“And I looked, and lo a Lamb stood on Mount Zion and with Him an hundred and forty and four thousand having His Father’s name written in their foreheads,” Rev. 14:1-5. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps.”
Again, we find in this passage “the harpist playing their harps.” Basically, the harp is a stringed instrument of music. We are told David was skillful at playing this instrument (1Sam. 16:16, 23).
He gave it a prominent place in the orchestra that was later performed at Solomon’s temple (1Chron. 25:1; 2Chron. 29:25). It could be played by groups, such as the band of the prophets (1Sam. 16:5), David’s family (2Sam. 6:5) or individuals even through the city (Isa. 23:15, 16).
So we find that the harp as an instrument is a symbol of joy, peace and freedom (Neh. 12:27). For we read in Ps. 81:1-2, “Sing aloud unto God our strength; make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob. Take a Psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the PLEASANT HARP with the Psaltery.”
Therefore, the harp was an instrument of exaltation and praise. It then follows that those in captivity of one form or the other cannot play on the harp, as they are in sorrow.
This is fully supported by the state of the children of Israel in their Babylonian captivity, “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down where we wept when we remember Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song and they that wasted us required of us mirth (gaiety, merriment; joyousness. laughter) saying sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” (Ps. 137:1-4).
Can you see it? So we can see that the sound of the harp, which is the symbol of joy and gladness, will cease in times of punishment and judgement by God (Ezek. 26:13; Isa. 24:8, 9); and when one is in captivity, as we have said earlier.
Therefore, it becomes necessary for those in Mount Zion now with the lamb (Rev. 14:1-2) who have been able to overcome the beastly system and its nature to pick up their harps again to sing the Lord’s song.
So when we read, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord,” Col. 3:16 (see also Eph. 5:19), it is talking of our expression of joy and gladness as we walk in the liberty of Christ, who has redeemed us from the captivity of sin and the deceitfulness of life as expressed in the carnal man.
“For the joy of the Lord is our strength,” (Neh. 8:10). “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son. In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins,” Col 1:12-14.
Therefore I say, “Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice,” Phil. 4:4. What am I saying? I say play your harps always, “for the Kingdom of God (to which you have come- Mount Zion) is …righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost,” Rom. 14:17.
THE SONG IS A NEW NATURE OF PRAISE
“And they sing a new song before the throne (of God) and before the four living creatures and before the elders (of the heavenly Sanhedrin). No one could learn (to sing) that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who had been ransomed (purchased, redeemed) from the earth” Rev. 14:3 AMP.
Before we proceed, let us remind ourselves of the fact that those to sing this new song are those who have “the voice of harpers harping with their harps,” v. 2. So you find that the song followed the harping and something must have happened that resulted in this group’s praise and worship.
INAUGURATION OF A NEW ERA AND A KING
Looking at the Bible, we find that this kind of group worship followed the inauguration of a new era and that of a King. For instance when King David eventually restored the Ark to Jerusalem (1Chron. 15-16). In Chapter 16, we are told David appointed some of the Levites as ministers before the Ark of God to commemorate, glorify and praise the God of Israel.
This eventually became their regular duty, in which occasion he composed a song of praise made up of the fragment of Ps. 105, which recounts the history of Israel from the patriarchs down to their rest in Cannan, the Promised Land. This he handed over to the leader of the singers, Asaph and his kinsmen.
So the record says, “At that time David began the custom of USING CHOIRS IN THE TABERNACLE TO SING THANKSGIVING TO THE LORD. Asaph was the director of this choral group of Priests,” 1Chron. 16:2+ TLB.
Here we have the origin of the mass choir in praising the Lord. “…harpers harping with their harps.” Now do not forget that the song they were to sing was composed or originated based on the victory the Lord has given them, showing forth His faithfulness. By implication, it was a song of a new era.
Again, we see that when Joash was crowned King the same group singing was employed in the service. “Then they brought out the little prince and placed the crown upon his head and handed him a copy of the law of God, and proclaimed him king. A great shout went up, ‘long live the king’ as Jehoiada and his sons anointed him … and the TRUMPETERS SURROUNDING HIM AND PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE LAND REJOICING AND BLOWING TRUMPETS AND THE SINGERS SINGING ACCOMPANIED BY AN ORCHESTRA LEADING THE PEOPLE IN A GREAT PSALM OF PRAISE,” 2Chron. 23:1-12 TLB.
To be continued…