From the Christian perspective worship is the act of homage or reverence and service to the One True God in the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Bible indicates two forms of worship.  In the Old Testament time the people of God worshiped Him in a physical and visible way.  In the New Testament the Christian Church worshiped God in a spiritual way. 


God’s Guideline on Worship


The Bible gives us the best known set of moral guidelines which is the Ten Commandments.  The first four commandments deal with our duty toward God and how to worship Him, and the last six with our duty toward our fellow human beings.


1. Who to worship   “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Ex. 20:1-2)  This commandment forbids us to worship any person, creature or thing other than the One True God.  The Lord Jesus Christ is the One True God manifested in the flesh.  The disciples worshiped Him (Mt. 28:16-17; Lk. 24:52)


2. What to worship   “You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. . .” (Ex. 20:4-5)  We do not need any physical, material or visible forms of images of the Lord Jesus Christ to worship Him (Php. 2:5-11).  Worship God in “spirit and truth” (Jn 4:23-24).


3.  How to worship    “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.” (Ex. 20:7) The phrase “in vain” means having no substance, no value, worthless, ineffective and useless.  This commandment forbids the use of God’s name in an unworthy manner.  The Hebrew name of Jesus is “YAHSHUA” that means “YAH is Savior”.  “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Php. 2:9-11)


4.  When to worship   “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” (Ex. 20:8-11)  The Bible describes the One True God created the universe and mankind in six days. 


“Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished.  And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.  Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” (Gen. 2:1-3)


God has very good reasons for resting on the seventh day, blessing and sanctifying it.  The Hebrew word for “sanctify” is qadeshwhich means to set apart for a holy use.  The main purpose of the Sabbath was for man to worship God.  The Lord Jesus Christ said, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” (Mk. 2:27) 


True and False Worship


Even though our first ancestors were driven out of the Garden of Eden after they sinned against God, yet they continued to worship Him and had also taught their two sons Cain and Abel about worship.  


“And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD.  Abel also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat.  And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering.  And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.” (Gen. 4:3-5)


The offerings of Cain and Abel represent two types of worship.  Cain’s “offering of the fruit of the ground” is of the world.  His type of worship had no sense of sinfulness, no repentance and no atonement for sin.  He worships in self-will.  He was angry with God and also with his brother.  Cain became the world’s first murderer and vagabond.  


On the other hand Abel’s offering was accepted by God.  “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.” (Heb. 11:4)  Abel’s sacrifice was more excellent than Cain’s because it was offered “by faith”.  Abel was righteous.  The only way a person can become righteous before God is to have the sins remitted by the blood of Jesus Christ.  In the very beginning of mankind’s history God had revealed the type of worship that is accepted by Him is to be centered on the Lord Jesus Christ and the shedding of His blood.



The Tabernacle symbolizes the Lord Jesus Christ


When the children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness God told them He needed a sanctuary, a dedicated place where He could dwell with His children. “And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.”  (Ex. 25:8)  The Tabernacle symbolizes the manifestation of God in the flesh so that He could dwell among His people.  “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Jn. 1:14) 


The Tabernacle in the Wilderness is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ and also provides the guideline in the progress of a Christian.


1.  Entrance  The one and only entrance to the tabernacle points to the Lord Jesus Christ who said, “I am the door.  If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” (Jn. 10:9)  Jesus is the only way we can be saved (Jn. 14:6; Eph. 2:13; 1 Cor. 2:2; Heb. 10:19-20).  The first step of salvation is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:30-31). 

2.  Altar of Sacrifice (Exodus 27:1-8) points to the Lord Jesus Christ who sacrificed Himself for our sins (Heb. 9:14).  Man has no access to God except as a sinner whose sins can only be remitted by the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.  The sinner must repent and confess his or her sins before God.   

3.  Laver for Washing (Ex. 30:17-21) points to the baptism (water) and crucifixion (blood) of our Lord Jesus Christ (ref. Jn. 19:34-35; 1 Jn. 5:6-8).  God has joined these two events together; hence the believer who is baptized into the Lord Jesus Christ is also baptized into His death (Rom. 6:3-8).  The Laver also points to the washing of Feet (Jn. 13:3-17). 

4.  Table of Showbread  (Ex. 25:23-30)  The Lord Jesus Christ said, “I am the Bread of Life . . . . This is the bread which came down from heaven . . . He who eats this bread will live forever.” (Jn. 6:48-58)  Participation of Holy Communion is eating the flesh of Jesus (unleavened bread) and drinking the blood of Jesus (grape juice (Mt. 26:26-29; 1 Cor. 10:16-17; 11:23-34).  The Showbread also symbolizes the Word of God.   

5.  Menorah (Lampstand)  (Ex. 25:31-40)  The Lord Jesus Christ said, “I am the light of the world.  He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (Jn. 8:12)  “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psm. 119:105).  The Christian must read the Holy Bible daily to receive God’s guidance. 

6.  Altar of Incense  (Ex. 30:1-10)  Incense represents the worship and prayers of the saints (Psm. 141:2; Rev. 5:8; 8:3-4).  The Lord Jesus Christ promised, “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” (Jn. 14:13-14)  “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” (Heb. 13:15)  Jesus promised “your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.” (Lk. 11:13) 

7.  Ark of the Covenant  (Ex. 25:10-22)   This points to the Lord Jesus Christ who speaks for God (Heb. 1:1-3)  God revealed His will to His servants.  God spoke to His servants “above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony.” (Ex. 25:22; 30:36; Lev. 16:2; Jos. 7:6).  Thus the Ark of the Covenant served as a symbol of divine presence guiding His people.  Today God’s presence is in us through the indwelling Holy Spirit who guides us into all truth (Jn. 14:26; 16:13)


God’s Continual Guidance of His People


The tabernacle was always set up at the center of the Camp. The tribe of Levi was assigned to care for it, and encamped around it.   Moses, Aaron, and the priests camped on the east side next to the entrance.   The positions of the twelve tribes are described in chapter 2 of Numbers.


“And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night.  He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.”  (Ex. 13:21-22) 

“Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would go onward in all their journeys.  But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not journey till the day that it was taken up.  For the cloud of the LORD was above the tabernacle by day, and fire was over it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.” (Ex. 40:34-38)


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