One of my blog’s occasional readers and a friend of mine from a neighboring congregation I sometimes visit to speak at asked me about a particular topic that the Bible does not speak much about in detail, and that is what will ordinary worship practices look like in the Millennium? That is a question that is difficult to answer for sure, so let us conduct our study in the following way. First, we will give a brief discussion of those things that we know will be the case from what we read in the Bible about the Millennium, and then we will offer a discussion of what religious practices will be on the small and local level that is based on previous biblical analogues, with the note that we are speaking of possibilities and certainly not about certainties here.
When we look at what we know from the Bible about the worship practices in the Millennium, we have far more information about the temple and its worship system than we do about any other aspect. From places like Ezekiel 44, we have information about the priests and Levites and their service in the temple service. The first few verses of Ezekiel 45 show what land is set aside for the support of those priests and Levites who are involved in the temple service. Ezekiel 46 discusses that the people of the land (from how far away?) will worship in the Temple on the Sabbaths, the New Moons, as well as Holy Days, with a detailed way of moving people through the temple for sacrifices in an efficient manner.
Given that we do not have details of Levitical cities nor of any indication about what sort of public architecture will be present in millennial cities, what sort of possibilities exist for worship? There could be a centralized system of worship based around the temple because that is where the priests and Levites will be focused, with weekly worship in Israel being focused on the millennial temple, from what we see in the last few chapters of Ezekiel. There could be systems of synagogues or churches as have been common in Second Temple Judaism and both Judaism and Christianity after that, but there are going to be clear differences with the revival of a strong priesthood and Levitical community willing and able to teach. The role of parents in teaching their children is also a strong possibility as well, given the frequent biblical discussion of the role of parents in education and the fact that the Bible is clear that people will see their teachers rather than see their teachers in a corner (see Isaiah 30:20-21). It is likely that religious instruction will come from a variety of harmonious sources, whatever else can be said about it.