Friday, July 6, 2012

Old Testament Worship: Honoring The Trinity


God is a Triune Being – God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All of His creation reflects His three-part nature, and the attributes of God the Father and names of Jesus also echo their three-fold Divinity. 

Not surprisingly, God designed our worship of Him to praise and to celebrate the three facets of His Being, beginning in the Old Testament, and continuing through the New Testament and into the future.

The benediction given by God for Aaron to speak unto the Hebrew people used the name of Jehovah (the LORD) three times, each with a different blessing:

Numbers 6: 24 The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:
25 The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 
26 The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

Another Old Testament type, or precursor, to the ultimate worship believers will experience in Heaven appears in the Tabernacle that God instructed Moses to build as the place of worship (Exodus 25). He ordered Moses to collect from the people the materials for the Tabernacle as an offering to Him: three fine metals (gold, and silver, and brass, v.3); fine linen (made from the hemp plant) in three colors (blue, purple, and scarlet, v.4) and coverings of three animals (goats' hair, rams' skins dyed red, and badgers' skins, v.5). These offerings represent the Mineral, Vegetable, and Animal categories of His creation over which He gave man dominion (Genesis 1:26-28).

The holiest place in the Tabernacle was the most holy (Exodus 26:33), or Holy of Holies, the inner sanctum approached only by the high priest, and only once each year, to make an offering to atone for the sins of the people. This atonement for sin by the shed blood of a sacrificed animal foreshadows the ultimate atonement of Christ, once and for all, as the perfect, sinless sacrifice to pay for all our sins, past, present and future (Hebrews 9:11-15).

Within the Holy of Holies was the ark of the covenant, with the finest gold overlaying shittim wood (Exodus 25:10-22) to symbolize the mystery of Christ in His divinity becoming human flesh  (Isaiah 9:6; John 1:14). The ark contained three items (Hebrews 9:4): the stone tables on which God engraved His law to give to Moses (Exodus 25:16, 22); the golden pot containing manna (Exodus 16:33-34) that God provided to feed the Israelites on their journey through the desert to find the Promised Land; and the rod of Aaron that budded forth with almond blossoms (Numbers 17:10), symbolizing purity and eternal life.

Thus, these three items symbolize God’s judgment in His Ten Commandments that no one (except for Jesus) can keep perfectly (Romans 3:23); God’s sustenance and provision for all our needs (Ephesians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 9:10-12); and God’s reconciliation with sinful man through His Son (2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Hebrews 2:17). Through Jesus’ sinless sacrifice, His perfect righteousness is attributed to our account (Romans 4:22-24), allowing us eternal life with Him in Heaven.

Moving outward from the Holy of Holies was the sanctuary, or holy place, containing three pieces of furniture: the table of shewbread (Exodus 25:23-30), the lampstand (Exodus 25:23-31), and the altar of incense (Exodus 30:1-10). In Hebrew, the word for “shewbread” means "bread of the face of the Lord," foreshadowing Jesus as the bread of life (John 6), the only sustenance the believer needs. The loaves of shewbread were set before God for one week before the priests were allowed to eat of it, suggesting that worship should come before fulfilling our daily needs (Matthew 6:33).

The lampstand, which later symbolizes the church (Revelation 1:12-20) was the only source of light in the holy place, just as Jesus Christ will be the only source of light in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:23). The altar of incense symbolizes the prayers of men rising as a sweet-smelling savour to God, as an act of worshipping Him (Psalm 141:2; Revelation 8:3-4).

Like the Tabernacle, the Temple was also designed by God in three parts: the outer Court surrounding the Holy Place, and the innermost Sanctuary or Holy of Holies), with the Holy of Holies in the shape of a cube of three equal dimensions (1 Kings 7).

God prescribed and ordained not only these places and articles of worship, but also times and holy days of worship, as we will see innext week’s post. These were needed before the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins reconciled sinful man to Holy God, allowing believers instant, continual access into His Presence. Praise God that we may now enter boldly unto the throne of grace! (Hebrews 4:16)


© 2012 Laurie Collett



32 comments:

  1. Be greatly blessed dear one.

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    1. Thanks, Denise! God bless you too!
      Laurie

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  2. God's Judgment, reconciliation, and provision are all aspects of Christian life. When we only focus on one aspect we develop a distorted view of God. Great series.

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    1. Thanks so much, dfish! I appreciate your insights and encouragement.
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  3. The most interesting place in Old Testament, which is near the Trinity, is Psalm 2. There is picture of Father and Son. And also first chapter from Genesis. Greetings for You! :)

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    1. Excellent point, Zim! In Genesis 1, the word for God is "Elohim," which is a plural noun representing the Trinity.
      Blessings to you!
      Laurie

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  4. I think I'm just too literal to figure out the 'threes'. Thanks.

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  5. Thanks for you comment, Bettyl!
    God bless,
    Laurie

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  6. Oh, Laurie, I am always blessed by your intellectual writing. I love how you punctuate it all with Scripture. That's important to me and takes it from "our ideas" to "God's truth."

    Have a joyful week!

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  7. Pamela, you are a blessing and an encourager! God's Word is the only trustworthy source of wisdom and truth.
    Blessings to you,
    Laurie

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  8. Wow powerful! Glory be to God.

    Check out my post about fear.

    http://daghewardmills.blogspot.com/2012/07/are-you-fearful.html

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  9. Thanks, Dag, for visiting and for your comment!
    God bless,
    Laurie

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  10. I never grow tired of contemplating the Tabernacle. Such deep symbolism. Thank you for this, Laurie.

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    1. Amen, Laura! You're very welcome, and may you be greatly blessed!
      Laurie

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  11. Thank you for this beautiful post. I am so grateful for the sacrifice of my perfect Saviour. It gives me hope that my sins will be forgiven. Thank you, too, for your beautiful description of the temple. Such symbolism. Such beauty. Thank you for sharing on NOBH!

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    1. You're very welcome, Diane! Thank you for your kind comment and encouragement.
      Blessings to you,
      Laurie

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  12. Those verses from Numbers are among my very favorite in the Bible. Blessings and peace, Laurie, and wishing you a beautiful weekend.

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  13. Dear Michelle,
    Thanks so much for your comment! Num. 6:24-26 is a beautiful Benediction indeed. May you have a blessed, peaceful weekend also!
    God bless,
    Laurie

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  14. Thank you again for delving into God's word and helping us to understand it more clearly. Thank you also for linking up at Leaving A Legacy!

    Blessings~
    Shari

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  15. You're very welcome, Shari! Thanks for your kind comment & for hosting Leaving a Legacy!
    God bless,
    Laurie

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  16. Laurie - you are a gifted writer who brings clarity into understanding God's word. Thank you for sharing with us each week.

    Blessings,
    Joan

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    1. Joan, your encouragement is a great blessing! Thank you so much for the forum you provide to share and reflect on God's Word together.
      Love in Him,
      Laurie

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  17. I love your picture, Gods beauty is all around us. Your encouraging blessings this week are fantastic.

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  18. Thanks so much, Austine, for your visit and kind comment! Praise God for the beauty of His creation!
    Blessings to you,
    laurie

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  19. Laurie...this study has been very interesting. Thank you for the blessing and for sharing at WJIM this week.

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    1. You're very welcome, and thanks for your kind words and for hosting What Joy is Mine!
      God bless,
      laurie

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  20. Thank you so much for sharing the message in this brilliant study, Laurie! May the Lord continue to bless you with fresh wisdom & insight into His word.
    You are a light and a BLESSING in Christ's Kingdom!
    In His love, Suzanne :)

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  21. Dear Suzanne,
    You are such an encouragement to me! I truly appreciate your uplifting comments. May you be richly blessed this week!
    Love in Him,
    Laurie

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  22. I've always loved the Passover story. We sang a song in my home church, "When I see the blood, I will pass, I will pass over you." I love how you share truth and knowledge.

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    1. Thanks, Pamela, for your kind comment! I like that song, also, as well as the symbolism in the Passover meal (maybe I should do a post on that sometime!)
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  23. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. Hi Gary,

      Thanks for your comment; however, I do request that comments be in response to a post rather than a copying & pasting of your blog post. I hope you understand why I have therefore removed your comment, although I have responded to it on your blog post and below. God bless.

      Salvation always requires faith, but if a person dies without yet being capable of belief due to young age, they are in Heaven (e.g. Matthew 18). The covenant God made with Israel (Gospel of the Kingdom) is quite different from the present promise of salvation through belief in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Gospel of Grace). Both require faith, based on what God has revealed of Himself in that age.

      But each person, when they are mature enough to understand, must make that leap of faith on their own. You are lost, even though you are born into a Christian family, if you are not born again. You must repent of your sins, believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and establish a personal relationship with Him as your Lord and Savior.

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