Then there was another word used for the word “praises”. This word means ‘to address in a loud voice’. It means to shout praise and it is interesting to see how this word is used, for example, in the 145th Psalm and verse 4. And you can see, can’t you, when we read this, the applicability of this word to the context? In Psalm 145:4, the word stands out here because it is coloured in yellow in my Bible. So, Psalm 145:4 says, “One generation shall shout thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts”. There is a marvellous significance in this. You see, the complete generation has been succeeded by another generation, but one generation is shouting aloud the praise of God to the next generation, and that generation takes up the praises of God and shouts it aloud to the generation following, and so it goes on from generation to generation.

Israel did this when Joshua brought Israel into the land before they ever commenced the conquest of the land, and they conquered the centre of the land, the south of the land, and the north of the land. He took all the people first, and he put six tribes upon Mt Ebal, and he put six tribes upon Gerizim. He put the priests in the middle of the body…the priests chanted the blessings and the curses of the law, and Israel, one generation and another generation spoke to each other across that valley, and they said, “Cursed is he that doesn’t practise the law”, and “Blessed is he that does practice the law”, so that reverberating across that valley would be the shouts of loud voices, one telling the other the blessings and curses of Almighty God.

And here in Psalm 145:4, this word is used. Now we are a generation of Christadelphians. All of you are in the same age group, and you are a generation of Christadelphians. And you don’t have to think back very far or to read the works of the Pioneers very long to know this, that the generation which preceded us, young people, shouted to us concerning the glories of God. There’s no doubt about that. Some may scoff and some may say, that’s nonsense and ridiculous. But that generation still continues to shout to us all.

Pray God, young people, if the Lord Jesus Christ tarries any longer, and we live to grow up to young manhood or womanhood, as you young people must do if the Lord tarries, that this generation shall shout to the one coming up, and declare the glories of God.

Psalm 117 again, is an illustration of how this word is used. It is like a chorus when all the orchestra, and all the singers come together with a loud voice to praise God, and so Psalm 117 contains the word “praise” three times. It opens and closes with the word “praise”—the word halal—but the word in verse 1 which is the second word “praise” is the word shabach, which means ‘to shout with a loud voice’. So David says, “Celebrate the Lord all ye nations, and shout aloudall ye people”. And you can see him calling to the people to make clear their celebrations. To make it clear in sound and colour, the celebrations of God, and come ye nations, shout aloud concerning the praises of our God. This, of course, is how that word is used. But I have left the most interesting one until the last.

It is the final word which is used in the psalms for the word “praise”. It is a word pronounced zamar, and it literally means ‘to strike with the fingers, or to pluck with the fingers’, and of course, you don’t have to let your mind go very far to understand from that that David here in this word “praise” is speaking of the use of musical instruments, particularly harps.

When you come to look at this word it is intensely interesting, because, invariably, when you find this word translated, it not only speaks of harps, and of psalteries and other musical instruments, but invariably it is used of musical instruments accompanied by voices. Let me give you a couple of illustrations: in Psalm 98:4-5 David says, “Make a joyful noise until the Lord all the earth: make a loud noise and rejoice, and sing praise. Sing unto the Lord with the harp.” Now the word or words “sing praise”, is this Hebrew word. There’s only one word there, and the word “sing” in verse 5 is the same Hebrew word. So what David is saying is this, that we have got to make a joyful noise unto the Lord with the voice, but we also sing unto the Lord with the harp. You can see how that word is used both for the voice and for the instruments in accompaniment.

And now we come to a classic interpretation of Scripture by the Apostle Paul. It is a beauty! And to me, young people, it is a thrilling exhortation, for this verse alone which I am now going to show you, is a thrilling exhortation because it was Paul’s exposition of that word. What does it mean that we both sing with the voice our praises unto God, and we can do it with a musical instrument? We don’t play musical instruments, well a lot of us don’t anyway. What does it mean therefore; can we enter into the spirit of this? The apostle says we can, and in  Ephesians chapter 5 and in verse 19, the apostle says, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord”. Singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord!

Now we know this, don’t we, that the Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament is written in Greek. The apostle wasn’t using the exact Hebrew word, but the word in the Greek literally means exactly the same as the Hebrew word. The word “melody” means ‘to pluck the strings’, and this is what the apostle is saying, as translated by Rotherham. Now you listen to this: “speaking to yourselves with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and striking the strings of your heart unto the Lord”. In other words, young people, that when this mouth is opened to praise God, and the word zamar is brought into play, if those fingers in a spiritual sense are not plucking the strings of the heart to make a melody as far as God is concerned, it is a discordant noise. And that’s what that idea behind the word means, as interpreted by the Apostle Paul. In other words, we have got to mean what we say, otherwise it is a discordant noise.

Can you imagine what would have happened tonight, if young Clive who was playing the piano for the item which we heard, was playing the tune to one of our hymns, hymn 13, while the young people were singing “How Excellent is Thy Name in All the Earth?” Can you imagine the noise? Can you imagine the discordant note? Can you imagine the anger of Brother Phil Wilson, being his son?! But you see he didn’t do that. He played the right tune to which the choir sang. They were singing “How Excellent is thy Name in All the Earth” while the musical instrument of their heart was beating in harmony. And so Paul says we sing with the voice, and we play upon our hearts, a rhythm of agreement and sincerity. Together it plays a beautiful melody. Anything less is a discordant note, and that’s how David uses that term in the Scripture.

Now come to the book of Revelation and see how this principle operates. Here are people singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, and they have got a good reason to sing them too. Here are the redeemed and you have heard these words of Revelation 5:8-11 quoted in lectures: “And when he had taken the book, the four living creatures [not beasts, but living creatures, the cherubim] and four and twenty elders [the four and twenty courses of the priesthood, and the singers in David’s time], fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth”.

Now what have they got in their hands? A harp, and a golden vial, and we are told that the vial signifies the prayers of saints. What’s that harp? Well, it is their heart; the harp is their heart, and they are singing a new song, and they mean every word of it, because they have got that harp there, and that harp is being plucked by the fingers, and it is playing the tune, and out of their mouth comes, “Thou art worthy to take the book,” and they mean that.

You have got the same thing in Revelation 14:2. Here they are in verse 1: “I looked and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand [the Israel of God], having his Father’s name [indelibly imprinted] in their foreheads. 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: And they sung as it were a new song”. What were they doing? John heard a voice, and what did he hear? He didn’t hear the voice of people, he heard the voice of harps. And in a vision as it were, he sees one hundred and forty-four thousand, and he sees a choral group, and the choral group consists of harps. And he sees the harps all singing with human voices. Why? Because they were singing with human voices which were based upon what they thought in their heart, and what that meant. They were the redeemed from among the earth.

Revelation 15:2-3 says the same thing: “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 upon the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints”. Did they mean that? Of course they did because they are standing on a sea of glass, and they have got harps. They have got the harps of God. They have got harps that have been touched by the power of the Word, young people, and YOU WAIT! You wait until you are standing there on the sea of nations, and in that sea it is calm. It is crystal clear. It is calm and it is like glass, it is flat. There are no waves, there’s no turbulence there, but in that glass you can see the fire, you can see the symbol and the sign of fire there. You know that that sea has only been calmed down by that fire, and in the Word of God, the nations are represented as a troubled sea whose waters have cast up mire and dirt. Then they are represented by a sea of glass in which there is no sign of fire, but it is crystal clear. The nations are at peace and it is represented by no more sea, because the nations are cast away, and you will only have one nation upon the face of the earth, and you wait until you’re standing there, and the smoke of Armageddon is rising, and then blows away as the dreaded judgment is over, and the nations have settled down, and you are standing on a sea of glass, and you see the result of the victory which Christ has gained over the beast to bring peace and tranquillity to the earth.

You wait until that day, and your heart will VIBRATE like a harp, and you will sing, “GREAT and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty,” and you will mean every word you say, because in that day you will be moved by the power of Christ to sing as you have never sung before.

And you will notice that all these songs are styled new songs. But they are not new. The words have been there for centuries. Our forefathers knew that song. Why, a Roman Catholic priest could read that song. There’s nothing new about the words. What then does the Revelation mean when it says they shall sing a “new song”? The word means to ‘rebuild’. There’s nothing new. It is something which has been ‘rebuilt’. It means ‘fresh’. And won’t it be fresh, because this is the song as Revelation 14 says, that will be sung by no other but these people, and yet the words are there.

We are going to stand up tonight, I believe, and hear the “Hallelujah Chorus” sung. It will be wonderful. I like it. But it will NEVER be sung the way we are going to sing it. The people who will sing this Hallelujah Chorus know nothing about the songs of the redeemed. But that choral item will only mean something to us if we translate the terms of that music in harmony with the Truth as we see it. We are part of all the people on the face of the earth that the Lord God Almighty has condescended to call from the dust of the ground. Who are we, young people? We are the vapour that appears for a little time, and is gone forever. We are the dust of the earth. We are nothing in God’s sight. We are of all men miserable, we are sinners—few and evil have our days been upon the earth. WHO ARE WE that the Lord God Almighty should condescend to draw us from the dust of the earth and give us eternal life? When we realise that, we are really going to appreciate the intent of this song.