Signposts on the Way
O Lord, You are a holy God. Prepare my heart to meet with You in the glory of Your presence.
Read Hebrews 9:1–10
Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. 2 A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand and the table with its consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. 3 Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, 4 which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 5 Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.
6 When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. 7 But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8 The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. 9 This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. 10 They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectPrepare with all respect to come into God’s presence, for our “God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:29).
The regulations for setting up the tabernacle, and worshipping within it, take up many chapters of the Old Testament. Our passage contains a brief summary of what went on. But this isn’t a history lesson. That’s why the author is keen to get on and make his point!
According to Hebrews, worship in the earthly tabernacle was only a signpost to a greater reality. Tabernacle worship had real limitations. Access into the most holy place was restricted to the high priest, who could only go in once a year on the Day of Atonement (see Lev. 16). And the sacrifices of the tabernacle could only achieve a temporary and external cleanliness.
The worship of the tabernacle was in fact only a signpost. Through its very limitations the Holy Spirit points us on to a better and surer way of coming into God’s presence.
Take advantage today of your privilege to enter the Most Holy Place of God’s presence. Take a few moments to worship.
Lord Jesus, You are worthy of my praise. Be high and lifted up in my life today.
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