Hebrews 9:1 – 14
The Jews or the Nation of Israel were well aware of the fact that Moses went to a particular Mount because God invited him. They had no issues in believing that God spoke to Moses about the kind of Tabernacle He wanted him to construct. Moses was given the privilege to see the real tabernacle and what it looked like whilst on the mountain. By this, God instructed Moses that the Tabernacle that was going to be built on Earth had to be an exact replica in all ramifications down to measurements, clothing, furnishing and even colors. In other words, it had to be the same as what he was shown at the mountain.
This, for me should be a point of reference that the Jews should bring to remembrance anytime they remember the Tabernacle or more importantly when they remember their God – that whatever happens, is between them and God when it comes to the Tabernacle and worship. Maybe if they had this behind their minds, they wouldn’t have rejected the TRUE Tabernacle when it appeared to them. Jeremiah had warned them about the coming Messiah and the New Covenant, but the Jews will rather construct their own ideas about the coming Messiah.
Jeremiah said, as directed by the Lord, “The day is coming, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife, but this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days. I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the Lord. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”
Moses was able to witness that there were two rooms in that Tabernacle. In the first room were a lampstand, a table, and sacred loaves of bread on the table. The room was henceforth called the Holy Place. The Lampstand and the Table of showbread were materials that pointed to Jesus as the light of the Word and the Bread of Life. The Priests and the High Priests were permitted to access this room because the daily work of the ministry took place here.
He was also able to witness the second room demarcated from the Holy Place with a curtain, it was called the Most Holy Place or as many also know it as the Holiest of All. In that room was a gold incense altar and a wooden chest called the Ark of the Covenant, which was covered with gold on all sides. Inside the Ark were a gold jar containing manna, Aaron’s staff that sprouted leaves, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the Ark were the cherubim of divine glory, whose wings stretched out over the Ark’s cover, the place of atonement. ONLY the High Priest could access this room and if anyone does otherwise, it spelt the person’s end (death). It was that sacred. The High Priest went into this room once a year for his sin and for the sins of the people.
The writer of the Book of Hebrews made it clear to his audience through the Holy Spirit that the entrance to the Most Holy Place was not freely open as long as the Tabernacle and the system it represented were still in use. I can imagine the expression of agreement and delight on the face of his hearers because they knew all about it. The gifts and sacrifices could not be brought to God directly unless through the High Priest.
The details of the contents of this particular place will be for another article but one thing is of utmost importance about the Holiest of All, it was the abode of God; it was the place to access God; the presence of God was imminent. The people believed that to access God, they had to make contact with the Tabernacle and through the High Priest. That was the only way. Remember, Moses constructed the Tabernacle in accordance with what he saw on the mount. Please remember all these things are but a figure and an illustration pointing to the future when Jesus becomes the High Priest to the World and not just the Nation of Israel.
The irony in all of these was that the Jews never reminded themselves that the gifts and sacrifices that were offered at the Tabernacle were not sufficient to purify the conscience(s) of the people. It remained a symbol of the external – food, drinks and various cleansing ceremonies. They were to continue in this until a set time called “The Time of Reformation”. They were to continue with the physical regulations only until a better system could be established.
The better system that was to be established was going to rectify/straighten the Old Testament – taking away the physical ordinance of cleansing and moving it into the Spiritual with the idea of cleansing the conscience as opposed to the external cleansing that the Old Testament demanded. Jesus initiated the better system by His death, burial and resurrection. HE became the Heavenly High Priest with an infinitely greater Tabernacle, not made with human hands and more so out of this World, which He ministered and still ministers in.
He did not bring the blood of an animal like the High Priest of old did, He used His own blood, made the sacrifice once so that He could obtain the eternal redemption clearing the sins of the past, the present and the future all in one act of restoration. He went in through the Holy Place without the blood of an animal because He was going to use His own blood so that He wouldn’t have to come back year in year out but ONCE and for all and forever.
The writer concludes this part of his presentation by trying to make the people REASON and THINK – if under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity, just think about how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered Himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.
One thing is certain and that is, the purpose of the Old Covenant was to help us understand the New Covenant by making us see that it was to symbolize, externally, the cleansing of SIN. It accomplished this purpose but the Jews went beyond by concocting ideas and manufacturing their own sense of religion from what the writer in this great book calls a symbol, a copy, and a shadow of the real thing.
I conclude with a C.H Spurgeon quote who said, “The law is also very useful, because it shows us our defections and stains. It is like the mirror which my lady holds up to her face, that she may see if there be any spot on it. But she cannot wash her face with the mirror. When the mirror has done its utmost, then there are the same stains. It cannot take away a single spot, it can only show where one is. And the law, though it reveals our sin, our shortcomings, our transgressions, it cannot remove the sin or the transgression. It is weak for that purpose, because it was never intended to accomplish such an end.”
Keep it right here and be refreshed!