ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTER No. 188

THE SABBATH AND WORSHIP MUSIC”

Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi

Retired Professor of Theology,  Andrews University

 

INDEX OF TOPICS OF THIS NEWSLETTER

      * How to Subscribe and Unsubscribe

      * Update on Recent Developments

                  * Cristina Piccardi’s New DVD recording

 

THE SABBATH AND WORSHIP MUSIC”

                   *This is the Essay of this Newsletter

 

                   * Special offer on the Package of 10 DVD/CD albums,

          containing all the recordings of Prof. Jon Paulien,

          Prof, Graeme Bradford, and Prof. Bacchiocchi.

          The package includes also the newly released DVD

          Abundant Life Seminar.

 

        * Introductory offer on Prof. Jon Paulien’s DVD album

          on Simply Revelation

 

        * How to Contact the Center for Cancer Care

          in Goshen, Indiana that has healed my liver cancer.

 

        * Upcoming seminars for November and December

 

        * Incredible Offer on the new Hitachi 3000 Lumens Projector

             Only $1395.00

 

        * The Smallest and most Powerful Remote Presenter

 

        * Does your church or School Need a Screen?

 

        * Bed and Breakfast in London, England

 

        * TAGNET new Web-hosting offer

 

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE AND UNSUBSCRIBE

 

        To subscribe or unsubscribe to this newsletter, please email your re quest to <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>  To avoid past problems, we will add or remove your address manually.

 

UPDATE ON RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

 

Update on the Writing of POPULAR BELIEFS:  ARE THEY BIBLICAL?

 

                           The research and writing of the new book Popular Beliefs: Are They Biblical? is progressing well, though this past week my research and writings was slowed down by the many demands on my time. Coming back home after spending 20 days in England speaking at three rallies, I found a backlog of important messages that I needed to answer. Yet, I did make a good start on the next chapter entitled “Mariolatry,” which by God’s grace I hope to post it within the next ten days. 

 

                           This chapter on the devotion and worship of Mary is an important chapter, because as TIME magazine notes in a cover story entitled “The Search for Mary,”  “both the adoration and the conflict attending Mary have risen to extraordinary levels. A grass-roots revival of faith in the Virgin is taking place worldwide. Millions of worshippers are flocking to her shrines, many of them young people. Even more remarkable are the number of claimed sightings of the Virgin, from Yugoslavia to Colorado, in the past few years.”

 

                           On November 21, 1964, the Second Vatican Council predicted in its Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, called Lumen Gentium,  that Mary’s intercessions “before the Son in the fellowship of all the saints” may succeed in “bringing together in peace and harmony into one People of God” all the families of the earth (#69). At that time Protestant viewed this suggestion as ridiculous, but today the situation has changed.  Recent publications by Protestants on Mary indicate that she could indeed be the ecumenical bridge that is being built by eroding the Protestant rejection of Catholic dogmas about Mary.

 

                           In his article “Protestants and Marian Devotion: What About Mary?” Methodist scholar Jason Byassee writes: “ ‘To say ‘Holy Mary, full of grace, pray for us sinners, now and in the hour of our deaths’ seem to express an extrascriptural accretion. But perhaps asking Mary for her prayers is not in itself un-Protestant. To do so may even guard christological dogma and defend against patriarchy. Who knows? Mary might just be key to the future of ecumenism after all.”

 

                           In the light of these recent developments, it is imperative to test biblically the Catholic and Protestant popular beliefs about the devotion and worship of Mary. This is the objective of the chapter on “Mariolatry” that I am researching and writing.  By God’s grave I hope to complete this chapter by the end of next week.

 

Financing the Printing of Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical?

 

                           In my previous newsletters I told you that some fellow believers have promised to raise funds for the printing a large quantity of the new book Popular Beliefs: Are they Biblical? The idea is to offer the book to churches and individual members FREE OF CHARGE. 

 

                           This means that if sufficient funds are received to cover the editing and printing costs of the book, we will offered  it for only the cost of shipping and handling, that is, about $2.00 to 3.00 a copy, instead of the regular price of $25.00 for a book of this size. If the funds received cover only part of the printing costs, then the price will be adjusted accordingly.

 

                           So far we have received several contributions, but we are still a long way from reaching the goal of $200,000.00 to cover the cost of printing 100,000 copies. If you feel impressed to contribute to this project, feel free to contact me.  I will tell you where to send your contribution, so that you can receive a tax deductible receipt.

 

Sharing the Good News of the Sabbath with Words and Songs

 

                           This past week I have spent considerable time in locating and hiring a professional recording crew to record Cristina Piccardi’s Sacred Concert that was presented  at Andrews University Pioneer Memorial Church (PMC) last Saturday afternoon, November 10, 2007. The actual recording was done at PMC three days earlier on Wednesday, November 7,  to respect the sacredness of the Sabbath. There is a lot of work involved in setting up the cameras and the audio recording equipment for a Sabbath afternoon video recording of the sacred concert. In good conscience I felt that this should be avoided on the Sabbath.

 

                           The recording went well and the editing process has already been completed. This means that the new DVD with 11 sacred songs sang by Cristina with her powerful and passionate soprano voice, is ready for distribution. Information on how to order the new DVD is given below.

 

                           Being the sponsor of the video taping of Cristina’s Sacred Concert, I was privileged to hear her singing twice, first Wednesday evening for the professional recordings, and then on Saturday afternoon for the community Sacred Concert. Truly I can say that Cristina powerful and passionate singing deeply tourched my heart. A university administrator sitting next to me on Sabbath afternoon told me: “I have never been so deeply moved by a sacred concert like this evening.”

 

                           The recording represents months of rehersals and spiritual preparation. After lunch last Sabbath, Cristina told my wife and I, “I need to left alone for one hour to pray and prepare myself mentally and spiritually to interpret the message of each song I will sing.” Her spiritual preparation was most evident during her performance as one could sense how deeply she felt the message of each sacred song she sang.

 

                           You can enjoy a preview of Cristina’s singing by clicking at this link http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cristina/ You can see and hear her singing at PMC one stanza of THE HOLY CITY.

 

Who is Cristina Piccardi?

                          

                           In the previous newsletters I mentioned that I officially met Cristina Piccardi on October 6, 2007 at Andrews University Pioneer Memorial Church, where she sang three times during the communion service. Her background is unique. she was born in 1981 in Rio Grande  do  Sul,  Brazil. Already as a teenager she loved to sing about the love of God in churches, schools, and public events.

 

                           At the age of 18 she won the Young Artists Competition for the Porto Alegre Symphony Orchestra in Brazil, singing for the first time with a Symphonic Orchestra,  an aria from the opera Don Giovanni by Mozart and an aria from the oratorio Messiah, by Handel. The same orchestra invited her again the following year to sing in a sacred music concert.

 

                           In 2003 Cristina completed her Batchelor of Music in Voice Performance at the Federal  University of Rio Grande do  Sul in Brazil. Desirous to perfect her singing skills, she came to the USA to enroll for a  Master of Music in Voice Performance at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA, where she received full scholarship during the two years of her studies, graduating in December of 2005.                                             

                           In the same year she performed the role of “Carolina” in the Opera Il Matrimonio Segreto, by Domenico Cimarosa, with  the Duquesne’s Symphony Orchestra. Later in the same year she performed the same opera in Bulgaria with the Orchestra of Stara Zagora Opera. At the Annual May Opera Festival in Polovdiv, Bulgaria, she won the first prize in the Puldin 2005 International Competition for Opera Singers.

           

                           In October of 2005 she performed the role of “Adele” in parts of the Opera Die Fledermaus, by R. Strauss with the Washinghton-Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra.  During the summers of 2003, 2004, and 2005 she participated in a special program for opera singers in Italy. There she was trained by renowned tenors and sopranos who contributed enormously to improve the quality of her vocal performances.                       

                           After spending 5 years performing leading soprano roles with various orchestras in the USA and overseas, Cristina felt God’s call to devote her life to sing sacred music. Her beautiful lyric soprano voice expresses her passion for the Lord and touches the hearts of people everywhere.

 

                           When I heard Cristiana singing at PMC with so much power and passion, I immediately sensed that the Lord might bring us together to proclaim our timely message in a fresh, appealing way through words and songs. Cristina shares my Italian cultural heritage and is by far the best Adventist lyric soprano I have ever heard in my life. Though she is only 25 years old and weighs less than 120 pounds (not the typical heavy-set sopranos), she has been gifted by God with an incredibly powerful soprano voice that leaves people spellbound. More important still is the fact that she is a deeply spiritual Adventist Christian who takes time each day to study God’s Word, meditate and pray.

 

                           When I shared with her my dream for her to sing at my weekend seminars across the USA and overseas, her face lighted up and said: “This has been also my dream since I left the opera singing.  I have been praying that the Lord would open the door for me to share my singing ministry with wider audiences outside our local Adventist churches.  Your offer is an answer to my prayers.”

 

Our Immediate Plans

 

                           We are both excited at the thought of ministering to God’s people together with words and songs. Our first seminar together will be next weekend on November 16-17, 2007 at the Avon Park SDA Church, a 900 members congregation located near Orlando, Florida. We are both praying and preparing ourselves for this important event that will be video-recorded. 

 

                           Cristina will sing a total of 17 sacred songs,  before and after each of my three presentations. On Sabbath afternoon she will give a one hour sacred concert from 4 to 5 p.m., before my final lecture entitled “The Sabbath Under Crossfire,” which deals with the latest Sabbath/Sunday developments.

 

                           If you live in the Orlando area, you do not want to miss this memorable opportunity to hear an outstanding Adventist Soprano, as well as some exciting news about the rediscovery of the Sabbath by ministers and congregations of different denominations.  The rediscovery of the Sabbath is an unprecedented phenomenon of our time, which reminds us of Ellen White’s prediction that in this final hour of world history “the Sabbath will be proclaimed more fully” (Early Writings, p.33).

 

                           In fact, on December 21-22, 2007, both Cristina and myself have been invited to present the SABBATH SEMINAR with words and songs at the annual convention of the FRIENDS OF THE SABBATH, held this year in Lexington, Kentucky. The coordinator has informed me that for the past several years this annual convention has brought together between 500 to 700 non-SDA sabbatarians, belonging to different congregations that have recently accepted the Sabbath. We look forward to a blessed time together with sabbatarian friends of other churches. We hope that some Adventists will attend the meetings.

           

Would you like us to Present a Seminar at your Church in 2008?

 

                           If your church wishes to explore the possibility of inviting Cristina and myself to present a seminar with words and songs on the Sabbath, or Second Advent, or Christian lifestyle, feel free to contact us by phone (269) 471-2915 or by email <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com> 

 

                           We will gladly mail you FREE OF CHARGE the video recording of the seminar that will be professionally taped this coming Sabbath at the Avon Park SDA Church, near Orlando, Florida. This DVD recording will give an opportunity to your church board to evaluate both Cristina’s singing and my preaching. Since seeing is believing, the best way to introduce the new format of my seminars, is to give you a chance to watch a video recording of both of us in action.

 

                           To receive the FREE DVD recording of our seminar, please ask your pastor to email us his name, address, phone number, and church name.  We will be glad to mail him the DVD album free of charge and give him the list of the remaining open dates for 2008.

 

                           The cost of the seminar is very reasonable, consisting primarily of the refund of two airline tickets and two hotel rooms. We have designed a new color flier and attractive posters, featuring the pictures of both of us.  We will supply the fliers and the posters.

 

                           Properly promoted, the seminar can draw your community people, eager to hear Cristina singing so passionately about the love of God with her outstanding soprano voice. Her community Sacred Concerts are always well received.

The Source of Inspiration for this Newsletter

         The inspiration to post this essay you are about to read on “THE SABBATH AND SACRED MUSIC,” came from listening to Christina Piccardi bringing to life well-known sacred songs with her powerful and passionate soprano voice. While listening to Cristina this past week, first during the taping on Wednesday evening and then during the formal Sacred Concert on Saturday afternoon, I could not help but think about the controversy over music that is causing considerable conflicts and divisions in Adventist churches worldwide.

         The prevailing perception seems to be that traditional hymns are dead, because they no longer appeal to the new generation. I wish that those who hold such misconception could see the faces of the young and old riveted on Cristina while she sings with passion and power traditional and classic sacred songs. Many traditional sacred songs have great melodies, harmonies, and lyrics that can touch the heart of people of any age. The problem is not the songs that are too old, but that the singing that is lifeless, more suitable for a funerary service than for the celebration of God’s creative and redemptive love.

         Churches are often divided over the use of contemporary versus traditional music. But the criterion is not whether a song is old or contemporary but whether its  music, words, and  manner of singing, conform to the biblical principle of worship music. Contrary to prevailing misconceptions, the Bible clearly differentiates between the music used for social entertainment and the music worthy of the worship of God. This vital distinction is brought out in Chapter 7, “Biblical Principles of Music,” of our symposium The Christian and Rock Music: A Study of Biblical Principles of Music, which is the longest and, most likely, the most important chapter of this book.

         This essay is largely excerpted from chapters 7 of The Christian and Rock Music: A Study of Biblical Principles of Music. The chapter is entitled “Biblical Principles of Music.”  The book is the largest (384 pages) and most expensive book that I have ever published, because I had to pay generous royalties to the six contributors.  It is written in a popular style by seven scholars of six different nationalities. With the exception of myself, all the contributors are trained musicians with academic music degrees, and are passionately involved in enriching the worship experience of their congregations. 

         The book has been reprinted several times and has been well-received both inside and outside our Adventist church. Some college music teachers have adopted the book for their teaching. In view of the fact that Cristina’s singing fittingly exemplify the biblical principles of music presented in the book The Christian and Rock Music: A Study of Biblical Principles of Music, I have decided to offer this timely book that regularly sells for $25.00, FREE UNTIL NOVEMBER 30 to those ordering the album Cristina Piccardi’s DVD video recording and CD audio recording.  This is the information on how to order Christina’s DVD/CD album and receive a free copy of the music book.

Description and Order Information of Christina’s DVD/CD album

         The newly released album by Cristina Piccardi contains two disks: the first is a CD audio disk and the second is a DVD video disk.

         The first CD audio disk is entitled REJOICE IN THE LORD  and was recorded about six months ago.  It contains 11 audio Gospel songs like How Great Thou Art, He Shall Feed His Flock, Softly and Tenderly, The Holy City, the Lord’s Prayer, etc. This is an audio recording that you can play in your car CD player, or on any CD players you have in your home.

           The second DVD video disk is entitled SING UNTO THE LORD  and was recorded on November 7, at Andrews University Pioneer Memorial Church.  It contains 11 sacred familiar songs that you can play with your DVD player in your living room and/or your church.

Special Introductory Offer on Cristina Piccardi’s DVD/CD Album:

           The regular price of Cristina Piccardi’s album with both the CD audio disk and the DVD video disk, is $100.00, but we are pleased to offer you at this time the album for ONLY $50.00. In addition to the album  you will receive A FREE COPY of The Christian and Rock Music: A Study of Biblical Principles of Music,  which regularly retails for $25.00.

           This special offer of $50.00 for the package of Cristina’s album and one free copy of the book is valid for the next three weeks until November 30, 2007. The special price of $50.00 includes the cost of airmail to any domestic or international destinations. 

How to Order the Package of Cristina’s Album and the Free Book:

        (1) Online by clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=26&products_id=103

        (2) By calling us at (269) 471-2915

        (3) By emailing us your address and credit card information

        (4) By mailing a check for $50.00 to  BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990  Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 4990, USA. We guarantee to process your order immediately.

Who Benefits from the Sale of Cristina Piccardi’s Album?

           Some people feel that I am marketing the recordings of Cristina Piccardi, or of Prof. Jon Paulien, or of Prof. Graeme Bradford for personal profit. Thus, they jump to the conclusion that I am becoming rich at the expenses of the hard work that other have done. Some have even asked to have their email address removed, because they feel that I am emailing the Endtime Issues Newsletters just for the money. Nothing could be further from the truth.

           Perhaps this is a good opportunity to silence this false criticism by telling the truth about these projects. The truth is that I have not yet recovered my investment in any of the projects that I have sponsored.  For example, I paid over $5000.00 for the video recording of Prof. Jon Paulien DVD Simply Revelation that was done at the media center of Andrews University. So far I have hardly recovered half of the investment. Moreover  Prof. Jon Paulien buys from me his CD and DVD albums for only the cost of burning and packaging the albums.

           I view this as a service of love for a scholar that I respect.  In few weeks I will do the same thing for Prof. Roy Gane, whom I regard as the Adventist authority on the Sanctuary. I will pay for a DVD recording of his sanctuary lectures.

           Why have I chosen to sponsor Paulien’s DVD taping of his Simply Revelation Seminar? Simply because I believe that he is our foremost authority on the Book of Revelation and his insights can benefit many Adventists with inquiring minds. For me whether the project is a financial gain or loss it is irrelevant. What counts is the benefits that his lectures will bring to many fellow believers in different parts of the world.

The Touching Case of Cristina Piccardi

           The case of Cristina Piccardi is even more revealing. As my wife and I came to know this lovely couple, we discovered that financially they are hurting deeply. Why? Simply because Cristina and her husband, a seminary student, are in the USA on a student visa that allows them to work only 20 hours a week. Since they cannot get a student’s loan, both of them are working in this moment in a doctor’s office for the minimum wage of $7.00 per hour.

           To pay for her husband’s education and their small apartment, they have been forced to borrow heavily from several credit cards. When Cristina told me how much they owe to the credit card companies, I was shocked, because they have to pay 16% on their outstanding balance which is much higher than you can imagine. Half of what they earn each month goes to pay just the interest of their credit card.

           When my wife and I learned about their dire financial distress, we felt that we should come to their financial rescue before they got deeper into debt. At 16% interest per month on a substantial credit card loan, one ends up getting deeper and deeper into debt. To help this needy couple we decided to do three things. First we wrote a check to pay all the outstanding balances in their four credit cards. This is a free loan with no interest to be paid back when funds become available.

           Second, I offered to pay for the pianist, the recording and the editing of the newly released DVD album. The total cost of this project is over $5000.00.

           Third,  I am supplying Cristina her DVD album FREE OF CHARGE.  This means that all the money that comes in from the sale of her CD and DVD disks on Saturday night at the end of our seminars, will be for her to keep.  I will not receive a single cent from the sale of her recording, not even the refund for what I paid for the taping, editing, burning, and packaging of the albums. She will use all the income to pay for her husband seminary fees, their rent, and other financial obligations.

           If this story has touched your heart and you feel inspired to help this needy couple, feel free to mail a check made to Cristina Piccardi, c/o Samuele Bacchiocchi, 4990 Appian Way, Berrien Springs, MI 49103. Rest assured that I will pass on the check to her as soon as I received it. It is hard for me to believe that Cristina, whom I regard as the most gifted Adventist soprano I have heard in my life, should be so burden with debt. The greatest joy that comes into my life is to be able to help needy and worthy people.

Why Have I told the Moving Story of Cristina?

           Not to boost my ego by portraying myself as a generous benefactor, but simply to put to rest the groundless accusations that I am a greedy person, seeking to profit from the research and recordings of other people. The truth is that all the products and services of othe people mentioned in my newsletter, do not generate a single cent of income for me. I offer this free service because for me the essence of Christianity is people helping people.

 

THE SABBATH AND WORSHIP MUSIC

Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D.,

Retired Professor of Theology, Andrews University

         The religious history of mankind is largely a history of worship: a history of WHO people worshipped, HOW they worshipped, and WHEN they worshipped. Tourist who come to Europe are attracted by the magnificent Cathedrals, which stand as silent monuments to the worship experience of people who lived in these countries during the past centuries.

         The doctrinal differences among various Christian denominations today are largely reflected  in their respective worship style.  Catholic worship, for example is largely inspired by the belief in the intercessory role of Mary and the Saints who play a major role in the liturgy.  Pentecostal worship, on the other hand, is largely influenced by a strong immanental view of God as a power that can be experienced through the stimulus of loud preaching, pop music, and speaking in tongues..

         The Seventh-day Adventist church draws inspiration for her worship from three major doctrines:  (1) the Sabbath, (2) Christ’s atoning sacrifice and His ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, and (3) the certainty and imminence of Christ’s Return. Each of these beliefs helps to define the nature of Adventist worship.

         The Sabbath Offers Reasons for Worship. Of the three major biblical doctrines that identify the Seventh-day Adventist church, the Sabbath occupies a unique place because it provides a sacred time and the theological reasons for the true worship of God. The theological reasons are to be found in the three fundamental truths that the Sabbath contains and proclaims: namely, that the Lord has created us perfectly, He has redeemed us completely, and He will restore us ultimately. These three glad tidings that the Sabbath proclaims, constitute the fundamental reason for the worship of God.

         To wor­ship means to acknowledge and praise the worthiness of God. Would God be worthy of praise if He had not originally created this world and all its creatures perfectly and made provision for their ultimate restoration?  No one praises a manufacturer that produced a car with mechanical problems without taking responsibility for repairing them.  Similarly, it would be hard to find reasons to praise God with songs, prayers, and sermons if He had not created us perfectly and redeemed us completely.

 

PART 1

THE SABBATH WORSHIP

         The Sabbath worship service is an occasion for believers to celebrate and rejoice over the magnitude of God’s achievements: His wonderful creation, His successful redemption of His people; and His manifold manifestations of constant love and care. These are fundamental themes that should inspire the composition and  the singing of hymns of praise to God.

         Some of these themes appear in Psalm 92, which is “A Song for the Sabbath.” Here the believers are invited to celebrate the Sabbath by giving thanks, singing praises, and play­ing the lute, the harp, and the lyre (Ps 92:3). The purpose of this joyful celebration is to declare God’s stead­fast love and faithfulness (Ps 92:2), to praise the great works of His creation (Ps 92:4-5), and to acknowledge God’s care and power (Ps 92:12-15).

         The Celebration of God’s goodness and mercy constitutes the basis for all the music and  worship offered to God on any day of the week. On the Sabbath, however, the music and the worship experience reach the fullest expres­sion, because the day provides both the time and the reasons for joyfully and gratefully celebrating God’s creative and redemptive love.

              The Conflict Between True and False Worship. To appreciate the importance of Sabbath worship, of which music is a major component, we need to note that in a sense the Bible is the story of the conflict between true and false worship. God’s summon to “put away the foreign gods” (Gen. 35:2), which occurs in the first book of the Bible, is reiterated in different forms in all subsequent books. In Revelation, the last book of the Bible, the summon is renewed through the imagery of three flying angels.

         These angels call upon “every nation and tribe and tongue and people” (Rev 14:6), on one hand, to renounce the perverted system of worship promoted by “Babylon,”  “the beast and its image” (Rev 14:8-11), and on the other hand to “fear God and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment has come,” and to “worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the fountains of water” (Rev 14:7).

         This solemn call to abandon the false worship of Babylon and to restore the true worship of God is presented in Revelation 14 as part of the preparation for “the harvest of the earth” (Rev 14:15), when the Lord shall come to gather the believers and punish the unbelievers. This preparation entails the abandonment of the false worship promoted by Babylon and the restoration of the true worship by God’s people.

         The apocalyptic imagery of the false worship promoted by Babylon  is derived from the historical chapter of Daniel 3, which describes an event of prophetic endtime significance. On the Plain of Dura, all the inhabitants of the Babylonian empire were called to worship the golden image of King Nebuchadnezzar. A fiery furnace was prepared for those who refused to do homage to the golden image.  Twice Daniel mentions that “every kind of music” (Dan 3:7,10) was used to cause all classes of people from all the provinces of the empire to corporately worship the golden image (Dan 3:10). 

         The eclectic music produced by “the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe,” and other instruments, served to induce the people “to fall down and worship the image” (Dan 3:15). Could it be that, as with ancient Babylon, Satan is using today “every kind of music” to lead the world into the endtime false worship of the “beast and its image” (Rev 14:9)?  Could it be that a Satanic stroke of genius will write gospel songs that will have the marking of every taste of music: folk music, jazz, rock, disco, country-western, rap, calypso, etc.?  Could it be that many Christians will come to love this kind of gospel song because it sounds very much like the music of Babylon?

         The summon of the Three Angels’ Message to come out of spiritual Babylon, by rejecting its false worship, could also well include the rejection of the music of Babylon.  Soon the whole world will be gathered for the final showdown in the antitypical, apocalyptic Plain of Dura and “every kind of music” will be played to lead the inhabitants of the earth to “worship the beast and its image” (Rev 14:9). 

         The Music of Babylon. The use of music to promote the end-time  false worship is suggested by the description of the final overthrow of Babylon: “So shall Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and shall be no more; and the sound of harpers and minstrels, of flute players and trumpeters shall be heard no more” (Rev 18:21-22).

         The final silencing of the musicians of Babylon suggests that their music plays an active role in promoting false worship. It is instructive to note the contrast between the music of Babylon, which is primarily instrumental, with minstrels  (professional entertainers), and the music of the heavenly choirs, which is primarily vocal. The only instrument used to accompany the heavenly choirs is the harp ensemble. No flutes or trumpets accompany them. Why?  As we shall see, the timbre of the harp blends harmoniously with the collective human voices. The use of other instruments would overshadow the singing.

         The apocalyptic description of the music of Babylon reminds us of the instruments used by rock bands.  Their music is so loud that the lyrics can hardly be heard. The reason, as we have seen in earlier chapters, is to stimulate people physically through the loud, incessant beat. This is the music that the Lord ultimately  will silence at the overthrow of  apocalyptic Babylon. By contrast, the triumphant music of eternity is driven, not by the hypnotic beat of percussion instruments, but by the marvelous revelation of God’s redemptive accomplishments, which inspires the redeemed to sing their hearts out. To this point we shall return shortly.

              An Antidote Against False Worship. The mission of the church at this time, as portrayed effectively by the three apocalyptic angels, is to promote the true worship of “him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the fountains of water” (Rev 14:6). The Sabbath is a most effective means to promote the restoration of true worship, because it calls upon people to worship Him who “in six days made heaven and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them” (Ex 20:11).

         By focusing on God’s creative and redemptive accomplishments, the Sabbath functions as an antidote against false worship. It challenges men and women to worship not their human achievements and pleasures, but their Creator and Redeemer.

         The temptation to worship human realities such as money (Matt 6:24), power (Rev 13:8; Col 3:5), and pleasure (Rom 6:19; Titus 3:3), has been present in every age. Today the problem is particularly acute, because the triumph of modern science and the hedonistic bent of our culture have led many people to worship personal profit and pleasure rather than God’s power and presence.

         The pleasure syndrome of our time can be seen in the church’s worship practice. People have become so attuned to amusement that they also expect church music to be entertaining, self-satisfying, and stimulating. The Sabbath can serve as an antidote against the search for pleasure in worship by reminding believers that God invites them on His Holy day to come into His sanctuary, not to seek for their “own pleasures” (Is 58:13), but to delight in the goodness of His creative and redemptive love.

         Holiness in Time as Holiness in Church Music.  As holiness in time, the Sabbath effectively challenges believers to respect the distinction between the sacred and the secular, not only in time, but also in such areas as church music and worship. After all, music and worship constitute an important aspect of the observance of the Sabbath.         

         The fundamental meaning of the holiness [Hebrew qadosh] of the Sabbath, which is frequently affirmed in the Scriptures (Gen 2:3; Ex 20:11; Ex 16:22; 31:14; Is 58:13), is the  “setting aside” of the twenty-four hours of the seventh day to culvitate the awareness of God’s presence in our lives.  It is the manifestation of God’s presence that makes time or space holy.

         The holiness of the Sabbath is to be found, not in the structure of the day which is the same as the rest of the weekdays,  but in God’s commitment to manifest in a special way His holy presence through the Sabbath day in the life of His people. Isaiah, for example, pictures God as refusing to be present at the Sabbath assembly of His people, because of their “iniquity” (Is 1:13-14). God’s absence makes their worship experience not an adoration but an “abomination” or a “trampling of my courts” (Is 1:12-13).

         As the symbol of God’s free choice of His special time to manifest His holy presence, the Sabbath can constantly and effectively remind believers of their special divine election and mission in this world. Holy Day calls for a holy people.  As the Sabbath stands as the Holy Day among the weekly days, so the believer who keeps it is constantly invited to stand as God’s chosen holy person  among a secularly minded and perverse generation.  In other words, as the Bible puts it, Sabbathkeeping serves as “a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you” (Ex 31:13; cf. Ezek 20:12).

         The Mixing of the Sacred with the Secular.  The distinction between the sacred and the secular, which is embedded in the Sabbath commandment, is foreign to those Christians who view their Lord’s Day as a holiday rather than a Holy Day.  In Western Europe, less than ten percent of Catholics and Protestants go to church on Sunday.  The vast majority of Christians choose to spend their Lord’s Day seeking personal pleasure and profit. Even in America, where church attendance runs close to fifty percent, the same Christians who on Sunday morning go to church, in the afternoon will most likely go to the shopping mall, ball games, restaurants, or other places of entertainment.

         The mixing of sacred with secular activities, on what many Christians view as their Lord’s Day, facilitates the mixing of sacred with secular music in  church worship itself. The common contributory factor is the loss of the sense of the sacred—a loss which affects many aspects of the Christian life today.

         For many people, nothing is sacred anymore. Marriage is viewed a civil contract that can be easily terminated through the legal process rather than a sacred covenant witnessed and guaranteed by God Himself.  The church is treated as a social center for entertainment, rather than a sacred place for worship. The preaching draws its inspiration from social issues rather than the Sacred Word.  By the same token, church music is often influenced by the secular rock beat, rather than by the sacred Scriptures.           

         Cultural Relativism.  The adoption of modified versions of rock music for church worship is symptomatic of a larger problem, namely,  the loss of the sense of the sacred in our society. The process of secularization, which has reached new heights in our time, has gradually blurred the distinction between sacred and secular, right and wrong, good and bad. “All values and value systems, regardless of their conflicting perspectives, are equally valid. Right and wrong are reduced to mere opinion, one is as good as the other.  Truth is not fixed but changeable, relative to the whims which define it.”10

         The cultural relativism of our time has influenced the church especially in the field of aesthetics, such as music, which has become but a matter of personal preference. “I like rock, you like classical—so what?”  One is supposed to be as good as the other.  For many, there is no longer a distinction between sacred and secular music.  It is simply a matter of taste and culture.

         The subjectivism in the field of aestetic stands in stark contrast to the objective, non-negotiable doctrinal beliefs which are passionately defended by evangelical Christians. Dale Jorgensen correctly observes that “The same preacher who believes that he is obligated to preach objective righteousness in morality, often implies that ‘anything goes’ in the music of the church. This is one area where naturalistic humanists find, perhaps with good reason, a wide crack in the Christian  door.”11

         The Sab­bath challenges believers to close the door to the humanistic pressure of cultural relativism by reminding them that the distinction between the sacred and the secular extends to all the facets of Christian life, including church music and worship. Using secular music for the church service on the Sabbath is to treat the Sabbath as a secular day and the church as a secular place. Ultimately, no real worship is offered to God, because true worship entails recognizing the boundaries between what is sacred for God’s use and what is secular for our personal use.

Part 2

CHURCH MUSIC IN THE CONTEXT

OF THE HEAVENLY SANCTUARY

         For many Christian churches, worship service centers on what Christ has already accomplished in the past through His perfect life, atoning death, and glorious resurrection. By contrast, Seventh-day Adventist worship centers not only on these past redemptive accomplishments of our Savior, but also on His present ministry in the heavenly sanctuary and on His future coming to bring to consummation His redemption. Thus, all three dimensions of Christ’s ministry—past, present, and future—are involved in Adventist worship.        

         Meeting with the Lord.  It is noteworthy that the three distinctive Adventist doctrines—the Sabbath, the Sanctuary, and the Second Advent—share a common denominator, namely, meeting with the Lord. On the Sabbath we meet the invisible Lord in time. In the Heavenly Sanctuary we encounter by faith the ministering Savior in  place. At the Second Advent we shall be reunited with the visible Lord in space.

         Meeting with the Lord in time on His Sabbath day, in  place in His holy Sanctuary, and in space on the glorious day of His coming should constitute the focal points of Adventist worship. When Adventists assemble for worship, their desire should be to meet the Lord. By faith they should wish to meet the Lord, not only at Calvary on the Cross, where He paid the penalty of their sins, but also at the throne of God in heaven itself, where He ministers on their behalf. 

         In his book Sing a New Song! Worship Renewal for Adventists Today, Raymond Holmes wrote: “In our [Adventist] worship we enter the heavenly sanctuary by faith and are able to see the world, the purpose of the church, the ministry of our Lord, and our own lives from God’s all-encompassing perspective and not just from our own limited, self-centered, and narrow point of view.”13

         The focus of Adventist worship should be on the heavenly sanctuary where Jesus continually ministers in the heavenly liturgy on behalf of His people. “We have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the sanctuary and the true tent which is set up not by man but by the Lord” (Heb 8:1-2). It is because we have such a High Priest ministering in heaven that Hebrews says: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:16).

         Church Worship to Reflect Heavenly Worship. The invitation to “draw near to the throne of grace” is obviously an invitation to worship by offering to our Lord our prayers, praises, and songs. The church on earth joins heavenly beings in praising Christ:  “Let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name” (Heb 13:15).

         The music and worship of the church on earth should draw its inspiration from the music and worship of the heavenly sanctuary, because the two are united by the worship of the same Creator and Redeemer.  Hebrews invites believers to “come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to the innumerable angels in festal gatherings, and to the assembly of the first born who are enrolled in heaven” (Heb 12:22-24).

         What a challenge for the church of the last days to let the glory and majesty of the heavenly worship shine through  its music, prayers, and preaching.   As Richard Paquier suggests, “something of the royal majesty and glory of the risen One who ascended to heaven has to come through in the worship of the church.”14 

         When glimpses of the majesty and glory of the risen Savior and heavenly High Priest come through the music and worship of the church, there will be no need to experiment with religious rock, drama, or dance to revitalize church worship. The vision of the Lord’s glory and majesty provides all the dramatic ingredients believers could ever wish for an exciting worship experience.

         The Worship of the Heavenly Sanctuary.  To catch a glimpse of the majestic worship conducted in the heavenly sanctuary, we turn to the book of Revelation where we find the largest number of choral ensembles to be found anywhere in the Bible. Scholars who have studied the music of Revelation have come up with different numbers of hymn texts in the book. Oscar Cullman has identified six hymns (Rev 5:9; 5:12; 5:13; 12:10-12; 19:1-2; and 19:6),14 while Michael Harris enumerates seven (Rev 4:8-11; 5:9; 7:10; 11:17-18; 12:10-11; 15:3; and 15:4b).15   Forrester Church and Terrance Mulry identify eleven hymns in Revelation (Rev 1:5-8; 4:11; 5:9-11; 5:12-13; 11:17-18; 12:10-12; 15:3-4; 18:22-23; 19:1-9; 22:16-17; and 22:20).16

         The exact number of  hymns and choruses performed in Revelation is less important than their witness to the important role that music plays in the eschatological worship of God in the heavenly sanctuary.  The three major choirs that participate in the heavenly worship are (1) the 24 elders (Rev 4:10-11; 5:8-9; 11:16-18; 19:4); (2) the countless multitude of angels and redeemed (Rev 5:11-12; 7:9-12; 14:2-3; 19:1-3, 6-8); and (3) the all-inclusive ensemble of every creature in heaven and earth (Rev 5:13).

         The text of the hymns is very instructive. The chorus of the 24 elders sings first before God’s throne a hymn about His creative power: “Worthy art thou, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for thou dist create all things, and by thy will they existed and were created” (Rev 4:10-11).  Then they sing before the Lamb a hymn accompanied by harps about His redemptive accomplishments: “Worthy art thou to take the scroll and to open its seals, for thou wast slain and by thy blood didst ransom men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and thou made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth” (Rev 5:8-9).

         Finally, the twenty-four elders sing before God about the vindication of  the redeemed and the inauguration of the eternal kingdom: “We give thanks to thee, Lord God Almighty, who art and who wast, that thou has taken thy great power and begun to reign.  The nations raged, but thy wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, for rewarding thy servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear thy name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth” (Rev 11:16-18; cf. 19:4). One notices a thematic progression in the hymns of the 24 elders, from the praising of God’s creation to that of Christ’s redemption and the final vindication of His people.

         Similar ascriptions of praises are found in the hymns sung by the countless multitude of angels (Rev 5:11-12) and by the redeemed (Rev 7:9-12; 14:2-3; 19:1-3; 19:6-8). “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!’” (Rev 7:9-10).

         In his dissertation, published under the title A Theology of Music for Worship Derived from the Book of Revelation, Thomas Allen Seel finds a crescendo in the participation of the heavenly choirs. “The chorus of the 24 elders appears to lead the larger choirs as the action in the text builds in a mighty crescendo of participation and sound; it initiates with the chorus of the 24 elders singing, followed by an antiphonal response of the creatures of heaven, and culminates when these antiphonal forces participate in a joined response with the remainder of creation, including the Redeemed.  Together they corporately direct their praise to the Godhead.”17

         The dynamics of the antiphonal and responsorial responses of the various groups reveal an amazing unity. “They respond in an orderly and balanced manner which witnesses the totally complete, uncompromising unity of all of the Godhead’s creation.  Worship in the Apocalypse is ‘genuinely congregational’ and inclusively unites variegated levels of creation into a sea of doxological praise to the Godhead.”18          

         Triumphant Music Without Beat.  A careful study of the various hymns of Revelation reveals that in spite of all the references to the suffering of God’s people, the book still may prove to be one of the happiest compositions ever written. As The Interpreter’s Bible comments: “The music of eternity [in Revelation] sends its triumphant joy back into the life of time.  The justification of glorious Christian music in the world is always justification by faith . . . The writings of Paul also have this characteristic of bursting into song.  You can judge an interpretation of the Christian religion by its capacity to set men singing.  There is something wrong about a theology which does not create a triumphant music.”19

         The triumphant music of Revelation is inspired, not by the hypnotic beat of percussion instruments, but by the marvelous revelation of God’s redemptive accomplishments for His people. As the worshippers of the heavenly sanctuary are privileged to review the providential way in which Christ, the Lamb that was slain, has ransomed people of every nation, they sing with dramatic excitement in their doxological praise of the Godhead.

         Worship leaders, who are urging the use of an array of drums, bass guitars, and rhythmic guitars to give a rocky beat to  their church music,  should notice that both in the earthly Jerusalem Temple and in the heavenly sanctuary, no percussion instruments were allowed. The only instrument used by the heavenly choirs is a harp ensemble (Rev 5:8; 14:2).  The reason,  as Thomas Seel explains, is that “the distinctive timbre of the harp in worship blends harmoniously with the worshippers’ collective voices. It should be noted that the instrumental support does not supplant the importance of the words of the text, nor does it contain a mixture of diverse instruments. The instrumental ensemble contains a singular type of instrument [the harp] which blends with the voice.”20

          No Secular Music Allowed in the Temple. The distinction between sacred and secular music which is present in the heavenly sanctuary was also evident in the Jerusalem Temple. In the next chapter on “Biblical Principles of Music,” we shall see that only a selected group of Levites made up the Temple choir. They played only four instruments at specific times during the service: the trumpets, cymbals, lyres, and harps (1 Chron 15:16; 16:5-6). Of the four, only the last two, the lyre and harps (both string instruments that blended with human voices), were used to accompany the singing. 

         The trumpets were used only to give various signals, such as when the congregation was to prostrate or the choir was to sing during the presentation of burnt offerings (2 Chron 29:27-29). The cymbals were used to announce the beginning of a song or of a new stanza. “Contrary to common opinion, the cymbals were not used by the precantor to conduct the singing by beating out the rhythm of the song.”21 The reason is that the music in ancient Israel, as Anthony Sendrey has shown, lacked a regular beat and a metrical structure.22  It is evident that there was no possibility for any Jew who could play an instrument to be invited to join the Temple rock band and turn the service into a music festival.

         In his doctoral dissertation presented at Cambridge University and published under the title The Lord’s Song: The Basis, Function and Significance of Choral Music in Chronicles, John Kleinig notes: “David determined the particular combination of instruments to be used in worship. To the trumpets which the Lord had ordained through Moses, he added the cymbals, lyres, and harps (1 Chron 15:16; 16:5-6). The importance of this combination is emphasized by the insistence in 2 Chronicles 29:25 that the instruments for sacred song, like the place of the musicians in the temple, had been instituted at the Lord’s command.  It was this divine command which gave them their significance and power.”23

         In 2 Chronicles 29:25, it explicitly states that king Hezekiah “stationed the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, harps and lyres, according to the commandment of David and Gad the king’s seer and of Nathan the prophet; for the commandment was from the Lord through his prophets.” By appealing to the prophetic directives of Gad and Nathan, the author of Chronicles emphasizes the fact that David’s addition of the cymbals, harps, and lyres to the use of the trumpet (Num 10:2) was not based on the king’s personal taste, but on a commandment “from the Lord.” 

         Sacred Music for a Sacred Place. Those who believe that the Bible gives them the license to play any instrument and music in church, ignore the fact that the music at the Temple was not based on personal taste or cultural preferences. This is indicated by the fact that other instruments like timbrels, flutes, pipes, and  dulcimers could not be used in the Temple, because of their association with secular entertainment. This principle was respected also in the synagogue and early church, as shown in the next chapter on “Biblical Principles of Music.”

         It is evident that nothing is morally wrong with the use of instruments like the timbrel or flutes.  The reason they were excluded from the Temple’s orchestra is simply because they were commonly used for entertainment. Women’s dancing in the Bible was usually accompanied by the playing of timbrels, which seem to have been hand drums, like the modern tambourines, made up of a wooden frame on which a single skin was stretched.

         Had the instruments and the music associated with dancing been used in the Temple, the Israelites would have been tempted to turn the Temple into a place of entertainment. To prevent this thing from happening, instruments and music associated with entertainment were excluded from the Temple. This exclusion extended to the participation of women in the music ministry of the Temple, because, as we shall see in the next chapter, their music consisted mostly of dancing with timbrels­—a music that was unfit for sacred worship.

         In his book Music of the Bible in Christian Perspective, Garen Wolf points out that “the use of tabret, timbrel, toph, and dancing by women or men had no connection with worship in the Temple, but rather for the purpose of show, ecstacy and secular entertainment or for religious music making outside the Temple.”24

         Music was rigidly controlled in the Temple worship to ensure that it would be in harmony with the sacredness of the place. Just as the Sabbath is a holy day,  so the Temple was a holy place, where God manifested his presence “among the people of Israel” (Ex 25:8; cf. 29:45). Respect for God’s holy day and holy place of worship, demanded that no music or instruments associated with secular life be used in the Temple.

         The connection between the Sabbath and the sanctuary is clearly affirmed in Leviticus 19:30:  “You shall keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord.”  Keeping the Sabbath is equated with reverence in God’s sanctuary, because both are sacred institutions established for the worship of God.  This means that secular music that is inappropriate for the Sabbath is also inappropriate for the church, and vice versa.  Why? Simply because God has set aside both of them for the manifestation of His holy presence.

         Lessons from the Temple’s Music.  Four major lessons can be drawn from the music performed at the Jerusalem Temple as well as in the heavenly sanctuary. First, church music should respect and reflect the sacredness of the place of worship. This means that percussion instruments and entertainment music which stimulate people physically are out of place in the church service. Out of respect for the presence of God, such music was not allowed in the Temple services, nor is it used in the liturgy of the heavenly sanctuary. In the next chapter, we shall see that the same was true in the worship service of the synagogue and the early church. This consistent witness of scripture and history should serve as a warning to the church today, when the adoption of pop music for worship is becoming the “in” thing to do.

         Second, the music of both the earthly and heavenly Temples teaches us that instrumental accompaniments are to be used to aid the vocal response to God and not to drown the singing. In Revelation, it is the harps’ instrumental ensemble that  accompanies the singing of the choirs, because the harp’s sound blends well with the human voice, without supplanting it. This means that any loud, rhythmic music that drowns the sound of the lyrics is inappropriate for church worship.

         Third, church music should express the delight and the joy of being in the presence of the Lord. The singing of the various choirs in Revelation is heartfelt and expressive.  They sing with a “loud voice” (Rev 5:12; 7:10) and express their emotions, saying “Amen, Hallelujah” (Rev 19:4).

         A balance must exist between the emotional and intellectual sides of life in religion and worship. “Musical expression in worship must have an emotional and intellectual aspect because that is the nature of man, the nature of music, and the nature of religion.  At its best, music should demonstrate this life-religion-music unity in worship by a well-proportioned, reasoned, feeling approach to composition.”25

         Reverence in God’s Sanctuary. Lastly, church music should be reverential, in tune with the sacred nature of worship. It is significant that of the eight words used in the New Testament to express a worship response to God, only one of them is used in Revelation.26  It is the Greek word prokuneo, which is commonly translated “to worship” or “to prostrate.” The term appears 58 times in the New Testament, 23 of which occur in Revelation.27

         The term prokuneo is compound of two roots: pros meaning “toward” and kuneo meaning “to kiss.” When combined, they imply the honor and respect demonstrated toward a superior. Time and again we are told in Revelation that heavenly beings “fell down and worshipped Him” (Rev 4:10; 5:14; 7:11; 11:17; 15:4; 19:4).

         It is significant that John the Revelator uses only prokuneo to describe the reverential  worship of end times. The reason could be the need to warn the end-time generation not to be misled by the false worship of Babylon, characterized by feverish excitement.  God is holy and we worship Him with deep respect, awe, and affection. Both in the Jerusalem Temple and in the heavenly sanctuary, God is worshipped with great reverence and respect. The same attitude should be manifested in our worship today, because God does not change.

         Today we live in a world of feverish activity, constant entertainment, and close familiarity. This is reflected also in some of  the contemporary pop music that treats God with frivolity and irreverence. The worship in the earthly and heavenly Temples teaches us that we need to bow in humility before our great God.  Sacred music can help to quiet our hearts and souls so that we can more clearly recognize who our God really is and respond to Him in reverence.

CONCLUSION

         We noted at the outset that music is like a glass prism through which God’s eternal truths shine. Through church music, a whole spectrum of biblical truths can be taught and proclaimed.  Throughout church history people have learned through music the great truths of the Christian faith and the claims of Christ upon their lives.

         In an attempt to bring about worship renewal, many evangelical  churches today are adopting religious rock songs on the basis of personal taste and cultural trends rather than on clear theological convictions. The result is that some popular songs sung during church services have an inadequate or even heretical theology oriented toward self-satisfaction.

         The choice of appropriate church music is crucial especially for the Seventh-day Adventist church, because through her music she teaches and proclaims the end-time truths entrusted to her. Regretfully, the music and worship style of most Adventist churches is largely based on the uncritical acceptance of the worship style of other churches.

         To provide a theological basis for the choice and performance of music during the worship service of Adventist churches, we have considered in this chapter the implications of the Sabbath, Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, and the Second Advent. We have found that each of these three distinctive Adventist beliefs contributes in its own unique way to the definition of what church music should be like.

         The Sabbath teaches us to respect the distinction between the sacred and the secular, not only in time, but also in such areas as church music and worship. At a time when cultural relativism has influenced many churches to blur the distinction between sacred and secular music, the Sabbath teaches us to respect such a distinction in all the facets of Christian life, including church music and worship. To use secular music for the church service on the Sabbath is to treat the Sabbath as a secular day and the church as a secular place.

         The study of the music and liturgy of the Jerusalem Temple, as well as the heavenly sanctuary, has been very instructive. We have found that out of respect for the presence of God, percussion instruments and entertainment music which stimulate people physically were not allowed in the Temple services, nor are they used in the liturgy of the heavenly sanctuary. For the same reason, percussion instruments and music that stimulates people physically rather than elevating them spiritually are out of place in the church today.

         Worship in the earthly and heavenly temples teaches us also that God is to be worshipped with great reverence and respect. Church music must not treat God with frivolity and irreverence. It should help to quieten our souls and respond to Him in reverence.           

         At the beginning of a new millennium, the Seventh-day Adventist church faces an unprecedented challenge and opportunity to re-examine the theological basis for the choice and performance of its church music. We hope and pray that the church will respond to this challenge, not by accepting uncritically contemporary pop music which is foreign to the mission and message of the church, but by promoting the composition and singing of songs that fittingly express the Bessed Hope that burns within our hearts (1 Pet 3:15).

ENDNOTES

          1. Charlie Peacock, At the Cross Roads: An Insider’s Look at the Past, Present, and Future of Contemporary Christian Music (Nashville, TN, 1999), p. 72.

          2.  Ibid., p. 70.

          3.  Ibid., pp. 72-73.

          4.  Hal Spencer and Lynn Keesecker, “We Get Lifted Up,” Works of Heart (Alexandria, IN, 1984), p. 44.

          5.  Calvin M. Johansson, Discipling Music Ministry:  Twenty-First Century Directions (Peabody, MA, 1992), p. 52.

          6.  Philip Gold, “Gospel Music Industry Finds Its Amazing Grace,” Insight (December 17, 1990), p. 46.

          7.  Frank Garlock and Kurt Woetzel, Music in the Balance (Greenville, NC, 1992), p.124.

          8.  “Spirit of Pop Moves Amy Grant,” Boston Herald (April 9, 1986), p. 27.

          9.  Norval Peace, And Worship Him (Nashville, TN, 1967), p. 8.

         10.  Calvin M. Johansson (note 5), p. 42.

         11.  Dale A. Jorgenson, Christianity and Humanism (Joplin, MO, 1983), p. 49.

         12.  C. Raymond Holmes, Sing a New Song! Worship Renewal for Adventists Today (Berrien Springs, MI, 1984), p. 41.

         13.  Richard Paquier, Dynamics of Worship (Philadelphia,PA, 1967), p. 22.

         14. Oscar Cullman, Early Christian Worship (Philadelphia,PA, 1953), p. 8.

         15.  Michael Anthony  Harris, “The Literary Function of the Hymns in the Apocalypse of John,” Ph D. Dissertation, Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, KY, 1988), p.  305.

         16.  F. Forrester Church and Terrance J. Mulry, Earliest Christian Hymns  (New York, 1988), p. x.

         17.  Thomas Allen Seel, A Theology of Music for Worship Derived from the Book of Revelation (Metuchen, NJ, 1995), p. 84.

         18.  Ibid., p. 126.

         19.  George A. Buttrick, ed., The Interpreter’s Bible (Nashville,TN,  1982), vol. 12, p. 420.

         20.  Thomas Allen Seel (note 18), p. 124.

         21.  John W. Kleinig, The Lord’s Song:  The Basis, Function and Significance of Choral Music in Chronicles (Sheffield, England, 1993), p. 82.

         22. Anthony Sendrey, Music in Ancient Israel (London, England, 1963), pp. 376-377.

         23. John W. Kleinig (note 21), p. 78.

         24. Garen L. Wolf, Music of the Bible in Christian Perspective (Salem, OH, 1996), p. 145.

         25.  Calvin M. Johansson, Music and Ministry: A Biblical Counterpoint (Peabody, MA, 1986), p. 67-68.

         26.  See, Ralph P.  Martin, The Worship of God (Grand Rapids, MI, 1982), p. 11.

         27.  See, James Strong, The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (New York, 1890), p. 1190.

         28.  Emphasis supplied.

 

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 (4) Regular Mail: By mailing a check for $150.00 to  BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990 Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 49103, USA. We guarantee to process your order immediately.

 

NEW DVD OF PROF. JON PAULIEN’S LIVE SEMINAR ON SIMPLY REVELATION

           Prof. Jon Paulien’s DVD album on SIMPLY REVELATION was released few months ago.  We have been airmailing the DVD album to church leaders, pastors, and lay Adventists in different part of the world. Several pastors have already shown the lectures to their congregations.  They wrote to me saying that viewing the lectures was an enlightening experience for their members.

      My wife and I viewed Simply Revelation on our TV on a Sabbath afternoon. Though I had already watched Prof. Paulien’s lectures during the taping session, I was spellbound to hear him again offering so many refreshing insights into the most difficult book of the Bible. For me it is a thrilling experience listening to a scholar like Prof. Paulien, who knows what he is talking about.

           Prof. Paulien is rightly regarded as a leading Adventist authority on the book of Revelation which he has taught at the Seminary for the past 25 years. His doctoral dissertation as well as several of his books deal specifically with the Book of Revelation.

           The constant demand for Prof. Paulien’s CD album with his publications and articles, led me to discuss with him the possibility of producing a live video recording of a mini Revelation Seminar, which he chose to call Simply Revelation. As suggested by its title,  Simply Revelation aims to present simply the message of Revelation–not to read into Revelation sensational, but senseless views.

           The preparation of this video recording took several months. The Simply Revelation seminar consists of four one-hour live video lectures, which have just been recorded in the studio of Andrews University. An impressive virtual studio provides the background of the lectures. Each lecture is delivered with about 50 powerpoint slides.   This mini Revelation seminar will offer you and your congregation fresh insights into the Book of Revelation. Be sure to inform your pastor about the newly released Simply Revelation, if he is not aware of it.

           You will be pleased to know that we have placed on a separate file all the powerpoint slides and the script of the live lecture.  This means that if you are a pastor or a lay member who want to use Prof. Paulien’s Simply Revelation Seminar, you can pick and choose the powerpoint slides that you like.

           The file with the powerpoint slides is placed on Prof. Paulien’s CD album containing all his publications and articles.  The reason is that there was no memory left on the DVD disks.  In spite of my pleas, Prof. Paulien was so full of the subject that he used the full 60 minutes of each lecture, leaving no space for the slides’ file.

           This has been a very expensive project, both in time and money.  The regular price of the DVD album is $100.00, but you can order it now at the introductory price of only $50.00.  The price includes the airmailing expenses to any overseas destination.

           If you have not ordered before the CD Album with Prof. Paulien’s publications, we will be glad to add it to your DVD order for only $20.00, instead of the regular price of $60.00. This means that you can order both the DVD album with Prof. Paulien’s four live video lectures on Simply Revelation and his CD album with all his publications and the powerpoint slides of Simply Revelation, for only $70.00, instead of the regular price of $160.00.

        As an additional incentive, I am offering you together with Prof. Paulien’s DVD/CD albums, also my own popular DVD album on The Mark and Number of the Beast, for an additional $10.00, instead of the regular price of $100.00. This means that you can order the DVD and CD albums by Prof, Paulien, together with my DVD album on The Mark and Number of the Beast, for only $80.00, instead of the regular price of $260.00.

        This research on The Mark and Number of the Beast, was commissioned by Prof. Paulien himself. He asked me to trace historically the origin and use of the Pope’s title Vicarius Filii Dei and of the number 666. I spent six months conducting this investigation which was professionally taped at the Andrews University Towers Auditorium. I use 200 powerpoint slides to deliver this informative two hours lecture which is warmly received by Adventist church leaders and pastors in many parts of the world. For a detailed description of this DVD album click: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/Beast/BeastPromo

Special Offer on Paulien/Bacchiocchi’s Albums:

* ONE DVD Album of Prof. Paulien’s four video lectures on Simply Revelation at the introductory price of $50.00, instead of $100.00. The price includes the airmailing  expenses to any overseas destination.

* ONE DVD Album of Simply Revelation and ONE CD Album with Prof. Paulien’s publications for only $70.00, instead of the regular price of $160.00. The price includes the airmailing  expenses to any overseas destination.

* ONE DVD Album of Simply Revelation,  ONE CD Album with Prof. Paulien’s publications, and ONE DVD Album with Bacchiocchi’s two hours video lecture on The Mark and Number of the Beast for only $80.00, instead of the regular price of $260.00. The price includes the airmailing  expenses to any overseas destination.

Four Ways to Order Paulien/Bacchiocchi’s Albums:

           (1)  Online: By clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/revelation/

           (2)  Phone:  By calling us at (269) 471-2915 to give us your credit card number and postal address.

           (3)  Email:  By emailing your order to <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>.  Be sure to provide your  postal address, credit card number, and expiration date.   

           (4) Regular Mail: By mailing a check to  BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES, 4990 Appian Way, Berrien Springs, Michigan 49103, USA. We guarantee to process your order immediately.

 

HOW TO CONTACT THE CENTER FOR CANCER CARE

           Last February 2007, I was told that I had only a few months to live, because my liver was infested with a three pounds cancer tumor that could not be removed surgically. I contacted several cancer centers, and the verdict of all the oncologists with whom I spoke, was essentially the same: You have a stage four terminal cancer that cannot be operated.  We can only prolong your life of a few months with chemotherapy.

        In a providential way the Lord lead me to the unique Center for Cancer Care, in Goshen, Indiana that offers clinical trials on different forms of cancer not readily available in most cancer centers. They use a combination of chemo and microspheres. After two treatments, over 80% of the cancer cells were shut down. And now over 98% of the cancer activity has been eliminated.  I feel like a new man with a new lease on life.

        To express my gratitude to God for His providential healing through the Center for Cancer Care in Goshen, Indiana, I decided to pass on personally any request that I receive to Vladimir Radivojevic, who is the Vice President of the Center and a most gracious and caring Adventist Christian gentleman.

      If you or someone you know has cancer, feel free to email me the name, postal address, email address, and phone numner.  I will pass on the information to Vladimir, who will talk with you personally, gather your information, and place you in contact with an oncologist who can examine your situation and give you a second opinion free of charge. Vladimir told me that he wants to help patients unable to come to their Center for Cancer Care, by asking physicians to evaluating the medical records free of charge to see if the current treatments are adequate or if one of their clinical trials programs could be of special help.

 

UPCOMING SEMINARS FOR THE MONTHS OF NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER

           Gradually I am rescheduling some of the invitations I had to cancel because of liver-cancer treatments. Here is a list of the upcoming weekend seminars for the months of  November and December:

 NOVEMBER 2-3: BIRMINGHAM CAMP HILL SDA CHURCH

Location:  Camp Hill Sparkbrook, Birmingham, West Midlands B12 OJP, Great Britain.

For directions and information call Pastor Jeffeth Nicholson at 01543 360253.

NOVEMBER 16-17: AVON PARK SDA CHURCH

Location:  1410 W. Avon Boulevard, Avon Park, Florida 33825.

For directions and information call Pastor Paul Boling at (863) 453-6641, or (863) 635-6769.

NOVEMBER 30-DECEMBER 1: INLAND EMPIRE FILIPINO SDA CHURCH. NEAR LOMA LINDA

Location: 604 E. State Street, Redlands, CA 92374-3517.

For directions and information call Pastor Elizer Sacay at (909) 796-1898 or (909) 910-6091

DECEMBER 21-23: FRIENDS OF THE SABBATH CONFERENCE IN LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY

Location: Griffin Gate Marriott Resort Hotel, 1800 Newtown Pike, Lexington, KY 40511

For information and directions contact  Pastor Jim O’Brien at <jimobri@gmail.com>

 

INCREDIBLE NEW OFFERS ON HITACHI PROJECTORS

        HITACHI has just released the new CP-X400 3000 lumens projector, which replaces the CP-X444.  The new projector has an impressive high resolution, low fan noise, and a wealth of connectivity options. The most impressive feature of this projector is the incredible price of only $1395.00 to help especially our churches and schools in developing countries.

This is the special offer on the following three models:

 CP-X260 HIGH RESOLUTION 2500 LUMENS - Only $1095.00

          Previous SDA price for the 2500 lumens was $2395.00.

 

CP-X400 HIGH RESOLUTION 3000 LUMENS - Only $1395.00

          This is the lowest price for an HITACHI 3000 lumens projector.

 

CP-X1250 HIGH RESOLUTION 4500 LUMENS Only $3795.00

          Previous SDA price for the 4500 lumens was $4900.00

WARRANTY: The above prices include a 3 years 24/7 replacement warranty worth about $285.00.

 You can order the HITACHI projectors online by clicking at this link: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/index.php?cPath=24

If you have a problem ordering online, call us at (269) 471-2915.  We will take your order by phone. Your order will be processed immediately.

 

THE SMALLEST, MOST POWERFUL REMOTE PRESENTER

            If you are looking for an outstanding REMOTE for your PowerPoint presentations, you will be pleased to know HONEYWELL has just come out with the smallest and most powerful remote in the market.

        The size of the transmitter is smaller than a credit card. You can stick it inside the palm of your hand and nobody can see it. I tested the remote in an open environment, and the radio signal can go up to 400 feet of distance. IT IS INCREDIBLE! The transmitter has three button: forward, backward, and laser.

        You can order online the new POWERPOINT  PRESENTER simply by clicking here: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/cart/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=27&products_id=67

        If you have a problem ordering online, simply call us at (269) 471-2915.  We will take your order by phone. You can also email us your order at <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com>, giving us your address, credit card number, and expiration date.

 

DOES YOUR CHURCH OR SCHOOL NEED A SCREEN?

        If your church/school is looking for a screen, the DA-LITE SCREEN COMPANY, the largest manufacture of screens in the world, has agreed to offer their line of screens to our Adventist churches and schools at about 30% discount.

        The procedure is very simple. Visit the DA-LITE SCREEN COMPANY website at http://www.da-lite.com. You will see hundreds of models of screens with their respective prices. Once you find the screen that you need, give us the model number by phone (269) 471-2915 or email your request <sbacchiocchi@biblicalperspectives.com> We will forward your order immediately to DA-LITE that will ship the screen directly to your address. You will receive the screen at about 30% discount.

 

BED & BREAKFAST FACILITIES IN LONDON, ENGLAND

      If your travel plans call for a stop in London, you will be pleased to learn about a most gracious Adventist couple that offer the best accommodation and breakfast I have ever enjoyed. It has become my home away from home when in London.  See details at: http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/Promotions/BED&BREAKFAST.htm

 

TAGNET SPECIAL NEW WEB HOSTING OFFER FOR ADVENTIST CHURCHES AND MEMBERS

        TAGNET is the largest Adventist networking organization, providing an incredible number of webhosting services to our Adventist churches and members. This newsletter comes to you through their gracious and efficient service. For detail information, visit their website at http://www.netadventist.org or   http://home.tagnet.org/ You may also call their office 800 - 9TAGNET. They are ready and eager to help you.