Most Holy Place

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Ark of the covenant.

We will begin our symbolic study with the Most Holy place. The Ark of the Covenant, or Ark of the Testimony as it was also called, was the most important article of furniture in the sanctuary. It contained the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments are also known as the Covenant or the Testimony. Deuteronomy 4:13; Exodus 25:16 KJV.

Many believe that the Ten Commandments were first given to the world at Mount Sinai. That is not correct. The Ten Commandments were given to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Sin is the transgression of the law. 1 John 3:4.   As Paul stated, "and where there is no law there is no transgression." Romans 4:15   Since all have sinned - Romans 3:23 - the law had to be in the Garden of Eden. God's law is eternal - Psalm 119:18, 152, 160 - even Abraham kept the law of God. Genesis 26:5.  Since Jesus Christ, who is God, is the same yesterday, today and forever, so is His law. God is not experimenting with laws to find out which ones we can keep.

 

From the Garden of Eden the law was verbally passed down from generation to generation. The sons of God kept the law alive in the world. But the sons of men (those born to Cain) began to marry the sons (daughters) of God (those born of Seth). Soon wickedness dominated the world. Genesis 6:5-7.

God destroyed their world and started over with the righteous family of Noah. Noah passed on the righteous requirements of God's law to his children and grandchildren. Again the world moved away from God's law. Again God found a righteous man, Abram, and called him out of the wicked nations to keep the covenant of love alive in the world. Genesis 17:1, 2, 7-9; 26:5.

By the time God brought the descendants of Abraham, Israel, out of Egypt, the Israelites had become a great nation. Because they were a great nation, the Egyptians were afraid of them and put them in slavery. Exodus 1:8-10. During this period of slavery, they slowly forgot the verbal requirements of the Ten Commandments. God was about to change all that.

On Mount Sinai Jesus came down and wrote the Ten Commandments with His own finger on two tablets of stone. "These are the commandments the Lord proclaimed in a loud voice to your whole assembly there on the mountain from out of the fire, the cloud and the deep darkness; and He added nothing more. Then He wrote them on two stone tablets and gave them to me." Deuteronomy 5:22.

"And He added nothing more." The Ten Commandments, and the Ten Commandments only, is our great guide for living. The reason they were written on stone was to show, symbolize, their everlasting quality. Jesus said of them, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. . .I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, nor the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the law until everything is accomplished." Matthew 5:17, 18   Since all has not been accomplished, and heaven and earth have not yet passed away, neither have the Ten Commandments. "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words (Ten Commandments spoken by Jesus) will never pass away." Matthew 24:35.

 

The books of Moses, the other laws that had to do with civil government, health and religious worship were written on parchment. That was to symbolize their temporal condition. Soon they would be replaced. Why? Because they were only for the Israelites.

The Ten Commandments resided in the Ark of the Covenant. Exodus 31:18; 32:15, 16; 40:20; Deuteronomy 10:4, 5.   Their message, however, was to reside in the heart. "Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear Me and keep all My commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever." Deuteronomy 5:29.   "These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts." Deuteronomy 6:6 (Old Testament)

The Most Holy Place was home to the Divine Presence of God. Exodus 25:21, 22; Leviticus 16:2. The Most Holy Place represented, symbolized, the body of man as the temple of God. God wants to dwell in our body temples. "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?" "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?" 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19.

Above the Ark of the testament, where the Ten Commandments dwelt was the mercy seat. As stated earlier, God is merciful and gracious. He sits on the mercy seat dispensing mercy and grace to a lost and sinful people. Sin is the breaking of the Ten Commandments. The wages of sin is death. The gift of God, who resides on the mercy seat, is life. Grace to keep us physically alive, and the plan of salvation to bring us back into atonement (at-one-ment) with God, so we can have eternal life.

The curtain that separated the Most Holy from the Holy Place symbolized the wall of sin that separates the sinner from his God. "But your iniquities have separated you from your God, your sins have hidden His face from you so that He will not hear." Isaiah 59:2. When Adam and Eve sinned, they separated themselves from the presence of God and had to be escorted from the Garden of Eden. But in His great love, mercy and grace, God provided a way for us to return and commune with Him so He can hear and listen to us.

"Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him." I John 3:21, 22. The symbolic play, or act, that represents the plan of atonement went on in the courtyard and Holy Place of the temple.

 

Related Texts

Matthew 24:35

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away."

Deuteronomy 5:22
"These are the commandments the Lord proclaimed in a loud voice to your whole assembly there on the mountain from out of the fire, the cloud and the deep darkness; and He added nothing more. Then He wrote them on two stone tablets and gave them to me."
I John 3:21, 22 
"Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him."
Isaiah 59:2
"But your iniquities have separated you from your God, your sins have hidden His face from you so that He will not hear."
Deuteronomy 5:29
"Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear Me and keep all My commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever."
1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19
"Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?" "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?"