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The Harp of God

CHAPTER I

"I will incline mine ear to a parable; I will open my dark saying upon the harp." — Psalm 49:4,

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THE harp is a musical instrument invented many centuries ago. When properly strung and played upon it yields sweet music, making glad the heart. The first mention of the harp made in the Bible is in Genesis 4:21, and the inventor's name was Jubal. He was therefore called "the father of all such as handle the harp and organ".
2 It was 1812 years before the coming of Jesus in the flesh that God organized the twelve tribes of Israel, the descendants of Jacob, into a nation, which nation thereafter was known as the nation of Israel. It was the only nation with which God made a covenant, and he did not recognize any other nation in the same way. (Amos 3:2) The nation of Israel was used to make living pictures or types, foreshadowing better things to come; and those who study the Scriptural account of Israel's experiences are able to approximate closely future events which will be good for mankind. — 1 Corinthians 10:1-13; Hebrews 10:1.
3 With the nation of Israel the harp was an instrument consecrated to joy and exultation. David, who for forty years was king of Israel, was an expert player on the harp, and it will be noted that in the Psalms often the harp is used to symbolize or teach some great truth. The Jews used this instrument on occasions of joy, such as jubilees and festivals.
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4 Josephus, a writer of Jewish history, is authority for the statement that the harp usually had ten strings, but that at times it was smaller and had only eight strings. The number ten is used in the Scriptures to symbolize that which is complete or perfect as pertaining to man. "We would understand, then, that the harp with ten strings pictures the great fundamental truths concerning the divine plan. When two of these strings were absent, there being only eight, the indication is apparently given that there would be a time when two important features of the divine plan would not be seen by men. God promised that greater light should come upon his Word at the end of the age, or end of the world. Since we have reached that time, we confidently look for more light and thus we find it.
5 The book of Revelation is written largely in symbols. In Revelation 14:2,3 and 15:2,3 we find a brief description of a class of glorious beings who are playing upon their harps, and these are described as the 'harps of God'. The harp here is used as a sign or symbol of some great truth, or feature of the divine program; in fact, a great deal of the Bible is written in symbolic phrase. The Lord uses objects which we know to illustrate great unseen things which we do not know; and the harp is so used.

WHO IS GOD?

6 Before we can know God and understand his great plan it is first necessary for us to believe that he exists and that he rewards all who diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11: 6) But how can we believe? We must first have some knowledge. But how can we know that there is a great God? Let us look at some of the simpler things about us and reason upon the matter.
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7 Look at the flowers in your garden. Out from the same soil grow the many varieties of different hues and colors. Likewise from the same soil spring the divers kinds of trees, bringing forth different fruits at different seasons of the year. Some wisdom superior to man's must have arranged these things. Observe the broad fields, the lofty mountains, the mighty rivers, and then behold the ocean, exhibiting unlimited power, upon the waves of which majestically ride the great ships. Are we not compelled to conclude that there is a wise One, who created these things, greater than anything we see?
8 Now gaze into the silent heavens above you, and there number, if you can, the stars and planets which are noiselessly moving through space. Many of these are far greater than the earth, and yet each one hangs in its place and moves noiselessly about in its orbit. Surely they could not have come there by chance, but the reasonable mind must say that a Creator greater than the planets put them there. When King David looked at these wonders of creation he was so impressed with the greatness of their Creator that he wrote; "The heavens declare the glory of God: and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world."  — Psalm 19:1-4.
9 Consider man. What a wonderful piece of mechanism is his body! The framework is there; the muscles that hold each part in place; the nerves, like a great electrical system by which messages are conveyed from the brain to all parts of the body. He has power to reason and to plan and carry out these plans.
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Truly no machine can be compared to man for intricacy of construction and harmony of action. Who, then, is the Creator of this wonderful thing? We must conclude that there is a great First Cause who made and put into action all things visible in the universe, as well as things to us invisible. And who is he? Jehovah is his name; the great God of the universe. — Psa. 83:18; Gen. 17:1; Ex. 6: 3; 20:2-5.
10 The name Jehovah means self-existing one. He is without beginning and without end, and of him Moses wrote: "From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God." (Psalm 90:2; Isaiah 26:4) He is the great Almighty Jehovah God and there is none other besides him, and his honor and dignity none other possesses. (Isaiah 42:8) He is the great all-wise Creator of all things that are made. (Isaiah 40:28; Genesis 1:1) The four great and eternal attributes of Jehovah are justice, power, love, and wisdom. (Ezekiel 1: 5, 6) These attributes work together in exact harmony at all times; and in various times and ways he makes manifest these attributes. At certain times he has specially manifested such attributes.
11 His justice was made manifest by inflicting punishment for the violation of his law. Power was particularly manifested in the great flood that destroyed all things on the earth. His love was especially exhibited in the sacrifice of the dearest treasure of his heart, his beloved Son, that mankind might have an opportunity for life. His wisdom is particularly manifested in his great plan, which he gradually unfolds and permits man to see. His attributes have no limitations. He is so wise that he knew the end from the beginning and outlined all of his great plan to the very minutest detail. — Acts 15:18.
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HIS REVELATION

12 It is conceded by all that man is the very highest type of all living creatures on the earth. His intelligence is far superior to that of any other earthly being. Truly man is fearfully and wonderfully made. Is it not reasonable for him to expect that the Almighty God would reveal to man something of the divine greatness and plans and purposes? Yes, and such revelation is found in that wonderful book, the holy Bible.
13 Who wrote the Bible? What is known as the Old Testament was written by holy men of old who were moved upon by the invisible power of Jehovah to write it. (2 Peter 1:21; 2 Samuel 23:2; Luke 1: 70) The New Testament consists of the spoken words of Jesus, the Son of God, who 'spake as never man spake,' and whose words were recorded by those who heard him and witnessed his acts; and in addition thereto, the written testimony of his disciples, who wrote under inspiration from God.
14 The holy spirit means the invisible power of Jehovah, holy because he is holy. This power of Jehovah operated upon the minds of honest men who loved and who were devoted to righteousness, directing them in the writing of the Bible. The spirit of God, i. e., his invisible power, moved upon the waters and thereby he created. (Genesis 1:2) In like manner his invisible power operated upon the minds of men and directed them what to write. Thus did Moses write the first five books of the Bible. The invisible power of God, which is the holy spirit, operating upon Moses' mind enabled him to make a record of the chief events that had occurred and to write the law of God, as given to his people through Moses. In no other way could the true history of
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creation have been written. These facts and truths were, therefore, written by inspiration of God. (2 Timothy 3:16; Job 32: 8) There are twenty-four prophetic writers of the Old Testament, who foretold the great events that were to transpire in the earth. Their accounts were written at different times and under widely different conditions, yet their testimonies agree. Their testimony foreshadowed future events.
15 History, when written, is a recorded statement of facts and events, arranged in a chronological order.
16 Prophecy, which is true, is a statement of facts and events foretold to take place at some future time. Otherwise stated, prophecy is history written before it transpires.
17 No human mind could actually foretell facts or events to happen in the future. Only the divine mind could do that. If, then, we find that the Bible foretold certain facts and events to happen and the record of the same was made centuries before these facts and events did happen, and these events and facts are now definitely established as having taken place, such would be the strongest proof that the persons recording such facts and events were directed in so doing by the divine mind; hence that such writing was under divine inspiration.
18 As an illustration of this point: Wireless telegraphy and airships are modern discoveries; yet since they have been discovered we find that God, through his holy prophets, foretold centuries ago the use of such inventions. (Isaiah 60:8) The railway train has been in use less than a hundred years; and yet God by his prophet many centuries ago foretold that at "the time of the end" there would be many running to and fro. Without doubt this prophecy refers to the rapid transportation, including the
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railway and other means of modern travel, such as automobiles, electric cars, etc. (Dan. 12:4) There is no one living in modern times who is wiser than Solomon; yet during the past 125 years there have been a great development in invention and a marvelous increase of knowledge, because it is due time, and because the prophets of God centuries ago foretold that such would come to pass.
19 Through his holy prophets God foretold that at a time future there would come into the world a mighty man; that he would be born a Jew (Deuteronomy 18: 15), specifying the place where he would be born (Micah 5:2); that he would come to his own people and they would not receive him; that he would be despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:1-3); that he would ride into Jerusalem upon an ass, and her colt, and offer himself as king to the Jews (Zechariah 9:9); that he would be rejected by the Jews (Isaiah 53: 3); that he would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12) ; that he would die, but. not for himself (Daniel 9:26); that there would be no just cause for his death (Isaiah 53: 8, 9, 11); that nevertheless he would be numbered among the transgressors (Isaiah 53:12); that he would die a violent death, yet not a bone of his body should be broken (Psalm 34:20); that his flesh would not corrupt and that he would be raised from the dead (Ps. 16:10); all of which and many more similar prophecies were completely fulfilled by Jesus of Nazareth, the great Teacher who lived about and died at Jerusalem. Later we shall examine the scriptures proving a further fulfilment of all these prophecies.
20 All of the foregoing facts show that the Bible was written, as it is claimed, by holy men of old, who were
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directed in writing it by the power of Jehovah, and that it is a record which God caused to be kept and has given to man for his guidance in righteousness, and which foretells the course and final destiny of man.
21 The prophets who made record of the divine arrangement did not understand what they wrote. They knew they were writing something that would take place in the future, but just how and when they did not know. They inquired and searched diligently all sources of information open to them as to what these prophecies meant and when they would be fulfilled and in what manner of time. Particularly with reference to the coming of Jesus, his suffering, death and resurrection they prophesied and did not understand, although they attempted to understand. (1 Peter 1:10-12) Even the angels of heaven knew that the prophets were thus writing, but they did not understand, although they desired to look into these things. God revealed his great plan only in his own due time, and until that time he kept it all to himself.
22 The divine plan means the arrangement made by Jehovah for the creation of everything that has been created and for carrying out his purposes with reference to his creatures. The first one to understand the divine plan was Jesus, who prior to coming to earth was known as the Logos, which means one who speaks and acts for Jehovah. In Revelation, chapter 5, a wonderful picture is given in symbolic language. Jehovah is pictured as seated upon his throne, holding in his right hand a record or scroll of his great plan. The hand is a symbol of power and holding it in his hand foreshadowed the fact that Jehovah held it exclusively in his own power and keeping. The picture then shows a strong angel or messenger speak-
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ing with a loud voice and asking the question: "Who is worthy to open the book and to loose the seals thereof?" In heaven there was a host of holy beings or angels. No one of them was able to open the book or scroll, neither to look on it. No one in earth was able to look upon it nor to open it.
23 One of the titles given to Jesus is "Lion of the tribe of Judah". This great and mighty One, the beloved Son of God, afterward designated Jesus, was granted the privilege of opening the book and of loosing the seals that kept it secret, thus picturing how Jehovah made known his plan to his beloved Son. The picture describes him thus: "And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne . . . stood a Lamb, as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, . . . and he came and took the book out of the right hand of him [Jehovah] that sat upon the throne."
24 Seven is a symbol of perfection; horn a symbol of power; and eyes a symbol of wisdom. Therefore this One is pictured as having perfect power and perfect wisdom to perform this wonderful privilege and duty. This is the first time that the great mystery of Jehovah, his great plan or program, was made known to any one; and since then, from time to time, he has been pleased to reveal portions of his plan to men who have honestly and faithfully sought to understand it. He has promised to reward those who diligently seek him and who seek a knowledge of him. Therefore we can come to the study of his plan, confidently expecting that he will grant us from time to time such a vision and understanding of it as pleases him and as would be for our good and happiness.
25 The harp is used to symbolize the grandeur and beauty, the exquisite harmony and majestic sweetness of the divine arrangement or plan. The record of
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this great program or plan is found in the Old and the New Testament. This record reveals the purpose of God concerning man, gives a record of his fall, a prophetic vision of his redemption and deliverance, and ultimately the blessing of all obedient ones of mankind with life everlasting. The great fundamental doctrines or truths stated in the Bible and which constitute the fundamentals of his plan concerning man would, therefore, constitute the strings upon the harp of God. These fundamental truths were spoken by Jehovah through the prophets, through Jesus, and through his disciples. God's law is his expressed will. Law means a rule of action, directing that which is right and prohibiting that which is wrong. The Bible contains the law of Jehovah for the governing of mankind.
26 The name David means beloved one. The beloved One of Jehovah is his Son, Jesus, the Christ. David was therefore used by Jehovah to picture or to make a type of Christ, including Jesus and his faithful followers. David used the harp of ten strings and was an expert performer upon it. This would seem to picture that the antitype of David, Jesus and the members of his body, his faithful followers, would have an understanding of this harp of God and that God would use them to make it plain to others who would want to understand it. The ten strings of the harp, therefore, very fitly represent the ten great fundamental truths or doctrines of the divine plan. These ten fundamental doctrines appear in the order named, as follows:

(1)   CREATION
(2)   JUSTICE MANIFESTED
(3)   ABRAHAMIC PROMISE
(4)   BIRTH OF JESUS
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(5)   RANSOM
(6)   RESURRECTION
(7)   MYSTERY REVEALED
(8)   THE LORD'S PRESENCE
(9)   GLORIFICATION
(10)   RESTORATION


27 When one understands these ten fundamental truths and can appreciate the beauty and harmony by them expressed, he is thereby enabled to use the harp of God, and the use of it brings joy to his heart and fills his soul with sweet music. Without doubt the great plan of God pictured by the harp was all made and arranged at one time, but we will here consider each one of these fundamental truths, represented by a string, separately and in the order above named.


What is the harp? and when was it invented? ¶ 1.
Who invented the harp? and where is mention made of it in the Bible? ¶ 1.
When did God organize the twelve tribes of Israel into a nation? ¶ 2.
What arrangement did God make with the nation of Israel? ¶ 2.
For what purpose was that nation used by Jehovah? ¶ 2.
To what did the nation of Israel consecrate the harp? ¶ 3.
What king of Israel was skilled in the use of the harp? ¶ 3. Where in the Scriptures is the harp used symbolically? ¶ 3.
On what occasions did the Jews use the harp? ¶ 3.
How many strings were there on Israel's harp? and what did these symbolize? ¶ 4.
Did the harp at any time have a less number of strings? and if so, what did that picture? ¶ 4.
In what phrase or language is the book of Revelation written? ¶ 5.
Where in the book of Revelation is the harp mentioned? and what kind of beings are pictured as using it? ¶ 5.
What is the first essential to an understanding of God's plan? ¶ 6.
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Name some visible proof of the existence of a Supreme Being or Creator, ¶ 7.
How was David impressed with what he observed of creation? ¶ 8.
How does man's organism prove the existence of a Supreme Being? ¶ 9.
Who is the Supreme Being or Creator? and what does his name signify?¶ 10.
Give some Scriptural proof of the existence of Jehovah. ¶ 10.
Name the four primary divine attributes. ¶ 10.
How was divine justice manifested? ¶ 11.
How was divine power manifested? ¶ 11.
How was divine love manifested? ¶ 11.
How was divine wisdom manifested? ¶ 11.
Is there proof that God foreknew the end from the beginning? ¶ 11.
Why should man expect some revelation of the divine plan? ¶ 12.
Has man found a revelation of God's plan? and if so, where? ¶ 12.
By whom was the Bible written? and what are the two general divisions of it? ¶ 13.
What is meant by the holy spirit? ¶ 14.
What relationship does the holy spirit bear to the Bible and its preparation? ¶ 14.
Who wrote the first five books of the Bible? and under what conditions? ¶ 14.
Was the Bible written under inspiration? ¶ 14.
How many prophetic writers contributed to the Old Testament? and does their testimony agree? ¶ 14.
Define history, ¶ 15.
Define prophecy. ¶ 16.
Can a human mind accurately foretell future events? ¶ 17.
What is one of the strongest proofs that the Bible was written under inspiration? ¶ 17.
What relationship do wireless telegraphy and airships bear to fulfilled prophecy? ¶ 18.
Were means of modern transportation foretold by the prophets? and if so where? ¶ 18.
What other means of rapid transit did the prophets foretell? ¶ 18.
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Why did not Solomon give the world great inventions such as we now have? ¶ 18.
Did the prophets point to the coming of any special one to earth? ¶ 19.
What prophecy, if any, did the coming of Jesus of Nazareth tend to fulfil? ¶ 19.
How did the coming of Jesus tend to confirm the authenticity of the Scriptures? ¶ 20.
Did the prophets understand the meaning of what they wrote concerning the happening of future events? ¶ 21.
What effort did they make to understand? ¶ 21.
Did the angels in heaven understand what the prophets were writing? ¶ 21.
What is meant by the term "the divine plan"? ¶ 22.
Who was the first one to understand the divine plan? ¶ 22.
What was the name of Jesus before he became a man? and what is the significance of his prehuman title? ¶ 22.
What is pictured by the fifth chapter of Revelation? Give the details of the picture. ¶ 22.
Who is the "Lion of the tribe of Judah"? ¶ 23.
What is the symbolic meaning of the words "seven", "horns," and "eyes"? and what do these words signify as used in Revelation 5? ¶ 24.
Is there reason to expect that God would grant certain ones from time to time an increased understanding of his plan? and if so, why? ¶ 24.
What does the harp symbolize? ¶ 25.
Where is the record of the divine plan found? ¶ 25.
What does this record reveal concerning man? ¶ 25.
By whom has God spoken his fundamental truths? ¶ 25.
What is the law of God? Define law. ¶ 25.
Where is the law of God found? ¶ 25.
What is the meaning of the word "David"? ¶ 26.
Whom did David picture or typify? ¶ 26.
What did David's use of the harp typify or picture? ¶ 26.
What is pictured or symbolized by the ten strings of David's harp? ¶ 26.
Name the ten fundamental truths represented by the strings on the harp. ¶ 26.
How can one learn to use the harp of God? ¶ 27.
What effect is produced upon one who skilfully uses the harp? ¶ 27.

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OMNIPOTENT GOD

Harps of eternity! begin the song,
Redeemed, and angel harps! begin to God,
Begin the anthem ever sweet and new,
While I extol Him holy, just, and good.
Life, beauty, light, intelligence, and love!
Eternal, uncreated, infinite!
Unsearchable Jehovah! God of truth!
Maker, upholder, governor of all:
Thyself unmade, ungoverned, unupheld,
Omnipotent, unchangeable, Great God!
Exhaustless fulness! giving unimpaired!
Bounding immensity, unspread, unbound!
Highest and best! beginning, middle, end.
All-seeing Eye! all-seeing, and unseen!
Hearing, unheard! all knowing, and unknown!
Above all praise! above all height of thought!
Proprietor of immortality!
Glory ineffable! Bliss underived!
Of old Thou build'st Thy throne on righteousness,
Before the morning Stars their song began,
Or silence heard the voice of praise. Thou laid'st
Eternity's foundation stone, and saw'st
Life and existence out of Thee begin.
 — Pollok


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