Hebrews 9:3

Sunday, 23 December 2018

…and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, Hebrews 9:3

The author described the first room of the tabernacle in the previous verse. That contained the lampstand (the menorah), the table, and the showbread. Dividing that from the final room, the Holiest of All (or the Most Holy Place as the NKJV translates it in the Old Testament), was a beautiful veil. Here, the veil is called “the second veil.” This is to distinguish it from another hanging which was at the entrance to the first room, the Holy Place.

This “second veil” is described in Exodus 26:31-33. On it, cherubim were woven. These were a reminder of the cherubim recorded in Genesis 3 which guarded the entrance to Eden. They were said to be east of the garden. The entire sanctuary also faced east. This veil, facing east, symbolically pictures the only way to be restored to God, and thus, the only way to be returned to paradise. This and more is carefully detailed in the Superior Word sermon corresponding to those verses.

Here, the author says that behind this “second veil” was “the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All.” The author will continue to describe what was contained within the rooms in the tabernacle in the verses ahead, as well as some of what occurred there as the priests conducted their duties. However, he will not address the actual shape or size of these rooms. It is this next room to be described, the Holiest of All (or the Most Holy Place), that should be reviewed to gain a fuller understanding of what will be explained in the next verses.

Determining the exact dimensions of the Holiest of All (Most Holy Place) in the tabernacle is rather complicated, but it can be done from the details of the Bible. This is thoroughly explained in the Exodus 26:31-37 sermon. Further, the Jewish Historian Flavius Josephus rightly states it was 10 x 10 x 10, or 1000 cubits exactly. This is documented in The Antiquities of the Jews, Book III, Chapter 6, Paragraph 4.

Later, the Bible tells us that the size of the Most Holy Place in the temple in Jerusalem was “twenty cubits long, twenty cubits wide, and twenty cubits high” (1 Kings 6:20). In both instances then, the shape of the Most Holy Place was a perfect cube. Remember that everything about both structures was given by God – first to Moses for the tabernacle and then later to David for the Temple. This reason is that they were a “copy and shadow of the heavenly things” (verse 8:5). And this is exactly what the Bible later records in the book of Revelation –

“The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal.” Revelation 21:16

Some have questioned whether this city is shaped like a pyramid or a cube, but allowing the Bible to interpret itself answers the question – it is a cube. This city which is prepared for the faithful believers of all ages is immense in proportions. The translation of “twelve thousand furlongs” equates approximately 1500 miles. In other words, it would fill up much of the land mass of the United States. And that is only in length and width; it is equally high.

Life application: As you are going about your business, remember that God has something wonderfully special prepared for you and for all of those who have called on Jesus by faith. Don’t let the tedium of life get you down, but rather keep things in their proper perspective – God has marvelous wonders in store for you!

Lord God, thank You for the sure promises of Your word and the splendid detail it holds for us as believers. Nothing is left unattended; every detail is just what we need in order to hold on to as we await what is coming! We love and praise You, and we thank You for the sure promises we possess. In the name of Jesus our Lord we pray! Amen.

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