The Biblical Importance of The Harp

June 24, 2020

The harp is the most important musical instrument in Scripture. This importance comprises at least the following truths that can be grouped into three categories:

Earliest Information about Music Mentions the Harp

The oldest chronological information in Scripture about human musical activity mentions the harp:

Genesis 4:21 And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.

The first canonical statement about music mentions the harp:

Genesis 4:21 And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.

Divine Commands about the Use of the Harp

God has commanded His people multiple times to use the harp to worship Him:

2 Chronicles 29:25 And he set the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, and of Gad the king’s seer, and Nathan the prophet: for so was the commandment of the LORD by his prophets.

Psalm 33:2 Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.

Psalm 81:2 Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery.

Psalm 147:7 Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:

Psalm 150:3 Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.

God has commanded the whole world to use the harp to worship Him:

Psalm 98:4 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. 5 Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.

Uniqueness of the Harp among Musical Instruments

The harp is the only musical instrument used in the only account in Scripture of God’s using humanly played music to deliver a human from demonically caused affliction:

1 Samuel 16:23 And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

The harp is the only musical instrument that Scripture describes as pleasant:

Psalm 81:2 Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery.

Scripture mentions only the harp as the musical instrument that is played in the worship music of heaven1:

Revelation 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

Revelation 14:2 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:

Revelation 15:2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.

Applications

1. Christians should accept the surpassing biblical importance of the harp above all other musical instruments. They should also disciple others about that importance.

2. Christians should learn to play the harp for use in corporate worship, and they should use it regularly in corporate worship.

3. Christians should disciple the whole world to learn to play the harp and use it in corporate worship.

4. Christians should listen to instrumental sacred music played on the harp by consecrated believers. In addition, they should esteem such musical use of the harp as pleasant.


1 Scripture does also reveal the use of trumpets in heaven, but none of those statements are explicitly about their use in the worship music of heaven.

Rajesh

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