The Golden Calf at Mount Mount Sinai – Musical Idolatry: At Mount Sinai Israel fell back into Egyptian Idolatry with Music and Lost the Covenant. The battle between the One True God and idolatry has always been between the male principle expresed in words and the female principle expressed in music, dance and fertility rituals. John said, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” The Lord is never the Lord of Dance, Drama or Music.
“And the people celebrated this feast with burnt-offerings and thank-offerings, with eating and drinking, i.e. with sacrificial meals and sports, or with loud rejoicing, shouting, antiphonal songs, and dances, in the same manner in which the Egyptians celebrated their feast of Apis (Herod. 2, 60, and 3, 27).” (Keil and Delitzsch, Vol. II, p. 222).
The Golden Calf or “The Apis bull, as depicted in this Egyptian statuette, is likely to be the pattern used for the golden calf the Israelites made at Mount Sinai (Exo. 32), since they were undoubtedly quite familiar with it as a result of their long captivity in Egypt. Note that in front of the sun disk and horns, which looks virtually identical to some Catholic monstrances, there is the serpent poised to strike. In Scripture the serpent is symbolic of Satan. (Gen 3, Rev. 12:9)
“This is an image of the Egyptian goddess Isis. Her headdress shows the sun disk within the horns of an Apis bull, symbology which is virtually identical to that of the sunburst monstrance. Also of note, in Isis lap is her infant son, Horus. In this one image you have the symbology of the Catholic monstrance and Mother / child worship which is so prominent in Catholicism.“The Egyptian pharaoh also claimed to be the embodiment of Horus on earth, much like the pope claims to be the infallible Vicar of Christ on earth.
“The priest (here the Pope) sometimes holds up the sunburst monstrance with the host encased for the congregation to adore and venerate. Virtually any time the monstrance, a pagan sun symbol, is viewed by the congregation, they kneel in submission. A Catholic cannot walk past this sun symbol without acknowledging it by kneeling and or making the sign of the cross with their hands.
Theodoret (Quasten, Music & Worship, p. 65) claimed that the Jews brought liturgical music from Egypt and Philo wrote that “Moses learned rhythm, harmony, meter and everything concerned with instrumental music from the Egyptians.” This is why Moses knew that the noise at Mount Sinai was not the sound of defeat or of victory. Rather, it was the “sound of them singing that I hear.”
The Jews sang in the type of the Egyptian threnodies (elegies for the dead):Thus they made a golden bull, the image of an animal that was held to be the most sacred in that land;
they offered unholy sacrifices, performed impious dances and sang hymns
which differed in no way from the pagan mourning songs. Philo, De specialibus legibus
[Jesus threw them out more or less violently]
“This reference probably indicates the use of songs from the cult of Osiris… it can hardly be denied that Egyptian influence on Jewish musical practices was quite significant. This would stand to reason because of the high quality of Egyptian cultic music. The tambourine or timbrel, a hoop of bells over which a white skin was stretched, came from Egypt. Miriam used this instrument to accompany the singing and dancing on the shores of the Red Sea (Ex. 15).
“The trumpet… was the signaling instrument of the Egyptian army. The name of the Sistrum (2 Sam 6:5) was mena’ane‘im. It was the Egyptian kemken used in the cult of Isis.
The music during the transferring the Ark to Sion (David rose up to play)and the dances of the women at the Shiloh (Judges 21:21), were similar to the Egyptian liturgy and parades.
“As Herodotus reports, women sang the praises of Osiris while liknesses of the gods were born about and, during the festival of Diana at Bubastis,……….. Women’s singing was a vital part of all pagan worship. In very……….. times women became priestly singers of the gods in the temple.
“Women and girls from the different ranks of society were proud to enter the service of the gods as singers and musicians. The understanding of this service was universal: these singers constituted the ‘harem of the gods’.” (Johannes Quasten. In Music and Worship in Pagan and Christian Antiquity, beginning on page 41)
The Egyptian Opis (The Golden Calf or Apis) and others which Israel worshipped at Mount Sinal were worshipped throughout the area. “In preference to all other hymns these choirs generally sang the so-called epiphany hymns, which were intended to invite the gods to appear. Plutarch wrote:
Why do the women of Elis call upon God in song to approach them with the bull’s foot? Their song is the following:
- Come, Dionysus, Hero,
- into the holy temple of Elis,
- together with the Graces
- come violently into the temple with the bull’s foot!
- Then they sang twice at the end: “Sacred Bull!” (Johannes Quasten, Music & Worship
in Pagan and Christian Antiquity, p. 76)
Choirs of young girls often officiated and they wore garments of the dancers consecrated to the gods. (The ephod was once a feminine apron)
Choirs of young girls often officiated and they wore garments of the dancers consecrated to the gods.Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel,
Strepho (g4761) stref’-o; strengthened from the base of 5157; to twist, i.e. turn quite around or reverse (lit. or fig.): – convert, turn (again, back again, self, self about).
have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness? Acts 7:42
Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon. Acts 7:43
According to Stephen, the star image they used in the wilderness was:
Kiyyun (h3594) kee-yoon’; from 3559; prop. a statue, i. e. idol; but used (by euphemism) for some heathen deity (perh. corresp. to Priapus or Baal-peor): – Chiun.
Mystically Vach is masculine and feminine at will, as in the Hebrew Genesis Eve is with Adam. It is through her power that Brahma produced the universe. Blavatsky points out that Brahma produced through Vach in the same way that the incomprehensible assumes a tangible form through speech, words, and numbers (cf SD 1:430).
Vach through her productive powers produced what Pythagoras called the music of the spheres.
The teachings of Pythagoras also speak of the hierarchies of the heavenly host as numbered and expressed in numbers. Vach is equivalent, in some aspects, to Isis, Aditi, mulaprakriti, the waters of space, chaos, and the Qabbalistic Sephirah.
“Whether as Aditi, or the divine Sophia of the Greek Gnostics, she is the mother of the seven sons: the ‘Angels of the Face,’ of the ‘Deep,’ or the ‘Great Green One’ of the ‘Book of the Dead’ ” (SD 1:434).
These feminine logoi are all correlations of light, sound, and ether. In many aspects Vach approaches Kwan-yin, she of the melodious voice.
Lucifer (Latin) Light-bringer [cf Greek Phosphoros; or Eosphoros dawn-bringer]; the planet Venus, the morning star. Lucifer is light bringer to earth, not only physically as the brightest of the planets, but in a mystical sense also. In mysticism he is the chief of those minor powers or logoi who are said to rebel against high heaven and to be cast down to the bottomless pit — the so-called war in heaven and the fall of the angels.
Amos said the same thing and God warned them:
Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. Amos 5:23…….. But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream. Amos 5: 24
But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves. Amos 5: 26…….. Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the Lord,…….. whose name is The God of hosts. Amos 5: 27
“The Egyptians do not hold a single solemn assembly, but several in the course of the year. Of these the chief, which is better attended than any other, is held at the city of Bubastis in honour of Diana. The next in importance is that which takes place at Busiris, a city situated in the very middle of the Delta; it is in honour of Isis, who is called in the Greek tongueDemiter (Ceres). There is a third great festival in Sais to Minerva, a fourth in Heliopolis to the Sun, a fifth in Buto to Latona, and a sixth in Papremis to Mars.
“Erotic dance was a sacred ritual in ancient Egypt, common in fertility rituals and sex magick. The most famous was the erotic dance of the priestesses of Het Heret[whom the Greeks called Hathor], but also common in the temples of Bast, Aset [Isis], and Nuit.
“During the erotic dance ritual, the priestess would actually become the Goddess in all Her glory. According to the ancient texts, during the erotic dance ritual the priestesses would achieve visionary orgasm in which great truths were revealed.
“Het Heret was the over-arching sky cow Goddess, associated with fertility and bounty and plenty. Married couples would go to the temples of Het Heret for fertility rites that would hopefully lead to a successful pregnancy. The temples were filled with sweet smelling incense.
Typically sweets and red beer or golden ale would flow freely.
The priestesses of Het Heret would dance to the rhythms of live drumming.
When the couples were sufficiently aroused, they would engage in sexual intercourse on comfortable pillows.
“The priestesses would often enter into an altered state of consciousness during erotic dance, becoming the Goddess manifest in human form. On occassion the priestesses would experience compelling spiritual visions while in this eroticly charged state.
Heredotus II notes that “The following are the proceedings on occasion of the assembly at Bubastis:-
Men and women come sailing all together, vast numbers in each boat, many of the women with castanets, which they strike, while some of the men pipe during the whole time of the voyage; the remainder of the voyagers,…….. male and female, sing the while, and make a clapping with their hands.…….. When they arrive opposite any of the towns upon the banks of the stream,…….. they approach the shore, and, while some of the women continue to play and sing,
others call aloud to the females of the place and load them with abuse, while a certain number dance, and some standing up uncover themselves. After proceeding in this way all along the river-course, they reach Bubastis, where they celebrate the feast with abundant sacrifices.…….. More grape-wine is consumed at this festival than in all the rest of the year besides.
The number of those who attend, counting only the men and women and omitting the children, amounts, according to the native reports, to seven hundred thousand.
This bearing of the gods in “tabernacles” was what Amos condemned as he equated the musical festivals of Israel to that in the wilderness. Too, the term “rose up to play” is used at the Mount Sinai event, during the murder of Samson and during David’s movement of the ark of the covenant. Paul warned the Corinthian (ch 10) and Roman (ch 10) churches about this idolatry.
Among pagans, words were not for information but for controlling the forces of the universe. If you had “charisma” which according to H.B. Parkes, possessed irrational, emotional or sexual abnormalities.
“They know the sounds words and gestures by which these forces are put in motion,
and not content with using them for their own benefit
they also teach their worshippers the art of employing them.
Thot formed no exception to this rule.
He was the lord of the voice, master of words and books, possessor and inventor of those magic writings which nothing in heaven, on earth or in hades can withstand.
He had discovered the incantations which evoke and control the gods; he had transcribed the texts and noted the melodies of these incantations;
he recited them with that true intonation which renders them all powerful,
and every one, whether god or man to whom he imparted them, and whose voice he made true…….. became like himself the master of the universe.
THEBES (Luxor) Egypt. Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites thebes
The Temple of Ptah–identified with the Greek Hephaistos, and Hathor, identified with Aphrodite–has gateways which were added during the Ptolemaic period. The fine granite gateway which lies in front of the temple of the war god Mont was built by Ptolemy Philadelphos. The small chapel to the W of the temple is also a work of the Ptolemies. The gateway of the Temple of Mut was erected by Ptolemy I Soter.
Here the king is represented shaking the sistrum, the queen plays the harp, and a princess beats a tamborine before Mut and Sekhmet.
In Thebes West, across the river, there still stand the two colossi representing Amenhotep III seated upon a throne of which the figure to the N was thought by the Greeks to be that of Memnon, one of the great heroes of the Trojan War, who was said to have led an army of the Ethiopians to the siege of that city.
The rather small but beautiful temple at Deir el-Medina is entirely a work of the Ptolemies. Augustus appears in the Temple of Amun where a statue of him was found. The additional court and pylon which are to be seen in the Temple of Nectanebos at Medinet Habu, were dedicated by Domitian. Hadrian, who visited Thebes with his wife Sabina (A.D. 130), began the construction of the temple that stands to the S of Medinet Habu and dedicated it to Isis. Antoninus Pius completed it.
In contrast to this, God gave Moses the book of the covenant which was to regulate human life and not as weapons or instruments to control Him. In worshipping the Egyptian bull,Apis (The Golden Calf), the Isralites rejected a covenant made to change their lives. When God gave “songs” they were to be recited so that others could understand and take the message to others.
The feminine or fertility principle was represented by the Egyptian Cow-eared woman, Hathor. Hathor was a kind, gentle cow but watch your step. She could become quite violent. Like many pagan gods and goddesses, people were to serve them and the gods were not to serve at all.
“Hathor leaves the sacrificial cycle to Isis and Osiris (merged with Apis) and despite being liable to volatile emotions remains the loving creatress.
“The gods play the sistrum for Hathor, the goddesses dance for her to dispel her bad temper.” As the joyful Goddess of fertility, dance, song andinebriety Hathor personifies – sex drugs and rock and roll – the very spirit and energy of the modern age.
The Sistrum From Plutarch’s Isis and Osiris. “The Sistrum is designed * * * to represent to us, that every thing must be kept incontinual agitation, and never cease from motion; that they ought to be roused and well-shaken, whenever they begin to grow drowsy as it were, and to droop in their motion.
“For, say they, the sound of these sistra averts and drives away Typho; meaning hereby, that as corruption clogs and puts a stop to the regular course of nature; so generation, by the means of motion, loosens it again, and restores it to its former vigour. Now the outer surface of this instrument is of a convex figure, as within its circumference are contained those four chords or bars [only three shown], which make such a rattling when they are shaken–nor is this without its meaning for that part of the universe which is subject to generation and corruption is contained within the sphere of the moon; and whatever motions or changes may happen therein, they are all effected by the different combinations of the four elementary bodies, fire, earth, water, and air–moreover, upon the upper part of the convex surface of the sistrum is carved the effigies of a cat with a human visage, as on the lower edge of it, under those moving chords, is engraved on the one side the face of Isis, and on the other that of Nephthys–by these faces symbolically representing generation and corruption (which, as has been already observed, is nothing but the motion and alteration of the four elements one amongst another).”
Hathor as Qadesh the Syrian fertility goddess with phallic Min. Note the Hathor crown and headdress. She stands on a lion, holding a serpent and ears of grain (Graves 1946, Pritchard 1954)
And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. Revelation 5:4
And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. Revelation 5:5
This state of exhilaration was not getting drunk on wine but often getting into a state of ecstasy or exhilaration to appease the goddess. Indeed, Hathor was the goddess of the pagan Jubilee.
“Hathor leaves the sacrificial cycle to Isis and Osiris and despite being liable to volatile emotions remains the loving creatress. “The gods play the sistrum for Hathor, the goddesses dance for her to dispel her bad temper.” As the joyful Goddess of fertility, dance, song and inebriety Hathor personifies – sex drugs and rock and roll – the very spirit and energy of the modern age. Her festival of inebriety was no mere drunken debauchery, but a state of ecstasy engendered in honour of thegoddess – pacifying her and the participants alike .
- We gladden Thy majesty daily
- And Thy heart rejoices when Thou hearest our songs
- We rejoice when we behold thee
- Every day, every day.
- For thou art the mistress of jubilation
- the mistress of music, the queen of harp-playing,
- whose face shines each day,
- who knows no sorrow.
- Our hearts are uplifted by the sight of thy majesty.
- For thou art the possessor of the garland of flowers,
- the leader of the choral dance
- The bestower of inebriety (exhilaration) that knows no end!
(Bleeker 1) Buy the book
The fertility rituals were not devoted to literal sexuality. Rather, by performing the rituals to Hathor (Ishtar, etal.) the true affection of marriage was fostered and the result would be children. In another sense the lambs would increase and the vineyards overflow with juice:
- I send a prayer to my goddess (Hathor)
- That she may give me the present of my sister (my love)”.
- O Golden One, let it be in her heart,
- Then I shall hasten to the brother (loved one)
- and I shall kiss him in the presence of his comrades
- Brother, O I am among the women
- destined for you by the Goddedss”.
- The Golden One has destined her for you, O my friend.
- I prayed for her and she heard my prayer.
- She destined my mistress for me.
- And she came of her own will to see me.
- How tremendous is that which overcame me.
- I rejoice, I exhault, I am very proud,
- since the moment when it was said :
- “See here she is”.
“She is the goddess of the nocturnal sky (netherworld) – “She who loves silence”. “Dedicate all beautiful good things to Hathor, mistress of inebriety, to
“Hathor ruler of the desert.” The Greeks also called Hathor Aphrodite–Urania so she is al-Uzza, just as she is identifiable with Ishtar. She has stars at the point of her horns, ears, on the forehead and on her body. “May the golden give life to thy nose, may the ruler of the stars be united with thee”. As the “golden one”, Hathor is the sky-cow who bears the sun eye between her horns and nurses the infant Horus-Re.
“Hathor maintained a special presence in Sinai on the high places such as Serabit, where the nomadic mining tribes worshipped her. (Maspero 354, Petrie 85). In Egyptian inscriptions, “Qadesh beloved of Ptah” appears as the Syrian and Canaanite fertility goddess known from terra cotta figurines from many sites in Palestine. Hathor is also known as The Lady of Byblos and is thus Ashtarte or Athirat
At Serabit El-Khadim on a Year 20 stele [above], Hatshepsut is shown offering white bread to a god, Anhur-Show while Tuthmosis III offerswine to a goddess, Hathor again . In this manner of pairing Hatshepsut with a god and Tuthmosis with a goddess a polarity or harmonywas maintained regardless of Hatshepsut being represented as male. Indeed, ostraca from Deir El-Bahri indicates that the bureaucracy understood the iconography for what it was: a political fiction. Surviving accounting records and related memoranda refer to Hatshepsut as the King’s wife, throughout the co-regency period .
“When the Israelites made their bull or cow image at Mount Sinai, they played a game. Araon told the people: “This is the God Who brought you out of Egypt.” Later in Palestine, the Israelites claimed that the cattle images were really just a place upon which Yahweh could land and rest. Modern dance teams claim that they provide the same place for God to make a landing in their midst:
It has always been Israel’s fate to mix the One True Yahweh with pagan deities:
“Hathor, the Mother aspect of the triple-goddess Isis, was depicted with a cow’s head, and so was Mary, because “Mary” is also one of the three faces of Isis, one of the Egyptian “Meris” or “Maris.” Again, Meri/Mary represents the Mother aspect of Isis. She is also the Queen of Heaven and the Goddess of the Sea, as “mar” or “mer” refers in many languages to the ocean or sea.
“One of Egypt’s earliest deities was the ass-headed god Set (biblical Seth), an alter ego of Horus and a crucified sacred king. Palestine was named for the same deity under his Roman title of Pales, who was sometimes said to be both male and female and was identified with Vesta as a guardian of flocks and herds. Palestine’s God was once given the same form as Pales or Set, a man’s body with an ass’s head. The Hebrew version of the Messiah, Iao, was said to be Set under another name.”
“When the Hebrews were in Egypt – living as Egyptians, worshipping the Golden Calf of Horus, etc. – they also worshipped Horus’s “twin,” Set, whence comes Satan. Where Horus is the Golden Sun in the Age of Taurus the Bull, Set represents the Serpent of the Night, i.e., the night-time sky. The battle between Horus/Jesus and Set/Satan represents the struggle between day and night for supremacy.
With this imformation in mind, we can look at the pivotal event in the story of the Exodus. When God gave Israel a Covenant of righteousness, they swore to keep it and immediately turned back to their Apis-Hathor worship.
When the congregation of Israel assembled for instruction, musical praise with instruments was forbidden by the Law of Moses. God gave this law as the result of their rising up to playat Mount Sinai as they worshipped the golden calf with singing, dancing naked and playing musical instruments. Speaking of the hymn after crossing the Red Sea, Smith’s Bible Dictionary says that:
“The triumphal hymn of Moses had unquestionably a religious character about it; but the employment of music in religious services, though idolatrous, is more distinctly marked in the festivities which attended the erection of the golden calf.” (Smith’s Bible Dictionary, Music, p. 589).
“While she may have been called a prophetess because she was a wife of a prophet it is more likely that she had been a prophetess in Egypt which meant that she was a priestess with intercessory authority. Miriam and a band of trained women went out in a mind-altering song and dance with instruments common to Egypt but not common to Israel. This has been interpreted as not just a “victorious” dance but a well-established cultic activity of a priestess with unquestioned authority – which she even tried out on God.
“We know that all of the Israelites brought Egyptian gods and practices with them and it is not far-fetched to think that Miriam, who had not yet been exposed to the Covenant, was part of the consciousness-altering rhythms and which was part of a priestly myth-play brought to destructive consummation at Mount Sinai as the golden calf was called back into action.
This “rising up to play” involved eating, drinking, nakedness and musical worship. The goddess, Hathor, is the best candidate for the Mother Goddess of the Mount Sinai idolatry. Here priestessess or prophetesses were highly trained with musical instruments, cultic songs and be able to join in the religious dance.
“Music and drugs were co-consiprators in religious ecstasy. They may have used some product of the sycamore fig which both intoxicated and induced an altered state of consciousness. The ergo of barley was well known.
“On the other hand, other sources, specifically relating to the customs of the East, refer to the dance as a slow, grave, and solemn gesture, generally accompanied withsinging and the sound of the timbrel!
Ephraim Syrus On Our Lord notes that Sinai was a test. The Israelites were consummate idolaters in Egypt. However, God gave them one more shot at the Abrahamic Covenant. By removing Moses as a visible “authority figure” He wanted to let them answer their own prayer:
18. But when their heathenism from being inward became open, then Moses also from being hidden openly appeared; that he might openly punish those whose heathenism had revelled beneath the holy cloud which had overshadowed them.
But God removed the Shepherd of the flock from it for forty days, that the flock might show that its trust was fixed upon the calf.
And he was there in the wilderness forty days tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him. Mark 1:13
While God was feeding the flock with all delights, it chose for itself as its Shepherd the calf, which was not able even to eat.……….. Moses who kept them in awe was removed from them, that the idolatry might cry aloud in their mouths,
……….. which the restraint of Moses had kept down in their hearts. For they cried: Make us gods, to go before us.
19. But when Moses came down, he saw their heathenism revelling in the wide plain with drums and cymbals.
Speedily, he put their madness to shame by means of the Levites and drawn swords.
So likewise here, our Lord concealed His knowledge for a little when the sinful woman approached Him, that the Pharisee might form into shape his thought,…….. as his fathers had shaped the pernicious calf.
Comparing the musical worship of Israel to all of those nations whom Israel demanded to be like as they “fired” the God of righteousness and justice, Gurney notes of the successful movement of the ark by the king and his civil team after his musical move including the “congregation”–
“we recognize the same elements: the sacrifices and libation, the cultic feast in which the congregation gets a share of food and drink after it has been blessed by the king, and the merry-making, now in the form of instrumental and vocal music. But the central act of the ritual, which was performed by the king, is called literally‘drinking’ the god (Gurney, O. R. Some Aspects of Hittite Religion, p. 33-34, Oxford University Press, 1977)
This repeat of the Mount Sinai musical idolatry was repeated by Amos and other writers including Stephen in Acts 7.
It happened this way:
The people were still under the Patriarchal system with first born sons representing the tribes and families. This was a covenant of grace and faith which demands obeying whatever God has commanded (Genesis 26:5). As a result of the musical idolatry at Mount Sinai, as a rejection of Grace, the way was a parenthetical period. Paul in Galatians 3 leap frogs over the entire Law of Moses period.Israel worshiped idols which included the musical worship of various Egyptian deities (Eze 20:7). They were told to “throw away” the old abominations. They had a history which said that the gods lived in the musical instruments. When you played, you seduced the demons into speaking to you through “lifeless instruments.”
Israel refused to repent and worship Yahweh. As a result, they were insulting the name of Yahweh Therefore, His first impulse was to destroy them totally in Egypt. There was nothing in Israel worth saving (Eze 20:8).
Only to protect His Name, God brought them out into the wilderness to keep the Egyptians from making fun of Him. This was a covenant of grace.
God first gave Moses the ten words or commandments. After swearing to keep the oral (written on the heart) form of the Book of the Covenant–a renewal of the Abrahamic Covenant–the Israelites, perhaps under the influence of the mixed multitude escaping from Egypt with them, grew impatient for Moses to come down from Mount Sinai with the written code of about 70 laws. These laws were good and could be kept. They put the ten commandments into practical forms. That is, they were enabling legislation. (Eze 20:11)
Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people; for all the earth is mine: Exodus 19:5
And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. Exodus 19:6
And all the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord. Exodus 19:8
The Israelites worshiped as their Egyptian captors worshiped because they needed some legalistic sign from their “gods.” Abandoning Jehovah, they asked Aaron, their priest, to permit them to repeat the Apis or the golden calf worship which is defined as play. Even though there was no law, Moses recognized two roles for music: warfare and idolatry.
Moses, the prophet, said that it was not a sign of war or a sign of victory, but “it is singing that I hear.” This involved singing, dancing, instrumental music and more. Aaron made them a golden calf as visible image and claimed that the image just “jumped out of the fire.”
Again God’s judgment would be to pour out His wrath in the wilderness. Again, to protect His name God would no longer “personally” go with Israel as part of The Book of the Covenant of grace. Because when they sinned His personal Holiness would cause Him to destroy the entire nation. However, He would send His presence which is Himself or the “Rock” in another form. When the time came, He would carry out His sentence of dispersion and death.
An idol (human or materialistic) of sight or sound is important to people who have no faith and need to see, hear or feel the nearness of their gods. Music was the most common tool or weapon to force the people into the presence of their pagan gods.
By ignoring the abiding presence of Jehovah, they followed a pagan pattern: they mocked the old God in order to appease the new god of Egypt and to seduce him into their presence again. This is the eternal theme of seeing God as lover so that you can know Him personally, which is to say, sexually.
Therefore, the record of the law period is for our learning but not for our pattern. In Romans four, Paul explained that living by the faith of Abraham and not by the law was what made people acceptable to God. In Genesis 26:5, this “faith” meant keeping God’s commandments out of love rather than fear. Many Psalms are a poetic history of the various periods and are objective truth. However, true Israelite history is not always suitable for legalistic liturgy.
At the moment of their sin, Israel was sentenced to captivity and destruction because they would not repent and turn back to the Covenant of grace. The new law with all of its rules was given by God to preserve physical life as Israel moved into and under the influence of Canaanite Baalism where there was no spiritual life. History show that the primary purpose of the law was to prevent the clergy from mortally wounding the common people who found God out on the farms and pastures. These pagan-like shepherds would “eat the lambs for lunch” and trample all of the fresh water (of the Word) so that the sheep could not even drink it. God said: “You offer the sacrifice to me but you eat the meat.” We might say: “You offer the music to me but you enjoy it for yourselves.”
Israel would immediately go to the high places where the prophesying professionals sang, danced, played musical instruments and engaged in fertility rituals. The signs during Saul’s confirmation are proof that God was already carrying out His death sentence. This included sacrificing their children at Topheth where they played the tabrets and other musical instruments to drown out the scream of burning children and “bring the priest of Molech into the presence of his god
In the New Testament, we understand that Law rituals were for the ceremonial purification of the outward body but had no effect upon the soul.
This means that there would have been no “Law of Moses” if Israel had not rejected God’s direct rule as their king, friend and father. This rejection of God would happen in its fatal form when Israel again rejected Him and demanded a king like the nations so that they could worship like the nations. God warned that the kings would destroy the nation.
To prove it, He gave them a sign that they had fatally mocked Him. He sent the professional, musical prophets from the high places and then destroyed their wheat crop. The musical prophets as merchants of the fertility rituals could bring you into the presence of the gods and force Him to give you a good harvest. Therefore, this sign proved thatJehovah gave fertility and could remove it. They could, in turn, asked their idols to give them food to keep from starving. But they had no food (Amos 8).
What Happened at Mount Sinai to Destroy the Whole Nation
When the Israelites grew impatient with God they rejected Him and mocked Him because they wanted instant results. They denied the miracle of the Red Sea and other signs that the True God of all creation was personally guiding and carrying for them:
AND when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make usgods (elohim), which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. Ex.32:1
And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. Exod 32:4
And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the Lord. Exod 32:5
And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. Exo 32:6
And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: Exod 32:7
They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. Exod 32:8
The temple on the island of Philae in the Nile became very popular about the same time that Israel rejected Jerusalem and worshipped the same bull deity as the Egyptians. Amos makes the Egyptian connection of which it is said–…….. “The worship of Isis, and common with her, was daily, and began before dawn.…….. On festivals the main service took the form of a drama of divine sacrifice, the passion of Osiris.
Priests carefully trained in mystic theology, liturgies, and symbolism, accompanied by attendants, all clad in appropriate vestiments,
came into the presence of the deities.Osiris and or Seraphis, Isis, Horus, and others, the faithful being in front of the sanctuary.
The first great sacred act consisted in the exposing to the view of the assembled congregation the sacred image of Isis. Before the image libations of holy Nile water were poured out, and the faithful were sprinkled with it.
The sacred fire (incense) was kindled, after which the high priest awakened the goddess in an address uttered in the sacred Egyptian language.
“A burnt offering was then presented,
accompanied by singing and music; and finally the goddess was ceremoniously clothed, adorned, and adored. The second service took place in the afternoon, which consisted chiefly of prayer and meditations before the images and symbols of the gods and…….. which closed with music and antiphonal singing.
A third service, quite brief… left Isis unclothed in her quiet temple… The two great autumn and spring festivals featured the death and resurrection of Osiris… and it was expressed with all the symbolism, mystery, music, singing, ritual, and pagentry…
it was calculated to stimulate the deepest religious emotions, and fan the flames of ecstatic joy.” (Fairservice, Walter A., Jr, The Ancient Kingdoms of the Nile, p. 171-172, Mentor).
It was the collective assembly of the Congregation of Israel accompanied by the musical worship of Egypt which doomed them. It was a sign that they would not wait quietly for God to whisper His written covenant message of grace “in a voiced silence.” To prevent this from happening at any future “congregational assembly” God gave them a new law. David would repeat this “play” as a “congregational” effort to move the ark with music. This failed and the second move was centered around the king, priests, military leaders and the “city officials.” In paganism, ceremonial processions with music was always an effort to “relocate” their gods to make them more useful.
Amos said that they thought they had their god in a little tabernacle or ark-like chest by which they carried him even as He led them! Later, David believed that he was bringing God to Jerusalem when he and the whole congregation rose up to play with singing, dancing naked and playing instruments.
Cachaq (h6711) tsaw-khak’; a prim. root; to laugh outright (in merriment or scorn); by impl. to sport: – laugh, mock, play, make sport.
Anon shall the whole land be dancing, when Bromius leads his revellers to the hills, to the hills away! where wait him groups of maidens from loom and shuttle roused infrantic haste by Dionysus. O hidden cave of the Curetes! O hallowed haunts in Crete, that saw Zeus born,
where Corybantes with crested helms devised for me in their grotto the rounded timbrel of ox-hide (lifeless instrument),
mingling Bacchic minstrelsy with the shrill sweet accents of the Phrygian flute, a gift bestowed by them on mother Rhea (Eve, Zoe), to add its crash of music to the Bacchantes’ shouts of joy;
but frantic satyrs won it from the mother-goddess for their own, and added it to their dances in festivals, which gladden the heart of Dionysus, each third recurrent year. Oh! happy that votary, when from the hurrying revel-rout he sinks to earth, in his holy robe of fawnskin, chasing the goat to drink its blood, a banquet sweet of flesh uncooked, as he hastes to Phrygia’s or to Libya’s hills; while in the van the Bromian god exults with cries of Evoe (Eve).
With milk and wine and streams of luscious honey flows the earth, and Syrian incense smokes.
While the Bacchante holding in his hand a blazing torch of pine uplifted on his wand waves it, as he speeds along, rousing wandering votaries, and as he waves it cries aloud with wanton tresses tossing in the breeze; and thus to crown the revelry, he raises loud his voice,
“On, on, ye Bacchanals, pride of Tmolus (a gold-producing mountain in Lydia, near Sardis:)
with its rills of gold to the sound of the booming drum,chanting in joyous strains the praises of your joyous god with Phrygian accents lifted high,
what time the holy lute with sweet complaining note invites you to your hallowed sport,
according well with feet that hurry wildly to the hills; like a colt that gambols at its mother’s side in the pasture, with gladsome heart eachBacchante bounds along.
Don’t lose sight of the fact that God implicates all of Israel as “polluting” His name in Egypt. Therefore, we should not expect that Miriam was a holy woman.
“We know that all of the Israelite brought Egyptian gods and practices with them and it is not far-fetched to think that Miriam, who had not yet been exposed to the Covenant of God’s grace,
was part of the consciousness-altering rhythms and
which was part of a priestly myth-play
brought to destructive consummation at Mount Sinai as the golden calf was called back into action.
This “rising up to play” involved eating, drinking, nakedness and musical worship. The goddess, Hathor, is the best candidate for the Mother Goddess of the Mount Sinai idolatry. Here priestessess or prophetesses were highly trained with musical instruments, cultic songs and be able to join in the religious dance. Marks
“Consistent with this Hathor was the Mistress of Drunkeness from some product of the sycamore fig which both intoxicated and induced an altered state of consciousness.
Music and drugs were co-consiprators in religious ecstasy. The ergo of barley was well known. Marks
“And, it should be remembered, that as the goddess of fertility, drunkenness, and enchanting music, Hathor was something like the modern equivalent of a Mistress of Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll.”
“The religious ecstasy induced by music expressed itself either in an outburst of emotions, thus giving rise to religious catharsis, or in a transfer to the state of prophecy. In this way music became an important factor in divination. In the mysteries of the Magna Mater this relationship between music and divination is particularyl clear.
Through the din of tambourines, cymbals and flutes
the ecstatic worshiper of the goddess prophesied the future to those present.
THOUGH I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 1Co.13:1
Of The Golden Calf “From time immorial music had been especially valued in the service of prophecy. Pliny the Elder gives us a report of the cult of Apis:
“In Egypt an ox is honored in place of the god. He is called Apis and he lives in isolation. If he ever goes among the people he stalks along while the lictors make way for him and throngs of boys accompany him, singing songs in his honor. He appears to understand what is happening and seems to wish to be adored. The throngs [of boys] sudddenly become inspired and prophesy the future. (Pliny, Natural History)
Consequently Apollo (Abaddon, Apollyon) was god of prophets and musicians and Pan was god of medicine, music anddivination.
“Here singing served as a means of inducing ecstatic prophecy (speaking in tongues).
Thus the essential relationship between music and prophecy can be clearly seen.
This relationship also explains why the expression for “making music” and “prophesying” was often identical in the ancient tongues. origen contra celsum 8.67.The Hebrew word Naba signifies not only “to prophesy” but also “to make music.” (Quasten, Johannes, Music and Worship in Pagan and Christian Antiquity, p. 39)
On page 41, Quasten writes:“Dramatic enactments of the mysteries were very closely related to the ecstatic rites.
If ecstasy was supposed to mediate the presence of the god to men,
then the religious mystery-dramas were to be concerned with live presentations from the history of the gods,
by which the presence of the deity could be attained by his devotees.
Thus in Eleusis, according to the report of Clement of Alexandria, the fate of Demeter and Kore was enacted:
Deo [Demeter] and Kore have become a mystic drama; Eleusis presents their wanderings, their rape and their sorrow by torchlight.
The production did not have merely mimic value.
Rather the goddess was actually present to the initiates in the person of the one who portrayed her,
and consequently they could also feel her beneficient presence. This divine presence was an occasion for great joy among the worshipers, to which they gave expression chiefly in music and song. (Quasten, Johannes, Music and Worship in Pagan and Christian Antiquity, p. 41`)
Beginning on page 41 and we paraphrase Quasten:The frescoes of Herculaneum illustrate a religious play in the cult of Isis. In front of the temple portal stands a priest who holds the sacred urn in his covered hands.
At his right is a figure, probably a priestess. With her right hand she shakes a sistrum, or rattle.
The sacrifice is accompanied by a flutest and to the right and left of the steps to the temple the worshipers of Isis are seen. Some rattle the sistra and others raise their right hands.…….. A black man is leading the action with the staff in his right hand..
In another fresco a black man is dancing in front of the temple and there is a smaller woman striking the cymbles.…….. Another black priest of Isis shakes a sistrum and a woman is playing the tambourine.
A circle is made of the worshipers. The dancing black man probably represents Osiris. “Whatever the case may be, this scene concerns the mysteries of Isis, in whichmusic played an important role.”
Origen Book VI,Chapter XLI.
In the next place, as if he had forgotten that it was his object to write against the Christians, he says that, “having become acquainted with one Dionysius, an Egyptianmusician,
the latter told him, with respect to magic arts,
that it was only over the uneducated and men of corrupt morals that they had any power,
while on philosophers they were unable to produce any effect, because they were careful to observe a healthy manner of life.”
If, now, it had been our purpose to treat of magic, we could have added a few remarks in addition to what we have already said on this topic; but since it is only the more important matters which we have to notice in answer to Celsus, we shall say of magic,
that any one who chooses to inquire whether philosophers were ever led captive by it or not, can read what has been written by Moiragenes regarding the memoirs of the magician and philosopher Apollonius of Tyana, in which this individual,
who is not a Christian, but a philosopher, asserts that some philosophers of no mean note were won over by the magic power possessed by Apollonius, and resorted to him as a sorcerer;…….. and among these, I think, he especially mentioned Euphrates and a certain Epicurean.
Now we, on the other hand, affirm, and have learned by experience, that they who worship the God of all things in conformity with the Christianity which comes by Jesus, and who live according to His Gospel, using night and day, continuously and becomingly, the prescribed prayers, are not carried away either bymagic or demons. For verily “the angel of the Lord encamps round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them” from all evil; and the angels of the little ones in the Church, who are appointed to watch over them, are said always to behold the face of their Father who is in heaven, whatever be the meaning of “face” or of “behold.”
Arnobius wrote:35. But is it only poets whom you have thought proper to allow to invent unseemly tales about the gods, and to turn them shamefully into sport?
What do your pantomimists, the actors, that crowd of mimics and adulterers? Do they…….. not abuse your gods to make to themselves gain,
…….. and do not the others find enticing pleasures in the wrongs…….. and insults offered to the gods?
At the public games, too, the colleges of all the priests and magistrates take their places, the chief Pontiffs, and the chief priests of thecuriae; the Quindecemviri take their places, crowned with wreaths of laurel,…….. and the flamines diales with their mitres; the augurs take their places,…….. who disclose the divine mind and will…….. and the chaste maidens also, who cherish and guard the ever-burning fire;
36. But this crime is not enough: the persons of the most sacred gods are mixed up with farces also, and scurrilous plays.
And that the idle onlookers may be excited to laughter and jollity,the deities are hit at in jocular quips, the spectators shout and rise up, the whole pit resounds with the clapping of hands and applause.
This was mocking Jehovah God as they rejected Him and worshiped Apis the golden calf idolized. Elsewhere we see that this was seduction, the theme of all ancient worship with music:
And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me: Ge.39:17
Professor Robert Briffault’s introductory words to his article titled “Sex in Religion” published in the book “Sex in Civilization” (Garden City Publishing Co.).
“The elaborate mystic theology of Egypt was replete with sexual symbolism; hierodular [sacred] prostitution, ritual bestiality were among the observances of its cult. The religions of Babylonia, of Asia Minor, of the far-flung Semitic colonies, were notorious for the licentiousness of their rites: their priestesses were sacred prostitutes and prostitution was incumbent upon every woman.
To this common description of early religious beliefs, we have the incident of Aaron bringing out the bull for the Israelites to worship when Moses remained longer on Mount Sinai than the people thought. The people were getting edgy so Aaron made a festivity for them by fashioning the golden calf and told them to worship the calf in a sexual manner (Exodus 32:25-35). God was angry with Aaron and the people for this. But the people thought that by their sexual actions they were actually worshipping God in a proper way. Their worship was to “Baal-Peor” (Hebrew: “Lord of the Opening,” that is, “Lord of the Vagina“) (see Psalm 106:28,29 for this identification). The rebellious Israelites were making images (and setting up pillars) in honor of this pagan deity that demanded gross sexual actions as a part of the “nature rituals” by the worshippers. This was nothing strange to the Israelites because most Gentile religious activities involved a measure of sexual activity as a part of their liturgies and rituals.
“The triumphal hymn of Moses had unquestionably a religious character about it; but the employment of music in religious services, though idolatrous, is more distinctly marked in the festivities which attended the erection of the golden calf.” (Smith’s Bible Dictionary, Music, p. 589).
“In the New Testament there is nowhere any emphasis laid on the musical form of the hymns; and in particular none on instrumental accompaniment whereas this is significantly paganism.” (Delling, Gerhard, Worship in the New Testament, trans. Percy Scott Phil. Westminster press, 1962, p. 86).
“They sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. They practiced rites in which they made themselves naked, perhaps similar to those which were carried out by naked Babylonian priests.” (Woodrow, p. 158).
The word “play” is used of Samson as the pagans caused him to “sport” during their worship services of Dagon. Otherwise, the word is used only of David who performed an Egyptian form of naked dance as he moved the Ark to the one he had provided in Jerusalem. David was in fact separating the presence of God at the Tabernacle from the Ark of the covenant in which David believed that God lived.
“Not to be overlooked here is the accompaniment of music and dancing which, with the character of the ensuing phenomena, makes the diagnosis (of idolatry) certain.” (Schaff-Herzog, Ecstasy, p. 71).
“And the people celebrated this feast with burnt-offerings and thank-offerings, with eating and drinking, i.e. with sacrificial meals and sports, or with loud rejoicing, shouting, antiphonal songs, and dances, in the same manner in which the Egyptians celebrated their feast of Apis (Herod. 2, 60, and 3, 27).” (Keil and Delitzsch, Vol. II, p. 222).
The Israelites were enacting the old Egyptian form of musical worship after God had given them the Covenant which said that if they obeyed the few laws and lived right they could be a nation of priests. This was truly “gospel.” To rid themselves of the theatrical and domineering priesthood of “the nations” would have been theirs. We know more about this from:
The History of Heredotus, Chapter Six reads:
“When at length the day arrived which had been fixed for the espousals, and Clisthenes had to speak out and declare his choice, he first of all made a sacrifice of a hundred oxen, and held a banquet, whereat he entertained all the suitors and the whole people of Sicyon.
After the feast was ended, the suitors vied with each other……….. in music and……….. in speaking on a given subject.
Presently, as the drinking advanced, Hippoclides, who quite dumbfoundered the rest,
called aloud to the flute-player, and bade him strike up a dance; which the man did, and Hippoclides danced to it.
And he fancied that he was dancing excellently well; but Clisthenes, who was observing him, began to misdoubt the whole business.
Then Hippoclides, after a pause, told an attendant to bring in a table; and when it was brought, he mounted upon it and danced first of all some Laconian figures, then some Attic ones; after which he stood on his head upon the table, and began to toss his legs about.
Clisthenes, notwithstanding that
he now loathed Hippoclides for a son-in-law,
by reason of his dancing and his shamelessness,
still, as he wished to avoid an outbreak, had restrained himself during the first and likewise during the second dance;
when, however, he saw him tossing his legs in the air, he could no longer contain himself, but cried out,
“Son of Tisander, thou hast danced thy wife away!” “What does Hippoclides care?” was the other’s answer. And hence the proverb arose.
About the time when Cambyses arrived at Memphis, Apis appeared to the Egyptians. Now Apis is the god whom the Greeks call Epaphus. As soon as he appeared, straightway all the Egyptians arrayed themselves in their gayest garments, and fell to feasting and jollity: which when Cambyses saw, making sure that these rejoicings were on account of his own ill success, he called before him the officers who had charge of Memphis, and demanded of them-
“Why, when he was in Memphis before, the Egyptians had done nothing of this kind, but waited until now, when he had returned with the loss of so many of his troops?” The officers made answer,
“That one of their gods had appeared to them, a god who at long intervals of time had been accustomed to show himself in Egypt-and that always on his appearance the whole of Egypt feasted and kept jubilee.”
When Cambyses heard this, he told them that they lied, and as liars he condemned them all to suffer death
When they were dead, he called the priests to his presence, and questioning them received the same answer; whereupon he observed, “That he would soon know whether a tame god had really come to dwell in Egypt”- and straightway, without another word, he bade them bring Apis to him. So they went out from his presence to fetch the god.
Now this Apis, or Epaphus, is the calf of a cow which is never afterwards able to bear young.
The Egyptians say that fire comes down from heaven upon the cow, which thereupon conceives Apis.
The calf which is so called has the following marks:- He is black, with a square spot of white upon his forehead, and on his back the figure of an eagle; the hairs in his tail are double, and there is a beetle upon his tongue.
And a fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked. Psa 106:18
They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image. Psa 106:19
Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass. Psa 106:20
When the priests returned bringing Apis with them, Cambyses, like the harebrained person that he was, drew his dagger, and aimed at the belly of the animal, but missed his mark, and stabbed him in the thigh. Then he laughed, and said thus to the priests:- “Oh! blockheads, and think ye that gods become like this, of flesh and blood, and sensible to steel?
A fit god indeed for Egyptians, such an one!
But it shall cost you dear that you have made me your laughing-stock.”
[Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies. Exodus 32:25]
When he had so spoken, he ordered those whose business it was to scourge the priests, and if they found any of the Egyptians keeping festival to put them to death. Thus was the feast stopped throughout the land of Egypt, and the priests suffered punishment. Apis, wounded in the thigh, lay some time pining in the temple; at last he died of his wound, and the priests buried him secretly without the knowledge of Cambyses.
Based upon the meaning of the word “play” and other examples, their mocking always included musical instruments. In their minds they could honor another god with music onlyby mocking or insulting the True God Who did not respond to their immediate wants. The musical mocking which caused Israel to fail as they worshiped Apis who was merged with Osiris and is explained in ancient literature. This clearly involved musical instruments.
One model of the Egyptian “play” –The frescoes of Herculaneum illustrate a religious play in the cult of Isis. In front of the temple portal stands a priest who holds the sacred urn in his covered hands. At his right is a figure, probably a priestess. With her right hand she shakes a sistrum, or rattle.. The sacrifice is accompanied by aflutest and to the right and left of the steps to the temple the worshipers of Isis are seen. Some rattle the sistra and others raise their right hands.
A black man is leading the action with the staff in his right hand..
In another fresco a black man is dancing in front of the temple and there is a smaller woman striking the cymbles.
Another black priest of Isis shakes a sistrum and a woman is playing the tambourine.
A circle is made of the worshipers. The dancing black man probably represents Osiris. “Whatever the case may be, this scene concerns the mysteries of Isis, in whichmusic played an important role. (Quasten, Johannes, Music and Worship in Pagan and Christian Antiquity, p. 41`)
The Egyptians, and now the Hebrews, were using musical instruments to create such excitement that people believed that foreign gods were leading them. Therefore, when God gave the two silver trumpets He wrote an explicit law which rejected musical instruments as tools for calling the gods. He excluded them from assembly for listening to Him.
Because musical worship was so tempting, God directed them to make two silver trumpets primarily to signal marches or war. Remember that Moses recognized three uses of instrumental music and loud singing: the panic of defeat, the joy of military victory and what he called “singing” which he recognized as idolatry.
Their music was to create great excitement or panic but had no value in getting a message from the True God as trumpets and drums had been with the pagan gods. Even when they were added to temple rituals they were used along with David’s instruments to signal the beginning and ending of the animal sacrifice. The “congregation” did not worship in the temple with instruments. To prove it, God heard from heaven and not from the musicians and priests in the darkened temple as Solomon dedicated it to Him.
God told Moses that instruments were to control, assemble or disperse the people:
When ye blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward. Nu 10:5
When ye blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys. Numbers 10:6
What if the Jubilee “vocal” Trumpet Quartet choose that moment to “praise the Lord?”
When Moses called Israel together for instructions from God, they could use the trumpets much like a church bell. That is, the two loud trumpets could be heard for miles and the people would gather at one place. More probable, as in the later song, just the leaders or elders gathered, heard the message and returned to their tribes to tell them what God wanted them to know. No preacher wants the choir singing while he preaches. Much less does God want music when He is trying to speak through His Word.
Therefore, they could not turn this assembly into a “praise the Lord” pagan ritual. This would tell God that they didn’t care about hearing from Him. For instance, you wish to warn your friend that a tornado is coming. He comes at your signal but plays his trumpet and dances while you speak. He has insulted you by saying that you have nothing important to say to him. He has to suffer the natural results of insulting you and remaining ignorant.
The shofar or ram’s horn was also used. However, it was not a musical instrument and later Jews outlawed adding holes to change the pitch.
“All the various usages of the shophar (Ram’s horn trumpet) can be viewed under one category: that of a signaling instrument. It sounded all signals in war and peace; it announced the new moon, the beginning of the sabbath, the death of a notable; it warned of approaching danger; it heraled excommunication; it was instrumental inexorcisms and magic healing.” (Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, p. 473, Abingdon).
Musical Praise Not Permitted
The people of Israel did not gather to make animal sacrifices in the wandering years in the wilderness. Later, when Amos condemned Israel for turning to music and ignoring the Word of God, he equated it to the musical play in the wilderness.
From several passages in the Bible, we understand that people were gathered into God’s presence when He had some message to give to them.
AND Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said unto them, These are the words which the Lord hath commanded, that ye should do them. Ex.35:1
Their worship was in honoring God by silently listening to the message through Moses. Therefore, God warned Moses:
But when the congregation is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye shall not sound an alarm. Nu 10:7
God gave the trumpets to signal in warfare and they were usually used, as by Gideon, to panic the enemy into cowardice. Numbers 10:7 specificially outlaws the “loud rejoicing” which was to prove one’s superiority over the enemy to be used for the “assembly.” This is why in all ancient civilizations:
“For nonliterate peoples, music often serves purposes other than entertainment or aesthetic enjoyment. Certain wind instruments are closely associated with thesupernatural, and their sounds connote powerful magic. Australian Aborigines, for instance, identify the sound of a bull-roarer with the voices of supernatural beings; for the Plains Indians, the same sound signifies an awesome natural phenomenon, such as thunder. Wind instruments are often among a group’s most important ritual objects, and in some cultures they are specially venerated. The Kamairua Indians of the Amazon rain forest keep their giant flutes (three to four feet long), wherein spirits are believed to dwell, in a special shrine where they are worshiped. The flutes and drums of New Guinea are similarly housed and worshiped.
“Wind instruments in primitive cultures also serve nonreligious functions. In New Guinea, bamboo trumpets were once played
to frighten an enemy during battle and
to alert a village that the victorious warriors were coming home with the corpses of the foes.
“Conch-shell trumpets are used for signaling in the Pacific coastal regions of Columbia and in the Ecuadoran highlands.
Trumpets also may be associated with the office of king or chief, as in West Africa,
where their use is strictly controlled by tribal law. “wind instrument” Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Harmony of the Law – Volume 2 by John Calvin
“For this office, to which they were appointed, was no servile one, as that they should blow the trumpets at the command of others; but rather did God thus set them over public affairs,
that the people might not tumultuously call their assemblies in the blindness and precipitation of passion, but rather that modesty, gravity, and moderationshould be observed in them.
We know how often in earthly affairs God is not regarded, but counsels are confidently discussed without reference to His word.
He testified, therefore, by this employment of the priests, that all assemblies, except those in which He should preside, were accursed.
“Profane nations also had their ceremonies, such as auguries, supplications, soothsayings, victims, because natural reason dictated that nothing could be engaged in successfully without Divine assistance; but God would have His people bound to Him in another way, so that, when called by the sound of thesacred trumpets as by a voice from heaven,……….. ……….. they should assemble to holy and pious deliberations.
The circumstance of the place also has the same object. The door of the Tabernacle was to them, as if they placed themselves in the sight; of God.
We will speak of the word dewm, mogned (synagogue) elsewhere. Although it signifies an appointed time, or place, and also an assembly of the people, I prefer translating it convention, because God there in a solemn manner, as if before……….. His sacred tribunal, called the people to witness, or, according to appointment, proceeded to make a covenant with them.
Thus Malvenda in Poole’s Syn., “et clangetis taratantara.” The word is used by Ennius “At tuba terribili sonitu taratantara dixit.” — Serv. in, AEn, 4. A.V., “an alarm.”
Modern medicine understands that musical worship teams or instrumental music or just loud vocal singing splits the ears, alarms the rational part of the brain and shuts it down so that we listen only with our emotion. This loud sound literally breaks down the walls of our mind. Therefore, God condemned and outlawed it as worship.
The alarm or mental aggitation God outlawed is from the Hebrew word:
Ruwa (h7321) roo-ah’; a prim. root; to mar especially by breaking; figuratively: to split the ears with sound, i. e. shout for alarm or joy: – blow an alarm, make a joyful noise, smart, shout for joy, sound an alarm, triumph.
Editor’s Note 7: dia gar touto epishmainetai. The meaning is: Stephen was accused of speaking against “the customs,”-sacrifices, temple, feasts, etc.
Therefore he significantly points to that critical conjuncture from which these “customs” date their introduction: namely, the Provocation at Horeb.
Prior to that, he tells of “living oracles,” life-giving precepts:after it, and as its consequence, sacrifices, etc.,
those statutes which were not good, and ordinances by which a man shall not live, as God says by Ezekiel.
Not a word of sacrifice till then: and the first mention is, of the sacrifices offered to the calf. In like manner, “they rejoiced,”
“the people ate and drank, and rose up to play:” and in consequence of this, the feasts were prescribed: kai eufrainonto, fhsin: dia touto kai eortai.-‘Epishmainetai might be rendered,“he marks,” “puts a mark upon it” (so the innovator, who substitutes, touto kai Dauid epishmainomenoj legei): we take it passively, “there is a mark set over it-it is emphatically denoted.” In the active, the verb taken intransitively means
“to betoken or announce itself,” “make its first appearance.”-
In the Treatise adv. Judaeos, iv. §6. tom. i. 624. C. St. Chrysostom gives this account of the legal sacrifices: “To what purpose unto Me is the multitude of your sacrifices? etc. (Isaiah i., 11, ff.)
Do ye hear how it is most plainly declared, that God did not from the first require these at your hands? Had He required them, He would have obliged those famous saints who were before the Law to observe this practice.
Then wherefore has He permitted it now?
In condescension to your infirmity. As a physician in his treatment of a delirious patient, etc.: thus did God likewise.
For seeing them so frantic in their lust for sacrifices, that they were ready, unless they got them, to desert to idols: nay not only ready, but that they had already deserted, thereupon He permitted sacrifices. And that this is the reason, is clear from the order of events.
After the feast which they made to the demons, then it was that He permitted sacrifices: all but saying: `Ye are mad, and will needs sacrifice:
well then, at any rate sacrifice to Me. -(What follows may serve to illustrate the brief remark a little further on, Kai h aixmalwsia kathgoria thj kakiaj.) “But even this, He did not permit to continue to the end, but by a most wise method, withdrew them from it …
For He did not permit it to be done in any place of the whole world,
but in Jerusalem only. Anon, when for a short time they had sacrificed, he destroyed the city.
Had He openly said, Desist, they, such was their insane passion for sacrificing, would not readily have complied.
But now perforce, the place being taken away,
He secretly withdrew them from their frenzy.” So here: “Even the captivity impeaches the wickedness (which was the cause of the permission of sacrifice.”)
The animal sacrifices and its musical noise was not related to the worship of their God. Rather, it was an expression of their love for Jerusalem even above God Himself. Therefore, they did not perform musical sacrifices in Babylon which was the home of musical idolatry. Psalm 137 shows that they hung their harps on the willows because musical joy was no longer possible. Click Here to see more on Psalm 137
This would be repeated in the contest between Jezebel’s prophets and Elijah who won by speaking the Word
“It was probably usual to welcome a king or general with music and dancing…The distinctly religious dance is more frequently mentioned. The clear instances of it in the Bible are the dance of the women of Israel at the Red Sea, headed by Miriam with her tambourine (Exodus 15:20); the dance of the Israelites round the golden calf(Exodus 32:19); the dance of the maidens of Shiloah at the annual feast (Judges 21:19 ff);
the leaping or limping of the prophets of Baal round their altar on Carmel (1 Kings 18:26); and the dancing of David in front of the ark (2 Samuel 6:14-16) (Int. Std. Bible Ency., p. 1169-70)