The Sound of Music Indicative of God’s Love

By John Thiel, mp3

What does the sound of music have to do with the subject of God’s love? We hear different sounds all the time. Sounds that relate to different circumstances, moods, events and emotions. We hear the shrieks of terror, we hear blood curdling cries, and we hear soft sensational golden throated love songs. We hear the sounds of delight and hear the sounds of challenge and conflict. To discern the sound for relevant situations is very imperative. For instance I have much experience in hearing the sounds of my children with their voices such as delightful shrieks and cries and amongst them all to be able to discern the shriek of delight, terror or a fright or something serious. Once I heard my children give a shriek where they were in an area of danger and i ran out but they were happy. The discernment of being able to tell the difference was very difficult. To discern the contrast of sounds to incite to appropriate action is a subject that we need to understand.


Joshua was confused by the sounds that came from below Mount Sinai. He didn’t quite register what the sound was like. The children of Israel were dancing around the golden calf. What sort of sounds would that have been? A pagan worship sound. There would have been singing and joy and gladness. What did he interpret the sound as?

Exodus 32:17 And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, [There is] a noise of war in the camp. 18 And he said, [It is] not the voice of [them that] shout for mastery, neither [is it] the voice of [them that] cry for being overcome: [but] the noise of [them that] sing do I hear.

Moses was able to detect it. He heard a noise of people singing but to Joshua it sounded like war. What was the singing that made Joshua interpret it as war noises? In spiritual matters clear discernment is needed in regards to sounds.

1 Corinthians 14:7 And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? 8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

The subject of sound is important because sound has an effect upon your action. We know what he is saying. When there is a trumpet sound and the army is going out to battle it is either to attack or something else.  If it isn’t clear, people get confused. We know the difference between the trumpet sound of going out to war or what is known as the last post when there is withdrawal. It is a different sound. We want to understand the difference of sound in reference to the love of God. We read a necessity and blessing upon those who can discern the right sound. The sound of joy to do with heaven.

The Joyful Sound

Psalms 89:15 Blessed [is] the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.

Who shall walk in the light of God’s countenance? Those that know the joyful sound. To discern clearly music and song appropriate for spiritual joy, that is what Psalms is talking about. Blessed are the people who know, who discern the joyful sound among the many sounds among music and song today. Inspiration reveals a company who did discern. There was a company that was able to recognise the sounds that were not right.

As we heard the sounds of mirth and revelry that seemed to come from the abyss below, we shuddered. We heard the profane oath, the vulgar jest, and low, vile songs. We heard the war song and the dance song. We heard instrumental music, and loud laughter, mingled with cursing and cries of anguish and bitter wailing, and were more anxious than ever to keep upon the narrow, difficult pathway.. {CET 182.1}

What did they hear? The sounds of music. As they heard those sounds of music, what did they do? They shuddered. What was the music? Music of joy. Probably the same sound as the children of Israel made as they danced around the golden calf. Songs of joy, revelry, dance and war songs. They were the sounds that made the little company on the narrow path way shudder and they were happy to stand on that pathway.  How do you stand in today’s atmosphere? Are you able to differentiate sounds appropriate to your walk with Jesus? Or has the wine of Babylon and the sounds around you as you have been brought up from childhood to adult hood, have those sounds confused your sensitivities?

A Disservice to Young People

“Christian parents and church leaders do young people a gross disservice when they blur the distinction between acceptable and non acceptable music, and condone a low quality of music and performance within the context of the church, ‘to keep the young people in the church.’ What a heavy responsibility they will carry for permitting their youth to enjoy sin without guilt.” Review and Herald 1972.

This man was writing in the days when I was in the Seventh Day Adventist church in 1972 and I know what he was talking about as just at that time there were sounds of music that inculcated into the church fellowships that satisfied the young people.  A brother I know who grew up in the Seventh Day Adventist church became worldly and in the world he listened to pop music all the week through and when he came to church on the Sabbath day he could not sing the hymns as they counter-acted totally what he had heard for six days of the week. This is the characteristic of young people who have been listening to the music of the world – they can’t enjoy the music of the church. So what did the church do? They brought in worldly music to keep the youth in the church.  They put a blur in that.

It is not safe for the Lord’s workers to take part in worldly entertainments. Association with worldliness in musical lines is looked upon as harmless by some Sabbathkeepers. But such ones are on dangerous ground. Thus Satan seeks to lead men and women astray, and thus he has gained control of souls. So smooth, so plausible is the working of the enemy that his wiles are not suspected, and many church members become lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.–Manuscript 82, 1900.  {3SM 332.2}

Why?  Because through the week they have familiarised themselves with worldliness in musical lines and very plausibly Satan works to interlock that music with the music in the church. That is how Satan does it as people have to become familiarised with the sounds of worldly pleasure.  In Sr Whites time this blur had to be met as well.  It wasn’t just in the 1970’s it was there in Sr Whites time.  She wrote the following in 1906 and she refers back 30 years beforehand.  Some may recall the Kentucky Camp session where they had drums and music in the camp session.

A Different Order

It has been revealed to me that not all the families who have a knowledge of the truth have brought the truth into their practice. Every talent of influence is to be sacredly cherished for the purpose of gathering souls to Christ’s side. Young men and young women, do not consider that your musical entertainments, conducted as they are in _____ are doing acceptable missionary work. A spirit has come into them that is of a different order. We had this same spirit to meet thirty years ago, and we bore decided testimony against it in Battle Creek.  {5MR 193.2}

What is the spirit that came into this music?

A decided religious feature should be encouraged in all our gatherings. Light has been given me decidedly again and again. Thirty years ago, when certain ones would assemble together for an evening of singing exercises, the spirit of courting was allowed to come in, and great injury was done to souls, some of whom never recovered.–Ms 57, 1906, p. 3. (“The Work at Mountain View,” May 3, 1906.)  {5MR 193.3}

What was the spirit that she was talking about that came into the music that she had to resist under the spirit decidedly?  It was the spirit of courting that came into the music.

The Spirit of Courting

The sound of music when it is affected by the spirit of courting.  Is there such a thing as a sound of courting music? Is there such a thing?  Recall our study on Moral and Sensual Malaria, we identified it there when we mingle our love sick sentimentalism, we start to blur our spiritual experiences with sentimentalism. Isn’t music a sentimental exercise? When the spirit of courting is in the music and singing, what sort of a sound does that produce?  The emotion equivalent to the sound is identifiable.  Music is an art coming through the voice and then transferred to instruments.  The apostle was writing in Corinthians that there are non-living things that make a sound.  With the voice comes the sound of music and then it’s transferred to instruments.  As you have a passion, a motion and sentiment in your body, you will express it in the sound of your voice.  If the emotion is violence it will come out.  If it comes from love sick sentimentalism it will come out.  Have you ever heard these golden throated love songs?  They trammel their voice in their sensual singing.

The Thief on the Cross

Jesus is in agony and he is hearing all the terrible cursings and revellings on his being and he hears the voice of the thief on the cross.

This man was not a hardened criminal; he had been led astray by evil associations, but he was less guilty than many of those who stood beside the cross reviling the Saviour. He had seen and heard Jesus, and had been convicted by His teaching,  {DA 749.3}

As he is touched by Jesus, notice how he speaks and how Jesus responds.

Hope is mingled with anguish in his voice as the helpless, dying soul casts himself upon a dying Saviour. “Lord, remember me,” he cries, “when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.”  {DA 750.1}

Can you imagine how Jesus feels now?  He was dying for the people and they were not recognising what he ws dying for but this one person recognised it.  What do you think welled up in his heart?  Can you imagine it?

Quickly the answer came. Soft and melodious the tone, full of love, compassion, and power the words: Verily I say unto thee today, Thou shalt be with Me in paradise.  {DA 750.2}

For long hours of agony, reviling and mockery have fallen upon the ears of Jesus.  {DA 750.3}

Sr White describes the anguish of heart that no one understood but here is one that did.  Notice the tone of voice – soft and melodious.

The bystanders caught the words as the thief called Jesus Lord. The tone of the repentant man arrested their attention. Those who at the foot of the cross had been quarreling over Christ’s garments, and casting lots upon His vesture, stopped to listen. Their angry tones were hushed. With bated breath they looked upon Christ, and waited for the response from those dying lips.  {DA 751.1}

Doesn’t it arrest your attention when a tone comes foreign to other tones?  There were soft melodious tones of Jesus coming back because the sound of music was captivating them.  It was the sound of love of the divine nature.

Keep the Conscience Tender

Keep the conscience tender, that you may hear the faintest whisper of the voice that spake as never man spake.  {ML 322.5}

Keep the conscience tender to be able to pick up the way a voice like that speaks.  If you don’t listen to the music of heaven, can you identify it?  The music that comes out of the voice that is from a heavenly motive is different.

There is something peculiarly sacred in the human voice. Its harmony and its subdued and heaven-inspired pathos exceeds every musical instrument. Vocal music is one of God’s gifts to men, an instrument that cannot be surpassed or equaled when God’s love abounds in the soul. {3SM 335.1}

Can you see what this study is about?  The sound of music indicative of God’s love. The sound that comes from the voice is a sound that must be initiated by the love of God.  Other than that it will inadvertently be a clashing sound to God’s mindedness.

Singing with the spirit and the understanding also is a great addition to devotional services in the house of God.  {3SM 335.1}

How Shall We Sing?

It must be with the spirit and understanding.  If the spirit is lovesick and sentimental, if it is a courtship spirit in the music, is there confusion?  Absolutely, common sense.  It must be filled with the love of God.

How this gift has been debased! When sanctified and refined it would accomplish great good in breaking down the barriers of prejudice and hardhearted unbelief, and would be the means of converting souls. {3SM 335.2}

What would be the means of converting souls?  The music that comes from the love of God. Music that comes from a heart by the understanding and spirit of God.

It is not enough to understand the rudiments of singing, but with the understanding, with the knowledge, must be such a connection with heaven that angels can sing through us.  {3SM 335.2}

Can you comprehend this?  If the understanding and the knowledge is right, then and then only can the angels sing through us.  I pray for the Lords spirit to embed these appreciations in our hearts. Sr White now speaks about operatic singing when they modulate their voices and sing with all kinds of strange gesticulation voices;

Such harsh notes and gesticulations are not exhibited among the angel choir. Their singing does not grate upon the ear. It is soft and melodious and comes without this great effort I have witnessed. It is not forced and strained, requiring physical exercise.  {3SM 333.3}

Are we gaining and appreciation of the sound of music that comes motivated by the love of God?

The Sounds of Courtship

Is it possible to blur the sounds of emotions of courtship with melodious sounds of spiritual love and compassion?  It is so possible.  Lucifer was the master musician in heaven and when his love deteriorated and he had no more love for God so his music naturally would have been altered as it came out of his voice.  He well understands how music in his past can be twisted into the fallen condition.  He knows it better than anyone of us.  We are surrounded by a very wily foe who knows what to do with us in every respect including our music so that we will not be able to appreciate closely the differences.

Music Comes From Your System

We will learn how smoothly Satan is able to do it because he’s got it in his system.  Music comes from your system.  It is not just a technical exercise.  You have heard people practising music and before they get the sense of music in them they are stiff and the sound is quite different to the one who is playing it from the heart. There is a rigidity in the music, it doesn’t flow.  The music that comes from the system has a power that is different from technical music. Satan knows how to affect our physical organs.  He knows how to animate, engross and charm the organs in the body so the mind is no longer desiring Jesus.  He knows.

Satan is leading the young captive. Oh, what can I say to lead them to break his power of infatuation! He is a skillful charmer, luring them on to perdition. {1T 497.1}

Satan is a skilful charmer and how best can you do it but with music.  It is part of him and he knows just what organs to arouse.  Let us reflect on the true love of God that will in truth be reflected in the sound of our music if we decide to go with Jesus all the way.  The love that creates a sound of music that is of heavenly order.


The melody of praise is the atmosphere of heaven; and when heaven comes in touch with the earth, there is music and song. . . .  {FLB 242.2}

When heaven comes in touch with the earth there is music and song.  Heaven has a melody of praise.  That is the atmosphere. What sort of praise?  Any human praise?  The angels don’t praise each other they only praise God.  There is praise to God that initiates the sound of their music in heaven.

Those who in heaven join with the angelic choir in their anthem of praise must learn on earth the song of heaven, the keynote of which is thanksgiving.  {FLB 242.8}

How vivid are these inspired statements?  We want to be in heaven someday?  If we are going to be there we must learn on earth the song of heaven which is the melody of praise and the key note of that melody is what?  Thanksgiving.  Or in other words, gratitude.  When gratitude wells up in your heart how do you feel?  There is a joy and king David had it.  People look at king David and they think that he taught us that we should dance in the church.  That is where the Pentecostals get it from.  He was not dancing in the church and he was not dancing a lovesick sentimental dance.  He was dancing with a joy that at last the ark had a place to go to.  He was dancing in front of the ark.  There are a differences of sound that apply to the motives and that motive is thanksgiving and that glorious sense of gratitude to God is expressed without any demonstrative performing kind of music.

As our Redeemer leads us to the threshold of the Infinite, flushed with the glory of God, we may catch the themes of praise and thanksgiving from the heavenly choir round about the throne; and as the echo of the angels’ song is awakened in our earthly homes, hearts will be drawn closer to the heavenly singers. Heaven’s communion begins on earth. We learn here the keynote of its praise.  {Ed 168.4}

The Atonement

How does the redeemer lead you and me to the threshold of the infinite?  How did he do it?  Is it not through the atonement?  Is it not the agency by which our mind is transported from earthliness to the divine nature which is the infinite?  Is it not the atonement the one that leads us to the threshold of the infinite?

As we gaze at the subject of the atonement of Jesus Christ, heaven is brought close to us and we are able to hear the echo’s of the angels as they give God the praise as they see what Jesus Christ has done for us.  As they praise him and lift up their voice, one soul that is won to Christ causes the angels to sing. New strains of music react as we come close to the infinite through the atonement of Jesus Christ, something happens inside of us and we can echo the songs of the angels.

As captives of Satan under the indulgences and lifestyles that are doomed to destruction and death, we have come into an ever increasing sense of horror and doom.  This causes people to become depressed as they feel conditions within that are so horrifying.  They can’t get out of it as they can’t get rid of their doomed condition but as we look at Jesus see him in the self same sense.  I see him crying, pleading and suffering.

Hebrews 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

He became the one who opened the book by his own biography and he laid out to us the experience that I am under that I need salvation from.  As I behold that amazing atonement he is crying with strong crying and tears and he is battling with the things I am battling with.

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

This law that demands, the heridatary weakness, the habit of my life is a law in my being.

Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

The atonement is so precious.  It gives me freedom from this terrible locked up condition. It releases me.  As I can see oh what a release from my terrible depraved circumstances he is condemning that in the flesh and is showing me the way.

Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

That is where depression comes from. That is where all the oppressive things of life that crush the energy out come from.  Jesus has taken it, believe it, embrace it and there will be a gratitude because now he has died with all these terrible things that condemn me.  He has conquered and crushed sin in the flesh and he has assisted me by dying all those things and removing the guilt out of my life.  As I believe this and reckon myself alive unto God through this, there is joy isn’t there?  there is a discovery of the infinite.  There is a sense of deliverance. When the children of Israel came out of Egypt and came across the red sea what did they do on the other side?  They were set free and it was definite.  They began to sing.

Crucified Through Weakness

Jesus being weak in the flesh died and by the power of God rose again. Jesus was crucified because of weakness.  The weakness of my flesh lay so heavily upon him that he suffered the fullest, most horrifying depressive situations that any man can ever meet.  Don’t think our depressions were any worse than Christ, His were worst.

2 Corinthians 13:4 For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.

Examine yourselves.  Make this a reality in your life.  Be elated by the deep sense of release from this terrible captivity that you can’t do what you really wanted to do and it is a doom of death upon you.  As you come out of this terrible depression, what happens to you?

Psalm 126:1 When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. 2 Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them.

What happened?  To sense the Lords powerful turning of our captivity, we wake up as out of a dream is this real?  We are set free from the depressive motivations that we are under without this picture of the atonement.

Reckon Yourselves Dead

As we believe it as we reckon ourselves dead together with Jesus, reckon that which means consider it that way.  If you don’t consider it that way you will come away from these studies completely unchanged.  We must consider ourselves to be indeed dead with Jesus Christ totally and absolutely so all the garbage of our past life has been buried and destroyed by Jesus Christ. That is what happens when we are baptised, it is all gone.  Those who believe this and who reckon themselves dead indeed will reckon themselves alive unto God.  When you reckon yourself that way there will be a deep sense of gratitude.  As a consequence of that gratitude we will sing what song?  Will it be the songs of our past life?  The crooning and lovesick sentimental songs?  What is sweet to us? We will not blur the sense of the sound of music of the past with the new?

Psalm 33:1 Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: [for] praise is comely for the upright. 2 Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery [and] an instrument of ten strings. 3 Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.

Why are we righteous?  Because has made us righteous.


All of a sudden there comes a instrumental situation.  It is a skilful playing of the instrument that has to do with the same singing voice that is affected by gratitude.  It is a skilful playing different to the skill of the world.  Different to the skill Lucifer had.  It is not a blurred musical sound but it is a different song.  There are many Christians before us who have caught the melody of heaven and have brought down upon page music of that nature.  For those of us who are born into this beautiful freedom who appreciate the touch of the divine will regard that music as correct and the other as unwanted as it reminds them of the music of the flesh.

The Lord has revealed to me that when the heart is cleansed and sanctified, and the members of the church are partakers of the divine nature, a power will go forth from the church, who believe the truth, that will cause melody in the heart. Men and women will not then depend upon their instrumental music but on the power and grace of God, which will give fullness of joy. There is a work to be done in clearing away the rubbish which has been brought into the church. . . .  {Ev 512.3}

Do you wonder why I don’t accept some song books?  Do you wonder why I announce certain songs are not right?  We as a church need to recognise what is divine music, the music of love, the sound of music that comes from God and not from this world.  We need to discern the beautiful echoes of heavenly music and we must learn it here. God gives us precious opportunity to learn it and the angels looking on as they see you and I discovering the glory of this freedom, what will the angels do as we sing our joyful songs that come as a keynote of praise and thanksgiving? What will the angels do?  Now they can sing with us.  They can’t sing with us unless we have got this.

The Music of Heaven

In the inner court of heaven they listen to the testimony of the witnesses for Christ in the outer court on earth, and the praise and thanksgiving from the worshipers below is taken up in the heavenly anthem, and praise and rejoicing sound through the heavenly courts because Christ has not died in vain for the fallen sons of Adam. {6T 366.1}

They are watching with bated breath and ask, are they going to appreciate what Jesus did? As they see that Jesus has not died in vain, they join the chorus of earth’s gratitude and thanksgiving.

The songs, in which every word is uttered clearly, in a musical tone, are the songs that they join us in singing. They take up the refrain that is sung from the heart with the spirit and the understanding.–Manuscript 91, 1903.  {Ev 510.5}

Every time we sing, every time we come to church either to sing upfront or in the congregation there is a need to meditate about our relationship with Jesus Christ.  If that is not in place we are not singing with the spirit and the understanding and therefore the voice will not be accordingly modulated.  It will be heard differently to the way it is meant to be heard.  We have experienced singing of choirs and some feel like bucket of water poured over you and some make your heart sing.  Because these people have prayerfully asked the Lord, help us to sing to your glory and they have listened to the voice of the Holy Spirit and they sing with the heart, spirit and understanding.  We must learn here to hear it in heaven, the music of heaven.

True Christians Know

True Christians only can discern between the different sounds of music.  As they learn the music of heaven, they are learning to discern. In today’s Christian society everything is a blur.  If true salvation by true atonement is not understood and experienced, if we do not know the battle between the spirit and the flesh and we do not know the sufferings of Jesus as they really are, how can we understand correct singing?  If we do not have the experience of the atonement, if we do not understand this subject then the blurring of the sounds of music are familiarised with our past experience of music, that which we have been brought up with.  I was brought up with jovial German music and I thought it was quite in order.  It was happy childish music.  My wife told me my music was wrong and I said it wasn’t as I was brought up with it and I couldn’t see it in my Christian discernment.  When we examined it closely both our records went out and it hurt my flesh badly because the childhood memories were blurring my spiritual music.

Acceptable Service

With music as with other of life’s issues, we are brought to Romans 12;

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.

Don’t we serve God with music?  It needs to be holy and acceptable.

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

I thank God that there is a total rebirth, a total change of everything in our system.  If we are going to be God’s church we are going to deal with music and deal with it in the same way that we deal with the subject of the atonement.  The sound of music is the expression of the atonement of Jesus Christ.


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Posted on 27/01/2010, in God's Love (Series), Music and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Praise the Lord with singing, cymbals, loud music, and DANCE! I wonder what Heaven will be like.

  2. I have been heartened by this sermon. Too many of our people think they can offer God what THEY think is fitting. They seem not to care that He is particular. Keep up the good work. I will direct others to this site. I am presently in discussion with a group on the SDA website with this very topic. This is very helpful.

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