THE HOLY OF HOLIES
Hebrews 10:22 – Let us draw near with a true heart in
full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled
from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with
pure water (KJV):
Exo 25:10-22; 26:31-34;
Mat 27:50. 51; Heb 4:14-16;
9:2-7, 16-28; 10:19-22;1 Jn 2:1, 2
All people can have access to
God through the blood of Christ.
To realize how Christ’s sacriﬁce
fulﬁls the symbolism of the
Holy of Holies.
- Meeting with God
- Before The Ark
- Access to God
- Complete Atonement
- Day of Atonement
- Christ, Our High Priest
At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:
- Recognize the importance of the ark of the covenant in the Holy
- Know that the limited access to God in the Holy of Holies has
3.Afﬁrm that Jesus ‘sacriﬁce was complete and effectual.
Introducing the Lesson
The word “access” can be defined
as “a course affording passage from
one place to another.” if you want to
cross a river, a bridge provides access
to the other side. if you want to talk with
a friend who lives far away, a telephone
let’s you talk to that person as if you
were face to face. If you want to contact
someone in another country
inexpensively, you can write a letter.
This week ‘s lesson centers on the
Holy of Holies, the innermost room of
the tabernacle. To the masses of Israel,
access into the Holy of Holies was
denied. Only the high priest had the
privilege and awesome duty of
entering the Most Holy place and only
once a year.
While God denied entrance into
the Holy of Holies by anyone except
the high priest, the symbolism of that
place pointed to a day when anyone-
man or woman, boy or girl-would be
allowed to enter God’s presence.
Jesus Christ, through His
sacriﬁce, provides every person an
access to God. To enter God’s
presence, you only need to accept
Christ’s provision of salvation.
Exodus 25:21. And thou shalt put the
mercy seat above upon the ark; and
in the ark thou shalt put the testimony
that l shall give thee.
- And there will meet with thee, and l
will commune with thee from above
the mercy seat, from between the two
cherubim which are upon the ark of
the testimony, of all things which l will
give thee in commandment unto the
children of Israel.
26:33. 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.
Matthew 27:50. Jesus, when he had cried
again with a loud voice, yielded up
- 51. And, behold, the veil of the temple
was rent in twain from the top to the
bottom; and the earth did quake, and
the rocks rent.
Hebrews 10:19. Having therefore,
brethren, boldness to enter into the
holiest by the blood of Jesus,
Let us draw near with a true heart in
full assurance of faith, having our
hearts sprinkled from an evil
conscience, and our bodies washed
with pure water.
Leviticus 16:30. For on that day shall the
priest make an atonement for you, to
cleanse you, that ye may be clean
from all your sins before the Lord.
- And he shall make an atonement for
the holy sanctuary, and he shall
make an atonement for the
tabernacle of the congregation, and
for the altar: and he shall make an
atonement for the priests, and for all
the people of the congregation.
- And this shall be an everlasting
statute unto you, to make an
atonement for the children of Israel
for all their sins once a year. And he
did as the Lord commanded Moses.
Hebrews 9:24. For Christ is not entered
into the holy places made with
hands, which are the ﬁgures of the
true; but into heaven itself, now to
appear in the presence of God for us.
- So Christ was once offered to bear the
sins of many; and unto them that look
for him shall he appear the second
time without sin unto salvation.
1 John 2:1. My little children, these things
write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if
any man sin, we have an advocate
with the Father, Jesus Christ the
- And he is the propitiation for our sins:
and not for ours only, but also for the
sins of the whole world.
Commentary and Application
- Meeting with God A
- Before The Ark
Exodus 25:10-22; 26:31-34
Through sacriﬁces made in the
tabernacle, God provided atonement
for the sins of His people. The room in
the tabernacle where this atonement
took place was called the Most Holy
Place or the Holy of Holies. This room,
separated from the Holy Place by a
thick curtain or veil, was 15 feet by 15
The ark of the covenant was the
only piece of furniture in the Holy of
Holies. The importance of this ark
becomes apparent in God’s
instructions concerning the tabernacle.
He gave instructions for the ark’s
construction before any other item or
the tabernacle itself.
Question: Why did God give the ark
‘ The importance God gave to the
ark of the covenant had to do with its
purpose. In the Holy of Holies, in front
of the ark, the high (priest made
atonement for the sins of od’s people.
According to Exodus 25: 10,11,
the ark was made from acacia wood
covered with gold. It was 45 inches
long, 27 inches high, and 27 inches
wide. Like other items in the
tabernacle, the ark also had rings for
the poles used to carry it. These poles
were not to be removed from the ark.
The ark accompanied Israel
throughout their wilderness journey,
and was the only original piece of
tabernacle furniture moved to the
temple centuries later.
God instructed Moses to place
“the testimony” – the Ten
Commandments -inside the ark
(verses 16,21; 31:18). These tablets
would remind the Children of Israel of
God’s law and their sinfulness
(Romans 7:7). While no one can keep
every aspect of the Law, God did
provide a wag of forgiveness in the
‘mercy seat”(Exodus 25: 17).
The mercy seat was the lid for the
ark. On this lid were two cherubim, one
at either end facing each other (verses
18-20). The wings of these cherubim
were outspread, covering the mercy
The word used for the mercy seat
means “to cover the sins,” “to
reconcile,” or “to make atonement.”
The mercy seat depicted the only hope
sinners had, or ever will have, or
fellowship with God: His mercy.
The ark of the covenant spoke of
God’s original intent in the tabernacle:
fellowship (25:8). At the ark, with its
mercy seat, God promised to meet with
His people (verse 22). There He would
provide not only atonement, but
guidance for their lives.
At the same time, however, the
location of the ark within the tabernacle
woke of separation. God instructed
Moses to make a “veil” (Exodus 26:31,
KJV) or “curtain” (NIV) from linen and
colored yam. This curtain separated
the Holy Place from the Most Holy
Place (verse 33). Only the priest could
enter the Most Holy Place, and only
once a year. While the mercy seat
spoke of access to God, this access
B Access to God
Hebrews 9:2-7; 10:1 9-22
Man needed, and still needs, what
the tabernacle symbolized: fellowship
with God. God created humanity for
fellowship with Him; and He provided
fellowship through the tabernacle.
When the priest entered the
tabernacle, he represented every
worshipper outside the structure. But
sin prevented each person from
individually enjoying what the
Jesus ‘sacriﬁce for sin removed
the barrier between God and His
creation. At the moment of Jesus ‘
death on the cross, a curious thing
occurred in the temple in Jerusalem.
The heavy curtain, the veil, “was rent in
twain from the top to the bottom”
(Matthew 27:51). Through Christ’s
death, access to God was made
available to all.
Several places in the Book of
Hebrews, the writer contrasted the
temporary and ineffective ministry in
the tabernacle with the complete and
effective ministry of Christ and His
death. ln chapter 9, he referred to the
layout of the Holy Place, containing the
lampstand and table of show-
bread (verse 2), and the Most Holy
Place, containing the ark of the
covenant and the altar of incense
The inclusion of the altar of
incense in the Most Holy Place seems
to contradict other accounts of the
tabernacle’s layout. However, the
writer’s placement of the altar of
incense may simply depict its
nearness to the ministry performed
within the veil. The priest brought
sacriﬁcial blood from the altar of burnt
offering and incense from the altar of
incense. Verse 4 further adds “the
golden pot that had manna” and
‘Aaron’s rod” to the contents of the ark.
Next the writer referred to the
ministry of the priest. The priest
regularly ministered in the Holy place
(verse 6). But only once a year could
he enters the Most Holy Place (verse 7).
This latter event occurred on the Day of
Atonement (Leviticus 16). Entrance
into the Holy of Holies was forbidden
for all but the High Priest.
Hebrews 10:19-22 describes the
access to God provided through the
death of Christ. his access is given to
all believers. We can come boldly into
His presence. Christ, through His
death, has brought us into a living
relationship with God (verse 20). As
our High Priest, He provided entrance
into God’s presence for us (verse 21).
Question: How did Christ’s death
give us, boldness to come into
Because of Christ, we can
approach God with confidence,
knowing our sins have been forgiven.
Our sins no longer separate us from
the most holy God. The Old Testament
sacrifices could not provide
forgiveness, so no one could have
access into God’s presence. But
Christ’s sacrifice has provided us with
unlimited access to God (verse 22).
The limited access to God in the
Holy of Holies has been removed.
Through the blood of Christ, sinners
can now come confidently before our
holy God. And because of our
relationship with Christ, we can enjoy
God’s presence every day.
- Complete Atonement
- Day of Atonement
Leviticus 16:1 -34
The day each year when the priest
entered into the Holy of Holies was
called the Day of Atonement (Leviticus
23:27,28). Leviticus 16 describes the
various activities of that day.
The High Priest was prohibited
from entering the Most Holy place on
any day other than the Day of
Atonement (Leviticus 16:1,2). Any
transgression of this rule brought
Question: Why did God attach such
severe consequences to an
unlawful entry into the Holy of
God visibly manifested His glory
over the ark of the covenant in the Holy
of Holies (verse 2). Only the man God
designated could come into His
presence and only when he was
This man, the high priest, was
capable of sin. To prepare himself to
enter the Holy of Holies, he had to offer
a sin offering and a burnt offering for
himself and his family (verses 3,6,11-
14). He was also required to bathe and
wear “holy garments” (verse 4).
After placing burning coals from
the altar of burnt offering in a censer,
the priest entered the Most Holy Place.
He then added incense to the coals,
ﬁlling the room with an aromatic
fragrance. He took the blood of a
sacriﬁced bull and sprinkled it on the
mercy seat, making atonement for
himself. Only after he had been
cleansed from sin could he offer the sin
offering on behalf of the nation.
The other animals used in the
offerings are mentioned in verses 7-
- God instructed the priest to bring
two goats: one was a sacriﬁce for sin,
the other was a “scapegoat,” to be set
free in the desert.
After the priest had offered a
sacriﬁce for himself, he killed the goat
chosen for the sacrifice and made
atonement for the nation of Israel
within the Holy of Holies (verses 15-
18). When the priest came out of the
Holy of Holies, he took the blood of the
goat and the blood of the bullock and
cleansed the altar of burnt offerings by
sprinkling it with the blood.
After the priest had made the
sacriﬁces for atonement, he laid his
hands on the scapegoat, confessed
the nation’s sins over it, then had the
goat released into the desert,
symbolizing the removal of the nation’s
sins (verses 20-22).
After the priest finished his work
on the Day of Atonement, he washed
himself and offered another sacriﬁce
for himself and the people (verses
23,24). The one who led the scapegoat
into t e wilderness was required to
bathe as well (verses 25,26). Then the
remainder of the sacrifice was
removed for disposal (verses 27,28).
The sacriﬁces on the Day of
Atonement were a yearly ritual (verses
29-34). Yet these sacrifices could n
make the conscience of the worshipper
clean. As the high priest made
atonement each year, he and the
people were continually reminded of
- Christ, Our High Priest
Hebrews 4:14-16; 9:16-28;
When the high priest offered
sacriﬁce for himself on the Day of
Atonement, he was made aware of his
own sinfulness. This awareness
helped him sympathize with the nation
and their need for sacriﬁces for sin.
Jesus, our High Priest, can also
sympathize with our needs. The
phrase “passed into the heavens”
indicates at one time He walked among
His creation. But He was more than a
human high priest; He is the “Son of
God ‘(Hebrews 4: 14). And because
there is no other who can procure our
salvation, we can ‘hold fast our
Yet Jesus does more than observe
our difﬁculties. The word ‘touched’
(KJV) or “sympathize” (NIV) in verse
5 describes someone suffering with
another. Jesus ‘total identiﬁcation with
humanity included experiencing all of
the temptations we face. Yet there was
one difference between Jesus and us:
He did not sin.
Question: How does Jesus
ministry as our High priest
encourage you to bring your needs
Because Jesus completely
understands the temptations we
experience, we know He has
compassion on us. Also the writer of
Hebrews encourages believers to
“come boldly unto the throne of grace”
(verse 16). The writer probably had the
mercy seat oi the tabernacle in mind
Because of Christ, we can approach
God with conﬁdence. We can obtain
mercy and experience His grace to
help us in any need we might have.
But Christ is more than our High
Priest; He is also the Sacriﬁce for our
sins. Hebrews 9:15 explains how
Christ came to establish a new
testament. While the word ‘testament’
can refer to a covenant, it is obvious in
verses 16,17 that the writer is referring
to a “will” (NIV).
Question: What is the purpose of a
will and when does a will take
A will gives instructions
concerning the distribution of one ‘s
estate after death. But the will has no
power until the one who made the will
dies. Only then can its provisions take
In a similar way, death and blood
played key roles in the Old Testament
covenant (verse 18). The power of
the Old Testament ritual, like that of a
will, lay in the sacriﬁce (death) of an
animal, and involved the shedding of
its blood. In verses 18-20, the writer
described the sprinkling of blood on
the people, and the covenant given at
Sinai. Later, at the dedication of the
tabernacle, Moses sprinkled blood on
it and all its vessels (verse 21). In fact,
so important was blood in Old
Testament ritual that almost all
sacriﬁces involved the shedding of
blood. And without this blood,
forgiveness was impossible (verse
While it was necessary for the
tabernacle to be sprinkled with blood,
the true tabernacle in heaven needed
a better sacriﬁce (verse 23). Only one
Person could provide that sacriﬁce:
Jesus Christ. Like the high priest who
presented the people before God
in the Holy of Holies, Jesus entered
into heaven to present us to God. But
Jesus did not need to do this year after
gear (verses 25 26). He did not offer
himself as a sacrifice over and over.
Rather His one sacrifice provided
complete forgiveness for sin.
To further prove his point, the
writer stated in verse 27, “It Is
appointed unto men once to die, but
after this the judgment.” Jesus died
once, not for judgement, but to “bear
the sins of many”(verse 28). And when
He comes again, it will not be to offer
himself as a sacriﬁce again, but to
bring ultimate deliverance for His
Christ’s sacriﬁce for our sins is the
message of the gospel. When the
apostle John wrote to a group of
believers, he referred to Christ as “the
propitiation for our sins” (1 John 2:2).
Another form of the word translated
propitiation” was used by the
reeks to refer to appeasing an
angered god. But this appeasing was
done through some act of those trying
to appease their god.
We can never appease God
through our own human efforts. Biblical
propitiation is initiated by God. In verse
2, John wrote that Jesus is our
“propitiation.” He was sent by God as
the Atoning Sacriﬁce for our sins. Only
through His death can we be recon-
cited to God.
Another form of the word
“propitiation” was used in the Greek
translation of the Old Testament, the
Septuagint, to refer to the mercy seat
(see Leviticus 16:13). Just as the
mercy seat was where atonement was
made, Christ is the One who made
atonement for us.
The annual ritual on the Day of
Atonement beautifully portrayed what
Jesus did for us once for all. e is the
only Sacrifice that can cleanse us from
all sin. In fact, all who accept Him as
personal Saviour can experience the
effectiveness of His sacriﬁce.
Discipleship in Action
The real purpose for the tabernacle comes into
focus on the Day of Atonement. It was on this day the
high priest made atonement for his sins and the sins of
the people of Israel within the Holy of Holies.
Each year the people looked forward to this great day.
But as great as it was, it also reminded them of their
sins. In addition, the sacrifices they made did not have
the power to cleanse their consciences from sin.
Jesus Christ typologically fulfilled the
sacriﬁces on the Day of Atonement. Those sacriﬁces
were not complete, as signified by their yearly
observance. They were also not effective in cleansing
from sin. But Jesus ‘sacriﬁce was complete and
effectual. All who accept Him as their personal Savior
experience full forgiveness of sin.
Perhaps you have never accepted Christ as your
personal Savior. Ask Him to forgive you of your sin
He is the only One who can save you. No amount of
good works or self-denial can provide the salvation He
can. He is the only One who can bring full forgiveness
for your sins.
Ministry in Action
This week’s lesson
provides an excellent
opportunity to share the
gospel with any unsaved
students in your class.
Some of them may have
been trying to earn their
salvation through good
works or self-denial.
Remind them that no
amount of self-sacriﬁce
can bring them into a
relationship with God.
Jesus is the only access
we have to God.
Invite any unsaved
students to accept Christ
For Further Study
Monday Tent of Meeting Exodus 33:7-11
Tuesday Cleansing from Sin Psalm 51 :1-12
Wednesday Return to God Hosea 14: 1 -9
Thursday Which is Easier? Mark 2: 1-12
Friday The intercessor Romans 8:31-39
Saturday Perfect High Priest Hebrews 7:20-28