Adjust your volume control
The New Jerusalem?
Or, Worshipping Outside the Sanctuary
Is this the Church? If so then it must in some way imitate the City of David and also have something in common with the way Israel worshipped their God.
Many of the early settlers of the New World believed they had found what was to be the New Jerusalem. They thought that this was where God was going to produce the results of that spiritual city that is coming down out of heaven.
Numbers of promises that involve the restoration and salvation of Zion have seemingly not yet come to pass. However, many of our predecessors in the Gospel believed these promises were to the Church. They believed we are Spiritual Israel and the spiritual seed of Abraham. If this is so then Jesus is here in the now in His full glory ruling and reigning in the hearts of believers. Thus the Church, in a tremendous sense, is responsible for world conditions.
I will build on this premise in this article and use the pattern of worship of Israel as it is portrayed in the Bible as a model. I claim, that because we are not following the pattern or types of the OT - is, but one of several reasons, why we are failing to produce a consistent, overcoming, victorious Church.
There were two forms of worship, or two distinct patterns of worship. One was inside the sanctuary the other was outside. One was considered holy, the other was spoken of as being profane. On several occasions God complained against Israel's leaders for not making a difference between the holy and the profane.
The lessons of the OT and their example are, in the NT, said to be examples for us. We are not to fail and be filled with unbelief like they very often were, but we are to emulate that which was found to be good in them.
The 11th chapter of Hebrews tells us of some of the good things they did. Jesus referred several times to other examples.
We are born with natural tensions in our frame.
We each have energy driving us. Some have more then others. This is carnal energy and it needs to be burned while doing something constructive.
The number one thing we are created for is to praise God. Seventy five % of us are not called to be ministers in the same sense as those who are used in preaching, teaching, etc. However, we are to worship and serve God in other ways. We do this in a sense, every day, as we provide for our families. Still there are other forgotten areas of ministry that we are to all take part in.
They are that form of worship that took place in the outer court of the Temple, even out in the public places of the city of Jerusalem and in the towns and villages. It was and is a common and/or lesser form of worship.
Again , God charged priests for making no difference between the holy and the profane. We have come to think that the profane is evil, but this is not so in every case.
That is, it is not evil for the priests to profane the Sabbath as they prepare the sacrifices, but it is evil for us to fail to keep a Sabbath. If we are about doing time consuming and unnecessary things or buying and selling, on that day we have violated it. The priests could kill animals and cook on that day but it was a sin for others to do the same thing. The Sabbath was made for man, that is it is a necessity relative to the human experience. If we are human it is a necessity for us. Now if we have become something like an angelic being we are still in need of a physical material Sabbath for even God is said to have rested on the seventh Day. It is to be a joyful day.
The profane has to do with that which is of lesser importance relative to spiritual service. One woman complained to Christ because her sister was not helping to prepare food. Her sister had chosen to set at Jesus feet and listen to him.
Jesus told the complaining one that her sister had chosen the better part. Was there anything wrong with preparing food? No. Yet, setting down and listening was the more holy of the two choices. The serving was the profane duty. It was not evil, but it was of far less importance then hearing Jesus. We must eat to live, so preparing food is important. The same goes for festivals though they too are a profane ministry.
By our failing to make rejoicing a part of our lives we have lost numbers of people and many have been taken with condemnation, depression and anxiety.
David spoke of entering the gates with praise and thanksgiving.
1. Where were the gates?
2. What does the court refer to?
One of the things that aggravate our mental state into depression is having no way to express our feelings. The remedy is simple.
The number one way to ward off depression is through obedience.
People fool themselves into thinking they are obeying the moral commandments.
Their state of mind proves otherwise, for they end up with aggravating depression and anxiety.
First. In the majority of these cases they have failed to express concern for others through visitation. We are to love and care, for others.
Second. They further fail to express themselves in rejoicing before the Lord. Their praise is limited to an ultra-religious form of worship.
There are few Churches that make a sensible concerted effort toward teaching people about their responsibility to look after the elderly and the indigent. Visitation is like zilch. Families literally hide from their own flesh - if they end up in a rest home.
We are to enjoy worshipping God.
You are to enjoy yourself on the carnal level through a form of worship.
I am speaking of rejoicing before the Lord out side of the walls of the Temple.
1. This when done properly gives everyone an outlet for their profane carnal energy.
2. This activity also has many other benefits.
Read through the following scriptures and notes, then following them I will list some of the precious benefits.
(Notice: The people who were not prepared, or considered unclean, took part. Is there a place for this today? This necessarily must be done in something other then a regular service.)
Please carefully read and consider the following definitions and remarks.
The original definition - The Bible - solemn: 2287 chagag (khaw-gag'); a primitive root [compare 2283, 2328]; properly, to move in a circle, i.e. (specifically) to march in a sacred procession, to observe a festival; by implication, to be giddy:
KJV-- celebrate, dance, (keep, hold) a (solemn) feast (holiday), reel to and fro.
In contrast - The Dictionary of today - solemn adj. 1. Deeply earnest, serious, and sober. 2. Somberly or gravely impressive. 3. Performed with full ceremony. 4. Invoking the force of religion; sacred.
5. Gloomy; somber. --sol"emnĚly adv. --sol"emnĚness
1. Full of or marked by dignity and seriousness:
There is a decided difference between these two definitions. Unfortunately, Christian tradition has brought about the present day observance of this solemn definition.
Vines Bible word study has no entry and most references to this topic eventually refer you to scriptures that deal with lust, etc. As a result we have avoided any forms of worship that have to do with joyful activities outside of the Church proper.
NT texts that refer to examples that point to and are in keeping with the OT form of profane worship.
What was the first recorded miracle that Jesus performed and where? What happened when the prodigal came home?
What did the other brother hear and see? What about the great feast the man made, where he invited all of his friends and relatives and still had room. So he went out into the highways and got more people to attend his time of rejoicing?
What about the way God dealt with Israel in the book Ezekiel. Where he said he found her all bloody and when she grew up he put expensive clothes on her and jewels.
Why, this sounds so carnal. Or does it?
Oh, Oh! - we have the rich young ruler. Jesus told him he lacked one thing. Go and give what he had to the poor and he went away sorrowful.
But then there were women of means who helped support Christ's ministry. (They had their desire set on something other then their wealth.) Jesus dealt with people on the basis of their heart condition. Wealth and good times are in order if they do not come between us and our love for God.
(The bible tells us of people getting together for various reasons - and in some situations they ate together, but only drank water. In other situations they ate and drank and made their hearts merry. Then in other situations there is no mention of their drinking anything, as in Job the last chapter. Then God gave instructions to those who set themselves apart, for a specific reason, to not drink anything from the vine, and clearly says they were to not drink strong drink. Such as a Nazarite vow as in the case of Sampson, etc. The basic implication being that drinking wine, even strong drink, was common, among even the Godly. This has been denied and twisted to the point, in most fellowships, where drinking wine or beer is treated as the same as fornication. Paul told Timothy to drink wine for his health, Jesus made wine that was intoxicating, Paul said that the leaders of the Church were not to be given to drinking a lot of wine. We are also admonished to not get drunk on wine, but to rather be filled with the Spirit, etc.
When a blood test is made they often add dye to it so certain things can be revealed that could not be observed otherwise. Drinking wine and other alcoholic beverages acts similar to that dye. By demanding that the Church completely abstain from drinking any alcoholic beverages we have removed a method of revealing the heart condition of many of those who are intemperate and undisciplined. By allowing drinking - very soon - those who are undisciplined reveal themselves.
Because we live in a fast paced mechanical age, where most people drive, discipline in partaking of alcoholic drinks becomes, in many situations, a matter of life and death.
The fact is - Those who do not discipline themselves in the areas of sex, money, parenting, and drinking, are all - in some measure - threatening some one's life, and this is especially true for spiritual leaders. We need to really know those who work among us.)
Now let me give you an outline of some of the precious benefits of rejoicing outside of the sanctuary.
1. These festivals provide a place for the aspiring musician to get involved.
2. This then encourages them and provides a boot camp from which the musicians for the in Sanctuary music dept. can be taken.
3. This reduces the influence of the worldly music on the youth.
Now wait a minute I am getting ahead of myself.
What is to happen in these festivals?
Well, what was happening around the City of David when the people went there to sacrifice?
Here is a picture of activities following a festival.
They traveled for one day before they noticed he was not with them. This sounds far more involved then a Church camping trip. I will not say that His parents were lax. The spirit of a festival was the atmosphere.
What kind of an atmosphere do you suppose there was around Jerusalem during a festival?
They could buy things to eat that they really had a hankering for. David said they were to enter those gates with praise. They must have done a lot of singing and dancing and maybe some shopping? Yes, No?
There were periods of time during certain feasts where they were not to do any buying or selling or work. Still there were other times when they were able to do these things. There was the periods of time spent getting there and leaving, where I am sure they were looking for items they needed back home. In any case the County Fairs are the closest things we have to that type of activity. (When I was a child I too got separated from my group at a fair and many years later one of my children did the same thing.) Those who lived close enough brought animals for the sacrifices. Those who lived at a distance could sell what they had at home for money and then come and buy the sacrifices they needed at Jerusalem.
I read somewhere about a Christian leader who slipped up on the hill above the wailing wall in Jerusalem and watched a group of Jewish men. They were singing and laughing and dancing arm in arm in a big circle as they worshipped God. He asked, "why can't we Christians do this?" Good question.
We are turning many of our own children away from God because we don't rejoice in this manner.
Now back to the list.
4. These festivals need food. So, those who are not into music may be into cooking.
5. There are all kinds of crafts needed to support a festival.
Sewing, and needle craft, for costumes.
Festivals are celebrations of History.
6. What about those who are good at memorization. The Bible, Christian poetry and Christian History.
Lest I forget
7. Many people like to dance. Is this OK?
8. There are all kinds of support people needed for this type of activity.
It is in the Bible. Those dances were like folk dances and line dances and they involved the reiteration of the History of Israel and praises to God. They celebrated the Victories of war and the exploits of the great men and women of God.
Now our children look to the likes of Bill Clinton, O. J. Simpson, Jesse Jackson, etc.
Do we need more motivation then this?
We need some stories, songs and dances about the Pilgrims, George Washington, Moody, C. Finney, Billy Graham, etc. Why not?
The Church is to be as a city set on a hill. We are the light of the world. Why settle for the fantasy of Disney Land when we can praise God while we eat together, reminisce, sing and dance about the goodness of God? Plus these are times to just get together and visit while the Kids do their thing. Right?
9. The in Church services need to get out of the entertainment business and get back to teaching people the Bible.
Get the special singing, the record sales, the birthdays, the ball game scores out of the Church and the pulpit and put the Bible back in there. We are not doing a good job in either case, so we need to specialize.
Get the profane worship outside where it will draw people, while burning off carnal energy and keep the Holy worship inside where it will build character and faith. Both will build character.
We need both, and the Church will not be seen in its glory until we get it done.
The dedicated musicians need to be in charge of a great part of these festivals. Also the good cooks, etc. Only those who are faithful in attendance and in financial support will be qualified to orchestrate either service. However, everyone should be encouraged to come and eat and worship at a festival.
The governing of these services must be kept under the direct control of the Church.
Festivals are a natural for the Christian school environment. This would give them a place to display their achievements.
Those who have excelled at memorization, especially those who can quote the bible, should be given a platform and be given appropriate recognition, for this is something that shows far more respect for morality then by praising those who are good in sports.
Please remember this is a biblical situation.
The moral character of the leadership is the all important aspect. No nonsense. Every activity must be orchestrated as a praise to God.
The Puritans who settled here, on the east coast, had dances, wore colorful clothing, and built the first breweries in this country. To a great extent their religious and governmental philosophy became the back bone of this countries constitutional government.
A Godly festival is a depression and anxiety killer. It will be a time of mental and spiritual healing.
We have had dinners on the grounds, sings, fellowship meetings, etc. A festival encompasses all of these and needs to be a doctrinal part of every local Christian Church.
The Church needs to hold the equivalent of the County fair. We need to set up weekly festive services, or monthly and even bigger quarterly and yearly times, where many churches get together.
We need to take back our Christian heritage and there is no better place to start then in the body of believers.
This is a peacekey.
(More Christians have taken to dancing on some special occasions since I first wrote this article. Gentry now has a book out on drinking. Unfortunately, conservative, historical based, chorography is absent. People just do their thing, with no story being told other then the portrayal of subjective pleasurable feelings. Yes, I do dance along with some of them, but hurt. Some Greek Churches still have folk dances that portray their history. 04-28-02)
This article may be used by some to justify the unleashing their carnal longings. If they do this they have violated the context and the spirit of this message. Our carnal desires must be controlled. Moderation or death. There is death on both sides. The Bible way is the only way to peace and life.
Vern Manson 3-18-95 / 6-24/00 / 6-28-01