Music was an important part of Temple worship in both Solomon’s Temple and the 2nd Temple that stood in Jerusalem until its destruction in 70 CE by the Roman legions of Titus, Dan. 9:25-26.
The Temple Psalmists: How the Ancient Jews Glorified their Creator
We are told in the writings of the Jewish people, e.g. Maimonides, the Talmud, etc. and the Bible, Num. 10:2; II Chron. 5:12, that musicians were chosen from among the Levites to minister both with instruments and with their voices. We are told from tradition that the singers harmonized and that often other performers from the families of the Aaronic Priests and those who had married into those families could join in the musical worship, (Erdersheim 1994).
Of great significance to those who embrace a literal interpretation of the Genesis account is the following excerpt from the pen of the distinguished scholar and author of the Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Alfred Erdersheim.
The following was the order of the Psalms in the daily service of the Temple, (Maimonides: Tamid). On the first day of the week they sang Psalm 24, ‘The earth is the Lord’s etc., in commemoration of the first day of creation,’ when ‘God possessed the world, and ruled in it.’ On the second day, they sang Psalm 48, ‘Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,’ because on the second day of creation, ‘the Lord divided His works, and reigned over them.’ On the third day they sang Psalm 82, ‘God stands in the congregation of the mighty,’ etc., ‘because on that day the earth appeared, on which are the Judge and the judged.’ On the fourth day Psalm 94 was sung, “O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongs,’ etc., ‘because on the fourth day God made the sun, moon and the stars, and will be avenged on those that worship them.’ On the fifth day they sang Psalm 81, ‘Sing aloud unto God our strength,’ etc., ‘because of the variety of creatures made that day to praise His name. On the sixth day Psalm 93 was sung, ‘The Lord reigns,’ etc., ‘because on that day God finished His works and made man, and the Lord ruled over all His works.’ Lastly, on the Sabbath day they sang Psalm 92, ‘It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord,’ etc., ‘because the Sabbath was symbolical of the millennial kingdom at the end of the six thousand years’ dispensation, when the Lord would reign over all, and His glory and service would fill the earth with thanksgiving’ (Erdersheim 1994).
Here we are given insight into the initial understanding of God’s people Israel concerning their view of the Genesis account. Their literature and subsequent commentaries all hold to the view that each day enumerated in the creation week of Genesis refers to a literal 24-hour day.
The reference at the end of the above section is a reference to Jewish eschatology. Ancient Judaism was inexorably linked to God’s promises concerning the coming Messiah. They held these views in conjunction with a literal interpretation of the Scriptures unless the context clearly indicated otherwise. According to this ancient tradition, a tradition still held by many Orthodox Jews today, it has to do with the division of all history into three, 2,000 year segments of time. It is derived from a rabbinical sage from the School of Elijah and is recorded as follows:
“The world will exist for 6,000 years, for 2,000 there will be desolation, for 2,000 Torah, and for 2,000 the Days of the Messiah” (Sanh. 97a-b). After this, the 7,000th year will be a year of renewal (Sanh. 97b). This Great Sabbath Week of 7,000 years is patterned after the six days of creation (6 = 6,000 years) and the rest on the seventh day (the last day = the last 1,000 years). God is said to hide behind the ‘olam ha-zeh (this present world of the 6,000 years), for the three Hebrew root letters that make up the word “world” – ayin, lamed, mem – indicate a vanishing, though not of God, but of God from the world. In the last 1,000 years, the olam ha-ba (the world to come), He will not be in the background, but will appear and transform the natural order into one that is spiritual. It is in this context that the prophecy of Isaiah concerning the restored natural order (Isaiah 11:6-9, ‘The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard lie down with the goat,’ etc. and Isaiah 65:20-25, ‘Never again will there be an infant who lives but a few days or an old man who does not live out his years’) will be fulfilled, Couch 1996).
So God’s ancient covenant people Israel were clearly young earth creationists. Even their understanding of prophetical passages, sometimes written centuries before they were fulfilled, had a literal interpretation of the creation week in mind.
We live in a time when compromise has blackened the reputation of those who claim that Jesus of Nazareth is not only the Savior of Calvary but also the eternal Word, by whom all things were created, Col. 1:16. We live in a time when even so-called Christian scholars and Bible school professors have jumped on the band wagon of compromise promoting such unscriptural hypotheses such as the Gap theory (the Ruin/Reconstruction theory) and the Day-Age theory.
It is both refreshing and enlightening to find that the ancient Israelites held to a literal interpretation of the Genesis account and even sought to bring praise and glory to the Lord through the recitation of His holy Word on a daily basis, holding to the pattern established by God in the Genesis account of His everlasting Word. The grass withers, the flower fades, because the breath of the LORD blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever,” Isaiah 40:7-8.
By Steven Rowitt, Th.M., Ph.D. (c)
Chief Technical Advisor
Creation Studies Institute.