Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.
Hebrews 10 says:
Since we have confidence to enter the most holy place
by the blood of Jesus,
by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain,
that is his body,
and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
let us draw near to God
with a sincere heart
in full assurance of faith,
having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience
and having our bodies washed with pure water (vv. 19-22).
The ancient Israelites approached God a bit like we might approach a nuclear reactor. If you get too close without proper precautions, you get burned or vaporized.
The tabernacle, a tent of meeting, which Moses built, had a staged approach for those who wanted to come near to God. First, was an outside courtyard where priests conducted animal sacrifices.
Next, the holy place inside the tent, where only priests were permitted. No animal sacrifices here. It was a quiet room with candles, incense, and bread on a table. At the back of this holy place, curtained from view, was the VERY holy place, also known as the Holy of Holies: God’s special place. It contained the mercy seat, sometimes called God’s throne.
Only the high priest could go into the VERY holy place, and only once a year. On the day of atonement, he took a bit of blood into the VERY holy place, stood for a moment in the presence of God, and sprinkled blood on the mercy seat. If God didn’t annihilate the priest for coming too close, another year of forgiveness was granted.
We don’t know when the tabernacle disappeared, but we know the Babylonian army destroyed Solomon’s temple in 587 or 586 B.C., carting off the valuables and burning the temple. Surprisingly, God didn’t annihilate the invading army when they entered his VERY holy place. In one of Ezekiel’s visions, it appears that God had abandoned his special place in the temple before the invaders arrived (Ezekiel 8-10). Ezekiel explains that the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, and the exile to Babylon, was God’s nuclear option for Israel, punishing them for abandoning true temple worship to participate in competing religions.
But back to the Book of Hebrews. Using the image of the VERY holy place where the priest went once a year, the author says Jesus opened the way for us to enter the VERY holy place whenever we want. We do not fear annihilation as the Israelites did. Instead, we expect a welcome from God, based on a new relationship Jesus negotiated for us.
Our father, Jesus changed our view of how to approach you. We no longer fear that your presence will consume us, or your holiness burn us, or your light blind us, or your anger destroy us. We go confidently through the curtain into the VERY holy place of your presence because our hearts are sprinkled with the blood of Jesus’ sacrifice, and our bodies washed with the pure water of his word.
I’m Daniel, on the channel “Pray with Me”.