HEBREWS 9:1-10 (NIV – UK)
Worship in the earthly tabernacle
1 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 worshipper. 10 They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings – external regulations applying until the time of the new order.
THE BLOOD OF JESUS
Moses received instructions concerning the tabernacle and how it was to be set up. The set up of the tabernacle is very briefly outlined here (v. 2-5). We can learn so much about the Gospel of Jesus from the set up of the tabernacle and the sacrifices offered there and it’s certainly something that’s worth spending some time looking into.
What we find in the set up of the tabernacle is a shadow of what was to come – and at the heart of it is the high priest who enters the heaven place to offer a sacrifice of atonement at the Ark of the Covenant, which is the throne of God (v. 7). This is what Jesus has actually now done for us in the new covenant – he has gone through the curtain and into the heaven place to offer himself as a living sacrifice – to pour out his blood before the throne of God.
The worship of the Old Testament, the sacrificial system and even the place of worship were never an end in themselves – they were always pointing to the reality that was to come – the sacrifice that Jesus would make once for all.
Question: How does it make you feel to know that so long before Jesus took on human flesh the people of God were being taught about his coming sacrifice through their worship? What does this mean for your understanding of the Old Testament?