Question #2: Psalm singing was part of the Old Testament temple worship. If the temple has been abrogated, how do we know that the Psalms have not been abrogated as well?

Question #2: Psalm singing was part of the Old Testament temple worship. If the temple has been abrogated, how do we know that the Psalms have not been abrogated as well?


4 thoughts on “Question #2: Psalm singing was part of the Old Testament temple worship. If the temple has been abrogated, how do we know that the Psalms have not been abrogated as well?”

  1. Even though the Psalms have a strong connection to the temple, we cannot look at the Psalms in the same way we look at the temple itself. The two have in common the fact that both were commanded in the Old Testament. The singing of Psalms, however, is affirmed in the New Testament (Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16), while the use of the temple is not (Heb. 7). The New Testament shines the light of Christ upon both the Psalms and the temple. We see that both were intended to proclaim the coming Messiah and His perfect work on our behalf. Scripture affirms the continued usage of the Psalms but it confirms the destruction of the temple. The Psalms continue to be the authorized praise of God, but the temple is now no more than a by-gone symbol to point us onward toward Christ. Again, there is no New Testament abrogation of the singing of the Psalms. We could also notice that the Psalms stand apart from the temple in the same way we would describe the Pentateuch. Both were used in the temple services, but God’s Word did not pass away just because the temple passed away. In fact, now the Pentateuch (the law) and the Psalms have greater meaning to the church because we understand the law and we sing the Psalms in the light of the New Testament and the ministry of Christ.

  2. “There is profound import in the fact that our Lord on the night He was betrayed sang with His Apostles the Hallel of the Passover (Pss. cxiii.-cxviii.). There is absolute truth in Binnie’s statement: “This may be said to mark the point at which the Psalter passed over from the old dispensation into the new; for it accompanied the celebration of the new ordinance of the Lord’s Supper as well as the celebration of the expiring Passover.” It is thought the first half of the Hallel (Pss. cxiii.-cxv.) was sung at the beginning of the Paschal Supper, and the latter half at the close, when Jesus and His disciples went forth to the Mount of Olives (Matt. xxvi. 30). If this be so, how profoundly significant the Songs are! Psalms cxvi.-cxviii. 19 praise Jehovah for deliverance and redemption; they tell of the joy they have who know His saving goodness. But Psalm cxviii. 20-29 is Messianic; it predicts the Messiah’s advent, rejection, exaltation; it celebrates His Day, the day of His resurrection, and it bids believers be “glad in it.” It is the first day of the week that is meant, “the queen of days.” Now, here is the fitting of the song with the historical situation, the matching of the hymn with Messiah’s trial and triumph. Is it only a remarkable case of coincidence? It is far more; it is the matching together of prediction and fulfilment. “This is Jehovah’s doing: it is marvelous in our eyes.” The Messianic application of these Psalms and the example of Jesus in singing them would very strongly incline Christians of that time to use them in their service of praise.” From The Psalms in New Testament Worship by WG Moorehead, p107, ch11 in The Psalms in Worship, ed. By John McNaugher

  3. From Brian Coombs, pastor of Messiah’s Church (RPCNA)

    “…since Jesus is the fulfillment of the priest and sacrifice, the Old priestly worship of the temple, with its instruments, is now discontinued (Heb. 7:12; 8:13; John 4:21ff.). Think about training wheels. Children use these to help them learn to ride a bike. But once they learn, they take them off. What would we think of a 21-year old man who rides with training wheels? Instruments were temporary in regard to the worship of God. They were designed to train Old Testament saints in the coming Messiah. They drew attention to the great significance of the sacrifice they accompanied, much like the darkness, earthquake, split rocks, and torn temple veil did at Christ’s own sacrifice (Matt. 27:45,51).

    The apostles, then, call us to maturity in our understanding, not childishness (Heb. 5:12; 6:1; 1 Cor. 13:11; 14:20; Eph. 4:14). Since we are now under the New Covenant, they command us (still) to sing Psalms (1 Cor. 14:26; Eph. 5:18-20; Col. 3:16; Jam. 5:13; Heb. 13:15), but with different instrumentation. The instrument that now accompanies a believer’s praise is his heart alone. He needs no external helps. He has an internal Help, the Spirit (John 14:17). Now, from the vantage point of the New Covenant fulfilled in Jesus Christ, we make melody with our heart (Eph. 5:19) and lips (Heb. 13:15), not a mere harp or lyre.

    The Old Testament believers looked forward to these ‘new songs’ (Psa. 33:3; 96:1; 98:1). This was the call and course of Old Testament praise (Psa. 50:13-14 with Heb. 13:12-13,15). These “new songs,” then, are not “new” in the sense of different words and “better” instrumentation, as many wrongly understand them today. They are the old songs now “new” because we now have a full understanding of God’s purpose in Christ from this side of the cross because of the renewing work of the Holy Spirit in the heart (Ezek. 36:26-27; Heb. 10:22; Tit. 3:5). One will search the New Testament in vain for a reference to musical instruments being used in the Church’s praise of God. There is only reference to the instruments of the heart and singing voice (Acts 16:25; Rom. 15:9; 1 Cor. 14:15; Eph. 5:18ff.; Col. 3:16; Heb. 13:15; Jam. 5:13).

    So, we have seen that God commanded that musical instruments accompany the priestly, temple sacrifices. They herein drew attention to the great significance of the sacrifice offered by a priest. By the Spirit’s work, one truly sees Christ, and His work, as the heart of the Psalms and the instruments, and thereby has a ready, tuned, and resonant instrument with which to accompany his praise to God – a new heart. This new heart accompanies the singing of an old, but new, song. This was announced (and anticipated) under the Old Testament.”

    Full article found here at the Messiah’s Church website

  4. Of course the church is described as the Temple of the Holy Spirit (1Cor.3:16) and so too is the individual Christian (1Cor.6:19). We are priests (1Pt 2:9). We offer sacrifices (Heb.13:15). The necessary conclusion is that even though the Old Covenant Temple is destroyed, it was destroyed so that the New Covenant Temple could be erected, (prophesied as the rebuilding of the Old in Acts 15:15-17). Just as the church (and its individual believers) is the New Covenant Temple of God, so it is fitting as once in the Old Covenant temple, that the Psalms alone should continue to be sung.

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