In the last few posts in our series, Worship Wars, we’ve been examining some general concepts on worship. This has included a general look at God’s prescribed worship in the Old Testament, then specifically under the Old Covenant. This worship took the eventual shape of tabernacle, priesthood, sacrifices, feasts/festivals/sabbaths. Related to this, we were reminded of the times when someone offered worship contrary to the regulations of God and the dire consequences that ensued, culminating in the exile of Israel for their false and sycretistic worship (the true + the false).
Then we took some time to define some of our terms, most notably the meaning and use of worship, in general, and then what has become known as the Regulative Principle of Worship, a summary statement simply concluding that God has indeed regulated, by His Word, how it is that He will be worshiped. Only that which is prescribed, described, or exemplified (commands or precepts) is allowable. All other worship is will-worship.
In the most recent post from this series, we began to shift our focus from Old Covenant worship to New Covenant worship, but noted that there is a transition that takes places, often delineated by continuities and discontinuities, or those things which continue from Old to New and those things which discontinue. Here we focused on the Who of Worship, namely God; the What of Worship, that Scripture is the guide, and the Where of Worship, that it is, not confined to a religiously dedicated building or geographic location. We left that post with two remaining questions, concerning this worship transition from Old to New, the When of Worship and the How of Worship.
Before answering these two questions, perhaps the most controversial, I want to offer an armistice and pause our look at worship wars by asking the following questions:
- When did worship under the Old Covenant take place?
- Was it confined to the Sabbath day only or were other days in view?
- What happened on the Sabbath? Was it a corporate day of worship, at least as we have come to define it today?
- Were there specific days or events set aside for corporate worship?
- While we know the form of worship revolved around the tabernacle, priesthood, and sacrifices, is there any practice of worship that we need to consider?
- Was there a specific, designated practice of worship for the individual when they gathered with others, under the Old Covenant?
These questions, and we could ask many more, at least help frame how we answer our remaining two questions. Additionally, they provide a little direction with how to proceed. Again, our two remaining points of transition under consideration are the When of Worship and the How of Worship. With those in mind, in the next post we’ll also need the addendum of an additional point on the Who of Worship.