Assembly and Holy PlacesAll right, a little cajoling and we get some serious discussion going. Let’s continue our study of assembly in the Old Testament. Please join in, especially if you spot a mistake!
I want to look at the holy places that God appointed for worship: the tabernacle and the temple. In theory, the activities were to be the same in both. The basic activities (some of this taken from this website: THE ROUTINE SERVICE OF THE TABERNACLE) were:
Daily — The high priest was to replenish the oil-lamps of the seven-branch candlestick, and offer incense before the vail, every morning and evening: and on the great altar, he was to offer a lamb in sacrifice every morning and evening.
Weekly — On the Sabbath day, the daily sacrifice was to be doubled.
Monthly — On the first day of the month there was to be a large addition to the daily sacrifice. There were to be seven lambs, two young bullocks, and one ram, besides the daily lamb of the morning and evening; and these additional burnt offerings were to be accompanied by proportional meat offerings and wine offerings in the quantities specified (Num. 28:11-14) in addition to which, there was to be an offering of one kid of the goats for a sin offering.
In addition, there were annual services related to the feasts, which we discussed in the last post. As for the average worshiper, his interaction with the tabernacle had to do with what is seen in Numbers 29: “In addition to what you vow and your freewill offerings, prepare these for the LORD at your appointed feasts: your burnt offerings, grain offerings, drink offerings and fellowship offerings.” (Numbers 29:39) We see from later use (like Solomon, Daniel, etc.) that the Israelites understood that their prayers were to be directed toward this holy place. They also began to come to the temple to pray there (Luke 18:10). At some point, the Jews developed the practice of three daily times of prayer in the temple, one of which coincided with the evening sacrifice (Acts 3:1).
The primary purpose of the “holy places” was not for assembly, although assembly did take place there. How would you relate all of this to our day? [If you want to discuss “the priesthood of all believers” in relation to this, please include Exodus 19:6 in the discussion] Do the practices and commands surrounding the tabernacle and the temple teach us anything about our worship today, especially our coming together to worship?