THREE DIFFERENT KINDS OF WORSHIP
All men everywhere worship something. Since the beginning, God has appointed three kinds of worship, each with its own peculiar characteristics. First their was what has been called patriarchal worship. In that, the family worshiped together with the patriarch or father of the clan leading them. It involved animal sacrifice and prayers and the fathers instructed their families in the ways of Jehovah (Gen. 12:8; 18:19). They had no priesthood, no written revelation or central place to assemble for their worship. This system prevailed from Adam to Moses.
When God delivered the Hebrews from Egyptian bandage he constituted them a nation with their own laws and land. With that he also commissioned a new kind of worship. It has been styled the Mosaic system since it was through Moses that God revealed it. This was a national system for the Hebrew people (Deut. 5:1-6). It had a central house of worship for the nation which at first was a portable tabernacle that was carried with them from place to place and eventually was settled in Jerusalem. The tribe of Levi was appointed for the priestly tribe and the family of Aaron the Levite was given the responsibility of all public ministrations. The five books of Moses (the Torah) were its written code of law and these had as their primary basis the Ten Commandments. Their designated day of worship of the Sabbath or seventh day of the week. This system had an elaborate ritual of worship and had at its heart a never-ending procession of animal sacrifices. The forgiveness and righteousness it offered its adherents was temporary and based upon their keeping God’s law in an acceptable fashion. This system separated the Hebrews from their Gentile neighbors and their idolatrous practices. It ended when Christ was crucified (Col. 2:14-16).
When God sent his Son to redeem humanity and to usher in the kingdom of heaven, he ordained a new from of religion and worship suitable for the citizens of that kingdom. This Christian system was designed to be universal, for all nations (Matt. 28:19-20). It was to be ruled over by the exalted Son (Eph. 1:20-22). It had but one sacrifice, the life of Jesus given on Calvary, which God accepted as the propitiation for the sins of humanity (I John 2:1-2). In Christ’s system all Christians are members of the royal priesthood (I Pet. 2:5,9) and thus qualified to offer up their own sacrifices and offerings to God. It’s public worship is centered in the assemblies of Christians (churches) on the Lord’s Day (I Cor. 11:20-33; Acts 20:7). It is regulated by the New Testament of Jesus which provides all things that pertain to life and godliness” (II Pet.1:3). It’s day of worship is “the Lord’s day” or the first day of the week (I Cor. 16:1-2). This system is age lasting, designed to last until time is no more (I Cor. 15:25-27).
There are fundamental differences in Christian worship and that of the Mosaic system. This fact is often overlooked by those of our religious neighbors. That system was based on animal sacrifice, ours on the death of Christ. That system was based on Moses’ law, ours on the Law of Christ. That was a system of law-keeping, ours is a system of grace. That system was temporary, but our is permanent. That was based on race, ours is based on spiritual relations. That was a system of material ritual, while ours is that of spiritual worship (John 4:24). That promised physical, temporal blessings, while ours promises salvation from sin, spiritual blessings and eternal life.
That system was inferior to ours in every way (Heb. 8:6-9).The marvel is that most of the Christian world prefers to go to the Old system for much of their worship and practice, feeling that the New Testament of Christ is too oppressive in its demands. True followers of Christ honor him as the only head of the church (Eph. 1:22) and his New Covenant as the perfect law of liberty (Jas. 1:25). Paul describes those who try to cling to elements of the Old Testament as reverting to the weak and beggarly elements of the world. (Gal. 4:9-11). Christians should rejoice and give thanks daily for the wonderful system we have in Christ.