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Sixth Edition, 1915
By Dr. John Thomas (first edition written 1861)



Chapter 14

Section 3

The Harpers Harping With Their Harps



'And I heard a voice of harpers harping with their harps; and they sing as it were a New Song in the presence of the throne, and in the presence of the four living ones, and of the elders; and no one was able to learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth" - Ver. 2,3.

Mount Zion is still the scene of the vision. Instrumental and vocal music gladdens the hearts and ears of the performers. As the Spirit predicted in Psa. 87:7, so it comes to pass; for "as well the singers as the players upon instruments are there." "Every' one of them" has his harp; for he is himself a "harp of the Deity," and therefore an instrument of joy (Apoc. 5:8; 15:2). The harp is an instrument used in giving thanks, in rejoicing, and in praising. To "hang the harp upon the willows," indicates great tribulation and distress; as in the present state of Israel, whose "harp is turned to mourning, and their organ into the voice of them that weep." So when torment and sorrow come upon Babylon, and she is found no more, "the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers and trumpeters shall be heard no more at all in her." The absence of music shows that all joy has departed from a people; while its presence indicates the reverse.

A harper harping with his harp is a saint, who has been judged according to what is written, and rewarded according to his works, and thereby admitted into the glorious company of the redeemed. The first thing he does when he finds himself on the mount of Yahweh's holiness, is not to celebrate battles to be fought, and victories to be won; but to show forth the praises, the worthiness, and loving kindness of Him, who called him out from among the worshippers of the Beast, and placed him within "the Circle of the Throne." The Four Living Ones, and twenty four stephaned Elders, are all harpers who harp with their harps. This is positively affirmed in ch. 5:8. In symbolic style, put harps, and golden vials full of odors, into men's hands, and say, that "the odours are the prayers of the saints;" and it is equivalent to saying that the harps and golden vials are representative of the saints themselves. The Angels within the Circle of the Throne, although they prostrate themselves upon their faces, and in obedience to the decree in Psa. 97:7, worship David's Son and Lord; yet are they not harpers. They join with the harpers in myriads in the ascription of "worthiness to the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory', and blessing" (ch. 5:12): but they could take no part in singing the harpers' new song which they accompanied with their harps; for they have never learned it, and were they to study it ten thousand years, could never sing it truthfully. They are the angelic audience that listens with ravished ears to the Divine melody of the new oratorio. Never will such an extraordinary' choir have delighted so magnificent and dignified an assembly on the earth before. The birth of David's son was celebrated by the acclamation of a multitude of the heavenly host praising the Deity, and saying, "Glory to the Deity in the highest, over the earth peace, and good will towards men". Glorious, however, as this announcement was, the listeners to it were only a few simple shepherds; but in the approaching musical festival on Mount Zion, the performers will be not less than 144,000, immortals; who, like the Imperial President of the Festival, were once dead, but then are living for the aeons; while the listening and delighted audience, marshalled and convened by the King of glory', themselves illustrious and immortal, number "ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands" (ch .5:11). How gratified they will be in beholding the Royal Child, whose birth they celebrated over eighteen centuries before, enthroned by the Eternal Power, according to the words of Gabriel, in his father David's seat; and instead of a vile clamor for his crucifixion, in the very' place where he was condemned and put to death, songs of thanksgiving and praise, ascending in immortal strains to the Diety, from the innumerable multitude of the redeemed.




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