3rd July 2019

Worshipping Together

“Fire came out from the presence of the Lord…And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown.”
Leviticus 9:24 (NIV)

“At once I was in the Spirit” says Revelation 4:2-5, “and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald, encircled the throne…From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder.” No sane Israelite would dream of traipsing into the outer room of the tabernacle, the holy place, far less into the inner Holy of Holies. Only after special sacrifices, elaborate rituals, washing and donning special clothes, did the High Priest dare go into the Holy of Holies once a year, with special incense and animal blood. The smoke of the incense shielded him from seeing the glory of God, and the animal blood, symbolizing the atoning blood/death of Christ for the people of God, preserved his life. On his shoulders and on his chest and head, he wore symbols of the union of twelve tribes with the high priest, symbolizing the union of Christ and his people, and holy glory of the perfect high priest, Christ.

We are told in Hebrews that the symbols of the tabernacle and all its elaborate rituals and even its actual construction, was an earthly picture of the true temple in Heaven, and our true High Priest, Jesus Christ. During worship, the people of God waited for the priest to emerge, praying in union with the priest, at the entrance outside the holy place, where the altar stood.

In the same way, we can only enter the true tabernacle in heaven by prayer in union with Christ. Yes, we are told to come with confidence (Hebrews 4:16), and united to him we can come together week by week to offer our prayers, our praises, our worship. We would be foolish indeed to go traipsing into the true Holy of Holies on our own, instead of united to Christ. 1 Timothy 2:5 tells us, “there is one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.” We desperately need to remember this as we come to congregational worship week by week. Only through our great High Priest, our worship leader, can we come to worship God; otherwise our worship falls dead to the ground. A perfunctory, ‘In Jesus’ name, amen’ doesn’t cut it. We have to open our minds in faith to the reality of the only worship that is acceptable to God, our Father—worship through Christ in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24).

Prayer
Lord, we ask you to help us be aware when we gather to worship you, that we can only come united to Christ, through the Spirit, into the true Holy of Holies. Thank you that in spite of our sin and ignorance, Christ, the Way, has sanctified us and brought us back into a real relationship with you.
Amen

Study by Christina Campbell
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About the Author:
Christina Campbell attends the Glasgow congregation of Grace Communion International in the UK, where she is an occasional speaker and Bible Study facilitator.

Local Congregation:
Gracecom Glasgow
St Stevens Presbytery
(Garnethill Room)
260 Bath Street
GLASGOW
G2 4JP

Meeting time:
Sunday 11:15am

Local Congregational Contact:
Ian Smillie
Phone: 01505 348758
Email: glasgow@gracecom.church