Most Holy Place
When God gave instructions to Moses and the children of
Israel to build a tabernacle in the wilderness, they were to
build according to the pattern God showed Moses in the
mount. The tabernacle was essentially separated into three
parts: the outer court; the holy place; and the most holy
place. According to Ex. 26:33 there was a veil separating
the holy place and the most holy place: "And thou shalt hang
up the veil under the taches, that thou mayest bring in
thither within the veil the ark of the testimony: and the
veil shall divide unto you between the holy place and the
most holy place."
Situated in the most holy place was the ark of the covenant,
the mercy seat, the two cherubims whose wings spanned from
one side of the tabernacle unto the other and touched one
another in the center. Also within the most holy place was
the incense altar upon which the high priest burned incense.
In Ps. 99:1 we are told that the Lord sitteth between the
cherubims: "The Lord reigneth; let the people tremble: he
sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved."
Furthermore, God promised to appear in the cloud upon the
mercy seat (Lev. 16:2) and to meet with and commune with
Moses from above the mercy seat (Ex. 25:22). While all of
the above has its natural and ceremonial significance to the
children of Israel as they accomplished the worship of God
under the law service, they were but figures, types,
patterns and shadows of the true according to Hebrews
chapters 9 and 10. It is only when we look at the antitype
of the type that we see the real significance and thus real
holiness of these things.
First, the ark of the covenant held the golden pot that had
manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the
covenant (Heb. 9:4). Thus the ark of the covenant was a type
of Jesus Christ. The first thing man did with the tables of
the covenant was break them as Moses threw them down when he
saw Israel dancing naked to their shame. Next, the tables of
the covenant were placed in the ark where they were kept.
Jesus said in Matt. 5:17, 18, "Think not that I am come to
destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy,
but to fulfill. For verily, I say unto you, Till heaven and
earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from
the law, till all be fulfilled."
Jesus was the one who kept the law perfectly. Next, the ark
contained the golden pot of manna. Manna was the food that
God provided the children of Israel in the wilderness to
satisfy their hunger each day. Manna was a figure of God's
When Jesus had fasted forty days and nights and afterwards
hungered and was tempted of the devil saying, "If thou be
the Son of God, command these stones be made bread." To
which Jesus answered, "Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."
It was Jesus alone who lived by EVERY word that proceeded
out of the mouth of God. Additionally, when the children of
Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron, the twelve princes
of the twelve tribes of Israel each gave Moses a rod that
was laid up before the Lord in the tabernacle of witness of
which Aaron's rod was among the 12 rods. The next day the
rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought
forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds" (Num.
17:8). A dry rod is dead. Thus for it to bud, bloom, and
bring forth almonds signifies life from the dead. Jesus is
the one who DIED for our sins and subsequently AROSE from
the DEAD. Thus we can see that the ark of the covenant was a
figure of the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Second, the mercy seat represents God's mercy. But how can
God be just and punish men's sins and be merciful at the
same time? Ps. 85:10, "Mercy and truth are met together,
righteousness and peace have kissed each other." God's
justice (truth) and his mercy have met together in the
person and redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Thus it is no
wonder that the mercy seat was situated on the ark of the
covenant which represented the person and redemptive work of
Jesus Christ. The dimensions of length and breath are given
for the mercy seat, but no height or depth. This teaches us
that God's mercy toward his people is unlimited based on
Christ's redemptive work.
Third, the high priest came alone into the most holy place
with blood of others, first to sanctify himself, then to
sanctify the people. Jesus, however, as the High Priest
after the order of Melchizedec went into heaven itself with
his own blood and thru the Holy Spirit offered himself
without spot to God. Subsequently Heb. 10:12 14 tells us,
"But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins
forever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth
expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one
offering he hath perfected for ever them that are
Fourth, the incense altar was situated in the most holy
place before the mercy seat. Rev. 8:3, 4 speaks of this
scene, "And another angel came and stood at the altar,
having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much
incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all
saints upon the golden altar before the throne. And the
smoke of the incense which came with the prayers of the
saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand."
According to Rom. 8:34 it is Jesus "that died, yea rather,
that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God,
who also maketh intercession for us. Jesus is our
intercessor and high priest. Based on his sacrificial
atonement for us he makes intercession for us and thus our
prayers ascend unto God as a sweet smelling savor for they
are savored with the sweet incense of Jesus
atonement and intercession.
Fifth, Jesus sits in the cloud of his glory upon the mercy
seat. To him belongs all the praise, glory, and honor, for
redeeming us from our sins and manifesting his mercy toward
Sixth, the covering veil separating between the holy place
and most holy place has been removed. When Jesus died on the
cross according to Matt. 27:51, "And, behold, the veil of
the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom..."
Next we read in Heb. 10:19, 20, "Having therefore, brethren,
boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by
a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us,
through the veil, that is to say, his flesh." From this we
notice that the veil represented his flesh and that through
his death the veil is removed that we may see the grand and
glorious workings of God toward us.
Seventh, the cherubims, witnesses who viewed the scene with
the most holy place, were looking inward. Not it is the duty
of a witness to bear witness. These two faithful witnesses,
the old and new testaments, have been faithful to declare to
the people of God the testimony of God's love, mercy, and
covenant work of redemption and his intercession on our
behalf to the praise, honor, and glory of God.