Thought for the Week - 1st MayVanda Hopkin
Hebrew 9: 1-10
That first covenant between God and Israel had regulations for worship and a place of worship here on earth. There were two rooms in that Tabernacle. In the first room were a lampstand, a table, and sacred loaves of bread on the table. This room was called the Holy Place. Then there was a curtain, and behind the curtain was the second room called the Most Holy Place. In that room were a gold incense altar and a wooden chest called the Ark of the Covenant, which was covered with gold on all sides. Inside the Ark were a gold jar containing manna, Aaron’s staff that sprouted leaves, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the Ark were the cherubim of divine glory, whose wings stretched out over the Ark’s cover, the place of atonement. But we cannot explain these things in detail now.
When these things were all in place, the priests regularly entered the first room as they performed their religious duties. But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. By these regulations the Holy Spirit revealed that the entrance to the Most Holy Place was not freely open as long as the Tabernacle and the system it represented were still in use.
This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies—physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established.
Matthew 27: 45-54
At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.”
Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.
The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!”
These verses Hebrews, explain the old covenant and the Laws that God gave to Moses. What we see in the Old Testament is explained in the New Testament, with prophecies about Christ in the Old Testament coming to pass in the New Testament.
The Holy of Holies was separated by a veil. In the Old Testament we read how it separated the Holy of Holies from everyone else, with only the High Priest allowed to enter, once a year. That was where the Mercy Seat was. However, the normal people like you and I, and even the priests, were not allowed to access it. When we think of veils, we think of little, delicate bridal veils. But this veil was 60 foot high, 30 foot wide and as thick as a man’s hand! The veil was taken down twice a year to clean or replace, and such was its weight that it took 300 priests to move it!
This veil stood between the people and the Holy of Holies. There was no way that we could access this place where God rested; people were separated from God because of their sin. We were separated from the Glory of God and the Mercy Seat of God. It didn’t matter how many animals were sacrificed for the sins – and millions were every year – we still couldn’t get past that veil into the Holy of Holies. The only reason the High Priest could access there was because he was permitted by God to act as a representation for us.
We read that “For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them.”. No one and nothing could cleanse us for our sins – no man, no priest, and no human action – until that day that Christ Himself hung on that cross for us. He was tortured and humiliated, and that temple was torn in two! The lintels didn’t move; something that was 60 foot, by 30 foot, by 4 inches in size was torn completely… from top to bottom! That was God Himself tearing it down!
That’s what Christ’s sacrifice did for us – everything that what was separating man from God was torn down! By Christ dying, He took away those old regulations, legalities and covenant. It was no longer needed because the sacrifice of Christ was a new promise! Christ satisfied God’s judgement that we should face. There was a way open between God and man. When that way was opened, we no longer needed to wait outside… we can enter the place of God that Christ is. We don’t need to glimpse, we can walk straight in – to access that mercy seat and everything inside the Holy of Holies! It doesn’t matter who we’ve been or what we’ve done! That way is open to everyone who wants it.
We can be so casual about it, and take it for granted. Many people become Christians, but many people don’t find their way into that Holy of Holies, and dwell in that secret place where God and the Holy Spirit dwell.
The other thing He did was allow us to see the things that had been hidden from before the foundations of the earth. In the Old Testament, it was hundreds of years where God spoke to one man, then hundreds of years later He’d speak to another man. God was there, but because of man’s sin, they were separated. Because of Christ’s sacrifice, we don’t have to be separated from God! We can hear His voice, we can be part of His plans and we can be part of His blessings… because He tore that veil in two! We can see that Mercy Seat, we can see that Glory of God for ourselves, and experience that presence of God! He’s there for us!
We don’t need those legalistic symbols of the Old Testament, or that Temple. Our bodies are now the Temple of God; we carry Christ around with us at all times! We can see eternity, we can see Christ and experience for ourselves the blessings of God. The forgiveness of God is for everyone! Christ died on that cross for everyone who would call upon His name. He gave us the way right into eternity – He held the keys of death and hell. He made a way for us, through that veil being torn. He is saying, come into that Holy Place. He has made a way for you… a way where there was no way.
I’d encourage you today, Christ is calling! He wants each one of us to come into that place and feel the love He has for you! He has freedom for you… freedom from the past, of fears, judgement, criticism, weaknesses, sins, ourselves, and everything that would hold us back! That Mercy Seat brings joy and freedom!
We have a wonderful, wonderful saviour! There is a place beside Him today… He has waited for you all these years. He has a love for you that knows no bounds!