“Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness. For a tent was prepared, the first section, in which were the lamp stand and the table and the bread of the Presence. It is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a second section called the Most Holy Place, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation.”
Hebrews 9:1-10 (ESV)
Reading verses 1-5, the items spoken of in this paragraph are from stories in the old testament. The manna is bread God provided for the Jews as Moses lead them out of Egypt through the desolate desert. The things in the ark of the covenant represented God’s glory, which man cannot near or touch unless they are perfect like God. Well nobody’s perfect. God gave rules so man could be righteous in his eyes, but no man could keep the rules. That is what makes this new covenant so beautiful; we can now come before God as righteous in His eyes. It’s not because of anything we did, but because of the work of Jesus.
In verses 6-10, we see more examples of the old covenant and rituals that man had to do to enter the Holy back room of the temple. God had a beautiful reason for the rules. Two very apparent reasons were to point us to the future at what Jesus would do, such as spilt blood as a sacrifice for our sin and offerings which show the condition of our heart towards God. Faith and belief in Jesus takes care of the spilt blood, but we still have offerings unto God to show our heart. We can still tithe, take care of the needy, share with others our possessions God has blessed us with, and much more as offerings unto God. These expose the condition of our heart towards God.
• What have you offered to God lately?
• Does the blood of Christ cover your sins?
By Andy Finch | Truckee, CA