Instrumental Music In Christian Worship - Psallo: The Meaning of Complex Harmony
Instrumental music in Christian worship is not authorized by the Greek word PSALLO. Christian worship is in the spirit or by the spirit. The spirit is the mind or innermost being of the person. Because Christ lives in the heart by faith, it is not possible to worship Him nor be aided in worship by things which appeal to the human senses.
The Old Testament leaves a universally bad taste when instrumental music or any kind of body work is used to try to worship God whom people believed responded to human, carnal appetites. Under the kings, Israel worshipped like the nations and was destroyed like the nations. Scholars have aptly called this "the idolatry of talent." And as a result, God is remade in the image of secular man.
In Hebrew, the "bow twangs" or "harp sounds" or "spear clanks" were defined by a word which is used or both "instrument" and "Weapon":
Keliy (h3627) kel-ee'; from 3615; something prepared, i. e. any apparatus (as an implement, utensil, dress, vessel or weapon): - armour ([-bearee]), artillery, bag, carriage, / furnish, furniture, instrument, jewel, that is made of, * one from another, that which pertaineth, pot, / psaltery, sack, stuff, thing, tool, vessel, ware, weapon
The New Testament also has some negative comments about music and defines "singing" and "melody" in a radically new way: that already common among the Koine-speaking common people. The word for "melody" is derived from "grinding to bits" and the "sop" which Jesus fed Judas whose "bag" was for holding the mouthpieces (reeds) of wind instruments; it is derived from "speaking in tongues" plus "of the world."
Paul defined these "lifeless instruments" or "carnal weapons" by words showing that they were destructive, could both guard and pacify the lambs with the bow or could attract the SEEKERS with musical and dramatic performance. The classical writers show how low the word had sunk.
Furthermore, there is no command, example or inference that Jesus wanted us to worship with instruments -- or singing sentimental poetry for that matter --which the classical writers considered human works added to simple one-another singing where "singing" was reciting the already-composed songs and already-preached sermons. However, the make-work principle has governed most religion, beginning in the Garden of Eden.
As proof of the Scripture's inspiration, each and every effort to force it to approve of music as the works of human talent and hands fails. Human authority, however, is usually derived from books which are notorious for misquoting the historical writers such as Clement of Alexandria.
Therefore, another dodge which must flow from a shallow understanding and application of Scripture, is to show that those who consider musical worship as sinful but do not consider musical instruments in the home as sinful and are therefore inconsistent. The obvious bait and switch is to say that if instruments are not sinful in the home then you must be consistent (smart) and allow instruments in the worship -- while you enjoy the "performance."
Instrumental music in worship is often defended by the fact that we use instruments in the home. However, we have to ask:
"Is eating steak for the Lord's Supper sinful?" Overwhelmingly, "Yes." "Is eating steak to recover from the musical worship Sunday "worship" sinful?" Overwhelmingly, "No." Well, this just proves that you are inconsistent " No. It just means that we have discernment. Music is not wrong within itself. In worship it, by definition, takes the place of the Words of Christ.
The principle is not legal: Jesus doesn't care what you eat. However, if you eat steak because it tastes good or sing performance music for the audience during the Lord's Super you are showing little concern for the participants and for the Lord whom it is supposed to honor as we "silently search for leaven" in our own life.
Paul illustrates short periods out of the week to come together, sit down, shut our mouths and learn from Him. We eat the Lord's Supper with unleavened bread and unleavened fruit of the vine to honor Jesus and not the old, legalistic mediating clergy Whom Jesus replaced. Please get it: you cannot do both! Jesus said that the clergy loaded the "pack animals" down with "anxiety created by religious ritual" but He came to give us "rest and to take our ease" from such Spirit-wounding warfare.
But in some dictionaries, the word "psallo" demands the use of instruments.
If "instruments" are inherent in the word psallo then each singer must have their own instrument or they cannot psallo. If all human experience is not adequate, it may help to summarize some of the evidence which denies that psallo gives authority for legalistic, performance mechanical worship. First, look at one of the examples:
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Ephesians 5:19
We can settle the issue quickly and move on. If Psallo means to sing a song with musical accompaniment then Paul said:
Speaking (teaching, dialoging) to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
(singing) and (singing with instruments) in your heart to the Lord; Ephesians 5:19
Or shouldn't we understand this as typical parallelism which says:
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
Which says in parallel way to emphasize and guard against misunderstanding:
singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Ephesians 5:19
What this already meant to the Psalm writers was that one sings to god when one praises God which is to tell what He has done:
O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name:
make known his deeds among the people. Psalm 105:1
Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things;
let this be known to all the world. Isaiah 12:5
What this meant to Jesus
We know that Jesus disparaged the Jewish clergy as "children playing musical games." They tried to pipe to artificially induce the choral dancing madness into Him.
We know that Jesus did not "psalm" but hymned:
Humneo (g5214) hoom-neh'-o; from 5215; to hymn, i.e. sing a religious ode; by impl. to celebrate (God) in song: - sing an hymn (praise unto).
We know that "psalming" is not mentioned in any gospel account but it is used of both Jesus and others to speak of what was recorded in the Psalms. These were poetic records of the history of the Jews. Only later did the Jews set them to music:
And David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Luke 20:42
Even "unspiritual" Psalms would be suitable for the Christian assembly is we understood the activity in Paul's words to "teach and admonish." To teach the Jewish history would not be to endorse all of it.
We know that Jesus denied the value of David's "singing" by using the word "saith"--
Lego (g3004) leg'-o; a prim. verb; prop. to "lay" forth, i.e. (fig.) relate (in words [usually of systematic or set discourse.
We know that when these hymns were sung in a collective sense they were not solos or performances for others (see more below):
Odai are the cultic songs of the community. They are not sung by the individual, but by the community gathered for worship
What this meant to Paul
Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister (public servant) of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: Romans 15:8
And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written,
(external) For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles,
(internal) and sing unto thy name. Romans 15:9
Paul understood singing in this two-part method of teaching one another with the Biblical text while the singing is directed to God. He said the same thing to the Ephesians and Colossians.
What this meant to some early disciples who understood Paul literally
This demands both a horizontal (one to another) teaching process, and a vertical (to God) process. The horizontal process is audible; the vertical process is silent:
First, some early groups understood this literally: speaking to one another to memorize, or speak already-memorized Biblical text, was to teach the Words of Christ which already filled the mind and heart of the people.
Second, the singing and melody was "in the heart" and it was directed "to God."
What this must mean for our worship
If we have any concern for the Psalmist, for Jesus' experience and teaching and for Paul, we must show regard for Christ Who inspired the Word. The Biblically-defined task remains the same: the collective assembly must be to teach one another the Words of Christ and God does not need to be instructed nor entertained. The result will be the education of the collected group and this, in turn, sings to and gives glory to God.
We will see further that the "oding" was an act of the community and it cannot be done by one person to the congregation any more than speaking or dialouging can be a one-person preaching performance.
From "filling up with the Spirit" or "the Word of Christ" in Colossians 3:16 the actions are: be informed of the words of Christ (Spirit John 6:63), speak those words one to another, the result will be teaching and warning one another, we will honor Christ by recycling His Words back to Him or else they are void and there will be unity which can come only through unison-type dialog and singing.
Looking at What Messiah Would bring to the World.
In Isaiah 11 Messiah would not be filled with a "little person" other than Himself as full Deity. Rather, Isaiah predicted that the Spirit which rested upon Him would be:
And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; Isaiah 11:2 and spirituality or "quick understanding" in the next verse.
Paul defined the Holy Spirit (to us) as the Mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2). Christ left that Spirit in His Words. Later, Isaiah defines a process much like that defined by Paul in his "singing" passages.
Christ supplies all of our food stuffs for both body and soul. This form of presenting Christ's revelation is not new to Paul; it appears throughout the Word.
The Spirit which flowed out from the 'belly" was the Word of God which if ignored by substituting "another" spirit you are substituting another Christ and another gospel.
- HO, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Isaiah 55:1
- Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Isaiah 55:2
- Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Isaiah 55:3
Christ is the witness, leader and commander to lead the nations or unbelievers to Himself as the only Holy God of the universe.
- Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. Isaiah 55:4
- Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee, because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee. Isaiah 55:5
Paul demands that we fill up with Spirit or the Word of Christ because it is terminal presumptiousness to believe that you can interpret better than the Holy Spirit.
- Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Isaiah 55:6
- For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. Isaiah 55:8
- For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9
The water comes down, does its creative work and returns to the clouds or else life would cease. The same is true of God's words: if we don't use and return His Words to Him our "singing" is vain. Jesus called this "vain religion."
- For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: Isaiah 55:10
- So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Isaiah 55:11
Feeding on the Word allows us to enjoy the peace and unity Paul spoke of. The "heart" of God's creation can then sing and clap their hands.
- For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Isaiah 55:12
God's people will prosper and God alone will get the glory. However, music is often called "the shawms of a dying civilization."
Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the briar shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. Isaiah 55:13
In the New Testament
First, the word "psallo" originally carried the idea of the twanging sound made by a bowstring, stretched hide or gut or anything which would vibrate or make a grinding sound when put through the mill. Musical devices were often produced from polluted animals which died of themselves and could not be used for religious purposes. For instance, the hide of a goat left when the decayed body could be slipped out without damage to the skin could be made into a lyre or drum.
I have a flute made from a deer bone the dog drug up, gnawed, buried, dug up, and allowed to weather. I had to pollute it by boring holes and when I blew the sound was not a "god" inside but the noise of my own foul, polluted breath.
Until in the last century scholars did not know that the New Testament was written in Koine Greek: the language of the marketplace and not the classical Greek writers.
When the New Testament was written, psallo did not include musical instruments primarily because of the universal association between musical instruments and pagan religion which always attracted worshippers (secular seekers) by the display of female or effeminate male musical or dramatic talent.
Second, we can understand PSALLO by how the New Testament writers used the word. That is, the use of "singing" does not include a form of entertainment to solicit customers as it had in paganism; it is used as a parable for teaching the gospel message or anything taught by the Spirit of Christ.
Third, we can understand psallo by the fact that none of the credible translations include the musical instrument. To claimthat the Greek it included instruments" discounts two thousand years of Biblical scholarship.
Fourth, the very definition of every single musical term in both the Old and New Testament carries a very destructive, negative meaning, and are derived from even worse Hebrew and Greek roots. This includes the Hebrew word translated melody.
Fifth, if psallo includes musical instruments then the apostles rejected the command of Christ and their own letters because we have no clear statement that they "psalloed upon a harp." To the contrary, Paul implicates musical instruments in speaking in tongues which was part of the "get drunk with wine" and music of Greek religion.
Six, The early church clearly understood that psallo did not include instruments and was horrified and always deliberately divided by those who tried to introduce them. Many of those who introduced instruments were deliberately chasing away those who interfered with their role in the churches.
The word psallo occurs five times in the New Testament: Romans 15:9; 1Cor 14:15 (twice); Eph 5:19; and James 5:13. Without an exception, all the standard translations, King James, English Revised, American Standard, and Douay (Roman Catholic), render psallo as "sing, sing psalms, sing praise, make melody." Again to quote Paul:
Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister (public servant) of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: Romans 15:8
And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. Romans 15:9
In Luke Luke 20:42 psalmos is the book of Psalms; in Rom. 15:9 sing is psallo.
In Paul's other letters, the teaching or confessing is to others while the "singing" or melody is directed toward God. To direct the talent to the "audience" is changing the Christ-ordained direction of information flow. The result was to speak to the god (generic word used) which was to speak into the air. From the classical writers we know that the demons or angels inhabited the air and that people sang or spoke in tongues to them.
This was a prophecy that Lord Jesus Christ would "sing unto the Gentiles." It would be outrageous for the Incarnate God of the universe to bring in a band to help teach the gospel. He used a form of "singing" which was speaking in a style which would carry to the outermost edges of the crowd. This was called cantillating. It was reserved for the collective assembly. This "singing" happens when anyone ministers the gospel:
That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God,
that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost. Romans 15:16
We know that Jesus chanted the traditional hymns during Passover (a family institution) but He never "sang" nor did He play instruments and He wouldn't dance to the clergy's tune.
This was also God's message to the Jews. The singing was not to the "congregation" but to the Lord as the result of teaching His Word to the congregation or the world. Much of this inspired sermonized and versivied material is presented in an easily-remembered form of poem or song:
O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name:
make known his deeds among the people. Psalm 105:1
Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things;
let this be known to all the world. Isaiah 12:5
However, God had already condemned the people with Zemar which was to prune the vine:
I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated, and briers and thorns will grow there. I will command the clouds not to rain on it." Is.5:6
One of the reasons was, according to Amos, their daily religious festivals at which they worshipped their own appetites:
And (you have) the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts:
but they regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of his hands. Isaiah 5:12
Of Jesus "singing to the Gentiles"
First, Again, Jesus never played a musical instrument while He taught eternal truth.
Second, Jesus specificially repudiated the Jewish clergy as being little children because they "piped" and tried to force Him to sing and dance just as the women of Dionysus worshipped even in Jerusalem. Jesus never "psalloed" but "hymned" after Passover. This was not singing but reciting one of the Psalms.
Conclusion: Paul did not understand "singing to the Gentiles" as including a musical instrument. He defined it as to "fill up with the Spirit" or "the Words of Christ" and then let it pour out to those who had never heard the gospel.
If instruments would remotely aid the evangelistic effort then Paul didn't know about it.
The next passage which translates psallo as sing is:
What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. 1 Corinthians 14:15
In Lk.24:44 psalmos is the book of Psalms; in Rom. 15: sing is psallo.
The "spirit" for this action is the already-revealed Words of Christ (Col 3:16; John 6:63) or they are freshly-inspired information which the entire fellowship urgently needs. This urgent message from God must be spoken in clear, understandable words. The style was not modern harmony but cantillation or urgent speaking. There is no clue that any inspired person existed in the church in Corinth. Therefore, the "spirit" or Mind of Christ or Words of Christ must come from teachings they have heard or portions of Scripture being circulated.
Paul has already disparaged instruments in 1 Corinthians 13:1 by equating them to speaking in tongues. The background is that he also uses the terms gongs booming and cymbals clanging to speak to the instruments used to create the "prophesying" he mentioned in 1 Cor. 11:5 outside of the assembly. This was a pagan form of ecstatic speech or speaking in tongues. These terms are quite identical to the "familiar spirit" of the witch of Endor and the singing is recognized in the classical writers as "prophesying" or pretending to get a message from the gods.
Unless any of these people were inspired, Paul demanded that they sit down and be silent. If there happened to be one inspired person in the assembly he must speak or sing his revelation one at a time but there must be another inspired person to guaranteed with two witnesses that he wasn't singing his own composition or preaching out of his own mind. Because there isn't a clue that anyone in Corinth was inspired, Paul does not really command any form of singing except to oneself.
The melody or "twanging" which people might try to insert into his revealed message is defined by Paul: He said to "twang or pluck" with the spirit and "twang or pluck" with the understanding. This means the thinking nature of the brain as well as the spirit or "mental disposition" of the mind or brain.
Conclusion: This leaves no room for twanging a harp or a twanging musical worship team because he did not say: "Twang with the harp" or "Twang with a team" unless that team is inspired and therefore knows something which is not readily available to all through the free Word.
The next use of psallo is in Ephesians 5:
In Ephesians 4 and 5 Paul described the assembly of the pagans where wine, singing, instrumental music and dancing was used to create an artificial "spirit" so that they "prophesied." We would hear this as speaking in tongues. In chapter 4 and 5 Paul also shows that God pours out His wrath by the use of wrathful men who are identified by the modern form of out-of-your-mind charismatic preaching, shouting, hand waving and dancing across the stage. The Church Fathers identified this as God inducing an effete principle, as with Saul, and this was supposed to cause people to just consider him mad.
On the other hand, either in or out of the "when you all come together" sense, Paul defined a radically new form of "music" which was the same Jesus-way of teaching the revealed Words of God.
If Paul was not speaking of "in the assembly" then there is no authority for any form of singing "in church." Therefore, there would be no authority for instruments. Then ask:"Why would you deliberately with malice aforethought divide a congregation over something you agree is not covered by inspiration?"
I think that the answer is: "Because I have lost faith in inspiration. I have tried the right-wing patterns of rough meanness, and the left-wing paradigms of slick meanness and they both leave me cold."
Let me suggest a new pattern: Just read and dialog (usually translated as preach) the total Word from Genesis to Revelation without taking out little tidbits to make sermons and songs in your own image. This allows the Spirit of Christ to do His work whether one-hour-a-week patterns develop or not.
Paul certainly would not be speaking of a casual conversation because no sane person would try to teach the Words of Christ in the coffee shop with a hot-wired chorus or musical instrument -- they would haul you off and lock you up.
Paul defined that which the Ephesians should not do by defining a co-participation in an assembly in contrast to evidence from the classical writer's testimony of singing groups and musical instruments to "induce" the "spirit." The motive was singular: to strip you of your money before you could get out of town because the "prophetesses" ("worship" singers) knew that the message was obtained by ventriloquism and, in fact, the business deal went sour and you lost money.
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Ephesians 5:11
For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. Ephesians 5:12
Paul defined the meaning of unfruitful works in First Corinthians where he mentions singing without musical instruments after he has equated speaking in tongues with an attempt to teach or lead with musical instruments:
For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. 1 Corinthians 14:14
He did not say "when I pray in an unknown tongues." This meant that Paul's "inner man" would be disconnected from his understanding so who could tell what was happening.
By ommiting "instruments" as that upon which the melody was to be made and by equating instruments to speaking in tongues or unfruitful works -- which we know was usually done in the darkness of the pagan temples -- Paul absolutely repudiates musical instruments.
We know exactly what happened as the "mysteries" were administered behind closed doors. The singing, dancing, instrumental music and even wine broke down the walls between the sexes and it was a carnal gathering. Whether we can touch or not, performing women in non-sedantary pastoring roles with beauty and clothes and gesture become the focus of the seekers; you cannot see Christ through a veil of beauty and talent. That's why Jesus liked the closet and the rural setting with sheep alongside quiet waters.
Wherefore be ye not unwise (egotistical, ignorant, lacking understanding as in 1 Cor 14:20), but understanding what the will (what Jesus taught) of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:17
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Ephesians 5:18
Speaking (speaking or dialoging) to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Ephesians 5:19
"Philo uses humnos regularly for the OT Psalms."
We noted that the Greek demands speaking to one another in a liturgical sense, while the pagans used singing, instrumental music and dancing groups to perform for the paying audience. This was a violation of the Christian principle of a "one another" ministry.
The Theologial Dictionary of the New Testament notes that:
"In the NT there is still no precise differentiation between ode, psalmos, and humnos. e.g., in Col.3:16 or Eph.5:19, in contrast to a later time, when ode (canticum) came to be used only for biblical songs (apart from the Psalms) used in liturgy. From the NT passages we may gather the following elements in the concept or the Christian ode as also confirmed from other sources.
(Our note: Sing in Ephesians 5:19 is Ode (g5603) o-day'; from 103; a chant or "ode" the gen. term for any words sung)
"a. Odai are the cultic songs of the community. They are not sung by the individual, but by the community gathered for worship...
Of a piece with this is the anonymity or the early authors, as also the attachment to OT tradition. Only in the 2nd century are the authors sometimes mentioned. In the Didascalia, 2, p..5.29, we can still read: 'It thou desirest hymns, thou hast the Psalms of David."'
"b. The ode is inspired. This is shown by the epithet pneumatikos, though it does indicate more generally its religious character. . . . With the inspiration or hymns is linked their improvisation, e.g., in I C. 14:26 (cr. Acts 4:24); Tert. adv. Marc., 5,b; Apolog. 39,18." (Note: and condemned, we might add).
In Acts 1:20 psalmos is the book of Psalms and in Rom. 15: sing is psallo.
"Psallo is best translated by chant,
The Greeks sharply distinguish chanting (psalmodia)
from singing (tragoudi).
The first is a sacred activity;
the second, a secular one. In English, unfortunately, the distinction is not sharp.. Constantine Cavarnos
Singing self-composed songs with literal or psudo-instruments (complex harmony) is of the KOSMOS or the earth. On the other hand, group singing of the revealed message with no special improvizing and talent-display is Spiritual.
The pagan prophetesses and the rare male performed the music for the paying worshipper while they (he) drank wine to enhance the sexual or "fertility" feelings created by the temple musicians. The sexual content was not just "show and tell" but the act was consummated by a prophetess. This was sold by the male proprietors-for-life of the temple as "knowing their god personally." The word melody or Greek Psallo was derived from words meaning to stretch, twist, grind to bits and is somewhat like the sop Jesus ground off to give Judas as a supernatural sign.
Therefore, Paul used common Greek words in a new way of the common people as opposed to the theatrical temples. They were to treat the "women" as mothers or sisters and not as musical-dramatic performers or sex-objects who, when unveiled, urged and invited sexual feelings if not consumation. Wine was excluded because wine inherently creates a distorted mind almost identical to that created by music as it creates endorphins or a morphine-like drug. Paul specificially placed the melody or "breaking or grinding" in the heart or mind because the task was to teach and admonish. By defining the instrument upon which the melody took place Paul excluded any non-spiritual musical instrument. He defines such instruments as lifeless or carnal.
As a move of desperation by those who are bent upon forcing instruments upon a peacful church, it is denied that Ephesians and Colossians has anything to do with the assembly. They why, in the name of consistency, use these passages to say that the silence gives us positive, evin audible, authority to fill in the hole in the donut the Holy Spirit left?
The parallel in Colossians equates "being filled with the spirit" to "let the word of Christ dwell in you." Jesus said in John 6:63 that "Spirit and Life" are contained within His Words. That eleminates my words as a singing resource, as Paul told the Corinthians, unless I am an inspired prophet. Using the image of a collected body, Paul warned the Colossians about putting on excernal, ceremonial garments of the prophetess just as he warned against wine as the mind-altering "spirit":
Put on therefore, as the elect (called out body) of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness (this eleminates performance), longsuffering; Colossians 3:12
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. Colossians 3:13
The body cannot function is some human tries to be the "head" or the "mediator." Each member of any collected group must figuratively be dressed with humility and meekness. This doesn't sound like either a professional performance or like a casual meeting of two enemies.
And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. Colossians 3:14
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Colossians 3:15
Now, we don't try to make "peace in the heart" into an external ritual. Rather, internalizing peace and harmony destroys any spirit of dominance so that the "one another" edification can take place (isn't called "worship").
The church (gathered or ungathered) is the body of Christ. Therefore, if Jesus Christ is really with us when we do our "music" shouldn't we honor Him by singing His words? If we meet to honor Robert Frost and put Robert Frost off to one side and then fill the evening by quoting our own poems haven't we committed fraud? Didn't we us use Robert or Jesus as a "bait and switch" scam to get the people there to worship us?
The Head must be in charge as the only performer (See the above table). The "body" isn't prepared to "teach" or edify until it has equipped itself with God's Holy (adjective, not first name) Spirit or the Mind of Christ. Paul's command is not followed if we "fill up" with the words of a sentimental poetess but:
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 (no instruments included) with grace (divine influence) in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3:17
Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs are the names for different Old Testament Psalms or the Biblical text revealed by the Spirit of Christ. Amos condemned inventing instruments and composing songs just as the church for hundreds of years insisted that "singing" has value only if it is from the inspired record. Many churches continue the practice.
In not a single word of these versions is psallo translated as meaning to perform on instruments of music. All modern versions, such as Goodspeed, Weymouth, Moffatt, and Knox, all translate psallo essentially the same as the standard translations. The men who gave us these versions, both standard and modern, are among the world's most competent Greek scholars; if the playing on mechanical instruments of music is expressed in the meaning of the word psallo, as used by the New Testament writers, is it not exceedingly strange that these translators failed to so render it?
"The Greek Catholic Church, with more than one hundred million members, does not use instrumental music in its service (except in som American churches to compete). Of all people they ought to know whether psallo includes mechanical instruments. Their conclusion is that it means simply to sing. Nor do many groups outside of the grasp of Hollywood -- especially many presbyterians and even seventh-day animal sacrificers throughout the world who clearly know from the Hebrew that music has no place.
GO to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. James 5:1
Somehow we doubt that this is an act of worship. Should we set aside a period of wailing and howling for all of those who support the plant and buildings and grounds? James then spoke in the context of singing:
Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. James 5:10
Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. James 5:11
But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation. James 5:12
Wouldn't we be cruel to sing Psalms when 20% of the congregation is on anti-depressents in order to survive "anxiety created by religious ritual" or otherwise suffering or being afflicted?
Is any among you afflicted? (undergoing hardship) let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms (psallo). James 5:13
This is during our daily lives. If we are happy we probably don't wait until we can sing in an "authorized" way by getting out of the bathtub and finding a harp. "Singing" is the fruit of the heart or spirit -- it cannot be a hyped-up "worship" ritual.
James again translates psallo for us: He does not say sing and sing with a harp. Sing is the complete action; the material of the simple singing is the Psalms.
The next verse confirms that the sick must send for the elders of the church:
Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: James 5:14
Or is this an "act of worship?" Well, James probably says nothing about the use of psallo to authorize instrumental music in the modern church, howling by the rich or a "faith-healing" act of worship.
The Definitions Used in the New Testament
Words are defined by how they are used in the Bible. If one sings a psalm with the accompaniment of a harp then the person is singing with a harp. By analogy, if one is eating "wine" from the cluster then it is obviously not intoxicating. It it bubbles in the vat and exhilarates and then intoxicates then this wine is intoxicating. The same is true of psallo.
"The very oldest of these psalms, a number of which point to David as their author, are not liturgical congregational hymns, but were originally individual prayer-songs, which emanated from personal experience, but were, in later times, employed for congregational use..." Int Std Bible Ency., The Religion of Israel.
We might add that the preambles such as: "Upon the harp" or "To the tune of Lilly of the Valley" were added to the simple poems after death because they were the personal property of the composer, just as American Indian chants belong to them alone.
(Note: we have no evidence of congregational singing with instrumental accompaniment as worship in the Bible. The clergy performed the music in the Temple before the priests while the "congregation" even outside of the walls fell and "worshipped" when they heard the trumpet blast.)
Zodhiates': Lexical Aids To The New Testament, pg. 1769 "...Actually a touching, and then a touching of the harp or other stringed instruments with the finger or with the plectrum; later known as the instrument itself, and
finally it became known as
the song sung (Note: this says that psallo was assigned to the song which they sang with the instrument. Therefore, if you want to add secular melody you need to specify the instrument. Paul did: he called it the heart and not the harp)
with the musical accompaniment.
This latest state of its meaning, 'psalm,' was adopted in the Septuagint.
"In all probability the psalms of Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16 are the inspired psalms of the Hebrew Canon. The word certainly designates these on all other occasions when it occurs in the New Testament, with the one possible exception of I Corinthians 14:26..." (Our Note: this would agree with the idea that in Corinth they were singing the self-composed songs of paganism which didn't need both mind and spirit engaged.)
It should also be noted that the Septuagint also takes a dim view of most musical passages while other versions can be distorted to see God giving approval. For instance in the Septuagint or LXX:
You strum away on your harps like David and improvise on musical instruments. Amos 6:5 NIV
"who excel in the sound of musical instruments;
they have regarded them as abiding, not as fleeting pleasure." Amos 6:5 LXX
Without knowing that Amos was condemning the marzeah which was a festival with and for the dead ancestor or god, we might see him condemning the idleness and not the music. However, Jesus read the LXX and would have known that Amos was condemning religious festivals which had no abiding value. At the same time they neglected the Scriptures. This symbol of music and an idle disregard of the Word are common themes in the notes which follow.
The Battle of Baal and Yahm
- . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
- Aloud they [summon the assembly of the gods/ do cry to those near]. They invite
- the distant ones/ those far away, to the assembly of `El
- they summon/do cry: "`El remains seated
[in his marzeah/banqueting hall//among his cult-guests (dM)] . . .
- The shame of the Eternal One/The shameful conduct of the usurper . . .
- O gods, (to) the house of your lord . . .
- [Who surely travels (S)/lest he go (D/G) quickly/the Runner will not walk (dM)] through the land, . . .
- who goes in the dust (of) destruction/a mess of mud on the ground . . .
Comments: Smith believes lines 7-8 should be interpreted "Either literally, as `El walking through the underworld, or an allusion to `El being "dead drunk," or both metaphorical, and ironic, as the marzeah serves as the setting for feasts for the dead and for the living mourning the dead (p. 145).
It is self evident: if you are singing sentimental poetry you are defacto ignoring the words of Christ.
Jesus would call this "vain worship" at best because they invented and improvized and it was, therefore, by the rules of men.
Justin's Dialog with Trypho the Jew translates this passage--
Who applaud at the sound of the musical instruments;
they reckon them as stable, and not as fleeting.
Who drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments,
but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.
Vincent's: Word Studies Of The New Testament, Vol. III, pg. 269-270 "...The noun psalm (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; I Cor. 14:26), which is etymologically akin to this verb (psallo in I Cor. 14:15 DEM), is used in the New Testament of a religious song in general, having the character of an Old Testament psalm...
"Some think that the verb has here its original signification of singing with an instrument. This is its dominant sense in the Septuagint, and both Basil and Gregory of Nyssa define a psalm as implying instrumental accompaniment...
"But neither Basil nor Ambrose nor Chrysostom, in their panegyrics upon music, mention instrumental music, and Basil expressly condemns it. Bingham dismisses the matter summarily, and cites Justin Martyr as saying expressly that instrumental music was not used in the Christian Church. The verb is used here in the general sense of singing praise."
CQNEYBEARE AND HOWSON: "Throughout the whole passage there is a contrast implied between the Heathen and the Christian practice, q.d. When you meet, let your enjoyment consist, not in fulness of wine, but fulness of the Spirit; let your songs be, not the drinking-songs of heathen feasts, but psalms and hymns; and their accompaniment, not the music of the lyre, but the melody of the heart; while you sing them to the praise. not of Bacchus or Venus, but of the Lord Jesus Christ." (P.775, n. 5.)
Ephesians 5:19 enjoins: (1) Speaking TO ONE ANOTHER in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs; (2) singing (adontes) and making melody (psallontes, psalming) with your heart TO THE LORD. (One is done with voice and lips, the other with the heart.)
PSALLO: From psao, to rub, to wipe; to handle, to touch (Thayer): Liddell and Scott.- I. To touch sharply, to pluck, pull. twitch; to twang the bow-string; to send a shaft twanging from the bow; so, schoinos miltophures psallomene a carpenter's red line, which is twitched and then let suddenly go, so as to leave a mark. II.
To play a stringed instrument with the fingers, not with the plectron.
Later, to sing to the harp,
THAYER: Shows that psalms, hymns and spiritual songs are not necessarily different:
(Sym. humnos, psalmos, ode: ode is the generic term;
psal. and hum. are specific,
the former designating a song which took its general character from the O.T. 'Psalms' (although not restricted to them, see 1 Cor.14:15,26), the latter a song of praise. (Note: these were also songs of ecstasy sung with the mind disengaged)
"While the leading idea of psalm is a musical accompaniment,
and that If hum. praise to God, ode is the general word for song, whether accompanied or unaccompanied, whether of praise or on any other subject.
Thus it was quite possible for the same song to be at once psalmos, humnos and ode (Bp. Lightft. on Col-3:16). See Trench, Syn, Syn. sec. lxxviii.)
Thayer: a. To pluck off, pull out: the hair. b. To cause to vibrate by touching, to twang; spec. to touch or strike the chord, to touch the strings of a musical instrument, to play the harp, etc.;
Sept. for zamar and much oftener for nagan; to sing to the music of the harp; (Condemned: see below)
In the N.T. to sing a hymn, to celebrate the praise of God in song, Jas.5:13; Eph.5:13; Rom.15:9; 1 Cor.14:15 .
Evolution of Psallo: 1. From psao, to rub, to wipe; to handle, to touch. 2. To touch sharply. 3. To pluck off, or pull out, as the hair. 4. To pull, twitch, as a carpenter's line. 5. To twang the bow-string. 6. To send an arrow twanging from the bow. 7. To twang the strings of a musical instrument. 8. To play the harp or other stringed instrument with the fingers. 9. To sing to the accompaniment of the harp or other stringed instrument.
10. To sing (whether accompanied or not,
and in Christian context it was not in New Testament times and for some centuries later).
11. Currently used of chanting
"This word is derived from the word yavw (psao), which in ancient Greek originally meant to rub, to wipe; to handle, touch (Thayer references Aeschylus, d. 456 BC). .. later in "Classical Greek", "psallo" meant to pluck off, to cause to vibrate by touching, to twang (ref. to Euripades, d. 406 BC), or to touch, to strike the chord, to twang the strings (ref. Aristotle, d. 322 BC), to play on a stringed instrument, to play the harp (ref. Aristotle again, Aratus, 270 BC, and Plutarch*, d. AD 120). * Other writers of Classical Greek contemporary with the N.T. age also used the word in reference to the playing of an instrument (Strabo, Josephus, Lucian),
but scholars universally recognize a clear distinction between the "Classical Greek" of these and other writers,
and the "Koine Greek" in which the N.T. is written.
Thus Thayer makes a distinction between the Classical Greek usage of "psallo," and the Koine use of the word and says, "In the N.T. to sing a hymn, to celebrate the praises of God in song."
Romans 15:9 (immediate context: Rom. 15:7-12)
. . . and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy; as it is written, "Therefore I will give praise to Thee among the Gentiles, And I will sing to Thy name."
"Psallo is best translated by chant, not sing. The Greeks sharply distinguish chanting (psalmodia) from singling (tragoudi). The first is a sacred activity; the second, a secular one. In English, unfortunately, the distinction is not sharp, and the word singing is frequently employed to refer to the sacred activity of chanting. A Greek would never, never say tragoudo (I sing), instead of psallo; the two terms have connotations and associations which are worlds apart -- the first is related to the earthly realm, the second to the heavenly." (Letter to James D. Bales of Harding University, September 22, 1959, from Constantine Cavarnos, of the Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 113 Gilbert Road, Belmont 78, Massachusetts.)
"Your letter to the St. Anthony Guild concerning the Greek word psallo has been referred to me, an editor of the new English Catholic version of the Old Testament. You ask the question: 'Does the use of mechanical instruments of music inhere in the Greek word Psallo as used in the New Testament?' The answer is no. The meaning of this word in the New Testament usage is simply 'I sing a sacred hymn in honor of God."' (Letter to Dr. James D. Bales from Father Stephen Hartdegen, C.P.M., Holy Name College, Franciscan House of Studies, 14th & Shepherd Streets, NE, Washington 17, DC)
Arndt and Gingrich on Psallo: "Abs sing/praise Js.5:13, M-M."
Continually I stand amazed at the scholarship in the Arndt-Gingrich lexicon. It is my understanding that under the direction of Dr. Gingrich you are now revising that lexicon. On the word psallo, since Thayer, Green, Abbott-Smith, etc., limit the New Testament meaning to sing praises, I would appreciate the reasoning that brought Doctors Arndt and Gingrich to insert "to the accompaniment of the harp" in relationship to Romans 15:19; Ephesians 5:19; and 1 Corinthians 14:15. Further, why is the phrase excluded in relationship to James 5:13. (Hugo McCord to Dr. Frederick W. Danker)
Response: It was so kind of you to take the time to make your inquiry regarding the word psallo. I see by comparison with Bauer's first edition that the editors of A.-G. have incorporated the
obvious Old Testament meaning
into the metaphorical usage of the New Testament.
Bauer did not make this mistake, and we will be sure to correct it in the revision. I doubt whether the archaeologists can establish the use of the harp in early Christian services.
The revision of the Arndt/Gingrich lexicon gives this definition of psallo: . . . This process continued until
psallo in Modern Greek means 'sing' exclusively . .
with no reference to instrumental accompaniment . .
Moulton and Milligan: "Psallo, 'play on a harp,' but in the NT, as in Jas-5:13 = "sing a hymn."
Thayer noted of Old Testament "Melody" the Hebrew is zamar and much oftener for nagan; to sing to the music of the harp. We need to follow this clue to nagan's use in the Old Testament often as a synonym for playing or polluting:
Every musical idea in both the Old and New Testaments is based on roots denoting "to make vile, to pollute, to prostitute, to abrade, to grind to bits (as in sop), to panic the enemy or to sound the keynote so that everyone follows the leader." When the "congregation" assembled, this role for music was outlawed in God's command to Moses for the silver trumpets (Numbers 10:7). This is why Paul insisted that melody be in the heart to change the spirit and not be an attack upon the body. When musical harmony sounds "spiritual" and the hair rises on the back of your neck you have been attacked by dis-harmony or a dangerous drug which, in the words of one "pastor," is like LSD slipped into the communion juice but a bit slower.
The scholar quoted above equated Zamar and Nagan as the playing of musical instruments. The Scriptures are also careful to equate Nagan and Halal or Chalal as polluting persons or things with musical melody. This is based upon the fact that making and playing musical instruments were labor-intensive and works related efforts to triumph over or exercise control over people. Brass was hammered, twisted, rolled, wound into a tube and perforated. By analogy, a shofar with added holes to change the tone was polluted. Instruments were made of animal hides which had been pounded, twisted and stretched until they could produce the magical tones sold as the voice of the gods, demons or angels living inside the old wineskin.
First, look at some examples which equate Strong's h5059 to h2490 to define players on musical instruments:
The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the damsels playing with timbrels. Psalm 68:25
Players in this verse in Hebrew:
Nagan (h5059) naw-gan'; a prim. root; prop. to thrum, i. e. beat a tune with the fingers; espec. to play on a stringed instrument; hence (gen.) to make music: - player on instruments, sing to the stringed instruments, melody, ministrel, play (-er, -ing..
Naga (h5060) naw-gah'; a prim. root; prop. to touch, i. e. lay the hand upon (for any purpose; euphem., to lie with a woman); by impl. to reach (fig. to arrive, acquire); violently, to strike (punish, defeat, destroy, etc.): - beat, (* be able to) bring (down), cast, come (nigh), draw near (nigh), get up, happen, join, near, plague, reach (up), smite, strike, touch.
Science tells us that almost all pleasure is first produced by pain. Music strikes or abrades us, we create morphine-like drugs to kill the pain and then we have some left over to give us the "thrill" which comes from listening to music or lying with a woman.
As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee. Psalm 87:7
Players in this verse is the Hebrew:
Chalal (h2490) khaw-lal'; a prim. root [comp. 2470]; prop. to bore, i. e. (by impl.) to wound, to dissolve; fig. to profane (a person, place or thing), to break (one's word), to begin (as if by an "opening wedge"); denom. (from 2485) to play (the flute): - begin (* men began), defile, * break, defile, * eat (as common things), * first, * gather the grape thereof, * take inheritance, pipe, player on instruments, pollute, (cast as) profane (self), prostitute, slay (slain), sorrow, stain, wound.
Chalah (h2470) khaw-law'; a prim. root [comp. 2342, 2470, 2490]; prop. to be rubbed or worn; hence (fig.) to be weak, sick, afflicted; or (causat.) to grieve, make sick; also to stroke (in flattering), entreat: - beseech, (be) diseased, (put to) grief, be grieved, (be) grievous, infirmity, intreat, lay to, put to pain, * pray, make prayer, be (fall, make) sick, sore, be sorry, make suit (* supplication), woman in travail, be (become) weak, be wounded.
Note: the circular dance of David was the same one they tried to force upon Jesus and that of the Dionysus women or effete men was a circular dance in imitation of an animal giving birth . When they became dizzy they were told (and sold) that the gods had invaded them just as exhilaration in worship is the new test of worship in the presence of God.
Halal praise is means much the same as Chalal. In the "like the nations prophets" which we see turning poor Saul into "another man" which means to "pervert" him from a pastoral person to a warrior to lead Israel into a like the nations civil state. These prophesiers believed that perversion and driving themselves into insanity was proof of the spirit of their god.
David and others often pretended insanity to declare themselves innocent before God -- not even God can condemn a crazy man:
Halal (h1984) haw-lal'; a prim. root; to be clear (orig. of sound, but usually of color); to shine; hence to make a show, to boast; and thus to be (clamorously) foolish; to rave; causat. to celebrate; also to stultify: - (make) boast (self), celebrate, commend, (deal, make), fool (- ish, -ly), glory, give [light], be (make, feign self) mad (against), give in marriage, [sing, be worthy of] praise, rage, renowned, shine.
Heylel (h1966) hay-lale'; from 1984 (in the sense of brightness); the morning-star: - lucifer.
For instance, of David trying to seduce the enemy into helping him:
And he changed (perverted) his behaviour before them, and feigned himself mad (h1984 halal) in their hands, and scrabbled (drummed marks) on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard. 1 Samuel 21:13
Have you noticed that singers and speakers "soar away," go into a charismatic fit, and get so violent with words that they actually froth at the mouth like a mad dog.? This spittle of David was:
Riyr (h7388) reer; from 7325; saliva; by resemblance broth: - spittle, white of an egg.
This can not easily happen when a person remains in their right mind and speaks with a normal, sane tone of voice.
Second, see the examples equating the musicians to the players as polluters or prostitutes because they used music to overpower the people for their own profit.
Third, see that melody and playing on instruments are the same.
Fourth, see that melody in Hebrew carries the same meaning as to "prune your vines" to "take your inheritance" as players, flute players, harp players and this is even related to Lucifer. Of the king of Tyre representing Lucifer:
Take an harp, go about the city, thou harlot that hast been forgotten; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that thou mayest be remembered. Isaiah 23:16
Melody in Hebrew is: Zimrah (h2172) zim-raw'; from 2167; a musical piece or song to be accompanied by an instrument: - melody, psalm.
Zamar (h2168) zaw-mar'; a prim. root [comp. 2167, 5568, 6785]; to trim (a vine): - prune.
Melody works because it makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck and arms and makes a cold chill run up and down your spine. Don't believe it when the change agents tell you that you have been professionally moved into the presence of God and have known Him personally or sexually. This is recognized by medical science as a "drug high" which produces fight, flight or sexual fantasies -- right there in what we call "worship."
Camar (h5568) saw-mar'; a prim. root; to be erect, i. e. bristle as hair: - stand up, tremble.
Fifth, see that melody in Greek is identical to melody in Hebrew:
Melody in Greek is: Psallo (g5567) psal'-lo; prob. strengthened from psao , (to rub or touch the surface; comp. 5597); to twitch or twang, i.e. to play on a stringed instrument (celebrate the divine worship with music and accompanying odes): - make melody, sing (psalms)
Psocho (g5597) pso'-kho; prol. from the same base as 5567; to triturate, i.e. (by anal.) to rub out (kernels from husks with the fingers or hand): - rub.
Psomion (g5596) pso-mee'-on; dim. from a der. of the base of 5597; a crumb or morsel (as if rubbed off), i.e. a mouthful: - sop.
This was the "Lucifer" connection because Judas was the change agent of Satan and would not triumph over Jesus with wind instrument. Rather, when Jesus fed Judas the sop He so twitched, twanged or rubbed him into powder that he went out and hanged himself and was made into a visual aid, a spectacle of God's triumph over him.
Sixth, you noted that melody, triturating or rubbing things raw or into powder is related to the SOP which Jesus fed Judas. The Judas Bag was a bag or chest "to carry the mouthpieces of wind instruments." Judas symbolically connected the musical principle to money collection. This in turn is connected to the money chests in the temple which were called "trumpets." Psalm 41 predicts that Judas would not "triumph over" Messiah where triumph means to blow wind instruments and make a joyful noise. This was clearly prohibited in Numbers 10:7 after Israel fell back into the Egyptian form of musical worship.
The Judas Bag hangs from the flute case to the left. The phallic pole was to keep the performers from falling from the influence of new wine from a new wineskin. In the classical writers, wine was used because wine and music always went together while trying to call the gods into your presence.
Conclusion: This is why Paul demanded that melody be in the heart. Furthermore, there is not a shred of evidence for the use of harmony which dates to about the same period as the introduction of musical instruments. Harmony imitates musical instruments, becomes addictive and calls for larger doses including a multi-horsepower pipe organ or a Rock or Rap band.
Melody In the Classics and Church Fathers
The classical writers knew from the Greek and the pagan music which destroyed the spiritual mind that those who considered musical melody as proof of the presence of the god were mistaken. In keeping with psallo and its grinding to powder roots, the following quotation shows why musical melody carried such a destructive message:
"Again, if you prefer to test the presence of God by the agreeable effects on the hearing, and not sight, or smell, or taste,
harps get their strings and pipes their bones from animals; and these become musical by being dried, and rubbed, and twisted.
So the pleasures of music, which you hold to have come from the divine kingdom,
are obtained from the refuse of dead animals, and that, too, when they are dried by time, and lessened by rubbing, and stretched by twisting.
Such rough treatment, according to you, drives the divine substance from living objects; even cooking them, you say, does this. Why then are boiled thistles not unwholesome? Is it because God, or part of God, leaves them when they are cooked? ST.AUGUSTIN: ON THE MORALS OF THE MANICHAEANS, Ch 16,46
Augustine in his comments on Psalm XCVIII allegorized melody or the works of human hands included in the use of literal musical instruments. Simple singing is just returning God's words to Him. However, adding the harp is the labor-intensive work of the instrument, of learning the human skill, of performing of it and of the listeners working to interpret it as Paul would say, like speaking in tongues. Augustine points out correctly that instruments were "works" or inventions or improvizations added to the simple chanting of the Word to teach. These works were to stop the plagues in two cases where authority is uncler. In order to keep the people from dying, David performed his own works to atone for his own sins of counting the people.
5. "Make melody unto the Lord upon the harp: on the harp and with the voice of a Psalm" (ver. 5).
- Praise Him not with the voice only;
- take up works, that ye may not only sing, but work also.
- He who singeth and worketh,
- maketh melody with psaltery and upon the harp.
"Now see what sort of instruments are next spoken of, in figure: "With ductile trumpets also, and the sound of the pipe of horn" (ver. 6). What are ductile trumpets, and pipes of horn?
Ductile trumpets are of brass: they are drawn out by hammering; if by hammering, by being beaten,
ye shall be ductile trumpets, drawn out unto the praise of God, if ye improve when in tribulation: tribulation is hammering, improvement is the being drawn out.
This is Augustine's way of saying, "Make the melody in your heart and not upon clanging brass or tinkling cymbals."
Nothing in worship could be more works-intensive than musical performance. Behind any voice or the ability to play an instrument lies talent developed by many years of difficult and skilled training. And the classical writers acknowledged that entertainment was a legitimate role for that talent. A metalsmith has no office in the "worship" of the church just because he is talented and highly trained.
When the "team" sings or plays it is doing labor-intensive work. Many groups even force electricity to amplify their works many fold. By early definition, instruments and weapons come from the same Hebrew word because they were both ways to gain an advantage over your enemy by using the elements of the KOSMOS.
Then, whatever its claim, music attempts to perform worship for another child of God.
And to what end? Are the worshippers closer to God? Alexander Campbell said that one individual cannot bring another individual any closer to God than he is. Are the people closer to God by virtue of their talent which sets them above their brothers? Are they more moral? No. In fact, they have been abraded, however "spiritual" it sounds, and in fact the more spiritual it sounds the more proof we have that we have been injected with a morphine-like drug.
1. whether for amusement and relaxation, as one indulges in sleep and deep drinking (for these in themselves are not serious pursuits but merely pleasant, and 'relax our care,' as Euripides says;
owing to which people actually class music with them and employ all of these things,
sleep, deep drinking and music, in the same way,
and they also place dancing in the same class);
2. or whether we ought rather to think that music tends in some degree to virtue (music being capable of producing a certain quality of character just as gymnastics are capable of producing a certain quality of body,
music accustoming men to be able to rejoice rightly);
or that it contributes something to intellectual entertainment and culture (for this must be set down as
3. a third alternative among those mentioned). Now it is not difficult to see that one must not make amusement the object of the education of the young;
for amusement does not go with learning--learning is a painful process.
Plato: Apology of Socrates and Crito crito,17.2 speaking directly to the charismatic prophesying being practiced by the women in Corinth:
hoi korubantiôntes: here a species of madness seems to be indicated,
- under the influence of which men
- imagined that they heard the flutes
- that were used in Corybantian revels.
- and the song of the bacchanals in Eur. Bacch. 123-127,
- Corybantes, wearing helms three-rimmed,
- Stretched skins to make my drum's full round;
- Then they, in hollowed caves, lithe-limbed,
- With drums, and, with the flute's shrill sound
- Full Phrygian, bacchic ditties hymned.
This is Paul's meaning of "clanging brass and tinkling cymbals" which, in church, was equated to speaking in tongues.
Herodotus Histories speaks of the "the interpreter" which must always accompany the prophetess as she "spoke in tongues" under the influence of music or poisonous gas from a hole in the ground, and as she uncovered her head to prove her innocence:
"Periander, who disclosed the oracle's answer to Thrasybulus, was the son of Cypselus, and sovereign of Corinth. The Corinthians say (and the Lesbians agree) that the most marvellous thing that happened to him in his life was the landing on Taenarus of Arion of Methymna, brought there by a dolphin.
This Arion was a lyre-player second to none in that age;
he was the first man whom we know to compose and name the dithyramb (dance-music for Dionysus)
which he afterwards taught at Corinth.
This was the triumphant hymn to Dionysus or Bacchus which the Jewish clergy tried to force Jesus into. If they could get Him to sing and dance they would have convinced everyone that He was not a spiritual person, much less God Himself.
"Additionally, human observation seems to reinforce the truth that God knows what He's doing. Without instruments people tend to sing better, pay attention to the words better, and generally get more internally from the singing portion of the worship service. With instruments people tend to listen to the instrument rather than sing, ignore the words of the song, and come away mostly with only an appreciation of pretty music. But whether humans can make good sense of God's command really isn't the point; God has commanded, can we refuse?
I can go on forever adding evidence that the idea of melody or instrumental music as worship is inconsistent with the demand to teach and admonish one another and the fact that priestly performers have been outlawed by the death of Lord, Jesus Christ. Those who attempt to stand between the worshipper and their God as mediators (as worship teams clearly claim) have, little by little whittled away the Biblical evidence which shouts in their face.
You will have to wonder why people who know better deliberately distort the truth. I suppose that those who lust to introduce instruments into non-musical churches have really already "transferred their allegiance" and intend to take the "buildings and grounds" with them. I believe that this is grand theft.
If the argument hangs upon psallo and instruments are added, understand that you have forces working among you that will be hard to resist. This is true because your own forces have been broken down by the demand that "to be Christian you must not argue with my position" as we "bread down the walls" using the promise Keepers plan of the effete trying to undergo a masculine journey. And the fact that you have not resisted the first wave of the introduction of feminine and effeminate, pagan-like worship teams to perform for you just encourages the "camel" to move in and take over. The "Trogan Horse" has probably already been filled with those intending to take away your inheritance and the Word of God while good men sleep. I know. I know. Mixed metaphors again.
Never, never, never, never, never give up: the race has just started and the crown will go to those who have lawfully prepared and run the race