Romans – The Gospel of God (Part 10)

SAMSUNG“Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— just as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, ‘In you all the nations shall be blessed.’ So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.” Galatians 3:5-9

As we saw in the last part of our study in Romans, God “preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand.” Abraham knew the “gospel of God” and preached it himself. Did any other Hebrew prophet preach the Gospel before Jesus Christ? The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:2 that God promised the Gospel of Jesus Christ beforehand through His “prophets” (plural). That should mean we can look through the Old Testament and find other prophets preaching the “gospel” centuries before Jesus Christ began His preaching ministry on earth. So, can we? Can we find other Hebrew prophets preaching the “gospel?”

Continue reading “Romans – The Gospel of God (Part 10)”

Advertisements

Our Father Which Art In Heaven – Who Are You? (Part 6)

Far away galaxy

Moses met God for the first time when he saw a burning bush that was not consumed by the fire. In the first few moments of their encounter Moses learned that the place surrounding the bush was holy. God also revealed Himself to Moses in a unique way. Continue reading “Our Father Which Art In Heaven – Who Are You? (Part 6)”

A History of Worship – Pt 7

 

Worship Words

(This study is an expansion of the worship section in my book, “A History of Man’s Quest for Immortality,” Fifth Estate Publishing, 2007)

God saved Israel from slavery in Egypt. Moses led the people of God across the Red Sea on dry land and God brought the great waters crashing down on the heads of the Egyptian soldiers. Israel’s freedom from their slave masters was complete and their new relationship with God was underway. Moses began by leading Israel in a song of praise to God. This is the first recorded worship song of Israel, so notice carefully the words God inspired Moses to sing. It has great importance in understanding how and why God wanted His people to worship Him. He wanted Israel to know that there was no other god like Him. God also gave Moses insight into Israel’s future and what they would accomplish when He brought them into the land He had promised to Abraham many years before.

“I will sing to the LORD, For He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea! The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will exalt Him. The LORD is a man of war; The LORD is His name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; His chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea. The depths have covered them; They sank to the bottom like a stone. ‘Your right hand, O LORD, has become glorious in power; Your right hand, O LORD, has dashed the enemy in pieces. And in the greatness of Your excellence You have overthrown those who rose against You; You sent forth Your wrath; It consumed them like stubble. And with the blast of Your nostrils The waters were gathered together; The floods stood upright like a heap; The depths congealed in the heart of the sea. The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; My desire shall be satisfied on them. I will draw my sword, My hand shall destroy them.’ You blew with Your wind, The sea covered them; They sank like lead in the mighty waters. ‘Who is like You, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders? You stretched out Your right hand; The earth swallowed them. You in Your mercy have led forth The people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength To Your holy habitation. ‘The people will hear and be afraid; Sorrow will take hold of the inhabitants of Philistia. Then the chiefs of Edom will be dismayed; The mighty men of Moab, Trembling will take hold of them; All the inhabitants of Canaan will melt away. Fear and dread will fall on them; By the greatness of Your arm They will be as still as a stone, Till Your people pass over, O LORD, Till the people pass over Whom You have purchased. You will bring them in and plant them In the mountain of Your inheritance, In the place, O LORD, which You have made For Your own dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established. ‘The LORD shall reign forever and ever.’ For the horses of Pharaoh went with his chariots and his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought back the waters of the sea upon them. But the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea.” Exodus 15:1-19

God inspired Moses to use His Holiest Name in this first song of worship: Yah and Yhwh (LORD). God also inspired him to use El and Elohiym (God). Notice also some key phrases which speak to God’s special relationship to Israel:

  1. my strength and song
  2. my salvation
  3. my God
  4. My father’s God
  5. The LORD is a man of war
  6. Your right hand, O LORD – glorious in power, dashed the enemy in pieces
  7. greatness of Your excellence
  8. glorious in holiness
  9. Fearful in praises
  10. doing wonders
  11. You have redeemed
  12. guided them in Your strength
  13. the greatness of Your arm
  14. Your people
  15. the people Whom You have purchased
  16. You will bring them in and plant them In the mountain of Your inheritance
  17. For Your own dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord
  18. The LORD shall reign forever and ever

This short song contains immeasurable evidence of God’s deep Love and Devotion for the people of Israel. Though Israel treated God terribly for centuries, His Love for them has endured. How did Israel treat God terribly, you ask? Read the next 3 verses in Exodus –

“And they journeyed from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the Wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they departed from the land of Egypt. Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. And the children of Israel said to them, ‘Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Exodus 16:1-3

Do you see that? Israel had been free from their horrible slavery in Egypt for just six weeks and already they’re complaining against God’s plan for them. Isn’t that just like human beings? We cry and cry to God – “Oh, Lord! Help us, Lord! Help us! Oh, Lord, just get me out of this mess and I’ll obey you forever and ever” – and the first time things get a little rough we start complaining – “Oh, Lord! Why is this happening to me? Oh, I wish I could be back where I used to be when things were so much better.” Just like a human. We’re either crying or complaining. What happened to the worship? to the praise? to the songs of joy? What happened in six weeks that would change the people of Israel from worshipers to complainers? They got hungry.

Think about that for a moment – the Israelites got a little hungry and they wished they were back in Egypt where they had pots of meat and ate bread to the full. I think they suffered from selective memory syndrome. The Egyptians had treated the Israelites terribly for years, but the only thing God’s people remembered was the little bit of food the Egyptians would allow them to eat. God demonstrated His amazing Power over the Egyptian gods and army, but all the Israelites could think about was their stomach. Just weeks earlier, they had all sung to the Lord about His strength and greatness and here they were with no faith in God’s ability to feed them. So, how did God respond to the growing unrest? “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you.” (Exodus 16:4) God fed the people of Israel bread (manna) from Heaven and it supplied their needs for 40 years until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.

That was probably the last time the people of Israel ever complained about anything – right? Look at the next chapter in Exodus: “Then all the congregation of the children of Israel set out on their journey from the Wilderness of Sin, according to the commandment of the LORD, and camped in Rephidim; but there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people contended with Moses, and said, ‘Give us water, that we may drink.” (Exodus 17:1-2) Instead of worshiping God and being thankful for what He had done for them, Israel started up their whining and complaining campaign – “And the people thirsted there for water, and the people complained against Moses, and said, ‘Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst? (Exodus 17:3) The people were also saying some pretty bad things about God, testing Him and His Word – “Is the LORD among us or not?” (Exodus 17:7) What did God do about it? “And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” (Exodus 17:5-6) Yes, God is extremely Longsuffering.

This story of Israel’s complaining and disobedience is repeated throughout the Bible, but God has always been true to His Covenant with Abraham. God promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob two things – land and the Seed. No matter what Israel did against God, the Lord was Faithful to His Covenant. No matter how bad, how ugly, how sinful, how awful things became between Israel and God – God was always Faithful.

And things did get ugly –

“Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, ‘Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ And Aaron said to them, ‘Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bringthem to me.’ So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!’ So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, ‘Tomorrow is a feast to the LORD.’ Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” Exodus 32:1-6

Excuse me! Are these the same Israelites who God freed from bondage in Egypt? Are these the same people who walked across the Red Sea on dry land and witnessed God’s destruction of the Egyptian Army? Are these the people of Israel who ate bread from Heaven and drank water from a rock? Is this the same Israel that defeated the mighty army of Amalek? Are these the same people who saw the Glory of God resting on the top of Mount Sinai as a consuming fire? Are these the same Israelites who turned their back on the God they knew to worship a blind, deaf and dumb golden calf? Yes, I believe they are. How ugly is that? How absolutely pitiful. How human. God brought the people of Israel out of Egypt for the express purpose of protecting and providing for them while they served and worshiped Him – and what did they do? They served and worshiped an object of their own creation instead of the Creator. How sad.

Not unlike today – would you agree? God opened the door of salvation to every human being on the planet – Jews and Gentiles – through His Son Jesus Christ, and what do they do? They serve and worship objects of their own making. Study the history of man’s quest for immortality and that is what you will find – the human race serving and worshiping objects of their own creation.

It’s easy to read about Israel and wonder how they could be so foolish – but can we not see our own foolishness? Who or what do we serve? And I am talking to Christians as well as non-Christians when I ask this question. Who or what do we serve? You don’t think Christians can fall into the same spiritual trap as Israel? Look at what Jesus told some of the churches of the 1st Century.

“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write … Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.” Revelation 2:1, 4-5

“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write … But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.” Revelation 2:12, 14-16

“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write … Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.” Revelation 2:18, 20-23

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: ‘I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.” Revelation 3:1-3

“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: ‘I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” Revelation 3:14-19

What does our Lord want from us? Obedience and worship. Let’s give God what He wants. He certainly deserves that – don’t you think?

In Christ’s Love and Grace,

Mark McGee

GraceLife Ministries

“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

A History of Worship – Pt 5

 

Worship Words

(This study is an expansion of the worship section in my book, “A History of Man’s Quest for Immortality,” Fifth Estate Publishing, 2007)

The desire of God’s heart is to give of Himself to others. He created the Universe for us. He created the Earth for us. He created us. What God asks for from us in return is our love, obedience and worship.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. ‘And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.” Deuteronomy 6:4-6
“Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22
“(for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God).” Exodus 34:14
God wants our worship and He does not want His people worshiping anyone or anything else. His Name is Jealous (Hebrew El Kanno). Remember that the Bible is God’s Revelation. He reveals Himself to the world – letting us know Who and What He is. Here are 100 of the names God used in His Word to reveal Himself to the human race. The names are Hebrew unless identified otherwise.
  1. The most sacred, unutterable Name of God (He was, He is, He will be) – YHVH, Jahweh, Yah, Jehovah
  2. YHVH the Holy God – Adonai ha’elohim hakkadosh
  3. YHVH my Holy God – Adonai Elohai Kedoshi
  4. YHVH my Rock and Redeemer – Adonai Tsuri v’go’ali
  5. The NAME – Hashem
  6. GOD (Sacred Name) – Shem Hameforash
  7. I AM THAT I AM – Ehyeh asher Ehyeh
  8. The Excellent One – Hagaon
  9. God is Sovereign (plural form) – El
  10. God (singular form) – Eloah
  11. God is Awesome – Elah (Aramaic)
  12. God is Creator – Elohim, Hayotzer
  13. The LORD our Maker – Adonai Osenu
  14. The Living God – Elohim Chayim
  15. God of the living – Elohim HaChayim
  16. God the Father – Elohim HaAv
  17. God our Father – Elohim Avinu
  18. God in Heaven – Elohim Bashamayim
  19. God of Heaven – Elah Shemaiya (Aramaic)
  20. The God of truth – Elohim Emet
  21. God is Most High – El Elyon
  22. God of gods – Elohei Haelohim & Elah Elahin (Aramaic)
  23. The Spirit of God – Ruach Elohim, Ruach El
  24. The Spirit of the LORD – Ruach Adonai
  25. The Spirit of the LORD God – Ruach Adonai Adonai
  26. The Holy Spirit – Ruach Hakkodesh
  27. God is Mighty – El Gibbor
  28. God is One – El Echad
  29. God is Great – El Haggadol
  30. God is Holy – Hakkadosh
  31. The Holy God – Ha-El Hakkadosh
  32. The Holy One, blessed is He – Hakkadosh Barukh Hu
  33. God is Everlasting – El Olam
  34. The Eternal God – Elohei Kedem
  35. Everlasting Father – Avi’ad
  36. God is All Knowing – El De’ot
  37. God is Awesome – El Hannora
  38. God is Faithful – El Hanne’eman
  39. God is Truth – El Emet
  40. God is Gracious – El Channun
  41. God is Merciful – El malei Rachamim
  42. God is Righteous – El Tsaddik
  43. God is All Sufficient – El Shaddai
  44. God is Jealous – El Kanno
  45. Just One – Yashar
  46. The God of Justice – Elohei Mishpat
  47. The God of All Glory – El Hakkavod
  48. King of Glory – Melekh HaKvod
  49. The God of heights – Elohei Marom
  50. God of my strength – El Sali, Elohei Ma’uzzi
  51. God of my salvation – El Yeshuati
  52. God of our salvation – El Yeshuatenu
  53. The God of my praise – Elohei Tehillati
  54. The God Who is near – Elohei Mikkarov
  55. The God Who is far – Elohei Merachok
  56. The God Who sees me – El Roi
  57. The God of my life – El Chaiyai
  58. God of Compassion – El Rachum
  59. God of my Kindness – Elohei Chasdi
  60. The God of the Heavens – El Hashamayim
  61. The God of rock – Elohei Tzur
  62. The God of Israel – El Yisrael, Elah Yisrael (Aramaic)
  63. King of Israel – Melekh Yisrael
  64. Light of Israel – ‘Or Yisrael
  65. The Holy One of Israel – K’dosh Yisrael, El k’dosh Yisrael
  66. God of Jerusalem – Elah Yerushelem (Aramaic)
  67. The God of forgiveness – Eloah Selichot
  68. The LORD (Master, Owner) – Adonai
  69. The LORD God – Adonai Adonai
  70. The LORD your God – Adonai Eloheikhem
  71. The LORD of Peace – Adonai Shalom
  72. The LORD our Righteousness – Adonai Tzidkenu
  73. The LORD my Rock and Redeemer – Adonai Tsuri v’goali
  74. The LORD my Miracle – Adonai Nissi
  75. The LORD GOD of hosts – Adon Adonai Tseva’ot
  76. The LORD God of Israel – Adonai Elohei Yisrael
  77. The LORD your Sanctifier – Adonai Mekaddishkhem
  78. The LORD my Shepherd – Adonai Ro’i
  79. The LORD Who heals you – Adonai Roph’ekha
  80. The God of hosts – Elohei Tseva’ot
  81. LORD of lords – Adonei ha’adonim
  82. The LORD of all the earth – Adon kol-ha’arets
  83. Our God – Eloheynu
  84. God with us – Immanuel
  85. Deliverer – Moshia’
  86. The Savior – Hamoshia’
  87. Salvation – Yeshu’ah
  88. God of Israel the Savior – Elohei Yisrael Moshia’
  89. Mighty One of Jacob – Avir Ya’akov
  90. The Giver of Salvation – Hannoten Teshuah
  91. The Redeemer – Haggo’el
  92. The Redeemer of Israel – Go’el Yisrael
  93. Fortress (Shelter) – Machseh
  94. Refuge (Dwelling Place) – Ma’on
  95. Light of the Nations – ‘Or Goyim
  96. Wonderful Counselor – Peleh Yo’etz
  97. Prince of Peace – Sar Shalom
  98. Messiah – M’shicho, Shiloh
  99. Messiah the Prince – Mashiach Nagid
  100. Jesus the Messiah – Yeshua Hammashiach

The worship of Israel was based on God revealing Himself to His people. God revealed Himself first to Abraham, then to his son Isaac and to Isaac’s son Jacob. One of God’s Names is The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Elohei Avraham elohei Yitschak elohei Ya’akov).The names God gave to His children also tell us more about the worship relationship they had with God. We’ve already seen that the name Abraham meant “father of many” and Isaac meant “laughter”. Isaac and his wife Rebekah had twin sons who they named Esau and Jacob. Esau (“hairy”) was the older son, Jacob (“heel catcher, supplanter”) was the younger son. Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for food and Jacob tricked his father into giving him the first-born blessing. Jacob later wrestled with God and the Lord changed his name to Israel. The name Israel is a combination of the words isra (strive, power, rule) and el (God) and demonstrated God’s intention to rule and bless the world through the lineage of Jacob.

Jacob was the father of 12 sons and one daughter.

  1. Reuben
  2. Simeon
  3. Levi
  4. Judah
  5. Dan
  6. Naphtali
  7. Gad
  8. Asher
  9. Issachar
  10. Zebulun
  11. Dinah
  12. Joseph
  13. Benjamin
God chose Jacob (Israel) to be the one who would receive His special blessing and through whom He would eventually rule the world. Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world would come through Jacob’s line. That raises the question  – what happened to the rest of Abraham’s children and grandchildren? They all lived in proximity to Jacob and his sons and would interact with Israel for generations. You may recognize some of the names from your studies in the Old Testament. It’s important in a study of worship to note which sons and tribes came directly from the line of Abraham and which came from the people who lived in Canaan before Abraham arrived. God promised certain blessings to the offspring of Abraham, even though He chose only one son to carry the Seed – from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob to Judah.
  1. Abraham’s sons: Ishmael (by Hagar), Isaac (by Sarah), Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah (by Keturah)
  2. Abraham’s grandsons: The 12 sons of Ishmael – Nebajoth, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadar, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah (by mother from Egypt, name unknown) … Isaac’s 2 sons – Esau and Jacob (by Rebekah) … Jokshan’s 2 sons – Sheba and Dedan (mother unknown) … Midian’s 5 sons – Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abidah and Eldaah (mother unknown)
  3. Abraham’s great-grandsons: Esau’s (also known as Edom) sons – Eliphaz (by Adah daughter of Elon the Hittite), Reuel (by Basemath, daughter of Ishmael), Jeush, Jaalam and Korah (by Aholibamah the daughter of Anah) …  Jacob’s 12 sons – Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Issachar and Zebulun (by Leah), Joseph and Benjamin (by Rachel), Dan and Naphtali (by Bilhah), Gad and Asher (by Zilpah) … Dedan’s 3 sons – Asshurim, Letushim and Leummim (mother unknown) … Midian’s 5 sons- Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abidah and Eldaah (mother unknown) …
We could continue with this list for a long time because the Bible is quite specific about the lineage of Abraham – as it should be since God promised blessings to Abraham’s children and children’s children for generations. Christians often ask why the Bible is filled with so many lists of names. One reason is how those names establish the lineage of God’s Promises to His people. Whenever you see God become very detailed in revealing something, take note. The Bible is God’s Holy Word and He didn’t waste a word or a letter. The Bible is God’s Revelation of Himself and He shows us those things that are important to Him. And if it’s important to God, it’s important to us. For the purpose of this study about the history of worship, we will focus on the line that carried the Seed that would be the Salvation of God to the world. The lineage of Israel would be the line of worship that God would receive from the human race, and none other.
The first chapter of the Book of Matthew, the most Hebrew of the Gospel accounts, contains a list of names proving that God kept His specific Promise of the Seed to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. It is an unbroken line from Abraham to Joseph, the husband of  the Virgin Mary, the mother of God’s Son. (Click here for more about the miraculous Virgin Birth of Jesus the Messiah of Israel.)
“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon begot Rehoboam, Rehoboam begot Abijah, and Abijah begot Asa. Asa begot Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begot Joram, and Joram begot Uzziah. Uzziah begot Jotham, Jotham begot Ahaz, and Ahaz begot Hezekiah. Hezekiah begot Manasseh, Manasseh begot Amon, and Amon begot Josiah. Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon. And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel begot Abiud, Abiud begot Eliakim, and Eliakim begot Azor. Azor begot Zadok, Zadok begot Achim, and Achim begot Eliud. Eliud begot Eleazar, Eleazar begot Matthan, and Matthan begot Jacob. And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ. So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.” Matthew 1:1-17
We see the power of God’s Will concerning the Seed Promise played out in the life of Joseph, one of Jacob’s youngest sons. Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him because of how Jacob loved him. They conspired to kill Joseph and tell their father that a wild animal had killed him. However, Reuben, the oldest of the brothers, suggested they throw Joseph in a pit. The brothers sold Joseph to a group of Ishmaelites (lineage of Ishmael, the brother of Isaac) and Midianites (lineage of Esau, the brother of Jacob) who sold Joseph into slavery in Egypt. God used the lineage of Ishmael and Esau – also from the lineage of Abraham – to bring about His Will in the life of Israel.
As we know from Genesis 39 – 48, Joseph went on to become second in command to Egypt’s Pharaoh and provided for his father and brothers from the great famine that devastated Egypt and Canaan. The day came when God was ready to reunite Joseph with his father and brothers. The Lord used the widespread famine to do that.
“When Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, Jacob said to his sons, ‘Why do you look at one another?’ And he said, ‘Indeed I have heard that there is grain in Egypt; go down to that place and buy for us there, that we may live and not die.’ So Joseph’s ten brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt. But Jacob did not send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with his brothers, for he said, ‘Lest some calamity befall him.’ And the sons of Israel went to buy grain among those who journeyed, for the famine was in the land of Canaan.” Genesis 42:1-5
Isn’t that interesting! Jacob and his family were in trouble. They needed food. Jacob (Israel) was God’s chosen one to carry the Seed of Salvation to the world. How would God provide and protect Israel? He sent Joseph ahead of his family to prepare the way. Egypt had grain because God gave Joseph the interpretation of pharaoh’s dream. Do you see the power of that? Everything looked so bad to Jacob for so many years. He thought Joseph had been killed by a wild beast. He had grieved and mourned for Joseph for years, not knowing that God was going to use a living Joseph to save his family from starvation. Wow! What a God we serve!
Joseph recognized his brothers when they came to him to buy grain, but they did not recognize him. Many years had passed and Joseph had become a strong man in Egypt. The brothers took the grain back to their father, Jacob, but the grain soon ran out. They had to make another trip to Egypt to buy more grain. It’s interesting to see what Judah said to his father, since Judah now carried the Seed that would bring salvation to the world.
“Now the famine was severe in the land. And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the grain which they had brought from Egypt, that their father said to them, ‘Go back, buy us a little food.’ But Judah spoke to him, saying, ‘The man solemnly warned us, saying, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.’ If you send our brother with us, we will go down and buy you food. But if you will not send him, we will not go down; for the man said to us, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.’” Genesis 43:1-5
Joseph’s plan was to get his entire family to come to Egypt. He wanted to see his brother Benjamin (they had the same mother) and his father. That second reunion led to Joseph revealing himself to all his brothers. Joseph also revealed how God had worked out everything out for His Purpose.
“Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am Joseph; does my father still live?’ But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed in his presence. And Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Please come near to me.’ So they came near. Then he said: ‘I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.” Genesis 45:3-8
What wisdom that is for us! We may see disaster and defeat, but God sees a great victory in our lives as we obey His Will. Joseph’s brothers returned to the land of Canaan to tell Jacob that Joseph was still alive. The news revived Jacob’s spirit and he determined to go to Egypt to see Joseph before he (Jacob) died. As Jacob traveled to Egypt, he stopped to worship God. That’s when God revealed more of His plan to make Israel into a great nation.
“So Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. Then God spoke to Israel in the visions of the night, and said, ‘Jacob, Jacob!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ So He said, ‘I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will put his hand on your eyes.’ Then Jacob arose from Beersheba; and the sons of Israel carried their father Jacob, their little ones, and their wives, in the carts which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. So they took their livestock and their goods, which they had acquired in the land of Canaan, and went to Egypt, Jacob and all his descendants with him. His sons and his sons’ sons, his daughters and his sons’ daughters, and all his descendants he brought with him to Egypt.” Genesis 46:1-7
God’s prophecy to Jacob that He would make Israel into a great nation was quite interesting in light of the fact that the total number of people who went with Jacob to Egypt was just 70. That’s right! God started building the Nation of Israel with just 70 people. Generations later, Israel would become one of the mightiest nations on earth. Interestingly, Jacob sent Judah (who would carry the Promised Seed forward) to meet with Joseph about the family moving to Goshen. Joseph took care of all the details and continued to provide for his family’s needs until the end of his life.
Israel would grow into a great nation of people in Egypt, but their greatest days were yet to come when God would call them out of Egypt to return to the land He had given Abraham many years before. God would call them out to be His people and worship and serve Him forever.
(You can read more about Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and the children of Israel in Egypt on pages 270 – 282, and 562 – 586 of “A History of Man’s Question for Immortality”)

In Christ’s Love and Grace,

Mark McGee

GraceLife Ministries

“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.””


A History of Worship – Pt 4

 

Worship Words

(This study is an expansion of the worship section in my book, “A History of Man’s Quest for Immortality,” Fifth Estate Publishing, 2007)

God loves promises! He loves to make them to people – and keep them. Abraham is an excellent example of how God makes and keeps promises to people. God promised Abraham land and He’s keeping that promise to this day – no matter how hard the nations of the world try to remove Israel from their land. God promised Abraham that he would be the father of God’s chosen people –  and Christians and Jews are witness to God keeping that promise.

We pick up the History of Worship in Genesis 18. Abraham saw three men standing by him. He rose to greet them. One of the men standing before Abraham was the Lord. Abraham offered to bring them food and water and give them rest from their journey. The Lord asked Abraham about Sarah. Abraham told Him that Sarah was in the tent. Then, the Lord restated the promise He had made to Abraham about a son who would come from Abraham and Sarah – “I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.” (Genesis 18:10) Sarah was listening from inside the tent and laughed when the Lord said that she would become pregnant and give birth to a son – “After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” (Genesis 18:12) The Lord heard Sarah and asked a penetrating question that is at the heart of faith worship – “Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.” (Genesis 18:14)

Is anything too hard for the LORD? This is the question God asked Abraham and Sarah. It is not a human question that needs human consideration to find an appropriate answer. This is a rhetorical question from God. Is anything too hard for the Lord? Of course it isn’t. God can do anything He wants. God said that Sarah would have a son – and she did!

“And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as He had spoken. For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him—whom Sarah bore to him—Isaac. Then Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, ‘God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me.’ She also said, ‘Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age.” Genesis 21:1-7

Abraham was 99-years-old when God gave him the Covenant of Circumcision (Genesis 17) and 100-years-old when Isaac was born. That’s a year later – which means Abraham was circumcised in obedience to God’s command prior to conceiving Isaac with Sarah. What happened in the year between circumcision and the birth of Isaac is also very interesting. In that period of one year, Abraham and the Lord had their discussion about finding righteous people in Sodom (Genesis 18:16-33); God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, but saved Lot and his daughters (Genesis 19:1-29); and Abraham and Sarah lied to Abimelech the king of Gerar, but God protected them (Genesis 20:1-18).

The day came and Sarah gave birth to Isaac, the son God had promised Abraham many years before. It was a happy time for the family that led up to a great feast on the day Isaac was weaned from being nursed by Sarah. But Sarah saw Abraham’s son Ishmael scoffing and told Abraham to cast out the boy and his mother, Hagar. Abraham didn’t like that because of his feelings toward Ishmael, but God supported Sarah’s feelings and gave Abraham another insight to how important Isaac would be – “But God said to Abraham, ‘Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called.” (Genesis 21:12) God also told Abraham that Ishmael would become the father of a nation of people because he was Abraham’s son. However, Isaac was the son of God’s Promise.

Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael away from him and she and the boy wandered in the wilderness until she thought they would die. God opened Hagar’s eyes to see a nearby well and she had water for herself and her son. God was with Ishmael and he grew up in the wilderness and became an archer. Hagar returned to Egypt, the land of her birth, and found a wife for Ishmael. Abraham made a covenant with Abimelech and lived in the land of the Philistines for many years (Genesis 21:22-34).

Abraham’s journey of faith was not finished. God had much more to teach him about what it meant to be the father of the promised people of God. A major part of God’s Promise was redemption and salvation. Abraham understood that God had given him Isaac to be his heir and part of the larger promise of a great nation that would belong to God. However, faith in God is often tested to see what kind of faith it is.

“Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ Then He said, ‘Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.’ So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.’ So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, ‘My father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ Then he said, ‘Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?’ And Abraham said, ‘My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.’ So the two of them went together. Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.” Genesis 22:1-10

Do you see the confidence Abraham had in God’s Promise? I don’t think it was easy for Abraham to do what God told him to do, but he did it. And look at what Abraham told the young men who had gone with him and Isaac – “the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” Abraham was not misleading his servants. He and Isaac were going to worship God and they both were going to come back. But didn’t God tell Abraham to offer Isaac as a burnt offering? How could Abraham have seen that as worship? How could he have believed that Isaac would return with him after being offered as a burnt offering? Abraham had a faith that went beyond what he could see with his eyes and hear with his ears. He had walked with God long enough to know that God could do anything He wanted to do and would keep His Promise. Abraham believed that God could raise Isaac from the dead if necessary – “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called,’ concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.” (Hebrews 11:17-18) God blessed Abraham’s faithfulness and saved Isaac by supplying another sacrifice, just as Abraham had said – “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.”

God did just that – He provided another sacrifice and blessed Abraham for his faith. And in blessing Abraham, the Lord promised that in his seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed – “because you have obeyed My voice.”

“But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ So he said, ‘Here I am.’ And He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.’ Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, ‘In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided.’ Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: ‘By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.’ So Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.” Genesis 22:11-19

Do you see the process of faith worship in Abraham’s life? God told Abram what was going to happen when He first called him to go to a land He would show him – “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you  And make your name great;  And you shall be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:2) Abram heard God, obeyed God and took his first step of faith. Abram moved his wife, nephew, the people who were them and all their possessions to the land God showed him. When Abram arrived in the land of Canaan, God appeared to Abram again – “To your descendants I will give this land.’ And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.” Abram heard, believed, obeyed and took his second step of faith – he built an altar to the Lord and worshiped Him there. God tested Abraham’s faith and he took his third step of faith – he took his only son Isaac to offer him to God as a burnt offering in obedience to God’s command. As we’ve seen from our study so far, Abraham did not have all the answers to how God was going to do what He was going to do to bring about all the promises He had made to Abraham. Abraham heard God, believed God, obeyed God, and worshiped God. That’s what God wants from all His children – faith, obedience and worship.

We see that process repeated throughout the Bible – with all of God’s children of faith. We see it with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Deborah, Ruth, David, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Peter, Paul, and all those who heard God, believed God, obeyed God and worshiped God.

(You can read more about Abraham’s adventures with God on pages 532 – 562 in “A History of Man’s Quest for Immorality.”)

In Christ’s Love and Grace,Mark McGee

GraceLife Ministries

“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

Do We Have To Go To Church To Worship God?

Do We Have To Go To Church

What’s the big deal about going to church to worship God? We can worship Him in private – right?

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that from people, but it’s a lot. Here’s the most used line people have given me about why they don’t go to church: “I don’t have to go to church to worship God. I can worship Him in the woods.” My response – “Do you? Do you go into the woods to worship God?” Their response is usually that it’s none of my business. In other words – “no.” People who don’t go to church usually don’t worship God anywhere else. Not that they can’t worship God outside of a church environment – they just don’t.

People can worship God in private – in the woods or on a beach or a mountain top – and they should. I wrote about that last week (The Strength To Go On). Private worship is vital to the Christian life, but that’s not where God says we should stop in our worship of Him. He also wants us to gather with other believers and join in corporate worship. How do I know that? In the words of a children’s song – “The Bible tells me so.”

The worship of God began in Heaven – long before God created the earth and people. Who were those first worshipers of God? Angels! I love to read about angelic worship of God because it’s a beautiful thing to see – and hear. I’ve often said that Heaven is very “noisy place.” Thousands, possibly millions, of angels singing at the top of their lungs, playing trumpets, shouting out the great news about the Holiness of God.

“Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights! Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts! Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all you stars of light!” Psalm 148:1-3

So, what about when God created the earth and people to inhabit it? Was worship on His Mind? Absolutely! God created human beings to worship Him on earth in a similar way to how angels worship God in Heaven. Remember that God made humans “just a little lower than the angels” and “crowned him with glory and honor.” (Psalm 8:5) Even though Satan sinned against God in Heaven and Adam sinned against God on earth, worship is still foremost in God’s Mind and Heart today and it’s been that way for thousands of years.

Corporate worship on earth had its beginning with the family of man. Adam and Eve led Cain, Abel, Seth and their other sons and daughters to worship God. Fathers and mothers through history have told their children about God and what He has said and would lead them to worship God. This family worship of the True God developed alongside the worship of false gods in ancient temples around the world. People would make wooden and stone images of their gods, place them in elaborately decorated shrines and temples and pray to them. Ancient people even dressed their wooden and stone gods in clothing, left food and water for them, and gave them baths. (You can read more about how ancient civilizations worshiped their gods in my book, “A History of Man’s Quest for Immortality.”) The True God continued to meet with His people privately and in the family structure. That’s what you’ll find in the lineage of Seth, Noah and Abraham: individuals and families worshiping the True God.

God led Jacob and his family from the land of Canaan to Egypt to provide for them during a great famine that plagued that part of the world for seven years. The Lord did all of that through the obedience of one man – Joseph – one of Jacob’s 12 sons. The Book of Genesis tells us that the number of people in Jacob’s family at that time were 70. Jacob, also known as Israel, died in Egypt. So did Joseph and all of his brothers and their wives and children. In fact, the people of Israel lived in Egypt for about 400 years. Those years were good at the beginning, but bad at the end. The children of Israel had the promises God had given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and they worshiped God, but they also lived in a civilization that worshiped hundreds of gods and many of the Israelites participated in that worship as well.

When life in Egypt became unbearable, the people of Israel cried out to God to deliver them and He heard them. God called to Moses from a burning bush and told him what He was going to do for His people:

“Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” Exodus 3:9-10

What was God’s Purpose in bringing His people out of Egypt? Service and worship – “When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” (Exodus 3:12) What did God tell Moses to say to pharaoh about letting the Israelites leave Egypt? – “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD: ‘Israel is My son, My firstborn. So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me.” (Exodus 4:22-23). Moses and his brother Aaron met with the people of Israel in Egypt and told them that God was going to deliver them out of the wicked hand of pharaoh. What did they do when they heard that? “So the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel and that He had looked on their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped.” (Exodus 4:31)

God called Israel out of Egypt for the purpose of serving and worshiping Him. The children of Israel were familiar with their family worship and the temple and tomb (pyramid) worship of the Egyptians, but they had never experienced the kind of worship God was going to teach them in the desert. I highly recommend that you read through the Books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Make a note of every verse of Scripture that deals with Israel’s worship and service to God. It is stunning! Most of what God taught and commanded the children of Israel in the desert dealt with two primary principles: love God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength and love their neighbor as themselves. God told them to fear Him and obey all His commandments – “that it might be well with them and with their children forever!” (Deuteronomy 5:29)

What kind of corporate worship did God design for the children of Israel? It was quite elaborate and surrounded the concepts of covenants, sacrifices and offerings along with the amazing Presence of God with His people. God provided for the people’s needs and protected them from their enemies. That was God’s part of His Covenant with them. The people’s part was to obey God’s Law and be faithful to Him.

“And God spoke all these words, saying: ‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image—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. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” Exodus 20:1-6

God is Jealous (Hebrew – El Kanno) and demands faithfulness from His people. That is an important aspect of worship that has not changed in the 3,500 years since God gave His Law to Israel. The Lord God will not share the worship of His people with any other god.

Holiness – being set apart for sacred service – is a key element in Exodus. Moses ascended Mount Sinai to hear from God about how the people of Israel would worship the Lord. God spoke to Moses for 40 days and 40 nights as the Lord laid out in great detail how the people would make sacrifices and offerings to Him and how they would build a sacred place (tabernacle sanctuary) where God would dwell among them. This special place would contain insights for the people of Israel about Heaven.

The offerings began with the materials for the tabernacle: gold, silver, bronze, blue, purple, scarlet thread, fine linen, goats’ hair, fam skins, dyed red, badger skins, acacia wood, oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil and sweet incense, onyx stones, stones to be set in the ephod and in the priest’s breastplate.

Next was the building of the Ark of the Covenant from acacia wood – 2 1/2 cubits long, 1 1/2 cubits wide, 1 1/2 cubits high – overlaid with pure gold inside and out with a molding of gold all around, cast with four rings of gold for the four corners, holes in the rings on the sides of the ark so the ark could be carried by poles that were not to be taken out. The Ark would hold the Covenant that God would give Moses.

Next was the Mercy Seat made of pure gold – 2 1/2 cubits long and 1 1/2 cubits wide – and two cherubim made of gold that would be at two ends of the Mercy Seat. The wings of the cherubim would stretch out and cover the Mercy Seat. The faces of the cherubim would face each other, toward the Mercy Seat. The Mercy Seat would be placed on top of the Ark of the Covenant.

“And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.” Exodus 25:22

The Lord continued to give Moses details for the building of the Table of Showbread – along with it dishes, pans, pitchers and bowls, all to be made with pure gold – the Golden Lampstand – also made of pure gold – along with branches, bowls, knobs, lamps, wick-trimmers, and trays – all made of pure gold – the Curtains of Linen, the Curtains of Goat’s Hair (“to be a tent over the tabernacle”) – Boards and Sockets for the Tabernacle, overlaid with gold – the Veil hung on four pillars of acacia wood overlaid with gold, with hooks made of gold and sockets of silver.

“And you shall hang the veil from the clasps. Then you shall bring the ark of the Testimony in there, behind the veil. The veil shall be a divider for you between the holy place and the Most Holy.” Exodus 26:33

There’s more – a lot more – about a screen for the door of the Tabernacle, a Bronze Altar, the Courts of the Tabernacle, the Gate of the Court and Oil for the Lamp.

Then comes details about the Priesthood of Israel with their special garments. Why? For their sacred service to the Almighty God.

“Now take Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister to Me as priest, Aaron and Aaron’s sons: Nadab, Abihu, Elemazar, and Ithamar. And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. So you shall speak to all who are gifted artisans, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments, to consecrate him, that he may minister to Me as priest. And these are the garments which they shall make: a breastplate, an ephod, a robe, a skillfully woven tunic, a turban, and a sash. So they shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons, that he may minister to Me as priest.” Exodus 28:1-4

What’s this all about? Holiness to the Lord God of Israel! Everything about worship is about God. The high priest of Israel had to be clothed appropriately to go into the Presence of God to present Him with the offerings of His people.

“You shall make the robe of the ephod all of blue. There shall be an opening for his head in the middle of it; it shall have a woven binding all around its opening, like the opening in a coat of mail, so that it does not tear. And upon its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet, all around its hem, and bells of gold between them all around: a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe all around. And it shall be upon Aaron when he ministers, and its sound will be heard when he goes into the holy place before the LORD and when he comes out, that he may not die. ‘You shall also make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet: HOLINESS TO THE LORD. And you shall put it on a blue cord, that it may be on the turban; it shall be on the front of the turban. So it shall be on Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD.” Exodus 28:31-38

The pattern God gave Moses for the Tabernacle was a foreshadowing of the Person and Ministry of Jesus Christ.

“Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, ‘See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.’ But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.” Hebrews 8:1-6

The Book of Hebrews is amazing in its insight into why God did what He did the way He did. I highly recommend every Christian take 6 months to a year and study Hebrews alongside of Exodus. You will see God’s Plan for the ages in a new light. The Tabernacle comes alive with phenomenal meaning to every believer. Here are some thoughts from Hebrews 9 –

” … the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience— concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation.” vss 8-10

The Tabernacle with its blood sacrifices, washings and ordinances could not cleanse the conscience – could not save the soul. It was a type, a figure, of Christ Who would come to cleanse and save.

“But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” vss 11-14

The earthly Tabernacle was a figure of what Christ would do on earth and in Heaven.

“For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. Therefore not even the first covenantwas dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, ‘This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.’ Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another— He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” vss 16-28

Jesus entered Heaven to appear in the Presence of God for us! He is the great Mediator through His own Blood. Keep these verses, along with what Moses wrote in Exodus, in mind as we look at the Tabernacle, what was in it, and how all of it pointed to the coming of the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world!

Jesus told His disciples that He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one could come to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). This pattern – Way, Truth, Life – is found in the Tabernacle.

The Tabernacle area was divided into three parts:    1) Outer Court     2) Holy Place     3) Most Holy Place

1) The Outer Court contained the Brazen Altar for the blood sacrifice of an unblemished offering. Surrounding the Outer Court was a great Fence that no one could enter – unless they came through the one opening God provided. The Gate to the Outer Court was only 30 feet wide – “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14) The Gate that led to the Tabernacle was narrow- and it was the only way in – Jesus is God’s only Way to salvation – “No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The Brazen Altar was open to all of the people, but only the priests of Aaron’s lineage could make the offerings. The Hebrew root for “altar” means “to slay, slaughter.” The Latin word “alta” means “high.” The Brazen Altar was placed on a mound higher than the surrounding area – a pre-figure of Jesus being “lifted up” – “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.’ This He said, signifying by what death He would die.” (John 12:31-33)

The priests used the Laver for cleansing after the death of the sacrifice – a cleansing that set apart for holy service what was cleaned. They washed before entering the Holy Place. Jesus does the same for Christians – “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27) Jesus shed His Blood for us on the Altar of the Cross, then sanctified and cleansed us with the washing of water by the Word. Because of Jesus, we appear holy and without blemish to the Father. The Laver was located half way between the Brazen Altar and the Holy Place.

Entrance —–> Brazen Altar —–> Laver ——> Holy Place

2) The Holy Place contained the Table of Showbread, Candlestick, and Altar of Incense. The Holy Place was where the priests communed with God through these three types of Christ.

The Table of Showbread was food for the priests – even as Jesus was the Bread of Life – “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ Then they said to Him, ‘Lord, give us this bread always.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” (John 6:32-35) The Table of Showbread was placed on the right side of the Holy Place and held 12 loaves of Bread – one for each of the 12 tribes of Israel. The priests baked the Bread with fine flour and placed it on the Table for a week. The priests removed the Bread from the Table every Sabbath Day and ate it in the Holy Place, because the Bread was holy. The priests then baked new Bread and placed the 12 fresh loaves on the Table of Showbread for another week. The Showbread was also known as the “Bread of the Presence” because it was always to be in the presence of the Lord. “Breaking bread” has long been a vital part of fellowship and communion in the human experience – and so it is with God. We fellowship with Him through His Son – the Bread of Life.

The Golden Lampstand (also known as Golden Candlestick and Menorah) stood at the left side of the Holy Place. Artisans hammered it from one piece of pure gold – one central branch with three branches extending from each side for a total of seven branches. The branches looked the branch of an almond tree with buds, blossoms and flowers. There were seven lamps with wicks and olive oil on top of the branches. The priests were to keep the lamps burning continuously. The Golden Lampstand was the only light for the priests in the Holy Place – prefiguring Jesus Christ – “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12) The Prophet John said this of Jesus – “That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.” (John 1:9) The Apostle Paul wrote this about those who believe in Jesus Christ – “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” (Ephesians 5:8)

The Altar of Incense sat in front of the Curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. Four Horns came out of the four corners of the Altar. The priests burned Incense on the Altar at the same time of the daily burnt offerings – morning and evening – as they interceded with God on behalf of the people of Israel. Fire was brought from the Brazen Altar to burn incense on the Altar of Incense. The Incense was to burn continually as a pleasing aroma to God – “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16) The priests placed blood on each of the four Horns once a year on the Day of Atonement.

Altar of Incense

|                              |

|                              |

Golden             Table

Lampstand   of Showbread

3) The Most Holy Place was where God lived with His people – the Life of God shared with His people. God appeared to Israel as a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night – above the Most Holy Place. Only one human being was allowed to enter into the Most Holy Place and live – and that just once a year. It was the Place where God accepted the offering the high priest brought to God on the Day of Atonement.  The thick curtain separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place was known as the Veil. It was thick and made of fine linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn. Figures of Cherubim Angels were embroidered on the Veil. The word “veil” in Hebrew means a “divider that hides.” The veil hid the people of Israel from the Presence of God. It was a barrier, a divider, for hundreds of years – until Jesus came as the Lamb of God. The death of Jesus Christ tore down the barrier Veil and opened the way to the Life of God – “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised.” (Matthew 27:50-52) The Veil was torn in two from top to bottom – God tore down the barrier from Heaven to earth. In Christ we have access to God – “And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” (Ephesians 2:17-19)

Inside the Most Holy Place were the Ark of the Covenant, the Mercy Seat, and the Golden Cherubim.

The Ark contained the Golden Pot of MannaAaron’s Staff that had budded, and the Stone Commandment Tablets God gave Moses. These three items were representative of the Grace of God in the life of Israel. The Ark of the Covenant was where sin met Justice and Mercy. The people of Israel complained about not having enough to eat in the desert, so God fed them Manna from Heaven. The people complained about having to eat the Manna. God had mercy on His people, but they complained. Aaron’s Staff was a reminder of the rebellion of the people of Israel against their high priest, Aaron. God again had mercy on the people and demonstrated that His choice of Aaron as high priest was right. God then directed Moses to place Aaron’s staff inside the Ark – “And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Bring Aaron’s rod back before the Testimony, to be kept as a sign against the rebels, that you may put their complaints away from Me, lest they die.” (Numbers 17:10) The Stone Commandment Tablets were a reminder to the people of Israel that they were sinners in need of God’s forgiveness because they continually failed to obey God’s Word – even though they had all promised they would.

The Mercy Seat was made of pure gold and covered the Ark of the Covenant and the holy items in it. It was the most valuable of all the vessels in the Tabernacle. It represented God’s Mercy that covered the sin of His people, Israel. It prefigured Jesus Christ – Who is the Mercy Seat for His people. “For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:22-26

The Golden Cherubim sat on top of the Mercy Seat and Ark. They were “guardian” angels who supported the Throne of God in Heaven. The images of the Cherubim represented the Holiness and Righteousness of God. They also represented the Guardian Angels God placed at the entrance to the Garden of Eden to keep Adam and Eve and their family of humans from eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and living forever in their sin.

Chapter after chapter after chapter in the Old Testament – hundreds of verses – thousands of words – all about the explicit details of how Israel was to worship their God. Amazing! What God was doing with the children of Israel was bringing a glimpse of Heaven down to earth. For the next 500 years, Israel would carry the Tabernacle from one place to another as God moved His people closer to His permanent home on earth – the Temple of God. We’ll see how Israel worshiped God there in our next study.

Blessings! I pray you enjoy your worship of the One True God.

In Christ’s Love and Grace,

Mark McGee

GraceLife Ministries

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

Worship is Personal and Corporate

Worship Words

Worship is fun! I mean that, seriously. It is fun. Some of the best times I’ve ever had in my Christian life have happened during worship. I have laughed, cried and felt a wide range of emotions during worship. That goes for personal and corporate worship.

Personal Worship

This is between me and God. It’s my private time with the Lord of Heaven. Personal worship is about love and hope, devotion and great joy. The Bible gives us so many examples of believers praying, singing, rejoicing, and enjoying their time with God. People bow before Him. They express their love for Him. They shower Him with adulation and praise.

One of the most beautiful stories about personal worship is in Genesis 22. It’s the story of Abraham and Isaac, a father and his only son. God asked Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice and Abraham went up into the mountain to “worship” God. It is also a beautiful picture of the love God has for the world and how He provided the ultimate Sacrifice: His Only Son. Look as Abraham laid the wood of the sacrifice on Isaac’s shoulders, even as God would later lay the wood of the Sacrifice on the shoulders of Jesus, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. Note also that the mountain where this happened was in the “land of Moriah.” According to 2 Chronicles 3:1, Mount Moriah is where King Solomon built the Temple of the Lord. It’s where the Lord appeared to his father David, “at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.” Mount Moriah is an elongated ridge and may have also been the location of Christ’s crucifixion. Mount Zion and the Mount of Olives are nearby. How appropriate that the mountain God told Abraham to take Isaac to sacrifice would later be the place of both the worship of God by Israel and the Sacrifice of the Son of God on the Cross. What significance this place has for personal worship.

“Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ Then He said, ‘Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.’  So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.’ So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, ‘My father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ Then he said, ‘Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?’ And Abraham said, ‘My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.’ So the two of them went together. Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ So he said, ‘Here I am.’ And He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.’ Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, ‘In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided.’ Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: ‘By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.’ So Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.”

Corporate Worship

Mount Moriah is also the location of Solomon’s Temple, also known as the Holy Temple (Hebrew – Beit HaMikdash – House of the Holy). The corporate worship of Israel began in the desert between Egypt and the Promised Land as the people of God followed Moses and the Cloud of God. Their worship developed further in the Tabernacle as they worshiped God through sacrifice and obedience to God’s Law. Hundreds of years later God directed King Solomon in the building of the permanent structure of holy worship known as the Holy Temple.

Corporate worship has always been important to God and His people. It’s about God’s chosen standing, kneeling, bowing and lying prostrate together in heart-felt agreement about the Greatness and Holiness of God. It was a place of gladness and rejoicing for the provision and protection of God.

“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the LORD.’ Our feet have been standing Within your gates, O Jerusalem! Jerusalem is built As a city that is compact together, Where the tribes go up, The tribes of the LORD, To the Testimony of Israel, To give thanks to the name of the LORD. For thrones are set there for judgment, The thrones of the house of David. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, Prosperity within your palaces.’ For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, ‘Peace be within you.’ Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek your good.” Psalm 122

The Lord did not allow David to build His Temple, but gave that work to David’s son, Solomon. Look at the deep burden Solomon had for a sanctified place to worship the Almighty Creator of the Universe.

“Then Solomon sent to Hiram king of Tyre, saying: As you have dealt with David my father, and sent him cedars to build himself a house to dwell in, so deal with me. Behold, I am building a temple for the name of the LORD my God, to dedicate it to Him, to burn before Him sweet incense, for the continual showbread, for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the Sabbaths, on the New Moons, and on the set feasts of the LORD our God. This is an ordinance forever to Israel. And the temple which I build will be great, for our God is greater than all gods.” 2 Chronicles 2:3-5

One of the saddest experiences in the history of God’s people was the destruction of the Holy Temple. How heartbreaking that must have been for those who were taken into captivity. Their center of corporate worship was gone. They could still worship God privately, but having the Holy Temple was so important to them and their faith.

One of the happiest experiences in the history of God’s people was the rebuilding of the Holy Temple. How encouraging that must have been for those who returned from captivity to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple. Their center of corporate worship was restored. They could worship God privately and corporately. It was a happy day!

The Holy Temple of God was destroyed again in 70 A.D. when the Roman Army under the leadership of General Titus, son of the Emperor Vespasian, ransacked Jerusalem and tore down the Temple. This was just one generation after Israel rejected Jesus as the Messiah and demanded that Rome kill Him on a Cross. Jesus rose from the dead and gave Israel more opportunities to accept Him as their King, but they refused and killed Christ’s followers. God responded by turning to the Gentiles and offering them salvation. That is the condition Jews and Gentiles find themselves in to this day.

Corporate worship today occurs in hundreds of thousands of Christian assemblies around the world. Millions of God’s people come together on Sundays and many other days of the week to worship together and praise God for all that He does for all of us.

God has not left His people wondering how they should worship Him corporately. The Lord has given us specific instructions about what pleases Him. It is of utmost importance that we obey His Word.

Here’s what Paul wrote to the Corinthians about corporate worship.

“How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church. Or did the word of God come originally from you? Or was it you only that it reached? If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord. But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant. Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:26-40

Corporate worship is a time for God’s people to express their love for God and each other through their spiritual gifts. It’s interesting that God first informed the Corinthians about the proper spiritual conduct for the Lord’s Supper in Chapter 11, the proper use of spiritual gifts in Chapter 12, the proper use of spiritual love in Chapter 13, and the proper use of spiritual worship in Chapter 14. Look at the main points of each chapter:

“In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not!” 1 Corinthians 11:17-22

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,but have not love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

“What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God. Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored. Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.” 1 Corinthians 14:26-40

May it be as God commands in the church. May we be one in spirit and in truth. May our private worship and our corporate worship be a blessing to God and to others.

In Christ’s Love and Grace,

Mark McGee

GraceLife Ministries

“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”