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Are DRUMS suitable to worship God?

by aymon de albatrus

"Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise." (Psa 98:4 AV)

"Make a joyful noise unto Jehovah, all the earth: break forth and sing for joy, yea, sing praises." (Psa 98:4 ASV)

"Make a joyful noise to Jehovah, all the earth; break out and rejoice and sing praise." (Psa 98:4 LIT)

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! (Psa 98:4 ESV)


The act of worshipping God is defined as:

The act of paying divine honours to the Supreme Being; religious reverence and homage; adoration, or acts of reverence, with supreme respect and veneration; to perform religious exercises in honour of; to adore; to venerate God.

To worship is to formally praise, honour, and declare one's devotion to the supreme God; the Creator, Governor and Sustainer of all that has been created. Typical acts of worship include: singing hymns or psalms, preaching, praying, giving, and the Lord’s Supper.

Here we are concentrating in the worship aspect of music and singing and in particular to check out if Drums are fit instruments as an aid to producing a pleasant sound to the Lord.

The musical instruments that are approved by the Bible to produce joyful noise to the Lord are clearly stated in: "1 ¶ Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. 2 Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. 3 Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. 4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. 5 Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. 6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD." (Psa 150:1-6)

We have here listed seven types of musical instruments:

Trumpet - Shofar:
While leading the Israelites in their Exodus from Egypt, Moses ordered his metal smiths to fashion two long silver trumpets that could perform a variety of uses; signalling, summoning assemblies, sounding the alarm, and initiating celebrations (Numbers 10:1-10).

Psaltry and harp or Kinnor.
A
plucked string instrument translated variously as harp, lyre, or cythara, and mentioned on a number of occasions. The frame was made of wood, occasionally trimmed with amber, and the strings made either of twisted grass or sheep gut. This was the instrument the Israelites hung on the willows by the rivers of Babylon during the Second Exile. Evidently there were a number of types, some quite elaborate, for one Psalm mentions in a single verse the harp, the psaltery, and "an instrument of ten strings" (Psalms 137:2, Psalms 33:2).

Organ - Pipe
A simple shepherd's instrument, probably single-reed and apparently widely used. "The people piped with pipes" when King Solomon was anointed by Zadok the Priest (1 Kings 1:40).

The organ was the other instrument mentioned in Genesis 4:21. This instrument is not mentioned in the list of the musical instruments used in the temple and was not an organ, but rather a shepherd's pipe or flute. The only reference to it in: Job 21:12; 30:31 and in Psa 150:4.

Timbrel, or Tabret.
A hand held mini-drum that resembled a tambourine. The tambourine consists of a wood or metal shell ranging from two to three inches in depth and seven to twelve inches in diameter. Tambourines usually have one or two rows of jingles, and sometimes small bells, mounted in pairs in the shell. The primary sound from the instrument comes from the jingles, not the head, although the technique of drumming on the head can be used to great effect. Moses' sister Miriam played one to celebrate the crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 15:20), also Psa 81:2; 149:3; Jdg 11:34; 1Sa 18:6. It was a percussion instrument but was carried by women so it was small in size, nothing like the huge modern band drums and its sound would have been not ear deafening.

Stringed Instruments
The two stringed instruments that the Bible mentions are the kinnor and the nebel.

The nebel was a bulky, but mobile, instrument that was very similar to a harp. There were probably several variations in the nebel, especially in regards to the number of strings on the instrument. The nebel had anywhere from four to ten strings, which is seen in the headings of a few of the Psalms.

The kinnor is conspicuous among the instruments, not only because it was one of the first two instruments that Jubal contrived, but also because the kinnor was the instrument of King David. The kinnor is similar to the lyre, while the nebel bears a closer resemblance to a harp. The kinnor, is exclusively associated with joyful occasions.

Cymbal.
Cymbals are thin metal plates that are usually played in pairs and produce sound when struck together. When they are grated one against the other, cymbals produce a pleasing metallic rumble. The technique used when a single cymbal is called for is produced by striking it with a drumstick, or "rolling" with a soft mallet, usually felt-tipped. The only permanent percussive instrument in the temple orchestra was the cymbal. In the Holy Scriptures, the use of cymbals is solely confined to religious ceremonies. The "loud cymbals" were of a larger diameter than the "high (pitch) sounding," and were two-handed cymbals. The high sounding cymbals were much smaller and played by one hand, the cymbals being attached to the thumb and the middle finger respectively.

A summary of singing and use of musical instruments in Psalms is tabulated below:

Sing Only

Harp/sPsalteryTimbrel/sTrumpet/sCymbalDrums
       
Psa 7:17Psa 33:2Psa 33:2Psa 68:25Psa 47:5Psa 150:5Zilch
Psa 9:2Psa 43:4Psa 57:8Psa 81:2Psa 81:3  
Psa 9:11Psa 49:4Psa 68:25Psa 98:6Psa 98:6  
Psa 13:6Psa 57:8Psa 71:22Psa 149:3Psa 150:3  
Psa 18:49Psa 71:22Psa 78:70Psa 150:4   
Psa 21:13Psa 81:2Psa 81:2    
Psa 27:6Psa 92:3Psa 87:7    
Psa 30:4Psa 98:5Psa 89:19    
Psa 30:12Psa 108:2Psa 92:3    
Psa 51:14Psa 137:2Psa 108:2    
Psa 59:16Psa 147:7Psa 144:9    
Psa 59:17Psa 149:3Psa 150:3    
Psa 61:8Psa 150:3     
Psa 65:13      
Psa 66:2      
Psa 66:4      
Psa 67:4      
Psa 68:4      
Psa 68:32      
Psa 75:9      
Psa 92:1      
Psa 95:1      
Psa 96:1      
Psa 101:1      
Psa 104:12      
Psa 104:33      
Psa 105:2      
Psa 106:12      
Psa 135:3      
Psa 138:1      
Psa 138:5      
Psa 145:7      
Psa 146:2      

Reference to sing only is far more present than also with instruments. There is no reference to actual drums although Timbrels can be likened to hand held mini-drums usually played by women. Among the groups of instruments, the most primitive is undoubtedly the percussion instruments. It is interesting to note that the first two instruments that the Bible mentions are not percussion instruments, but examples of harp and pipe. (Gen 4:21) Perhaps the reason that underlies this situation is the ambiguous nature of percussive instruments. While the stringed instruments and the wind instruments are meant specifically for making music, percussive instruments often blur the line between religious function, music and dance.

To note that the more beautiful music ever written by man makes no use of drums, that is classical music. Modern music, of far inferior quality, makes extensive use of drums, perhaps to confuse the issue and to cover up bad playing and poor melody. Music has to be in tune with the harmony of God’s creation, modern music is not, as evidenced by the many tests that have proven that even plants and cows when subjected to classical music they grow towards the speaker or produce more milk, whilst when subjected to rock music the plants die and the cows’ milk dries up. Most farms play classical music in their stalls all day long. Recently they have found that playing classical music to the vines produces better grapes and also keeps vermin away.

LOUD NOISE
In the KJV we read in Psa 98:4 make a loud noise and modern people have taken "noise" to mean "huge fracas with anything you got". Other translations instead of "loud noise " have "break forth" which in the context with the verse means "explode" with SINGING of joy and praises for the Lord, there is no hinting to instruments but to human voice. The KJV is not wrong, only the word "noise" is taken by modernists to mean something else than intended. It definitely means to sing with all the voice one’s got, and not "sottovoce", but surely with intelligence and not with the mesmerizing confusing fracas of powerful drums.

For Psa 33:3 the literal translation says "play skillfully, with shouts of joy" "1 ¶ Rejoice in Jehovah, O righteous ones; praise is becoming to the upright. 2 Give thanks to Jehovah with the lyre; sing to Him with a harp of ten strings. 3 Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully, with shouts of joy." (Psa 33:1-3 LIT) whilst in other translations it says "play skilfully with a loud noise" this is taken by the modernists to refer to the instruments, but the literal translation clearly refers to the "voice" which is in line with the meaning of Psa 98:4 and surely "with shouts of joy" makes more sense than "bang the drums loudly so no one understands anything". Strong for "loud noise" has: war cry, battle cry, shout of alarm, shout of joy, blast of war. Looking at the context "play skillfully, with shouts of joy" seems to be fitting rather well with the whole idea of psalms and hymns worship as we see king David command: "And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of musick, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy." (1Ch 15:16 AV)

Will the worship in Heaven be loud?

I have tried to make a count of how many voices will (are) be singing praises to our God in Heaven and this is what I got: "And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;" (Rev 5:11 AV)

Which number at least this many angel voices:

10,000 x 10.000 x 1,000 x 1,000 = 1 x 1014 or 100,000,000,000,000 

Besides the multitude of saved humans that no man can number:

"After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;" (Rev 7:9 AV)

I reckon that this Enormous number of voices would make a HUUUUUUUGE sound.

It does appear that worship in Heaven is mostly done with the voice for there are no specific references to musical instruments.

ATTRACT YOUNG PEOPLE
The usual reason for using "rock" music is this one: "Our music is targeted towards the 12 to 25 year old age group - a group which WILL NOT listen to opera style, nightclub style, or gospel music which dominates the airwaves of Christian stations. We seek to provide music by artists who are singing about God, or at least a Biblical principle, and whose lifestyle is worthy as a role model. We have been successful in drawing a large audience of non-Christians, which is exactly the way we and the Great Commission want it!"

To be honest the above statement is not wrong, however, personally, I am uneasy to this approach for it lends itself very easily in using the world’s method (Satan’s domain) to preach Christ. I have listened, not for long, to several of the so called "christian rock bands" that of Christianity have nothing, indeed it was all of the evil one. NO! No! no! It will not do to use worldly methods to "evangelise large audience" of non-christian for that way we fill the churches with unbelievers that will paganize Christianity as it has happened to the Roman Catholic church after Constantine’s edict. People, are converted by God through the preaching of the Gospel of Christ and Him crucified, NOT by wild worldly music, indeed: "And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" (2Co 6:15)

Here is a testimonial cry from the Russian churches, which should drive any true believer to a painful repentance:

At one stage the persecuted Christians in Russia sent an urgent message to the Churches of America one of the most shocking and rebuking statements ever made in the two thousand year history of Christianity quote:

"For years we (Russian persecuted Christians) have suffered persecution, and now freedom is bringing another great harm to our churches. This damage is coming from the Christians in America who are sending rock music and evangelists accompanied by rock bands.

Our young people do not attend these meetings because we have all committed not to participate in secular entertainment.

This is a great burden on our hearts. Many came (from America) with Bible in hand and rock music. We are embarrassed by this image of Christianity. We do not know what words to use in urging that this be stopped. We abhor all Christian rock music coming to our country.

Rock music has nothing in common with ministry or service to God. We are very, very against Christian Americans bringing to our country this false image of ‘ministry’ to God. We need spiritual bread; please give us bread, not false cakes. It is true that rock music attracts people to the church, but not to godly living.

We were in prison for years for Christ’s sake. We were not allowed to have Christian music, but rock music was used as a weapon against us day and night to destroy our souls. We could only resist with much prayer and fasting.

Now, we have a time of more openness, and we are no longer taken to prison. However, now it is Christians from America who damage our souls. We do not allow this music in our churches, but they rent big stadiums and infect teenagers and others with their rock music.

We, the leadership and congregations of the Unregistered Union of Churches, the former Persecuted Church, have made an agreement no to allow rock music in our churches. We urge you to join with us, and we advise you to remove rock music from America, and certainly not to bring it to our own country.

Do not desecrate our teenagers with it. Even the unbelievers recognize it as unholy music, and they cannot understand how American Christians can be so much like the world. We can give you the conclusion that after Russian unbelievers have attended these rock concerts where Christ’s Word was preached, they were disappointed and disillusioned with Christianity.

We call this music from Hell. We urge all Americans to stop giving money (to send) such concerts to Russia. We want only traditional Christian music in our churches. This is the unanimous decision of all our leaders."

This statement was signed by leaders of the Underground Church in Russia, and its logic, reasons, and Bible principles are simply unanswerable to rock groups and their supporters. Think of that: poor, humble, suffering Russian Christians are severely rebuking and instructing arrogant, worldly Western Christians.

DRUM - TOPHET
The drum is a percussion instrument, known in various forms and played throughout the world and throughout history. Essentially a drum is a frame over which one or more membranes or skins are stretched. The frame is usually cylindrical or conical, but it comes in many other shapes. It was known since the beginning of time, nevertheless it is not found in the Bible as an instrument in the worship of God. However, we see plenty of it in the satanic worship with the name of Tophet, the same as Topheth; from Hebrew: toph, "a drum," because the cries of children here sacrificed by the priests of Moloch were drowned by the noise of such an instrument. Moloch was the god of the Ammonites, portrayed as a bronze statue with a calf's head adorned with a royal crown and seated on a throne. His arms were extended to receive the child victims sacrificed to him. Moloch was a frightening and terrible demon covered with mothers' tears and children's blood. When a child was sacrificed to Moloch, a fire was lit inside the statue. The priests would then beat loudly on drums & other objects so that the cries of the roasted baby would not be heard. Such was the use of the Drums.

The large frame drums were never used in the worship of God, the nearest thing resembling a drum was the Timbrel or Tabret similar to a tambourine but these were hand held making light sounds, not fracas.

DRUMMING UP DEMONS
Extracts from Bible Guidelines for Music with many secular quotes; (by Terry Watkins)

The Bible lists many kinds of instruments (Psalms 150:3-5), yet one instrument is NEVER mentioned! The drum was a very common instrument in Egypt and the lands around Israel. Did the Lord just forget to include the DRUM or is there another reason? Is it because drums are associated with voodoo, shamanism, paganism and magic rituals?

Drums are "played to summon up magic powers" (The Illustrated Book of Signs & Symbols)... and are "used in shamanic rituals to heal people. It is believed that the shaman can communicate with the spirit world THROUGH DRUMMING." (Musical Instruments). "Pagan dances and rituals are always accompanied by the incessant BEAT of DRUMS." (Satan's Music Exposed)

Robert Palmer, contributing editor to Rolling Stone... advocate and lover of rock music, writes, in Rock & Roll An Unruly History: "Bata drums [drums used in voodoo], sacred to the Yoruba people of Nigeria and Cuba... provided a template for the inner rhythms of rock and roll... serve as conduits for spiritual energies, linking individual human consciousness with the gods... the drum rhythms that make rock and roll can ultimately be traced back to African music of a primarily spiritual or ritual nature. In a sense, rock and roll is a kind of 'voodoo'... Drums are used in "voodoo" possession... drummers tap out their rhythm patterns like signals to the realm of the gods, inviting and enticing them to come and POSSESS their devotees."

Little Richard, the self-professed "architect of rock 'n roll", readily admits Satan's control and influence in his life and rock music: "My true belief about Rock 'n' Roll - is this: "I believe this kind of music is demonic.... A lot of the BEATS in music today are taken from voodoo, from the voodoo DRUMS." (The Life and Times of Little Richard)

"The shaman was the original 'long hair', the first rock star draped in leather, dancing possessed to a rhythm banged out on a DRUM... communication with the gods was synonymous with DRUMS... the body can become the conduit for a deity... DRUMS are the catalyst for the whole process... what Westerners simplistically call 'possession'." (Appetite for Destruction)

David Tame writes in The Secret Power of Music: "Today's DRUMMER differs but little from the shaman in his incessant beating out of a rhythm, and likewise often enters into a form of trance while performing."

The DRUM has always been associated with paganism and the devil... When the first blacks from Africa were converted to Christianity they knew the power and evil influence of DRUMS. And the converted blacks strictly forbid the use of drums! They referred to the drums as "the Devil's drum". (Hole in Our Soul: The Loss of Beauty and Meaning in American Popular Music)>

It really does look like that the one simple guideline for Christian music is: NO DRUMS!

A PASTOR’S LAMENT (Bill Burkett)
This would also help the pastor approach the drummer on the subject. A fine church may be losing its evangelistic effectiveness because they get people out to the meetings but then can't keep them because the music is too loud and distracting. Brethren, it can be a trick of the enemy to keep you from growing as a church. I have recommended several people to one church in particular and when I get back with them they say, "We loved the church, and the pastor but the music was so loud we couldn't take our friends there to get saved." There is a propriety to the use of drums in the church. It is a background instrument and not a devil driving, ear piercing racket that overpowers every other instrument in the church orchestra.  The reason it drives the devil off is because it hurts his ears. Some wise pastors have placed a glass partition around the drums. This is a great idea - just let the drummer beat his little heart out inside his cubicle. Enough sound will escape to give a proper cadence to the music being sung and the drummer can pound his heart out in his own little percussion cubicle.

The fact is that loud drums can impair the hearing. Sound above what God made the ears to be used for can be as harmful as anything else abused beyond purpose. Worship is the purpose of music in the church. Everything, including the songs we sing in church is directed to God. More and more our music is to please us rather than God. From the time of the tabernacle we learn that the house of God is where we come to worship the Lord under His conditions and not for having a religious jam session. Musical entertainment has no place in the house of God. At one time this was the feeling of Christians toward music in the church.

But in recent years there has been such a strong and fast shift toward loud music that has become entertainment completely abandoning the holy concept of music as accompaniment of instruments joined to the voices of the singing worshippers. But this thinking is changing and many are now saying that music as Christian entertainment (?) is right. Many churches pull their biggest crowds with musical entertainment. Of course, the next step is any kind of cross-over entertainment is OK as long as its flavored with fundamentalist jargon. Hymnology, the singing of hymns in the church, was not introduced into the church until A.D. 350 by an early church theologian, by the name of Ambrose of Milan. Before that time singing played very little or no part in the church worship services. We have come a long way!

Wonder what Paul or Apollo or Timothy would think if they would visit one of our modern holiness meetings with the drums blasting out a beat so loud you couldn't hear the words being sung with people swaying and clapping to the drums? I could play the piano in some churches - there she sits pounding away but you can't hear the sound of one key striking the board! All you can hear is the loud beating of the drums. I got to thinking, I could be the pianist in one of those churches and just sit up there and pound away and they would never know I couldn't play the piano. Nobody would know because they can't hear the piano. Everything in God's house should be done decently (decorously, in good taste) and in order (rank, succession, dignity). (1Co 14:40).

Therefore, what is Christian music?

Firstly, the words must be true to the Bible.

Secondly, the music must not sound like or remind people of the world.

Thirdly, the music must honour and glorify our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Name above every name!

Fourthly, the musicians must be so dedicated to the Lord that they will do everything possible, including dress and music style, not to attract attention to themselves or the world but to magnify our Lord Jesus! Amen!

IN CONCLUSION

  1. Singing is part of the worship requested and due to God the Almighty, but it is not all there is to worship. The acts of worship that are specified by God are: singing, preaching, praying, giving, and the Lord’s Supper (Colossians 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; Acts 20:7; 2 Timothy 4:2; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2). Worship must promote awe and reverence, spirituality and thoughtfulness. Joy must flow from the heart, and not be worked up by the excessive use of external helps.

  2. God has given the human voice as the primary source of expressing singing worship, however He will accept also some musical instruments to aid the voice in its expression. There is no evidence that there are many musical instruments in heaven, yet there is music: "And I heard a sound out of Heaven, as a sound of many waters, and as a sound of great thunder. Also I heard a sound of harpers harping on their harps." (Rev 14:2 LIT)

  3. Scripture list those instruments that may be used, some instruments are never mentioned, such as the Drum, and it is best not to use them in our worship. The general rule is that all instruments are only an aid to the voice, not a supplanter or an overwhelmer thereof. The voice must be heard clearly over the instruments in its purity, musical instruments that are confusing and distorting must not be used.

  4. Drums, although in wide use and well known in all history were never used to worship God because drums have always been associated with voodoo, shamanism, paganism and magic rituals, the church of Christ has no part with that.

  5. Singing worship can be loud and we must sing with all our hearts to the Lord giving all that we got, but the voice is supreme in worship and the instruments are just an aid and we are singing to the Lord not to ourselves. Worship is not for human exhibitionism—God resists the proud. It is not to show off or to admire human artistic ability. Musical aids must never be allowed to turn worship into entertainment. They must never interfere with the spiritual character of worship.

  6. The standard of God remains—that musical instruments should be modest in character, limited in number, and that they should never be allowed to overwhelm the intelligent and sincere offering of worship voiced from the minds and hearts of believers.

  7. The worship of the church of Christ is plainly given in the New Testament. Jesus said: "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). The day Christians communally worship God is Sunday, the first day of the week, the "Lord’s Day" (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Revelation 1:10). The music of the church of Christ is singing. This is the only kind of music that is mentioned in the NT by God in His word for the worship of His church (Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19). Singing is commanded of all Christians, not just a favoured few. Choirs, quartets, solos, and choral groups are not mentioned in the New Testament nor are instruments of music resembling pianos, organs, drums, guitars, etc. mentioned in the New Testament either.

Spurgeon, the "Prince of Preachers" had this to say about musical Instruments in worship:

"Praise the Lord with the harp. Israel was at school, and used childish things to help her to learn; but in these days when Jesus gives us spiritual food, one can make melody without strings and pipes. We do not need them. They would hinder rather than help our praise. Sing unto him. This is the sweetest and best music. No instrument like the human voice." (Commentary on Psalms 42:4) "David appears to have had a peculiarly tender remembrance of the singing of the pilgrims, and assuredly it is the most delightful part of worship and that which comes nearest to the adoration of heaven. What a degradation to supplant the intelligent song of the whole congregation by the theatrical prettiness of a quartet, bellows, and pipes! We might as well pray by machinery as praise by it." (Spurgeon preached to 20,000 people every Sunday for 20 years in the Metropolitan Baptist Tabernacle and never were mechanical instruments of music used in his services. When asked why, he quoted 1st Corinthians 14:15. "I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the understanding also; I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also." He then declared: "I would as soon pray to God with machinery as to sing to God with machinery." (Charles H. Spurgeon, Baptist)


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