When Moses originally built Godís house, it was a tent. Just a curtain (a wall of cloth) separated God from his people.
There had to be something to separate God from the people. God is holy and perfect. People are guilty of sin (bad and wrong deeds). Sinful people cannot live with such a holy God. If nothing separated them from God, they would certainly die (Leviticus 16:2; Numbers 4:20; Numbers 18:7).
In the centuries afterwards, people made the separation between themselves and God stronger. When they rebuilt Godís house, it was the building called the temple. And the walls of the temple were stone, not cloth. It had outer areas with gates, more walls and rooms for guards. In the end, there were many outer areas for different kinds of people. But inside the temple, it was still a curtain that finally separated people from God.
Only the chief priest ever went beyond that curtain. And he only went into Godís most holy place on one day each year.
As our chief priest, Jesus went there. He offered his own blood to God, so that God would forgive his peopleís sin. That did not happen in Godís house on this earth. But that building was only a copy of the real thing, which is in heaven (Hebrews 9:24).
Jesus went there ahead of us. That surprises us very much. We would not expect to enter such a holy and wonderful place. But, after God forgives our sins, we can enter it. The author of Hebrews insists that we may do so (Hebrews 10:19-22).
This is possible only because Jesus died for us. At his death, Jesus completed the work to free us from our sin. We can see that from an astonishing fact that appears in Mark 15:38. At the moment when Jesus died, the curtain in the temple tore in two. That separation between God and people was no longer necessary. And so God removed it.
Since Hebrews 5:6, the author has wanted to teach us about Melchizedek. The author has already mentioned him twice. But now, at last, the time is right. So in chapter 7 we shall study about Melchizedek.
Next part: About Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:1-2)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.