The old covenant
In Exodus 24:1-2 only Moses could approach the Lord at the top of the mountain, the other men were to worship from a distance. Moses had to sprinkle to blood of the covenant to the people first then he was lost in the presence of God for forty days. The scene is described as overwhelming!
The worship structure, designed in accordance with the instructions given to Moses by God (Ex. 25):
- Had a lamp stand to signify the source of light – Jesus is the light of the world
- A gold table in the Holy place upon which was placed the consecrated bread – Jesus is the bread of life
- Golden altar of incense in the Most Holy place for burning sacrifices – Jesus intercedes for us, our advocate
- Ark of the Covenant in the Most Holy place which signified the presence of God – Jesus is Immanuel God with us
Entry to the tabernacle was highly restricted! Under the Aaronic priesthood, only the family of the Levites had the right to serve as priests in the tabernacle. They could enter the Holy place to carry out their priestly duties. The Most Holy place was hidden behind a curtain, entered only by the High priest once a year on the Day of Atonement with blood of special animals which he offered for himself and for the sins of the people. Ordinary people thus had no access to God’s presence even after they had been sprinkled with blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of heifers. The other challenge to this covenant was that the priests were mortal thus death prevented them from continuing in office forever. (Heb. 7:23)
The Holy Spirit was showing that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle stood.
When Christ came as High Priest, He went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made. He entered with His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. He is Holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners and exalted above the heavens. Unlike other high priests, He sacrificed for their sins once and for all since He does not need to offer His own sin offering. Jesus offered Himself to die on the cross in our place – we who were dead in sin, that we may be alive in Him. As the writer of Hebrews asks in Heb. 9:14, how much more the blood of Christ Jesus, who through eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanses our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! Through His death, we have access to the Most Holy place since the curtain that hid the presence of God from us was torn in to two (Mark 15:38). He is the fulfillment of the structure that had been shown to Moses: the Light of the world, the bread of life, our intercessor, and Immanuel God with us! Moreover, since Jesus rose from the dead and lives forever, His priesthood is everlasting. For this reason, Christ is the mediator of a new covenant which God promised according to Heb. 8:10-12. It is a relational covenant of love to all those who are called to receive eternal inheritance. This is our identity in Christ as children of God: a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God that we may declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light! Glory be to God forever, amen.
In the light of these Gospel facts, we realize that Jesus alone can lead us into God’s presence and cause us to worship God. Our question stands; then what is the role of the ‘worship team’? In most common cases we have heard it said that the worship team lead people into the presence of God…this is not true. We are all men, and we need Christ to help us worship God. No one is perfect, no not one that he may lead others to God. Jn. 14:6 reminds us the words of Jesus: I am the way, the truth and life; no one comes to the Father except by me.
We are ministers of the new covenant. In view of God’s love to us by calling us to His eternal inheritance, we are confident through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God (2 Cor. 3:4-5). He has made us ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. The Spirit of the Lord Jesus has granted us freedom. This was so by removing the veil from our faces so that we may reflect the Lord’s glory. This is real worship, as we are being transformed into the likeness of Christ, with ever increasing glory which comes from our Lord.