Had you visited ancient Jerusalem during the reign of King David you would
have been awe-struck by the unbroken celebration of music that echoed from
the top of Mount Zion. It never ceased. Regardless of the hour, night or day,
rain or shine, summer heat or winter snows, a river of praise descended
continually upon the city and the people. No wonder David wrote,
"Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion!"
Nor was it quiet hymn singing that spilled from the top of the mount. It was
not. There were psaltries, harps, and "Asaph made a sound with cymbals;
Benaniah also and Jahaziel the priests with trumpets continually before the
Ark of the Covenant of God" I Chronicles 16. Every four hours a new band of
Levites arrived to replace the earlier musicians and singers. The celebration
never ceased. Why was this so? The answer is important for two reasons: 1) It
is an essential part of Bible history. 2) We cannot understand the role of praise
and worship in the Church if we do not have an equal understanding of the
Tabernacle of David.
First of all, the Tabernacle (or tent) housed Israel's most cherished possession:
The Ark of the Covenant. Prior to its being moved to the new location on
Mount Zion, the Ark had been kept in the Tabernacle of Moses and was the
site where the High Priest yearly offered the blood of Atonement. It was also
here at the Ark that the Shekinah Glory of God appeared. The two tabernacles
differed in that the first was the scene of constant bloodshed and sacrifice.
This combination of "blood and glory" at Moses' Tabernacle prophetically
foretold the future scene of the Cross. The second, David's, was dedicated by a
blood offering only once and then became a site reserved wholly for praise
and worship. You will remember that it was during David's transporting the
Ark to the new location that he laid aside his Kingly Robes, dressed himself in
the simple linen ephod of a Priest, and "Danced before the Lord!"
There were two very different--and prophetic--messages spoken by the two
Tabernacles: The first one foresaw redemption as future. The second saw it
as past. The first was a scene of blood, fire, and smoke. The second was a
scene of celebration and praise. It is this one which speaks of the Church in its
jubilee of joy and thanksgiving. Redemption is accomplished! This
relationship between the ancient Tabernacle of David and the newly
established Church was first revealed by the Apostle James during the Council
of Jerusalem and was recorded in the book of Acts, chapter fifteen. In James'
attempt to calm other Jews who did not understand the mass conversion of
thousands of Gentiles to the Jewish Messiah, he explained:
" ... God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His
name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written:
`After this I will return and will rebuild the Tabernacle of David which has
fallen down. I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up, so that the rest of
mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who are called by My name
The Apostle was explaining much more however, than just about the Church's
being established. He was also giving three important historical facts about
Israel's future and the Church: 1) Israel would be scattered worldwide. 2) The
Church, as the restored Tabernacle of David, would be established. 3) After
the Church's establishment, Israel would be regathered. We find this sequence
clearly demonstrated in the last chapter of the book of Amos which the
Apostle James quoted to the Jerusalem Council. Scripture explains:
1.Amos 9:9: " ... I will sift the house of Israel among all nations like as corn is
sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the ground." i.e. "be
2. Amos 9:11: "In that day I will raise up the Tabernacle of David which has
3. Amos 9:14,15: "And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel
and they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them ... They shall no more be
pulled up out of their land."
Today, we are in the final phase of the prophecy. The Church has been
established and Israel has experienced both their scattering and regathering to
their ancestral home. Tumultuous as it is, Israel none-the-less is back on
Covenant-ground. There is one aspect of the Church's role as successor to the
Tabernacle of David, however, that it is not being fulfilled. It is this: God
intended that Christian worship be a continuous celebration of the resurrection
of the Lord Jesus. That does not mean that all the Church's praise needs to be
exuberant and noisy. Not at all. We also need deep, deep worship and
reverence. But it does mean that Christians must be willing to drop their
hymn-books, stand to their feet, lift their hands, open their mouths, and let the
earth ring with the celebration of a new Mount Zion. It is our task to declare
that the Ark has been moved from the site of death and bloodshed to a new
location of joy and thanksgiving.
Hear this carefully: Jesus fulfilled the blood sacrifice; but He did not fulfill the
sacrifice of praise. This sacrifice cannot be fulfilled. In Heaven we will join
with a choir numbering "ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of
thousands" in explosive worship and praise. The New Testament commands
us to praise the Lord but does not tell us how. Why this lack of instructions?
God provided those directions in the Old Testament and the "Spirit of Praise"
today is exactly like that of ancient Israel. We are to praise Him with the
"Sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp! Praise Him with
timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! Praise
Him with clashing cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!"
I was once preaching in a church here in Florida, the anointing was powerfully
present on the service, when a woman raced to the front in an interruptive way
and began "performing" her dance. She was dressed for the stage and not the
church. I stopped her. She resisted. I told her to "sit down" or I would have
the ushers take her out. She finally obeyed. Her performance was not
worshipful. There is a vital difference between praise and performance.
Today I am in churches that know how to yield to the Holy Spirit, put down
their hymn books, lift their hands, and rejoice before the Lord! I have felt such
Holy Presence and Glory of God’s Spirit in such moments that as a ninety-two
year old I too have joined the dance! My attitude is "David! Move over! Let
Miriam complain! She won’t stop me! I too have tasted the Glory!!" II Samuel
6:14-22. The Tabernacle of David is here! Rejoice before it!