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Catholic Truths and Myths, Part 2 Options
#2921 Posted : Monday, February 4, 2019 2:23:42 AM

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In (Sonya’s book), Fulfilled, Uncovering the Biblical Foundations of Catholicism), you will discover the Old Testament Tabernacle as the perfectly packaged biblical model for conveniently understanding and explaining Catholic beliefs and practices, some of which baffle non-Catholics and Catholics alike.

The goal of Fulfilled is to help you acquire a thorough knowledge of the Tabernacle’s design, facilities and function as the blueprint for the fullness of the faith we live in Christ and His Church. You will come to appreciate how the Catholic Liturgy is the fulfillment of the pattern followed in the Old Testament Tabernacle.

You will come to appreciate the Catholic faith we profess and live as the fulfillment of the pattern followed in the Old Testament Tabernacle.

The Bible, the glorious book we share with non-Catholic Christians, contains the blueprint of our whole living Faith. This Tabernacle faith-sharing model gives you a starting place in Scripture.

A Home for God – Old Testament Worship: Fulfilled in the Catholic Church

When I was a Protestant, worship in my church on Sunday looked like this: a welcome and announcements; an uplifting hymn sung by the entire congregation; a pastoral prayer; another congregational hymn; the offering; a song, hymn, another piece of sacred music sung by the choir; a sermon; an “invitation” to live out what was preached; and a closing prayer of blessing.

Regardless of its style or content, the worship service always consisted of about fifteen minutes of singing and forty-five minutes of preaching. Every Protestant worship service I ever participated in followed this traditional format, even when the “contemporary services” came on the scene.

Many Protestant services added an earlier service to accommodate those who preferred a “contemporary worship” style. Sometimes these included drama, dance, painting, mime, bells and other techniques to illustrate what was being preached that Sunday. Contemporary services featured a praise band that performed modern worship songs from a stage equipped with concert lighting, a large projection screen for song lyrics slide shows and compelling videos. The services are heart-soaring and can be furiously inspiring, emotional and worshipful.

But this is no different than in a local arena. There is no “holy other” about it, no mystery, no silence, no stillness, no peace. Eventually, it felt vain to me. Worship in nearly all Protestant churches, then, is primary centered on the Sunday service, with emphasis on praise and prayer. In the Old Testament, however, God prescribed worship as an entirely communal way of life, centered around the Tabernacle where God’s presence “lived.” Tabernacle-centered worship occurred every day as well as on seasonal and annual feasts.

#2922 Posted : Monday, February 4, 2019 2:33:26 AM

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As a non-Catholic, the more I learned about Tabernacle worship in the Old Testament, the more I wondered why God would specify such worship so carefully – and hold His people to following it so strictly over many generations – if New Testament worship was not supposed to represent it in any way. And the heavenly worship described in Revelation looked nothing like the worship in my church. In fact, my worship service was missing almost all of the elements prescribed in the Bible – but it did sometimes resemble the time in the New Testament when St. Paul’s preaching was so long-winded that Eutychus drifted off to sleep after midnight and fell out a window (see Acts 20:9)!

God is not arbitrary. He does not change (see Malachi 3:6). If Old Testament worship was preparation for New Testament and heavenly worship, shouldn’t there be some similarity between them?

Over time, I came to see the similarity exists in the Catholic Church, in the Mass. In fact, it is only in the Catholic faith that all the elements of biblical worship are fully – not just symbolically – maintained. This does not mean, of course, that the worship of non-Catholics is not pleasing to God; any worship is pleasing to him if it is sincere. But any worship less than what God prescribed for us lacks a great deal of what draws us most deeply into his presence.

The Old Testament shows us that God loves law and ritual. In fact, God was adamant about the Israelites maintaining strict obedience regarding worship, specifically so its fulfillment in the Church would be recognizable to us – and so that the entire worship in Heaven would be familiar to us as well.

Catholic rituals and practices can sometimes seem old-fashioned, outdated, of even unbiblical at first glance. But the form of the Catholic Liturgy has been prescribed by God Himself, rooted in the Old Testament Tabernacle, modeled after the worship occurring eternally in Heaven and reflected in our souls.

We know what kind of worship pleases God and draws us fully into His presence because He told us what it should look like in the Old Testament Tabernacle and in the prophecies of the new Temple.

Because Old Testament worship was modeled after heavenly worship, we see that proper New Testament worship should also somehow follow the Tabernacle’s structure and order – not as a dead skeleton, but as a living, breathing, fleshed-out practice that actually communicates the grace within it.

The first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch or Torah, reveal God’s desire and prescription for worship. Here we can discern some wonderful things about how our unchangeable God interacts with His people, even today.
#2923 Posted : Tuesday, March 5, 2019 11:28:37 PM

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Called to the Mountain

In Exodus 3:18, God sends Moses to Pharaoh to request that Pharaoh grant the people a three-day “leave of absence” of sorts so they could go into the desert and offer sacrifices to Him. Exodus is very much the story of Moses’ repeated with a stubborn Pharaoh. Ultimately, because he would not allow God’s people to go and worship for a few days, God removed His people from Pharaoh’s rule completely.

In Exodus 19:1-2, after the Israelites have gone out from Egypt, they make a “pit stop” on the way to the Promised Land at Sinai (also called Horeb). God’s holy mountain – the very same mountain upon which Moses received God’s command at the burning but to lead His people out of Egypt (see Exodus 3:1-4:17).

The Exodus had “drawn” the Hebrews out of Egypt under the leadership of Moses, whose name means “to draw out.” God then brings His people to Himself at Sinai, and they become a nation with which He will make His covenant. If they obey Him and keep the covenant, God promises to make them His special treasure (see Exodus 19:3-6). He promises to lavish special knowledge and attention to them and make them a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. His Chosen People will be in a unique relationship with Him, different from every other nation because of their relationship with the living God. Every other nation will learn of God through them, and they will lead others to worship Him – not just through Temple ceremonies but through an entire way of life.

The people readily agree and prepare to meet God at Sinai, where He will speak audibly to Moses so that the entire nation will know God is present. In anticipation of meeting God, they were required to make special preparations. And then….

On the morning of the third day there were peals of thunder and lightning, and a heavy cloud over the mountain, and a very loud blast of the shofar,* so that all the people in the camp trembled. But Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stationed themselves at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was completely enveloped in smoke, because the LORD had come down upon it in fire. The smoke rose from it as though from a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled violently. The blast of the shofar grew louder and louder, while Moses was speaking and God was answering him with thunder.

When the LORD came down upon Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain, the LORD summoned Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. (Exodus 19:16-20).

We can understand the terror the people of Israel must have felt; they knew from the patriarchs that no one could look at God’s face and live. But surely we must nor say we share their ultimate desire, as they refused to come near God again out of fear (see Exodus 20:18-21).

Yet, here was the Almighty, the King of the ages, the Lord of Hosts coming to commune with them. They trembled in one accord, saying, “Let me not hear the voice of the Lord, my God, or see this great fire any more, lest I die (Deuteronomy 18:16).

Never were the people so unified in their desire, and never was a nation so fearful. The fear of God abounded in the heart of everyone present. Each was made to know that he or she was unclean before God, so they spoke as one, asking that Moses be their mediator. God’s Word would be given to them through Moses, as He had done before in the Exodus events. Imagine if they had said, “I don’t need Moses! God is my only mediator!” and begun to hike up the mountain into the flaming, quaking, thundering cloud.

#2924 Posted : Wednesday, March 6, 2019 12:46:01 AM

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Called for Relationship

On the top of Mount Sinai, with the people waiting his return at its base, Moses received the formal covenant from God. The next 12 chapters of Exodus include the Ten Commandments and the instructions for constructing the Tabernacle, followed by the ceremonial law - "worship manual," if you will - in Leviticus.

In striking contrast to the ten plagues, we are told in Exodus 31:18 that God gave Moses the gift of the Ten Commandments. On stone tablets, written by the “finger of God,” He made a “keepsake” for the people. I find that to be a very tender thought. We also find this type of intimate terminology for the written Word of God in the New Testament. In 2 Timothy 3:16, we read that "all scripture is inspired by God (emphasis added). "Inspired" here literally means "God-breathed."

With His "breath and finger," God wrote us a love letter of sorts, an invitation to risk everything with Him. The Bible is the epic story of how determined God is to draw us to Himself and to give Himself to us as fully as we will allow. By reading the Bible, we can know when we are worshiping in a manner that allows for a complete self-donation. As St. Paul says in his second letter to Timothy,"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in "righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16; emphasis added). Simply put, "righteousness" means "what is right."

At Sinai, Moses as called by God to lead the nation of Israel into "right worship." It was on this same mountain that Moses received the Ten Commandments and the whole Law (or Torah) through which He would instruct the people in proper worship through the Tabernacle that would be built at its bases. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2059 - 2060) states:

The gift of the Commandments is the gift of God Himself and His holy will. In making His will known, God reveals Himself to His people.

Moses placed himself at God’s service - and he was faithful. He led the new nation of God to the mountain to which God had called them to begin to live together in relationship.
The people of Israel would memorialize and remember this event forever.

#2925 Posted : Tuesday, March 26, 2019 10:19:39 PM

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A House Made Of Gifts

God let His people out of bondage to meet and worship Him on Mount Sinai. It was a terrifying experience and one they never forgot as a people. The rest of the Book of Exodus is the account of what occurred on Mount Sinai and the instructions Moses was given. The instructions include the laws and the Ten Commandments, a liturgical worship schedule, worship procedures and the elaborate, detailed instructions for the Tabernacle and its furnishings. Skilled workmen carried out the task of building everything. The Tabernacle was the center of the communal life of God's people.

After leading the Old Testament people out of Egyptian slavery, God told them through Moses, that He desired to live with them. Think about that for a moment. The same God Who created photons, fingerprints, and moose, wants to live and remain close to you. The word "tabernacle" literally means "to dwell." The instructions God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai contained detailed plans for a physical worship structure that would be God's new "home" in the midst of His people:

Speak to the people of Israel, that they take for Me an offering from every man whose heart makes him willing you shall receive the offering for Me…..And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst. According to all that I show you concerning the pattern of the Tabernacle, and of all its furniture, so you shall make it. (Exodus 25:2, 8-9).

Before they left Egypt, the people were given spoils - gold, silver, jewels, thread, and textiles, everything they would need to construct the Tabernacle God was planning. God wanted His new home to be made from offerings given to Him by His people from those spoils. Consider that when harassed by thoughts that your life has been too sinful for God to ever be able to use.

Whatever gifts individuals might give for the purpose, God would show the nation exactly how to use them to make His new Tabernacle. As a Catholic, the term "tabernacle" probably makes you think of place in your church that houses the ciborium containing the Blessed Sacrament. But I would like you to think of the Tabernacle in several other distinct ways.

The first is the Old Testament Tabernacle. Throughout history, the Tabernacle was the outward sign and reminder of God's desire to be surrounded by His people, to be present with and to live among them as the heartbeat of their existence.

It was a tent of sorts and a portable place of worship for the nomadic Israelites who lived directly outside its gates. Their campsites surrounded the Tabernacle by tribe on all sides in a picture of perfect design and order in what seemed like chaotic wandering in the wilderness. God placed each Israelite tribe in a specific position facing the Tabernacle (see Numbers 2). The camp was divided into four sets of three tribes at each compass point with one flag for each tribe.

Because a person's identity was derived from his or her tribe and position in relationship to the Tabernacle, the tribal organization offered security to the Israelites in their relationship to the living God Who dwelt there. Sometimes in Scripture, the term "tabernacle" indicates the whole temple area. Other times it refers to the tent sanctuary itself. This was the layout of the sanctuary.

I am indebted to Sonja Corbitt's publisher, Ascension Press, for the use of the above material from her book, Fulfilled - Uncovering the Biblical Foundations of Catholicism.

#2926 Posted : Friday, February 21, 2020 9:23:22 PM

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Joined: 1/21/2009
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ixoye_8 wrote:
cfirebird65 wrote:
Terry, thank you for your excellent biblical and historical references.

Obviously, you put a good deal of study into the subject for our edification.

thank you ..

Mat 2:13 Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord *appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.”
#2927 Posted : Sunday, August 21, 2022 5:50:54 PM

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Joined: 1/21/2009
Posts: 103,775
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