Some wonder, "Did First Century Believers play instruments?" You may or may not imagine so. In fact, there's a wide range of answers that Bible enthusiasts give. For instance, there are those (e.g., Church of G-d) who reason that because the use of instruments was never mentioned by First Century Believers, the use thereof in public worship should be prohibited. Then, there are congregations that do permit the use of instruments in their public worship with various styles, genres and languages.
Consider wind chimes. No one really knows how wind chimes came into use. Today, different people use wind chimes for various different reasons - from decorative to sound appeal. Though no one really knows the true origins of wind chimes, I can say that the Bible provides us with how wind chimes came into use among members of the international body of Messiah.
Unlike most people, Messianic Jews tend to hang wind chimes that are in the shape of King David's harp on either trees or doors with reason. King David penned,
"We put away our harps, hanging them on the branches of poplar trees. 3 For our captors demanded a song from us. Our tormentors insisted on a joyful hymn: “Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!” 4 But how can we sing the songs of Yahweh while in a pagan land? 5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget how to play the harp. 6 May my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth if I fail to remember you, if I don’t make Jerusalem my greatest joy" (Psalm 137:2-6, NLT).
So what, then? Did or did not First Century Believers use instruments? The answer is both yes and no. Wind chimes that hung on trees or doors played. As wind chimes play, it serves as a constant reminder of how the ornaments that once hung on the priestly garments sounded like. To this day, some Messianic Jews refuse to sing to gentiles when asked to sing a song to Yahweh because of King David's writing; in fact, some Messianic Jews immediately think about the Temple worship when asked to sing or play! Then again, we were never prohibited from using instruments because King David also wrote, "May my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth if I fail to remember you, if I don't MAKE Jerusalem my greatest joy" (Psalm 137:6, NLT). So instead of discouraging music education, we encourage and even sing when we read the Bible or recite liturgical prayers.
I don't think that any given member within the body of Messiah should either encourage or discourage the use of instruments during public worship, because different people have different functions within the assembly. If anything, we should try to encourage one another to good deeds: "So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing" (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NLT) and not contend as to whether someone is right or wrong in how they worship the Heavenly Father.
The next time someone wishes to contend with such a notion, show them a wind chime if you have one. Picture how beautiful it must have been to worship the Heavenly Father at the Temple's courtyard. Also, picture how it was like being assembled with Messiah and his disciples as they worshipped the Heavenly Father with their instruments prior to the Temple ever being destroyed by the Romans ca. 70 CE.
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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scriptures were taken from the New Living Translation of the Bible.
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