Non-Instrumental Acapella Responsive Singing

In first Century Synagogues and churches

Ancient Synagogue Worship and the Church

Synagogue worship was the prototype for Christian Church.




1.         Synagogue worship at the time of Jesus’ birth was acapella, antiphonal, responsive with no instruments.

2.         Instrumental music was banned in all synagogues in the first century before 70 AD and the early church continued this ban to the present time.

3.         Congregational singing is explicitly authorized while instruments are not:

a.           Col 3:16 and Eph 5:19 were letters to be read while in the assembly: "When this letter is read among you, have it also read ***in the church*** [while assembled] of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea." (Colossians 4:16). Also both are “one another” passages where you “speaking to one another in song” and “teaching and admonishing one another in song”. This can only be collective worship on the first day of the week when Christians are assembled for the Lord’s supper and the weekly collection.

b.          All of 1 Cor 14 legislates behavior “IN CHURCH” [assembly]  v4: “edifies the church” v5 “edifies the church” v12: “edification of the church” v19 “in the church v23 “whole church assembles together”. V34 “women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak [ie preach].

c.           1 Corinthians 14:26 says, “When you assemble, each one has a psalm”. This is singing a song not reading a psalm. They sang to psalms responsively.

d.          The motive of those who reject that there are any examples or commands to sing in the assembly is simple: They want to justify the use of instrumental music. How? They argue that if you are going to speak where the Bible speaks, then you have no authority for ANY music (singing and playing) in the assembly. They then argue, “Well, if there is no authority for singing in the assembly, but you do sing anyway, then you cannot criticize me for worshipping with instruments in the assembly since NEITHER of us have a single bible passage for singing or instruments in the collective assembly. Of course, this is utterly refuted in the previous comments. Those bent on introducing instrumental music into the church really don’t care about Bible authority at all and their arguments are deceptive games. They are simply on the wrong side of truth. “He who has ears, let him hear”.

4.         The first time instruments were brought into church worship was in 670 AD in Rome and it was the direct cause of the great split of 1054 AD between the Roman Catholic church and the Orthodox.

a.           Instrumental music was one of the four main causes of the great schism: Instruments, Pope, Filioque, sprinkling for baptism.

b.          The Orthodox church to this day practices full immersion and uses Acapella responsive singing between the Priest and the choir and sometimes the entire congregation.

c.           The orthodox church is the only church in the world that has a physical tradition dating from the origins of Christianity in 33 AD that practices immersion and bans instruments.

d.          Most of the reformation founders were very opposed to instrumental music.

e.           The first protestant church introduced instrumental music around 1750 AD.

f.            Today with the wild extremes of theological liberalism, those who refuse to use instrumental music are viewed as nuts and legalists, when in fact it is they who are worshipping EXACTLY like the first century church.

5.         The Churches of Christ follow the Bible pattern and also practice full immersion, ban all instruments and are opposed to choirs because they view the entire congregation as a choir.

6.         Jewish Songbooks and song selections of first century Jews, which would also be used by Christians:

a.           Ancient Jewish Seven-day songbook of seven Psalms: “The singing which the Levites did sing in the sanctuary: On the first day they did sing, The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof, the world and they who live therein (Ps. 24). On the second day they did sing, Great is the Lord and highly to be praised in the city of our God, even upon his holy hill (Ps. 48). On the third day they did sing, God stands in the congregation of God, he is a judge among the gods (Ps. 82). On the fourth day they did sing, O Lord God to whom vengeance belongs, thou God to whom vengeance belongs, show yourself (Ps. 94). On the fifth day they did sing, Sing we happily to God our strength, make a joyful noise to the God of Jacob (Ps. 81). On the sixth day they did sing, The Lord is king and has put on glorious apparel (Ps. 93). On the Sabbath day they did sing, A Psalm, A song for the Sabbath day (Ps. 92)— A psalm, a song for the world that is to come, for the day which is wholly Sabbath rest for eternity.” (Mishnah, m. Tamid 7:4 A–I, 200 AD)

b.          Dead Sea Scroll 11Q5 responsive additions in Psalm 145:1-7,12-21

c.           Song of the Sabbath Sacrifice: Angelic Liturgy. Was never used in the Temple but the Synagogue and was a 13 weekly Sabbath cycle congregational responsive singing program.

7.         Bible examples of responsive singing and worship liturgy: (see below for details)

a.           Deut 27:12-15

b.          Psalm 136:1-26

c.           Exodus 15:1–21

d.          Psalm 20:1–9

e.           Song of Solomon written in responsive poetry

f.            Luke 2:9-15

g.           Revelation 4-5

h.          Daniel 3:49–93, Apocrypha, LXX

8.         Responsive songs in our modern songbooks. (Very few, less than 1%)

a.           NOTE: when you teach this lesson, use these songs in the church service to demonstrate responsive singing.

b.          I’ll be a friend to Jesus

c.           The Love of God

d.          Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord

e.           Jesus is able to do anything

f.            I will call upon the Lord

g.           Unto thee Lord, do I lift up my soul


A. Old Testament Temple worship used instrumental music:

1.      "Also in the day of your gladness and in your appointed feasts, and on the first days of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be as a reminder of you before your God. I am the Lord your God.” (Numbers 10:10)

2.      There was no singing associated with animal sacrifices in the Law of Moses, but Hezekiah in 715 BC Hezekiah repaired and restored the temple and used singers for the dedication service. "Then Hezekiah gave the order to offer the burnt offering on the altar. When the burnt offering began, the song to the Lord also began with the trumpets, accompanied by the instruments of David, king of Israel. While the whole assembly worshiped, the singers also sang and the trumpets sounded; all this continued until the burnt offering was finished. Now at the completion of the burnt offerings, the king and all who were present with him bowed down and worshiped. Moreover, King Hezekiah and the officials ordered the Levites to sing praises to the Lord with the words of David and Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with joy, and bowed down and worshiped." (2 Chronicles 29:27–30)

3.      David is recorded as using a Psalm in a live temple worship service: 1 Chron 16:4-36

d.      "Then David spoke to the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their relatives the singers, with instruments of music, harps, lyres, loud-sounding cymbals, to raise sounds of joy." (1 Chronicles 15:16)

e.      "And with them were Heman and Jeduthun with trumpets and cymbals for those who should sound aloud, and with instruments for the songs of God, and the sons of Jeduthun for the gate." (1 Chronicles 16:42)

4.      The robed priests stood with musical instruments and trumpets, in conjunction with the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, praising the Lord and blessing (him) according to [the prescriptions of] David, the king of Israel. They sang vociferously, blessing the Lord, because his goodness and his glory are eternally over all Israel.” (1 Esdras 5:57)

5.      Temple worship using 15 ascent psalms 120–134:

a.       “The pious men and wonder workers would dance before them with flaming torches in their hand, and they would sing before them songs and praises. And the Levites beyond counting played on harps, lyres, cymbals, trumpets, and [other] musical instruments, [standing, as they played] on the fifteen steps which go down from the Israelites’ court to the women’s court— corresponding to the fifteen Songs of Ascents which are in the Book of Psalms [Ps. 120–134].— on these the Levites stand with their instruments and sing their song. And two priests stood at the upper gate which goes down from the Israelites’ court to the women’s court, with two trumpets in their hands. [When] the cock crowed, they sounded a sustained, a quavering, and a sustained note on the shofar. [When] they got to the tenth step, they sounded a sustained, a quavering, and a sustained blast on the shofar [When] they reached the courtyard, they sounded a sustained, a quavering, and a sustained blast on the shofar They went on sounding the shofar in a sustained blast until they reached the gate which leads out to the east. [When] they reached the gate which goes out toward the east, they turned around toward the west, and they said, “Our fathers who were in this place turned with their backs toward the Temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east, and they worshipped the sun toward the east (Ez. 8:16). “But as to us, our eyes are to the Lord.” R. Judah says, “They said it a second time, ‘We belong to the Lord, our eyes are toward the Lord.’” (Mishnah, m. Suk. 5:4 A–O)

d.      Flute playing is for five or six days: This refers to the flute playing on bet hashshoebah [feast of Tabernacles], Which overrides the restrictions of neither the Sabbath nor of a festival day. They said: Anyone who has not seen the rejoicing of bet hashshoebah [feast of Tabernacles] in his life has never seen rejoicing.” (Mishnah, m. Suk. 5:1 A–D)

7.      "Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse. Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness. Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre. Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe. Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!" (Psalm 150:1-6)

8.      Title/superscription's of two Psalms indicate they are connected with Sabbath sacrifices: "A Psalm, a Song for the Sabbath day." (Ps 92) "A Psalm for Thanksgiving" (Ps 100). Many Psalms directly indicate they were used for Sabbath sacrifice services:

a.       "But as for me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house, At Your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You." (Psalm 5:7)

b.      "Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You. So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips." (Psalm 63:2–5)

9.      "I shall come into Your house with burnt offerings; I shall pay You my vows, Which my lips uttered And my mouth spoke when I was in distress. I shall offer to You burnt offerings of fat beasts, With the smoke of rams; I shall make an offering of bulls with male goats. Selah. Come and hear, all who fear God, And I will tell of what He has done for my soul. I cried to Him with my mouth, And He was extolled with my tongue." (Psalm 66:13–17)

10.  Warning of the Assyrian Captivity of 723 BC, God hated the songs that accompanied the idolatry mixed with the Law of Moses at Bethel: "I hate, I reject your festivals, Nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. “Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings. “Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps." (Amos 5:21–23)

11.  As the destruction of Jerusalem on the 10th Av 587 BC approached, Jeremiah said that songs of praise will be sung in the restored temple which not only includes the various physical second temple structures but the spiritual church temple built with stones of Christians. "“Thus says the Lord, ‘Yet again there will be heard in this place, of which you say, “It is a waste, without man and without beast,” that is, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man and without inhabitant and without beast, the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who say, “Give thanks to the Lord of hosts, For the Lord is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting”; and of those who bring a thank offering into the house of the Lord. For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were at first,’ says the Lord." (Jeremiah 33:10–11)


B. Synagogues sang acapella and instrumental music was forbidden and banned:

1.          Music historians have long since made note of the contrast between the elaborate instrumentally-accompanied psalmody of the Temple and the simple vocal [non-instrumental] psalmody of the Synagogue. They assumed that the absence of instruments from the Synagogue was the result of a deliberate legal act and spoke of prohibitions and banishments.” (The Exclusion of Musical Instruments from the Ancient Synagogue, James W. McKinnon, Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association, Vol. 106, p78, 1980 AD)

2.          They sent word to Mar Uqba, “How on the basis of Scripture do we know that it is forbidden to sing?” He underlined and wrote the verse, “ ‘Do not rejoice, Israel, as do the peoples, for you have gone astray from your God’ (Hos. 9:1).” Shouldn’t he send him the following verse: “They shall not drink wine with music, strong drink shall be better to them who drink it” (Isa. 24:9)? Had he sent that verse, one might have concluded that what is forbidden is the use of musical instruments, but not a cappella singing; from the other verse I derive that fact.” (Babylonian Talmud, b. Git. 1:1, I.31.A–D)

3.          “For Me an instrument of ten strings, and for Me the psaltery (Ps. 92:4). Among the people of Israel all assemblies [synagogues], to be legally valid, require the presence of ten men, even as the harp upon which David played had ten strings. The service at [the burial of] the dead requires the presence of ten men; the service at a circumcision requires the presence of ten men; the blessing of the Lord requires the presence of ten men; Chalishah requires the presence of ten men; the marriage service requires the presence of ten men, for it is said And he took ten men of the elders of the city (Ruth 4:2). The Holy One, blessed be He, said: I desire from Israel not music of the harp but the solemn utterance of their mouth, as is said For Me a solemn sound, more than a harp (Ps. 92:4).” (The Midrash on Psalms, Tehillim, Psalm 92)

4.          Philo of Alexandria echoes Apostle Paul’s view that the human voice with words was superior to instruments:

a.         "Yet even lifeless things, either flute or harp, in producing a sound, if they do not produce a distinction in the tones, how will it be known what is played on the flute or on the harp? For if the bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle?" (1 Corinthians 14:7–8)

b.        “Philo has an intimate knowledge of the musical theory and practice of his time. He divides music into two categories: music sung by the human voice and wordless music. According to Philo, wordless, especially instrumental, music is taken from nature and imitates it (Post. 103-111). Music which is sung in words, however, is superior because it can express articulate meaning (106). The reason for this superiority is that human singing occurs in two ways: in the singing of the voice, but also in that of the mind (Plant. 126,135, Ebr. 94). The mind sings the pure song, addressed to God Himself and is therefore better than any other music. But the singing of the mind does not happen without the singing of the voice (Agr. 80 f), and even the singing of the voice is better than wordless music. For human utterance can be divided into speech and song: while the words address the mind and influence it through ideas, the rhythm of the singing addresses sense perception by controlling the passions; a song with tune and words influences mind and senses and improves the soul (Spec. Leg. I 342 f). Thus the singing of the mind addresses God and the singing of the voice the soul. Consequently a considerable number of passages on hymn singing can be found in texts on the discussion of virtue and vices (e.g. Agr. 78 f, Plant. 126), particularly on God's victory over the passions (Agr. 79-82; Ebr. 105-121; Sobr. 13, 58; Som. II 268). (Jewish Worship in Philo of Alexandria, Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism 84, Jutta Leonhardt, Mohr Siebeck, p159, 2001 AD)

c.         “Perhaps, at all events, flutes and lyres, and similar instruments which utter melodies, are as far inferior to the music of nightingales or swans as a thing made after a model, and an imitation must be from the archetypal model, or a perishable species from an imperishable genus; for it is not fitting to compare the music of man with that of any other animal, since it has an especial privilege with which it is honoured, namely, articulate distinctness of speaking; (106) for all other animals, having a broken utterance in their voice, by this and by an incessant change of tones alone give pleasure to our ears. But man, being furnished by nature with the means not only of speaking but also of singing articulately, charms both the sense of hearing and the mind, soothing the one with his song and influencing the other with ideas” (Philo Posterity 105–106)

d.        “And after the feast of trumpets the solemnity of the fast is celebrated, Perhaps some of those who are perversely minded and are not ashamed to censure excellent things will say, “What sort of a feast is this where there is no eating and drinking, no troupe of entertainers or audience, no copious supply of strong drink nor the generous display of a public banquet, nor moreover the merriment and revelry of dancing to the sound of flute and harp, and timbrels and cymbals, and the other instruments of music which awaken the unruly lusts through the channel of the ears? For it is in these and through these, it seems, that they think good cheer consists.” (Philo, Special Laws II, 193-194)

5.          “The second category of Talmudic evidence involves a question so obvious that one wonders why it has been paid so little attention in the literature; this is the question of a Sabbath prohibition. The evidence suggests strongly that to play a musical instrument was indeed a violation of the Sabbath. The central passage is a long discussion in the tractate Sukkah of whether or not the halil might be played in the Temple on the Sabbath. The basic premise to the question is that work which is essential to the Temple service, the lighting of fires to take an obvious example, overrides the Sabbath prohibition. The playing of musical instruments in conjunction with the sacrifice is another legitimate example of such work. And therefore the playing of the regular Temple instruments such as the cymbals, the nebel and the kinnor is not questioned, only the halil which as we have seen was added on twelve special occasions each year. The conclusion is that the halil when played in conjunction with the sacrifice is essential and does override the Sabbath, but when played at the Water-Drawing during the festival of Sukkah is a mere expression of rejoicing and does not override the Sabbath." The obvious implication in all of this is that to play a musical instrument under normal circumstances is a violation of the Sabbath. The question was raised even with respect to the shofar. that is, whether it might be blown when Rosh Hashanah fell on a Sabbath. The Mishnah Rosh Hashanah concludes that before the destruction it was blown in the Temple, but not the countryside; after the destruction it was blown wherever there was a court (beth din)." This question of a Sabbath ban is too fundamental to be settled so easily; it requires the full attention of a Talmudist. but there is at least a prima facie case for the existence of a ban.” (The Exclusion of Musical Instruments from the Ancient Synagogue, James W. McKinnon, Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association, Vol. 106, p82, 1980 AD)

6.          After the destruction of the Temple, instrumental music was banished in Judaism, an expression of mourning over that disaster. The rabbis usually based this injunction upon Isa. 24:9 and Hos. 9:1; yet it is clear that two reasons for the rabbinic opposition to instrumental music were of a quite different nature. Philo and the Sibylline oracles display both contempt for any musical instrument well before the fall of Temple and land. In both cases spiritual worship is regarded as more exalted than any other sensuous ceremonial. Philo, in particular, emphasized the value of spiritual hymns and praises even when they are not actually pronounced by 'tongue or mouth', prayers which only the Deity can hear. In much stronger terms the Sibyl turns against the pagan type of music.” (The Sacred Bridge: Liturgical Parallels in Synagogue and Early Church, Eric Werner, p334, 1959 AD)

7.          Instruments were not used in the worship of the ancient synagogue. They belonged to the tabernacle and the Temple, especially the latter; but were never in the congregational assemblies of God's people.” (Mcclintock & Strong's Encyclopedia, Music, Instrumental)

8.          “It was in the synagogue, however, that music continued to flourish and serve as an emotional and didactic aid to the maintenance of Judaism. The levitical guilds were now gone and instrumental music was forbidden in the synagogue, leaving vocal music to evolve in a new way. Thus the writers of the NT and the founders of the new Christian movement very likely adopted what they knew of synagogue music to their own worship. That would explain why Paul, who is familiar with musical instruments, considered them “lifeless” (1 Cor 14:7–8) and promoted worship in the form of “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord” (Eph 5:19).” (ABD, Music, Volume 4, Page 934)

9.          “Orthodox Jews do not allow the organ or any other instrument in their synagogues; only Reformed or Liberal Jews have introduced the organ and many other innovations.” (Mcclintock & Strong's Encyclopedia, Music, Instrumental)

10.      In addition to the negative factor of instrumental music’s association with the temple worship, there was the even more significant positive consideration of worship in the synagogue. The Jews had developed an alternative form of worship independent of the Temple and animal sacrifice. It was the rational worship of prayer and Scripture instruction practiced in the synagogue. The synagogue had arisen as an independent institution in pre-Christian times. Its organization and procedures were well developed by the first century. Before the destruction of the Temple the synagogue functioned as a complementary institution; after its destruction the synagogue continued as the permanent focus of Jewish religious life.” (A Cappella Music in the Public Worship of the Church, Everett Ferguson, p42, 2013 AD)

11.      “The synagogue emphasized teaching and did not have instrumental music. The temple emphasized ritual, and it did have instrumental music.” (A Cappella Music in the Public Worship of the Church, Everett Ferguson, p106, 2013 AD)

12.      “The background antecedent of early Christian worship was Jewish synagogue worship. Our Lord Jesus attended and participated in the synagogue (Luke 4:16). It did not use instrumental music.” (Historical Evidence About Instrumental Music, Frank Walton, Christianity Magazine, December 1985 AD)

13.      Prayers as well as the Psalms were performed responsively (bTaanith 16b). Rabbinic literature preserves several accounts of controversy among Jewish teachers whether the essential part of Temple music was instrumental or vocal. R. Simeon b. Eleazar [late second century] said, “The absence of Priests, Levites and musical instruments is a bar to the offering of the sacrifices.” R. Jose said the essential feature of the music was the instrument, but Rab Judah held that the principal music at the temple was vocal (bTaanith 27a). … Elsewhere in Rabbinic literature instrumental music is forbidden on the Sabbath. In fact “one may not ring a bell or a clapper for a child on the Sabbath.” One factor here was that tuning an instrument would violate the prohibition of work. For instance, it was ruled that one might tie the string of an instrument in the Temple but not outside the Temple on the Sabbath (Erubin X:13; bErubin 104a). Hence it would seem that one consideration in the discussion of what was essential in temple music was to justify the place of instruments in the temple worship. Only if they were integral to the sacrifice could their use override the Sabbath law. In the absence of sacrifice there was nothing to permit the instrument to override the Sabbath law. Therefore, synagogue music was vocal. I venture to suggest that the discussion over instrumental music among the Rabbis was to justify its overriding the Sabbath in temple practice; but since their own music in the synagogue was vocal, they wanted vocal music to have been central and so insisted that the essential music of the temple also had been vocal. Accordingly, bSukkah 51a states, “All agree that the essential feature of the (Temple) music was the vocal singing.” And the later Midrash Rabbah, Numbers VI:10 discusses only song as “an indispensable adjunct to sacrifice,” even when citing passages which refer to instruments. It was inferred from the phrase “in the name of the Lord” that ministering to God (Deut. 18:7) required song, because in song the name of the Lord was mentioned with praise and thanksgiving. The Rabbis gave definite expression to the view that vocal music was superior to instrumental. “The Holy One, blessed be He, will say to them: Even though you praise Me with psalteries and with harps, your praise is not sweet to Me until it comes from your mouths” (Midrash Tehillim On Psalms 149, 5). And again, “The Holy One, blessed be He, said, I desire from Israel not music of the harp but the solemn utterance of their mouth” (On Psalms 92, 7). The latter passage also allegorizes the ten strings as the ten men required at religious services. There were some efforts by the Rabbis to eliminate instrumental music from other phases of Jewish life. Abstention from instruments was to be observed in mourning over the destruction of Jerusalem. Some even wanted to outlaw singing, but the Talmud concludes that “only musical instruments are forbidden” at festivities (bGittin 7a; cf. bSotah 48a). This abolition from entertainments, of course, was not uniformly maintained. These are later developments and discussions. They do coincide with the absence of any evidence for instrumental music in the early synagogue. The shofar (ram’s horn) was blown at fasts and New Year’s, but it hardly counts as a musical instrument and was not employed in the worship. There remains no evidence that instrumental music was used in the synagogue service; indeed this holds true until comparatively recent times. The real reason for this absence is probably that advanced by McKinnon, namely that the instrument was simply irrelevant to the type of worship developed in the synagogue. It was a non-sacrificial worship and a rational service to which, as an extension either of prayer or of reading the Scriptures, had been added the chanting of the Psalms. Since a special vocal use of psallo is first and most clearly attested in Jewish religious literature, and since the Psalms were recited without instrumental accompaniment in the synagogue services, a reasonable hypothesis may be suggested for the change in the usage of the word. The change in practice in the synagogue, so that the Psalms were used without the instrumental accompaniment that had characterized their use in the Temple, produced a change of meaning in the word so that it meant “to sing the Psalms.” The difference in the way the Psalms were used changed the meaning of psallo which was employed to describe this use. Christians derived their use of the word from the Jewish circles in which the church began, not from classical Greek usage. Moreover, Christian worship in many of its practices seems to have followed the worship of the synagogue. (A Cappella Music in the Public Worship of the Church, Everett Ferguson, p44, 2013 AD)


C. Instrumental music in the Basilica synagogue in Alexandria:

1.      Text of Tosefta, Sukkah 4:6A-G: “R. Jehudah says: Whoever has not seen the basilica-synagogue of Alexandria … And the Levites with their harps and lyres and cymbals and all manner of musical instruments without number were there, saying, Behold, bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord. Some were saying, Lift up your hands to the sanctuary, and bless ye the Lord. When they parted they said to one another, The Lord bless thee out of Sion, and see thou the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life ; yea, thou shalt see thy children's children.”” (Tosefta, Sukkah 4:6A-G, describing the second temple synagogue in Alexandria, 250 AD)

2.      The basilica style synagogue dates to the early first century AD (before 38 AD) and this is a departure from the triclinium style synagogues that date back to the very beginning in 280 BC. Even though we have no excavated site top plans for any synagogue in Egypt, we do have many in both and outside Judea that are all triclinium style.

2.      The very first synagogue was the great Basilica synagogue of Alexandria in 280 BC.

a.       This synagogue likely transformed from its genesis by meeting in a house to meeting in a triclinium benched “house of prayer” and finally into a double columned basilica by 38 AD which was world famous as the largest, oldest and most opulent of any synagogue on earth until it was destroyed by Trajan in 117 AD.

b.      It is reasonably certain, considering the known widespread ban of instrumental music in synagogues throughout the world, that this was a later innovation.

3.      Why did this synagogue use musical instruments?

a.       Most important, notice that the instrumental music was associated directly with Levites from the Jerusalem temple. This indicates a likely agreement that instruments were allowed in the Alexandria synagogue when those who officiated at the Jerusalem temple visited.

b.      Being the first, the biggest and most famous in the world, it was a classic target of unavoidable liberalization while other synagogues continued to be non-instrumental.

c.       The change to basilica may have ushered in the instrumental music, but this is speculative. 



D. Acapella responsive (antiphonal) singing and worship style:

1.      Responsive worship and singing dates back to 1406 BC at Shechem with the blessings and curses at Mt. Gerizim and Ebal: Deut 27-28

a.       Moses said: “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today; and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following other gods which you have not known. “It shall come about, when the Lord your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, that you shall place the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. “Are they not across the Jordan, west of the way toward the sunset, in the land of the Canaanites who live in the Arabah, opposite Gilgal, beside the oaks of Moreh?" (Deuteronomy 11:26–30)

b.      Israel crossed the Jordan and defeated Jericho and Ai. Then they took the tabernacle tent to Shechem where the congregation was divided into two, one half on the slopes of Mt. Gerizim and the other on Mt. Ebal with the Ark of the Covenant in the middle.

c.       "All Israel with their elders and officers and their judges were standing on both sides of the ark before the Levitical priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, the stranger as well as the native. Half of them stood in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, just as Moses the servant of the Lord had given command at first to bless the people of Israel. Then afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the book of the law. There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel with the women and the little ones and the strangers who were living among them." (Joshua 8:33–35)

d.      Then the group of Levite priests would speak the blessings to those on Mt. Gerizim and they would repeat it back in responsive style and the curses to those on Mt. Ebal who would also reply responsively by saying “AMEN”.

e.       "“When you cross the Jordan, these shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin. “For the curse, these shall stand on Mount Ebal: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. “The Levites shall then answer and say to all the men of Israel with a loud voice, ‘Cursed is the man who makes an idol or a molten image, an abomination to the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen.’" (Deuteronomy 27:12–15)

f.        It is interesting that each Levite priest must have had a written copy and because of the size and distance (800 meters) between the ark where the priests stood and the people, many priests speaking together would ensure all would hear.

g.       The leader (Levite) would speak the words to half the congregation, who would then respond to the other side who sat silently until the leader spoke words for them to say.

2.      “The following words were uttered in song, whether in notes of unison, or in harmonic combination, is of course unknown to us. From what we know of Hebrew music and the structure of Hebrew poetry, we may conjecture the song to have been in unison and in responsive strains. The heavenly host had shouted for joy at the creation (Job 38:7), and had ministered at the giving of the law (Deut. 33:2; Acts 7:58; Gal. 3:19), but never had they a more pleasing task to perform, than in shouting forth God’s praises at the incarnation of his Son.” (Commentary on Luke, J. J. Owen, Luke 2:13, 1859 AD)

3.      Synagogue worship was responsive:

a.       “How do they invite [others for the grace after the meal]? For three [who ate together, the leader] says, “Let us bless.” For three [others] and himself [four] he says, “Bless.” For ten he says, “Let us bless our God.” For ten and himself he says, “Bless.” The same [rule applies for] ten and for ten thousand. For one hundred he says, “Let us bless the Lord our God.” For one hundred and himself he says, “Bless.” For one thousand he says, “Let us bless the Lord our God, God of Israel.” For one thousand and himself he says, “Bless.” For ten thousand he says, “Let us bless the Lord our God, God of Israel, God of the Hosts who sits upon the Cherubim, for the food we have eaten.” For ten thousand and himself he says, “Bless.” As he blesses, so they answer after him:  “Blessed is the Lord our God, God of Israel, God of the Hosts, who sits upon the Cherubim, for the food we have eaten.” R. Yose the Galilean says, “According to the size of the congregation [so] they bless.  As it says, In [accordance with the size of your] gatherings, bless God, the Lord, [you who are] from Israel’s fountain (Ps. 68:27).” Said R. Aqiba, “What do we find in the synagogue?  It is the same whether there are many or few present.  [The reader] says, ‘Bless the Lord.’ ” R. Ishmael says, “Bless the Lord who is blessed.”” (Mishnah, m. Berakot 7:3, 200 AD)

b.      At the blessing, “… who redeems Israel,” the prayer is extended, and at the conclusion is added, “He who answered Abraham on Mount Moriah will answer you and listen to the sound of your outcry this very day. Blessed are you, redeemer of Israel,” They answer after him, “Amen.” Then the synagogue precentor says to them, “Sound the shofar, sons of Aaron, sound the shofar with a sustained sound,” and then they proceed, “He who answered our fathers on the Red Sea will answer you and hear the sound of your outcry this day. Blessed is he who remembers what has been forgotten. And they answer after him, “Amen.” Then the synagogue precentor says to them, “Sound the shofar with a broken sound, sons of Aaron, sound the shofar with a broken sound.” And so too with all the other blessings, with one he says, “Sound the shofar with a sustained sound,” and with the other, “Sound the shofar with a broken sound”. Under what circumstances does this procedure apply? In the provinces. But in the sanctuary, that is not how it was done. That is because people do not answer, “Amen,” in the sanctuary. And how do we know that people do not answer, “Amen,” in the sanctuary? For it is said, “Stand up and bless the Lord your God from everlasting to everlasting, and let them say, Blessed be your glorious name that is exalted above all blessing and praise” (Neh. 9:5). Might one suppose that there is only one form of praise after all the blessings? Scripture says, “Exalted above all blessing and praise,” which is to say, “Give him praise after every blessing.” Then what does one say in the sanctuary? “Blessed be the Lord God, God of Israel, from eternity to eternity. Blessed be the Redeemer of Israel.” And they answer after him, “Blessed be the name of his glorious kingdom forever and ever.” (Babylonian Talmud, b. Taan. 2:1, VI.1.E–L, 500 AD)

c.       “They arise for prayer. They bring down before the ark an experienced elder, who has children, and whose cupboard [house] is empty, so that his heart should be wholly in the prayer: Our rabbis have taught on Tannaite authority: When they arise for reciting the Prayer, even if there is present an elder and sage, they do not bring him down before the ark, but a man who is fluent in his prayer.” (Babylonian Talmud, b. Taan. 2:1, V.1.A–C, 500 AD)


E. Responsive poetry and singing in scripture:


Leader says

Congregations responds

Deut 27:12-15

‘Cursed is the man who makes an idol or a molten image, an abomination to the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’

And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen.’

Psalm 136:1-26

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good

(26 different statements)

For His lovingkindness is everlasting

(Identical phrase repeated 26 times)

Luke 2:9-15

One Angel

"And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Many angels

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.”"

Exodus 15:1–21


"Then Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and said, “I will sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted; The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea. “The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; This is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will extol Him." (Exodus 15:1–2)

All the women

"Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took the timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dancing. Miriam answered them, “Sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted; The horse and his rider He has hurled into the sea.”" (Exodus 15:20–21)

Psalm 20:1–9

"May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high! May He send you help from the sanctuary And support you from Zion! May He remember all your meal offerings And find your burnt offering acceptable! Selah. May He grant you your heart’s desire And fulfill all your counsel!

We will sing for joy over your victory, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners.

May the Lord fulfill all your petitions. Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven With the saving strength of His right hand.

Some boast in chariots and some in horses, But we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God. They have bowed down and fallen, But we have risen and stood upright. Save, O Lord; May the King answer us in the day we call."

Song of Solomon

Written in responsive poetry

Shulammite (Abishag)

"May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine. “Your oils have a pleasing fragrance, Your name is like purified oil; Therefore the maidens love you. “Draw me after you and let us run together! The king has brought me into his chambers.” (Song of Solomon 1:2–4)


Maidens reply

“We will rejoice in you and be glad; We will extol your love more than wine. Rightly do they love you.”"

Revelation 4-5

24 elders respond to 4 living creatures

All creation responds to angels who respond to 24 elders


F. The four-part escalating responsive song in heaven: Revelation 4:8–11 + Revelation 5:8–13

Four Living Creatures


24 Heavenly Elders


many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands

every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come

Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.




Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”"

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”

To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever


G. The responsive Hymn Of The Three Young Men (Daniel 3:49–93, Apocrypha, LXX)

1.      This is an uninspired addition to the book of Daniel found in the Septuagint that dates to 100 BC when synagogue worship was fully established.

a.       Like the Apocrypha of Suzanna, it is clearly founded at a time of synagogue worship.

b.      The responsive singing style is clearly a trademark of synagogue worship.

2.      “The Prayer of Azariah and the Hymn of the Three Young Men” is one of several titles given to that additional Septuagint material between what would correspond presently to vss. 23 and 24 of the third chapter of the canonical Book of Daniel. … Thus, the terminus ad quem for the Additions and most of their component parts is the date of the Greek translation of the Semitic text of Daniel, i.e. ca. 100 b.c.” (Daniel, Esther, and Jeremiah: The Additions, AYBC, C. A. Moore, p39, 2008 AD)

3.      Notice the variations of a phrase of praise ends in “into the ages” 39 times. These are the congregational responses.


The responsive Hymn Of The Three Young Men

Daniel 3:49–93, Apocrypha, LXX

"But a divine being of the Lord descended at the same time to the ones around Azariah, into the furnace, and dispersed the flame of fire from the furnace. Then he made the middle of the furnace like a moist wind gently whistling, so that it did not touch them at all; and the fire did not cause pain and did not trouble them. And lifting up their voices, the three, as if out of one mouth, sang praises and extolled and praised and exalted God within the furnace, saying,

Song leader says

Congregation responsively replies

“Blessed are you, O Lord God of our fathers,

and praiseworthy and to be exalted into the ages.

And blessed is your glorious name, holy and praiseworthy,

and to be exalted exceedingly into all generations.

Blessed are you within the temple of your holy glory,

and to be highly exalted and wholly glorious into the ages!

Blessed are you upon the throne of glory of your kingdom,

and to be praised and exceedingly exalted into the ages!

Blessed are you, the one who sees into the abyss, who sits upon the cherubim,

and are to be praised and magnified into the ages!

Blessed are you in the firmament of the heaven,

and to be praised and magnified into the ages!

Bless, O all works of the Lord, the Lord,

praise and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O messengers of the Lord, the Lord;

laud and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O heavens, the Lord,

laud and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O waters and all above the heaven,

the Lord; praise and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O all the power and hosts of the Lord, the Lord;

laud and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O sun and the moon, the Lord;

laud and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O stars of heaven, the Lord;

praise and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O all storms and dew, the Lord;

laud and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O all winds, the Lord;

praise and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O fire and scorching heat, the Lord;

laud and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O shivering cold and cutting cold weather, the Lord;

praise and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O gentle dew and swirling snowstorm, the Lord;

laud and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, the Lord, O frost and cold,

laud and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O hoar-frost and snow, the Lord;

laud and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O night time and day time, the Lord;

sing a hymn and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O light and darkness, the Lord;

praise and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O flashing lightning and stirring clouds, the Lord;

laud and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O earth, the Lord;

sing forth and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O mountain heights and high places of the hills, the Lord;

laud and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O everything that springs forth upon the earth, the Lord;

sing a hymn and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O rainstorm and running waters, the Lord;

praise and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O seas and rivers, the Lord;

sing a hymn and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O huge creatures of the sea and everything that moves in waters, the Lord;

praise and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O all the winged creatures of heaven, the Lord;

sing a hymn and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O four-footed animals and beasts of the earth, the Lord;

laud and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O sons of men, the Lord;

laud and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O Israel, the Lord;

sing a hymn and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O priests, the Lord;

praise and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O servants, the Lord;

sing a hymn and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O spirits and souls of the righteous, the Lord;

praise and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O holy and humble ones in your heart, the Lord;

sing a hymn and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

Bless, O Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael, the Lord;

praise and exalt him exceedingly into the ages!

For he has taken us out of Hades, and has saved us from the hand of death, and has rescued us from the midst of the raging flame, and from the fire he delivered us! Acknowledge and give thanks to the Lord,

For he is good, for his mercy continues into the ages!

Bless, all those who worship the Lord, God of the gods; sing a hymn and acknowledge him fully,

for his mercy continues into the ages, even into the age of ages!”

Then it happened, when the king heard their singing, then, standing by, he gazed at them alive, at that moment King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished, and he proceeded with haste and addressed his close court advisors, “Did we not throw three men, having been bound, into the midst of the fire?” And they said to the king, “Truly, O king!” And the king said, “Look, I see four unbound men walking about in the fire and no harm has come to them, and the outward appearance of the fourth is similar to a messenger of a god!” And the king, after having come to the door of the furnace blazing with fire, summoned them by name, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God of gods, come out from the fire!” So, therefore, the men came out from the midst of the fire." (Daniel 3:49–93, Apocrypha, LXX)


 H. Responsive additions in Psalm 145:1-7, 12-21 from Dead Sea Scroll 11Q5: Ancient Jewish songbook

1.      The scroll demonstrates the responsive style of singing used in synagogues in the first century

a.       The phrase, “Praise Yahweh, and praise his name for ever and ever” is added 18 times for the congregational response.

b.      Everybody knew this addition was not part of the original Psalm, but the congregations used this format to sing the Psalm.

c.       The scroll is actually an ancient songbook.

d.      Just as Christians today will take a Bible verse and add it into a song with other non-biblical words, so too the Jews were already doing this 2200 years ago in their synagogues.

2.      The Dead Sea scroll 11Q5 is one of the most important and complete scrolls found at Qumran.

a.       Columns 15 and 16 have most of Ps 145 but a few verses are missing due to damage over 2000 years.

b.      11Q5 = 11QPsa

c.       11Q5 = Scroll 5 found in cave 11 at Qumran:

d.      11 (cave 11) Q (Qumran) 5 (scroll number five)

e.      Col. XVI, Psalm 145:1–7; Col. XVII, Psalm 145:13–21

3.      “11QPsa contains a number of textual variants, including a refrain, “Blessed be the Lord and blessed be his name forever and ever” at the end of every verse.” (The Dead Sea Scrolls & Modern Translations of the Old Testament, H. P. Scanlin, Psalm 145:5, 1993 AD)

4.      “After each verse 11QPsa also preserves a congregational response, “Blessed be Yahweh, and blessed be his name forever!” which is not found in MT.” (Psalms III 101–150: Introduction, Translation, and Notes with an Appendix: The Grammar of the Psalter, AYBC, M. Dahood, Psalm 145, Volume 17a, Page 335, 2008 AD)


Translation of Psalm 145:1-7, 12-21 from Dead Sea Scroll 11Q5


Text of Ps 145 sung by song leader
(Minor variations from modern Bible text)

Responsive singing by Synagogue congregation

(Non-Biblical text added by songleader)


I will exalt you, my God, the King. I will praise your name forever and ever.

Praise Yahweh, and praise his name for ever and ever.


Every Blessed is the day I will praise you. I will extol your name forever and ever.

Praise Yahweh, and praise his name for ever and ever.


Great is Yahweh, and greatly to be praised! His greatness is unsearchable.

Praise Yahweh, and praise his name for ever and ever.


One generation will commend your works to another, and will declare your mighty acts.

Praise Yahweh, and praise his name for ever and ever.


Of the glorious majesty of your honor, of your wondrous works, I will meditate.

Praise Yahweh, and praise his name for ever and ever.


Men will speak of the might of your awesome acts. I will declare your greatness.

Praise Yahweh, and praise his name for ever and ever.


They will utter the memory of your great goodness, and will sing of your righteousness.

Praise Yahweh, and praise his name for ever and ever.


to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, the glory of the majesty of his kingdom.

Praise Yahweh, and praise his name for ever and ever.


Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. Your dominion endures throughout all generations.

Praise Yahweh, and praise his name for ever and ever.

God is faithful in all his words, and loving in all his deeds. Praise Yahweh, and praise his name for ever and ever.


Yahweh upholds all who fall, and raises up all those who are bowed down.

Praise Yahweh, and praise his name for ever and ever.


The eyes of all wait for you. You give them their food in due season.

Praise Yahweh, and praise his name for ever and ever.


You open your hand, and satisfy the desire of every living thing.

Praise Yahweh, and praise his name for ever and ever.


Yahweh is righteous in all his ways, and gracious in all his works.

Praise Yahweh, and praise his name for ever and ever.


Yahweh is near to all those who call on him,

and praise his name forever and ever.


to all who They will call on him in truth.

Praise Yahweh, and praise his name for ever and ever.


He will fulfill the desire of those who fear him. He also will hear their cry, and will save them.

Praise Yahweh, and praise his name for ever and ever.


Yahweh preserves all those who love fear him, but all the wicked he will destroy.

Praise Yahweh, and praise his name for ever and ever.


My mouth will speak the praise of Yahweh. Let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

Praise Yahweh, and praise his name for ever and ever.  This is for a memorial…


I. Responsive style of Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice, Angelic Liturgy, first century song book


J.1 Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice: Angelic Liturgy:

1.      Ten copies of the Angelic liturgy have been found, one at Masada and nine at Qumran.

2.      All the scholars on the Angelic liturgy missed two key points:

a.       The Angelic Liturgy was never used in the Jerusalem temple by Sadducees who didn’t believe in angels, much less to have them sing to them.

3.      Never used in the Jerusalem temple: Synagogues only (Angelic Liturgy)

a.       Jerusalem Temple Sadducees would NEVER SING an “Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice, ANGELIC LITURGY” because they DO NOT BELIEVE IN ANGELS.

b.       Just as Jesus refuted the Sadducees view of no conscious life after death in the story of the Rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16, which features a real time story of what was happening in the spirit world, so too the Angelic Liturgy, clearly the product of Pharisee doctrine, refuted the Sadducees view that angels did not exist with a 13 week worship program where one set of angels sings to another in heaven.

c.       "But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy." (Acts 5:17)

d.       Shockingly, scholars have ignored the fact that the at the time of Jesus there was a rift in both function and fellowship between the Synagogues controlled by Pharisees and the Jerusalem Temple controlled by the Sadducees. As Paul noted in 57 AD, "the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all." (Acts 23:8)

e.       This would drive the faithful masses to seek higher spiritual worship in the Synagogues.

2.      Clearly for use in weekly synagogue worship, because Temple worship had no weekly public assemblies for it to be used in.

a.       The style is for use as an acapella responsive (antiphonal) congregational worship liturgy creating a sense of euphoria and union between the material and spirit worlds.

b.      The responsive singing between the song lead and the congregation would create a mystical experience for all, even it was flawed in relation to reality.

c.       Unlike the Book of Revelation, the is no direct human agent (like John) who functions as a go between of the two worlds.

2.      The 13 week cycle is also seen in Dead Sea Scroll 11Q5 where Psalm 145 also is responsive singing and has a triplet climax on the 13th pair of couplets. This is a significant observation that shows the Angelic Liturgy was a responsive liturgy for weekly synagogue worship.

3.      The Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice is a liturgical cycle of songs for the first thirteen Sabbaths of the year. It follows the fixed 364-day solar calendar and, therefore, could have been repeated quarterly. Each song has a title (e.g., “For the Instructor. Song of the sacrifice of the seventh Sabbath on the sixteenth of the month”) and then opens with invitations to the holy angels to praise God. In a self-deprecating comparison with the angels (“[What] is the offering of our mortal tongue compared with the knowledge of the g[ods/angels]?” 4Q400 2 7–11) the human worshipers identify themselves as the speakers reciting this liturgy.” (NIB, Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice)

4.      A Dead Sea Scroll text Extant in 8 fragmentary copies from Qumran Cave 4 (4Q400–407), one from Cave 11 (11QShirShabb), and one from Masada (MasShirShabb), as reconstructed, the original composition contained a cycle of 13 songs, one for each of the first 13 Sabbaths of the year. Each song began with a heading and date (e.g., “By/for the instructor. Song of the whole-offering of the 7th Sabbath on the 16th of the month”). A call to praise God, addressed to the angels, followed. The body of the songs were variously developed, but each contained some description of angelic praise, the heavenly temple, and the angelic priesthood. From the imperative calls to praise and the occurrence of some first person plural forms (e.g., “How shall we be considered,” “let us exalt”), it appears that the songs were intended for communal worship. (ABD, Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice)

5.      Each song begins with a heading and date formula (e.g., “For the Instructor. Song of the sacrifice of the first sabbath on the fourth of the first month”). Following the heading comes a call to praise, introduced by the imperative “praise,” followed by a direct object (an epithet for God) and a vocative (an angelic title). The initial call to praise is expanded with one or more parallel calls to praise.“ (Dictionary of New Testament Background, Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice)

6.      The Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice is a liturgical document consisting of thirteen distinct compositions, each dated to one of the first thirteen sabbaths of the year. Whether the cycle was specific to the first quarter of the year or was repeated for each of the other quarters of the year is debated (Newsom; Maier). The modern title is derived from the heading that introduces each of the individual compositions. Since the songs invoke angelic praise and describe the sabbath worship of angelic beings in the heavenly temple, the composition is also known as the Angelic Liturgy.” (Dictionary of New Testament Background, Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice)


Responsive singing of the “Song of Sabbath Sacrifice”

Song leader says

Congregation replies

To the [eternal G]od [with its seven wonderful blessings. He will bless] the kin[g of all the eternal holy ones

seven times, with seven] words of [wonderful blessing.

Psalm of magnification, on the tongue of the second to the king of] truth and [righteousness

with its seven wonderful (songs of) magnification.

He will magnify the God of] all the go[ds who are appointed for righteousness

seven times, with seven words of] [wonderful] magnification[s.

Psalm of exaltation, on the tongue of the third of the] chief [princes, an exaltation of his truth, to the King of angels

with its seven wonderful exaltations.]

He will exal[t the God of the exalted angels

seven times, with seven words of] wonderful [exaltations.

Psalm of praise, on the tongue of the fourth, to the Powerful One who is above all] the gods

with its seven wonderful powers.

He will praise the God of powers]

seven times, with [seven words of wonderful praise.

Psalm of thanksgiving] on the tongue of the fifth, to [the King of glory

with its seven wonderful thanksgivings.]

They will give thanks to the God of glory

seve[n times, with seven words of wonderful thanksgivings.]

[Psa]lm of exultation, on the tongue of the sixth, to [the God of goodness,

with its seven wonderful exultations.]

[He will exult] in the King of goodness

seve[n times, with seven words of] won[derful exultation.

Psa]lm of singing, on the tongue of the seve[nth of the chief princes,] a powerful song to the God of holiness

with [its] seve[n wonderful songs.]

He will sing to the King of holiness seven times, with se[ven words of] wonderful [songs.]

1: Seven psalms of his blessings.


2: Seven ps[alms of magnification of his justice.]


3: Seven psalms of exaltation of his kingdom.


4: Seven psalms of p[raise of his glory.]


5: Seven psalms of thanksgiving for his wonders.


6: Seven psa[lms of exultation in his strength.]


7: [Sev]en psalms of songs of his holiness.

The generations of [the exalted] chie[fs]

[… se]ven times, with seven wonderful words

wor[ds of …] [of the chief princes will bles]s in the glorious name of God a[ll the powerful of] [intellect, with seven] wonderful [wo]rds to bless all [their] councils [in his holy temple]

[with seven wonderful words;

and (to bless) with] them those who know eternal things […]


Composite text from MASK1K Column 2, left side Column 2 with [text] added from Qumran 4Q403 frag. 1 col. i; 4Q404 Frag. 1



J.2 Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice and the book of Revelation:

1.      Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice as a prototype for the book of Revelation:

a.       The worship song “Angelic Liturgy” was as well known in first century as “Amazing Grace” is today.

b.      When the book of Revelation was written, everyone would immediately and instantly recognize a series of similarities and differences.

c.       Historical insight: Jesus followed a known and immediately recognizable format structure in His Beatitudes with 8 short and a 9th long beatitute. Jesus patterned his beatitudes after the well-known poetic style of his day. Like saying, "knock, knock" or "Roses are Red…" today, everyone sitting on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee was familiar with the format and listened curiously to the Nazarene's own variation on the poetic form.
See detailed outline of the famous Beatitudes scroll 4Q525

d.      Just like Jesus followed a known pre-existing pattern in for format of His beatitudes, the Holy spirit used the Angelic Liturgy as a recognizable prototype for the book of revelation which warned the Christians to flee Jerusalem in 70 AD when Titus destroyed the city.

1.       John patterned Revelation after the well-known apocalyptic genre of his day.

2.       Like saying, "knock, knock" or "Roses are Red…" today, the Christians in Jerusalem immediately recognized the format and read intently to this new variation of a well known poetic form.

3.       The Holy Spirit used known cultural paradigms so John’s warning to flee Jerusalem, echoing Mathew 24 and Luke 21 was: revolutionary, relevant and authentic.

e.      Although the language of the destruction of the Temple was described as a “coming of the Lord”, it was in fact also a well established phrase borrowed from the Old Testament of many physical destructions.

1.       Today, Christians still anticipate the second coming of Jesus which will destroy the entire universe (uncreation) and transform out physical bodies into spiritual bodies in the presence of God in heaven.

2.       Preterism is a grave error: the second coming of Jesus is still future! "And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him." (Hebrews 9:27-28)

2.      Unique differences between the Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice vs. Revelation:

a.       13 songs: one for each of the first 13 Sabbaths in the Jewish calendar

b.      The Songs of Sabbath has an obsession to the point of monotony with the number 7 until you realize the repeated phrases are the congregation’s responsive singing part in public synagogue worship.

c.       The Hebrew word for sacrifice used throughout is "holocaust".

d.      The song of the Sabbath Sacrifice never directly quotes other Old Testament passages as Revelation does.

e.      The song of the Sabbath Sacrifice borrows extensively from a flawed pseudepigrapha document written about 250 BC called "Enoch", which itself if filled with rampant, wild and impossible speculations of what is like. The book of Revelation never quotes from any apocryphal books and especially not "Enoch" for its imagery.

f.        Angelic Liturgy has a distorted view of heaven but Revelation correctly sees 4 living creatures, 24 elders surrounding the throne.

g.       The song of the Sabbath Sacrifice was a flawed production of human effort and imagination that speculated on a spirit world it had never seen while ignoring patterns of historical events recorded in the Old Testament.

h.      The Book of Revelation is a divinely inspired message that satisfies this ancient longing of man to know what heaven is like by giving an accurate first hand eye witness account through John while borrowing familiar imagery from the Old Testament as a spring board for new and deeper truths. In this way Paul's words, "The mystery is revealed in Christ" are fulfilled in the book of Revelation. (Rom 16:25-26)

i.         Revelation begins with John in the spirit on the Lord's Day, Sunday the day of Christian worship, as opposed to the Jewish Saturday. (2:10)

j.        Angelic Liturgy looked to the restoral of Israel but Revelation predicted the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Why is Revelation written to the 7 churches and not Jerusalem? Seven men would arrive at Jerusalem with 7 identical copies and the Saints there would follow them back to their 7 Asian churches for security far away from Jerusalem. A kind of crossing the Red Sea, out of harm's way of the Roman Army that is attacking Jerusalem. Cf. Lk 21:20. Revelation is John's Olivet discourse (Mt 24, Mk 14, Lk 21)

  1. Parallels where the Angelic Liturgy was a prototype for the book of Revelation:
    1. The number 7 is widely used and song 7 climaxes with a view of God himself inside his throne room.
    2. Repeated use of number 7 Revelation has 7 spirits, lampstands, churches, star, horns, eyes, seals, angels, trumpets, bowls of wrath, thunders, 7000 killed, heads, crowns, plagues, mountains, kings.

c.       The unmistakable connection between both is the use of the number 7. Every Jew in the first century was familiar with the obsession to the point of monotony that the Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice has with the number 7. The book of Revelation was written in 66 AD to warn the first century Jewish Christians living in Jerusalem to flees the city and would immediately make a connection between Revelation and the Songs of Sabbath Sacrifice. Revelation uses the number 7 it in a far more creative and clever fashion interwoven into a terrifying adventure story where the reader is told, "Behold I come quickly" which was their cue to flee the city in 70 AD or die.

d.      Only Jews would recognize the connection to the number 7 proving it was a warning to Jews alone living in Jerusalem. Since only Jews would recognize the number 7, it was a warning for Jews in Jerusalem not gentiles in Turkey

e.      John wrote the book to seven churches outside of Judah in modern Turkey who would carry each carry a copy of the book to Jerusalem. When the seven copies arrived from these seven different churches with a message to flee Jerusalem, they would flee to these 7 churches of Asia that sent the letter. It gave the Christians living in Jerusalem a safe place of refuge to flee to. In fact the faithful remnant who obeyed, probably returned with the very messenger who brought the book back to his home church/city.

f.        Revelation begins with John in the spirit on the Lord's Day, Sunday the day of Christian worship, as opposed to the Jewish Saturday. (2:10)

g.       Both take place entirely in the spirit world, complete with the scene of the heavenly temple and God's throne, with attending spirit beings constantly praising God. (4,5)

h.      Both give highly detailed, but different descriptions of heaven and the spiritual temple.

i.         Both paint heaven as a beautiful multi-colour place.

j.        Both feature a war between God and Angels (Elohim)

k.       Both, of course have angels singing.

l.         Revelation reveals for Christians, the truth missed in the songs of Sabbath Sacrifice that there are 4 living creatures and 24 elders surrounding the throne of God.

m.    Both borrows imagery from the wheel within a wheel and four living creatures imagery of Ezek 1.

n.      Revelation directly quotes Old Testament passages as does. But the song of the Sabbath Sacrifice never quotes from the Old Testament.

o.      Revelation borrows extensively from Old Testament imagery, whereas the song of the Sabbath Sacrifice does not.

p.      The song of the Sabbath Sacrifice borrows extensively from a flawed pseudepigrapha document written about 250 BC called "Enoch", which itself if filled with rampant, wild and impossible speculations of what is like. The book of Revelation never quotes from any apocryphal books and especially not "Enoch" for its imagery.

q.      The song of the Sabbath Sacrifice was a flawed production of human effort and imagination that speculated on a spirit world it had never seen while ignoring patterns of historical events recorded in the Old Testament.

r.        The Book of Revelation is a divinely inspired message that satisfies this ancient longing of man to know what heaven is like by giving an accurate first hand eye witness account through John while borrowing familiar imagery from the Old Testament as a spring board for new and deeper truths. In this way Paul's words, "The mystery is revealed in Christ" are fulfilled in the book of Revelation. (Rom 16:25-26)


K. Jewish Christian converts brought their synagogue songs into the church:

1.      A Jew who had worshipped every Sabbath for 30 years would continue with the acapella tradition he was familiar with.

a.       The first converts to Christianity in the first three years (33-36 AD) were all Jewish and would worship in the exact same synagogues as Christians on Sunday, that they had previously worshipped in as Jews on the Sabbath.

b.      The earliest Christians brought their Jewish synagogue “songbooks” with them when they began to worship on Sunday with the church.

c.       The newly converted Jews would continue with the order of services they were familiar with growing up in the synagogues in the church. Opening song, prayer, song, song, reading, prayer, song, sermons, closing song and final prayer. While the order of service (liturgy) proposed is not founded in history but for illustration purposes only, it probably is not far off what yoou would expect in early church and synagogue worship services.

d.      Jewish worship was brought directly into the Christian church which in turn inherited of an already existing pattern of liturgy practiced in the thousands of synagogues in all corners of the world.

2.      “It is commonly thought that musical instruments were banned from the early church on account of their worldly nature. Some scholars believe that instruments were banned throughout the first century; others, that they were banned after the destruction of the temple as a way of expressing disapproval. Of the Jews, Werner says that “rabbinic sources explain the strict prohibition of any instrumental music in the Synagogue as an expression of mourning for the loss of the Temple and land, but the present writer has been able to show that a certain animosity against all instrumental music existed well before the fall of the Temple.… It seems that this enmity towards instrumental music was a defense against the musical and orgiastic mystery cults in which Syrian and Mesopotamian Jews not infrequently participated.” Werner adds, “The primitive Christian community held the same view, as we know from apostolic and post-apostolic literature: instrumental music was thought unfit for religious services. … What one observes there are two separate phenomena: a consistent condemnation of instruments … and an ecclesiastical psalmody obviously free of instrumental involvement.… The truth remains that the polemic against musical instruments and the vocal performance of early Christian psalmody were—for whatever reasons—unrelated in the minds of the church fathers” (Dictionary of New Testament Background, C. A. Evans, W. J. Porter, Music, p713, 2000 AD)

3.      “Converts from Judaism likely would have continued to sing the kinds of worship songs they were accustomed to. As Hill notes, “it is only natural then that we seek the origins of early Christian worship in Jewish temple and synagogue worship” (LBD, Music)

4.      “The borrowing from synagogue worship of both hymn and chorus singing added the emotional, communal feeling needed to help build the new movement. Instruction without the freedom to express joy and praise would have quickly become dull. In any case, many of these early Christian groups met in the local synagogue and they would have been familiar with the form of worship conducted there. It would have been only natural to employ the same hymns they already knew while adding new ones to reflect their new theological understanding. Among these may be the “Worthy art thou” hymnic fragments in Rev 4:11; 5:9–10, and the songs of victory and assurance in Rev 7:15–17; 11:17–18. Eventually, as the Christian movement became more international, Hellenistic musical influences were introduced, but antagonism to instrumental music, so closely associated with pagan religions and the spectacles of the Roman colosseum, continued for several centuries (Werner IDB 3: 469). (ABD, Music, Volume 4, Page 934)

5.      “The background antecedent of early Christian worship was Jewish synagogue worship. Our Lord Jesus attended and participated in the synagogue (Luke 4:16). It did not use instrumental music.” (Historical Evidence About Instrumental Music, Frank Walton, Christianity Magazine, December 1985 AD)

6.      “The conclusion drawn from the New Testament texts and from linguistic evidence was that instrumental music was not present in the worship of the New Testament church. This conclusion has further support in the contextual setting of New Testament times. Jewish practices and attitudes (both Rabbinic and Hellenistic) furnish strong presumption against the presence of instrumental music in the early church. The next chapter will test this conclusion by the testimony of church history.” (A Cappella Music in the Public Worship of the Church, Everett Ferguson, p53, 2013 AD)

7.      “The type of vocal praise evolved in the synagogue and the early church made instrumental music irrelevant. It is only the instrumentally conceived music of modern times that makes us think differently. To reintroduce instrumental music is to take a backward step as regards the spirit of Christian worship. It is, therefore, no wonder that historians and interpreters of church music agree that a cappella singing is the purest and highest type of church music.” (A Cappella Music in the Public Worship of the Church, Everett Ferguson, p107, 2013 AD)


L. In the New Testament Church, Christians sang responsively:

1.      We can explicitly prove that the first century church sang responsively:

a.       A song leader would prepare a teaching song like a sermon.

b.      The musical melody would be one of a small number of known songs so that when the song leader began, they would know exactly how to respond musically according to the melody.

c.       The song leader would stand up and teach through the song.

2.      The congregation would respond in one of three known ways:

a.       The congregation would respond by repeating the same words

b.      The congregation would respond by repeating a special single phrase that the song leader would give before the song started: “For this song, the congregation will reply after each verse I sing: “Because Jesus rose from the Dead””.

c.       The congregation would be instructed to respond with a simple “Amen”. We have one of these songs in our songbooks today: The song leader sings: “Let us tell the whole world about Jesus” and the congregation says, “Amen”.

3.      RESPONSIVE SINGING PROOF #1: "What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching … Let all things be done for edification." (1 Corinthians 14:26-33)

a.       "What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret; but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment. But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted; and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets; for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints." (1 Corinthians 14:26-33)

b.      The fact that it is in the context of before supernatural gifts ceased as per 1 Cor 13:8-13 makes not difference to the responsive worship style.

c.       The idea that every Christian man is capable of functioning as a leader of some kind in the worship service is precisely identical to synagogue worship and opposite to temple worship where only the Levite priests could lead. This underscores the New Testament doctrine that Every Christian is a priest in the “church temple”.

d.      In this typical first century worship service there were at least 10 and as many as 15 men who led in some way in the service.

e.      “EACH ONE HAS A PSALM”, this is not a scripture reading, this is a song. Just how did this work? The song was like a mini sermon that would change every Sunday and no one would know the words to the song. This is how we know it was responsive because the congregation merely repeats back to the leader, the words he sang and they sat silently listening. This is what Col 3:16 means: "teaching and admonishing one another in songs.

f.        “EACH ONE HAS A PSALM”, proves that there were MANY song leaders as opposed to a single song leader functioning as a master of ceremonies for the entire worship service.

4.      RESPONSIVE SINGING PROOF #2: "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God." (Colossians 3:16)

a.       The primary function of church singing is TEACHING AND ADMONISHING

b.      The primary function of church singing is not to launch the congregation into a state of euphoric trance after chanting the same sentence for an hour. We know this because ADMONISHING means to warn and chastise against sinful behaviour. In other words, the song leader might be giving the congregation a much needed spanking through the song as a rebuke. This produces much needed feelings of shame and guilt, not bliss and euphoria, which is the sole misguided goal of many modern churches.

c.       When you couple “TEACHING AND ADMONISHING” with “EACH ONE HAS A PSALM” you clearly have responsive singing.

5.      RESPONSIVE SINGING PROOF #3: "And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;" (Ephesians 5:18-20)


a.       This is a metaphoric, spiritualized reference to instrumental music.

b.      Inescapably, the phrase identifies the only instrument to be played in church: THE HEART.

c.       Nothing more needs to be said. The honest accept it.

7.      ACAPELLA SINGING PROOF #5: Nine New Testament passages to sing, none to play instruments.

a.       Instrumental music is absent from the New Testament and every passage references acapella singing only.

b.      This directly mirrors the acapella worship of the earliest Jewish synagogues.


M. Instrumental music today in synagogues:

1.      Synagogues today generally continue to be acapella and ban instruments from the synagogue.

a.       The modern Jewish view is that synagogues banned instrumental music after 70 AD, but this is provably false: “After the destruction of the Second Temple, playing musical instruments was forbidden on the Sabbath and festivals (Orach Hayyim 338:10; see B. Erub. 104a and B. Sot. 48a). (The Encyclopaedia of Judaism, Neusner, Music, 2000 AD)

2.      Liberal synagogues have begun to use instrumental music:

a.       “Today, Reform and some Conservative synagogues do permit the playing of instrumental music on the Sabbath and festivals.” (The Jewish Publication Society guide to Jewish traditions, R. L. Eisenberg, Music, 2004 AD)

b.      The author personally participated in a four week “learn about Judaism” program sponsored inside a local synagogue only to learn on the last night that the WOMAN who led the program was openly gay and fully accepted into that synagogue as a member is the highest standing.

c.       The same kind of liberalization has taken place in the church.


 N. History of instrumental music in the church:

1.       The Orthodox church never used instrumental music from AD 33 to present:

a.       The Orthodox church split from Catholic in 1054 AD over instrumental music and continues the first century acapella tradition to the present time.

b.      Orthodox synagogues today continue the ancient first century tradition of banning instrumental music and singing acapella.

2.       Reformation leaders opposed instrumental music:

a.       Martin Luther: "The organ in the worship Is the ensign of Baal" (Martin Luther is quoted by Mcclintock & Strong's Encyclopedia Volume VI, page 762, the original source is a book called “Erinnerungs Schrifft etlicher vom Adel vnd Stedten” [Translation: “Remembrance letter from some nobility”], written in 1597 AD by a collection of authors INCLUDING Martin Luther himself! The book was written as a diary of quotes and thoughts of men of “nobility”, including: Martin Luther, George III <Fürst von Anhalt>, Bonaventura Schmidt,  Jakob Zanach,  Fürst Johann George I Anhalt. See pages 74-76 for quotes. "Ober wie kan es Christlich" [Translation: “How can it be Christian?”] refers to "den Abgott Baal / unnd andern Abgöttern" [Translation: “the idol Baal / and other idols.”] and "siebenden deutschen Thomo Lutheri” [Translation: “seventh German Thomo Lutheri”] Finally, a list attributed to Luther of superfluous things to be removed from churches: "des Römischen Abgott Baals feldzeichen" [Translation: “of the Roman idol Baal field sign”] Luther’s list, dating back to 1597 AD is authentic, and the quote of Luther is valid! While it is true that Luther died in 1546 AD, there is no reason to doubt that this book, published in 1597 AD, a mere 51 years after he died, accurately record Luther’s own written words.)

b.      John Calvin: "Musical instruments in celebrating the praises of God would be no more suitable than the burning of incense, the lighting of lamps, and the restoration of the other shadows of the law. The Papists therefore, have foolishly borrowed, this, as well as many other things, from the Jews. Men who are fond of outward pomp may delight in that noise; but the simplicity which God recommends to us by the apostles is far more pleasing to him. Paul allows us to bless God in the public assembly of the saints, only in a known tongue (I Cor. 14:16) What shall we then say of chanting, which fills the ears with nothing but an empty sound?" (John Calvin, Commentary on Psalms 33)

c.       Adam Clarke, Methodist:

                                                               i.      Adam Clarke: "But were it even evident, which it is not, either from this or any other place in the sacred writings, that instruments of music were prescribed by divine authority under the law, could this be adduced with any semblance of reason, that they ought to be used in Christian worship? No; the whole spirit, soul, and genius of the Christian religion are against this; and those who know the Church of God best, and what constitutes its genuine spiritual state, know that these things have been introduced as a substitute for the life and power of religion; and that where they prevail most, there is least of the power of Christianity. Away with such portentous baubles from the worship of that infinite Spirit who requires His followers to worship Him in spirit and truth, for to no such worship are these instruments friendly." (Adam Clarke (Methodist), Clarke's Commentary, Methodist, Vol. II, pp. 690-691.)

                                                             ii.      Adam Clarke: "I am an old man, and I here declare that I never knew them to be productive of any good in the worship of God, and have reason to believe that they are productive of much evil. Music as a science I esteem and admire, but instrumental music in the house of God I abominate and abhor. This is the abuse of music, and I here register my protest against all such corruption of the worship of the author of Christianity. The late and venerable and most eminent divine, the Rev. John Wesley, who was a lover of music, and an elegant poet, when asked his opinion of instruments of music being introduced into the chapels of the Methodists, said in his terse and powerful manner, 'I have no objections to instruments of music in our chapels, provided they are neither heard nor seen.' I say the same." (Adam Clark, Methodist, Clarke's Commentary, Vol. 4, page 684.)

d.      Charles H. Spurgeon, Baptist: “David appears to have had a peculiarly tender remembrance of the singing of the pilgrims, and assuredly it is the most delightful part of worship and that which comes nearest to the adoration of heaven. What a degradation to supplant the intelligent song of the whole congregation by the theatrical prettinesses of a quartette, the refined niceties of a choir, or the blowing off of wind from inanimate bellows and pipes! We might as well pray by machinery as praise by it.” (Baptist: Charles H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, Psalm 42:4)

e.      Presbyterian:

                                                               i.      John Knox, founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, died 1572 AD: “The organs of this period were not favored by the Scottish Divines. John Knox spoke of the instrument as a “Kist of Whistles”, and had one removed from Kirk.” (Proceedings of the Evening Meetings of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society, p16, 1870 AD)

                                                             ii.      Presbyterian: "Question 6. Is there any authority for instrumental music in the worship of God under the present dispensation? Answer. Not the least, only the singing of psalms and hymns and spiritual songs was appointed by the apostles; not a syllable is said in the New Testament in favor of instrumental music nor was it ever introduced into the Church until after the eighth century, after the Catholics had corrupted the simplicity of the gospel by their carnal inventions. It was not allowed in the Synagogues, the parish churches of the Jews, but was confined to the Temple service and was abolished with the rites of that dispensation." (Questions on the Confession of Faith and Form of Government of The Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, published by the Presbyterian Board of Publications, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1842, pg. 55.)

f.        John Wesley: “I have no objection to instruments of music in our worship, provided they are neither seen nor heard." (John Wesley, founder of Methodism, quoted in Adam Clarke's Commentary, Vol. 4, p. 685)

g.       Church historians:

                                                               i.      McClintock & Strong: The early Reformers, when they came out of Rome, removed them as the monuments of idolatry [ie. instrumental music.] Luther called the organ an ensign of Baal; Calvin said that instrumental music was not fitter to be adopted into the Christian Church than the incense and the candlestick; Knox called the organ a kist [chest] of whistles. The Church of England revived them, against a very strong protest, and the English dissenters would not touch them.” (McClintock & Strong's Encyclopedia, Music, Instrumental)

                                                             ii.      Philip Schaff: "The use of organs in churches is ascribed to Pope Vitalian (657-672). Constantine Copronymos sent an organ with other presents to King Pepin of France in 767. Charlemagne received one as a present from the Caliph Haroun al Rashid, and had it put up in the cathedral of Aixia-Chapelle... The attitude of the churches toward the organ varies. It shared, to some extent, the fate of images, except that it never was an object of worship... The Greek church disapproved the use of organs. The Latin church introduced it pretty generally, but not without the protest of eminent men, so that even in the Council of Trent a motion was made, though not carried, to prohibit the organ at least in the mass." (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 4, pg. 439.)

                                                           iii.      Philip Schaff: "The first organ certainly known to exist and be used in a church was put in the cathedral at Aix-la-chapel by the German emperor, Charlemange, who came to the throne in 768AD. It met with great opposition among the Romanists, especially among the monks, and that it made its was but slowly into common use. So great was the opposition even as late as the 16th century that it would have been abolished by the council of Trent but for the influence of the Emperor Ferdinand…. In the Greek church the organ never came into use... The Reform church discarded it; and though the church of Basel very early introduced it, it was in other places admitted only sparingly and after long hesitation." (Shaff-Herzog Encyclopedia, Vol 2, p. 1702)




1.      Both first century pre-AD 70 synagogues and churches never used instrumental music but sang acapella in a responsive style.

2.      There are no examples of instrumental music in the New Testament for church worship and therefore no authority to use them.

3.      The first instrumental music in the church was in Rome in 670 AD which led to the great schism of 1054 that split the one world church into two: The Roman Catholic and orthodox who still ban instruments to this day and sing responsive acapella just like the first century church.

4.      While this is not a complete treatment of why instrumental music should never be using in any church worship service, it is overwhelmingly sufficient to convince the honest seeker. For those who say, “I agree that the first century synagogues and churches never used instruments, but I don’t think that matters today” reveal a larger problem in their faith that leads ultimately to universalism.

5.      Apart from the Orthodox the Church of Christ is the only group today that believes it is important to:

a.       Worship like the church you can read in the Bible about.

b.      Do Bible things in Bible ways.

c.       Where the Bible speaks, we speak, where the Bible is silent, we are silent.

d.      Follow the New testament pattern of worship.



By Steve Rudd 2017: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections


Quick links


Ancient Synagogues

Go to: Main Start Page


By Steve Rudd 2017: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections 


Quick links:

Master introduction: Summary overview is the place to start to tie it all together.

Providence: God’s eternal plan: The providential transition from Temple to Synagogue to Church

Origin: Synagogues originated at Alexandria Egypt in 280 BC spawned by the Septuagint

Jesus the Messiah of the Tanakh:

1.       First Century Jewish Messianic Expectation: As witnessed in the Dead Sea scrolls.

2.       Looking for the wrong thing: Mistaken Jewish ideas of the Messiah in 30 AD.

3.       Jesus fulfilled Prophecy: Master list of fulfilled messianic prophecies

4.       Jesus fulfilled Prophecy: "He shall be called a Nazarene (branch)" Matthew 2:23

5.       Jesus fulfilled Prophecy: “Jesus would rise the third day” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

Synagogue Architectural Prototypes in the Church:

1.         Standard architectural synagogue typology: Introduction, Master Chart

2.         Mikveh for Ritual Purity: The Christian Maker

3.         Ritual purity stone Vessels: Stoneware cups and wash basins

4.         Freestanding Columns: Antitype of Christians

5.         Artwork: Heart-Shaped Columns

6.         The bema: Prototype of the Church Pulpit

7.         Synagogue Benches: Metaphor of Equality in Christ

8.         Women Seating in Synagogues: Not segregated from men

9.         The Moses’ Seat: Metaphor of Pride

10.    Niches & Ark of The Scrolls: Prototype of Church Apse

11.    Table of the Scrolls: Prototype of Communion Table

12.    Byzantine Church Architecture: Octagonal and Basilica

13.    Orientation: Early Synagogues did not Point to Jerusalem

14.    The Church replaced the Temple: Replacement theology is pure Christianity

Synagogue Worship Prototypes in the Church:

15.    Worship prototypes: Introduction and Master Summary Chart

16.    Collective Names of Synagogues: House of Prayer, Temple, Church

17.    Organization of Synagogues: Elders, officials, attendants, Independent, autonomous

18.    Attendance: Weekly Sabbath Assemblies in Synagogues absent from Tanakh

19.    Public Bible readings: Preaching and Teaching In Synagogues

20.    Greek Septuagint: The Standard Tanakh of every ancient synagogue

21.    Greek Septuagint scroll of the Twelve Minor Prophets written in 50 BC

22.    Prayer in Synagogues: “House of prayer” Proseuche

23.    Food: Sacred Passover Meals, No Common Meals In Synagogues

24.    Sermon Topics in Synagogues: How Christians used the Tanakh to convert Jews

25.    Singing in Synagogues: Non-Instrumental Acapella Responsive Singing

26.    Benevolence Money: Freewill Weekly First fruits Collections for poor in Synagogues

27.    Education: Schools and Literacy of Jews In Synagogues

28.    Role of Women in Synagogues: Never leaders, preachers but never segregated

29.    Sanctuary Status: Refugees seeking Asylum in Synagogues

30.    Appendages: Hostels, Housing and Food Banks in Synagogues

31.    Civil Court: Judgements, beatings and scourging in Synagogues

32.    Civic Meetings: Political Town Hall assemblies in Synagogues

33.    Christians replaced Jews: Replacement theology is pure Christianity

Synagogue Occupation Date (SOD)= Excavation date + Inscriptional date + Literary date 

Allusions: Synagogue worship allusions and imagery in the New Testament

Master builder Stonemason Jesus: “Upon this Rock I will build My church

Everyday life: Archeology of Everyday Life and Homes at the time of Jesus

Master List: Master list of First Temple Period, Pre-70 AD Synagogues

Attend a church you can read about in the Bible: Click here to find a church near you.

By Steve Rudd 2017: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections




Go to:
Master Synagogue List

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Jewish Messianic Expectations in DSS

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Map of Synagogue Sites








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Synagogue Excavations

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Synagogue Inscriptions

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Synagogue Literary Sources




Jesus Master Builder of the Church/Temple

Archeology of First Century Houses


By Steve Rudd 2017: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections






Jesus your messiah is waiting for you to come home!

Why not worship with a first century New Testament church near you, that has the same look and feel as the Jewish Synagogue in your own home town. As a Jew, you will find the transition as easy today as it was for the tens of thousands of your forefathers living in Jerusalem 2000 years ago when they believed in Jesus the Nazarene (the branch) as their messiah. It’s time to come home!

Click here to find a church near you.


 By Steve Rudd: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.

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Go to: Main Ancient Synagogue Start Page