When God was bringing Israel out of Egypt, He instituted the Passover, which was to be observed by the Jews annually on the fourteenth day of the first month (Ex. 12:18). When Hezekiah was king over Judah, the Jews once observed the Passover in the second month instead of the first month, “because the priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently, neither had the people gathered themselves to Jerusalem” (2 Chr. 30:1-3). Some claim that since God had specified the first month, not the second month, they must have been allowed to do something differently than God specified. Therefore, they say, if God made an exception for them, God will make exceptions for men today who do not worship the way God specified. They claim that God’s grace will “cover” those who use mechanical instruments, which are different than the kind of music God specified in the New Testament (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).
First of all, God had given the “second month exception” in His Law some 700 years before Hezekiah reigned:
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be in a journey afar off, yet he shall keep the passover unto the LORD. The fourteenth day of the second month at even they shall keep it, and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs (Numbers 9:9-11).
Hezekiah’s observance was based on what God had already stated in the Law of Moses about the second month being acceptable in certain situations. There is no parallel New Testament “exception Scripture” in the New Testament authorizing mechanical instruments in certain cases for New Testament worship, so the point being made is invalid.
There was also an issue of some who were still impure when it was time for the second month observance (30:18-20). Hezekiah prayed for them to be forgiven, and the implication is that God forgave them, but from now on they would need to be purified as He had commanded. None of this is justification for anyone today who continues in unauthorized worship without repentance. The idea that “grace will cover” those persisting in unauthorized worship does not harmonize with Biblical teaching. “The Word of His grace” teaches men to live obediently (Acts 20:32; Titus 2:11, 12), and Paul condemned the idea that men may “continue in sin, that grace may abound” (Rom. 6).
It is interesting that some will “grasp at straws” to justify using mechanical instruments in worship, but they do not say anything about those who were punished or destroyed for tampering with God’s instructions, such as Cain (Gen. 4), Nadab and Abihu (Lev. 10), Korah (Num. 16), the 50,070 people of Beth-Shemesh (1 Sam. 6), Uzzah (2 Sam. 6), Jeroboam (1 Kin. 13), King Uzziah (2 Chr. 26), etc.
Second Chronicles 30 was a unique situation which included an authorized exception. The sin of impurity was acknowledged, and there was a prayer for forgiveness. Repentance and ceasing of sin is clearly implied, so this is not justification for anyone continuing in unauthorized worship today without repentance and the fruits thereof. Let us be satisfied with what God specified, and may we be the “true worshipers” God is seeking: “…the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him” (John 4:23).