Hebrew Highlights 52 – What is Messianic Music?
Shalom. This is Yuval Shomron, coming to you from Jerusalem.
I receive a lot of inquiries asking, “What exactly is Messianic Music?
Let’s first approach the question, “What is Messianic?”. One could say it is the Hebraised version of Christian. Of course actually, it’s the other way around. Hebrew came along before Greek. Messiah, or “meshiach” in Hebrew literally means anointed one. So, messianic believers are those following THE anointed one, Yeshua. In our modern use of the word in English we usually speak of “Messianic Jews”, or those Jews who believe Yeshua is their Messiah. If we say “Messianic Christians”, we normally refer to those gentiles in the church who believe that it is important to recognize our Jewish roots, the Hebrew origins of God’s word, the Old Testament holidays, the importance of the Land of Israel, and to some extent, Jewish traditions. For instance, some churches embracing Messianic ideas have returned their worship services to Saturdays, where they originally belonged.
Now, let’s continue on to the main subject of today’s Hebrew Highlights. Messianic music is a relatively new genre of composition bridging the worlds of Gospel and Jewish music. Its birth (or many would say rebirth) is the result of the inspiration evolving from Israel's re-establishment, the rebirth of the Hebrew language, and the revival among God's chosen people.
Because of both the intense honor for the Bible, and insistence on interpretive accuracy which has always existed among the Jewish people, messianic music tends, for the most part, to be taken straight from scriptural passages, or at least based on them.
The additional input of immigrant groups returning, as prophesied, from the Diaspora to Israel, has widened the spectrum of musical sounds and scales, making messianic music among the most ethnically interesting and variable in the believing world.
The first modern day messianic songs, based on Eastern European Jewish melodic ideas, were composed in the early 1960's by Merv and Merla Watson. It would be more than 10 years before others joined their ranks. The Watsons continue their musical journey in Israel today, joined by the daughter Elana, now a composer and musician in her own right. Today there are tens of published messianic composers around the world, with the majority living in Israel.
Here is a list of Messianic songs you may have heard: Merla Watson’s (Awake O Israel, Jehova Jira), Stuart Dauermann’s (Hineni), Joel Chernoff’s (The Year of Jubilee), David Loden’s (Rejoice, Daughter of Zion), Elisheva Shomron’s (Kadosh, For the Sake of Zion), Paul Wilbur’s (Shalom Jerusalem), or Marc Chopinsky’s (Come, Let Us Go Up). Anyone familiar with the prolific work of these writers will recognize varied, yet familiar threads woven throughout their compositions. God and his words are first; the melodies serve the words, not the other way around. Harmonies are different from those in every other genre of "gospel" music. The rhythms reflect the excitement of God's awakening in Israel today, yet reserve respect for the scriptures they accompany.
If you are new to Messianic Music, you are in for a delightful treat. By the way, you can find a large selection of these CD’s at www.musicfromisrael.com
Do you love Messiah Yeshua? Then guess what. You too, are Messianic.
Shalom, Shalom, from Jerusalem.