Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The New Song Sung Before the Throne

And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:
And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. (Revelation 14:2-3)

That metaphor of the new song is an intriguing one.  Just think, a song that no one could learn but a certain group of people—the redeemed.

What could the Lord be trying to teach John (and us) with that idea of a new song?

When I was primary chorister and I had to learn a new song to teach the kids, I had to listen to it over and over to learn it.  Because I have piano-playing skills, I would play it on the piano and sing along with it over and over to learn it.  I had to follow the notes and play it right.  It took a lot of practice to memorize it.

I think the idea of a song helps communicate that the redeemed had a message to share with everyone, and just like a song has both words and music, the message a redeemed person has to share has both content and profound spiritual power attached to it.   The spiritual power is compared to music, it’s something that can’t be expressed with just words.

Learning the new song absolutely requires obedience.  If a note is different, it is not the new song any more.  So we see that no one can learn the song except the redeemed who are determined to be obedient.  So the song could also be interpreted as the way of life of the redeemed.

Learning the song takes practice, just like living the life of a Saint takes practice.  You learn to put the notes in the right order and how long to stay on each one, just like living as a Saint requires you to live your life in order and to do the appropriate things at the right time for the appropriate length of time to get the spiritual benefit.

I like that these verses imply that all the redeemed are singing this new song together.  I get a sense of unity and joy, rather than monotony; a sense of community rather than loneliness.

I like that they sing the song before the throne and the four beasts and elders; it gives the impression that the redeemed are performing for God and for the pleasure of heaven’s inhabitants.  They know who their real audience is and they play to that audience, rather than to the world.

I’ll just leave you with Alma’s words that have a neat connection to this idea of a new song:

And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now? (Alma 5:26, emphasis added)