One deeply intriguing aspect of Heb. 9 is the way it opens up some of the details of the divine worship of that first covenant to show that the items of furniture and the priestly practices had more profound meaning than appears on the surface. One of the most frustrating statements, however, occurs when HW says, “of these things we cannot now speak in detail” (Heb. 9:5). “Why not?” I want to shout!
Still, we do get a glimpse of the “significance” (v. 8) and “symbolism” (lit., parable, v. 9) involved. One truth is sure. As long as the Temple (of Jesus’ day) still had standing with God, the Holy Spirit kept illustrating that no one was able to enter within the Most Holy Place and be in God’s presence. The temple of the first covenant had to be removed—the veil ripped apart—before man could be with God again.
There was no perfection of conscience available to or through those who ministered in that first covenant’s temple service. Nothing except physical, outward cleansings came from it. But, it did point to the need for and nature of a time of reformation (v. 10).
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