Musical Worship - Odes of Solomon

The Odes of Solomon condemns literal musical worship because it rejects the Word of God as adequate to interpret itself. Instruments are treated in the usual figurative way to contrast Christianity with paganism.

Because there is no New Testament evidence to support celebrative worship, it is tempting to seek a favorable view of music from other literature of the period. A recent book attempts to show that the Odes of Solomon teach a positive Christian view of music. The "watchmen of the night" hired to defend the faith didn't have a clue that the Odes were misappropriated.

The writer of the uninspired Odes used a common method of writing under the name of his hero, Solomon. However, far from painting a favorable picture of early Christian music, the Odes support the view that the harp, like incense and the sacrifice, is to be viewed figuratively.

As we move far enough from the proof-text "trees" to see the entire "forest" of the context, it is clear that the first reference to the harp does not describe public worship. It shows how God's Spirit "speaks in my members" to dispel error. To teach this, an early Christian song speaks in parallelism

"As the hand moves over the harp, and the strings speak, so speaks in my members the Spirit of the Lord, and I speak by His love. For it destroys what is foreign, and everything that is bitter." Ode 6:1-3

While we might view playing and speaking taking place at the same time in this figurative speech, another view is that the Harp-Player (God) actively "plays" the passive harp. Those who read this early sermon understood that when one plucked a certain string of a harp it vibrated to produce a certain note. The harp could not, as did the Corinthians, invent their own songs or speeches out of their own "spirits." The musical instruments were therefore lifeless or carnal with no ability to direct worship to God.

Paul would have added that when one "teaches and admonishes" with the revealed Word of God, unity is necessary (harmony) so that the melody (a sequence of single notes) allows "Christ to sing in the congregation" (See Heb. 2:12; Rom. 15:9). The result is that "God plucks the heart strings" so that they vibrate sympathetically to the vibrations which came down from heaven.

Other writers support the notion of the human heart as the lyre or harp played by God. For instance, Athenagoras (IX) wrote:

"... Jeremiah, and the other prophets, who, lifted in ecstasy above the natural operations of their minds by the impulses of the Divine Spirit, uttered the things with which they were inspired, the Spirit making use of them as a flute-player breathes into a flute."

Another writer agrees by saying:

"For neither by nature nor by human conception is it possible for men to know things so great and divine, but by the gift which then descended from above upon the holy men, who had no need of rhetorical art, nor of uttering anything in a contentious or quarrelsome manner, but to present themselves pure to the energy of the Divine Spirit, in order that the divine plectrum itself, descending from heaven, and using righteous men as an instrument like a harp or lyre, might reveal to us the knowledge of things divine and heavenly." (Justin's Horatory Address to the Greeks, Chapt. VIII).

The pagans thought of their flute as the house where the gods or demons lived. When you "breathed" your own spirit into one end of the flute, the god spoke from within and gave an inspired, musical message. To show contrast, God's Spirit or the Spirit of Christ breathes into the prophet and the words which went into the prophet came out as the inspired, inbreathed Word of God.

In their view, the prophet as the "instrument," responded to God"s "playing," and his own tongue became the "notes" to speak the very words of the Spirit. The true prophet has no choice but to repeat God's message--

Ode 1

1 The Lord is on my head like a crown,
        and I shall not be without Him.

2 They wove for me a crown of truth,
        and it
caused thy branches to bud in me.

3 For it is not like a withered crown
        which buddeth not:

but thou livest upon my head,
        and thou hast blossomed upon my head.

4 Thy fruits are full-grown and perfect,
        they are full of thy salvation.

Paul used the figure of music to show that the "songs" were the Word of Christ while the "act" was "speaking to one another" with these same words. The "result" would be "singing and making melody in the heart." This inner "string strumming" is directed vertically to God as the result of speaking the Word to one another.

To the Corinthians, Paul drew a direct parallel between the revealed Word which he had been commissioned to take to them, and how they as a group were to honor God by honoring Christ Who refused to speak that which God had not given to Him--

Pauls Commission

Colossian's Commission

Ephesian's Commission

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. Col.1:18

 

And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. Col.2:19

When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Col.3:4

From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. Eph 4:16
For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; Col 1:19

Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Col.1:12

IF ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Col 3:1

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. Col 3:2

for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:
Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word (Logos) of God; Col 1:25
And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Col 3:10
"Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." Eph 5:14
Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generation,
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body (church)
Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, Eph 5:15
but is now disclosed to the saints. Col 1: 26
Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free:
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles Col 1:27
but Christ is all, and in all. Col 3:11
understanding what the will of the Lord is. Eph 5:17

To present to you the word of God in its fullness (Pleroo) Col 1:25

Let the word of Christ dwell (plousios)

be filled (pleroo) with the Spirit Eph 5:18

We proclaim him,
admonishing and teaching
everyone
with all wisdom,
as you
teach and admonish
one another
with all wisdom, and

 

Speaking

to yourselves

so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. Col 1: 28
as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs
in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace
with gratitude [Grace] in your hearts (proof of unity)
 
Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt (prudence), that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. Col.4:6
singing and making melody in your heart
 
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Ep.4:29
of God in truth: Col 1:6
to God. Col 3:16
to the Lord; Eph 5:19
To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me. Col 1:29
giving thanks to God the Father through him. Col 3:17
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Eph 5:20

God did not just supply "topical titles" to feed a teaching process. He wanted His exact revelation "sung" to the whole world as both sermon and song. This this is the only way our spirit or mind can praise God's Spirit which is His Mind:

Ode 2

No part of this Ode has ever been identified

Ode 3

The first words of this Ode have disappeared.

1 ... I put on.

2 And his members are with him.
        And on them do I stand, and He loves me:


3 For I should not have known love the Lord,
        if not loved me.


4 For who is able to distinguish love
        except the one that is loved?


5. I love the beloved
        and my soul loves Him:


6 And where His rest is,
        there also am I;


7 And I shall be no strangers
        for with the Lord Most High and Merciful there is no grudging.


8 I have been united to Him,
        for the Lover has found the Beloved,


9 And because I shall love Him that is the Son,
         I shall become a son;.


10 For he that is joined to Him that is immortal,
        will also himself become immortal;


11 And he who has pleasure in the Living One,
        will
become living.


12 This is the Spirit of the Lord, which doth not lie,
        which
teacheth the sons of men to know His ways.


13 Be wise and understanding and vigilant.
        Hallelujah.

ODE 4.

This Ode is important because of the historical allusion with which it commences. This may refer to the closing of the temple at Leontopolis an Egypt which this writing about

1 No man, O my God,
        changeth thy holy place;

2 And it is not (possible) that he should change it and put it in another place:
        because he hath no power over it:

3 For thy sanctuary thou hast designed
        before thou didst make (other) places:

4 That which is the elder shall not be altered
        by those that are younger than itself.

5 Thou has given thy heart, O Lord, to thy believers:
        never wilt thou fail, nor be without fruits:

6 For one hour of thy Faith
        is days and years.

7 For who is there put on thy grace,
        and be hurt?

8 For thy seal is known: and thy creatures know it:
        and thy (heavenly) hosts possess it:
        and the elect archangels are clad with it.

9 Thou hast given us thy fellowship:
        it was not that thou wast in need of us:
        but that we are in need of thee:

10 Distill thy dews upon us and open thy rich fountains
        that pour forth to us
milk and honey:

11 For there is no repentance with thee
        that thou shouldest repent of anything that thou hast promised:

12 And the end was revealed before thee:
        for what thou gavest, thou gavest freely:

13 So that thou mayest not draw them back
        and take them again:

14 For all was revealed before thee as God,
        and ordered from the beginning before thee:
        and thou, O God, hast made all things. Hallelujah,

ODE 5.

This Ode has strangely appeared in a speech by Salome in another ancient work called the Pistis Sophia. Part One  Part Two

1 I will give thanks unto thee,
        O Lord, because I love thee;

2 O Most High, thou wilt not forsake me
        for thou art my hope:

3 Freely I have received thy grace,
        I shall live thereby:

4 My persecutors will come
        and not see me:

5 A cloud of darkness shall fall on their eyes;
        and an air of thick gloom shall darken them:

6 And they shall have no light to see:
        they may not take hold upon me.

7 Let their counsel become thick darkness,
        and what they have cunningly devised,
        let it return upon their own heads:

8 For they have devised a counsel
        and it did not succeed:

9 For my hope is upon the Lord and I will not fear,
        and because the Lord is my salvation, I will not fear:

10 and He is a garland on my head and I shall not be moved;
        even if everything should be shaken, I stand firm;

11 And if all things visible should perish, I shall not die;
        because the Lord is with me I and I am with Him. Hallelujah.

ODE 6.

First century universalism is revealed in an interesting way in verse 10.

1 As the hand moves over the harp,
        and the strings
speak,

2 So speaks in my members the Spirit of the Lord,
        and I speak by His love.

3 For it destroys what is foreign
        and everything that is bitter:

4 For thus it was from the beginning and will be to the end, that nothing should be His adversary, and nothing should stand up against Him.

5 The Lord has multiplied the knowledge of Himself,
        and is zealous that these things should be known,
        which by His grace have been given to us.

6 And the praise of His name He gave us:
        our
spirits praise His holy Spirit.

Shifting from "music" to "water" Solomon defined how God breathes His Word into the prophets as surely as a spring forces out water. This water or knowledge would flow from Jerusalem out into the whole world.

7 For there went forth a stream
        and became a river great and broad (See Note Below)

8 For it flooded and broke up everything
        and it brought (water) to the Temple;

Jesus warned that the Pharisees had "taken away the key to knowledge" and, therefore, would be swept away when truth became available to each person.

In the same way, Solomon knew that men wanted to restrict the Word so that they could control the people. Therefore, the world is filled with people whose occupation is to restrict the Word of God to the people:

9 And the restrainers of the children of men
        were not able to restrain it,
       
nor the ARTS of those whose business it is to restrain waters;

Paul warned the Corinthians that they had ten thousand guardians or "restrainers" who were causing their worship to "do more harm than good." However, they had only one "father" or truth teacher. From chapters twelve through fourteen it is apparent that Corinth practiced the "art" of music and speech in tongues and thereby restrained Christ's doctrinal message (14:6). Right in the middle of this he gave us chapter 13 which identifies music as a communication tool as "noise" and "clang" for trying to get a message from the angles.

Other writers of this period believed that Satan gave the knowledge of music and other arts to turn off the water of the Word by the use of celebrative rituals. In their view, music became the restraining tool which deprived people of truth.

True knowledge is defined as a "song" or "light" or "water" which gives life to all living things. Therefore, when Messiah came, He delivered knowledge which flowed from the mountain of Jerusalem and out into all the world. Contrary to the new wineskins model of the gospel and kingdom, Christ came to give the water of the Word:

10 For it spread over the face of the whole earth, and filled everything:
        and all the thirsty upon earth were given to drink of it;

11 And thirst was relieved and quenched:
        for from the Most High the draught was given. (Amos 8)

However, this is not universalism but the Water of the Word is given only to baptized believers.

Amos 8:3 And the songs of the temple shall be howlings in that day,
        saith the Lord GOD: there shall be many dead bodies in every place;
        they shall cast them forth with silence.

Amos 8:11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD,
        that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,
        but of hearing the words of the LORD:
Amos 8:12 And they shall wander from sea to sea,
        and from the north even to the east,
        they shall run to and fro to seek the WORD of the LORD, and shall not find it.
Amos 8:13 In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst.
Hippolytus V
 
"Yobal made reed instruments, and harps, and flutes, and whistles, 
        and the devils went and dwelt inside them.
        When men blew into the pipes, the devils sang inside them 
        And Satan had been made ruler (or prince) of that camp
And when the men and women were stirred up to lascivious frenzy by the devilish playing of the reeds which emitted musical sounds, and by the harps which the men played through the operation of the power of the devils, and by the sounds of the tambourines and of the sistra which were beaten and rattled through the agency of evil spirits, the sounds of their laughter were heard in the air above them, and ascended to that holy mountain.
Is. 5:11 Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!
Is. 5:12 And 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.
Is. 5:13 Therefore my people are gone into captivity,
        because they have no knowledge:
        and their honourable men are famished,
        and their multitude dried up with thirst.
Is. 5:14 Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.

Sublimus B. In partic., of language, lofty, elevated, sublime (freq. in Quint.): sublimia carmina, Juv. 7, 28: verbum, orators, poets, etc

The Jews were abandoned to worship the starry host (Acts 7) their sin was singing and playing instruments rather than RESTING which includes the SCHOOL concept. Apollon-Abaddon was and is the leader of any musical performers in the School of jesus Christ.
carmen , a tune, song, air, lay, strain, note, sound, both vocal and instrumental carmen tuba
carmine vocali clarus citharāque  (sc. Apollinem) concordant carmina nervis,
citharae liquidum carmen, Lucr. 4, 981; cf. id. 2, 506; Hor. C. 1, 15, 15: lyrae carmen,

glōrĭōsus  Full of glory, glorious, famous, renowned, Graecis de philosophia   Vainglorious, boasting, bragging, haughty, conceited, ostentatious  Vainglorious, boasting, bragging, haughty, conceited, ostentatious

When God had given Israel the literal "water" from the literal "Rock" the message was that Jesus was the Rock who must be heeded when He came as "another :rophet" after Moses. While God was giving The Book of the Covenant in written form the Israelites fell back into their old Egyptian worship of Apis which was with drinking, singing their magical incantations or songs, playing instrumental music and praising Apis the "holy bull" which had probably perished to show God's superiority in the plagues.

The knowledge which God wanted to spread out to relieve the hunger and thirst was entrusted to certain apostles and prophets who had God's Spirit to guard it as God's "song.

12 Blessed then are the ministers of that draught
        who are entrusted with that water

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. Isa 55:1
2 Cor. 2:17 For we are not as many,
        which corrupt the word of God:
        but as of sincerity, but as of God,
        in the sight of God speak we in Christ.


kapēl-euō
,  A. to be a retail-dealer, drive a petty trade Hdt. 3.89  ta mathēmata sell learning by retail, hawk it about, Pl. Prt.313d , 2 Cor. 2:17, of prostitutes,
Hippolytus V
 
"Yobal made reed instruments, and harps, and flutes, and whistles, 
        and the devils went and dwelt inside them.
        When men blew into the pipes, the devils sang inside them 
        And Satan had been made ruler (or prince) of that camp
And when the men and women were stirred up to lascivious frenzy by the devilish playing of the reeds which emitted musical sounds, and by the harps which the men played through the operation of the power of the devils, and by the sounds of the tambourines and of the sistra which were beaten and rattled through the agency of evil spirits, the sounds of their laughter were heard in the air above them, and ascended to that holy mountain.

13 They have assuaged the dry lips,
        and the will that had fainted they have raised up;

14 And souls that were near departing
        they have caught back from death:

15 And limbs that had fallen
        they straightened and set up:

16 They gave strength for their feebleness
        and light to their eyes:

17 For everyone knew them in the Lord,
        and they lived by the water of life forever.
Hallelujah.

"The Lord has

multiplied the knowledge of Himself,

and is zealous that these things should be known,

which by His grace have been given to us. And the praise of His name He gave us: our spirits praise His holy Spirit." Ode 6:5-6

In addition, the Psalms of Solomon say that after Messiah brought good tidings the people had a "new psalm" to sing rather than the old ones. The instrument of praise was now the tongue as it poured forth the fruit of the lips (Heb 13:15) in telling about God's good news--

"A new psalm with song in gladness of heart, the fruit of the lips with the well-tuned instrument of the tongue, the first fruits of the lips from a pious and righteous heart" Psalms of Solomon, 15:3

Clement of Alexandria supports this by defining the tongue as the "psaltery of the Lord" and the "mouth struck by the Spirit" as the "lyre."

This new "song" destroyed ignorance and the ritualistic forms of worship. This "singing" is a direct result of the arrival of God's knowledge and they will not, in the words of Amos, "sing idle songs and improvize upon the harp like David." They use the God-given "harp" to sing exactly those songs which He has given. The old Psalms which usually prayed for God's vengeance to the tune of the harp are now replaced with truth because Messiah has arrived:

Ode 7

A wonderfully, simple and joyful psalm on the Incarnation.

1 As the impulse of anger against evil,
        so is the impulse of joy over what is lovely,
        and brings in of its fruits without restraint:

2 My joy is the Lord and my impulse is toward Him:
        this path of mine is excellent:

3 For I have a helper,
        the Lord.

4 He hath caused me to know Himself, without grudging, by His simplicity:
        His kindness has humbled His greatness.

5 He became like me, in order that I might receive Him:
        He was reckoned like myself in order that I might put Him on;

7 And I trembled not when I saw Him:
        because He was gracious to me:

8 Like my nature He became that I might learn Him
        and like my form, that I might not turn back from Him:

9 The Father of knowledge
        is the
word of knowledge:

10 He who created wisdom
        is wiser than His works:

11 And He who created me
        when yet
I was not knew what I should do when I came into being:

12 Wherefore He pitied me in His abundant grace:
        and granted me to ask from Him and to receive from His sacrifice:

13 Because He it is that is incorrupt,
        the fulness of the ages and the of them.

14 He hath given Him to be seen of them that are His,
        in order that they may recognize Him that made them:
        and that they might not suppose that they came of themselves:

15 For knowledge He hath appointed as its way,
        hath widened it and extended it; and brought to all perfection;

Jesus said that His WAY was narrow and hard to find because of the many gathered around.

16 And set over it the traces of His light,
        and I walked therein from the beginning even to the end.

17 For by Him it was wrought,
         and He was resting in the Son,
        and for its salvation He will take hold of everything.

18 And the Most High shall be known in His Saints,
        to announce to
those that have songs of the coming of the Lord:

19 That they may go forth to meet Him,
        and may sing to Him with joy
        and with
the harp of many tones: (the lips and heart: below)

20 The seers shall come before Him
        and they shall be seen before Him,

21 And they shall praise the Lord for His love:
        because
He is near and beholdeth.

22 And hatred shall be taken from the earth,
        and along with jealousy it shall be drowned:

23 For ignorance hath been destroyed,
        because the knowledge
of the Lord hath arrived.

24 They who make songs
        shall sing the grace of the Lord Most High;

25 And they shall bring their songs,
        and their heart shall be like the day:
        and like the excellent beauty of the Lord their pleasant song;

26 And there shall neither be anything that breathes
        without knowledge nor any that is dumb:

27 For He hath given a mouth to His creation,
        t
o open the voice of the mouth towards Him, to praise Him:

28 Confess ye His power, and show forth His grace. Hallelujah.

This does not describe celebrative singing of sentimental poetry but speaking God's Word to reveal His grace. Using the same imagry, Paul describes his own work of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles as singing:

so that the Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy, as it is written: "Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing hymns to your name." -- Rom 15:9

Ode 8

Note the sudden transition from the person of the Psalmist to the person of the Lord (v. 10). This is like the canonical Psalter in style.

1 Open ye, open ye your hearts
        to the exultation of the Lord:

2 And let your love be multiplied
        from the heart and even to the lips,

3 To bring forth fruit to the Lord, living [fruit], holy [fruit],
        and
to talk with watchfulness in His light.

4 Rise up, and stand erect,
        ye who sometime were brought low:

5 Tell forth ye who were in silence,
        that your mouth hath been opened.

6 Ye, therefore, that were despised be henceforth lifted up,
        because your righteousness hath been exalted.

7 For the right hand of the Lord is with you:
        and He is your helper:

8. And peace was prepared for you,
        before ever your war was.

9. Hear the WORD of truth,
         and receive the knowledge of the Most High.

10 Your flesh has not known what I am saying to you:
        neither have your hearts known what I am showing to you.

11 Keep. my secret,
        ye who are kept by it.

l2 Keep my faith,
        ye who are kept by it.

l3 And understand my knowledge,
        ye who know me in truth,

14 Love me with affection,
        ye who love!

15 For I do not turn away my face
        from them that are mine;

16 For I know them and before they came into being
        I took knowledge of them, and on their faces I set my seal:

17 I fashioned their members:
        my own breasts I prepared for them,
        that they might
drink my holy milk and live thereby

18 I took pleasure in them
        and am not ashamed of them:

19 For my workmanship are they
        and the strength of my thoughts:

20 Who then shall rise up against my handiwork,
        or who is there that is not subject to them?

21 I willed and fashioned mind and heart:
        and they are mine,
        and by my own right hand I set my elect ones:

22 And my righteousness goeth before them
        and they shall not be deprived of my name, for it is with them.

23 Ask, and abound
        and abide in the love of the Lord,

24 And yet beloved ones in the Beloved:
         those who are kept, in Him that liveth

25 And they that are saved i
        n Him that was saved;

26 And ye shall be found incorrupt in all ages
        to the name of your Father. Hallelujah.

Ode 9

We shall never know surely whether the wars referred to here are spiritual or actual outward wars.

1 Open your ears and I will speak to you.
        Give me your souls that I may also give you my soul,

2 The word of the Lord and His good pleasures,
        the holy thought which He has devised concerning his Messiah.

3 For in the will of the Lord is your salvation,
    and His
thought is everlasting life; and your end is immortality.

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63

4 Be enriched in God the Father,
        and
receive the thought of the Most High.

5 Be strong and
        be redeemed by His grace.

6 For I announce to you peace,
        to you His saints;

7 That none of those who hear may fall in war,
         and that those again who have known Him may not perish,
        and that those who receive may not be ashamed.

8 An everlasting crown forever is Truth.
        Blessed are they who set it on their heads:

9 A stone of great price is it; and there have been wars on account of the crown.

10 And righteousness hath taken it and hath given it to you.

11 Put on the crown in the true covenant of the Lord.

12 And all those who have conquered shall be written in His book.

13 For their book is victory which is yours. And she (Victory) sees you before her and wills that you shall be saved. Hallelujah.

ODE 10.

A vigorous little Ode in which Christ Himself is the speaker.

1 The Lord hath directed my mouth by His word:
        and He hath opened my heart by His
light:
        and He hath caused to dwell in me His deathless life;

2 And gave me that I might speak the fruit peace:

3 To convert the souls of them who are willing to come to Him;

and to lead captive a good captivity for freedom.

4 I was strengthened and made mighty and took the world captive;

5 And it became to me for the praise of the Most High, and of God my Father.

6 And the Gentiles were gathered together who were scattered abroad.

7 And I was unpolluted by my love for them, because they confessed me in high places: and the traces of the light were set upon their heart:

8 And they walked in my life and were saved and be came my people for ever and ever. Hallelujah.

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

ODE 11.

A beautiful sketch of Paradise regained and the blessedness of those who have returned to the privileges of the fallen Adam.

1 My heart was cloven and its flower appeared; and grace sprang up in it: and it brought forth fruit to the Lord,

2 For the Most High clave my heart by His Holy Spirit and searched my affection towards Him: and filled me with His love.

3 And His opening of me became my salvation; and I ran in His way in His peace even in the way of truth:

4 from the beginning and even to the end I acquired His knowledge:

5 And I was established upon the rock of truth, where He had set me up:

6 And speaking waters touched my lips from the fountain of the Lord plenteously:

7 And I drank and was inebriated with the living water that doth not die;

8 And my inebriation was not one without knowledge,
        but I
forsook vanity and turned to the Most High my God,

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Ephesians 5:18

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

9 And I was enriched by His bounty, and I forsook the folly which is diffused over the earth; and I stripped it off and cast it from me:

10 And the Lord renewed me in His raiment, and possessed me by His light, and from above He gave me rest in incorruption;

11 And I became like the land which blossoms and rejoices in its fruits:

12 And the Lord was like the sun shining on the face of the land;

13 He lightened my eyes and my face received the dew; the pleasant odour of the Lord;

14 And He carried me to His Paradise; where is the abundance of the pleasure, of the Lord;

15 And I worshipped the Lord on account of His glory; and I said, Blessed, O Lord, are they who are planted in thy land and those who have a place in thy Paradise;

16 And they grow by the fruits of the trees. And they have changed from darkness to light.

17 Behold! all thy servants are fair, who do good works, and turn away from wickedness to the pleasantness that is thine:

18 And they have turned back the bitterness of the trees from them, when they were planted in thy land;

19 And everything became like a relic of thyself, and memorial for ever of thy faithful works.

20 For there is abundant room in thy Paradise, and nothing is useless therein;

21 But everything is filled with fruit; glory be to thee, O God, the delight of Paradise for ever. Hallelujah.

"Captain Edward Johnson, in about 1631, wrote on what became Harvard University. The learned, reverend, and judicious Mr. Henry Dunster had received a patron for establishing a college. And he notes:

"And as in all the other passages of this history the Wonder-working Providence of Sion's Saviour hath appeared, so especially in this work, the Fountains of learning being in a great measure stopped in our native Country at this time, so that the sweet waters of Shilo's streams must ordinarily pass into the Churches through the stinking channel of prelatical pride, beside all the filth that the fountains themselves were daily encumbered withal, insomuch that the Lord turned aside often from them, and

refused the breathing of his blessed Spirit among them,

which caused Satan (in these latter days of his transformation into an Angel of light)

to make it a means to persuade people from the use of learning altogether,

that so in the next generation they might be destitute of such helps as the Lord hath been pleased hitherto to make use of, as chief means for the conversion of his people and building them up in the most holy faith,

as also for breaking down the Kingdom of Antichrist."


As "Solomon" continued in the twelfth Ode he showed what happens when the well-tuned instrument of the tongue begins to play--

"He hath filled me with words of truth; that I may speak the same; Ode 12:1

In a primary sense, only the seers who had been filled with the direct Word of God were able to speak the same. However, in a continuing sense Ephesians 5:18 demands that before we "sing" we must be "filled with the Spirit." The Colossians 3:16 parallel defines being filled with the Spirit as to "let the words of Christ dwell in you richly" before they taught and admonished one another.

Solomon knew that as the notes flow from the plucked string, the truth as water flows from the mouth of the prophet being strummed by God--

and like the flow of waters flows truth from my mouth, and my lips show forth His fruit. Ode 12:2

He continued the theme of "water" flowing from the mouth with the lips performing the task of the harp. This is consistent with Moses who "recited" the song which God gave Him (Deut. 31:30) so that the elders could learn it and repeat it to their tribes.

And He has caused His knowledge to abound in me, because the mouth of the Lord is the true Word, and the door of His light; Ode 12:3

No "water" or "light" has any value unless it flows from the Lord's mouth as the only "door" through which truth comes. Solomon further condemns any attempt to compose our own message or enhance it with music to "make it easier to understand." He does this by saying that God is able to interpret Himself:

and the Most High hath given it to His words, which are the interpreters of His own beauty, and the repeaters of His praise, and confessors of His counsel, and the heralds of his thoughts, and the chasteners of His servants." Ode 12: 4

This gives the revealed Word all of the power to teach us how to have a relationship with God. Therefore, the church was cleansed of "interpreters" of the Word because they were the "restrainers" of the water which flowed freely out of Jerusalem when they no longer "took away the key to knowledge" (Lk. 11:52).

Solomon repeated the message of John and Paul that once we have the Word "we do not need anyone to teach us." And he shows how the Word makes Paul's demand for a "one another" ministry possible:

"And by it (the Word) the worlds talk to one another; and in the Word there were those who were silent; and from it came love and concord; and they spake one to the other whatever was theirs; and they were penetrated by the Word; and they knew Him who made them, because they were in concord; for the mouth of the Most High spake to them; and His explanation ran by means of it; for the dwelling place of the Word is man: and its truth is love." Ode 12:8-11

The writer understood the universal truth that God is able to say what He wants to say in the word-pictures which He wants to use. These images can be understood by anyone who "loves the truth." Therefore, he continued--

"Behold the Lord is our mirror; open the eyes and see them in Him: and learn the manner of your face: and tell forth praise to His spirit: and wipe off the filth from your face: and love His holiness, and clothe yourselves therewith" Ode 13:1-2

Paul knew that in the beginning they saw God's truth "dimly as in a mirror." However, when God finished the revelation process they saw "face to face." By looking into God's Word we can open our eyes and understand Him as well as our own "face." The result will be repentance, being clothed with righteousness, and "telling forth praise to His Spirit." This writer agrees with Paul's message that we "speak to one another" with Biblical truth. However, we "sing and make melody unto the Lord."

The "seers" or apostle-prophets were the first "harps" whom God "played" to reveal His Word. However, in time the revealed Word becomes the sword which cuts, water which satisfies, mirror which reflects, or harp which God plays. Solomon's prayer that God "teach him the psalms" is parallel with his statement: "open the harp of thy Holy Spirit." The result of opening the Word--the harp or sword of the Spirit--would be that with those "very notes" he could praise God.

Teach me the Psalms of thy truth,

that I may bring forth fruit in thee: And

open to me the harp of thy Holy Spirit,

that with all its notes I may praise thee, O Lord." Ode 14:7-8

To bring forth fruit is to praise the Lord with the "notes" which the Spirit has already provided. The written word of God's truth makes up the "notes" so that God can "play" us as we repeat them.

He leaves no reason to believe that the "harp of the Holy Spirit" is the harp made by the hands of man. This image is inforced when we understand that we "open" the Word to "teach" the psalms of God's truth but the imagry is lost if we attempt to "open" a literal harp.

The Hebrew epistle supports the view of the true Christian sacrifice of praise when he urged:

Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Heb 13:12

Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. Heb 13:13

For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. Heb 13:14

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name. Heb 13:15

Diapantos (g1275) ee-ap-an-tos'; from 1223 and the genit. of 3956; through all time, i.e. (adv.) constantly: - alway (-s), continually.

And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. Mk.5:5

A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. Ac.10:2

Praise is not singing 'praise tunes' but:

Ainesis (g133) ah'ee-nes-is; from 134; a praising (the act), i.e. (spec.) a thank (offering): - praise.

Aineo (g134) ahee-neh'-o; from 136; to praise (God): - praise.

Ainos (g136) ah'ee-nos; appar. a prim. word; prop. a story, but used in the sense of 1868; praise (of God): - praise.

Epainos (g1868) ep'-ahee-nos; from 1909 and the base of 134; laudation; concr. a commendable thing: - praise.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Ph.4:8

But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Heb 13:16

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Heb 10:25

Egkataleipo (g1459) eng-kat-al-i'-po; from 1722 and 2641; to leave behind in some place, i.e. (in a good sense) let remain over, or (in a bad one) to desert: - forsake, leave.

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Mt.27:46

For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. 2Ti.4:10

Forsaking means to totally abandon:

Kataleipo (g2641) kat-al-i'-po; from 2596 and 3007; to leave down, i.e. behind; by impl. to abandon, have remaining: - forsake, leave, reserve.

Assembling (gathering)

Episunagoge (g1997) ep-ee-soon-ag-o-gay'; from 1996; a complete collection; spec. a Chr. meeting (for worship): - assembling (gathering) together.

Episunago (g1996) ep-ee-soon-ag'-o; from 1909 and 4863; to collect upon the same place: - gather (together). Mt.23:37

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not Mt 23:37

Sunago (g4863) soon-ag'-o; from 4862 and 71; to lead together, i.e. collect or convene; spec. to entertain (hospitably): - / accompany, assemble (selves, together), bestow, come together, gather (selves together, up, together), lead into, resort, take in.

Exhorting is:

Parakaleo (g3870) par-ak-al-eh'-o; from 3844 and 2564; to call near, i.e. invite, invoke (by imploration, hortation or consolation): - beseech, call for, (be of good) comfort, desire, (give) exhort (-ation), intreat, pray.

McClintock and Strong identifed the "first heresy widely pervading the church" as selecting men to perform the songs as "clergy presenters." However, Solomon had already condemned this when he wrote that he was the priest of the Lord and then told us how the Christian priest "offers sacrifice."

"I am a priest of the Lord, and to Him I do priestly service:

and to Him I offer the sacrifice of His thought.

For His thought is not like the thought of the world nor the thought of the flesh, nor like them that serve carnally.

The sacrifice of the Lord is righteousness, and the purity of heart and lips." Ode 20:1-3

The way one does priestly service and "plays the notes" of the Holy Spirit is to give back to God the very words which He has provided for this priestly service. Paul demanded the same thing--

He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage (g3870) others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. Titus 1:9

Why is it so important to offer back God's own psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs? It is because our thoughts are not God's thoughts and we do not remotely know what pleases Him unless He tells us through His Word.

Solomon continued the figurative images when he said that God has given us the only "light" by which we may see, the only "water" which will satisfy our thirst, and the only "clothing" which will hide our sins.

"Thou didst set me a lamp at my right hand and at my left: and in me there shall be nothing that is not bright:

and I was clothed with the covering of thy Spirit, and thou didst remove from me my raiment of skin" Ode 25:7-8

In 14:8 Solomon used the phrase harp of thy Holy Spirit and here he uses the phrase covering of thy Spirit. Just as we do not invent clerical robes and call them a spiritual covering, we do not invent musical instruments and call them instruments of the Holy Spirit. The harp is the Word of God "played" by the the believer and the clothing is the righteousness of God. To wear God's covering of the Spirit it is necessary to "circumcise the heart" by removing the old, filthy rags of self righteousness just as we begin singing a new set of psalms (Psalm15:3).

As we develop a right relationship with God we becomes "mighty in the truth" and righteousness:

"And I became mighty in the truth, and holy by thy righteousness; and all my adversaries were afraid of me" Ode 25:10

When one moves into this relationship, the praise (God's Word) will pour forth as the only legitimate praise and one will "speak His Holy song." This is not singing one's own self-composition but speaking exactly what God has given to us. Therefore, Solomon wrote--

I poured out praise to the Lord, for I am His:

and I will speak His Holy song, for my heart is with Him.

For His harp is in my hands, and the Odes of His rest shall not be silent.

I will cry unto him from my whole heart: I will praise and exalt Him with all my members." Ode 26:1-4

The "harp" is not my harp but God's harp by which one "sings" the "notes" of the Holy Spirit exactly as the Harp-player wants the notes sung. See above 14:7-8

In Ode 31 the image is of the abyss dissolved and error going astray. As a result, it is said of the Lord--

"He opened His mouth and spake grace and joy: and He spake a new song of praise to His name: and He lifted up His voice to the Most High, and offered to Him the sons that were with Him" Ode 31:3-4

In Ode 32 he speaks of Light from the Lord and says: "And words from the Truth, who was self-originate." The writer then makes a bold statement: "I run no risk of making any mistakes."

"And I ran no risk, because I walked with Him; and I did not make an error in anything because I obeyed the Truth. For Error flees away from it, and meets it not: but the Truth proceeds in the right path, and Ode 38:7-8

But how can the preacher, singer, or "laity" be so bold today? We can be so bold only when our practice is "speaking His Word" and "obeying the truth." God calls us to no higher responsibility.

The Biblical Solomon did not take any chances because when he "saw dimly as in a mirror" he asked for wisdom and understood that God would make it clear to him. This new Solomon agrees that the greatest task is to keep away from those things which seem to be "sweetness" because they appeal to our human senses--

whatever I did not know, it made clear to me, all the poisons of error, and the plagues of death which they think to be sweetness: Ode 38:8

Solomon along with Noah are uniquely called "preachers." He sought every avenue of knowledge through study and "research." However, when he had tested human wisdom he called people back to the Word of God.

Solomon used the image of Enoch and other apocalyptic writers to show that in order to deceive the faithful, Satan was forced to "turn himself into another man" through apparitions or other means of deceit. He looks, for all the world, just like the faithful, sweet angels. However, he uses error to cause the people to come down from God's Holy Mountain and violate His commands:

And I saw the destroyer of destruction, when the bride who is corrupted is adorned: and the bridegroom who corrupts and is corrupted. And I asked the Truth, 'Who are these?'; and He said to me, 'This is the deceiver and the error; Ode 38:9-10

They do not look like Satan but they look like the most faithful teacher in the best church even as they lead people astray and corrupt God's Word and way.

and they are alike in the beloved and in his bride: and they lead astray and corrupt the whole world: Ode 38:11

As Satan invited the Sethites to come down from the mountain to have a banquet, he gave them wine, music, and sex to "take away the key to knowledge." Only by removing the intelligence of the people by substituting for God's Word could he make the people believe that they had joined a faithful church.

and they invite many to the banquet, and give them to drink of the wine of their intoxication, and remove their wisdom and knowledge, and so they make them without intelligence" Ode 38:12-13

This also happened at the foot of Sinai: those who had worshiped according to what they had learned in Egypt rejected God and His law and gave the bull credit for saving them. They engaged in the same celebrative form of worship begun in Babylon, practiced in Egypt, honed to perfection in Canaan, and brought into the very Temple.

Using the image of Paul to the Ephesians and Colossians, the writer is so filled with the "water" or truth of God that it poured forth without effort.

"As the fountain gushes forth its waters,

so my heart gushes out the praise of the Lord and my lips utter praise to Him, and my tongues (the true harp) His psalms" Ode 40:5

God plays the seers as the musician plays the harp, and the heart gushes out praise as the fountain gushes forth waters. We certainly do not see this as evidence that we should have a fountain gushing forth water during worship services as an aid to our devotion. Therefore, we should not see Solomon's harp as a literal aid to worship.

As always, the source of the praise is God's psalms and the method or instrument is the tongue and lips. The motive for such singing and praise is to "collect the truth of His faith."

All the Lord's children will praise Him,

and will collect the truth of His faith.

And His children shall be known to Him. Therefore we will sing in His love." Ode 41:1-3

Early antiphonal or responsorial singing was not to "sing idle songs" but it was a way to progressively learn the "Truth of His faith" as passages were read and repeated to the point that the entire group or class could speak (sing) the passage in unison. Paul said that by speaking the words of Christ it was possible to "teach" and "admonish." It was not to charismatically excite people into believing that singing their own idle songs made God feel good just because it made them feel good.

To see these writers as advocates for modern songs and instruments is to miss the point of the entire Bible. That is, these writers want to show that those who honor God by honoring His Word do not celebrate their own senses. Rather, they allow themselves to be God's "harp" to be played in order to deliver His Word. However ineffective we may think God is in delivering His Word, with the need for "guardians" or "restrainers," if the "water" is allowed to gush forth, God will give the increase.

While this ancient commentary is "sauce for the goose" who defends celebrative or ritualistic worship, it is also "sauce for the ganders" who see singing purely as an act which must be performed even if it places its focus upon style while ignoring the content which demands truth-speaking to one another.

See Bill Swetmon claiming the Odes as PROOF of instrumental music. FHU couldn't refute him. Too bad, too sad.

The Odes of Solomon : An Authentic First Century Book of Christian Psalms

by Wayne Monbleau (Editor) Available at Amazon.com

A Formcritical Study of Selected Odes of Solomon (Harvard Semitic

Monographs, No 36)

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