Obviously the Bible deals with the concept of worshiping the Lord quite a bit. Here, in Chronicles it is given a lot of attention as David prepares for the construction of the Temple in Jerusalem. It was in the midst of this report that I had a fresh realization. Here is part of what David did after he brought the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem:
Then David placed Asaph and his relatives, together with Obed-edom and sixty-eight of his relatives, to minister there continually before the chest containing the Lord’s covenant, following the routines required on each day. Obed-edom, Jeduthun’s son, and Hosah served as gatekeepers. David also placed the priest Zadok and his other priestly relatives at the Lord’s dwelling at the shrine in Gibeon. They were to offer continually, both morning and evening, entirely burned offerings to the Lord on the altar for entirely burned offerings, following the written requirements in the Lord’s Instruction, which he had given Israel.
So, the ark is in Jerusalem and the Tabernacle is in Gibeon. Sacrifices are still happening in Gibeon, on the altar that was constructed for that purpose. This means that there is precedence for Jewish worship with an empty Holy of holies, such as in the time of Jesus. The priests were performing their duties regularly even though the ark was not there.
More than that, though, there is precedence for worship without sacrifice. David set up a system in Jerusalem for worship before the ark, the symbol of the presence of the Lord among the people, while the sacrifice happens in Gibeon in the Tabernacle.
In other words, Christian worship without sacrifice is not an anomaly in Jewish worship. We have the presence of the Living God in our midst as we have the Holy Spirit among us, and we offer our worship of remembrance, giving thanks, and praise (1 Chronicles 16:4).
So, at the height of the Davidic kingdom, with the ideal king on the throne, worship in the Holy City was done in the presence of the Lord without sacrifice. Now, in the New Jerusalem community of the Church, with the true King in the line of David on the throne, worship is done without sacrifice. God is a master teacher, always preparing us for what he will do in the future!