The design of the apostle in this chapter is three-fold:
1. To show the pre-eminence of Christ over the tabernacle, its furniture, its priesthood, and its sacrificesall fulfilled in Christ!
2. To show how all which had gone before in the Levitical Covenant were types and pictures of Christ, having no power in themselves to save (Heb. 10: 1-4).
3. To mark an end to all Levitical ceremonies, sacrifices, and the first covenant (Heb. 10:9).
(Vs. 1-5) This typical covenant had a tabernacle made according to Divine instruction, of earthly material, with rules and regulations for sacrifice and worship. The tabernacle was 45 feet long, 15 feet wide, and 15 feet high. It had two rooms separated by a heavy veil.1. In the first compartment, called the Holy place, were three pieces of furniture.
(a) THE TABLE OF SHEWBREAD. This table was made of wood overlaid with gold, which pictures the humanity and deity of Christ. The bread (12 loaves) represents Christ, the bread of life.
(b) THE GOLDEN CANDLESTICK. There were no windows. This lampstand was the only light, which represents Christ as the light of the world. The lampstand was pure gold (representing His pure deity), and there were seven candles (the number of deity).
(c) THE ALTAR OF INCENSE (Exo. 30:1, 6-9). The continual, sweet burning incense before the veil is the intercession of Christ before the Father.
2. In the second compartment (measuring 15 feet by 15 feet by 15 feet) was really one piece of furniture with two parts. It is called THE ARK! This was the most important piece of furniture. It was 3-3/4 feet long, 2-1/4 feet wide, 2-1/4 feet high, made of wood covered with pure gold, and contained the tables of the law, Aaron's rod that budded, and the golden pot of manna. The mercy-seat was a solid slab of pure gold (no wood) and it formed a cover for the ark. The mercy-seat, or better the PROPITIATORY (deriving its name from the blood of propitiation) was overshadowed by the cherubims of glory (Rom. 3: 25-26).
(Vs. 6-7) Into this first room, called the Holy place, the common priests went every day, morning and evening, accomplishing the service of God by offering sacrifices, burning incense, and trimming the lamps. But into the Holy of Holies, beyond the veil, went the high priest alone every year to put the blood on the mercy-seat covering the broken law. This day was called the Day of Atonement (Exo. 30:10; Lev. 16:15-17).
(Vs. 8-10) Here are several things which the Holy Spirit is teaching the Lord's people.
1. The way into the presence of God (which is Christ--Heb. 10:18-20) is not clearly revealed or actually manifested while this first tabernacle stood. Until Christ comes, the sacrifices must continue as set forth.
2. This first tabernacle (Vs. 9) was only a symbol, a picture for the time present to typify the work of Christ.
3. These sacrifices could never take away sin nor purify the conscience, so they must continually be offered (Heb. 10:1-4).
4. These ceremonies were imposed upon them until the coming of Christ, who fulfilled them all and established the reality of a better covenant of grace.
(Vs. 11-12) But that appointed time came (Gal. 4:4-5). Christ, the great High Priest of good things to come (such as peace, righteousness, reconciliation, grace, and mercy), came IN A BODY prepared for Him by the Father. He tabernacles among men. In Him men meet God, and in Him God deals with men. He is our representative, our righteousness, and our redemption (II Cor. 5:19). He was numbered with the transgressors and died under the penalty of our sins. As our great High Priest, He entered ONCE into the presence of God (the true Holy place) and made a once-for-all atonement. Through this ONE offering He perfected all believers and obtained eternal redemption! (Heb. 10:11-14.) Now we are all priests (Christ, our great High Priest), and through Christ we can come boldly before the very throne of grace (Heb. 4:14-16; Heb. 10:19-22; Luke 23:45).