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RCCG Miracle Land Dundalk
Wednesday, June 23 2021

Contributor: Alex Kokobili

The previous lesson (Hebrews 8: 7-13) revealed the necessity of a New Testament in Christ Jesus which was not the previous one that became obsolete. We understood the constraint of keeping the requirement of the Old Covenant was embedded in the law and while the New Covenant was based on Christ Himself. Today’s study of Hebrews 9:1-10 focuses on the Old Pattern of Worship which was a major component in the Old Covenant as required for a relationship between God and Israel. This pattern of worship involved a priest being the mediator between the people and God. Some things we observed in this pattern of worship involved purification, the priest, a sanctuary, or tabernacle, and items for the sacrifice, e.g., such as grains, oil, incense, bulls, pigeons, etc.

• Verse 1: The Ordinances of Divine Service of the First Covenant.
“Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary.”

We see here that the old covenant involved regulations that the people had to observe as required for their service to God. This means they had to obey the Ten Commandments and alongside ordinances (what the priest had spelled out for it to be pleasing to God) in all areas such as purification, petitions, and supplications, etc. If the requirement was not followed, the worship of the people or their household would be rejected and sometimes with terrible consequences. See example in Leviticus 10:1-3

Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. 2 So fire went out from the LORD and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. 3 And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD spoke, saying: ‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.’” So Aaron held his peace.

The earthly sanctuary was the dwelling place for God’s tabernacle (Ark of the Covenant). This was a sacred place with partitions, i.e., outer court and the holy of holies (Ezekiel 41: 1-4) and it was built to specifications as directed by God.
There were various occasions that the people of Israel carried the Ark of the Covenant outside the sanctuary but it was also with caution. At numerous times during wars, and while they moved from Egypt, etc., but the sanctuary, or the temple as we see in other parts of the Old Testament, is the residence of the Ark of the Covenant. The structure for worship was replaced with a better covenant in which we now worship God in Spirit
and Truth (John 4: 24), and also because we are now God’s tabernacle (2 Corinthians 5:4).

• Verses 2-5: Description of the Earthly Sanctuary
“For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; 3 and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, 4 which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; 5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.

• Verses 6-7: The Old Pattern of Worship Had Limitations
“Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. 7 But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance;”

This pattern of worship had its constraint and it was only the priest that was assigned and must always be available to lead the people as required for worship, offering, or sacrifice to God. The priest must first be purified before ministering before the Lord. Once a year the priest went into the Holy of Holies and if he is unworthy while inside the Holy of Holies, he would be struck dead. The hem of the garment of the priest had bells (Exodus 39:26) and if the priest dies for any reason in the holy of holies, he was dragged out with the extension of the rope that was attached to his leg. In Numbers 16: 1-40 we see that a rebellion came against Moses by Korah the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and on the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben. What a foolish way to die from the wrought of the Lord. They either forgot about the sons of Aaron who died in Numbers 10: 1-3, or they were not born then. They declared themselves holy and burnt incense in the tabernacle of meeting and God’s glory appeared before the congregation and they did not know that it was not a sign that we were holy, then God’s anger rose against them without mercy.

• Verses 8-10: The Holy Spirit Is the Gift of God for The New Pattern of Worship
“8 the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing. 9 It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience— 10 concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation."

We realize that the Holy of Holies was very significant in the old pattern of worship. That part of the tabernacle was a dwelling place of the divine presence of God. But now, we realize we have greater access to God’s Holy Spirit in this New Covenant different from the old, and that is why the veil in the temple was torn apart (Mathew 27:51).

In Romans 15: 4, 2 Tim 3: 16, we learn that all things in the scriptures are for our learning and perfection. Haven learned about the old pattern of worship, we are now God’s tabernacle (2 Corinthians 5: 4) and we no longer have any hindrance to His presence except sin which He has already given us the grace to overcome in Jesus’ name.

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