The Setting Of The Old Covenant

The Setting Of The Old Covenant

There was a tabernacle prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the sacred bread; this is called the holy place.
–Hebrews 9:2

In the Old Testament, the tabernacle was a portable worship center. The tabernacle area was 150 feet by 75 feet. And there were not multiple entrances. There was not an entrance for men and one for women and one for Gentiles. There was only one entrance into the tabernacle. God was teaching us an important lesson: There are not many ways to God. There is one way to God. It is His way. That is why Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). The Israelites saw that truth illustrated in the tabernacle.

After you walked through that one entrance, you would be in the outer court, the courtyard area. Immediately to your right, you would notice a bronze altar where the priest would be daily offering animal sacrifices for the sins of the people. After he finished with the sacrifice, there was a basin he would use to wash off the blood to cleanse himself. As you moved west, you would notice that the tabernacle was divided into two sections. One was the Holy Place. This was a place that only the priests could enter.

Hebrews 9:2 says, “There was a tabernacle prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the sacred bread; this is called the holy place.” There were three elements in that Holy Place. First, there was the golden lampstand with seven branches. That was used as a symbol of God’s illuminating power to give guidance to His children. Then there was the table of the showbread. This was a table with 12 loaves of bread on it, symbolizing God’s material provision for His people. Then there was a golden altar of incense. This golden altar of incense represented the prayers of God’s people ascending to God.

Any priest could go into the Holy Place. But there was a veil that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. Hebrews 9:3-5 describes what was behind the veil: “Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat.” While any priest could go into the Holy Place, only the high priest could go into the Holy of Holies.

The main piece of furniture in the Holy of Holies was the ark of the covenant. This box measured 4.5 feet by 2.5 feet and contained several interesting items. There was a golden urn with manna from the wilderness that God had miraculously provided. There was Aaron’s rod, which was a symbol of authority that had blossomed as a display of God’s power. But the most important things inside the box were the tablets that recorded the Ten Commandments. The lid of the ark, made of pure gold, was called the mercy seat. On each end of the lid was the representation of a cherub. And it was thought that God dwelled between those cherubim. Now the picture of the ark of the covenant was very clear: God was looking down on those two stone tablets, which His people were breaking every day, and the ark of the covenant represented God’s judgment on His people. God looked down on the Law, which had been broken. That was the picture of the tabernacle.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “A Memo To Jerry Jones” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2018.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.