A scriptural phrase which always peaks my interest is: “Sing a new song.” That phrase appears in my favorite books—Isaiah, Revelation. But what is a “new song?” How do I learn it? Can I just make it up or are words divinely inspired?
I’m fascinated by ancient hymns because the hymns show me how the singer worships God. The last hymn I found was the Hymn of Jesus. Today, I found a hymn Abraham sang while caught up to heaven. It’s recorded in the Apocalypse of Abraham.
An angel taught Abraham the words to sing and directed him when to sing the song.
I loved learning the concept that each sphere in heaven has its own specific song of praise sung by that sphere’s residents. I thought of “the new song of the redemption of Zion” in Doctrine and Covenants 84. What would be the song of praise for our current sphere, I wonder?
Utter the Song Without Ceasing
An angel took Abraham through various levels of heaven. While in one of them, he learned and recited a song of praise to God.
And while he was thus speaking, fire came all about us, and there was a voice within the fire like the sound of many waters, like the sound of the sea in violent motion. And I desired to fall down there and worship, and I saw that the angel who was with me bowed his head and worshipped, but the surface of the high place where I seemed to be standing changed its inclination constantly, rolling as the great waves on the surface of the sea.
And the angel said, “Worship, Abraham, and utter the song which I shall now teach you. Utter it without ceasing, that is, without pause, in one continuous strain from beginning to end.” And the song which he taught me to sing had words appropriate to that sphere in which we then stood, for each sphere in heaven has its own song of praise, and only those who dwell there know how to utter it, and those upon earth cannot know or utter it except they be taught by the messengers of heaven. And the words of that song were of this import and signification—Eternal One, Might One, Holy El, God autocrat, Self-originate, incorruptible, immaculate, unbegotten, spotless, immortal, self-perfected, self-devised, without mother, without father, ungenerated, exalted, fiery, just, lover of men, benevolent, compassionate, bountiful, jealous over me, Patient one, most merciful, Eli, eternal, might one, holy Sabaoth, Most glorious El, El, El, El, Iaoel, You are he my soul has loved, my protector. Eternal, fiery, shining, light-giving, thunder-voiced, lightning-visioned, many-eyed, receiving the petitions of those who honor you and turning away from the petitions of those who restrain you by the restraint of their provocations,
Redeemer of those who dwell in the midst of the wicked ones, of those who are dispersed among the just of the world, in the corruptible age. Showing forth the age of the just of the world in the corruptible age. Showing forth the age of the just.
You make the light shine before the morning light upon your creation From your face to spend the day on the earth, and in your heavenly dwelling place (there is) an inexhaustible light of an invincible dawning from the light of your face.
Accept my prayer and delight in it, And (accept) also the sacrifice which you yourself made to yourself through me as I searched for you.
Receive me favorably, Teach me, show me, and make known to your servant what you have promised me.
These hymns remind me to review the fervor of my worship. Am I truly worshipping when I sing a hymn or say a prayer? Ancient songs show me what’s possible.