Are You Correctly Tuned In?
Music has always played an important part in the lives of human beings. There is no culture in the whole world which is musicless. According to the scriptural tradition, music was first invented by a man called Jubal, the son of Lamech, who "was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ" (Gen.4:21). This, however, almost certainly refers to the instruments in question, for we know from the Holy Order's collection of ancient scriptures that music has always existed, from the days of Adam.
There have always been two types of music in this world -- music dedicated to the Lord, and music which may generally be called "secular" or "worldly". The Bible tells us that music was first consecrated to the service of the Temple from early times as well as for festive occasions such as marriages and God's holy days (Is.5:12; Am.6:5; 1 Macc.9:37,39). King David, the friend of the Lord, organized a Levitical Priesthood choir and orchestra (1 Chr.15:16-24). Yet with all that the Bible tells us about music and its place in religious and social life, we have no idea what that music sounded like. No system of notation existed that we know of so we will probably never know. The Bible is therefore of little help in our quest to understand what is godly music and what is not. For this reason, divine revelation is absolutely essential.
Now the Holy Order could, if it wished, publish a selection of music which it has declared to be inspired, and to a certain extent it already does that. However, the Order has a much more important duty to educate New Covenant Christians how to discern music, by the Holy Spirit, for themselves. In order to do this we can gain tremendous help from the Scriptures. Let us therefore study some spiritual keys to help us in our quest to understand what is, and what is not, acceptable music in the ears of the Lord.
Much music today is lyrical. In other words, it is accompanied by words. If music is of this kind, the first place we must search for light and truth is in the words being sung. It is important, however, that we distinguish between the words and the melody, and understand that just because the words in a song are bad it doesn't mean that the music itself if bad, or vice versa.
If you listen to virtually all worldly music today you will discover that its lyrics normally fall into one of three categories: (1) Immoral lyrics which exalt violence, hate, and free sex; (2) Romantic lyrics, about falling in love; and (3) Religious lyrics. Often the first two categories are mixed together.
Every New Covenant Christian listening to music lyrics must ask him- or herself some very fundamental questions. The most important question must be: Do the lyrics honour God? Do they honour the commandments? Do they uphold the virtues of wholesome family life? Or to put it another way: Would you, with a pure conscience, play such music in the presence of Christ? Would you be ashamed to play it in Church?
More difficult than discerning lyrics is discerning melodies. Music has changed a great deal over the centuries. Go into any music shop and you can buy religious, classical, popular, jazz, rock, folk, New Age, and many other types of music. Moreover, there are many different types of these -- traditional classic and avant garde classic, rock and hard rock, etc.. How are we to know what is of God, and what is not?
The problem with discerning music itself is a question of sensitivity. One man's sensitivity may be another's coarseness. Speaking of the last days, Moses prophesied: "Even the most gentle and sensitive men among you will have no compassion on his own brother or the wife he loves or his...children" (Deut.28:54, NIV). "Even the most gentle and sensitive woman among you .. so sensitive and gentle that she would not venture to touch the ground with the sole of her foot -- will begrudge the husband she loves and her own son or daughter" (v.56).
The rules governing music are little different from those governing speech, and the Bible has much to say about the latter, Like it or not, music affects our moods. It changes our attitudes and can sometimes influence us to do things that we would never dream of doing in more rational moments. The reason this is so is because music is intimately connected to the feelings.
We all know the power of music on King Saul. David, like all shepherd boys of his time, was a harpist. His music, filled as it was with the Spirit, brought peace of Saul's troubled mind. Good music does that. Bad music either does the opposite, stirring up passion, or numbs the senses so completely that we can't feel properly. The writer of Proverbs said: "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" (Prov.15:1, NIV). The same is true for music. Used in the proper way, music is a gift of God to stimulate the heart to righteous feelings, and the mind to righteous thoughts. The feelings and thoughts, thus stimulated, make direct contact with the spirit within. Music, then, is a vehicle towards one of three things:
For New Covenant Christians, only one type of music is acceptable: that which leads us into the spiritual presence of the Lord.
(1) Union with God;
(2) Union with devils, or
(3) Union with the ego.
That does not mean, however, that the only acceptable music is so-called "religious" music. Far too much music, Christian as well as worldly, consists of Christian lyrics accompanied by devilish or sensual melodies. All forms of Christian rock, and most forms of Christian "pop" music are, notwithstanding the fine lyrics, devilish, and unacceptable listening for members of this Covenant.
When you are listening to music, listen to your feelings. Would you, having listened to a piece of music, be able to instantly go into a praise and worship meeting and worship the Lord? Would you be able to sit down in quietness and pray to God? Are feelings of rebellion, lust, covetousness, or even depression caused by listening to certain kinds of music?
Before you answer that question there is something else you need to know. Our taste for music, like our taste for food, our behaviour patterns, and even our conscience, has to be trained. It is not automatic. Everything that we do, think, feel, or listen to trains up our inner man to react in certain ways.
It is not so with newborn children. New-born children are acutely sensitive to music. Experiments have been done in which the newborn in hospital wards are played fine classical musical and pop music at different times. Without exception, the babies slept far better when fine classical music was played.
The same is true of plants. When I was at Oxford University I remember reading an astonishing paper in which it was reported that plants played fine classical music moved towards, and wrapped themselves around, the speakers, whereas pop music had the opposite effect, causing the plants to grow away from the source of sound.
Brethren and sisters, if you are repelled by fine classical music, or find it boring, and are attracted to pop music, it is because your spirit body has been wrongly trained. It has heard all the wrong kind of music and has been trained by you to reponed favourably to bad music and to be hostile to good music. This feeling pattern will have been re-enforced by your friends and acquaintances in the world who, lacking sound spiritual judgment, will have influenced you to accept their norms, conditioned you to look upon good music as "old fashioned" or (in the case of boys) "effeminate" or "childish". But they're not the only ones responsible -- 95% of music on TV, on the radio, on cassettes, videos, CDs, etc., is bad. It is soul-destroying. And its prevalence in the world is no accident. It is all a part of a devilish plan by evil spirits to desensitise people to spiritual things so that when the Gospel is preached to them they are so coarse and harsh that they reject it without a second thought.
Bad music is addictive, like a drug. By using certain kinds of rhythms and by repeating musical sequences and lyrics over and over again, bad music brain-washes and heart-washes the listener. New-age music, which has been revealed from the dark spirit world to gurus, employs even more subtle methods, using what sounds like fine orchestral music but removing certain melodies and chords which evoke what may loosely termed sentimentality. Its purpose, like an anaesthetic, is to send your spirit to sleep so that evil spirits can enter. Such techniques, in rather more crude forms, have been known by witchdoctors and the purveyors of magic for thousands of years.
Repetitious lyrics and dull, rhythmic drum beats are part and parcel of bad music. And it's to be found in most modern Christian music too. The music used by modern Christians is almost the same as that used in worldly music and, in some cases, demonic music. Their rhythms usually stimulate the sexual regions without the listeners being aware, which in turn cause desires to arise which eventually lead to sin. Take the rhythm out of pop music and the music is stone dead.
Most pop music and all rock music are almost entirely dependent on one particular instrument, namely, the electric guitar. Much could be said about this instrument of spiritual destruction but I will be brief here. Tests have shown that this instrument, particularly when amplified, causes widespread destruction of brain-cells. Its brother, you might say, is the drums. Together, they produce a potent, destructive combination. Drums are often deliberately synchronised with the heart beat, which is progressively manipulated by speeding up the tempo, creating heightened physical excitement. The creators of rock music, most of whom are devil-worshippers, know this and exploit it to the full. It is this music which has created idolatrous worship in fans of rock stars to the point that many would be willing to die for them and na´ve girls have offered their bodies to them.
Brethren and sisters, this matter of music is a deadly serious one which is why we, in the New Covenant, take such special care over it, and why we expect our members to undergo spiritual education in it and to forsake that music pronounced harmful by the Apostolate.
Music is a terrible weapon in the wrong hands. Good music is often used in films as background music to immoral scenes, thus subconsciously convincing the listener that immorality is OK. Beware. There are few films these days which don't use such manipulative techniques. Beware also of rock music which includes reverse transcripts, lyrics played backwards which are unintelligible to the conscious mind but which is picked up by the subconscious. Most of them are devilish, urging worship of Satan.
The apostle Peter said that a woman's beauty comes from "the inner self, (from) the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight" (1 Pet.3:4, NIV). The music of heaven stimulates gentleness, sensitivity, goodness, loving-kindness, and quietness in God's people. The music of the world, and of demons, stimulates egotism and desires to do evil.
The spirit world, from which we came and to which we shall return when we die, is alive with music. I have heard it. It is the most beautiful music imaginable. Not only are humans singing but animals and plants too. The whole of God's world is alive. Even water molecules sing! The whole of this world is like a giant orchestra, as quiet as a whisper and only discernable when you consciously listen to it. I remember many years ago being taken in the spirit to a world that was being created. I watched as grass, plants and trees grew up before my eyes, rather as in time-lapse photography. The marvel of it all was not so much the speed of it all, but the melodies emanating from every living thing. The whole planet was one of harmony.
You may be surprised to learn that your spirit, without your being conscious of it, is emanating music. Your spirit, which is highly sensitive, records all that you hear and plays it back to you. The more you listen to a particular kind of music, the more it becomes re-enforced, and you hear it with your inner ear. If you once stop listening to one particular kind of music, it will eventually disappear, and become replaced by the new kind you listen to.
Though I have never personally liked pop music (and I praise the Lord for that), I have, in the past, had an unhealthy love of military music which shaped much of my thinking and feeling. I have progressively changed my listening patterns over time, however, so that I no longer hear it with my inner ear. I also used to like many forms of classical music which I now know to be bad, and which I have excised from my inner music library.
For those of you coming out of the world, learning to retrain your ears to that which is good is a most important step in your spiritual lives. Without it, there can be no complete spiritual growth. Remember, that whatever binds you in this life -- whether it be drugs, bad music, or whatever -- you will take with you into the next. So I urge you, in all love, to throw out every kind of music that is not of God from your houses. If you are not sure, ask your Pastor or your local Apostle for advice. If your local Colony is holding a seminar on music, do your best to attend it. It might mean the difference between your salvation and destruction. Amen.
This page was created on 21 May 1998
Last updated on 21 May 1998
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