We live in a day when our world is inundated with song. Song is a common thread that runs through every global civilization. Here in America alone we have Rock-n-Roll, Rap, Country, Pop, Head Banger, Heavy Metal and others I don’t have names for. Each of these song classifications carries with it a certain message and the power to drive that message into the hearts and minds of its listeners.
Song influences the soul in ways unrealized by spoken or written words. Song contains the power to change attitudes and influence actions. The forces behind many of these songs are aware of their power and many listeners have succumbed to their bondage.
With demonic forces aware of the power of song is it any wonder that music and song has become a divisive element in many churches? However, many in the church have become wise to the tricks of the enemy, and as a result a new song is arising. The Apostle John records a new song in his vision of heavenly worship.
They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth.
I believe the 144,000 spoken of in Revelation 14:3 represent the true worshipers of God. These worshipers sing a new song known only to them. I have heard it called the “song of the redeemed.” Only those who have been bought from the darkness of hell by the blood of Jesus can sing this new song. They are given a new song because they have been made new creatures. Their lives strum to a new beat. The Apostle Paul said it this way, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Revelation 14:3 is not the first time in the Revelation that we hear of a new song being sung. In chapter 5 the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders sang a new song at the revelation of Jesus as the kinsman-redeemer. Can you imagine them singing in unison a song that had not been sung before? Their song came by way of revelation. In fact the only way a new song comes is by way of revelation.
The Greek word for new used in Revelation 14:3 means “a fresh new thing.” From time to time my girls will make a batch of chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies. The best time to eat those cookies is when they first come out of the oven. They are fresh and melt in your mouth. My wife makes home made bread occasionally. Many times the bread doesn’t make it to the next meal. We want to eat it as soon as it comes out of the oven. Neither my wife’s bread nor my kid’s cookies have an opportunity to get stale.
A new song is much the same way. It never gets stale. Fresh revelations produce fresh new songs. The new song comes from the spirit of a person who has a fresh relationship with the Father. The Father is always revealing more of himself to those who walk close to him. As he reveals himself he gives new songs that only those to whom he is revealed can sing. It is their song to him. It is sung through them by the Holy Spirit to the Father.
King David, other psalmists as well as Isaiah refer to singing a new song.
Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy.
Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory.
I will sing a new song to You, O God; On a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You…
Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, and His praise in the assembly of the saints.
Sing to the Lord a new song and His praise from the ends of the earth.
The Hebrew word for praise most associated with the new song is the word tehillah. Tehillah can be defined as laudations or hymns. The word tehillah is used many times in the book of Psalms. In fact the book of Psalms is also known as the Book of Tehillum. In Psalm 22:3 David says that God has established his throne in the tehillah of his people. He writes, But You are holy, enthroned in the praises (tehillah) of Israel… Another psalmist writes in Psalm 100:4 that tehillah is how we enter into God’s presence. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise (tehillah)…
God has given the church many gifted song writers. As a result thousands of anointed worship songs have been written over the years that express our heart toward God. I am amazed at how music and worship have evolved in the last twenty to thirty years. When a new worship song is introduced little time elapses before the recording industry has it featured on several different labels. My guess is that the song selections in many churches in the world vary little from church to church. Christian worship would not be were it is today without these anointed writers and songs.
I am constantly searching for fresh worship songs that touch the heart of God and minister to the worshiper. However, I believe there is a higher dimension of worship where God desires for true worshipers to occupy; the dimension of the new song. No other song can express the heart of a worshiper than his own song to the Lord. I believe God is extremely blessed when we express in our own words our love for him.
I can go to the store each year on my anniversary and find a card to give my wife that conveys how I feel toward her. Or, I could make a card myself, written in my own words. Which do you think my wife would prefer? She would love either, but the card I write myself would have special meaning because it came straight from my heart. Another man might use the same card I buy at the store to give to his wife, but no other man can give to my wife what I write from my heart. In the same way many people may use the same song to worship God. There is no doubt that God enjoys that worship, but I believe he takes special delight in the songs that come from within the worshiper. No one else can sing that song.
Being a few years past the age of fifty I have been given numerous birthday cards over the years. All of them were special and given to me by special people in my life. There are only a few of those cards that I have set back for safe keeping. Those are the hand made cards my kids gave to me. They have special meaning for two reasons; they were made by my kids and they expressed their love for me from their own hearts in their own words.
I mentioned before that the new song is one that is fresh. Paul referred to these songs as hymns. He wrote to the churches …but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. (Ephesians 5:18-19) Colossians 3:16 says, …teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. The Greek word used here for hymn is humnos. Humnos is defined to celebrate, a hymn.
When we generally think of hymns great songs like Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art, and many others come to mind. O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing and Before the Throne of God Above are among my favorites. However, these songs we refer to as hymns are actually psalms. A psalm is a set piece of music accompanied by an instrument and voice. Once a song is recorded or becomes a set piece of music it is a psalm. In fact all the worship songs we sing in church are in reality psalms.
Since hymns and psalms are different we must conclude that a hymn is a song that has not been recorded. Thus it is a new, spontaneous song sung as an overflow of love and adoration towards God. I believe that in exhorting the church to sing hymns, Paul was encouraging them to sing new songs or tehillah.
How long has it been since you sang a love song to God from your own heart? Maybe you never have or didn’t know that you could. The Holy Spirit has the tune and verse just waiting for you to open your mouth and spontaneously express your love and adoration to the Father. Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise (tehillah) from the upright is beautiful. (Psalms 33:1)