Sunday, August 27, 2017

Paul's Epistles – Hebrews – Part 14: Worship in the Earthly Tabernacle

Paul's Epistles – Hebrews – Part 14:
Worship in the Earthly Tabernacle
Pastor Bruce A. Shields

The “official” writer of this epistle is unknown. However, I obviously believe it is Paul since I have included it in the “Paul’s Epistles” Sermon Series.

I believe there is enough evidence from early scholars to agree this was more than likely Paul’s work.

We have already seen in Hebrews so far;

·        Jesus is greater than angels
·        And that we are to pay the most careful attention to Jesus and His way so we do not stray
·        And how Jesus (New Covenant) is greater than Moses (Old Covenant)
·        Paul’s warning about unbelief
·        A Sabbath Rest for the People of God
·        Jesus the Great High Priest
·        Jesus the Perfect High Priest
·        Therefore, It is Time to Grow Up
·        The Certainty of God’s Promise
·        Melchizedek the Priest
·        Jesus like Melchizedek
·        The High Priest of the New Covenant

“Worship in the Earthly Tabernacle”

Hebrews 9:1-10
Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lamp stand and the table with its consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.
When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. 10 They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order.

The overall message of this epistle to the church is;
The Cure for Lacking Boldness or Courage in your Christian Faith and Backsliding is a Right beginning for the Glory and Work of Christ”

a. Regulations for worship and an Earthly Sanctuary

                                                                 i. Remember God gave Moses specific instructions for building the Tabernacle, because it represented the real one that would be in Heaven

                                                              ii. Everything in the Old Testament points to Christ and our need for a savior

Old Testament/Covenant
Reveals sin
New Testament/Covenant
Forgives sin
b. Tabernacle set up and what it represented
                                                                 i. Outer Court where ALL were welcome
1. All are welcome to come to the Lord

2. God wants ALL PEOPLE to be saved and come to the knowledge of Truth (1 Timothy 2:3b-4)

3. Many are called, but few chosen (Matthew 22:14)

                                                              ii. First Room (Holy Place) Represents a 1 Timothy 2:3b-4
1. Lamp stand - The Spirit of God illuminates the darkness
a. Revelation reveals the lamp stands in the seven churches were the spirit of God’s presence

b. Christ warned in Revelation 2:5 “Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”

2. Table with Bread - Jesus is the Bread of Life
a. John 6:35

b. “This bread represents my body which was broken for you” Matthew 26:26

c. A picture of the Cross

3. A Curtain - separating the First Room from the Second Room
a. The curtain represents sin

b. You could not enter the second room without going through the first

c. You cannot reach the Holy of Holies without going through the Holy Place

d. You cannot reach our Father in heaven without first, coming to Christ as your savior

                                                           iii. Second Room (Holy of Holies/Most Holy Place) Represents the Throne of Grace
1. Golden Altar of Incense - Rising smoke represents our prayers reaching our Father in heaven

2. Gold Covered Ark of the Covenant
a. Inside was Gold Jar of Manna
                                                                                                                                                                   i.      God’s Provision for those in the wilderness

                                                                                                                                                                ii.      Jesus is the manna from heaven, provided by God for those lost in the wilderness (sin)

b. Inside was Aaron’s staff that budded
                                                                                                                                                                   i.      God provided a priesthood through the tribe of Levi

                                                                                                                                                                ii.      God chose high priest Aaron

                                                                                                                                                             iii.      The High Priest represented Jesus our High Priest

c. Inside was Stone Tablets of the Covenant
                                                                                                                                                                   i.      God’s Law / Requirements for Holiness

                                                                                                                                                                ii.      Only Jesus fulfilled them

                                                                                                                                                             iii.      Showed our need for a savior pointing out our sin

3. Above the Ark - Cherubim of Glory
a. Protecting the Holy of Holies and the Ark of the Covenant, blocking the way to God from those who were unworthy.

b. Same as when sin in Garden caused God to place guards at Eden.

c. Anyone entering would be slain

d. They are now in heaven at the Throne in the real Tabernacle (Revelation 11:19)
e. We read God spoke from between them in the Holy of Holies to Moses (Numbers 7:89)

4. They overshadow the Ark and the Atonement Cover where the High Priest pours the blood of the sacrifice for a covering of sin.

c. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now
                                                                 i. Paul says this because neither the Cherubim or the Ark are on Earth, but rather now they are in the real Tabernacle in heaven

                                                              ii. After Jesus entered the perfect Tabernacle in heaven (the one the Earthly Tabernacle represented), He (as our High Priest) put His blood as the perfect sacrifice on the Atonement cover.

                                                           iii. Not covering our sins, rather, as the real sacrifice, removing them.

                                                            iv. In doing so Jesus opened the curtain separating the First Room from the Second Room, thus giving us direct access to God the Father. Hebrews 10:19-22

a. The High Priest entered the first room (outer room/Holy Place) regularly to carry out their ministry
                                                                 i. Jesus, our High Priest, still carries out His ministry today!

b. The High Priest entered the second room (inner room/Holy of Holies) only once per year

                                                                 i. The Jewish calendar year and its feasts and festivals given by God represent the timeline of man from the perfect sacrifice of Christ to eternity with Him

                                                              ii. The High Priest entering the Holy of Holies once per year represents Jesus going to the Cross once for all.

c. The High Priest offered blood from sacrifice, covering of sin, on the mercy seat (atonement cover)
                                                                 i. Where Jesus as our perfect High Priest offered His blood for removal of sin

                                                              ii. Paul says here, atonement for all sins, even those committed in ignorance.

                                                           iii. Remember Jesus’ words at the Cross in Luke 23:34...”Forgive them Father, for the know not what they do.”

a. In the Earthly Tabernacle the way into the Most Holy Place (Holy of Holies) was not disclosed (or made available) as long as the First Tabernacle was still functioning

b. This is the illustration of the present time
                                                                 i. Present time or dispensation is the Age of Grace, or Church Age

                                                              ii. The gifts and offerings being offered in the Earthly Tabernacle were NOT sufficient and were unable to truly CLEAR the conscience of the worshipper

                                                           iii. So the curtain remained closed in the Earthly Temple until Jesus gave us the sufficient sacrifice

                                                            iv. The curtain in the First tabernacle tore (Matthew 27:51) from top to bottom (from God in Heaven to Earth) and we now have access to God the Father through Jesus Christ

c. The offerings and sacrifices were only a matter of food and drink and ceremonial washings
                                                                 i. Food and drink - tithes, and ceremonial washing represents the baptism of the Holy Spirit

CONCLUSION – external regulations apply until the time of the new order

External Regulations - Outer expressions of Spiritual Truths, foreshadowing of what was coming, symbolic covering of a coming spiritual cleansing

Apply until - To be carried out until

The time of the new order - Time (Dispensation), New Order (New High Priest in the Order of Melchizedek, bringing with Him the New Covenant)

At this time, the REAL Tabernacle in heaven, the one the Earthly tabernacle represented, would begin functioning, replacing the First Tabernacle, removing the curtain, and allowing those who have become part of the New Covenant through faith in Christ Jesus to have access to the Holy of Holies, where God the Father resides.

Next week we will look at Hebrews 9 and the “The Blood of Christ

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