March 2006


Lessons on Sacrificial Worship For Parents to Use With Their Children

1. Where Did God’s People Worship Before the Tabernacle?

 Abel’s and Cain’s Sacrifice – Gen. 4:1-8.  In Genesis 4, Abel’s sacrifice is pleasing to God while Cain’s is definitely not. One may assume that Abel’s sacrifice was pleasing to the Lord be-cause it involved the offering of a slain animal, because it was consistent with the instructions he had received from his parents, and because his offering was sincere. Accordingly, Cain’s sacrifice likely was rejected because it was inconsistent with the instructions of his parents, perhaps because it did not involve the    sacrifice of an animal and because Cain’s heart was not sincere.

 Noah’s Sacrifice After the Flood – Gen. 8:20. The motivation Y for worship here is quite obvious. Noah and his family have been spared the dreadful flood. This offering was driven by gratitude for God’s precious mercy to only them. Again, the place of sacrifice does not seem to be an issue at this point and it seems that Noah also built altars made of stones or earthen material, in order to bum the sacrificed animal. Noah offered numerous    sacrifices and in each case the animal was “clean” [unblemished].

Abraham’s Sacrifice to Confirm God’s Covenant – Gen. 12:7. Having sent Abraham away from his homeland, God appears to him and promises the descendants of Abraham the land of Canaan. Abraham’s sacrifice is to express deep gratitude to God.

Abraham’s Sacrifice on Mt. Moriah – Gen. 22.  Abraham’s faith is radically put to the test. God commands him to go to Moriah and offer up Isaac his own beloved son. This of course was contrary to God’s nature. The offering of children was connected with Molech worship, an abominable form of false worship and one which received the greatest condemnation by God’s prophets [See Jer 7:29-34; Ezek 16:20-22; 23:37-39; Amos 5:26].  Hebrews 11:17-19 reveals Abraham believed God was going to resurrect Isaac. God intervenes and provides a ram. This is one of the clearest OT pictures of Christ as God’s provision for the forgiveness of sins.

The First Passover Sacrifice – Ex. 12. As part of the tenth plague on Egypt, the people of God are protected from the angel of death by placing the blood of an unblemished lamb on their ceremony was central to Jewish worship and was fulfilled when Christ died as The Passover Lamb [1 Cor 5:7] demonstrating that the OT sacrifices were pictures pointing to Christ as the one and only acceptable sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin. Thus, the sacrificial system repeatedly illustrated Christ’s death as the actual means of salvation.

Sacrificial Worship In the Tabernacle and Temple
: Following the construction of the tabernacle and the later construction of the temples of Solomon, Zachariah and Herod, sacrifices were offered daily, on special occasions like Passover and the Day of Atonement, and with great variety in terms of the type of animal offered and the meaning of each of these sacrifices to God. The intricate procedure for these sacrifices is set forth in Exodus and Leviticus. At the same time, individual Jews continued to offer private sacrifices at altars.

2. List Some of the Advantages for Worship That NT Saints Have Which OT Saints Could Not Experience.

 The OT repeatedly demonstrated that animal sacrifices pointed to the sacrifice of Christ which alone is the basis for God to forgive human sin. Christ’s sacrifice put an end to animal sacrifices and placed believers in a very advantageous position to worship:

    •   Their bodies are temples of God - 1 Cor. 6:9.

      They are part of the corporate temple of every believer – Eph. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:5.

    •  They are to present their bodies as a living sacrifice to God in gratitude for the mercy of
        salvation set forth in Rom. (chapters) 1-11; Rom. 12:1-2.

    •  They are to offer up constant sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving - Heb. 13:15.

    •  The veil separating God is gone. We are now to come directly through Christ to God to
        intercede with confidence and boldness – Heb. 4:16.

    •   All believers have access as priests in the household of God - 1 Pet. 2:9.

3.  List Several Advantages Which Were Unique to the OT Saints and Their Tabernacle and/or Temple Which Would Have Been Beneficial For Us to Experience.

I need be very brief here. Some of what I find very unique about OT Tabernacle or Temple worship is a follows:

  The immediate display of God's shekinah glory whether in a cloud by day, a pillar by
    night or within the holy of holies.

    •  The amazing lessons taught so graphically through all the animal sacrifices which
        pointed to Christ as the one and only sacrif
ice acceptable to God.

    •  The vivid demonstration of God's holiness as demonstrated in the death of priests.

    •  Other: As a family, list other aspects which you find unique to OT worship.

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Community Church of the Santa Ynez Valley
240 E. Highway 246
Buellton, CA 93427