(This library article deals with the sanctification of worshipers as they ascend in intimacy with God and one another. It is an excerpt from Caz’s book “David’s Tabernacle Patterns for New Testament Worship,” available in the book section
By Caz Taylor
God wants us to live and dwell individually and collectively in Zion, governing and worshiping together as true worshipers. How do we get there and how do we stay there?
The qualifications for citizenship in Zion are found throughout the Bible. Those qualifications are clearly outlined in Ps. 24 and Ps.15, and they deal with the believers’ desire for complete and thorough holiness; spirit, soul and body.
Since there are but 10 verses in Psalm 24 and since they offer the essence of a Tabernacle of David dweller, we will include them here, followed by a partial exegesis.
- The earth is the LORD's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
- For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.
- Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?
- He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
- He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
- This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.
- Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
- Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.
- Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.
- Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.
Our partial exegesis.
“The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and they that dwell therein.”
The fullness of the world belongs to the Lord, also the fullness of each inhabitant. Not only does the reference to the "earth" depict our planet, it depicts the very stuff of which humans are made. If we look closely, we see that the Psalmist actually defines what he means by "earth" using two definitions:
- the world, and
- they that dwell therein.
Not only does God own the world, but those who inhabit it. God owning our bodies or our “earth” and its fullness lines up with scripture and it also lays the foundation upon which the rest of the psalm is written. Genesis 2:7 tells us that:
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground (body), and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (Spirit); and man became a living soul (soul).”
Man was designed for three-part harmony.
Here we see that a human's fullness includes the three elements of spirit, soul and body. In other words, the three vital elements that make man in God’s image and likeness are our flesh (body), God's inbreathed Spirit within us (spirit), and the living soul which results from this holy merger (soul). In its wholeness, man was literally God’s perfect tabernacle.
The devil’s three-fold attack.
Not surprisingly, and in direct opposition to God’s plan, Satan mounts an attack against each of man’s three God-blessed components. As in David’s Tabernacle, breaches result. In 1 John 2:16, this is delineated in New Testament terms,
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
Man’s triple breach is identified as “lust of the eye” (since the eyes are the gateway to the soul, this represents a breach in man’s soul), lust of the flesh (clearly this references the carnal sins of the flesh, representing a breach in man’s body), and the pride of life (pride cuts into God’s very spirit-breathed life within His creations. This represents a breach of spirit).
How God will repair the breaches.
But God desires to repair the breaches and restore citizenship to Zion, thus, Psalm 24:3 asks and answers the following questions.
“Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD (Zion)? Or who shall stand in his Holy Place (within the Tabernacle of David, upon Zion)?”
Certainly no one can who has breaches of sin can do these things. By understanding God's desire to restore his people to their fullness in spirit, soul and body, the next verse in Psalm 24:4 provides the important directives to being sanctified:
- He that has clean hands (sanctified body), and
- a pure heart (sanctified spirit), and, someone whose
- soul is not lifted up to vanity, nor (has) sworn deceitfully (sanctified soul).
Psalm 15 declares the same need for Tabernacle of David dwellers to be sanctified in body, soul and spirit. In verses 1 & 2 the Psalmist asks, “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle (Tabernacle of David)? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill (Zion)?”
As in Psalm 24, Psalm 15 deals with the same aspects of a sanctified body, soul and spirit, as it identifies a Tabernacle of David abider.
- He that walketh uprightly (bodily function of feet walking), he who
- worketh righteousness (soul function- employing thought, mind, will and emotions to act righteously, and,
- speaking the truth in his heart (spiritual function, dealing with matters of the heart).
Paul’s perspective on the rebuilding process.
As David called the priests to sanctify themselves, God is calling those who desire to dwell in Zion to do the same. Since Paul is one of God’s designated New Testament tent (Tabernacle of David) builders for us, it makes sense that the apostle would bring this threefold sanctification to our attention. As you consider Paul’s directive in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, you will see some phrases that are strikingly similar to Tabernacle of David language. Paul instructs,
“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly (in your fullness): and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The following verses in 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 represent the character of a Tabernacle of David, Zion dweller:
- Rejoice evermore (verse 16- twenty four hour rejoicing),
- pray without ceasing (verse 17- twenty four hour prayer and worship),
- and, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (verse 18- giving thanks in all circumstances).
1 Thessalonians 5 also instructs us on the sanctification process:
- Don't quench the Spirit (Spirit sanctification) in verse 19, then,
- prove all things (using the mind, will and emotions are functions of soul sanctification) in verse 20, and, finally,
- abstain from the appearance of (doing) evil (this is a sanctified body function) in verse 21.
Individuals who answer the call to go higher up the hill of Zion and reside in His tabernacle must be willing to go all the way with the Lord: spirit, soul and body. The benefits are beyond comprehension.
(This article is from a chapter in Caz Taylor’s book entitled ”David’s Tabernacle Patterns for New Testament Worship”.)