The Christian and Music, Singing, Dancing and Drums
Audio: Word to the Wise By Brian S Neumann
The Use of the Tabret or Drum
Genesis 31:26 And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my daughters, as captives [taken] with the sword? 31:27 Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp? Jacob left in the night and after Laban woke up realising he was gone and he chased after Jacob and he said, why did you leave? We could have had some celebration with drums and we could have said goodbye in that way. Does that establish a doctrine? No, it’s one text. Also, the noise of the tabrets, drums and tambourine’s ceasing at the desolation of the earth has nothing to do with doctrine. Ezekiel 28:13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone [was] thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. This speaks about Lucifers tabrets or timbrels. When it comes to biblical scholars there is a debate as some manuscripts don’t even speak about Lucifers tabrets. It’s clear it is a random text and it doesn’t establish anything to do with worship. We read about the use of tabrets at the restoration of Israel in Jeremiah. Jeremiah 31:4 Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry. There is no connection to worship in the sanctuary at all to that which was holy and the text reveals that as well. It is not a doctrine, it is not helping us to establish the doctrine of worship. Then we read an interesting text that many refer to these days where Saul meets the prophets after he was anointed as king. He meets Samuel and then goes out and meets with prophets that came with dancing and playing the Tamborine. They were not Levites, they were prophets and they were dancing and playing and using the tambourine in a totally secular type of setting. They were prophesying or preaching. In scripture it is important to realise to establish a mode of worship to God. We call this a random category but what we do start finding in the next category is something interesting. In the false worship of the children of Israel as spoken of in Isaiah the use of the drum is mentioned in false worship. David’s also made two attempts of moving the Ark of the Covenant. There was the first attempt of bringing the Ark to Jerusalem and the second. In David’s first attempt we read about him using the drum in that particular situation. Both attempts happened in the settings of disobedience. It absolutely clear that we can’t use these as examples of worship as they happened in the example of disobedience. Many who are using the first attempt of David of bringing the ark of the covenant when he was using the drum, don’t’ recognise it was an act of disobedience and the bible will clearly show us. We will also study a trend that is established. We are going to either find something that God is saying this is the way we go or perhaps it is not the way we go. Look at the context of the text. Where else do we read about forms of worship that people use to justify themselves about worship today? What is one of the first situations you can think of other than the one we looked at where we see the children of Israel using the drum?
Examples Of Drum Playing In The Bible
Exodus 15:20 And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. 15:21 And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. After the children of Israel crossed the red The Egyptians came to make battle to destroy the children of Israel but God closed the sea and the women and Miriam came out dancing and playing the drum.
- David and Saul
Another example is the women praising David and Saul for victory in battle. They came out dancing and playing the drum singing Saul has killed his thousands and David his tens of thousands. 1 Samuel 21:11 And the servants of Achish said unto him, [Is] not this David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?
Jephthah made a promise to God that when he went out to make battle against the Ammonites that when he came back and had been given victory in battle, the first thing he saw he would sacrifice to the Lord. He came back and the first thing that comes up is his daughter accompanied by a lot of women dancing and playing the drum. He had the victory in battle and the women came playing the drum and dancing. For those who are confused about the scripture, when it speaks about the sacrifice, he didn’t sacrifice her on an altar, she dedicated her life for the service of the lord and remained a virgin.
- The Tabrets in the Lord’s Battle with the Assyrians
Isaiah 30:32 And [in] every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the LORD shall lay upon him, [it] shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight with it. Timbrels and Drums are mentioned in Psalms 68. We also read about the exodus of the crossing of the red sea Psalms 81 and the use of the drums there. In Psalms 149 and 150 it mentions the use of dancing and drums. I ask you an important question, what do Psalms 149 and 150 have in common? Battle. Nearly in every single text we have read, it takes place in the setting of victory in battle or something connected to battle. Do you think that is significant or not? We will discover as we continue.
No Drums in the New Testament
Something else we will see in those texts and other texts we have read, something peculiar that deals with drums, guess what that is? Every single text is all in the old testament. You never read about the use of drums in the setting of the New Testament and you will discover why as we continue. The drums are not only in the Old Testament but how is normally playing the drums? In the crossing of the red sea it was the women, David and king Saul, the women, Jephthah and his daughter, the women. The references to the crossing of the red sea the women are connected as they are historical references. Do you know that proves very clearly? It proves that in every single one of these verses it did not take place in the sanctuary because who were the ones that led out with the music in the sanctuary? The Levites. Women were not Levites. To take any of these texts and make them apply to the worship of the sanctuary is false and wrong. It is clear from the study of the records we have or worship in the bible was that the drum was not even an instrument in the sanctuary. Do you know why the drum was not an instrument that was used in the sanctuary although it was allowed in a more secular setting? The most important instrument in pagan worship was the drum. The drum in pagan worship in the nations that surrounded the children of Israel, now you can understand why God said don’t follow them when you go into the Promised Land, it represented to the pagan nations the sun god. The drum was worshipped as an idol. If God had brought the drum into the sanctuary it would have brining an idol of the pagans into his sanctuary. God understood as we all do its nothing but a piece of wood but the symbolic significance is important. God wanted to place a distinction between that which was of the earth and heaven. When you read about the instruments in the heavenly sanctuary of which the earthly sanctuary was a copy that not once was the drum ever being mentioned as used in the heavenly sanctuary. They were patterning after the heavenly sanctuary.
Psalms 149 and 150
What do those Psalms indicate? These are the two most favourite psalms. The Bible Old and New Testament, the original manuscripts were not separated into verse and chapter. To students studying the Bible, Psalms 149 and 150 are not separated. They have only been separated for our usage. It is the same psalm through the poetry and language. If you were going to choose a song, if we were talking about our hymn books today, you would choose a song for a special occasion out of the hymn, would you not choose a hymn appropriate for the event? You wouldn’t choose a hymn like ‘Some Day the Silver Cord would Brake’ for someone’s wedding ceremony. It illustrates an important point as the book of psalms was the hymn book of the Hebrews. If we read the hymn book of the Hebrews, we would get some indication today as to what that Psalms function might have been. It is very clear. In fact the psalms were often set aside for particular events and functions. What they have discovered today is that in many of the ancient manuscripts of the Psalms they have musical notation which were used to show what kind of music would be used for that song. Many churches have been in the past trying to fashion their music after what they thought was Jewish music. It is that kind of song ‘Hava Nagila’ and everyone is dancing around and carrying on and that is Hebrew music. Do you realise what we term as Hebrew music today was not the kind of music that we are using in the book of Psalms. I’ve listened to some of the reconstructed recordings of the musical notations in the original manuscripts and it doesn’t resemble the Jewish music we have today. The Jewish musical today resembles the nations to which the Jews have gone to throughout time and their music has undergone a colour metamorphosis because of the past few thousand years. Although the music ha has a distinctly middle eastern atmosphere.
The important thing for our purposes is to go to the book of Psalms and you discover what Psalms 149 is talking about. Psalms 149:1 Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, [and] his praise in the congregation of saints. That means where his people are gathered. Psalms 149:2 Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. 149:3 Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp. 149:4 For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. 149:5 Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. 149:6 [Let] the high [praises] of God [be] in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand; 149:7 To execute vengeance upon the heathen, [and] punishments upon the people; 149:8 To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; 149:9 To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD. Was that a wedding song? What kind of song do you think that would be related to? Battle, it’s absolutely clear. What people are doing today is that they are taking portions of scripture completed out of the original meaning and context and they are throwing it into the sanctuary and worship of God. That is not how Seventh Day Adventists interpret the Bible. We have always used the context of scripture by comparing scripture with scripture and the historical setting to establish what is being taught here. It is very clear we can’t use Psalms 149. It is in accordance with everything we have established in all the other texts so far. All are related in the context of battle. When study the word of God in the way in which we are to study the word of God, scripture expounds scripture and the meaning becomes clear. All the crutches which we are using today bringing worship to an earthly level are slowly disappearing.
The same types of aspects and motivations are mentioned. The expressions of worship being mentioned are the same as Psalms 149. It is the same Psalm but listen to what the verse says as this is one that people might grab on and listen to what it says; Psalms 150:1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. It says you can praise God in his sanctuary with this kind of worship, the drums and so on but is that really what is the text is saying? First question I ask is how many sanctuaries were there? Were because in the time of the children of Israel there were more and today we are told our bodies are a sanctuary of the holy spirit so we can say how many are there. We know there were two, the earthly and the heavenly sanctuary. The big question we need to ask ourselves is what is David referring to? Is he referring to the heavenly or to the earthly sanctuary? The old King James puts this text more clearly. ‘Praise God in the firmament of his power’. This is how we interpret the bible. We will know by all the other texts we have studied the context of those texts and we will know by applying the actual internal evidence by the text itself what sanctuary is being spoken of. All the other evidence in the other texts have told us it is the setting of battle outside the sanctuary. Not even the drum was used in the sanctuary so that would exclude it automatically from all the evidence. Psalms 150:1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Tell me, where was the firmament of God’s power? In the earthly or in the most holy in the heavenly sanctuary? The most holy in the heavenly sanctuary was the firmament. The firmament is the essence of Gods position of power. That’s why the text qualifies itself. It doesn’t mean the children of Israel were in the firmament of his power. Did it? It didn’t mean they were in the firmament of his power. They were somewhere where they might have been praising him for victory in battle if this is what Psalm 149 indicates and indeed it is. But God, where is he? There he is praise him in the firmament of his power as that is where he is. People are often today trying to say ok that is fair enough but it doesn’t meant that outside the church in a secular setting when we are praising God then we can use the drum and the dance and have the secular kind of worship. Does that actually hold water when you look at the context? And the historical setting of what was happening in scripture? The children of Israel in their time were set aside for a particular service or worship. The children of Israel were not only worshipping God on a pure spiritual level. They were also a nation of people with a national identity in the real word fulfilling a particular function and purpose where they were literally fighting battles against flesh and blood. Right or wrong? I have not seen Seventh Day Adventists recently running out on the streets with swords and spears killing people because of what they believe in. Understand the context of what we are talking about. The children of Israel were fighting literal battles of literal nations. Who was the general of the armies of the children of Israel? God was the general. Of course the children of Israel in their history desired a king. God did not want them to have an earthly king as it was a copy of the heathens and when he did give them a king he said this is a figure head and everything that is done has to ultimately be okayed through the prophets as they are the ones receiving the message from God and the king must do according to what God says. What happened every time the king didn’t do what the real general had to say? They lost the battle. It is very clear from the setting that when the children of Israel had won their victory in battle, who would they really glorify? The real general. Not so. The real general in the battle was God himself. In that literal setting in battle they would use this manner of either in the context of in or outside of battle to praise the general. We don’t wrestle against flesh and blood. Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. They forfeited the whole national identity, the fighting against the nations and subduing and bringing them out and being an example to God when they didn’t accept Jesus Christ. The whole idea changed afterwards. I didn’t mean that we don’t battle, it does mean that we cannot literally take something that was in that historical setting in that context and justify that same thing happening today in our present setting. It is an historical record of what happened in the children of Israel. When you get down to the bottom line of it all, the Old Testament is not establishing a doctrine of worship.
In the New Testament you don’t read about them once ever using the drum in their worship to God. In fact Paul writes about singing Psalms and sacred hymns to God. Not once do you read that the thing that was the power in their witness to the world around them had nothing to do with the music they were making. Nothing that God’s that the apostles did, not once in the New Testament record that was through the language of music that they went and converted the people. The gospel commission was go out into the world and preach the gospel. Go out and teach the people. If you look at what happened at Pentecost, and everyone today who is using these forms are trying to evoke the Pentecost experience. They bring in all these instruments and styles of worship and they feel very spirited and excited. They think this is the kind of worship that will bring the Holy Spirit into our midst. It may be very well it is the form of worship that gets the Holy spirit out of your midst and the devils spirit into your midst. The fact that remains is that they are relying on something that was not the commission. When God said go out and preach the gospel, what did Peter do on the day of Pentecost? Peter went out on the streets and preached the gospel. In fact, the majority of what Peter said in that sermon was quotations from the Old Testament and then they were blessed with the fruits of their witness and preaching. It is not music that converts people, it is the Holy Spirit that converts people and we are starting to use forms of music and entertainment and everything else as a crutch or as a means to bring people into the church. It is always been the spoken word which has tripped the hearts of the people and brought them to Christ. Yes, music is there to set the atmosphere and hopefully the right atmosphere. Music is there to tune our minds into the setting of worship but music is not the means of converting people to Christ. It is justifiably used but not the means.
The whole idea that it doesn’t matter what kind of worship you use to God as long as your motives are right, as long as your heart is in the right place again is not biblical. We get a very clear example of that of David’s first attempt of bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. None of us can question the fact that David was sincere about what he was doing but we can sometimes be sincerely wrong. Is that right? We can. Let’s see if David was sincerely wrong or right. 1 Chronicles 13:7 And they carried the ark of God in a new cart out of the house of Abinadab: and Uzza and Ahio drave the cart. 13:8 And David and all Israel played before God with all [their] might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets. They gave it everything they had plus they built a new ox cart. They really went out of their way to make this a special event. A new ox cart, singing with all their might with harps, lyres, tambourines, cymbals and trumpets including the drums as well. 1 Chronicles 13:9 And when they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled. 13:10 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God. 13:11 And David was displeased, because the LORD had made a breach upon Uzza: wherefore that place is called Perezuzza to this day. 13:12 And David was afraid of God that day, saying, How shall I bring the ark of God [home] to me? The ark of the covenant remained there three months and during that time David had a chance to think about what he did wrong. David was not afraid of God because Uzza was struck down dead, that was not the really problem, it was that it made him realise his big mistake. What was really wrong? Most people when they read it they think it was Uzza touching the ark of the covenant, that was not the whole problem, it was just the climax. The whole problem was that they did not even follow Gods instruction about how the ark of the covenant was to be transported. The ark of the covenant was to be transported by four Levites who carry the ark of the covenant and walk wherever the ark of the covenant was to be taken. David got this idea of transporting the ark of the covenant on an ox wagon or a wagon from the time of Eli when one of the pagan nations had captured the ark of the covenant and sent it back on a wagon to the children of Israel. That is where he got the idea from. He disobeyed God on that count and then in spite of the fact that they worshipped God with all their might, God had not accepted and ultimately in his providence he is sure the oxen stumbled, Uzza then touched the ark of the covenant and died and David woke up and said there is something wrong here. Now it tells us exactly what happened. Listen to what David does next. 1 Chronicles 15:12 And said unto them, Ye [are] the chief of the fathers of the Levites: sanctify yourselves, [both] ye and your brethren, that ye may bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel unto [the place that] I have prepared for it. You did not do it the first time. 1 Chronicles 15:13 For because ye [did it] not at the first, the LORD our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order. We did not consult him about the proper order. David suddenly realised disobedient. We weren’t even using the Levites in the capacity in which they weren’t meant to be used in transporting the ark of the covenant and it didn’t matter if we were using a new ox cart. 1 Chronicles 15:16 And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren [to be] the singers with instruments of music, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy. 15:28 Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps. Do you notice something interesting about that? What instrument is lacking? Do you know why it is lacking? Because of the evidence that is so clear. The drum was not a sanctuary instrument, it was not used in the worship by the Levites. Especially in the setting of moving the most holy artefact of the temple to the temple or to Jerusalem it would not have been used. It was a Levitical instrument. Again we find out this is what is more significant about this is the fact that God did not accept what David did in spite of the fact he was enthusiastic, in spite of the fact that his heart might have been in the right place and his motives might have been good. He had not accepted it as David has disregarded the clear instruction that God had given. If we are doing something in our worship or anything else in our lives and if we are suffer from the delusion that God is going to accept it when we are at the same time ignoring the direct instruction he has given then we must be sure that God is not accepting what we are doing. We will discover now and this gets down to the basic principle. If we were going to say we must use the harp, lyre and cymbals in worship today, then we might as well also bring in the Ark of the Covenant and everything else as they were a copy of the heavenly sanctuary. The principle was that we were trying to copy the heavenly pattern. Does God still want us to copy the heavenly pattern today? That is the question. Regarding the motivation for our worship to him and regarding the understanding of reverence, awe and respect for God. Does he want to? We should study the sanctuary to discover that. Do you think that the creation and the Sabbath are a reason for worshipping God? Absolutely. In fact, can you separate the act of creation from the Sabbath? Absolutely not. Because the Sabbath is a commemoration of Gods creative act. Christ’s continuing ministry as our high priest in the heavenly sanctuary, is that a good reason for praising and worshipping God? Is the second coming of Christ which includes redemption, is that a good reason for praising God? I want you to notice the motivation for worship in the heavenly sanctuary and also notice the attitude of the worshippers in the heavenly sanctuary. The four and twenty elders were the first fruits that were resurrected. They were resurrected with Christ when he was resurrected. They are in the sanctuary in the inauguration ceremony. Revelation 4:10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Who is that? God the Father. 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Do you notice something about the attitude of these worshipers? They are reverent. Does it seem self-centred at all? No, not self-centred. Today there are a lot of people today who are coming to worship to see what they can get out of it rather than what they can put into it. If worship is not happening the way they want it to, it is not good enough for them and they say it is not happening for me and we should change the worship style. The whole actual motivation for worship has been lost. Worship’s got nothing to do with what I want out of worship but it is to do with the object of worship. The worshipers in this verse recognise this point and they come in total surrender before the throne of God and they take their crowns down and put them in the gesture saying Lord we are not worthy but thou are worthy; Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. They recognise that God is something they are not. This is the problem with our worship today. We try to bring God and Jesus down to our level. They recognises the fact that he is the one who is forever and ever and they take off their crowns and they realise we are not that. They recognise that he is the creator, we are not that. That is what distinguishes God from everything else. They recognises something in their god something they are not. We need to recognise that to day in our relationship with God. The lamb comes and they worship the lamb and say; Revelation 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. All the motives for worship that are in the heavenly sanctuary that are interpreted in the way in which we interpret are the same motives that should be part of the worship which we have today in our worship to God. They are all the heavenly plan and motives for worship. It is time we come to the realisation is that worship to God is not a selfish act. I don’t come to God to see how much I can get out of the worship. My criteria for worship is not the issue. God in the Old Testament times very clearly is the one who establishes the order of worship. God worship plan is the one to be followed after all he is God. Unfortunately today there are people putting themselves in the place of God and that is why our worship has not become worship but has become idolatry. It has become spiritual prostitution. It becomes spiritual adultery. We come to worship God on his terms and as a result of obedience to Gods plan and a realisation of his awesome power and supreme Godhead and yet stirred to joy and holy praise and as a result we receive a blessing that is beyond mere emotionalism and seasonal excitement. Unfortunately today people want the emotion but they don’t want the holiness and reverence and everything else that comes with it. If as a result of worshipping a holy God because of your obedience to him you feel some emotion, that’s fine. But if you are coming with the primary idea in mind to get some emotional stimulation in worship you have lost the concept of what emotion is. We need to put the cart before the horse and we definitely mustn’t put the cart behind the horse as David did. We are going to lose the idea of what it means to follow Gods plan. You and I today need to understand that what people are using today to justify following the world has no biblical and has no spirit of prophecy foundation when you interpret them correctly. I want to establish from a biblical and spirit of prophecy point of view, we want to understand what it is what God requires from us. If it is true science and the spirit of prophecy and bible, they should all agree with one another. Amen.