Through the Book of Hebrews—Exploration and Discussion Chp. 9:1-5
v. 1 The writer highlights that the first covenant had_________________ for worship and also an______________ sanctuary.
A. Regulations—the old way was initiated and prescribed by God. There were regulations to follow that were genuine and holy because they were from God. The writer reminds us that they were established here on earth, a type or reflection of the reality in heaven.
v. 2 The writer is referring to two “tents” or “tabernacles.” (“room” is not in the Greek) The first is described as containing: _____________, ________________, and __________________ __________________. This was called the Holy Place. Barrow (1984) reminds us how the lampstand points to Christ:
A. “The priests in the Tabernacle were responsible, evening and morning, for topping up the seven lamps with oil and trimming their wicks. Jesus said “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).
Therefore, the lampstand points us to Jesus Christ Himself, the light of the whole world.”
If Jesus abides in us, are we the light of salvation to those around us? (cf. Eph. 5:8; Matt 5:13-16)
To view actual pictures or replications of the lampstand, table, and consecrated bread, go to: BiblePlaces.com
B. “The table of showbread was a small table made of acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold…. It stood on the right side of the Holy Place across from the lampstand and held 12 loaves of bread, representing the 12 tribes of Israel.”
C. The consecrated bread: According to The Tabernacle Place, “‘Showbread’ also was called “bread of the presence” because it was to be always in the Lord’s presence. The table and the bread were a picture of God’s willingness to fellowship and communion (literally speaking, sharing something in common) with man. It was like an invitation to share a meal, an extension of friendship.
Eating together often is an act of fellowship. God is willing for mankind to enter into His presence to fellowship with Him. May we proclaim to all who will listen “today” is the day of salvation! Repent, and come and fellowship with our gracious God.
“Jesus exemplified this when He ate with tax collectors, prostitutes and the sinners of Jewish society. Obviously this was more than just a gesture of friendship on earth. Jesus came to call sinners to Him, make them right with God, so that they could enjoy everlasting fellowship with God.”
Making friends is necessary and cool! However, may God give us courage and a genuine concern for the salvation of others, beyond earthly friendship.
We are motivated when we understand and genuinely experience the Lord Jesus in our own lives. We recognize that nothing else really matters.
“I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. … Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die.” (John 6:35, 49-50)
How do we partake of the bread of life? Is there any evidence that you have eaten the bread that came down from heaven?
v. 3-4 The second curtain is that which separated the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place. It is called “second” to distinguish from the curtain in the outer court and the Holy place. Behind this curtain in the Most Holy Place the writer describes the content:
A. golden alter of incense—“The golden altar of incense was physically placed in the Holy Place ‘before the veil’. But it was carried annually into the Holy of Holies… The actual censer, filled with coals taken from the golden altar of incense, was used to carry the ashes of the golden altar, on which incense was to be burned, into the very ‘presence’ of God, into the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16.12-13).
And these came from the golden altar, so that the whole was seen as in some way a part of the Holy of Holies, although spending most of their time in the Holy Place. (Pett).
Moreover, The incense symbolized the prayers of God’s people being carried behind the veil, by the High Priest. Moreover, in Revelation 8:3-5 we read that the one of the archangels was given much incense to offer, consisting of the prayers of all the saints. “The angel took the censor, filled it with fire from the alter and hurled it on the earth.” So, our prayers fall in judgment on the earth at the end of time as we know it.
We know that the sacrifice of Jesus has made our prayers acceptable to God. However, do you approach the throne of grace with confidence everyday? Do I really believe that God hears my prayers and I need to pray to demonstrate my dependence on Him? Do I really believe that my prayers make a difference in the lives of others?
B. Arc of the Covenant: This was the gold covered box made of acacia wood, 2.5 cubits by 1.5 cubits (3.75 feet by 2.25 feet) which held the Golden Pot of Manna, and Aarons Rod and the Tablets of the Covenant (Ten Commandments).
Each of these items was a picture of Christ.
Manna: Christ referred to himself as the “Bread of Life” which came down from heaven. (John 6:31-37)
Aaron’s Rod: Was a dead almond branch, which came back to life and yielded seeds with the power of the Lord. Christ died, and he was brought back to life, and yielded seeds, the saved. The dead branch brought back to life was a picture of the resurrection and fruit it would bear. (Numbers 17:8)
Tablets of the Covenant: The Word of God, Christ is the Word of God, (John 1:1-3, Revelation 19:13) The Word became flesh. John 1:14 says “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (NIV). (Truthnet).
v. 5 The NASB reads, “ and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail.”
cherubim of glory: The cover of the Arc was also made of gold with the images of two cherubim looking toward each other. (Exodus 25:17). This was an illustration of the reality of Heaven. In Heaven, the Cherubim stand at the throne of God, Both Ezekiel and John give us a detailed description their view of God’s throne, and Cherubim that proclaim God’s holiness. The cover of the Arc was merely a picture of the reality. (Ezekiel 1:4-28, Revelation 4)
“O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Isaiah 37:16
Are we mindful/aware of God’s holiness? Does the degree of our awareness influence our being in day to day behavior/activities and our relationships? Our speech? (Isa 6:1-7).
For genuine Christians, Christ abides in our being (mind & heart). The Holy Spirit in us empowers us to “be” holy. Paul reminds us “to those sanctified in Christ Jesus called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ…”
We have a choice to “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Heb 12: 14). If we choose to ignore God and behave in an unholy fashion, even as genuine believers,
“…but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness” (Heb 12: 10b).
What practical behaviors do we have to maintain in order to share in God’s holiness? How might God discipline us as His chidren in order for us to share in his holiness?
Mercy Seat: Between the Cherubim was the mercy seat, which was a picture of God’s throne. The Shekinah Glory, “God’s Presence” would appear to the High Priest between the Cherubim. The Hebrew word, Shekinah means dwelling, and is a root for the word used in Tabernacle. The same word is used in the Greek for dwelling. (John 1:14).
“And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel. Exodus 25:22
The Mercy Seat was a picture of the reality of Heaven, where God ruled on his throne between the Cherubim. There in Heaven, Christ our High Priest intercedes for us day and night, the Temple merely illustrated the coming fulfillment of Messiah, our “Melchizedek” High Priest of the New Covenant.”