Hebrews 9:1 Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.
2 For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.
3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;
4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;
5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.
God is continuing to lay out the facts of the reason why Jesus Christ is better. God makes it clear here that He does not function like man. He is not correcting mistakes made in the past. The ordinances of the former covenant were of divine service. God gave much detail in the Old Testament of the sacrificial laws, beginning with the choice of Aaron as the first high priest.
Notice that God called the Old Testament Tabernacle as a “worldly sanctuary.” It was worldly in that it was made of earthly materials. Everything was gathered from things that are on this earth. It was a type of the heavenly Tabernacle. It was a shadow. It had its place but it was never something to be worshipped. It was to be used to remind the people of the need to worship the true God. The priesthood soon became corrupted and the people lost sight of the purpose of the Tabernacle.
In vv.2-4 God went into a summary account of what was in the Tabernacle. First of all in the outer part of the sanctuary there was a candlestick which was a type of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Light of the World. Jesus Christ shines into the darkness of humanity.
Jesus Christ is also the table on which the shewbread was placed. Jesus Christ is the living bread of life. All of these things were a part of the sanctuary. They were in the outer part of the Tabernacle.
Verse 3 tells us of that which was within the second veil. God called this “the Holiest”. This was the place that only the high priest could enter and only once a year with special preparation.
In verse 4 we are told that the golden censer was in this Holiest, as was the ark of the covenant. The golden censer was used as a type of the prayers of the priest on behalf of the people being given before God. The smoke of that incense depicted the prayers being given. We do not need that censer today because we have access to the Throne of Grace through the Lord Jesus Christ for those who are saved. The lost can come before God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.
The ark of the covenant was covered in gold, again a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. Gold is used as a type of deity. Inside the ark of the covenant was the golden pot with the manna, that was a reminder of God’s miraculous provision for the nation of Israel during the wilderness wanderings. There was also Aaron’s rod which budded to show the Levites that God chose Aaron as the first high priest. Aaron did not appoint himself. Moses did not appoint him. God chose him and He caused Aaron’s rod to bud to show the rebels that they were wrong. God also had the ten commandments in that ark of the covenant. The ten commandments were given by God to remind the nation of Israel of His righteousness and His holiness. They also remind man that he is not holy and does not meet God’s standard of righteousness. Paul was directed to remind us:
Galatians 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
Anyone that is honest knows they cannot keep the law. There are many who are deluded and assume they are doing their best at keeping the law and that will be acceptable to God. Yet God tells us:
James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
It is foolish to assume that we can somehow be good enough to please God. We cannot do this. Romans 10:4 states:
Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
The true child of God understands or needs to understand that he or she is not trying to work to gain favour with God. The true child of God honours God because he or she has Christ dwelling within.
In verse 5 we see that the cherubim were over the mercy seat. There was a glory in the cherubim that is the work of God. God was not going to go into great detail regarding this fact.
The word “mercyseat” is the same Greek word translated in Romans 3:25 as “propitiation”. The word is only found twice in the Bible. It again speaks of the fact that Jesus Christ is that satisfaction that God required for the sin of man. He required that the seed of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent. The seed of the woman must be without sin in order to do that. Thus we find that at the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ there was no man involved and the conception took place by the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit upon Mary.
God saw to it that His demand could be met and would be met. He made the demand of what was required to forgive man and He also provided the means by which man could be forgiven. In the book of Hebrews God is continuously showing us the greatness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
For those who are saved we need to be reminded of the greatness of our salvation. We need to be reminded of the preciousness of God’s gift of salvation. We should be constantly in awe of what God has provided for us. It is astounding how ignorant the majority of professing Christendom is in our time of these amazing facts. As our governments have tried to shut down churches, the majority of those who claim to be saved, have capitulated to the demands of the governments. Some have backed away because of the threat of fines. We have substituted the fear of God for the fear of man. We have downgraded the greatness of God and of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We need to get back to glorifying God and showing our neighbours and officials that the God of the Bible is the true God. There have been some good reports of Christians giving out literature to the many truckers that have passed through. We need to pray that literature would be read and many of those who received it would be saved!
Every true child of God should be making every effort to be in attendance in a true local church today. Our obedience to God would be of much greater importance than the 1,000’s that have cheered on the truckers convoy over this past week. Much more good would be accomplished if God’s people would humble themselves and be obedient to the God Who provided salvation for them.
I am praying for God’s name to be exalted today and every day.