In Israel, Godís house was originally the tent called the tabernacle. Afterwards, it was the building called the temple. But most priests on duty each day did not enter the holy tent or building. They served God outside, at the altar in front of that place. The altar was the special place where the priests burned sacrifices (animals and birds) and other gifts to God.
So even for the priests as they performed their regular tasks, it was a special duty to enter Godís house. But a few priests did enter its outer room each day. For them, that was the most sacred task that they would perform in their lives. And they did it in a very careful and serious manner. We explained these special tasks when we studied Hebrews 9:2.
But there were certain things that the priests never did. When they performed the daily tasks inside Godís house, they never took any part of the sacrifices there. Also, they never lifted the curtain that stood between the holy place and the Holy of Holies (most holy place). And they never went into that inner room.
The only priest who ever did those things was the chief priest. And even he could not do those things whenever he wished. God only permitted the chief priest to do those things on one special day each year.
That day was called the Day of Atonement. Atonement means to deal with sin (wrong and evil deeds). And on that day, God dealt with the peopleís sin when he forgave it.
It was such an important day because sin is such an important matter. Sin separates people from God. And only God can forgive us.
Next part: The Day of Atonement (Hebrews 9:7)
Please use the links at the top of the page to find our other articles in this series. You can download all our articles if you go to the download page for our free 450 page course book.
© 2014, Keith Simons.