The change from our present frail weak nature to immortality will surely be accompanied  by the desire to give perpetual praise to the  One Who has made this change possible. And what more appropriate way than to burst forth in song with a strength and vigour that was never achievable  in our mortal frame.

We want to honour Almighty God now, but  sometimes feel inadequate. With hearts full of  gratitude and wonder we try to ‘give our all’ but  we are restricted by our earthly limitations. Not  so in immortality when there are no bounds to our strength and vigour. What better way will we,  with all the multitude of the redeemed, express our praise together than to engage in singing with all  our new-found vitality.

We stand on Mount Zion and feel the reality  of Psalm 87:7 – “as well the singers as the players  upon instruments are there.” Each person holds  his musical instrument in his hand. No matter if  he or she has learned the technique of playing in  this life. For in the new state, like the apostles on  the day of Pentecost, the skill and energy required are there at the fingertips or in the voice. And the  joy is experienced by all present, the audience (the  angels) as well as by us, the singers.

Our vision unfolds with each person holding  his harp, “for he is himself a ‘harp of the Deity’  and therefore an instrument of joy” (John Thomas,  Eureka iii 388).

Music – a measure of spirit

Music is a barometer of the mood and spirit of a  community. Dejected and in great distress, captive  Israel could only “hang [their] harps upon the  willows” (Psa 137:2), when their jeering captors  called for a song. Yet Jeremiah had assured them  that the day would come when praise would be  heard once more in the streets of Jerusalem (33:11).  It was Job’s bitter experience that “my harp also is  turned to mourning, and my organ into the voice  of them that weep” (Job 30:31). When the sorrows  and torment of Babylon will be meted out, their  music will cease forever – “the voice of harpers,  and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall  be heard no more at all in thee” (Rev 18:22).

But now, what joy! – what excitement! – what  wonderful pleasure to be among that glorious crowd  and offer praise to Yahweh and His Son, the great  redeemer of the faithful gathered from all ages.  Be it “four living ones” or “twenty-four elders”  or “harpers”, each of these redeemed ones desires with his whole heart and soul to worship him who  sits on the throne (Rev 4:9,10).

Angels (“worship him all ye gods” Psa 97:7)  join with the redeemed in singing, “Worthy is the  Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches,  and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory,  and blessing” (Rev 5:12).

Yet there is more to come – a “new song” will  be sung. But this time it is the blessing of the saints  alone to sing. The audience listening to the “divine  melody of the new oratorio” (Bro Thomas) is none  other than the angels who, for the past 7,000 years,  have looked over the affairs of those called from the  nations to manifest the name of the Father. No doubt  they look with pleasure on this glorious throng as  they enjoy the musical festival on Mt Zion. Brother  Thomas comments that, “Never will such an  extraordinary choir have delighted so magnificent  and dignified an assembly on earth before.”

At Jesus’ birth

When ever did a massed choir of the angelic  host sing with such great joy before? Surely on  no less an event than the birth of the promised  Messiah. The occasion, though glorious beyond  our comprehension, was witnessed by an audience  of just a few country shepherds. But God chose His  witnesses well. As shepherds in the night watches  they were privileged to hear “a multitude of the  heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to  God in the highest, And on earth peace among men  with whom he is pleased” (Luke 2:13,14 nasb).

That heavenly host can now look back at the  start of the millennial age in satisfaction, having  witnessed his birth, his death at the hands of cruel  men, the ensuing 2,000 years of Messiah’s work  and now this great festival of praise to God from  a great immortal throng. That same child that they  celebrated two millennia before is now the ruler of  the world – the Lord of the whole earth.

A new song

This band of the redeemed multitude was not  auditioned in the same manner as human musicians.  Instead, each of them has been transformed for  the task. They have emerged from the dust of the  ground to stand in awe before the bar of the just  Judge. Then as a life-giving energy surges into their  body, they realize they now share that nature of the  great Judge himself. These things make them fit to  sing the “new song”: “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” (Rev  5:9,10). What a joy for us to be there on that day!  God wants us there. So let us renew our efforts today  and respond in faith and love to our Father’s call.

“Thou hast redeemed us” are words that we, the  redeemed – not the angels – can sing. Our Lord has  not redeemed the angels; only those whose mortal  life was on this earth utter those words – those  clothed in white robes whose names were written in  the book of life. The song is taught by the Father to  all His true disciples “when he writes his new name  upon them; and they sing it, when He plays upon  them as his harps” (Bro Thomas). The Eternal Spirit  has flashed a knowledge upon their memories, both  of the past and what will come in the future. This  new personal consciousness comes from having  the Father’s name written in their foreheads, not  with ink but with the Spirit of the living God in  fleshy tables of the heart (2 Cor 3:3). They are now  inspired to sing the song of redemption.

More praise

Is praise restricted to those brought from the dust of  the earth? Of course not. Why should it be so? The  whole earth will come to acknowledge the greatness  of the one who sits on the throne and his mighty  Father. Yes, the angels will praise him, “Let all the  angels of God worship him” (Heb 1:6), so will we,  the saints, the Bride of the great King: “he is thy  Lord and worship thou him” (Psa 45:12).

Gentiles have their turn, “the daughter of Tyre  shall be there with a gift” (Psa 45:12). The Jewish  people will acknowledge “the stone which the  builders refused” who has become the head of the  corner (Psa 118:21–25).

Light out of darkness

“I am the light of the world”, our Lord said. That  such a light was needed is revealed by the almost  impenetrable darkness that cloaked the world of his  mortal pilgrimage. As the “only begotten Son” he  was a complete revelation of the Father that shone  forth in the darkness of “Galilee of the Gentiles”  (Isa 9:2). Dreadful things took place during his brief  time on the earth. It was only through the eye of faith that his contemporaries could see through the  gloom to the time when the subdued and enlightened  nations would come streaming up to Jerusalem for  worship. Yes, no longer armies seeking her out for  destruction, but as people privileged to be present  at her gates in company with the restored house of  Israel (Zech 8:22–23).

“All they from Sheba shall come: they shall  bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth  the praises of the Lord” (Isa 60:6). This is rendered  by the Tanakh, “They all shall come from Sheba;  They shall bear gold and frankincense, And shall  herald the glories of the Lord”. The esv rendering  is, “They shall bring the good news, the praises of  the Lord.” Good news for sure.

Continual praise

Unlike the praises heaped on the victors in our  society, whose insubstantial crowns quickly wither  as the dying strains of the crowd’s roar, the praises  and worship of our God will be a continual cycle for  the millennium. Isaiah declares, “And it shall come  to pass, that from one new moon to another, and  from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to  worship before me, saith the Lord.” (Isa.66:23)

The end

The wonderful time will come when “all enemies”  will be put under his feet (1 Cor 15:25). The  troubled nations have been stilled – the sea has  become “glass”, at peace. That true peace will only  be enjoyed by those “men with whom he is pleased”  (cp Luke 2:14 nasb). The blessing of Abraham will  have come on all nations who join with Christ’s  royal priesthood to sing: “We give thee thanks, O  Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art  to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great  power, and hast reigned” (Rev 11:17).

Is the great God praised for His wisdom and  mighty works? Certainly – “Great and marvellous  are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true  are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not  fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou  only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship  before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest”  (Rev15:3,4).

The voices of the redeemed, our voices, are  lifted to the Father – “Alleluia; Salvation, and  glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our  God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for  he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt  the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the  blood of his servants at her hand. And again they  said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and  ever. And the four and twenty elders and the four  beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on  the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. And a voice  came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all  ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and  great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great  multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as  the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia:  for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be  glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the  marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath  made herself ready” (Rev 19:1–7)

Let us imbibe the spirit of praise from the  Scriptures, savouring in our heart and on our lips  that we may anticipate the reality of the fulness of  joy and pray that God’s mercy will enable us to be  part of that glorious throng.