#5 “The Tabernacle” Series
"THE HOLY OF HOLIES!"
TEXTS: Heb. 9:1-15; 10:1-25 (supporting texts from the Gospels)
INTRO: There is no place where we run into God more than in the final room of the tabernacle! This room was called the HOLY OF HOLIES because in it was found the very presence of God Himself! It was the place of God's dwelling under the Old Covenant ... and so the room held great awe and fear; the people felt a sense of marvel towards it. Only the High Priest was allowed to enter this room and then only once a year, and if any sin was in his heart he would be killed on the spot! During certain reigns they had learned to put bells around the ankle of the High Priest and to even tie a rope around him in case he died when he entered they would remove his body by pulling it out! If they suddenly heard the bells stop they knew he had died in the presence of the Lord and they pulled his body out! The people would hold their breath to see if the High Priest returned from the Holy of Holies some years.
While the outer court represented the believer's separation from the world, and the Holy Place represented the place of fellowship with God ... this room called the Holy of Holies represented the place of Worship! This room was veiled off by a thick curtain under the Old Covenant, it was torn in two in the great earthquake when Jesus died inaugurating the New Covenant, now through Christ the room is open for all, not restricted to one!
This room was a perfect cube 15' by 15' by 15' ... one room with 3 equal dimensions, perhaps a symbol of the Trinity of God. The room was blocked by a large veil or curtain. Since the golden altar was placed directly in front of this curtain it was often considered as part of the furniture of the Holy of Holies though it stood in the Holy Place. To enter you had to be the right person, at the right time, and in the right way, or death resulted.
In Christ we now can enter anytime as the right people, always the right time, and with our sins washed away by Christ we can enter always in the right way ... the result; LIFE, not death!
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us through the Holy of Holies that through Christ we now have access to God; the way is open to those who come through Christ our High Priest!
I. THE ARK OF THE COVENANT Heb. 9:1-5; 10:20
A. Heavenly Provision! Heb. 9:4; Jn. 6:28-35a
1. One of the 3 items within this ark was a gold jar full of the manna Israel had during their desert wanderings.
a. The gold again was the symbol of deity ... Jesus.
b. The manna was the heavenly bread ... again Jesus!
2. The unique feature of this sample of manna was that it never spoiled ... as long as it remained a part of the ark it was fresh forever! It was EVERLASTING BREAD!
a. The symbol of Jesus here is powerful ... HE IS THE EVERLASTING BREAD OF LIFE!
b. This bread symbolized God's heavenly provision for their life!
3. This ark was a symbol of LIFE to God's people, but when treated improperly it was an ark of death ... like the time the Philistines possessed the ark, they began to die from tumors ... so much death resulted that they gave it back to Israel!
a. It was life to those who respected it and handled it properly ... death to those who misused it!
b. God had provided for them everlasting bread ... now fulfilled in Christ!
c. In John 6:28-35a Jesus is called the "BREAD OF LIFE."
B. Heavenly Power! Heb. 9:4
1. The next item in the ark was a rod that had buds, flowers, and ripened almonds on it ... the symbol of Aaron as High Priest.
a. This symbol of the High Priest having been chosen by God ... Jesus is the ultimate High Priest chosen by God Himself for us.
b. The rod was the symbol of God's authority as well as God's choice for High Priest!
c. When Aaron's priesthood had been challenged, Moses had been given instructions by God to have all those who thought they were to be the High Priest (1 from each tribe) bring a rod and the rod that budded and had fruit on it would be the one God had chosen ... it had been Aaron’s rod that budded ... and this was placed in the ark as a constant reminder that God chooses His servants ... ultimately His ONE servant Jesus!
d. Heb. clearly speaks that Jesus is the High Priest forever!
2. Like this rod ... He appeared to be at first a dead stick suddenly brought to life in a miraculous manner ... always having fresh buds and ripe fruit on it, like the manna, always alive!
a. This is Jesus; though at the cross He appeared dead He came alive again and is still alive bearing much fruit
b. In John 15:5-8 we are also likened as dead branches, but in Christ we are grafted into the vine which is Christ and alive we become branches bearing fruit also!
C. Heavenly Principles! (Tablets - lO commandments) 9:4
1. The 3rd item which this ark had in it was the 2 tablets of stone with God's laws written on them, the ones Moses brought down the mountain!
a. These laws had been written by God Himself ... not man!
b. Man will never be able to improve upon these.
c. These were God's principles of LIFE!
2. Any man who would keep these laws would find life, these were God's eternal laws, His Word.
3. Again we see Christ here who fulfilled the law fully ... whose obedience to this law of God brought the gift of life to us!
D. Heavenly Pardon! (Mercy seat) Heb. 9:5
1. The lid of the ark was called the mercy seat ... this lid has great significant spiritual dynamics to it!
a. It literally kept a lid on God's judgment from pouring forth to anyone who looked into the ark to see the contents ... anyone who did so without being Holy were destroyed!
b. 1 Sam. 6:13-20 after the Philistines returned the ark to Israel some of the Jews looked inside the ark to check out the items within ... when they lifted off the lid they were immediately struck dead!
(1. Why? They had failed to apply the blood to the mercy seat and so had negated the application of God's mercy; they thus felt the impact of God's holiness without cleansing! Without God's mercy ... judgment destroyed them!
(2. For us mere mortals without making application of God's mercy the Holiness of God would bring destruction and judgment ... thank God for the blood sprinkled on the mercy seat ... Jesus Himself has done this so that we can freely partake of that mercy inside the ark of safety!
c. Thus the mercy seat literally kept a lid on God's judgment! This seat was a constant reminder of God's love for us sinners ... a way to save us by His great mercy ... the blood of Jesus having cleansed away the judgment!
2. A pardon however of blood on the mercy seat is no good if it is not accepted by us!
ILLUS: The president of the United States has the power to pardon any criminal of their sentence. During Andrew Jackson's term in the white house a strange thing happened; A postal clerk by the name of George Wilson had killed a guard while attempting to rob a federal payroll from a train. He was convicted and sentenced to death. Because of public sentiment against capital punishment at the time ... and being George Wilson's first offense, President Jackson intervened with a pardon ... then the strange thing: Wilson refused the pardon!! Since this had never happened before, it went to the supreme court to rule on whether someone could indeed refuse a presidential pardon! Chief Justice John Marshall handed down the court's ruling: "A PARDON IS A PARCHMENT WHOSE ONLY VALUE MUST BE DETERMINED BY THE RECEIVER OF THE PARDON IT HAS NO VALUE APART FROM THAT WHICH THE RECEIVER GIVES IT." George Wilson has refused to accept the PARDON; therefore, George Wilson must die! And so he was hanged! Declared "PARDONED" he refused to accept the gift of life ... and so with us & Jesus! If the blood is not applied to the mercy of seat ... the contents of God's ark of safety brings death; blood applied, it brought life & blessing! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
3. The two thus balanced each other: The mercy of God provided a lid to His judgment of sin & the sinner ... KEEP A LID ON IT!
4. On this mercy seat were 2 other creatures ... Cherubim!
a. They were the type of angels that stood at the entrance to the Garden of Eden to keep Adam & Eve out after they had sinned.
b. WHY? To keep them from eating of the TREE OF LIFE and living eternally in a dammed condition!
c. They stood as guardians of God's holiness ... and were thus a symbol of guarding man from damnation; they were both warning symbols of the Holiness within, and protectors of man from improperly entering and thus dieing!
5. They stood on this mercy seat facing each other, God's messengers to us!
E. Heavenly Passage! (The veil) Heb. 10:20
1. This is what separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies ... a curtain held up by 4 posts:
a. Perhaps symbolic of the 4 Gospels that upheld the life & work of Christ!
b. This curtain was unique ... it had embroidered on it images of Cherubim according to Exodus 26:31-37.
c. Again this pointed to the uniqueness of this room ... the place of God's very presence and the holiness associated with it!
d. Their design reminded the High Priest that within was the place of holiness, the place of worship! Their image was a reminder that they were guardians of God's holiness, not man’s!
2. This veil was a constant reminder to man that access to God was limited to a very careful plan, only the High Priest could enter and only once a year, and in a very precise and careful way with blood for the mercy seat!
3. In the Old Covenant this curtain was a reminder of how removed we were from God's presence, lest we die in coming with our sinfulness ... however, under the New Covenant in Jesus this access has been made wide open!
a. In Matt. 27:50-53 we are told that when Jesus died the veil in the Temple was rent in two ... from TOP to BOTTOM! Jesus the High Priest entered Heaven (the Holy of Holies) with His own blood to sprinkle on the mercy seat of God ... and when accepted by God the way was now open to all WHO COME IN CHRIST. The only proper way to enter now is in Christ's holiness and this gives us instant access to God Himself! WHAT A BETTER COVENANT we live under.
b. The veil ripping TOP TO BOTTOM was unusual, God tore it from heaven to earth ... a symbol of His desire to open the way ... God WANTS FELLOWSHIP WITH YOU!
II. THE ACTION OF THE COVENANT 9:6-10; 10:1-18
A. Humanity's Problem! (Old Covenant) 9:6-10; 10:1-10
1. The Mercy seat had to be constantly sprinkled with blood ... the lid could not be removed thus the blood of bulls and goats only COVERED up their sins for the moment, until the next time. Their sins thus were not removed from their conscience, only covered for the moment! 9:9
a. The constant need for repeated sacrifices showed a covenant that accented "death."
b. The repetition reminded them of the temporary nature of their sins covering!
ILLUS: Like a leaky pipe ... you can replace the pipe or do what some of us "fix-it" genius' do -- duct tape the pipe's leak! Putting tape around the leak might work for while ... but you will need to replace it constantly ... what is really needed is a master plumber who can repair the leak by a new section of pipe! The taped pipe even while temporarily working would leave you in constant fear of it giving out ... the new pipe would give you assurance and peace of mind! This is the difference in this Old Covenant that spoke of death ... and the New Covenant in Christ which speaks to us a better way of life! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
2. The Old Covenant was only meant to be a temporary fix for humanity's problems, only until the Master-Plumber would come and repair the error!
3. Without Christ's blood applied to your life death rules.
B. Heaven's Peace! (New Covenant) Heb. 9:lOb; -18
1. In Christ our sins are not just covered over, they are literally removed!
2. It was a "once for all sacrifice" -- there is no repetition of sacrifice to remind us of the constant need to KEEP covered our sins year to year!
3. They are removed in Christ once and for all! We are free to be HOLY in Christ ... and thus FREE to enter into God's very presence, even with boldness!
a. We need not fear death when we enter with Christ!
b. The cherubim will not keep us out ... they will join us as we enter!
c. In this new covenant we are free even from the GUILTY CONSCIENCE of sin! No more reminders of guilt by routine sacrifices.
4. How much better the New Covenant!
a. This new covenant didn't destroy God's laws ... it fulfilled them, and opened them up for us to live in power!
b. Fear is replaced by Faith!
III. THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE COVENANT 9:11-15; 10:19-25
A. Heavenly Passport! 10:19-25
1. There is nothing to stop us from coming into the presence of God except 2 things:
a. Our own will.
b. Our desire to ignore God's pardon ... His sacrifice for us.
2. Access is gained by confession of sin and acceptance of Christ.
3. We can leave our dead efforts of righteousness behind ... and through Christ enter freely and holy ... eternal life is at stake, COME ON IN!
B. Holiest Place!
1. You don't have to wait until heaven to get close to God ... the Holy of Holies is open right now, you can enjoy fellowship with a real God in a real way, and experience His Holiness even on this side of eternity!
2. Jesus quite literally left the door open! Why stay on the outside in darkness when you can enter in through Christ into the light of God's mercy and salvation!
3. You don't have to wait until a certain time of the year, now is the day of salvation!
4. What's keeping you from the Holy of Holies and the presence of God?
a. Only if you cling to your sins ... you thus cling to death.
b. Release those sins to Christ who will not just cover them, He will remove them!
CONCLUSION: The Holy of Holies was the place of worship before the very presence of God. Before it was sealed off from man, but through Jesus the way is open for you to come. Have you come yet?