Our last reading this week is from Hebrews 9:1-5
v1: The first: Referring to the first covenant, also called the law of Moses.
- Ordinances: Can also be translated ‘service’ or ‘worship’- these two things are inherently related. The tabernacle had vessels which were eventually placed into the temple in Jerusalem. The writer is writing about Old Testament worship, as it was taught and commanded in the law of Moses. Worship is very important to G-d. He has created us to worship Him in Spirit and in truth, but worship does not come naturally to human beings. We worship by means of revelation. The worship defined, and described, in the laws and statutes of Moses, that took place initially at the tabernacle and then at the temple in Jerusalem, prepared us for a proper understanding of true worship. This is worship by means of redemption through Messiah Yeshua. His purpose for redemption positions, or puts us, in a new relationship with G-d, where we can worship Him properly.
- The earthly sanctuary: Refers to, firstly, the tabernacle and then the temple.
v2: Tabernacle: This is the place where worship/service took place (first at the tabernacle in the wilderness, and then the temple in Jerusalem). It was comprised of an outer and inner room. The outer room (the firstone) is called the Holy Place.
- The lampstand, the table, and the showbread: These were some of the vessels found in the Holy Place.
- Lampstand: When the lampstand/menorah, about the height of a man, was lit, it miraculously reflected its light throughout all of Jerusalem. This light reminded the people that G-d, although invisible, was with them and this light, of the menorah, reflected His Presence.
- The table … showbread: Each Shabbat, the fresh showbread was placed on the table. Miraculously, this showbread did not go stale over the week (this is taught traditionally). This teaches us that when the Presence of G-d is involved in our lives His Presence, power and Kingdom will not wear out, decay, or show any of the effects of time. There is an ongoing and eternal aspect to G-d. His Kingdom, and those in it, are going to manifest this.
v3: Veil: This veil was for the purpose of separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place, or Holy of Holies.
v4: Some people will say that there is an error here because the golden altar of the incense offering was in the Holy Place and not in the Holy of Holies. This is true. The context for understanding this Scripture, however, is based on a special day –the Day of Atonement. There was a golden altar, in the Holies of Holies, that was used by the High Priest, on this day, once a year, to offer up incense to G-d. The purpose of all incense offerings is prayers to G-d. Revelation 8:3-4 tells us that the prayers and incense offering go up to G-d at the same time.
- The Ark of the Covenant: This speaks about the Presence and power of G-d. This Ark is covered with gold on every side. There is a connection between that gold covering and the golden menorah/lampstand. The Presence of G-d (the Shekinah glory), His dwelling Presence, was upon the Ark of the Covenant. The Menorah symbolized this Presence of G-d, to the people, by shining its light.
- Golden pot that had the manna – This is new revelation; it was not told to us in the law/Old Testament Scripture. Moses, inspired by the Holy Spirit, put this jar of manna (which speaks of G-d’s supernatural provision) into the ark of the covenant.
- Aaron’s rod: This shows G-d’s sovereignty in choosing this family to be the priests.
- The tablets of the Covenant – these are the stones upon which the Torah laws were written. G-d is communicating Biblical truth to us through the instruments spoken of in these verses. They help us to understand what true worship was in the temple and show us what G-d is going to manifest, in a new and exciting way, through the work and ministry of Messiah Yeshua.
v5: Of these things we cannot now speak in detail: The writer only named these vessels – with the implication that we know the basic truths about them from what is recorded in the Torah.