Summary: A study of the new song passages found in Scripture
‘The New Song’
The most popular, and most quoted reference utilizing ‘new song ‘ is found in Psalm 40:3 where David describes one of the results of the Lord’s working in his life after he was delivered from the depths of sin when he was saved:
‘I waited patiently for the Lord, and He inclined unto me and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay and set my feet upon a Rock, and established my goings. And He hath put a new song in my mouth even praise unto our God, many shall see it and fear and shall trust in the Lord.’
Six more ‘new song’ occurrences are found in the Psalms with the first Bible occurrence in Psalm 33:3-’Sing unto Him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise.’ Here the righteous are commanded to not only sing a new song and play skillfully unto the Lord, but in the previous verses three other commands to worship are also given: ‘Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright. Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto Him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. (v.1, 2)
However, this Psalm also includes the harp, which is the national instrument of Israel, and the instrument of choice in the New Testament worship/songbook of the Revelation where the Day of the Lord is vividly described in chapters 8, 9, 16-20. And as we will see later in this article, the new song is also a key term in the book of the Revelation.
The purpose for these commands to worship is found in (v.4)-‘For the Word of the LORD is right; and all His works are done in truth.’ This powerful call to worship the LORD is based in the Psalmist’s appreciation for the written Word of God.
Psalm 96:1 ‘O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth’ is the next new song reference and this command to worship is followed by a dozen more imperative calls to worship the LORD with the end of the Psalm indicating the ultimate reason for this panoply of praise:
‘For He comes, for He comes to judge the earth: He shall judge the world [Gentiles] with righteousness, and the people [Jews] with His truth. (v.13).
Here the Psalmist looks forward to the great and terrible Day of the Lord when God will indeed punish the Gentile and Jew alike which will also have a purifying effect on those Jews who will be saved as a nation in a day! Then, right close in proximity, Psalm 98:1 echoes the same refrain:
‘O sing unto the LORD a new song; for He has done marvelous things: His right hand, and His holy arm, has gotten Him the victory.’
The Psalm continues this victory theme underscoring His salvation, His righteousness and with a prophetic view looks to the day when ‘He comes to judge the earth; with righteousness shall He judge the world [Gentiles] and the people [Jews] with equity.’ Here again the harp is utilized in (v.5) showing the importance of this instrument in the worship of the Lord
In Psalm 144:9 David promises to utilize ‘a new song’ in order to praise God for His working in the midst of the battle against ‘strange children’ who were afflicting him. He also includes other musical instruments of worship, the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings to accompany this praiseful singing.
The last Psalm reference is in Psalm 149:1-
‘Praise ye the LORD, Sing unto the LORD a new song, and His praise in the congregation of saints.’ The first six verses ring with praise, with the closing verses focusing on a future time of judgment much like Psalm 96 & 98 which could well be an additional reference to the end of the age Day of the Lord also called the Wrath of God.
‘Sing unto the LORD a new song, and His praise from the end of the earth’ (Isaiah 42:10) is also in the midst of two prophetic passages the first (v.1-9) describing the ministry of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ during His Incarnation and the second (v.13-17) describes the Day of the Lord, God’s Wrath at the end of the age.
The two references in the New Testament carry with them prophetic significance also because they are both found in the book of the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. The first is in chapter five, where the Lord Jesus is introduced.
He is called the Lion of the Tribe of Judah the Root of David the One Who is able to open the scroll containing God’s Day of the Lord program for the end of the age, but, He appears in form as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.