Peck on the Difference Between
Old and New Testament Worship
“The worship of the Mosaic institute, the gorgeous furniture of the tabernacle, the splendid temple which succeeded it, the brilliant vestments of the priests, the costly incense which ascended in a fragrant cloud from the golden censer, the inner sanctuary, where was the throne of God, attended by the cherubim, concealed by a veil which the high priest alone was allowed to put aside, and he only once in the whole year, all this was designed to impress the ancient people of God with a sense of his awful majesty, and with a conviction of the glory of his worship. But it was only the alphabet, the primary elements, as Paul calls it, of the truth. The scheme of redemption, in its great features, was so different from anything ever conceived by the human understanding, so difficult to be received by it, that a new language was necessary, symbols addressed to the senses and the imagination, and kept continually before them, to give the new ideas and anomalous relations a permanent lodgment in the current of human thought.
Under the gospel all the forms are changed; the worship of God is still glorious, nay, far more glorious than before, but the outward signs of the glory have been removed. (Compare 2 Corinthians iii with the Epistle to the Hebrews throughout.) Jesus Christ is the spirit of the old letter; the temple, the ark, the mercy-seat, the altar, the priest, the complement of the whole imposing ritual in all its parts and details. There is no more use, no propriety, in such forms and appliances of worship as were tolerated under the law in the infancy and childhood of the church. There is no priest on earth in the literal sense; all are priests, high priests, who have boldness to enter every day and every hour into the holiest of all, through their union with Jesus, the only real priest, de jure or de facto, in the universe. There is no sacrifice, in the literal sense, on earth; all the services and worship of believers are spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ, who offered himself once for all, and by that one offering perfected forever them that are sanctified. There remaineth no more sacrifice for sin. There is and can be no temple on earth in the literal sense; every believer is the temple of the Holy Ghost, and there are no dead temples now, no consecrated stone, brick, or wood; our houses of worship are ‘meeting-houses,’ no more, no less. The true and only temple, in the sense of that which makes God conversable with man and man’s worship acceptable to God, is the human nature of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
— Thomas Peck (1822-1893), The Chamber of Imagery in the Church of Rome, Miscellanies: Volume 1