The Old Testament Tabernacle was a temporary place of worship. For younger readers, it was kind of like a mobile church in a large tent! The tabernacle was placed at the center of the camp, and is where you went to worship God. Inside the Tabernacle tent were two rooms. The first room was an outer room called the Holy Place where a few important items resided. All the priests carried out their duties outside the tent and in this room. The second room was the inner room called the Holy of Holies. This is where the Ark of the Covenant was placed. It was called the Holy of Holies because this is where God chose to make His presence known. It was literally the most holy of places, because that is where the holy God was!
Once a year, on a day called The Day of Atonement (you can read more on that in Leviticus 16), the High Priest would enter this room to make a special sacrifice for the forgiveness of all the people of Israel. At no other point in the year was anyone able to enter.
The first covenant that we learned about yesterday centred around the sacrifices made for atonement at the tabernacle. It required a blood sacrifice. The High Priest could never enter the Holy of Holies without blood. We often picture God’s holy place to be pristine and shiny, but it looked more like a butcher shop! On occasion, blood would have been everywhere! It would have been a gruesome and gory sight. This is no accident but was rather God’s good design. You see, to look upon this gruesome and gory scene would be such a clear reminder of the dreadfulness of sin, and how it can only be got rid of through the spilling of blood.
There was a problem with this sacrifice, however. It could not clean the conscience (vs. 9). It could not actually save you! Rather, it was another sign (like we looked at before), pointing forward to the dreadful blood sacrifice that Jesus would make, once for all, as he hung upon the cross. Jesus is both the High Priest and the sacrifice. Jesus as the great High Priest goes into the Holy of Holies to offers the atoning sacrifice, but not with an animal, but rather something far greater, and eternally covering: Himself. He didn’t enter an earthly tabernacle, but the heavenly one as he appeared before the Father unblemished by sin as the perfect sacrifice for us.
Thanks to Jesus, we don’t need a tabernacle or temple today. Neither is the church building a temple. Rather, the Bible says that we, who are the church, are the temple, because God’s Holy Spirit now dwells in His people. God lives in us!
- In what ways does Jesus death make you free?
- Knowing that you have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus (if you put your faith and trust in Him), how does this help you to live a life that will make God smile on you?
Father God, thank you that Jesus’ blood fulfilled the requirements of the law, and that I no longer need any other sacrifice. Help me to trust in His one sacrifice made for my sins. Amen.