Most Holy Place Christians
In this lesson we move into the innermost sanctum of the tabernacle, a room that only the High Priest of Israel could enter and even he could only come into the Most Holy Place once a year on the Day of Atonement. What will we learn here? How will our relationship with God be changed and challenged by this most awesome room in the tabernacle.
Let's review just a moment what we have seen so far.
The Outer Court- Salvation, Sacrifice and Sanctification
It was in the outer court that we entered through the one gate. Standing in the foreground of the court was the Brazen Altar and the behind it the Bronze Laver.
This all represents Jesus Christ as we come to know Him at salvation. He is seen as the one and only way, as our sacrifice upon the cross and through His blood the cleansing of our sin. These are the pictures of Jesus as our Saviour and substitute.
It is in the Outer Court that we are first introduced to Jesus. It is a powerful and moving introduction, yet the Outer Court experience of salvation is only as the first step of Christianity. Salvation is the most important thing in the world until you are saved then it becomes the least important. To dwell in the Outer Court would be to only know Jesus in a single facet of who He is. It would be to limit our relationship to only the salvation experience itself and there is much more.
The Holy Place – Sustenance, Sight, Supplication
Passing from the Outer Court into the tabernacle we come into the Holy Place. We are immediately struck by the smell of incense, olive oil and bread. Here we see the Table of Shewbread, the Golden Lampstand, and the Altar of Incense. Now we glimpse more of the Saviour than just his death. We begin to know Him as working and moving in our lives daily.
The Table of Shewbread represents Jesus as our sustenance, the power through which we live our lives everyday. The Lampstand represents guidance, Jesus through the word is our sight, leading and showing us how to live in this world. The Altar of Incense represents supplication, prayer, our privilege to go to Him at all times and know we are accepted and heard in his presence.
Yet this is not all. To enter into the Holy Place is a vast step from the Outer Court and a believer could spend a lifetime in finding more of Jesus as our sustenance, sight and supplication. Yet one room remains, the most awesome of all, a place where few enter. We next enter into the Most Holy Place where the presence of God dwells.
The Most Holy Place.
The Veil Exodus 26:31-33
Just beyond the altar of Incense a veil hung in the tabernacle. The veil stretched from wall to wall and floor to ceiling. It contained the same colors as the gate and the curtain that marked the entrance to the Holy Place. These colors red, blue, white and gold all point to Jesus.
Turn to Phillipians 2:5-11 and read the passage. Can you point out the four representations of Christ in this passage?
"In the form of God"; blue for God and heaven. "The form of a servant"; red for the giving of his life. "found in fashion as a man": white the color of sinlessness. "At the name of Jesus every knee should bow": purple the color for royalty.
Woven into the fabric of the veil would be intricate, cunning embroidery of cherubim. Angels much like those which stood at the entrance of the Garden of Eden to prevent entrance back into the Garden.
When Jesus called out on the cross "It is finished" the veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom. What do you think this signified?
The barrier between God and man was removed by the death of Christ. Now through Jesus we would have direct access into the very presence of God.
The Most Holy Place measured 15' by 15' by 15'. It was overlaid with the coverings we studied in lesson one and the pillars which made up its walls were fastened together with rings and rods to form a solid wall. These pillars were covered with solid gold overlaying acacia wood. Entering into the Most Holy Place would be like walking into a room with walls of gold and a ceiling of angels. Read Hebrews 9:2-7, 23-24 and explain why the room was designed in such a manner.
The tabernacle and later the temple were representations of heaven, and the throne room of God. Gold representing the presence of deity and the presence of angels would be everywhere.
The Ark Exodus 25:1-22
The Ark of the Covenant stood in the center of the Most Holy Place. It was the most significant piece of furniture in all the tabernacle. It measured 2 1/2 cubits long, 1 1/2 cubits wide and deep.
It was a box constructed from acacia wood overlaid inside and outside with pure gold. Along the top edge of the ark a crown would go around the box forming a raised rim. A gold ring was fastened to each corner of the ark and a gold overlaid pole would be inserted there for carrying the ark. On top of the ark the mercy seat was placed. This would be the exact dimensions to form a lid upon the top of the ark. It was constructed of solid gold not overlaid wood. Two figures of cherubim, one on each end, knelt on top of the mercy seat. They faced each other with their wings spreading up and over the mercy seat itself.
Inside the ark, God instructed Moses to place three items. Read the following passages and tell what they were.
Exodus 25:16 The tablets of testimony, the ten commandments.
Numbers 17:10 Aaron's rod which budded and brought forth almonds.
Exodus 16:33 A pot of manna.
Hebrews 9:4 All are mentioned here.
The Censor Leviticus 16:12-14
In addition to the things that stayed inside the Most Holy Place, there was an article that entered into the room with the priest. This was a censer used to carry live coals from the Brazen Altar into the Most Holy Place, once inside the high priest would pour finely ground incense upon the coals in the censer. This was to cover the mercy seat with smoke from the incense. Aaron would then sprinkle the blood from the offering of atonement upon the mercy seat.
Applying the Most Holy Place to my life.
Read Mt 27:51 and Heb 10:19-22. What happened to the veil upon the death of Jesus Christ?
The veil was rent in two from top to bottom.
What does this signify for us as New Testament believers?
There is no longer a separation for us from the presence of God. We are to come boldly into His presence by the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Read Ephesians 5:2 What did the coals and incense represent?
The sacrifice of Jesus, which was to the Father a sweet smelling savor. The smoke of the incense hid the priest from the wrath of God. The sacrifice of Christ shields us from God's wrath by covering us with His sacrifice in the presence of God.
The Ark & The Mercy Seat
The Ark of the Covenant, was a reminder of the utmost sacredness of God's relationship with the Israelite people. Inside the Ark were the symbols of this relationship. First the tables of stone upon which the Ten Commandments were written. These were the revelation of God's person towards His people. Through the law they could see the character and holiness of God. Second was the pot of manna, placed there to show the provision of God for His people. Finally, Aaron's rod was placed in the ark this as a proof of Aaron as the true priest of God. Upon the top of the Ark was placed the Mercy Seat upon which Aaron would offer the blood of sacrifice for the sins of the nation of Israel. Above the Mercy Seat and between the cherubim was the Shekinah Glory, the actual presence of God.
Entering the Most Holy Place
To enter into this stage of maturity and spiritiual growth and dwell with God, to become a Most Holy Room Christian, there are 5 aspects of God that I must be become aware of in my relationship with God.
In the Ark of the Covenant God told Moses to place the tablets of stone that contained the Ten Commandments of God toward His people. These were not the entire code of law, but a compacted intensified summary of what the full law would spell out in detail. They also were a revelation of God's attributes and character to the Israelites. Through the Ten Commandments they would begin to see who God was.
If I am to ever walk closely with God, I must know who God is. Not only is this revealed through the law or the names of God, it is revealed most clearly in the Son of God who came to earth. Read Hebrews 1:1-3 What is the greatest revelation of God towards men?
The greatest revelation of God was in Jesus Christ, God the Son as he walked up the earth.
The Most Holy Room Christian looks to Jesus and yearns to know Him more and more with each day. In this relationship the Most Holy Room Christian truly comes to know God. We cannot know God in the way in which He desires us to, except through Jesus Christ. Notice how well Paul states this truth. Read Paul's desire about knowing Christ in Phillipians 3:8-10. How great was Paul's desire to know Christ?
He is willing to lose all in order to know more of Jesus Christ.
What was the outcome of Paul's willingness to lose all?
To be found in Him, to know him, and the power of the resurrection and sharing of his suffering, to be made conformable unto his death.
God's power was symbolized in the ark by the pot of manna. Jesus tells us that the manna was a symbol of Himself. He was the true bread of life. Read John 6:32-33. The passage in John 6 followed Jesus multiplying the loaves and fishes for the multitude. What does the New Testament event share with God's provision of manna in the Old Testament?
In both the Old Testament manna and the New Testament loaves and fishes, God was providing for those who followed him. His power was demonstrated in provision.
The Most Holy Room Christian knows and has experienced the power of God. He not only has the provision of salvation, but has learned in every circumstance of life that God will provide for his needs. Therefore he has come to rely solely upon God for all that God deems as needful for his life. This is real faith. This is the beginning of knowing God's power in my life now.
Notice how Paul reveals this in Phillipians 4:11-13. What is the key to Paul's ability to do all things?
He has learned through his relationship with Christ that all he really needs is Christ. If Paul has Christ he can do all things. This is a the reality of God's power toward us.
Aaron's rod was also kept inside the Ark. This rod was a proof that Aaron and his sons were the family through which God would establish His priests. The rod was an undeniable token of God's will for Aaron to be the mediator of the tabernacle sacrifices.
In the mind of the Most Holy Room Christian there must be the preeminent concept of Jesus as our High Priest, the mediator of the New Covenant written not on stones but upon our hearts. This understanding is vital for it brings us to a total dependence upon Jesus as our only means of coming to God. This first occurs at salvation but should continue with each day of life, accessing through Christ to more and more of God's love, grace and peace. I will not have more of God by any of my own ability, but only as I trust more, lean more, and cling more to Jesus, my high priest.
One cannot come to the Most Holy Place without touching on the action that took place here. It was upon the Day of Atonement the Aaron would come with the censor and the blood and as the smoke of the incense filled the room he would sprinkle blood from the Brazen Altar upon the mercy seat and then upon the ground before the mercy seat. This is the vivid picture of Jesus pouring out His own life's blood upon the cross before God, that we might receive His righteousness and be reconciled to God. A forgiveness which by it's very nature is so powerful and so complete that it will never be done again, not by Jesus Christ upon a cross nor by us somehow losing the gift of God's redemption. The writer of Hebrew says, "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. Heb 7:25
Yet the Most Holy Place Christian dares not leave forgiveness and mercy at the cross with his salvation experience. Forgiveness is a daily, hourly event of turning from sin and self and to the one who shed His blood for us. The Christian, at this level of relationship with God, yearns to dwell with "clean hands and a pure conscience" in the presence of God's holiness, therefore he constantly and sincerely seek forgiveness.
In the letter of 1 John 1:8-10, John talks of forgiveness for us as New Covenant believers. Read the passage and give your thoughts.
Are any without sin?
No, only a liar or fool would believe this.
How are my sins forgiven, where is the power to forgive?
He is faithful and just, only Jesus can forgive.
What is the trigger that releases forgiveness to me?
If we confess our sins.
When are we to confess?
Whenever we have sinned, nowhere does it tell us to wait until punishment or getting caught. Once we know we have sinned confess it, forsake it and accept God's forgiveness.
The most outstanding characteristic of the Most Holy Place was the presence of God which dwelt above the mercy seat and between the cherubim. It was God's presence in the room that made it the Most Holy Place. In Him it was a place of reverence, a place of power and a place of wonder in the majesty of the most high God.
Most Holy Place Christians are those who have come to a place in their Christian life in which they truly grasp the spiritual reality of the presence of God in their daily existence. This is not a manifestation of the Shekinah glory, nor is it a mystical experience or vision, it is the clear and powerful acceptance of God's presence through the Holy Spirit in our hearts and the change that such an existence makes in us.
Let's now read John 14:16-17.
What is Jesus promising to the disciples?
Jesus is promising the gift of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit to indwell them.
The word comforter is the Greek word, paraklete. It means strengthener, comforter, advocate and standby. It literally means "one called alongside to help." The paraklete is God's gift of the new covenant, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the heart of every believer. This means that we are never without God's presence. This is more than just his knowledge of us, or of his Omnipresence throughout the universe, but is a special relationship shared in the most intimate of terms within our very souls. Every action and even every thought is common to both God and myself. The Most Holy Room Christian is keenly aware of this and the reality of this relationship shapes, changes and colors every detail of their thought processes and life actions.
David reflects on this in Psalms 139. Read this chapter and record your thoughts below.
What phrase(s) show the degree of God's knowledge of David?
You have searched me and known me. You know even my thought before I think them.
Did David consider this knowledge an invasion or a comfort? Why?
To David it was a comfort, a wonder of God's relationship with him. It said it was too wonderful for me.
To what extremes does David say he could go and still God's Spirit would be with him?
Heaven to Hell, darkest night, deepest sea still God's spirit would be with him.
According to verse 17 how often does God think of David?
More than the sand of the sea more times than David can count God is thinking of him.
Read verses 23-24. What is the result of God's presence in David's life?
David comes to a place of asking God to search him and try him even more, that there would be no wickedness in him, nothing that would hinder his relationship with his God.
The Most Holy Place is an ideal, a goal and a place where the mature believer who has experienced God seeks to enter and stay. This is not completely possibly until we sit in the real throne room of Heaven with the Father, Son and Spirit for all eternity, yet if the slightest taste or the smallest touch of God's presence here on earth can transport us even for a moment into this Most Holy Place, then we long, as a man in the desert thirsts for water, to experience the fullness of God in every aspect of our lives until we do dwell with Him in that tabernacle made without hands.
Let's conclude with a paragraph from "Knowing God" by J.I. Packer.
"Not many of us, I think, would ever naturally say that we have known God. The words imply a definiteness and matter-of-factness of experience to which most of us, if we are honest, have to admit that we are still strangers. We claim, perhaps, to have a testimony, and can rattle off our conversion story with the best of them; we say that we know God- this, after all, is what we are expected to say; but would it occur to us to say, without hesitation, and with reference to particular events in our personal history, that we have known God? I doubt it, for I suspect that with most of us experience of God has never become so vivid as that."
For the Most Holy Room Christian it is this "vivid experience" of God that they strive for in their relationship with God.