The sixth Let Us' word study is found in chapter 10:22, but to understand this truth we need to go back and include verses 19-21 which set the platform for the wonderful revelation in v 22. The text is from the NIV.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his
V 22 - let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
At first glance this 'Let Us' is very identical to our previous study part 5 – where the text says Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence – NIV. But this verse in chapt. 10 goes much deeper,for here the drawing near to God is entering into the 'most Holy Place.' Previously it was to the throne for help but here in chapter 10 we are invited to take our place with Christ on the throne. That is what it means to enter into the Most Holy Place.
We need to remember that these verses have the powerful imagery from the tabernacle behind this invitation and therefore to the ears of the Jewish readers this was inconceivable that they could enter into the most Holy of Holies. Under the Mosaic covenant only the High Priest could enter into this most holy place and then only once a year.
How could this happen? Three reasons are given for this confidence or freedom:-
1/ by the blood of Jesus, v 19. We must never forget that our salvation was procured by the blood of Christ, not our faith or repentance.
2/ by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, v 20. As the curtain in the temple was torn in two, so was the body of Jesus torn apart, opening up the way into the most holy place. This total suffering has parallels in Is 53. – despised, rejected, sorrows, suffering, despised, infirmities, stricken, smitten afflicted. pierced, crushed, wounds.
3/ we have a great priest v 21. As mentioned in our last study the priesthood of Jesus is virtually unknown in the present evangelical Christian church. Christ is our advocate that enables us to take our place on the throne.
Because of these three truths we have the freedom to enter into the Holy of Holies.
There is not room here to give a detailed exposition of the tabernacle, but there were three main areas in the tabernacle. There was the Outer Court; and then inside the first curtain of the tent was the Holy Place; and at the end, beyond the second curtain, was the Most Holy Place. Our destination is the Most Holy Place, beyond the second curtain.
The only furniture in the Most Holy Place, was just the Ark of the Covenant, which was a box made out of acacia wood that was all covered with gold. It was topped with what was called the Mercy Seat, or the place of propitiation. Inside the Ark were the two tablets of the Ten Commandments, but these were covered up by the Mercy Seat.
On the ends of the Mercy Seat were two cherubs facing one another. They were looking toward the centre of the Mercy Seat with their wings stretched out over them and their wing tips touching in the centre.
The Mercy Seat was God's throne. God sits on a throne of mercy. His mercy covers the law. The two cherubs with their faces turned inward toward one another, their wing tips touching, represent the place of fellowship. So, the Mercy Seat is a place of mercy, a place of fellowship - but it is also a throne, the seat of God as King.
This Let Us then is an invitation to come into the Most Holy Place but the obligation is on us to come with a Sincere Heart; Full Assurance of Faith; Hearts Sprinkled; Bodies Washed.
Sincere – The Greek word is alethinos, which means true in the sense of genuine, a heart that has undergone supernatural "circumcision". With the heart not the head for intellectualism does not cut it.
Full assurance of faith - The story is told of a tightrope walker who liked to walk a wire across Niagara Falls-preferably with someone on his back. Many people on the bank expressed complete confidence in his ability to do it, but he always had a difficult time getting a volunteer to climb up on him. This description of faith leads onto chapter 11.
Hearts Sprinkled – In the Greek this is in the Passive voice, an indication that the sprinkling is performed by God otherwise it would be in the Active voice. Our conscience which in the unregenerate man was his moral guide but not the voice of God needs to be cleansed by the blood of Christ. This takes place as we absorb the sinless life of Christ and the precepts of God's word.
Bodies Washed – Again this is in the passive voice for as we walk in the light his blood purifies us from all sin – 1 John 1:7. Despite growing up in the Baptist faith this is not referring to believer's baptism as taught by the Baptists.
Hence our sin has been exchanged for his righteousness and our sins have been washed away as we form new habits and discipline our mind.
Readers, let us with freedom step into the holy of holies and fellowship with God who sits on the throne of grace and take our place in Christ.
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Your blog reminded me anew of how the atoning blood of Jesus Christ was not so that just one person could enter The Holy of Holies once a year with trembling lest they be deemed not properly cleansed and die but so that those of us who are covered by His blood may boldly enter into God's presence daily.
I was just studying Psalm 92 and noticing that - although a specific discussion of the resurrection is often not in the OT - vivid imagery often is. So we live safely and eternally "in Him" or - in the case of Psalm 92 and 23 - in His temple.
In Psalm 23 it is more explicit. "I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever".
As you said, being in the Most Holy Place as a normal thing would have been considered crazy. Thanks for highlighting that!
So it's a sign of real intimacy with God - and that we actually are given the right and power to share in the divine nature itself. We do, therefore, have perfect fellowship with God in this Most Holy Place.
Very nice. And great word study.
Wonderful study and as K., I too am glad in and through Christ and His atoning blood we may enter the holy of hollies more than once a year as the High Priest. Our confidence in the perfect blood of the Lamb and He as our advocate may boldly approach God The Father in Him.
Thank you for all you effort and work in this series!
Peace in the prince of Peace,