And he stationed the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, with stringed instruments, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, of Gad the king’s seer, and of Nathan the prophet; for thus was the commandment of the Lord by his prophets. (2 Chronicles 29:25)
God Commands Musical Instruments In Worship
Music has been in the world from the beginning of time. Seven generations from Adam was a man called Jubal, the father of all those who play the harp and the flute. The appeal of music is part of creation as God formed man to be inventive to write music and invent many different kinds of instruments. When Moses gave the law to the people, there was music on stringed instruments, harps with eight strings and ten strings, lyres, cymbals, loud cymbals, timbrels, flutes, tambourines, lutes, trumpets, horns, instruments of fir wood, and sistrums.
David was a skilled harp player and invented many musical instruments. When David brought the ark to Jerusalem, there were singers and Chenaniah the music master with the singers accompanying the occasion. At the dedication of the Temple, Solomon had thousands of musicians singing and playing instruments. The book of Psalms is filled with musical instruments as praise to the Lord glorified Him with the sound of the lute, harp, timbrel, stringed instruments, flutes, cymbals, and clashing cymbals. Praise to the Lord filled the earth with musical instruments and singing. God was richly praised by the music of men worshiping Him with great fervor.
During the reign of Hezekiah, king of Judah, a period of restoration swept across the nation. One of the most important acts of Hezekiah was to restore temple worship. The king repaired the temple and commanded the priests to make offerings to the Lord. He stationed the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, with stringed instruments, and with harps. When the sacrifices were made, the Levites with the instruments of David and the priests with the trumpets began playing along with the singers as the sacrifices were made. They sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshiped. Hezekiah sought to restore temple worship to honor God. He gathered the musicians to play on the instruments of David according to the command of David, of Gad the king’s seer, and of Nathan the prophet; for it was the commandment of the Lord by His prophets.
Musical instruments were used in temple worship by the direct command of God. Prophets like Gad and Nathan were divinely instructed to included musical instruments in the worship, and Hezekiah was obedient to that command. God commanded the use of musical instruments in the Law of Moses, and those who faithfully followed the law included musical instruments in their worship. Nearly three hundred years after David, the king understood the law of God. He gathered the singers and musicians to restore temple worship in accordance with the command of God.
When the New Testament church began on the day of Pentecost, there were devout Jews who became the first converts to the gospel of Jesus Christ. These men were well versed in the commands of the Law of Moses. The apostles’ preaching pricked their hearts, and they gladly received the word of truth. The first members of the church of Christ were Jews who were familiar with the use of instruments of music. They had long followed the commands and traditions of their forefathers in worship, which included musical instruments. For a short time, the gospel was taken to the Jews, but then the family of Cornelius became Gentile converts. Greeks used instruments of worship in their religion. The early church was filled with Jews and Greeks, and all of them were familiar with musical instruments.
Hezekiah restored temple worship and included instruments of music because it was a command of God. The New Testament church began with devout Jews and then Gentile converts who never once mentioned using instruments of music in worship. There is not a single passage of authority in the New Testament where the early church used an instrument in worship. The absence of musical instruments in the New Testament church is evident by the authority of God. At no time did the early church engage in worship with a musical instrument because God never commanded it. History shows the instruments were not introduced until much later and under heavy criticism. It was not until the 8th Century the organ was introduced.
God commanded musical instruments in the Law of Moses. He never suggested the use of instruments in the New Testament. What the early saints did to worship God was to sing. That is the kind of music commanded by God. This was the only music mentioned by the early church. Authority matters in the mind of God, and when men do what He has not commanded, they sin. Musical instruments are never authorized or permitted in the New Testament church. As Charles Spurgeon said, “We might as well pray by machinery as praise by it.”