Worship in Christ's Kingdom

March 9, 2016 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org)

The following is excerpted from THE FUTURE ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE. ISBN 978-1-58318-172-0. One of the many reasons why the Bible is the most amazing and exciting book on earth is its prophecies. The Bible unfolds the future in great detail, and The Future According to the Bible deals in depth with every major prophetic event, including the Rapture, the Judgment Seat of Christ, the Tribulation, the Antichrist, Gog and Magog, the Battle of Armageddon, the Two Witnesses, Christ’s Return, Muslim nations in prophecy, the Judgment of the Nations, the resurrection body, the conversion of Israel, the highway of the redeemed, Christ’s glorious kingdom, the Millennial Temple, the Great White Throne judgment, and the New Jerusalem. The first two chapters deal at length with the amazing prophecies that are being fulfilled today and with the church-age apostasy. Knowledge of these prophecies is essential for a proper understanding of the times and a proper Christian worldview today. The 130-page section on Christ’s kingdom describes the coming world kingdom in more detail than any book we are familiar with. Every major Messianic prophecy is examined. Prophecy is a powerful witness to the Bible’s divine inspiration, and it is a great motivator for holy Christian living. In this book we show that the Lord’s churches are outposts of the coming kingdom. The believer’s position in Christ’s earthly kingdom will be determined by his service in this present world (Revelation 2:26-27; 3:21). The book is based on forty years of intense Bible study plus firsthand research in Israel, Turkey, and Europe. 520 pages. Available in print and eBook editions from www.wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143

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worship_in_christs_kingdom
Christ will rule in the midst of worship.
“And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba: prayer also shall be made for him continually; and daily shall he be praised” (Psa. 72:15).

The
continual praise that will characterize Christ’s kingdom is a major theme of prophecy.

“All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah” (Psa. 66:4).

“Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee” (Psa. 67:3).

“Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth; O sing praises unto the Lord; Selah” (Psa. 68:32).

“A Psalm of praise. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. 2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations” (Psalm 100:1-5).

“O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. 2 For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD” (Psa. 117:1-2).

“All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, when they hear the words of thy mouth. 5 Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD: for great is the glory of the LORD” (Psa. 138:4-5).

“Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof. Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory unto the LORD, and declare his praise in the islands” (Isa. 42:10-12).

The Psalms end in a great explosion of praise, which describes the worship that will permeate every aspect of Christ’s kingdom. See Psalm 146-150.

The streets and byways will be filled with the voice of praise.

“Thus saith the LORD; Again there shall be heard in this place, which ye say shall be desolate without man and without beast, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem ... the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth for ever...” (Jer. 33:10-11).

People will greet one another with exclamations of praise. Instead of “Hello,” or “Namaste” or, “Salut” or “Bonjour” or “Guten Tag” or “Hola,” it will be, “Praise the Lord of hosts: for the Lord is good!”

Christ alone will be praised. All of the false gods and false religions of this present darkness will be destroyed. In Christ’s kingdom, if someone tries to preach a false god, he will be put to death (Lev. 20:2-6; 24:15-16; Deut. 13:6-16).

There will be praise as men learn of God’s character, power, works, wisdom, grace.

“I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:1-3).

“We will not hide
them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Psalm 78:4-7).

From generation to generation, ages upon ages into eternity, the citizens of Christ’s kingdom will teach the praises of God to one another. This has been God’s plan from the beginning, and man’s fall has not thwarted its fulfillment. God wants multitudes of sons made in Christ’s image who will be devoted to God’s praise.

The nations that are spoken of in Revelation 22:2 are future nations of the redeemed who will practice the things we read of in the Psalms.

Consider another Psalm that describes this eternal praise in Christ’s kingdom:

“Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous:
for praise is comely for the upright. Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise. For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth. He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD. By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect. The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations” (Psalm 33:1-11).

The citizens of Christ’s kingdom will be skilled in music as David was. They will compose and play beautiful songs and hymns to one another, singing of God’s glory. They will doubtless invent new instruments for this purpose, as David did. They will sing of God’s character and His works. They will sing of the past, the present, and the future. They will glory in the fact that God’s Word is true and almighty and that He has ended the rebellion and brought to nought the counsel of the heathen. They will rejoice that the world is filled with God’s goodness.

There will be
corporate praise.

“And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD” (Isa. 66:23).

“All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee” (Psa. 22:27).

The people of the nations will probably come by lot to Jerusalem to worship before Christ, some one month, others another, some one sabbath, others, another.

As we mentioned in the studies on Isaiah 11, Christ Himself will preach as He did of old on Israel’s mountains and by the shores of Galilee. The Psalms refer to this:

“I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee” (Psa. 22:22).

“I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation” (Psa. 40:10).

On the sabbath and the new moon, the eastern gate of the Temple court will be open and the people will worship there.

“Thus saith the Lord GOD; The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the sabbath it shall be opened, and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened. 2 And the prince shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate without, and shall stand by the post of the gate, and the priests shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings, and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate: then he shall go forth; but the gate shall not be shut until the evening. 3 Likewise the people of the land shall worship at the door of this gate before the LORD in the sabbaths and in the new moons. 4 And the burnt offering that the prince shall offer unto the LORD in the sabbath day shall be six lambs without blemish, and a ram without blemish. 5 And the meat offering shall be an ephah for a ram, and the meat offering for the lambs as he shall be able to give, and an hin of oil to an ephah. 6 And in the day of the new moon it shall be a young bullock without blemish, and six lambs, and a ram: they shall be without blemish” (Eze. 46:1-6).

The people will see the Temple sacrifices and be instructed by the Levite priests as to their meaning, and they will worship the Lamb Himself of which the offerings speak. They will honor Him for His great majesty and power and glorify Him for His great salvation.

There will be
praise in music.

“And without the inner gate were the chambers of the singers in the inner court, which was at the side of the north gate; and their prospect was toward the south: one at the side of the east gate having the prospect toward the north” (Eze. 40:44).

Many of the Psalms depict this, such as the following:

“Awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early. I will praise thee, O LORD, among the people: and I will sing praises unto thee among the nations” (Psa. 108:2-3).

“The LORD doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel. ... Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God” (Psa. 147:2, 7).

“Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints. Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp” (Psa. 149:1-3).

“Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD” (Psa. 150:3-6).

The music in the Millennial Temple will be as in the days of David and Solomon, only much more glorious, with godly, gifted, highly-trained, well-disciplined priests set apart for worship.

“And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of musick, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy. 17 So the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel; and of his brethren, Asaph the son of Berechiah; and of the sons of Merari their brethren, Ethan the son of Kushaiah; 18 And with them their brethren of the second degree, Zechariah, Ben, and Jaaziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, Eliab, and Benaiah, and Maaseiah, and Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Mikneiah, and Obededom, and Jeiel, the porters. 19 So the singers, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, were appointed to sound with cymbals of brass; 20 And Zechariah, and Aziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, and Eliab, and Maaseiah, and Benaiah, with psalteries on Alamoth; 21 And Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Mikneiah, and Obededom, and Jeiel, and Azaziah, with harps on the Sheminith to excel. 22 And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was for song: he instructed about the song, because he was skilful. 23 And Berechiah and Elkanah were doorkeepers for the ark. 24 And Shebaniah, and Jehoshaphat, and Nethaneel, and Amasai, and Zechariah, and Benaiah, and Eliezer, the priests, did blow with the trumpets before the ark of God: and Obededom and Jehiah were doorkeepers for the ark ... 27 And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen. 28 Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps” (1 Ch. 15:16-24, 27-28).

“And he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of the LORD, and to record, and to thank and praise the LORD God of Israel: 5 Asaph the chief, and next to him Zechariah, Jeiel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Mattithiah, and Eliab, and Benaiah, and Obededom: and Jeiel with psalteries and with harps; but Asaph made a sound with cymbals; 6 Benaiah also and Jahaziel the priests with trumpets continually before the ark of the covenant of God” (1 Ch. 16:4-6).

“Moreover David and the captains of the host separated to the service of the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals: and the number of the workmen according to their service was: 2 Of the sons of Asaph; Zaccur, and Joseph, and Nethaniah, and Asarelah, the sons of Asaph under the hands of Asaph, which prophesied according to the order of the king. 3 Of Jeduthun: the sons of Jeduthun; Gedaliah, and Zeri, and Jeshaiah, Hashabiah, and Mattithiah, six, under the hands of their father Jeduthun, who prophesied with a harp, to give thanks and to praise the LORD. 4 Of Heman: the sons of Heman; Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel, Shebuel, and Jerimoth, Hananiah, Hanani, Eliathah, Giddalti, and Romamtiezer, Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir, and Mahazioth: 5 All these were the sons of Heman the king's seer in the words of God, to lift up the horn. And God gave to Heman fourteen sons and three daughters. 6 All these were under the hands of their father for song in the house of the LORD, with cymbals, psalteries, and harps, for the service of the house of God, according to the king's order to Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman. 7 So the number of them, with their brethren that were instructed in the songs of the LORD, even all that were cunning, was two hundred fourscore and eight” (1 Ch. 25:1-7).

“Also the Levites which were the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets:) 13 It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD” (2 Ch. 5:12-13).

“And the priests waited on their offices: the Levites also with instruments of musick of the LORD, which David the king had made to praise the LORD, because his mercy endureth for ever, when David praised by their ministry; and the priests sounded trumpets before them, and all Israel stood” (2 Ch. 7:6).

In the old kingdom of Israel, musicians were dedicated to the service of God’s house (1 Ch. 25:6).

They ministered according to the order of the king (1 Ch. 25:2).

They were under the oversight of prophets such as Hemen (1 Ch. 25:5-6).

They were appointed specifically to this work (1 Ch. 15:16).

They prophesied with harps, psalteries, and cymbals (1 Ch. 25:1), cornets and trumpets (1 Ch. 15:28). David made some of the instruments specifically for the worship of God (2 Ch. 7:6).

At times there were 120 trumpeters playing in unison (2 Ch. 5:12).

The musical prophets were “instructed in the songs of the LORD” (1 Ch. 25:7).

The overseers were “skillful” (1 Ch. 15:22), and the players were “cunning” (1 Ch. 25:7). They excelled (1 Ch. 15:21), mediocrity being unacceptable.

Even in this present time in the Lord’s churches, we should do everything we can to make our service to the Lord skillful and acceptable. We are dealing with the same God who was worshipped in David’s time, and the above instructions were written for our example (Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11).

Anything we do for the Lord should be done right, with the highest level of expertise and preparation that we can produce. He is worthy of our very best.

Oftentimes I have observed the most mediocre and disgusting things in churches: musicians and singers who have not prepared properly, even admitting this in their introduction to the song (“bear with us, brethren, we didn’t have time to practice much”), singers who can’t carry a tune, song leaders who don’t have a clue about what they are doing and who lead without any serious preparation, teachers who are ill-prepared to present their lessons, workers and teachers who don’t arrive early enough to make proper preparations, rushing in near to starting time or even arriving late, children who are allowed to disturb the atmosphere with running and loud noises, sometimes even during the services.

I was in a church not long ago in which children sitting in the pews were making noise and talking through the songs and announcements before they were dismissed to their Sunday School classes, and the same children disturbed during the morning service. I thought perhaps they were children of visitors, but I learned later that these were the pastor’s own grandkids, and I exhorted him privately to put a stop to that. When a pastor’s grown children and grandkids are in his church, he is tempted to treat the church more like his own home, especially if the church is small, but the congregation is the house of God, and when it is assembled, it is the Lord’s house and must be treated as such with reverence and godly fear and with all things done decently and in order. If the pastor doesn’t control the environment, no one else can or will.

These things would not be allowed in any successful business, but many pastors are careless in their oversight and do not seem to be aware of how that the Lord requires that everything be done decently and in order and that there be no confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40).

I have the privilege of traveling widely and preaching in many different churches, and I thank the Lord for those churches that are trying to do things right according to God’s Word. They have pastors who are giving godly leadership and oversight. The pastors don’t do everything, but they watch over everything to make sure that it is done right according to Scripture and according to godly, Scripture-taught wisdom. Teachers, singers, and musicians are chosen carefully, according to wise biblical standards, and are required to be punctual and well prepared. They are required to submit to godly oversight and not be self-willed. They must work in spiritual harmony with the rest of the congregation under the direction of the pastors.

Some of the churches I preach in have orchestras and bands, and the music is glorious. One independent Baptist church I preached in for a Bible conference some years ago had a beautiful pipe organ, and the building was designed for proper sound acoustics, and the enthusiastic music and singing was just thrilling in that environment. Fairhaven Baptist Church in Chesterton, Indiana, has a full orchestra and a large choir, and the congregation sings enthusiastically, particularly during their conferences, and it is a huge blessing to participate in such services, to sing the words of the psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with no hint of a contemporary sound, and to sing from one’s heart while meditating on the message of the songs.

Many churches don’t take the worship seriously. The people aren’t educated to sing out from their hearts to the Lord and to one another and to meditate on the meaning of the words they are singing, so they can sing with understanding. God’s people must be taught such things, so there must be leadership on the part of pastors and teachers and song leaders.

“For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding” (Psa. 47:7).

“What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also” (1 Cor. 14:15).

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col 3:16).

In the Old Testament Jewish kingdom, Levite singers and musicians were arrayed in white linen (2 Ch. 5:12), in contrast to the cheap and profane “dress down” philosophy of contemporary Christian music today.

They sang with joy (1 Ch. 15:6).

These glimpses into the ancient kingdoms of David and Solomon give a little foretaste of Christ’s kingdom, but it is impossible to fully comprehend how glorious Temple worship will be in that day.

The highlight of the Temple worship will be Jesus Himself singing.

“Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee” (Heb. 2:12).

Imagine the Son of God singing to the Father and to His people! He is the one who invented song and created the marvelous human voice. Pavarotti has been called “the voice of the ages,” but surely, Jesus is the true Voice of the Ages, the Singer of singers! He will sing in His glory as the eternal Son of God.

The skillful and glorious praise of God will be headquartered in the Millennial Temple and spread throughout the earth.

In that day there will be no carnal mixing of the flesh and the spirit, the world and Christ, in worship music. In Christ’s kingdom the priests will teach the people “the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean” (Eze. 44:23).

There will be no satanic influence to hinder the praise in that day. And for those who are resurrected, there will be no sin nature to deal with.
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- The name “Way of Life” is from Proverbs 6:23: “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.” The biblical instruction that molds men to God’s will requires reproof. It is not strictly positive. It does not focus on man’s “self-esteem.” It does not avoid controversial or unpopular subjects. It warns as well as comforts. It deals with sin and false teaching in a plain manner. It is reproves, rebukes, exhorts with all longsuffering and doctrine (2 Tim. 4:2). This is what we seek to do through Way of Life Literature. The Way of Life preaching and publishing ministry based in Bethel Baptist Church, London, Ontario, of which Wilbert Unger is the founding Pastor. A mail stop is maintained in Port Huron, Michigan.

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