Sing a new song

Domestic matters have drawn me from this blog for the last couple of weeks, for which my apologies.

Seven times the Hebrew Bible speaks of a “new song”* . It is always sung to the Lord. In modern times, new tunes and, in some branches of Christianity, new religious lyrics, pour out to reflect changes in fashion. That is not what the Bible means.

There, song is not merely a ditty, a tune strung together with some nice words. A song is the deepest expression – the heart cry – of our spiritual being, of our experience of our walk on this earth with God and of who He is. Thus, a new song is a major change to a new experience of the Lord.

This new song is understood in Hebraic thinking as the song that will be sung when Messiah comes. When we find the expression, “sing to the Lord a new song” in the Bible, it refers to the time when King Messiah will come, and when consequently we will be able to sing the praises of the Lord in a whole new way.

The lute or harp of Messianic times will be ten-stringed**, and some Jewish sages teach that there will be a new ten note scale rather than the present widely used eight note scale and that this will release beautiful new music. The Rosh HaShanah Machzor (prayerbook) calls this music “a celebration of the World to Come”.

Thus the new song of the Bible is prophetic and joyous – both momentous and drawing on the deepest wells of spiritual experience. In Exodus 15, Moses and the people sing to the Lord after their passage through the Red Sea.

The two references in the New Testament to a “new song” reflect this Hebrew understanding.** In Revelations 14:3, the 144,000 who stand on Mount Zion sing a new song before the throne. No one but they can learn it – that is, only they have the spritual experience to sing this new song.

So, what will be your new song?

*(Psalm 33:3, Psalm 40:3, Psalm 96:12, Psalm 98:1, Psalm 144:9, Psalm 149:1, Isaiah 42:10)

**Psalm 33:2 and 144:9 refer to the ten stringed lute, as do Psalm 81:2 and 92:3. Ten stringed instruments have been used historically and today, with various possible tunings. In the 1990s there was a ten-string klezmer group.

***Revelations 5:9 and 14:3.

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