Rabbi Schneider - Dwell in the Nearness of God
We're beginning a brand-new series today entitled Worship, the Sacrifices and the Priesthood. It really is a continuation of where we were in our previous broadcast. In our previous series, we looked at that time tabernacle. We studied all the pieces of furniture in the tabernacle, the dimensions, the fence, the one way in. And we saw that the tabernacle according to Exodus 25:8 and 9 is a pattern for having intimacy with God. We're going to move in this series from studying the pieces of furniture in the tabernacle and the layout in the tabernacle, we're now going to move to what takes place or took place in the tabernacle once it was constructed. And so we're going to be looking at worship that took place in the tabernacle, the priesthood that functioned in the tabernacle, and the sacrifices they offered to Yahweh. And all this, beloved, is a continuation of the Lord's revelation to us of how we can have intimacy with him.
And so Father God, we ask you to use this revelation, Lord, use the study of your Word and the preaching of your Word, Lord, to sanctify us in truth and to draw us closer to the Lord Jesus in who with pray. And we give you glory, Father God. Let this preaching, Father God, bring forth much fruit in the lives of your people and in the building, hallelujah, of your kingdom.
As we begin, we're going to talk about worship. The Hebrew word for worship is Sha chah, and it's actually an action verb. Because worship is something that we do. It's active. It's alive. And when we think about worship, beloved, we ask ourself, what exactly is worship. And worship is fundamentally, beloved, recognizing God for who he is and praising him for his glory, his ways, and his love for us. As we study worship that took place in the tabernacle, one of the primary ways that the Levitical priesthood, the kohanim, worshipped Yahweh was through, beloved the offering of sacrifices.
And in this series, as the weeks go by, we're going to get into the five major sacrifices that the kohanim or the priesthood offered to Yahweh in the tabernacle. We're going to look at the burnt offering, beloved. We're going to look at the meat or the meal offering, which was a gift offering. We're going to look at the peace or the fellowship offering. We're going to look at the sin offering. And we're going to look at the trespass offering. And we're going to conclude by showing that all these offerings, beloved, culminated in the sacrifice of Yeshua Ha-Mashiach, how he's the fulfillment, as always, of everything.
Now, when we think about worship and we think about our own lives, recognizing that the worship that took place in the tabernacle, beloved, was a shadow of how you and I are to walk with God and we think about the primary way of worship inside the tabernacle was the way of sacrifice, and we think about the fact that you and I today have been called to be priests of the Lord even as the Levites ministered as priests inside the mishkan or inside the tabernacle and offered sacrifices we think that we now are priests and that God is calling us also to present to him continuously sacrifices just like they did in the tabernacle. And so the Scripture tells us in the book of Romans chapter 11 and chapter 12 that in 12:1, for example, that we're to present ourselves as a living and holy sacrifice to the Lord, why? Because, beloved, from him and to him and through him are all things.
And so when we offer the Lord a sacrifice as the priesthood, what we're doing, beloved, is making him the center rather than ourselves the center. And this really is fundamentally what worship is about. Worship is about abandoning ourselves, abandoning making us the center, to make him the center. And think about how different so much of modern Christianity is today from the divine pattern that we see in the tabernacle. You see, if we want to measure where we're at today by a measuring stick that's accurate, we need to go back to what took place inside the tabernacle. Because remember, the Lord said in Exodus in the book of Shemot chapter 25 verse 8 and 9 that the purpose of the tabernacle was that he could dwell with us. The tabernacle was God's divine blueprint. So if we want to know how to relate to him, how to worship him, how to walk with him, what our service to him should be like, what we do then is we go back and study the tabernacle. Not only the furniture, but we study the sacrifices, because the Lord is one that gave us the sacrifices.
And we study the priesthood. The priesthood, beloved, were those whom the Lord, those whom Yahweh, listen, called upon to draw near to him and to offer sacrifices to him and to minister him to others on his behalf. So the purpose of the priesthood, once again, is to draw near to Yahweh, to draw near to the divine presence, to offer sacrifices to him, and then to minister unto others on his behalf. And so again, we're called to be the priesthood today. The priesthood was transferred from the Levitical priesthood once Yeshua came to all those that were bought by the Blood of the Lamb. The book of Revelation tells us over and over that Yeshua purchased us by his own Blood to be unto him a kingdom of priests. And what does it mean to be a priest? We go back and we study the tabernacle. The tabernacle again was the center of Israel's worship. It was where the visible presence of Yahweh dwelt. He called upon the priests to draw near to him. And once they drew near to him, they were to offer sacrifices unto him.
And we find that as an offering of sacrifice unto him, the visible manifest presence of Yahweh fell, and we find this same pattern in Scripture over and over and over again. But if we think about that pattern and compare that to what happens in so many modern Christian circles today, it's radically different. Because in many modern Christian circles today, it's not Yahweh that's at the center, it's not giving him sacrifices that's at the center, but rather it is us at the center, and we're using Yahweh to bless us. In other words, when the ancient Israelite came to the tabernacle to meet with God, they didn't first come to the tabernacle, beloved, listen to this, to be blessed. They first came to the tabernacle, listen, to bless Yahweh. I need you to listen to that, because it's radically different from what we too often see today.
Remember, the tabernacle is a blueprint for how to have fellowship with God. The Lord said I want you to build it, and I'm going to show you in the tabernacle how to have fellowship with me. The priests came, beloved, not first to be blessed, not first to receive, not to see what Yahweh could do for them. The priests and the worshippers came, beloved, to bless Yahweh. Yahweh was at the center, not man's need. And yet today if we think about what happens in modern Christian circles, people come to, quote, services, they come to a church, which would be the equivalent, you could say conceptually of a modern day tabernacle. But people aren't coming to services, they're not coming to church to first bless God. They're not coming first of all so oftentimes to give Yahweh the praise and the glory and the sacrifice that's due him. Instead, people come to church like consumers. It's not about blessing God. It's about what the church and what God can do for them. It's about is the service going to be the right length of time for me.
Many churches serve cappuccinos in the pew while people are worshipping. It's did I like the service, do I like the menu of activities that they sponsor here, or do I like this. It's a consumer mentality. And then people sample it, they decide if they like it or not, and then they decide they're either going to stay until somebody disappoints them, or they're going to move on and shop someplace else. It's a consumer mindset rather than the mindset, beloved, that's pure and that's holy and that's Biblical where you come to meet with God not first to receive, not first to get, not first to take, but you come to bless Yahweh and to make him, beloved, the center. Worship is first of all, beloved, about abandoning one's self to the Lord. It's not about our comfort. It's about coming and reverencing him and worshipping him and giving him glory.
The book of Romans chapter 11 verse 36 says this, For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever and ever, amen and amen. Why is it that the Lord in showing us the pattern for intimacy with him creates the tabernacle and then tells us now I want you to draw near to me because I desire to dwell with you, and when you draw near to me, I want you to offer me these sacrifices? In fact, the Lord said let no man come before me empty handed. Why is it that the Lord is calling us to come before him and offer sacrifices to him? Is it because he's an egomaniac and he constantly needs us to tell him how great he is? Is he so insecure that he's constantly needing from us a pat on the back? No, beloved. The reason that Yahweh is calling us to come and present a sacrifice to him in our worship is to give him ourselves and to make him the center. Because it's only when we're in line with him, it's only when we're in line, beloved, with making him the center of all things that we place ourself in a position to experience him, to dwell with him, and as a result of that, to be blessed by him.
So the Lord doesn't command us to worship him just because, beloved, he wants us to bless him, but deep in his heart, beloved, it is a reflective desire of his to bless us. And it's only when we make him the center, beloved, that he can bless us. Worship, beloved, involves the abandoning of ourselves to him. It involves placing ourself in proper alignment with the universe. Only as we make the Lord the center are we placing ourself in proper alignment. See, the Bible tells us that when the Lord saved us in Ephesians chapter 1 verse number 6, he saved us to the praise of his glorious grace, that one of the reasons, beloved, that we've been saved is to experience Yahweh's glory forever, and the result of that is going to be to the praise of his glorious grace, as Romans chapter 12:1 says, we are going to worship him, presenting to him the sacrifice of our lives forever and ever and ever and ever.
We read in the book of Revelation that the entire creation worships God, that those in heaven cast their crowns at his feet, a living sacrifice that goes unto Yahweh, making him the center of everything forever and ever and forever. It's the giving up of ourselves. It's abandonment. It's no longer making ourselves the center, it's about making him the center. The center. Revelation chapter 5 verse 13 says this, And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, listen now, this is what John observes as John is allowed, beloved, to see into the heavens.
Remember, John is on the island of Patmos, and he's on the island of Patmos on the Lord's day, and suddenly, an open door takes place for him in the spiritual realm, and he's able to see into heaven. And as he sees into heaven, beloved, here's what he sees. He sees this scene of all creation, things on the earth, things in heaven, things in the sea, things under the earth, all creation, every created thing is saying this, Revelation 5:13, To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever and ever and ever. All eternity, beloved, praising him, casting the crowns at the feet of the one who deserves to be crowned.
Now, we read in the book of Revelation chapter 1 verse 6 as well as other places, 20 verse 6 in Revelation, many other places. Peter says that we've been called to be a royal priesthood, a kingdom, beloved, serving the Lord as priests. The Hebrew word once again for this in the singular is the word kohen. In the plural it's kohanim. The priesthood, as we trace it through the Hebrew Bible, evolved. We find, for example, that at one time, it was the firstborn in a family was functioning as the priest of the home in terms of the children. The firstborn child was offered up to the Lord to be the Lord's, to be in effect a priest. It was then transferred for simplicity purposes to the Levitical priesthood. But the Levitical priesthood has ceased. In 70 AD when the temple was destroyed, the priesthood was scattered. True, we still have Levites today.
Oftentimes a Jewish person with the name Levine or something, Levit, something similar is from the tribe of Levi. But the Scripture doesn't say that God is going to reinstitute the tribe of Levi to be the priests for the world. But rather what the Scripture says is that you and I, Jew and Gentile alike that have been redeemed or bought for Yahweh by the Blood of Yeshua, are a kingdom of priests unto him forever and ever and ever and ever. In the book of Exodus chapter number 30, verse number 8, we find the priest who was continually offering up incense unto the Lord. It's a lifestyle of walking in sacrifice. I want to read now from the book of Genesis, the book of Bereshit, chapter number 22 verse 5 through 9 as we look at this concept of priesthood and sacrifice in the life of Abraham. Remember, Abraham, the Scripture says, is the father of us all. The blessing of Abraham, Galatians chapter 3 verse 1, has come upon you.
Even if you're a Gentile today, the blessing says that in Galatians 3:1 that the blessing of Abraham, the Lord says to the Gentile, has come upon you, that Abraham is a pattern, he's the father of all that believe. Here's the concept of the priesthood and sacrifices operating in Abraham's life. Hear the word of God. Genesis chapter number 22. I'm going to read now in verse number 5 through 9. Here we go. And Abraham said to his young man, stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go yonder, and we will worship and return to you. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering. Notice that word offering. Oftentimes in Scripture the word offering or sacrifice comes from the Hebrew word korban. And it actually means to draw close or to draw near. So often as we think of an offering or when we think of sacrifices, we're thinking of something that we give up. But an offering or a sacrifice, in Hebrew, korban, is not just something that we give up, beloved, but it's something that God calls us to do even though it feels like we're giving something up, but Yahweh calls us to present this offering, this sacrifice to him for the purpose, listen now, of bringing us, hallelujah, nearer to him.
So I'm going to pick up again. Remember, Abraham is called by the Lord the father of all believers. What does the Father call him to do? To give him this incredible sacrifice. Think about it. God calls on Abraham to present to him, to offer to him the most costly sacrifice that was possible for Abraham. Remember, the Lord made the promise to Abraham. God said to him through your seed, Abraham, all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. Abraham waits his whole life for this seed to be born. He's waiting, waiting, waiting. It doesn't seem to be happening. Finally he takes matters into his own hands and tries to bring about the promise through Hagar, and the Lord says no, Abraham, it's not going to be through Hagar. It's going to be through your own wife. And finally after waiting all these years, at the end of Abraham's life, Isaac is finally born, that which Abraham had set his affection on for years and years and years, and now the Father calls him to offer up Isaac back to him.
And so we're continuing once again. Bereshit or Genesis chapter 22 beginning in verse number 5. And Abraham said to his young man, stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go yonder, and we will worship. Here we have the connection again of worship and sacrifice. God is calling upon Abraham to worship him. But remember, at the center of this worship was the concept of sacrifice, because the Lord is calling on Abraham to offer up his son. The same thing is true we see in the tabernacle, which the pattern of intimacy. What was in the center of Israel's worship? It was sacrifices. We think today because we go to a church somewhere and sing some praise songs and feel good to us that we've worshipped. But beloved, it goes a lot deeper than that. It's abandoning ourself and giving ourself over to Yahweh. That's why Yeshua says unless you lose your life for my sake, you can't find it. It's this concept of abandoning ourself, giving up our own rights and crowning Yahweh, King.
So once again, and Abraham said to his young man, verse 5, stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go yonder, and we will worship and return to you. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering. There's the word offering. Burn offering. Remember korban. Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac, his son. By the way, Isaac was about 30 years old at this time. Many of the pictures that we see of Abraham sacrificing Isaac show Isaac as a little baby. No. Isaac was approximately 30 years old. He voluntarily, beloved, cooperated in this. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac, his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife, so the two of them walked on together. And Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said my father, and he said here I am, my son. And he said behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering? And Abraham said God will provide for himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son. So the two of them walked on together. And they came to the place which God had told him, and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar on top of the wood.
Continuing on in the 10th verse, and Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son, but the angel of the Lord called to him and said Abraham, Abraham, and he said here I am, and the Lord instructed him in verse 12 not to stretch forth his hand against his son. And God was so moved that Abraham was willing to offer up his only son that God said to him because you have done this thing, Abraham, I will greatly bless you. You see, beloved, when we offer up to the Lord a sacrifice, not just singing the songs in a praise song, but worshipping him through truly sacrificing our lives to him, like Romans 12:1 promises, the blessing of Yahweh comes into our life just like it did, Yadid, beloved one, in Abraham's life. God wants to go deeper with you and I.
So much of the Christianity that we experience today is superficial. So much of the preaching that we hear today is superficial. So much of the preaching that we hear today, listen to this, is man-centered, it's not God-centered. It's give, we hear people say, so that God will make you rich. Do this so you can become all you can be. And we're going to structure our services around making you comfortable. So much of the Christianity, beloved, that's presented today, it's not Biblical. It's heresy. It's not God-centered. It's not honoring God. It's not prostrating ourself before him and humble ourself before him and getting low before him and worshipping him by presenting to him our life, giving ourselves up to him. But rather so much, beloved, that takes place within the world of Christendom today is man-centered, and God is just someone that man is using for man, beloved, to be able to fulfill his own desires, his own wants and needs. And it's not the Gospel, beloved, that Yeshua preached, and it's not the pattern that the Lord revealed to us in the tabernacle.
You see, beloved, you if you belong to the Lord, you're getting ready to go to heaven. And when you get to heaven, beloved, the atmosphere there is going to be filled with sacrifice and worship. In the book of Revelation we read in Revelation chapter number 4 that the elders that were in heaven fell down at his feet as they worshipped him, holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, holy. And then we read in the 10th verse they cast their crowns, they gave Yahweh themselves. They cast their crowns at his feet. I wonder today if the walk that you've been living with God and the Christianity that you've been practicing is Biblical Christianity and scriptural Christianity and Christianity that's in spirit and in truth, or have you been deceived and have been following a man-centered gospel. Jesus said many will come in my name and will mislead many. Beloved, I want to call you and I back to true obedience, to true sacrifice.
Father, we ask you today that you'll teach us how to offer ourselves up to you as living sacrifices, that even as the priests of old Lord, the kohanim in the tabernacle presented sacrifices to you day and night continually, help me and help those that are listening today, Father, to present ourselves to you in spirit and in truth.