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THE ANCIENT "TABERNACLE OF DAVID" AND WORSHIP IN THE MODERN CHURCH

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

..." 15:14-17.


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

lost".


2. Amos 9:11: "In that day I will raise up the Tabernacle of David which has

fallen down."


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.


Thank God!


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!

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