If there are Harps in Heaven, Why Cant We Have Them in Worship?
Dear Mr. Waddey: I read in the book of Revelation that we will have harps to play in heaven. If we will have them in heaven surely we are allowed to have them in our church worship today. Julie
Dear Julie: Do you really think that in heaven God is going to give you a harp to play when you worship him? Do you know how to play a harp? Do you know how to tune a harp? Who would coordinate the playing of millions of harps simultaneously?
The fact is that a careful reading of Rev. 5:8 will make it clear to you just what is meant by harps in heaven. “. . . having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, WHICH ARE the prayers of the saints and they sing a new song….”
* The golden bowls of incense represent the prayers offered by the saints
* The harps represent their singing of praises to God and his Son.
If you were serious in trying to use this passage to justify the use of instrumental music in worship then everyone who was worshiping would need to have his own harp….not one person playing the organ or a dozen in a praise band. You would also need to be offering incense with your prayers.
These two phrases are part of the gorgeous symbolism used by the Holy Spirit to show us how beautiful heaven will be to our human eyes. The symbols are not designed to direct our congregational worship. You are making the same mistake the Jehovah’s Witnesses do who read about the 144,000 before God (Rev. 7:4) and mistakenly conclude that only 144,000 will get to live in God’s presence in eternity.
When you sing God’s praises with your lips and from your heart (Eph. 5:19), you are worshiping as the earliest Christians did. That is a historical truth that no one can deny. Why would you want to try to worship God in some other way for which you have no assurance of His acceptance?
–John Waddey (Fortify Your Faith)