PROPHETIC MINISTRY THROUGH MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS AND SINGERS
by Rodney W Francis
Holy Spirit ministry functions through many and varied means. One of the not so common today is that of musicians prophesying on their instruments: that is, the ability to play prophetically on their instruments in such a way as to release the anointing to the people. Some musicians do know the joy of doing this. As they play, others are inspired to prophesy and release the revelation of God out of their lives!
“The prophetic musician sees further than the task of music, because it is a ministry requiring knowledge beyond the physical task of playing notes in the right order. It is a music of divine appointment to comfort, encourage, strengthen, confront and stir people to higher goals, or take us to another level of worship” (Excerpt from “The Musician” by Kerry Wright).
This is the realm where musicians can play prophetically, whereby the anointed tune — even a new tune — can actually enable the Holy Spirit to interpret the feeling and/or message of the tune to our hearts. As we listen intently while the musician plays (can be singular or plural), we “pick-up” the heart beat of God, and the theme of that heart beat is interpreted to us in the realm of our understanding. When that happens we can experience deep peace, joy, inspiration, even tears, as the Holy Spirit speaks. Yet no words have been spoken; only the playing of an anointed tune on an instrument.
Music Is Important
“Music is very powerful because it is an expression, and particularly so because it relates to the emotions which are the most powerful feelings of all . . . Find a skilled, Spirit-led musician who can play prophetically over an individual, and we have a most powerful weapon of warfare that every musician should be aspiring to . . . A musician’s qualifications lie not in their skill, but in the spiritual discernment, sensitivity and obedience to their calling . . . The role of the musician is that of a ministering role; it is not merely to sing a few nice choruses” (Kerry Wright).
“There is a spiritual communication that greatly transcends any form of communication. It is profound and more meaningful than human words are able to articulate. Somehow it is a pure communication of the heart and mind together, and it is so pure that there is no possibility of misunderstanding. When I looked at the Lord I began to understand Him in the same way. We continued to use words, but the meaning of each one had a depth no dictionary could have ever captured” (Excerpt from “The Final Quest Vision” by Rick Joyner).
I see prophetic ministry, prophetic music and prophetic singing as being like that. It reaches far beyond the realm of our natural ability or understanding and lifts us into the very presence of God through the enabling of the Holy Spirit anointing being released out of us.
Music – the right kind of music – can play a very important role in the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Bible reveals that people were moved to prophesy with, and under, the blessing of musical instruments:
- The company of prophets had musical instruments with them when they prophesied (1 Samuel 10:5-6).
- A harp was played by David to drive the evil spirit away from King Saul (1 Samuel 16:14-23; 1 Samuel 18:10; 1 Samuel 19:9).
- The anointing came on Elisha when the stringed instrument was played . . . and he prophesied: “ . . . But now bring me a harpist.” While the harpist was playing, the hand of the Lord came upon Elisha and he said, ‘This is what the Lord says . . .” (2 Kings 3:14- 20, NIV).
David's Great Choir
David was a great music man. He could play skilfully himself (1 Samuel 16:16) and actually made a number of musical instruments for use in the house of worship. Music and singing were a major part of the worship services in his day. 1 Chronicles 23:5 tells us:
“And, said David . . . 4,000 are to praise the Lord with the instruments which I made for praise” (AMP.).
Let us now look at 1 Chronicles 25:1-8 (NIV):
“David, together with the commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals. Here is the list of the men who performed this service: From the sons of Asaph: Zaccur, Joseph, Nethaniah and Asarelah. The sons of Asaph were under the supervision of Asaph, who prophesied under the king’s supervision. As for Jeduthun, from his sons: Gedaliah, Zeri, Jeshaiah, Shimei, Hashabiah and Mattithiah, six in all, under the supervision of their father Jeduthun, who prophesied, using the harp in thanking and praising the Lord . . . All these were sons of Heman the king’s seer. They were given him through the promises of God to exalt him . . . All these men were under the supervision of their fathers for the music of the temple of the Lord, with cymbals, lyres and harps, for the ministry at the house of the Lord. Asaph, Jeduthun and Heman were under the supervision of the king. Along with their relatives — all of them trained and skilled in music for the Lord — they numbered 288. Young and old alike, teacher as well as student, cast lots for their duties.”
The musicians –288 of them! – prophesied with musical instruments. (A psaltery is an ancient stringed instrument similar to the lyre, but having a trapezoidal – “no parallel sides” – sounding board over which the strings are stretched. A lyre is an ancient Greek stringed instrument consisting of a resonating tortoise shell to which a crossbar was attached by two projecting arms. It was plucked with a plectrum – “small piece of wood” – and used for accompanying songs – Collins English Dictionary). The NIV uses the word “lyre,” while the KJV uses the word “psaltery”.
What Does It Mean To Prophesy?
The word “prophesy” in this chapter is translated from the Hebrew word “naba 2” meaning:
- “flowing (1), abundantly utter (1), belch out (1), pour out (3), send forth (1), utter (4)” (Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Holy Bible);
- “to prophesy, i.e. speak (or sing) by inspiration (in prediction or simple discourse):- prophesying, make self a prophet” (Strong’s);
- “to announce, to show, to deliver an oracle from God, to speak as God’s ambassador; to foretell future events; to sing songs or hymns: each implying divine inspiration” (Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies).
Prophesying is all about ministering by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is more than natural talent and ability. It is the co-operating with the purposes of God to express – by word and deed – that which He desires. As we recognize His leadings in our lives, we can yield to, and co-operate with, the anointing of the Holy Spirit to release His supernatural purposes in a gathering. It is functioning under divine inspiration and revelation of the Holy Spirit to do that which He wants done. When that is happening, the presence of Jesus becomes a blessed reality. The Church is edified and needs are met as we flow with the Spirit of truth!
What Do We See In 1 Chronicles 25:1-8?
- David saw music as an integral part of inspiring his army. He worked with his army commanders to set apart musicians and singers! (v.1).
- Some were “separated to the [temple] service” (AMP.) for the ministry of prophesying with musical instruments (v.1). They were set apart to wait on their ministry, so they could function effectively under, or in the anointing. The result: they inspired a whole army to rise and face the enemy very positively.
- They prophesied under the king’s supervision (v.2). They did it for David’s desire – and it worked powerfully! How much more should we prophesy under King Jesus’ supervision?
- Their prophetic music was used in thanking and praising the Lord (v.3). It was exaltation of the Lord Himself!
- Those specifically chosen of the sons of Heman had a good hereditary background and upbringing. Heman was the king’s “seer” (v.5). “Seer” was the name by which prophets were known before (1 Samuel 9:9). The word is translated from the Hebrew “chozeh” meaning “a beholder in vision, prophet” (The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible). Heman would have instilled into his children the importance of knowing how to yield to the anointing.
- The musicians and singers were under the supervision of their fathers (v.6), who were under the supervision of King David. This speaks of a teachable spirit, submission, obedience and accountability.
- They were trained and skilled in music for the Lord – 288 of them! (v.7). They prophesied with musical instruments.
- Teacher and student worked together (v.8). This teaches us the importance of training, mentoring and releasing others to bring about a continuity of creativity, skilfulness and quality of developing that prophetic cutting edge so necessary today.
- Lots were cast for their duties (v.8). They never knew who they would specifically be playing their instruments with until the lot was cast. That meant they had to always be prepared for whatever and whoever. They were ready for when their name was called.
David's Example Was Continued
When we turn to 2 Chronicles 5:12-14 we see those families of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun in full flight (this is about 10 years after 1 Chronicles 25). Can you picture that great host of dedicated, anointed musicians and singers – all decked in their beautiful robes – standing near the altar with 120 priests blowing trumpets in unison in a sound of praise and thanksgiving to God? Something was released in the spirit realm! The presence of God came among them in the form of a glory cloud. As it hit them they went down on the ground. They had touched heaven and heaven had touched them. What an awesome time it was, prophetic musicians and singers releasing the presence of God amongst the people. Praise the Lord!
In 2 Chronicles 29:25-31, 36 (about 290 years after 1 Chronicles 25) we see the legacy of David had continued. Hezekiah was then king:
“He (Hezekiah) stationed the Levites in the temple of the Lord with cymbals, harps and lyres in the way prescribed by David and Gad the king’s seer (“chozeh”) and Nathan the prophet (“nabi,” meaning “a prophet or inspired man” – Strong’s); this was commanded by the Lord through His prophets (“nabi”). So the Levites stood ready with David’s instruments, and the priests with their trumpets. Hezekiah gave the order to sacrifice the burnt offering on the altar. As the offering began, singing to the Lord began also, accompanied by trumpets and the instruments of David king of Israel. The whole assembly bowed in worship, while the singers sang and the trumpeters played. All this continued until the sacrifice of the burnt offering was completed . . . So the service of the temple of the Lord was re-established. Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced at what God had brought about for His people, because it was done so quickly” (NIV).
The prophetic men, David, Gad and Nathan, had inspired the people to carry on the great act of worship to God through the musicians and singers. The KJV says: “the song of the Lord began also with the trumpets, and with the instruments”(2 Chronicles 29:27). That style of anointed, prophetic worship had been retained and was an important part of their services. When we release the prophetic anointing through the musicians and singers it creates an environment whereby God can re-establish the service of His house “so quickly” (v.36). The KJV says it was “done suddenly.”
A further 190 years on, in Ezra 3:10-13 (NIV), we read of the ministry of the musicians and singers as prescribed by King David being a major part of the celebration and worship at the laying of the foundation of the temple of God. They were there in their robes and in their place to praise the Lord! Their ministry created a very emotional atmosphere that had people expressing joy through shouting on the one extreme to weeping on the other.
In Nehemiah 12:27-47 we have the dedication of the Wall of Jerusalem. (This happened about the same year as Ezra 3.) Again the importance of music and singing is portrayed. They were sought out and brought together to Jerusalem and formed into two large choirs. A procession was led by Ezra, with the choirs going in opposite directions along the top of the wall, but meeting together and taking their place in the house of God (v.40). Then the choirs sang.
“They performed the service of their God and the service of purification, as did also the singers and gatekeepers, according to the commands of David and his son Solomon. For long ago, in the days of David and Asaph, there had been directors for the singers and for the songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. So in the days of Zerubbabel and of Nehemiah, all Israel contributed the daily portions for the singers and gatekeepers . . .” (NIV).
The musicians and singers occupied such an important function in David’s day (and beyond) that they were in full-time ministry, improving their skills and being in a state of readiness. The Psalmist declared:
“Your procession has come into view, O God, the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary. In front are the singers, after them the musicians; with them are the maidens playing tambourines. Praise God in the great congregation; praise the Lord in the assembly of Israel . . . Summon Your power, O God; show us Your strength, O God, as You have done before. Because of Your temple at Jerusalem kings will bring You gifts . . . Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth, sing praise to the Lord . . . Proclaim the power of God, whose majesty is over Israel, whose power is in the skies. You are awesome, O God, in Your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to His people. Praise be to God!” (Psalm 68:24-35, NIV).
Let’s face it: the unsaved know how to use music for their ends.
Look at Daniel 3:4-7,10-18 to see how Nebuchadnezzar used it to make people bow down to idolatrous gods!
“We are coming into a time when it will be extremely hazardous to play around with worship. A church would be better off with just one called and equipped musician, than a band full of people with good intentions but no calling” (Don Potter, “MorningStar” Journal).
My heart is to see our musicians and singers – both official and unofficial – released to fulfil their destiny in God. My prayer is that we Christian Leaders will set the platform for them to launch more and more into the prophetic realm, prophesying with their voices and with their instruments. They, in turn, will release the congregations of God’s people to soar more into the things of the Holy Spirit. When that happens we will experience that glory cloud of God in our midst in an awesome way!
(Received July, 1998).
“At times I go to the local prison to either preach or conduct the music. Recently, I was asked to fill-in for a couple who usually play the music, and as I began to lead the worship, the power and glory of God hit. We were being lifted in worship to a new level, the Holy Spirit taking us into the supernatural presence of God. You could tangibly feel the glory of God come down! I began to prophesy with the guitar! It was awesome! It seemed as though we were joined by a host from heaven! Something broke over that place in the heavenlies! The powers of darkness were shackled! Two prisoners gave their hearts to Jesus; the two prison workers present were mightily impacted! Later, a couple who live close to the prison, reported that they could hear the high, thunderous praises of God from within the prison. The following week, the couple who usually conduct the music, said they’d never experienced such quietness, peace and tranquility in that prison before. God changed the climate in there, and the Word of the Lord is having ‘free course’. Glory!” (the late Pastor Mac. Rauhihi).
Let the song of the Lord come forth!
Let the prophetic word of the Lord be released through the musical instruments and the singers!
Let the Gifts of the Holy Spirit break forth out of our lives because of these things!
Let’s pray, believe and encourage one another to that end.
God bless and inspire you PROPHETICALLY!
Rodney W. Francis founded "The Gospel Faith Messenger" Ministry in April 1964, which is mainly a literature ministry providing salvation, healing and follow-up materials to help people find Christ and get established in the Christian faith. It also provides 6-7 days "Prophetic Equipping Schools" (PES), formerly called "International Training Schools", and a "School Of The Holy Spirit". Rodney and his wife Jean have pastored in the Elim Churches of NZ for many years, and in 1999 they went full time with GFM Ministry and have ministered to thousands of people world-wide who are eager to know more of the power of the Prophetic Ministry and the operation of Spiritual Gifts. They currently live in Paraparaumu on the Kapiti Coast in New Zealand.
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