Music in the Worship of the Old Testament

Music was an important element of both temple and synagogue worship. Undoubtedly this music and its forms influenced the form and use of music in the early Christian church. Both Jews and Christians revere a transcendent God and both give honor to Scripture. For these reasons and others, Jewish synagogue worship and modern Christian services are similar in content and spirit.

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The Byzantine Liturgy (Ninth Century)

The Byzantine Liturgy is the product of a complex evolution that began before the time of Christ. Like its Western counterpart, the eucharistic service of the Eastern Orthodox churches consists of two parts. The first, the Liturgy of the Word, developed from the services of the Jewish synagogue. The second, the Liturgy of the Faithful, evolved from the prayer of blessing or bƒrakah of the Passover and other Jewish religious meals.

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The Influence of the Synagogue on Early Christian Worship

The New Testament records that Jesus and his disciples, as well as early Christian preachers such as Paul and Barnabas, attended the synagogue assemblies. The true influence of the synagogue on early Christian worship, however, is difficult to assess. Contacts between Christians and Jews continued up to the fourth century; thus, in the post–New Testament period Jewish influence can be seen in the development of Christian prayer and the Christian calendar.

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Acts of Receiving in the Lord’s Supper

Several traditional acts of worship accompany the receiving of the Lord’s Supper. Some form of “fraction,” or breaking of the bread, is found in most observances of the rite. In addition, the distribution of the Eucharist may incorporate the Agnus Dei (“Lamb of God”), the acclamation “Christ Our Passover,” and a concluding prayer of thanksgiving.

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Terms Referring to the Practice of Christian Worship in the New Testament

The New Testament also contains a vocabulary of terms that reflect the worship of the new covenant community, a worship that was anticipated before the formation of the Christian church by the awed and worshipful response of many to the person of Jesus himself and by Jesus’ own worship of the Father.

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

The king referred in this passage was Artaxerxes who granted Ezra’s request to return to Israel and rebuild the temple. This is an example of how the Lord can use anyone to aid a praying believer, even those who otherwise have no interest in the one true God but whose wealth or influence can be used for a holy cause.

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A Prayer of Thanksgiving

When the records of eternity are read out to an assembled world, then will it appear how much prayer has wrought in this world. Little is now seen of the fruits of prayer compared to all that it has accomplished and is accomplishing. At the judgment day, then will God disclose the things which were brought to pass in this world through the prayers of the saints. Many occurrences which are now taken as a matter of course will then be seen to have happened because of the Lord’s praying ones. (Adapted from E.M. Bound, The Necessity of Prayer)

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