, and cymbals). i. This was not part of the worship of God at the tabernacle that God had ordained in the law of Moses. ii. This was a celebration that David led when the ark of the covenant was transported from the house of Obededom to Jerusalem (the city of David) (1Ch 15:25-29). iii. The ark was placed in a tent that David made for it (1Ch 16:1-2). iv. This tent was not the same tabernacle that God had instructed Moses to build, yet it was called the tabernacle of the Lord (1Ch 16:39). v. The instruments were not the instruments that God had ordained in the law of Moses (two silver trumpets), yet they were called "musical instruments of God" (1Ch 16:42). vi. God permitted these instruments to be used in the tabernacle of David, though it was not His original design. a. God likewise permitted divorce because of the hardness of their hearts, though it was not His original design (Mat 19:8). b. God even permitted polygamy (2Sa 3:2-5; 2Sa 5:13) without judging David for it, even though He specifically stated that the king was not to multiply wives to himself (Deut 17:17). c. Therefore, just because God allowed David to add instruments to His worship service doesn't mean that He initially commanded him or wanted him to do so. C. Israel went from having two priests blow two trumpets to call the assembly together for worship under the law of Moses to having 4,000 Levites playing musical instruments which David made (1Ch 23:5). D. The instruments of music which David used when he brought the ark of the covenant to his tabernacle were also used when the ark was transferred from David's tabernacle to the newly built temple (2Ch 5:1-2, 12-13). E. During the dedication of the temple, the "instruments of musick of the LORD" were used "which David the king had made to praise the LORD" (2Ch 7:5-6). F. During the days of Hezekiah, he commanded that the house of God be reopened and cleansed of the filthiness that had been brought into it (2Ch 29:3-5). i. The Levites were set in the house of God with musical instruments "according to the commandment of David" (2Ch 29:25a). ii. As was mentioned earlier, though it was not the Lord's original design, He did command His prophets to tell the people to use the instruments that David ordained (2Ch 29:25b). a. This is akin to God giving commandments regulating divorce and remarriage even thought it was not His original design (Deut 24:1-4). b. Likewise God gave commandments regulating polygamy although it was not His original design (Exo 21:10-11). c. God suffered these things and then regulated them due to the hardness of their hearts (Mat 19:8). d. So it was with musical instruments in worship. They were not part of God's original design, but He allowed them and then gave commandments regulating them. iii. "The Levites stood with the instruments of David" (2Ch 29:26). iv. The singing was accompanies by "instruments ordained by David" (2Ch 29:27) which they used as they worshiped God (2Ch 29:28-30). G. At the dedication of the rebuilt wall of Jerusalem after the Babylonian destruction, the singers and the players of the cymbals, psalteries, and harps which David had ordained were again used (Neh 12:27) which were "the musical instruments of David" (Neh 12:36). H. When the foundation of the 2nd temple was laid, the Levites praised the Lord with cymbals "after the ordinance of David king of Israel" (Ezr 3:10). I. It was David, not God, who invented the instruments of music that were used in the OT worship service (Amo 6:5). 4. There are many references in the Psalms to praising the Lord with musical instruments including trumpets, psalteries, harps, stringed instruments, organs, and cymbals (Psa 150:3-5). 5. But remember the following: A. Firstly, the idea of worshiping God with those instruments was invented by David, not God. B. Secondly, God permitted it, but it was not His original design just like polygamy and divorce & remarriage. C. Thirdly, using instruments in worship was a statute for Israel, not for the NT church (Psa 81:1-4). D. Fourthly, we get our instructions for worshiping God in the NT church from the New Testament, not the Old Testament (more on this later).
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