These sacred places had outer courts which could be accessed by all the faithful. They also had what was known as the Holy Place, where only those designated as priests could enter. Within the Holy Place, there was a special area known as the Holy of Holies. This was where the Ark of the Covenant was kept; it was seen as the place where God manifested himself.
Only one man, the high priest, could enter the Holy of Holies. He could only enter once per year on what was known as the Day of Atonement. Anyone else risked death if they dared go into the Holy of Holies.
During Jesus' lifetime, the Holy of Holies was separated from the Holy Place by a thick curtain, said to be as thick as the width of the palm of a man's hand. It was reported to be 60 feet long and 30 feet high. That curtain must have been an impressive sight. That's why it's interesting to read what happened the day Jesus was crucified. In his gospel, the writer Mark tells us: "The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom" (Mark 15:38).
This massive curtain was torn in two, a feat which took an enormous amount of strength. Not only that, but the tear started at the top, where no human hand could have reached it. God himself took the curtain and ripped it in half.
The way into the presence of God is open. No curtain is needed. Men no longer require priests to intercede for them, no longer need a representative to enter the Holy of Holies. Now everyone may freely approach God. The writer of the book of Hebrews tells us:
Therefore, brothers, 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 body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water (Hebrews 10:19-22).
Whether you're a longtime believer or someone just coming to the faith, there's only one logical thing for you to do: draw near to God. Get to know him, learn his will for you, and give your life to him.
If you'd like to talk more about how to do that, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit or join us on the HopeForLife.org website.
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