Summary: There is a place God calls us to daily; and He has opened the way for us to come.
There is a place into which believers of old never dared tread...where only the High Priest went once each year, and then, with much fear and trembling. It is now the place that God calls all believers to; willing that we should come, not in fear, but boldly, for access has been provided to us on a trail of blood, leading from the altar of sacrifice into the Holiest of All.
Let’s begin by laying a little bit of historical background for the sake of better understanding; more fully realizing the significance of this place in which we now stand spiritually; into which God calls us to enter daily.
The tabernacle of the Old Testament, as designed by God and built according to His instruction to Moses, consisted of three main areas (sanctuaries). The first, the outer court, contained the brazen altar and the laver. On this altar, the blood of sacrificial animals was shed, and the laver was the place where the priests would wash their hands and feet in a cleansing ceremony prior to taking the blood of sacrifice into the holy place.
The second, or inner sanctuary (or Holy Place), contained the show bread, the lampstand and the altar of incense. Now, all of these tabernacle furnishings that I have mentioned so far had much deeper meaning than worshipers of old realized, and were all types of Christ, and significant of the work He was to do. But we will not study all of them here. I have to make these brief statements and let it suffice that we know the general layout of these articles.
The third room, the Holy of Holies, was behind a thick veil, and contained the ark of the covenant and the Mercy Seat. It was here that God’s presence dwelt with the people, and here where the High Priest would enter once each year to sprinkle sacrificial blood on the mercy seat in atonement for himself and all the people, for their sins.
It was a fearful place to be, even for the High Priest, who was commanded to go there...and most certainly a place that all others knew better than to approach. Everything about it; the thick veil, the instructions given to the priesthood for the various ceremonies, the warnings issued against approaching unworthily, all in essence said, ‘you are not welcome here, stand back’. Examples: In Exodus 31 we see God giving instructions to Moses that Aaron and following High Priests were to wash their hands and feet before entering the Holy Place with the blood of sacrifice, “that they may not die”. And when they went into the Holy of Holies once a year to represent the people, they got in and got out quickly; out of the very place that God now calls us to, and exhorts us to come with confidence; the confidence that accompanies assurance of faith that the sinless blood of Jesus opens the way, and because of His sacrifice and the torn veil, we can stand in the presence of God in His righteousness, our sin already judged.
They could not have this assurance. The tabernacle ministry, although a shadow of the good things to come, was only that...a shadow. The blood of bulls and goats, although meant to cover the sins of the people until the fulfillment of God’s redemptive plan, could not take away sin; and that which is in sin, that which is sin, cannot exist in the presence of a Holy God. So it was for their safety that He kept them at a distance.