The Light of Christ Journey

Encouraging people on their journey with Christ

God gave instructions for the Day of Atonement. He gave specific instructions for access to the most Holy Place. The High Priest was to enter the Most Holy Place in the Tabernacle and later the Temple under specific conditions. The writer of Hebrews gives us a good explanation.

Hebrews 9:1That first covenant between God and Israel had regulations for worship and a place of worship here on earth. There were two rooms in that Tabernacle. In the first room were a lampstand, a table, and sacred loaves of bread on the table. This room was called the Holy Place. Then there was a curtain, and behind the curtain was the second room called the Most Holy Place. 

In that room were a gold incense altar and a wooden chest called the Ark of the Covenant, which was covered with gold on all sides. Inside the Ark were a gold jar containing manna, Aaron’s staff that sprouted leaves, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the Ark were the cherubim of divine glory, whose wings stretched out over the Ark’s cover, the place of atonement. But we cannot explain these things in detail now.

When these things were all in place, the priests regularly entered the first room as they performed their religious duties. But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. By these regulations the Holy Spirit revealed that the entrance to the Most Holy Place was not freely open as long as the Tabernacle and the system it represented were still in use.[1]

Context of Worship in the Most Holy Place

Aaron’s sons had just died because they had not honored God in the Tabernacle. Thus, God gave Moses specific instructions for the Day of Atonement. Leviticus 16:1 The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of Aaron’s two sons, who died after they entered the Lord’s presence and burned the wrong kind of fire before him. The Lord said to Moses, “Warn your brother, Aaron, not to enter the Most Holy Place behind the inner curtain whenever he chooses; if he does, he will die. For the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement—is there, and I myself am present in the cloud above the atonement cover.[2]

God limited access to His presence in the Most Holy Place under the old sacrificial system.

Jesus Gives us Access to God’s Presence

            The Gospels tell us of Jesus’ work on the cross. John 19:28 Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. 30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” [3] What was finished? Jesus had paid the price for our sins through His sacrifice on the cross.

This full payment opened our access to God, we no longer needed a priest to act as a go between. Mark 15:37 Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.[4] God tore the curtain from the top to the bottom to show that now, through the blood of Christ, we have access to His Throne room, the Most Holy Place.

To hear more about access to the Most Holy Place, listen here:

[1-4] Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188.

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