True, Biblical Worship
Today’s reading: Deuteronomy 11-13; Mark 13:1-13
8 “You shall not do according to all that we are doing here today, everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes, 9 for you have not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance that the Lord your God is giving you. Deuteronomy 12:8
2 And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” Mark 13:2
The true worship of God is to be done according to His word, not based on the whims of the worshippers. This is called the “regulative principle.” Moses laid this down before the Israelites entered the Promised Land. They were going to find worship sites all over the land where offerings were made to the false gods of the peoples who were being driven out. God wanted those worship sites to be obliterated and for true worship to be done according to His law and in the place He would designate.
That place was Jerusalem, as we will learn later on.
But even though a temple would later be built according to God’s law, destroyed, and rebuilt in Jerusalem, Jesus told His disciples that temple would not last. Sure enough, history tells us that in 70 AD, the armies of Rome under Titus destroyed the second temple of Jerusalem. It has still not been rebuilt.
Old Testament worship pointed to the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, who fulfills all the symbols of the temple and the priesthood. Paul wrote that God’s temple now is God’s people who gather around the world in all kinds of places and buildings (I Corinthians 3:16-17). He may be worshiped in truth without the need for a physical temple building, as long as Christ is central and God is worshiped in Spirit and truth (John 4:23,24; Matthew 18:20). Yes, the regulative principle still applies to our worship, but sincere believers differ as to how exactly that looks.
We ought to exercise humility and patience with one another as we differ on some aspects of corporate worship. Meanwhile, let us worship Him daily in our homes and weekly in our congregations with due reverence and awe.