When considering this chapter’s beginning, as it speaks of the tabernacle prepared by Moses instead of the Herodian temple, it is because the theme of the writer is that of the covenant being “inaugurated” (verse 18), or “sealed.” Moses did so with the blood of animals, as verses 19-21 remind us. As verse 22 says, “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” Jesus Christ sealed the new covenant with His own blood.
The tabernacle and the items inside (the lampstand, table, the Bread of the Presence, etc) described in the first few verses, are detailed for the most part in Exodus 25, 30 and 37. As the text says, only the high priest could enter the section that was the “Most Holy Place,” and even he could only do so once a year – to offer blood for himself and for the unintentional sins of others (verse 7) – which had to be repeated each year. All these things, it says, were mere copies of the heavenly things (verse 23). Jesus entered the true “Most Holy Place” which is heaven, by offering His own blood – “once for all” and “thus securing an eternal redemption” for us all. Verse 28 concludes with the glorious promise for us: “so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”
As an aside, Coffman offers some interesting facts regarding the Holy things of the temple:
“History, through the overruling providence of God, has preserved a likeness of the golden candlestick that was in the Herodian temple destroyed by Vespasian and Titus in 70 A.D. The candlestick, along with other treasures, was looted and carried in the triumphal procession in Rome; and, when the Arch of Titus was constructed to memorialize the victory, both the table of showbread and the candlestick were detailed in the carvings decorating the arch and may still be seen there in the excavated ruins of ancient Rome. Plaster casts of those carvings are exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum, New York; and from these is evident the immense weight of those golden treasures, several men being necessary to bear each of them.“
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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