Worship in Ancient Israel is important to understand. Understanding how worship happened helps to broaden our knowledge of God in action in the entirety of the Bible.
How Worship is Conducted
Worship in Ancient Israel from the time of Moses on moved from separate family worship to corporate worship. We see God dwelling among his people. He lived right among them talking with them. When they broke covenant with him he lived outside the camp for a while (Exodus 33).
The Tent of Meeting
The Tent of Meeting is where God met with his people. It was called several different things depending on how it was used.
- The Tent of Meeting: God meeting with Israel by appointment.
- Dwelling Place: God abiding with his people.
- Holy Place: Places an emphasis on God’s holiness
- Tent of Testimony: How God is active as a guide in the lives of his people.
The Tent became the Tabernacle
During the time of Solomon God’s dwelling place in the tent which could travel and move with his people became a permanent structure. The temple was a foreshadowing of God’s continued presence with his people. God’s dwelling place would be in the hearts of his people.
Creation of the Priesthood
Moses served as priest intervening as mediator between the people and God. Aaron later was given this responsibility. They stood in the gap between God and his people. Teaching them, helping them offer sacrifices and enabling them to understand God’s laws. We know in the New Testament that Jesus fulfilled the role of High Priest forever. Without understanding this role in the Old, we can’t grasp the significance in the New.
System of Sacrifices
There were SO many sacrifices. Daily, weekly, and annually.
- Burnt offering: forgiveness for sins, devotion to God
- Peace offering: Thanksgiving, fellowship,
- Grain offering: Voluntary offering of devotion to God
- Sin offering: For unintentional sin
- Guilt offering: Making reparation for sin.
But the highlight of this system is the Day of Atonement. Two goats, one which was sacrificed for the sins of the people. The second was released into the wilderness where symbolically it carried away the sins of the people.
All these sacrifices didn’t really do anything, they were just symbolic of God’s relationship with his people, and their needful response to him. God removed the sin of his people and accepted the animal as a substitute. This points to the way to Jesus being accepted as substitute.
Everything in the Old Testament points the way to Jesus Christ. The People and their relationship to God, the sacrifices, the roles of the priests… it all points to Christ.
Others in this Series
- Sinai Covenant.
- Background of the Old Testament.
- Covenant of creation.
- Approaching the Old Testament.
- Covenant with Abraham.
- Covenant with Noah.
- God’s Covenants.
- The Exodus.
- Worship in Ancient Israel.