Allusion of Worship in the Tabernacle

worship as portrayed in the tabernacleOne of the basic principles of biblical interpretation is the “law of multiple mentions”. This principle states that the number of times the Bible mentions or gives space to a certain subject indicates its importance. When we consider how much space is devoted to the description of the tabernacle (51 chapters in the whole Bible: Exodus 15; Leviticus 18; numbers 13; Deuteronomy 2 and Hebrews 3), we can perceive how important this subject is. Since the principal purpose of the tabernacle was the worship of God, we see that God is transmitting to us the vital nature of worship and the tremendous importance that He gives to it.

The first part of the tabernacle that God describes is the Ark of the Covenant, which was placed in front of the mercy seat. God said, “And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat” (Exodus 25:22). The holy of holies, which contained the Ark of the Covenant, was the place where God met and had fellowship with man face-to-face; it was a place of worship.

In the Old Testament system, only the high priest could enter into the Holy of Holies and then only once per year on the Day of Atonement. How blessed we are under the terms of the new covenant by having the privilege of continuous access to God’s presence by the blood of Christ.

The basic teaching for us Christians implicit in the tabernacle is that of worship. God had taken his people out of Egypt “with great strength and a strong hand” (Exodus 32:11). Once the deliverance from Egypt was complete, the first thing that he did was to command Moses to build the tabernacle. God’s first desire, after our freedom from Egypt (sin and its slavery), is to place us in the ministry of worship.

The tabernacle teaches us the order and progression of worship. As we enter into the outer courts of the tabernacle, the first thing that we see is the altar of bronze for the sacrifices. It is here that our sins and iniquities are treated and we receive God’s forgiveness.

The next piece of furniture was the bronze laver, which symbolizes the purification through the “water” of the Word. The potential worshiper had to pass through these two experiences before arriving before the veil of the holy place.

Inside the holy place, was the table of showbread, the golden lampstand and the golden altar of incense, all of which have a deep meaning in the teaching of worship.

Finally, we arrive in the holy of holies, a sanctified place of fellowship, which typifies the most elevated and pure forms of praise and worship. This is where the Holy Spirit wants to take us. There is a definite progression in learning the abilities of worship. God wants to lead us through all the phases until finally we are qualified to enter into the last stage of holy worship the place within the veil, the Holy of Holies where the fullness of His presence abides.

How to lead a time of praise and worship

Here are some suggestions to help you introduce your church or cell to the ministry of anointed music with praises to God:

Begin all meetings with thanksgiving and praise in the form of songs

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. (Psalm 100:4)

Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of appropriate songs

God has a theme or message for each meeting. In general, the appropriate songs prepare the way for the theme or the message.

Don’t be afraid to repeat worship songs

Many times God begins to move through a specific song, so do not be afraid to repeat the song several times. Sometimes you should repeat a specific part of a song that manifests a special anointing or blessing.

Exhort the people to “Sing to the Lord” from the heart

Many times, we sing hymns because it is part of our tradition and custom. There is however, a much more valuable purpose than this, to worship God through song, or to direct our attention to heaven through songs.

Begin with songs of praise and thanksgiving

Allow the people to express their praises through the songs. The songs are not praises in themselves. They are mere vehicles through which we can express our praise. It is possible to sing many hymns and songs without expressing any true praise.

Praise songs inspire the people to worship

In general, we begin with praise and progress as people move through various levels until entering into worship, the most elevated level of praise.

Don’t rush the time of praise

Many pastors consider this part of the meeting as something merely “preliminary”, a tedious and traditional need. Allow this time for singing, praise and worship. These are important acts in our meetings.

Give the congregation an opportunity to participate

Encourage spontaneous expressions. Someone can lead the congregation in prayer, which can result in the direction for the meeting. Perhaps someone else will prophesy and the exhortation can supply the theme for the rest of the meeting.

Practice the gifts of the Spirit in the Church worship meetings (1 Corinthians 12:8-11)

Do not “quench” the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Encourage the expressive participation through spiritual gifts. However, the designated and anointed leader should retain the spiritual authority at all times over the meeting.

Do everything to attain mutual edification

All biblical manifestations are legitimate and appropriate, but everything that is done and the way that it is done must serve for the edification of the whole congregation (1 Corinthians 14:26).

Avoid “contributions” that cause confusion

“God is not the author of confusion” (1 Corinthians 14:33). If the meeting begins to become confused, take control and remove the confusion. If necessary, pause and explained what is happening to the congregation, clarifying the situation. Use such situations to teach the right and the wrong manner of doing things.

Do everything for the Lord and for his glory

Remember that the goal of all meetings is to glorify God and edify the believers not to display musical talent and ability. Naturally the worship team must possess talent and gifting and flow in their abilities but the purpose is to focus attention on God and his Spirit and usher his presence in the place of worship.

Use a songbook or projection media so that the people can participate

Do not be afraid at any given moment, to put aside the songbook or the lyrics of the song and simply worship the Lord through the heart.

At all costs, avoid becoming mechanical or formal

Be flexible and allow freedom. Do not insist on following the program. Always be sensible to the direction of the Spirit and be willing to follow Him. In order to direct praise and worship through songs much more is necessary than moving your arms and making gestures even though this can be done correctly. The freedom of the Spirit and spontaneity are more important than technical precision.

Strive to manifest the presence of Jesus not that of the worship team (Matthew 17:8)

The cry of God’s people is “we want to see Jesus” (John 12:21). We should always remember that the people do not come to see us or to hear us. They come to see and to hear Jesus. Our task, with the help of the Spirit, is to open the veil, so that all eyes can see the Lord and worship before Him. This should be the most valued objective of all the servants of Christ that lead worship meetings.