Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 9

The Holy of Holies behind the curtain

Hebrews 9:3

The first house of God on this earth was a tent called the tabernacle. It had two rooms. There was a curtain between the two rooms.

The outer room was called the Holy Place. A few priests entered that room daily in order to carry out their duties there. The author of Hebrews mentioned that room and its furniture in Hebrews 9:2.

But the priests did not enter the inner room of the tabernacle. Only the chief priest ever went beyond the curtain into that room. And he only did it on one special day in each year (Hebrews 9:7). That day was called the Day of Atonement; you can read about it in Leviticus chapter 16.

That inner room was called the Holy of Holies. Those words mean the Most Holy Place. That room really was the most holy place on this earth, because God was present there in a special way.

The Bible says that Godís glory was in that room. Godís glory means the splendid and wonderful beauty of his perfect character. We have accounts of how the glory entered that room in Exodus 40:34-38 and 2 Chronicles 7:1-3. Also we have sad accounts of how the glory left, in 1 Samuel chapter 4 and Ezekiel chapter 10. The glory showed that God was there. When God left that room, the people in Israel suffered greatly.

But let us think about the curtain that separated the two rooms. Exodus 26:31-33 describes it. It may seem an unimportant object when we have just been discussing Godís glory. But the curtain had a very important purpose; it separated people from God. And the whole Bible is about that same subject. The Bible either discusses things that separate people from God. Or it discusses things that cause people not to be separate from God.

So it is wonderful to know that, at Christís death, that curtain tore apart (Mark 15:38). God had opened a new and living way for us into the Most Holy Place (Hebrews 10:19-20).

Next part: What was in the ark of the covenant? (Hebrews 9:4)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.