Scriptural Worship

Often times, visitors are offended with the worship in a Full Gospel Church simply because they have never been taught scriptural worship. The most common argument is that the New Testament does not substantiate expressions of worship or praise such as: lifting hands, clapping, dancing, prophetic songs, etc. Whilst it is true that most of the physical manifestations of praise are found in the psalm department of the Bible; the Apostle James points us back to the David era, and says that the Church must restore back to the Davidic worship.

Acts 15:16-17 says, “After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things." Clearly, from this text, the Church must come back to the precedence that David established for a short interim during the Old Testament. After David had brought the Ark of the Covenant up to Mount Zion, he experienced (in a figure) the New Testament priesthood, the rent veil, and ministry in the presence of The Lord.

1. Praise awaits for Thee in Sion… – Psalm 65:1
There is a difference between praise and worship, however, I am using the word worship to incorporate all of the expressions of praise. (We shall differentiate on the terms later.) There are many exhibitions of praise or laudation found in the psalms. They are expressions of the soul. David said, “Bless the Lord O my soul and let all that is within me bless his holy name." This does not sound like one passively sitting on the pew with his mouth closed!

2. Lifting hands
“Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name" (Psa. 63:4).
“Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD" (Psa. 134:2).
“Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice" (Psa. 141:2).
“Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens" (Lam. 3:41).

Lifting of the hands expresses many things: It can be an expression of faith as we pray. It can symbolize surrendering your heart. It can be an extension of worship or blessing. When Moses held up his hands the enemy was defeated. It can symbolize reliance upon God, etc. Any of these expressions of lifting hands when they are in accord with the Spirit of God can be powerful! Someone had a vision once of a cloud of incense going up as the people were lifting their hands.

3. Clapping Hands
“O clap your hands, all ye people…" (Psa. 47:1). Clapping the hands is a declaration of jubilation and victory – as it was in this psalm. It can also be a demonstration of judgement against the enemy. (See Ezekiel 21:17.) Another shared a vision about a congregation that was clapping triumphantly, and that clapping was actually buffeting the demonic power that was trying to subdue them.

4. Dancing
“Let them praise his name in the dance" (Psa. 149:3). The Lord is extolled in the dance. When the ark came into Jerusalem, the congregation was dancing. The only one that was offended by this was smitten with barrenness! When Jesus came into Jerusalem, (the triumphal entry) they were dancing. When the prodigal son returned, they were dancing. When Israel is restored in the last day, they are dancing!

Allow me to share a story about a friend of mine who attended a bible school in the Adirondacks region (1974). As the school was terminating for term break, the president of the school said: “I had an unusual vision of Jesus dancing in the midst of his people." When the next term began, the dancing began. There was such an outbreak of joy that it could not be contained. The students danced through the whole semester, and then it ended as abruptly as it had started. (Incidentally, the dancing is before the Lord, not with one another.) One might ask, what did it accomplish? It brought unity, healing, and release of spiritual gifts and a triumph over the enemy. It brought an impartation of things most Christians never see!

5. Rejoicing
“Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King" (Psa. 149:2). Once again, here is an expression of the soul that has many variations. Some of them could include leaping, and spinning about. (See 1523 in the Hebrew concordance.) There are times when the spirit of rejoicing comes; and there are times when we must stir ourselves to rejoice. The enemy cannot stand before those who are rejoicing in their God! Mt. Zion is a place of rejoicing. (Incidentally, the word used at the marriage supper for rejoice, means to leap for joy! Rev. 19:7.)

Note: Sometimes the word joyful, transliterates into the same Hebrew word as, rejoice: [e.g.] “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion" (Zec. 9:9). “…let the children of Zion be joyful in their King." (Psa. 149:2b).

6. Shouting
“…shout unto God with the voice of triumph…" (Psa. 47:1b). The expression: “Shout for joy" is used on numerous occasions in the psalms. Shouting can also be a legitimate manifestation of praise to God. Shouting, like any other form of exultation can bring release in the Spirit. The walls of Jericho came down with a shout! They were in tune with heaven.

“Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me…" (Psa. 50:23a). It is interesting that the word “praise" is only used seven times until you get to the David era. The psalms record the word praise, 160 times. The word praise basically means to extol, or glorify the Lord. It is generally expressed by singing, shouting, or with instruments. Many people do not realize how destitute the Church world was during the dark ages. There were no instruments in the church. There was no song in the church of the dark ages. Maybe a chant, or some kind of dirge.

The word sing is used at least seventy times in the psalms. Singing is one of the most powerful forms of praise and adulation. In fact, battles have been won by singing. For example, Jehoshaphat’s battle with the mixed multitude, 2 Chronicles 20:21-22, “And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever. And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten." Paul and Silas sang praises from the inner prison at midnight. Talk about bringing release… Their chains fell off, their stocks fell off, and the prison doors were opened. They actually released a revival in the prison by singing praises. (See Acts 16:24-30.)

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving…" (Psa. 100:4a). This psalm gives us the correct format to approach our God. Thanksgiving is one of the essentials of the worship service. (The word thanksgiving is mentioned about 30 times in the psalms.) Giving thanks actually releases faith. Paul said to make your supplications known to God, with thanksgiving. We are thanking him in advance! (See Phil. 4:6.). David appointed courses of Levites to give thanks; it was part of the service. (See 1 Chr. 16:4, 35, 23:30, 25:3.) Testimony services are always nice. However, it is also pleasant when the thanksgiving comes spontaneously. Perhaps, during an interlude in the song service. I have noticed at times, even a prophetic impulse as people gave thanks for things yet to be! Thanksgiving can create an atmosphere for the Spirit of God to move.

“Then was our mouth filled with laughter…" (Psa. 126:2a). Here is another expression of victory or triumph. Psalm 2:4a says, “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh…" (referring to the Christ), however, David penned this psalm as he sat upon Mount Zion, and as the Lord gave him the dominion over his enemies. I believe David experienced sitting (as it were) in heavenly places, far above his enemies. David experienced the holy laugh of triumph. I was once in a country where the Church had experienced a real breakthrough in the Spirit. This Church, at times would experience waves of laughter, which brought physical healing to many. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…" (Prov. 17:22). Laughing can be a witness of the Spirit of God!

Davidic Instruments
“…and four thousand praised the LORD with the instruments which I made, said David, to praise therewith" (1 Chr. 23:5). All of the later revivals came back to the Davidic instruments and worship. Some of the instruments you will find associated with David:

  • Flutes
  • Cornets
  • Varied pitched harps
  • Varied stringed instruments
  • Varied pitched cymbals
  • Timbrels
  • Psalteries
  • Organs [wind-reed instruments]
  • Trumpets

There is definitely an emphasis on the instruments of David. I believe this is because there are problems associated with instruments. The percussion section can be a problem. The wrong beat or rhythm can taint the worship and in some cases bring in the wrong spirit. Often, this is a concern on the mission field; getting the paganistic mixture out of the worship. I was once in one of these primitive village churches, where the drummer was beating on a barrel. There was no anointing upon their worship! Drums can be legitimate in the right setting. The Salvation Army band playing militant or marching type of anthems can actually be quite inspiring. Snare drums building up to a crescendo in certain exultation’s can be very anointed. Obviously, there are many more instruments around in the 20-21 centuries, but our main concern is that they are producing the same anointed affects as the David instruments. Some instruments are designed to the minor key. The minor key can also drag the service down, perhaps cause a depressing mood. (Not always the case.)

* We need to divide soul from spirit in our music departments.

The Musical Scale
Pastor James Shaffer wrote a book on “Bible Numerics, and Music." In his book, he explains some of the numerical vibrations on the piano. He also shows how that the musical scale reveals the seven dispensations:
1. C-major The creation.
2. D-minor The fall of Adam.
3. E-minor The Flood.
4. F-major The birth and ministry of Christ.
5. G-major The birth of the Church. (Pentecost)
6. A-minor The antichrist reign.
7. B-diminished The Millennial reign. (There is still sin in the Millennium.)
8. C-major The new heaven, and the new earth. (The eighth note is the same as the first note, only a complete octave higher. The new heaven and earth is greater than the Eden creation!]
What this scale shows us, is that we do not want to major in the minor!

“Exalt ye the LORD our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy." (Psa. 99:5). “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker" (Psa. 95:6). There is a procedure to come into His presence. The outer court represents thanksgiving and praise, however, worship (in its truest form) is what takes place before His throne. When the Lord is coming down the street there is jubilation, rejoicing, and dancing; yet, when the Lord is on his throne, the order changes to worship. Worship has the sense of falling upon your face. In many of our fellowship churches, it is common to see people, bowing, or kneeling, or even lying prostrate. True worship is absolute surrender. In the garden of Gethsemane, unregenerate man had to fall backward in the presence of the “I Am." However, after Christ was resurrected, His disciples fell at his feet in worship. (Compare John 18:6 & Matthew 28:9.) It is in the true expression of worship where we are changed. We are changed into His image as we behold Him (2 Cor. 3:18). We are changed from glory to glory in this place of worship. The psalmist said that we become like the object of our affection. (See Psalm 135:18.)

In conclusion, let us consider several verses in 2 Chronicles 1:3-4, “So Solomon, and all the congregation with him, went to the high place that was at Gibeon; for there was the tabernacle of the congregation of God, which Moses the servant of the LORD had made in the wilderness. But the ark of God had David brought up from Kirjath-jearim to the place which David had prepared for it: for he had pitched a tent for it at Jerusalem." The ark was in the Tabernacle of David.

The Golden Altar Moves Within The Veil
The Apostle Paul, in his explanation of “Moses Tabernacle", takes the liberty of moving the golden altar into the Holy of Holies. Hebrews 9:3-4a, “And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold…" Paul actually moves the golden altar within the veil, by the Spirit [the altar was always on this side of the veil]. The golden altar speaks of prayer and praise. Do you see the significance? The New Testament calling is to minister within the veil! The worshippers at Gibeon were going through the legitimate forms of worship in the outer court; but the object of their worship (symbolized in the ark) was in the Tabernacle of David upon the holy hill.