Preparing for the Music of Heaven

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By John Thiel

Psalm 92:1 A Psalm [or] Song for the sabbath day. [It is a] good [thing] to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: 2 To show forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, 3 Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound.

“On the banks of old Jordan here gazing I stand and earnestly longing I stretch forth my hand. Send a convoy of angels dear Jesus I pray, let me join in that sweet music.”  With all who hear this message, to see whether we really are in tune with that music to understand that if I’m going to be in that place I will be truly fitted for that music. Those who plan to be recipients of Jesus in John 14 need to understand the import of our preparation.

John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also. 

Our understanding of what Jesus is doing in heaven at this time to prepare a place for us is that he is there preparing our hearts for a place up there as our high priest. Therefore if we are going to have a place it’s what I’m participating with Jesus now that is going to present a place for me there. This is to be understood.

Then my eyes were taken from the glory, and I was pointed to the remnant on the earth. The angel said to them, “Will ye shun the seven last plagues? Will ye go to glory and enjoy all that God has prepared for those who love Him and are willing to suffer for His sake? If so, ye must die that ye may live. Get ready, get ready, get ready. {EW 66.2}

The angel must have been rather anxious to repeat it three times.

Ye must have a greater preparation than ye now have, for the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate and to destroy the sinners thereof out of it. Sacrifice all to God. Lay all upon His altar–self, property, and all, a living sacrifice. It will take all to enter glory. Lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where no thief can approach or rust corrupt. Ye must be partakers of Christ’s sufferings here if ye would be partakers with Him of His glory hereafter.” {EW 66.2}

Can you hear the angel speaking who knows the remnant? He knows us. He says you must have a greater preparation than you now have. It will take all to enter there. I can feel the angel’s anxiety.

Get Ready

This is what our preparation for heaven series are all about.  To respond to this angels call. What must we get ready to be fitted to go there?

A character formed after the divine likeness is the only treasure that people can take from this world to the next. The character as formed in this world determines one’s destiny for eternity. The element of value in one’s life in this world will be of value in the world to come. A person’s future is determined by the way one allows himself or herself to be influenced. If one cherishes and cultivates hereditary tendencies for wrong, indulging fleshly inclinations, appetites, and passions, that individual can never enter the kingdom of God. But the person who strives to repress evil inclinations, who is willing to be governed by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, is transformed. {CTr 188.3}

The character formed after the divine likeness will determine whether I’m going to be happy across the Jordan in the heavenly Canaan. It has to do with a person allowing themself to be influenced. We will study the aspects in the future of inclinations, appetites, and passions. Our study today has to do with our appreciation of sound that affects my inclinations and passions.

Character

Character is the only thing I’m going to take with me to heaven.

A character formed according to the divine likeness is the only treasure that we can take from this world to the next. Those who are under the instruction of Christ in this world will take every divine attainment with them to the heavenly mansions. And in heaven we are continually to improve. How important, then, is the development of character in this life. {COL 332.3}

This is what I must concentrate my full focus upon. Get ready, get ready, get ready. What? My character development. The angel says you must be much more than what you are now. How do we understand character preparation? What actually is this? The hands on application of character development.

The grace of God takes men as they are, and works as an educator, using every principle on which an all-sided education depends. The steady influence of the grace of God trains the soul after Christ’s methods, and every fierce passion, every defective trait of character is worked upon by the molding influence of the spirit of Christ, until new motive power becomes filled with the Holy Spirit of God, after the likeness of the divine similitude. {UL 89.4}

Here is God’s side of the equation. He in Christ and the holy spirit is affecting by his grace my character. The passions, defective traits are being worked upon and being molded. Now comes something we have to remember as they interact with us.

Never forget that thoughts work out actions. Repeated actions form habits, and habits form character. Then in giving attention to the little things, there is no fear that the larger things will become stained and corrupted. {UL 89.5}

Little Things

A thought often repeated will lead to an action. An action often repeated will lead to habit and here we have the hands on understanding of how my character must be molded and developed for heaven. We are pursuing the training of the soul, the molding of the character for the music of heaven. If the character of music that indulged here is not in harmony with the character of music there, then my character is not fit to dwell there.

Sound Waves

A feeling and a thought is picked up via sound waves. Music is something that is molded in its appreciation over the years in a child that grows to an adult. The appreciation of certain sounds of music is relative to the conditioning of the human brain. Sound waves via the ear make the ear drum vibrate and the brain receives those vibrations and turns them into electrical impulses which the receptors take into the memory of the brain and it’s recorded as a memory. As we grow from childhood to adulthood, the sound waves of music are recorded in the brain like other receptors such as sight and touch and the appreciation of that music whether I enjoy it or repulse it is dependent upon the many different influences. There are influences that we have to guard. The influences will cause the individual to appreciate certain music.

“To make the impulses reaching it meaningful the brain relies upon the stored memories within its millions of cell networks. Not just sound memories but visual memories. Memories of taste, smell and touch. By comparing and contrasting and rejecting information the brain forms an integrated mental picture.” Times Atlas of the Body page 87:

Our appreciation of music depends upon personal past experiences. This helps us understand the development of character in regards to sound. If you are enjoying the sense of smell, visual, or touch with a particular sound of music, you will be conditioned to enjoy the music that relates to that pleasure. Our sense of musical pleasure is molded by my personal past experience. I grew up with German music. It’s different to English music. The Hispanic people have a different sound of music again. When you go to the Congo with Africa’s its different again. They enjoy their type of music as they grew up with that. All that we can identify with our human personal past experiences, unless I have been brought up in a very pure church family situation, the musical pleasure that has molded my personal past experience is not heavenly.  The character response to music will require re-development and remoulding.

God’s Way in Music Is Different to what we have developed on this planet

Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

55:9 For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

The ear hasn’t heard God’s things. What we have heard with our ears is foreign and lower than heaven as heaven and earth is separated. There is one example that we can identify of how heavens music is different to ours;

Eternal things have little weight with the youth. Angels of God are in tears as they write in the roll the words and acts of professed Christians. Angels are hovering around yonder dwelling. The young are there assembled; there is the sound of vocal and instrumental music. Christians are gathered there, but what is that you hear? It is a song, a frivolous ditty, fit for the dance hall. Behold the pure angels gather their light closer around them, and darkness envelops those in that dwelling. The angels are moving from the scene. Sadness is upon their countenances. Behold, they are weeping. This I saw repeated a number of times all through the ranks of Sabbathkeepers, and especially in —–. Music has occupied the hours which should have been devoted to prayer. Music is the idol which many professed Sabbathkeeping Christians worship. Satan has no objection to music if he can make that a channel through which to gain access to the minds of the youth. Anything will suit his purpose that will divert the mind from God and engage the time which should be devoted to His service. He works through the means which will exert the strongest influence to hold the largest numbers in a pleasing infatuation, while they are paralyzed by his power. When turned to good account, music is a blessing; but it is often made one of Satan’s most attractive agencies to ensnare souls. When abused, it leads the unconsecrated to pride, vanity, and folly. When allowed to take the place of devotion and prayer, it is a terrible curse. Young person’s assemble to sing, and, although professed Christians, frequently dishonor God and their faith by their frivolous conversation and their choice of music. Sacred music is not congenial to their taste. I was directed to the plain teachings of God’s word, which have been passed by unnoticed. In the judgment all these words of inspiration will condemn those who have not heeded them. {1T 505.2}

What did we just look at? The sound of music that was being indulged in back there in the 1850’s. What was music fit for the dance floor at that time? Country and western. The country and western music was the dance floor ditty of that time. In America the ditties were country and western. It came from the Irish and they cheer each other up from this type of music. What do we see from the people enjoying that? How were the angels responding to that? They withdrew. Darkness was there but the people were enjoying themselves. With that view before us, we have a representation that the angels have different music. In heaven the angels love making music and song. Their singing is soft and melodious.

God’s Way of Music

I have been shown the order, the perfect order, of heaven, and have been enraptured as I listened to the perfect music there. After coming out of vision, the singing here has sounded very harsh and discordant. I have seen companies of angels, who stood in a hollow square, every one having a harp of gold. . . . There is one angel who always leads, who first touches the harp and strikes the note, then all join in the rich, perfect music of heaven. It cannot be described. It is melody, heavenly, divine, while from every countenance beams the image of Jesus, shining with glory unspeakable. Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 146. (1857) {Ev 505.3}

The perfect music of heaven cannot be described. It is melody, heavenly, divine connected with the angels glorification of their lord and saviour Jesus Christ. To be able to join them in that kind of music, we need to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. We need to be conditioned here and now because music becomes part of character and I cannot take the character of the music with me to heaven that will make me uncomfortable there.

To Be Able To Join Them

Where must I turn to receive the instruction to be molded correctly so that on this point like on every point I will be in tune in my character?

1 Corinthians 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;

1:5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and [in] all knowledge;

1:6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:

1:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

As we are waiting for his coming, the gift of Jesus by his grace, the testimony of Christ, what is that? The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy. What will this grace of God do for us in being to be fitted?

1 Corinthians 1:8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, [that ye may be] blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

If I want to be blameless in reference to the character of music that I enjoy, where shall I gain my guidance to tune into the correct to shun the other? The testimony of Christ confirmed. This scripture is of vital importance to us via the testimony of Christ on this matter, let us heed the revelation.

I saw that those who of late have embraced the truth would have to know what it is to suffer for Christ’s sake, that they would have trials to pass through that would be keen and cutting, in order that they may be purified and fitted through suffering to receive the seal of the living God, pass through the time of trouble, see the King in His beauty, and dwell in the presence of God and of pure, holy angels.  {EW 67.1}

To dwell in the presence of pure holy angels with their music, it will be a keen cutting experience because why?  The things I have learnt to enjoy have to be cut off from me and that is painful especially when it comes to emotional things like music.  Music to a musician is part of them.  To have that changed in me is a keen cutting experience.

Said the angel, “Deny self; ye must step fast.” Some of us have had time to get the truth and to advance step by step, and every step we have taken has given us strength to take the next. But now time is almost finished, and what we have been years learning, they will have to learn in a few months. They will also have much to unlearn and much to learn again{EW 67.2}

The thing that has formed my character of appreciation in regards to music, that has to be altered and much unlearned and much learned again.  I thank God for the Spirit of Prophecy which will do this with me if I will read it and apply it.

The ditty fit for the dance floor – country and western.  For me as a German it’s that squeeze box singing that he Germans sing.  That is the ditty for the dance floor as well.  For the African it’s the drums and their dancing. It has been adopted in modern music of today. Rock, jazz, all that people appreciate and enjoy in the different categories of human development, the ditty for the dance floor. These things are cutting to some people.

The opera, with its fascinating display and bewildering music, the masquerade, the dance, the card table, Satan employs… {AH 515.3}

Have you ever listened to opera?  What is Sr White pointing at here?  There are careful lines to be distinguished as there are other statements that talk about good classical music.  There is an opera style of music which is called bewildering music.

In some of our churches I have heard solos that were altogether unsuitable for the service of the Lord’s house. The long-drawn-out notes and the peculiar sounds common in operatic singing are not pleasing to the angels. -Manuscript 91, 1903.

It wasn’t just the ditty music that was not pleasing to the angels.

They delight to hear the simple songs of praise sung in a natural tone. 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.

Here is a very clear appreciation that is given to help us adjust our appreciations of music.  Then there is another experience described by which we can identify the songs that are not for heaven.  The remnant were walking a narrow path;

Our danger of falling from the pathway increased. 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. Much of the time we were compelled to suspend our whole weight upon the cords, which increased in size as we progressed.  {2T 595.3}

What songs were not in harmony with the remnant people?  They heard vile songs. What is the war song? The typical march that churns the soldiers up to be on fire for the war.  Notice it says the vile song. Songs that have to do with courtship which being out of character for Gods people.  Courtship singing.  Lovely crooning courtship sounds.  These are the descriptions by which we can be mind prepared to accept that angels are not happy about.  If we hold onto these characteristic melodies and they are part of us, we will find it very strange to hear something different.  A mind that is conditioned by such sounds of music that are not part of the sounds of heaven, when we get to heaven, will we feel at home in the atmosphere of heaven?

Let none suppose that they can live a life of selfishness, and then, having served their own interests, enter into the joy of their Lord. In the joy of unselfish love they could not participate. They would not be fitted for the heavenly courts. They could not appreciate the pure atmosphere of love that pervades heaven. The voices of the angels and the music of their harps would not satisfy them. To their minds the science of heaven would be as an enigma.  {COL 364.2}

Here we have a God given illumination by which we can be prepared for the heavenly music by now discovering that while I’m hanging onto certain styles of music in my life that are out of character with the light I’m reading, I know I would not be happy in heaven.  I thank God for illuminating us. If I take the love of Jesus that he has demonstrated in the gospel, if I let that govern my responses, then as I read the testimony of Jesus, my heart says oh Lord I love you better than that which I’ve been conditioned to enjoy and I will turn my back on it.  I remember the records I had on German folk music.  It cost allot of money and I threw them in the rubbish.  We need to do these things so that which is not the character of heaven is not in me now.  There is an area with all the other areas of preparation that has to be addressed, it is my relish for any kind of music not in harmony with heaven.

Then I was pointed to the glory of heaven, to the treasure laid up for the faithful. Everything was lovely and glorious. The angels would sing a lovely song, then they would cease singing and take their crowns from their heads and cast them glittering at the feet of the lovely Jesus, and with melodious voices cry, “Glory, Alleluia!” I joined with them in their songs of praise and honor to the Lamb, and every time I opened my mouth to praise Him, I felt an unutterable sense of the glory that surrounded me. {EW 66.1}

Music affects the being with glory.  It is a different glory to mans glory.

It was a far more, an exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Said the angel, “The little remnant who love God and keep His commandments and are faithful to the end will enjoy this glory and ever be in the presence of Jesus and sing with the holy angels.”  {EW 66.1}

When here on earth we sing, we can have the angels singing through us if we are in tune.  The angels won’t sing through us when we start crooning.  When we listen to crooning sounds we find ourselves in that mode of scooping.

The Little Remnant that are Going to be Able to Sing in Tune with the Angels

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}

By discarding one we will open the door to the angels to influence us with the music of heaven.  The angles will sing through us if we tune out of the worldly way of music to their music. It will come through the influence of the angels through us.

The Keynote of the Heavenly Praise We Learn Here

We must learn here to sing the song of heaven, so that when our warfare is over we can join in the song of the heavenly angels in the city of God. What is that song? It is praise, and honor, and glory unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. {LHU 372.2}

That is a song of experience.  As we experience Jesus and his purifying experiences, as we experience the revelation of the Holy Spirit taking of Jesus and showing it to us, then the pure heavenly notes will be echoed from heaven through us.

We should learn here to talk the language of Canaan, to sing the songs of Zion. By the mystery and glory of the cross we can estimate the value of man, and then we shall see and feel the importance of working for our fellow men, that they may be exalted to the throne of God. {4T 462.1}

When His name is mentioned He wants it to strike the keynote, and there will be a response in your hearts. Then you can offer up thanksgiving and glory and honor and praise to Him that sitteth on the throne and to the Lamb.  {FW 78.3}

You should learn to sing that song here; and when you are changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, you will know just where to strike the song of triumph with the heavenly angels and with the redeemed saints.  {FW 78.4}

If I learn here when I’m changed physically I will know which note to strike because the note that we strike is the note of Jesus Christ in our experience.  We are learning here that experience.  There will be no misnote.

We shall make heaven’s arches ring with praise and glory. Now, let the arches ring here. Let this place waken praise in your hearts. While you are upon this ground look at the lofty trees, the green velvet carpet, and let praise awaken in your hearts. Praise God that we are privileged to be in this world, as beautiful as it is. We are going to a better place. This earth is going to be purified, melted over, and made without sin.  {FW 78.4}

Have we not everything to make us heavenly minded? Have we not everything to bring us right up from this earthliness and sensuality, this cheap and nonsensical talk, this jesting and joking, this false reporting, babbling, and evil surmising? Put it all away! It is a disgrace to the church! It enfeebles and weakens the church.  {FW 79.1}

Let our conversation be holy. As God is holy in His sphere, let us be holy in ours. Let us rejoice in the precious Saviour, who has died to redeem us, and reflect glory back to God. Let us join with heaven in our praises here and unite with the songs of the heavenly angels in the city of our God.  {FW 79.2}

Preparation for heaven?  This subject is part of it.  Let us adjust our senses and know what is meant with Psalms 92.  This is a psalm that has to do with Sabbath singing.

Singing with a Solemn Sound

Psalm 92:1 A Psalm [or] Song for the sabbath day. [It is a] good [thing] to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:

92:2 To show forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night,

92:3 Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound.

To be happy in heaven is not echoed by a frivolous ditty. To be happy in heaven there is solemn melodious ditty.  That is what we need to learn here. God help us to embrace it so that the solemn sense of God’s love and goodness to me can be expressed in a solemn joyful sound.

Amen.

Posted on April 10, 2010, in Divine Service Sermons, Music and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I find responding to this just as hard as I would standing before a Mormon Church….who are by the way big on music, or speaking Truth into the last remaining Christadelphians, or even the less musical but more teaching based Jehovah’s Witnesses. I’d need to be under a great anointing to know even where to start.
    Thoughts of Brussels and perfectly good minds being employed every day to frame the thousands and thousands of new European Laws come to mind as I read these sermons.
    You preach separatism.
    You preach Law.
    You preach grit your teeth for the Himalayan expedition which is the Christian Life, and somehow God will see you through.

    “A person’s future is determined by the way one allows himself or herself to be influenced. If one cherishes and cultivates hereditary tendencies for wrong, indulging fleshly inclinations, appetites, and passions, that individual can never enter the kingdom of God. But the person who strives to repress evil inclinations, who is willing to be governed by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, is transformed…………….”

    Probably this sentence just about sums up the spirit in which you write , which drives believers out of all churches at the moment to get as far from this stuff as they can to get to know the Living Lord Jesus for themselves. It could be Brethren material. It could almost be Catholic. What it is, is the same author who inspires another well-known religion which means submission….Islam. But it isn’t the Living Christ.

  2. This message has touched me. send me a dvd of this copy and any other on my postal address.
    po box 58248-00200
    city squire nairobi kenya

  3. what does heavenly music sound like?

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