Tabernacle Prayer – INSIDE THE GATE
When I was in Israel 11 years ago, I found this wonderful book called “A House of Prayer For All Nations” by Rabbi Chaim Richman, who runs the Temple Institute. He’s not a believer in Jesus, in fact he’s an orthodox Jewish leader. One of the things he wrote in this book, which captured my heart: “For the Jew, nearness to God is the truest, the highest, the only conception of what ‘goodness’ really is. Without this aspect to his life, without this Godly relationship which uplifts his physical existence and imbues his life with a sense of connection to the Divine, he feels himself to be….devoid of that which makes him into a human being.”
As we’ve been praying through the Tabernacle, I found in this book a small snapshot of the daily morning Temple ritual, especially at daybreak. According to Rabbi Richman, at every daybreak as the Levites would open the gates (which always faced east), the priests would blow their trumpets and “….the Levitical choir stood atop the platform located in the Outer Court facing the outer altar…..and sang the song for that particular day…..” Each day a different psalm was sung and during the holy days there were other more specific psalms sung. The order of the daily songs has a deep significance, and there is a mystical connection which each song had for the particular day it was sung. Although the Levites sang upon many occasions in the Holy Temple, one of their most important and basic musical tasks was the daily song. Each day, the Levite choir stood atop the platform located in the Court of Israel facing the outer altar, just inside the Nikanor Gates, and sung a special song for that particular day. On the Festivals and New Moon, different songs were sung. All of these songs, with their instrumental arrangements, were performed while the morning and evening wine libations were poured out on the altar by the officiating priests. Thus the Levites accompanied the Divine service of the priests with a service of their own. They complimented each other; in many ways, the Levitical songs were as important a Temple function as the priestly service of the sacrifices itself, for the one could not function without the other. Each day, during the wine libation, the overseer of the choir stood atop one of the horns of the altar and signaled to the Levites “with a kerchief in his hand” to begin their song. At three points in their song, they would pause, when the priests would sound the silver trumpets and all the people in the court prostrated themselves before the Presence of G-d. The order of the daily songs have a deep significance, and there is a mystical connection which each song had for the particular day it was sung. The Oral Tradition has preserved the listing of the Levitical songs that were sung each day in the Holy Temple, and various commentators and sages have explained some of the connections which can be seen between these songs and the days of the week..” (Based on Tamid 7:4)
Following is the daily psalm for each day:
- Sunday – Psalm 24 (“The earth is the Lords & fulness thereof”…..the first day of creation)
- Monday – Psalm 48 (“Great is the Lord, greatly to be praised in the city of our God… ” this day when the waters were divided, and land appeared)
- Tuesday – Psalm 82 (“God stands in the congregation of the mighty…..” upon this land judges stand to render decisions)
- Wednesday Psalm 94 (“Oh Lord God to whom vengeance belongs….” this was the day when sun & moon were created)
- Thursday – Psalm 81 (“Sing aloud unto God our strength….” living createures were created on this day)
- Friday – Psalm 93 (“The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty…..” man was created on this day)
- Saturday (Shabbat) – Psalm 92 (” Psalm or Song for the Sabbath Day”….the day which complete Sabbath tranquility, for everlasting life)
Can you imagine living in Jerusalem during that time, see the doors of the temple suddenly opened wide at sunrise, the sun hitting the gold walls inside the temple? There would be a blazing light of Glory that blasted over the city. Then the sound of hundreds of shofars announcing the beginning of the new day, followed by the Levitical choir proclaiming their praises to God. This is the beginning of a new day! What an incredible sight and sound!
When I visited the Temple Institute, I was struck by all of the Temple paintings that hung on their walls. I was taken aback because I saw all of that as a foreshadowing when our Messiah returns again, His feet touching the Temple Mount in victory and in glory! What an amazing powerful picture!
Today as we pray using the Tabernacle or Temple format of prayer, let’s close our eyes, enter through the Gates with a song of thanksgiving and praise. Let’s picture that Glorious Day when our Messiah will return once again. Can you hear the thousands of trumpets heralding Jesus’ arrival?
This morning as I was seeing that picture, I Peter 2:9 came to my thoughts:
“But you are a chosen people, a ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the praise of the One Who called you out of darness into Hi marvelous light”.
I looked up the Scripture and found other cross-references:
“So as for you, you will be to Me a KINGDOM OF PRIESTS and a holy nation….”
“….and made us a KINGDOM, PRIESTS to his God and Father – to Him be glory and pwoer forever! Amen!”
We all today as, we’ve fully surrendered ourselves to the Lord, we’ve been born again into a KINGDOM OF PRIESTS! Can you imagine yourself part of that powerful holy Levitical choir blowing your trumpets at daybreak, singing praises to the One Who created you? I believe this is a small picture of eternity in heaven. What an incredible sound! What a joyous sound! But then a question came to my mind: what is a “priest”? Not how we are familiar with or what we see around us. We are called into the “priesthood of believers”, I wondered what that looked like? I went online, found a Hebrew dictionary and looked up the word “Cohen” or “Cohanim”. This is what I found, which was quite interesting:
This is whatt the Abarim Publications Hebrew Dictionary said:
- Cohen (singular)
- Cohanim (plural)
The original word “priest” or cohanim is a noun which means “minister” or servant, denoting someone who either served a person or a god or maintained their dwellings. The word “cohen” in Hebrew was also used to describe the Egyptian Potiphera (Genesis 41:45). Certain Philistines were also called “cohanim” (I Samuel 6:2 and 2 Kings 10:19). The first time the word cohen occurs is in Genesis 14:18 where it is ascribed to Melchezedek, who would be a type of Messiah who is to come. Although in Exodus 19:6 the whole of Israel is called a “memelekot kohanim” – a kingdom of priests – the priestly caste of Israel was supposed to be filled by the sons of Aaron (Exodus 29:9). However, by the time of David, the people from Judah could become priests as well (2 Samuel 8:18). The noun Kohen or Cohen comes from the unused root KHN. The verb Kahan derives from Kohen and it means to minister in a priest’s office or function.
So, a Cohen, or Cohanim, or a kingdom of priests serve in these priestly functions:
- One who is an ambassador. One who represents God here on earth.
- One who prays for others.
- One who shares or reminds others of the awesome holiness of God.
We, the “wild olive branch grafted into the root” are called to be a kingdom of priests.
Lord, as we contemplate this, give us a greater revelation of our priesthood and our priesthood?
Show how to become more honorable, more powerful priests as we repesent You here on earth?
Teach us how to minister, how to serve others, especially how to pray for those who are lost and dying?
Teach how to be a Kingdom of Priests to glorify You in every way? Amen.