“Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous, praise is comely for the upright.”
There can be no pretense of adulation or praise of Yehovah God for any of the sons of Adam. Though they may reason in their minds that they are sincere, though they feel themselves unworthy and of a contrite heart or though they have temporarily subjected their minds and bodies to severe disciplines of hardship and privation yet man who is born of woman cannot rightly praise the Master. Countless institutions of higher learning along with inspirational messages made by highly motivated speakers are of no avail to the natural man. Adam was formed from the dust of the earth, his affections, passions and desires are for the things of this world and the satisfaction of the flesh. He is not a spiritual being, he is not spiritually minded and he does not receive nor can he know the things of the Spirit of God.
God, however, is Spirit and they that worship Him must do so in spirit and truth. Those who are of the eternal seed of God are born of the Spirit of the Most High from above. These have communion through the Spirit with the Father and are one in Him as He is One. They are members in particular and being fitly framed together they grow into the Holy habitation of God. They are manifested in time as they become partakers of flesh and blood yet they have eternal life which is not affected or influenced by time. This is the body of Messiah, the Bride of the Beloved, the city of Zion set upon the mountain and the church of the living God. No man can number this host of every tribe, every people, every kindred and every tongue yet they are one in Him. They are not identified by any specific attribute of Adam save the fact that they have been made subject to the vanity of this world and dwell in a body of death.
These peculiar people, this Israel of our God and Jerusalem which is from above is called the righteousness of Yehovah (Jer. 33:16). They are identified as sons of God. They are sons because they are of an incorruptible seed which has been born of God. They have nothing that is contrary to the nature and characteristics of Yehovah God for they have been hewn from that Rock. They have nothing in Adam that is capable of approaching unto Him, that desires His ways or seeks after Him and have not the understanding nor the power or strength to assist Him in His work. They live, move and have their being by Him, through Him and for Him. As He is faithful, so they are steadfast in all things. As He is pure and Holy so they are without spot of blemish as they are adorned in His righteousness. Since there is no shadow of turning in His immutability so they cannot deny Him nor commit anything that misses the mark and falls short of the glory of God.
Thus they rejoice in Him and call upon His name in a pure language to serve Him with one consent (Zeph. 3:9). This conduct does not procure unto them the attributes of righteousness or the privilege of sonship but is the attribute of their nature as they stand righteous in the perfection of the beauty of His Holiness. There is no accusation to be made against them for the accuser of the brethren has been cast out. There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus since they do not walk according to the flesh but after the Spirit. They live by the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen by the flesh and as His eternal love has forever been upon them and can never be diminished, interrupted or terminated so they return that identical love in exact magnitude and longevity unto Him and His people.
Thus this beautiful adoration (comely praise) is exclusively upon the upright, the just and the agreeable children of Yehovah. Adam has no right of passage, no memorial of the land of this nativity and no portion of the inheritance of the children of light. He cannot form the words, he does not know the native tongue and he is not a partaker in the finished work, therefore he cannot rejoice in Yehovah. And so, the only way one may “rejoice evermore” (I Thes. 5:16) is if they, having eternal life and being born of the eternal seed, are children of God. No one else has the right or the ability to offer up the sacrifice of praise.
“Praise the Lord with the harp. Sing unto Him with the psaltery, an instrument of ten strings”
Every second of the existence of the creation of God stands as testament to His sovereign authority over all things and thus everything in heaven, in the earth and under the earth praises His Holy name. Indeed the invisible things of God are clearly seen being manifested by the works of His hands so that man is without excuse (Rms. 1:20). Yet these are not intended nor empowered to change the carnal nature of Adam so as to make him able to utter praise unto God. If he could do such a thing, then would he have somewhat to glorify himself in the flesh and no flesh shall ever glory in the presence of Yehovah. Adam himself is part of this great wonder and as such his actions, his accomplishments, his failures and even his wrath praises God (Ps. 76:10) being part and parcel to His irresistible will. However nothing inherent to the flesh can rightly praise God or approach unto His throne.
Although many of the sons of Adam have been blessed of the Lord to be able to understand music and play beautifully upon many instruments there is none who can play the instruments of Jerusalem nor sing the songs of Zion. Though many religiously minded individuals and groups have learned to incorporate the harp, voil, tabret and pipes in their feasts and ceremonies of worship (Is 5:12) yet they are completely inadequate as a means of praise unto Yehovah God. The voice of man is corrupt, the mind and imaginations are carnally limited and the works of his hands are polluted. Any instrument he may fashion would be of the earth, earthly and thus the sounds he may bring forth could be nothing more than vile and empty, though they may sound wonderful to his natural ears.
God has never requested of anyone for them to play Him a song or sing Him a melody. Rather He has commanded His people to ‘confess Yehovah by twanging and making music upon the skin-bag of ten strings’. This not only seems rather bizarre but would no doubt send forth a sound that was objectionable to the most liberal music critic and an annoyance to the ears of man. Yet John saw and heard this very plucking sound being played in the presence of the Lamb of God. He did not hear them playing familiar tunes so that the indigenous habitants of earth would be gathered together and join in with the festivities only to find that they had been conned into having to listen to a self appointed evangelist as he attempted to woo them into accepting Jesus into their hearts. John did not hear a sweet melodious sound that would soothe the ears of the listeners or accommodate those with discriminating tastes and thus assimilate it into the ceremonies of the people.
John heard, as it were a new song (Rev. 14:2f). This was a sound and a song that he had never heard in his many years among the nation of Israel though the law and the prophets spoke often about them both. He had been given ears to hear this sound and to recognize the meaning thereof. He knew that this was the sure sound of a certain trumpet because he was a subject of that kingdom and had been born in that land. He knew the voice of that peculiar people, the songs of the homeland and the Word of the King. No other sound can mimic the songs of Jerusalem though Adam attempts it often. None but the strangers and sojourners in a foreign land remember the tunes or can sound forth the praise. When the people of the captivity of the flesh demand to hear that sound and ask to sing along, supposing that they serve the same God and seek the same city not made with hands, then are the harps hung by the rivers of Babylon and the voices kept silent. The songs of Yehovah cannot be sung in a strange land (Ps. 137:2) for they are the songs of the deliverance of His people. The inhabitants of the world have no ear for the music, cannot understand the words and are incapable of speaking in the pure language of righteousness.
“Sing unto Him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise”
This is not the old song of the covenant made in the wilderness for that was a covenant of death and condemnation which stood only in type and foreshadow. When it pleased Yehovah to reveal to a man that he could not keep the law nor be justified in observing the deeds thereof, he was then also shown his condemnation for “sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4). The perfect demand of God’s Law is perfect and absolute obedience. Adam was not created capable of measuring up to that standard of holiness and when it came to pass that this should be made manifest, he hearkened unto the voice of his wife and did eat (Gen. 3:17). Every child of Adam since has been born separated from God because they have ‘fallen by the side’, ‘missed the mark’, ‘violated His law’ and ‘have no portion or share’ in the eternal life (dead in trespasses and sins Eph. 2:1).
In order for there to be a new song, there must be a new covenant completely distinct from the first. This new covenant is the everlasting covenant of God and His chosen people. It is a song for and of the congregation of the living who tabernacle in the fullness of the Godhead. It can have nothing to do with Adam for his hands are polluted, his mind is corrupt and his ways are carnal. The child of grace cannot attempt to sing the song of deliverance while utilizing the abilities and skills body of this death in the bondage of this corruption. The Spirit groans within in anticipation of the glory which shall be revealed, the deliverance from the bondage of corruption, the adoption and the manifestation of the sons of God (Rms. 8:23). Since the seed within cannot be corrupted, it can have nothing to do with that which is carnal, sold under sin.
The skillfulness of the singers of this new song is because of the rejoicing in the experience of the deliverance. One who has not experienced this liberty may have all the trappings and outward appearances of the tabernacle in the wilderness but they have not the substance of the heavenly thing. These can only go through the motions as they draw nigh unto God with their lips having form but no substance. Their heart is a heart of stone wherein the handwriting of ordinances stands in condemnation against them by the very deeds wherein they think themselves just. The children of the covenant of grace know that in their flesh dwells no good thing and that by the shed blood of the Lamb of God they have been delivered from the house of the strongman. They claim no right of themselves but cry unto the cornerstone of the Temple of God, grace and grace alone.
This proclamation is made with a tumultuous sound of war for Yehovah has roared out of Zion with His army with banners. It is the shout of the joy of the victory for the Anointed of Yehovah had vanquished the foes, defeated the enemies and overcome the world. He had placed all His enemies under His footstool, He has redeemed unto Himself His Holy people, the redeemed of Yehovah (Is. 62:12), He has taken His great power and He reigns sovereign over all as He is seated in the throne of the Ancient of days. His people praise Him aright, being seated together with Him in the heavenlies, as they sing the 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 has made us unto our God, kings and priests and we shall reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:9).
These continually sing the song of the righteousness of the judgment of God against all wickedness, the power of His majesty over His creation and His honour and glory as the King of all Kings and Lord of all Lords. They shout about the finished work that Messiah has accomplished for they have entered into His rest.
John heard this plucking of the ten strings upon the skin bag (psaltry) which represents the remnant (the tenth) according to grace as they inhabit the earthen vessels afore prepared for them. This sound of praise unto our God is the gates of the city of the New Jerusalem (Is. 60:18) which is Messiah who suffered in the flesh. He became a partaker of the ‘skin-bag’, the likeness of sinful man, and finished the work in righteousness. He glorified the Father in all that He did and His children, who abide in Him, do the same. They can do nothing without Him as they walk the path that He has walked before them. John heard the sound of the harps and saw the harpers with their harps as they had come forth out of great tribulation and entered into the rest of Messiah. He heard the harpers as the great whore Babylon, the mother of all harlots and abomination of the earth was cast down and destroyed by the power of the Lamb (Rev. 18:2).
“For the Word of the Lord is right and all His works in truth”
The Word of God is alive and powerful for He is God. He is one in the Father and has been manifestly declared to be the Son of God, with power according to the Spirit of holiness by His resurrection from the dead (Rms. 1:4). He has come forth from heaven upon that white horse and being called “Faithful and True’ He has both judged and made war. His eyes were aflame with fire and His vesture was dipped in blood yet He clothed His army in fine linen pure and white which is His imputed righteousness as they follow Him. Another’s voice the Bride will not hear and no other name will she not accept save the name of the Father with is engraved upon her forehead (Rev. 14:1). His sheep are safe in the pasture of their Good Shepherd. They walk in the footsteps of the flock and feed beside the shepherds tent (Song 1:8) and no man can pluck them out of His hands. His vineyard is an enclosed garden and a sealed fountain (Song 4:12). His Jerusalem is a city whose walls are the salvation of Yehovah and living stones. No son of the dust of the earth, no dogs, wild beasts of the field or the fowls of the air shall ever enter therein for all abominations and all that love and maketh a lie are without the gates (Rev. 21:27 & 22:15).
The Word came forth as the servant of God to do His will and finish the work set before Him in all righteousness. He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the shame and disgrace of the death of the cross. For the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross, despised the shame and is now seated at the right hand of the Father (Heb. 12:2). He alone knew what was needed to be done. He alone knew how that work was to be accomplished. He was the only one who could perform and finish the work set before Him. He looked and there was none to help and He wondered that there was none to uphold, therefore His own arm brought salvation unto Himself and His fury upheld Him (Is. 63:5).
Therefore, beloved of the Lord and fellow companions in the tribulations and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, count it all joy when He brings you through these trials for herein He demonstrates His great love. Esteem the hand of God upon you as His confirmation of sonship and know that though these manifestations appear painful and hopeless, He will never leave nor forsake His Beloved. Herein is patience and her perfect way “that ye may be complete and entire, lacking nothing” (Jms 1:4). Rejoice in the Lord for He has counted you worthy not only to believe but to suffer for His name sake. Herein do His people praise His name. He that has begun this work in you is Faithful and shall continue the work unto the end. So shall he that endures to the end be delivered (Matt. 10:22).
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
January 5, 2014