Rubel Shelly and Hand Clapping To Replace the Amen

At a workshop "Rubel Shelly stated, in his judgment, hand clapping could take the place of the Amens." The musical practices of Jubilee 98 agree: This year we had a lot of hand raising, praising with instrumental music and even "laying on of hands." Because this, and "raising holy hands" is being sold as proof of spirituality we feel free to review the idea from a historical and Biblical perspective.

See Rubel Shelly and John York use Deborah for the authority for deaconesses and stand up, preside over, non-sedentary women musical performers.

Rubel Shelly repudiates the authority of the none use of instrumental music in worship.

At the Restoration Forum at Abilene Christian University (ACU), Dr. Rubel Shelly had already established a foundation hostile to the purely A Capella view by repudiating those who resist full fellowship with instrumental groups.

A web page notes that "we sing in the Spirit, we dance before the Lord, we clap our hands, we have the baptism of the Holy Ghost and we speak in tongues."

Many of the fellow-seekers and mentors really believe that they can speak in tongues. And speaking in tongues is often initiated by some form of "body" worship or the "works of human hands" to get the "spirit" up and awake. This article gives some background.

The basis for handclap is Psalm 47:1. It is one thing to do something as an act of worship and quite another to force God to give us the authority for a new "act" to replace a clear statement of Scripture. For instance, Isaiah 55:12 uses the symbol of the trees clapping their hands as an expression of joy. The cedars of Lebanon were especially joyful when all of the people who had been cutting them down were taken into captivity (Isaiah 14:8). The trees were, in effect, triumphing over the "fellers" who cut them down. That is, the "trees" (usually symbolic of people) were ridiculing the people. Applauding ourselves while pretending to applaude God tries to fulfill the prophecy in Psalm 41 that Judas would not triumph over Jesus.

"In a musical contest between Pan and Apollo, Pan's flute was judged by Tmolus to be inferior to Apollo's lyre. Everyone agreed with the result of this contest except King Midas, who called it unjust. It is for this reason that Midas acquired, through Apollo's will, the ears of an ass, which he tried in vain to conceal under a turban."

"Marsyas, a Phrygian satyr, was so proud of his skill with the flute that he presumed to challenge Apollo, god of music and master of the lyre. The myth appears to be a record of the supersession of the flute by the lyre in Greek favour.

"There is likewise a palace of the Great King in Celaenae, strongly fortified and situated at the foot of the Acropolis over the sources of the Marsyas river; the Marsyas also flows through the city, and empties into the Maeander, and its width is twenty-five feet.

It was here, according to the story, that Apollo flayed Marsyas, after having defeated him in a contest of musical skill; he hung up his skin in the cave from which the sources issue, and it is for this reason that the river is called Marsyas. Xenophon Anabasis [1.2.8]

Handclapping to replace the Amen is one of the proposals of the various wineskins movements and Pentecostal churches.

However, literal handclap was a show of contempt or triumph-over. In its new incarnation the act and the practice is a very immature effort to triumph over the decadent and deliterious conservatives.

It has the sole purpose of showing that their favorite theatrical performer is overwhelmingly superior to the others.

The claque was a group designed to promote the performing preacher and thereby show contempt for God or the untalented.

Hand clapping is truly a way to show contempt:

And Balaks anger was kindled against Balaam, and he smote his hands together: and Balak said unto Balaam, I called thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast altogether blessed them these three times. Numbers 24:10

Caphaq (h5606) saw-fak'; (1 Kings 20:10; Job 27:23; Isa. 2:6), saw-fak'; a prim. root; to clap the hands (in token of compact, derision, grief, indignation or punishment); by impl. of satisfaction, to be enough; by impl. of excess, to vomit: - clap, smite, strike, suffice, wallow

Isn't it true of both right and left wing agents of triumph--

For he addeth rebellion unto his sin, he clappeth his hands among us, and multiplieth his words against God. Job 34:37

Make ye him drunken; for he magnified himself against the Lord: Moab also shall wallow in his vomit, and he also shall be in derision. Jeremiah 48:26

Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers. Isaiah 2:6

It is not possible to show respect and applaud the performance of any human pretending that "we are applauding God" without bringing the whole law down upon your head:

But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. James 2:9

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. James 3:17 (Drama is hypocrisy and we love it because we know it ain't true).

These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having mens persons in admiration because of advantage. Jude 1:16

James said that to show such partiality is to bring the whole 613 tenets of the Law of Moses down on your head. However, you show such partiality to God's Word when you create a "canon within the canon" and say with a straight face without getting fired before the sun does down that (1) the core gospel consists of seven facts about Jesus and (2) the rest of the New Testament is just the interpretation of the apostles and flawed at that

But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; Jude 1:17

How that they told you there should be mockers (children playing games to deride) in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. Jude 1:18

These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. Jude 1:19

Sensual means anything which attempts to change the internal nature withot using the Word's of Christ which He said were Spirit and Life. It means that even sincere people believe that they can attract God or appease Him or make spiritual changes through external means such a singing, playing, dancing and drama. See the Zoe Group by Clicking Here.

Spiritual is:

Psuchikos (g5591) psoo-khee-kos'; from 5590; sensitive, i.e. animate (in distinction on the one hand from 4152, which is the higher or renovated nature; and on the other from 5446, which is the lower or bestial nature): - natural, sensual.

Hand clapping is a way to call God's judgment down upon others:

(To the chief Musician, A Psalm for the sons of Korah.) O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. Psalm 47:1

For the Lord most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth. Psalm 47:2

He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet. Psalm 47:3

Handclapping says that one of our team "closer than the blood of Christ" has subdued the seekers or the old conservatives without using the Word of God to "go into all the world."

Jesus Christ was the "finger" or "righ hand" of God. He was the power of God to speak and work in the material world:

"What is "O clap"? Rejoice. But wherefore with the hands?
Because with good works.
Do not rejoice with the mouth
while idle with the hands.

"If ye rejoice, "clap your hands." The hands of the nations let Him see, who joys hath deigned to give them.

What is, the hands of the nations?
The acts of them doing good works. Augustine

"This psalm seems to have been composed upon the occasion of carrying the ark from the house of Obed - edom into the city of Zion, 2Sam 6:12,17 Wesley

This is the same clap-triumph or musical rejoicing with hand-clapping which God outlawed for the assembly (Nu 10:7)

Taqa (h8638) taw-kah'; a prim. root; to clatter, i. e. slap the hands together, clang (an instrument); by analalogy: to drive (a nail or tent-pin, a dart, etc.); by impl. to become bondsman (by hand-clasping): - blow ([a trumpet]), cast, clap, fasten, pitch [tent], smite, sound, strike, suretiship, thrust.

But Jael, Heber's wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died. Jud.4:21

But when the congregation is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye shall not sound an alarm. Numbers 10:7

Using the same word, the Psalmist prophesied that Judas would not triumph over Jesus. We know in fact that they mocked and piped wind instruments trying to force Jesus to get "into the spirit" of Dionysus or Bacchus worship:

By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me. Psa 41:11

Judas would not clang an instrument, blow a trumpet, clap his sounds or make a covenant with a handshake or kiss and force Jesus into betraying His purpose to die rather than go out and triumph over the enemy in a carnal sense.

See how they tried to "triumph over" Jesus but failed as Psalm 41 prophesied.

Of verse 13, Wesley draws a sharp contrast between

"clapping to affirm the talent of a human speaker or singer

"and affirming the message and vowing to put it into the heart:

Amen - Signifies an hearty assent and approbation, and withal an earnest desire of the thing, to which it is annexed. And as the psalms are divided into five books, so each of them is closed with this word; the first here: the second, Psal 72:19, the third, Psal 89:52, the fourth, Psal 106:48, the last in the end of Psal 150:6, the doubling of the word shews the fervency of his spirit,

in this work of praising God. Wesley

Amos condemned Israel for going up to the high places (idol altars) of Samaria. Verse 6:5 in the Septuagint (LXX) version often quoted by Jesus reads--

Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody (vine pruning or plucking) of thy viols. Amos 5:23

Or: who excel (marginal "applaud") in the sound of musical instruments;

they have regarded them as abiding,
not as fleeting pleasure." Amos 6:5 LXX (Jesus did read this version).

"Of Israel having set up their "golden calves": Thy songs - Used in their sacrifices, and solemn feasts; herein they imitated the temple - worship, but all was unpleasing to the Lord. Will not hear - Not with delight and acceptance. Thy viols - This one kind of musical instrument is put for all the rest. Wesley (Note the temple was for offering animal sacrifices and not for congregational worship)

"The multitude of your sacrifices-- what are they to me?" says the LORD. "I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats." Isaiah 1:11

To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The word of the LORD is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it.. Jeremiah 6:10

A page devoted to Gnosticism shows that new ideas often bring on persecution. When the heat gets too hot the new leaders disguise themselves by calling themselves something else. Then, you are not supposed to see that they have moved the old system into a new model. The hand clap is a way to repudiate those who disagree while seeming to give honor. The Zen masters teach: "If you meet the Buddha on the road, KILL HIM!"

"The classic Zen riddle, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?", has a ritual connected to it that has all the earmarks of a teaching that survived the process of persecution and revision by disguising itself. The Zen master first asks the question: "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" to which the chela responds by waving his hand in the air. The master then says: "I want to HEAR the sound of one hand clapping." at which point the chela is supposed to slap his master in the face.

The Bible connects the hand clap and the blown trumpet as equivalent. Remember that Athaliah is one of Paul's possible examples of usurping women "from the Law" which shows a dominant mother and grandmother willing to sacrifice the lives of everyone who stood in her way to standing up and ruling over a kingdom more devoted to Baal than God:

And the guard stood, every man with his weapons in his hand, round about the king, from the right corner of the temple to the left corner of the temple, along by the altar and the temple. 2K 11:11

And he brought forth the kings son, and put the crown upon him, and gave him the testimony; and they made him king, and anointed him; and they clapped their hands, and said, God save the king. 2 Kings 11:12

And when she (Athaliah) looked, behold, the king stood by a pillar, as the manner was, and the princes and the trumpeters by the king, and all the people of the land rejoiced, and blew with trumpets: and Athaliah rent her clothes, and cried, Treason, Treason. 2 Kings 11:14

The literal handclap to the trumpets was to show that Athaliah had been triumphed over and would die.

Remember that in Numbers 10:7 God outlawed making musical joy when the congregation assembled for instructions from Him. While the assembly might be called by the far-reaching blast of the trumpet, it could not be used for music. This profaning or polluting music reserved for the enemy was:

Ruwa (h7321) roo-ah'; to mar by breaking; fig. to split the ears with sound, i. e. shout for alarm or joy: - blow an alarm, cry (alarm, aloud, out), destroy, make a joyful noise, smart, shout (for joy), sound an alarm, triumph.

"Here are directions concerning the public notices to be given the people by sound of trumpet. Their laws in every case were to be Divine, therefore, even in this matter Moses is directed. These trumpets typify the preached gospel. It sounds an alarm to sinners, calls them to repent, proclaims liberty to the captives and slaves of Satan, and collects the worshippers of God. It directs and encourages their heavenly journey; stirs them up to combat against the world and sin, encouraging them with the assurance of victory. It leads their attention to the sacrifice of Christ, and shows the Lord's presence for their protection.

It is also necessary that the gospel trumpet give a distinct sound, according to the persons addressed, or the end proposed; whether to convince, humble, console, exhort, reprove, or teach. The sounding of the trumpet of the gospel is God's ordinance, and demands the attention of all to whom it is sent. Matthew Henry

Again, Judas and the wind instrument crew would try to triumph over Jesus but would not succeed (Ps 41).

Pagans often forced their idols and musical worship into the temple in Jerusalem where the trumpet had been reserved for signalling. God told Ezekiel:

And say unto the Ammonites, Hear the word of the Lord God; Thus saith the Lord God; Because thou saidst, Aha, against my sanctuary, when it was profaned; and against the land of Israel, when it was desolate; and against the house of Judah, when they went into captivity; Ezekiel 25:3

Behold, therefore I will deliver thee to the men of the east for a possession, and they shall set their palaces in thee, and make their dwellings in thee: they shall eat thy fruit (take inheritance), and they shall drink thy milk. Ezekiel 25:4

For thus saith the Lord God; Because thou hast clapped thine hands (exulted), and stamped with the feet, and rejoiced (be gleesome, make glad, make joy, be merry) in heart with all thy despite against the land of Israel; Ezekiel.25:6

Behold, therefore I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and will deliver thee for a spoil to the heathen; and I will cut thee off from the people, and I will cause thee to perish out of the countries: I will destroy thee; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord. Ezekiel 25:7

For he addeth rebellion unto his sin, he clappeth his hands among us, and multiplieth his words against God. Job 34:37

"Addeth - He sinned before, by impatience under his afflictions, now he is grown obstinate,

and instead of humbling himself for his sins, justifies himself, and accuses the blessed God.

Clapped - Insulting and triumphing. Against God - In effect, though not directly. Wesley

The Jews were permitted to profane or pollute or abrade (melody) the enemy with loud trumpets, cymbals and zithers to panic them, turn them into cowards and then take their inheritance.

However, they could not play these instruments when they assembled in the presence of God (Nu 10:7).

Therefore, the word for profane is similar to halal which is usually "praising" God by telling Him how great you are. Profane is from the Hebrew:

Chalal (h2490) khaw-lal'; to wound, to dissolve; figurative. 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), defile, break, defile, eat as common things, gather the grape thereof (similar to melody), take inheritance, pipe, player on instruments, pollute, cast as profane (self), prostitute, slay (slain), sorrow, stain, wound.

This is very similar to the word praise especially when connected to musical instruments. Perhaps it is a judgmental sign that musical worship teams love the word Halal or Hallal or Hallel:

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: glory, give [light], be (make, feign self) mad (against), give in marriage, sing, be worthy of praise, rage, renowned, shine.

The ultimate "shiner" or show off wanting all of the true applause was:

Heylel (h1966) hay-lale'; from 1984 (in the sense of brightness); the morning-star: - lucifer.

It is, therefore, not a surprise that the clappers were deriding the people as they mocked Jesus in pretend praise. They were the hand clappers or claque against Christ but they would not triumph over Him with their little pipes:

Caphaq (h5606) saw-fak'; (1 Kings 20:10; Job 27:23; Isaiah 2:6), a prim. root; to clap the hands (in token of compact, derision, grief, indignation or punishment); by impl. of satisfaction, to be enough; by impl. of excess, to vomit: - clap, smite, strike, suffice, wallow

And Balaks anger was kindled against Balaam, and he smote his hands together: and Balak said unto Balaam, I called thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast altogether blessed them these three times. Numbers 24:10

However we may have changed the meaning of words, when the Bible speaks of clapping of hands it is a universal symbol of contempt:

Men shall clap their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place. Job.27:23

Job speaks without knowledge; his words lack insight.' Job 34:35

Oh, that Job might be tested to the utmost for answering like a wicked man! Job34:36

For he addeth rebellion unto his sin, he clappeth his hands among us, and multiplieth (excel or be in authority) his words against God. Job.34:37

Make her drunk, for she has defied the LORD. Let Moab wallow in her vomit; let her be an object of ridicule. Jeremiah 48:26

All that pass by clap their hands at thee; they hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying, Is this the city that men call The perfection of beauty, The joy of the whole earth? Lamentations 2:15

There is no rank in the church. There is no place for "talent" in a performance sense. Therefore, when you clap for the speaker you give him the credit and discredit God. You honor the performer and thereby insult those who might do a better job. Remember that to blow an alarm was a show of contempt for the enemy. When you clap at a ball game you try to make your team excel but your almost-total motive is to dishearten the enemy or other team often with verbal mocking. This is identical to blowing your little horn:

Taqa (h8628) taw-kah'; a prim. root; to clatter, i. e. slap the hands together, clang an instrument; by analogy: to drive a nail or tent-pin, a dart, etc.; by implication: to become bondsman (by hand-clasping): - blow a trumpet, cast, clap, fasten, pitch [tent], smite, sound, strike

Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king's belly. Judges 3:21

But Jael, Heber's wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died. Judges 4:21

When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble? When disaster comes to a city, has not the LORD caused it? Amos 3:6

These trumpet sounds or handclap were to signal tribal movements or battle movements. However, God outlawed the sound as instrumental worship or loud rejoicing when Israel came together for instruction:

But when the congregation is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye shall not sound an alarm (Ruwah or Taqa). Numbers 10:7

Nothing can heal your wound; your injury is fatal. Everyone who hears the news about you claps his hands at your fall, for who has not felt your endless cruelty? Nahum 3:19

Shall clap the hands - Insulting and rejoicing. Thy wickedness - Thy tyranny, pride, oppression and cruelty; treading down and trampling upon them. Wesley

Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand Joel 2:1

When Israel believed that they could cause God to ascend to His holy mountain and temple, the Psalmists compares handclap to the sounding of trumpets. This was not an act of congregational worship:

(For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm. Psalm 47:1)

Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.

God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the LORD amid the sounding of trumpets. Psalm 47:5

During the Intertestamental period most of the "arousal" or "awakening" Psalms were outlawed because they smacked too much of the pagan practices of arousing their gods with music.

Judas, whos bag was for "carrying the mouthpieces of wind instruments" would not triumph over Jesus:

I know that you are pleased with me, for my enemy does not triumph over me. Psalm 41:11 (This would be blowing wind instruments or clapping hands to show that you were not listening for the quiet whispers of Christ's Words.)

But they tried as the "children" blew their wind instruments and tried to triumph over Him by forcing Him to dance the whirling triumph dance of the Bacchus or Dionysus drama chorus which, for a man, would be a sign of sexual perversion:

And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands. Mark 14:65

Mocking or spitting on a person was the same as to make him into a tabret or tambourine:

He hath made me also a byword of the people; and aforetime I was as a tabret. Job 17:6KJV (tambourine from which Topheth or hell got its name)

"He has made me a mockery (triumph over) among the people; they spit in my face. Job17:6LIV

This is the same mocking, joyful shouting with instrumental music which was absolutely forbidden by God when Israel assembled for instruction in Nu . In fairness to the Jews, they were faithful to this command and instruments were used only to signal the great mass of people to begin and end their own worship. The instrumental music was not a part of congregational worship.

Dionysos was worshipped in the temple in Jerusalem before the time of Christ. Therefore, when they tried to triumph over Jesus with their pipes or wind instruments it was to force him into the ritual chorus to dance with the musical worship team. You see, they wanted Dionysos to prove Himself resurrected and the Christ symbol of Messiah must be crushed at all costs because He would not allow them to sit on His right and left hand. However, for a male to dance in the chorus would be to prove himself homosexual.

But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings houses. Matthew 11:8

The soft, flowing robes of the king's servants were the mark of a male prostitute. They expected too much from Jesus and John:

Malakos (g3120) mal-ak-os'; of uncert. affin.; soft, i.e. fine (clothing); fig. a catamite: - effeminate, soft. (g3119 means soft or diseased)

The dramatic dance with the chorus and lamenting for Dionysus would have meant that the paganistic Jews would have triumphed over Jesus with their pipes or trumpets. This perverse act is define by Joseph Campbell:

"This cry of Zeus, the Thunder-hurler, to the child, his son, Dionysos, sounds the leitmotif of the Greek mysteries of the initiatory second birth (Second Incarnation)..The word 'Dithyrambos' itself, as an epithet of the killed and resurrected Dionysos, was understood by the Greeks to signify 'him of the double door', him who had survived the awesome miracle of the second birth." - Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces

"A fourth-century BC hymn in honor of Dionysos contains the invocation: 'Come to us, King Dithyramb, Bacchus, god of the holy chant.'"

Dithurambos, Dithyramb "comes to be used of a Dionysiac song which possessed some infectious quality that led his votaries to take it up as a ritual chant. Later it became the subject for competition at Dionysiac festivals, and with its formalization it lost any spontaneity it may have possessed originally."

These musical dramatic "worship" rituals were really often mortal combat. At the best, the worship team which performed best got the applause which was a way to show contempt for the second best.

These ancient rites had their own keynoters who were gods for the hour. However, only one can be the supreme god for the year. The "sermons" were "tragedies" of the brotherhood and "satyrs" of the old wineskin cast offs. Of course, the women (Jesus wasn't "a phallic kind of guy" contrary to Promise Keepers which began by promoting the Masculine Journey)

"At the beginning of the fifth century BC tragedy formed part of the Great Dionysia, the Spring festival of Dionysos Eluethereus. Three poets completed, each contributing three tragedies and one satyric play. The latter was performed by choruses of fifty singers in a circle, dressed as satyrs, part human, part bestial, and bearing before them huge replicas of the erect penis (i.e. church steeples or columns or asherahs), as they sang dithyrambs." - John M. Allegro, The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross

"The gods, forsooth, delight in mimics; and that surpassing excellence which has not been comprehended by any human faculty, opens its ears most willingly to hear these plays, with most of which they know they are mixed up to be turned to derision; they are delighted, as it is, with the shaved heads of fools, by the sound of flaps, and by the noise of applause." (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene Fathers, VI, p. 531).

Paul said that our triumph would be in Christ as we make Him manifest by His knowledge in every place. This replaced the Greek Triumph which would not work against Christ:

Thriambeuo (g2358) three-am-byoo'-o; from a prol. comp. of the base of 2360 (wail or be frightened) and a der. of 680 (touch) (mean. a noisy iambus, sung in honor of Bacchus); to make an acclamatory procession, i.e. (fig.) to conquer or (by Hebr.) to give victory: - (cause) to triumph (over).

When the "power of extremes" forces quiet churches to adopt music it even gags many denominational people accustomed to instrumental music and choirs:

"When a high value is placed on personal experiences or revelations, Scriptures are then unscrupulously twisted and misquoted. We find those who believe the feelings of a congregation must be hyped up in order to "feel" the Presence of the Lord or else the church is thought to be "dead". Instead of music being used to worship and glorify God, it is used as a means of "connecting" or "feeling" the Presence of God. If the "location" (or a feeling within) of God is not aroused and sensed, the Spirit is said to be either absent or bound.

"To counter this passive situation, worship is intensified, the devil is "bound" and certain forms of excitement are encouraged until "God's Presence" is "felt". Many times music is used as the conduit for the "feeling". A popular slogan to advertise a certain music company is: "Feel the Presence of the Lord". The church has been taken down this primrose path for so long that they equate the Presence of God with a certain feeling that they obtain by doing certain things. The "goose bumps" or the "warm fuzzies" or tears of comfort, is their way of "knowing" that God is present. So what this thinking boils down to is simply: "To know God's Presence you must feel Him." In actuality this is pure Gnosticism. From Strange Fire.

If the DEA knew what was happening they would put some of these people in jail for deliberately creating the "goose bump quotient" by loud preaching and vocal and instrumental music to inject endorphins (morphine-like) into the veins of the "worshipers."

"The tired, uninspiring event called worship in our churches must give way to an exhilarating experience of God that simultaneously exhibits and nurtures life in the worshippers." (Rubel Shelly - Randy Harris, Second Incarnation, p. 12-13)

handclap Claque or musical worship team

"CLAQUE, an organized body of persons who, either for hire or other motives, band together to applaud or deride a performance and thereby attempt to influence the audience.

"Historically the claque (Fr. claquer, "to clap") is a very old institution, dating back to the performance in the theatre of Dionysus at Athens. Menander was frequently defeated by Philemon in the comedy competitions (Call them sermons), not by virtue of any superiority in the latter's plays but because

Philemon swayed the decision of the judges by infiltrating the audience with claques.

Under the Roman empire claques were common in the theatres and law courts, and flatterers and legacy hunters would often serve as claqueurs at private performances sponsored by wealthy patrons of the arts. The emperor Nero established a school of applause (Note: He had not real talent and he would burn down the old to establish the new while playing his harp) and was followed on his concert tours by a claque of 5,000 knights and soldiers. In France during the 18th century the chevalier de la Morliere and the poetaster Dorat organized claques to support plays by themselves and others.

You couldn't possible get 5 to 10 thousand people to come out to hear the speakers without the professional claque of singing groups, men of note in the publishing world and religious lecture circuit, and lots of effort to produce excitement:

"In the 19th century the claque became a permanent institution; almost every Paris theatre was forced to submit to its services, and the claque leaders, who received monthly payments from the actors and free tickets from the managements, were extremely influential.

In addition to the leader, or chef de claque, there were the commissaires, who memorized the better parts of the play and called their neighbour's attention to them;

the rieurs, who laughed loudly during comedies;

the chatouilleres, who kept the audience in good humor;

the pleureuses, women who wept during melodramas; and

the bisseurs, who shouted for encores.

Claques have occasionally been employed in England, but never with the elaborate organization of the French claques.

"The claque in the early 1960s was restricted largely to opera houses, to political rallies and to radio and television probrams. (Britannica, 1965, Claques)

Indeed, if we can hire "ministrels of music" and tolerate "musical worship teams" and equip them why should we not invent a new "office" for the church and call them Clappers or Ministers of Clap.

On the extreme other hand, the Amen is from the Hebrew which does not participate in "the idolatry of talent" but first understands and then quietly endorses the message and is a pledge to "turn to the right." None of this is present in the applause for human talent:

Amen (h543) aw-mane'; from 539; sure; abstr. faithfulness; adv. truly: - Amen, so be it, truth.

Aman (h539) aw-man'; a prim. root; prop. to build up or support; to foster as a parent or nurse; fig. to render (or be) firm or faithful, to trust or believe,

to be permanent or quiet; morally to be true or certain; once (Isa. 30:21; by interchange for 541) to go to the right hand: - hence assurance, believe, bring up, establish, be faithful (of long continuance, stedfast, sure, surely, trusty, verified), nurseing father, put trust, turn to the right.

The clapping of a trumpet was outlawed and the Amen was ordained by God to affirm the God-ordained truth spoken to others. This was a way for "two or three to agree" and make the truth much more powerful in the lives of those who had accepted it:

And the Levites shall speak, and say unto all the men of Israel with a loud voice, Deuteronomy 27:14

Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image (or human?), an abomination unto the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place: And all the people shall answer and say, Amen. Deuteronomy 27:15

It would be nonesense or worse to clap. The clap would just give lip service the the speaker but the amen would say: "I hear, I understand and I will obey."

And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: Nehemiah 8:5

And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground. Nehemiah 8:6

When men speak the gibberish of tidbits of Scripture made into a new "stew" it is not possible to say Amen if you don't understand. Even when supernaturally inspired men speak from God it must be clear so that those who have not received the inspired Word can say Amen:

Else, when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? 1 Corinthians 14:16

To say Amen is not to applaud or affirm the preacher. Rather, it is to hear the revealed Word of God and be able to confirm that the word is trustworthy. Amen is not a legal tail at the end of a prayer but an affirmation. It does not even have to be audible to produce an ego trip for the preacher.

Because the Greek Amen is identical to the Hebrew, to substitute a hand clap would be the same thing as to "clatter" a bunch of trumpets. This was almost always a way to show contempt for the enemy to panic them into turning cowards. While 1% may want to endorse and advance the career path of a speaker and the 99% doesn't then the 1% claque clatters and shows contempt for the "enemy." The majority then turns coward and joins in the applause which injects endorphins in their blood stream and they even believe their own lie.

Because the assembly of the whole "congregation" was for instruction it was absolutely forbidden in Numbers 10:7.

Pagan worship was always a musical, rejoicing, praising ritual where the words indicate more self-worship than God worship. However,

The Psalmist said, ``God is greatly to be feared in the assembly off the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him'' (Psalm 89:7).

Except for troubling advice from David, worship is a solemn act which is not forced by mind-altering preacing, singing or instrumental music.

Handclap - Some Scholarly Comments

The ancient singing, dancing, playing musical instruments clapping of hands and other rituals were devoted to the "gods." However, the acts were often a way to insult the sheik or other high rulers. Like court jesters, the brave could insult the gods and their earthly agents and get away with it. Mocking in the Bible was a way to insult God through ritual music or plays:

"But this crime is not enough: the persons of the most sacred gods are mixed up with farces also, and scurrilous plays.

And that the idle onlookers may be excited to laughter and jollity,

the deities are hit at in jocular quips, the spectators shout and rise up, the whole pit resounds to the clapping of hands and applause."

"And to the debauched scoffers at the gods
gifts and presents are ordained,
ease, freedom from public burdens, exemption and relief, together with triumphal garlands,--

a crime for which no amends can be made by any apologies... you wish your inactive minds to be occupied with useless dreamings, demand that days be given to you, and exhibitions made with out any interval?" (Arnobius Against the Heathen, Ante-Nicene, VI, p. 488).

Psalm 41 makes it clear that Judas, whose bag carried "the mouthpieces for wind instruments" would not triumph over Jesus. To triumph over God by triumphing over His children was to have a joyful assembly with musical instruments. Early writers understood this to be remnants of idolatry taught to his agents by Satan to seduce or triumph over them:

THEODORET " 107 . Question: If songs were invented by unbelievers to seduce men, but were allowed to those under the law on account of their childish state,

"why do those who have received the perfect teaching of grace in their churches still use songs, just like the children under the law?

Answer: It is not simple singing that belongs to the childish state, but singing with lifeless instruments, with dancing, and with clappers. Hence the use of such instruments and the others that belong to the childish state is excluded from the singing in the churches, and simple singing is left." (Theodoret, a bishop of Cyrhus in Syria, Questions and Answers for the Orthodox)

"Let revelry keep away from our rational entertainments, and foolish vigils, too, that revel in intemperance. For revelry is an inebriating pipe, the chain of an amatory bridge, that is, of sorrow. And let love, and intoxication, and senseless passions, be removed from our choir. Burlesque singing is the boon companion of drunkeness. A night spent over drink invites drunkeness, rouses lust, and is audacious in deeds of shame.

For if people occupy their time with pipes, and psalteries, and choirs, and dances, and Egyptian clapping of hands, and such disorderly frivolities,

they become quite immodest and intractable, beat on cymbals, and drums, and make a noise on instruments of delusion." (Clement, Instructor, Eerdmans, p. 248)

"In later days the worship festivals in his (Dionysus) honor involved drinking, revelling, clapping, dancing, and crying aloud in ecstatic performances. Similar wild expression characterized the worship of Attis, and the journeys to Hades of the cult of Isis. The Delphi oracle, sacred to Apollo (Apollyon, Abbadon of Revelation), who was the preeminent god of prophecy for the Greeks, was near and ancient,

and had its own particular orgiastic worship. (See Oepke, 'Ekstasis.' Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the NT, II, pp. 450-453, quoted by Pack, Frank, Tongues and the Holy Spirit, Bib. Research, p. 86-87)

Or: "During the erotic dance ritual, the priestess would actually become the Goddess in all Her glory. According to the ancient texts, during the erotic dance ritual the priestesses would achieve visionary orgasm in which great truths were revealed."

Jezebel's prophets of Baal tried to triumph over the people of God with these same rituals:

"All these texts point, explicitly or implicitly, to the fact that the dance had a musical accompaniment. Even though the Bible makes no mention of it we must assume that the movements of the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel were made with an accompaniment on certain musical instruments...

There is an obvious satirical intent in the biblical story and we could find no better illustration of a similar attitude than a rather curious bas-relief in the Museo delle Terme in Rome which derides a ceremony of Isis.

In front of a row of images of the gods (Asherah poles too), men and women are dancing with grotesque contortions; their knees are all bent their heads thrown back and their arms upraised; they are holding castanets or the double flute. An aged choirmaster and a group of spectators mark time by clapping their hands." (de Vaux, Roland, The Bible and the Ancient Near East, Doubleday, p. 242).

[This is the meaning of "bowing the knew to Baal."

"These prophets were groups of men who devoted themselves to ecstatic devotions. They would play instruments, sing, dance and put themselves into wild trances, and fall down in a frenzy. They rather resembled certain orders of dervishes of later Islamic times, and if the word were here given as 'dervishes' rather than 'prophets,' the picture would be clearer. (Asimov's Guide to the Bible, p. 283).

"In their trances and ecstasies, these prophets or dervishes were believed to be divinely possessed, to have access to more than human knowledge, to be able to pronounce oracles, and so on." (Asimov's Guide to the Bible, p. 283).

"Where kithara playing and dancing and hand clapping find place, there is the beguiling of men, the corruption of women, the sorrow of angels and a feast for the devil... Today, to all appearances, they sing psalms as God ordained, and tomorrow they will eagerly dance as taught by Satan. Today they contradict Satan and tomorrow they follow him... Let it be far from you that

today, as one loving Christ, you listen attentively to the reading of the divine Scripture,
and tomorrow as a criminal and a hater of Christ you
listen to lyre playing." (St. Ephraim, quoted by Green, p. 37-38).

There was early warning against using the musical practices of the theater and of paganism in the Christian assemblies. As I watched Jubilee 98 I saw some of the following:

"Where the lyre and the flute are sounding, where every type of musician makes noise along with the cymbals of the dancers,

those houses are unblessed, and no way differ from theaters. I beseech you, let all of this be taken from our midst.

Let the house of the Christian be accustomed to psalms and hymns and canticles." (Gaudentius, bishop of northern Italy, A.D. 354-440, quoted by Green, p. 39).

The Biblical way was to speak the Words of Christ one to another with no external melody which is "abrading" and grinds you to bits even while you feel the cold chill up the back from the endorphin injection:

"We render our hymns with a living psalterion and a living kithara with spiritual songs. The unison voices of Christians would be more acceptable to God than any musical instrument. Accordingly in all the churches of God, united in soul and attitude, with one mind and in agreement of faith and piety,

we send up a unison melody in the words of the Psalms" (Eusebius, 4th Century, Commentary on Psalms 91:2-3).

Hand clapping is just a way to cheat: too chicken to add the drums so we resort to the more primitave instrument:

"Initially a dancer beat his body, stamped and clapped; then a piece of wood, sometimes placed over a hollow in the ground (This was the old wineskin or familiar spirit of the witch of Endor), was used to amplify the sound of stamping, while sticks, spears or boomerangs were clashed, and strings of rattles were worn on the body to give sound to otherwise rhythmic movements. Familiar survivors of this state of development in the western world include the jingle bells worn on the legs of morris dancers and the rumba claves."

"In the next state, still a very early one, appeared many primitive instruments which show magic connotation, by which the sounds produced from natural substances by the hand or breath of man are used for communication with the spirit world in rites of every kind. These include seed-gourd rattles; scrapers, in which the sound is produced from serrated or corrugated surface; the bull-roarer, a piece of wood whirled on a cord to spin and thereby produce a roaring vibration of the free air; and whistles made from bone." (Britannica, Musical Instruments, p. 1083)

The almost universal understanding was that the pagans believed that the gods lived inside of their musical instruments.

We wonder why so many are anxious to discount the clear statements of Scripture which have proven useful, and invent their own practices out of their own heads. Could it be that they have lost their faith totally, are in danger of losing their occupation and therefore reinvent themselves and their church to separate-out a group of sympathetic people who will still pay for bad scholarship? We have found nothing which can be used as a legalistic proof-text to defend handclapping as an act of worship. What others do does not concern us but the misuse of Scripture should not be allowed to stand.

You can grasp that handclapping is often a show of contempt for the less-talented or you can follow Rubel Shelly.

Kenneth Sublett

Fred Peatross: Clapping and Raising hands.

Heredotus and Hand Clapping: Background to Mount Sinai

Hand Clapping to Replace the Amen: Rubel Shelly

Escaping God's Grace into Legalism: the Musical Burden

Christ Died To Give us Rest

Musical Worship Index

Rubel Shelly Sermon Reviews

Musical Worship Index

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