They shall make an ark of acacia wood. Two cubits and a half shall be its length, a cubit and a half its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. 11 You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and outside shall you overlay it, and you shall make on it a molding of gold around it. 12 You shall cast four rings of gold for it and put them on its four feet, two rings on the one side of it, and two rings on the other side of it. 13 You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. 14 And you shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry the ark by them. 15 The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it.16 And you shall put into the ark the testimony that I shall give you. 17 “You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold. Two cubits and a half shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth. 18 And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end. Of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. 20 The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be. 21 And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. 22 There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel. Ex 25:10-22 (ESV)
Did you notice all the “shalls”? God wants worship to be on His terms – not ours. He would not have accepted anything that deviated from His plan. Have you ever tried to “improve” on one of God’s plans? How did that work for you? J
What was in the ark?
Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness. 2 For a tent was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence. It is called the Holy Place. 3 Behind the second curtain was a second section called the Most Holy Place, 4 having the golden altar* of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. 5 Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. Heb 9:1-5 (ESV)
*Here, the Greek for Altar is censer. If the priest didn’t take the censer off the altar in the holy place and take it with him to the Holy of Holies, he would die. That altar was in front of the veil. If you don’t remember the significance of the censer, go back to last week’s study!
Aaron shall present the bull as a sin offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house. He shall kill the bull as a sin offering for himself. 12 And he shall take a censer full of coals of fire from the altar before the Lord, and two handfuls of sweet incense beaten small, and he shall bring it inside the veil 13 and put the incense on the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is over the testimony, so that he does not die. 14 And he shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the mercy seat on the east side, and in front of the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times. 15 “Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it over the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat. 16 Thus he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleannesses of the people of Israel and because of their transgressions, all their sins. And so he shall do for the tent of meeting, which dwells with them in the midst of their uncleannesses. 17 No one may be in the tent of meeting from the time he enters to make atonement in the Holy Place until he comes out and has made atonement for himself and for his house and for all the assembly of Israel. 34And this shall be a statute forever for you, that atonement may be made for the people of Israel once in the year because of all their sins.” And Moses did as the Lord commanded him. Lev 16:11-17, 34 (ESV)
Today, Jews celebrate the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur on the 17th day of the 7th month of the Jewish calendar. It’s not celebrated as prescribed in Leviticus 16 because they don’t have a temple. What did God require the priests do?
· Offer a bull as a sin offering for himself and for his household.
· Take a firepan of coals from the fire and also two handfuls of incense.
· Bring the coals and the incense inside the veil.
· Put the incense on the fire before the Lord.
· Sprinkle some of the blood of the bull on the mercy seat – east side.
· Sprinkle some of the blood in front of the mercy seat – seven times.
If the priest had put the incense on the coals before he entered the veil he would have died. If the priest did not atone for his sins first he would have died. If he had sprinkled eight times he would have died. Worship was spelled out in detail.
What was the reason for this specific day of worship? What was the priest to make atonement for specifically? Who was to help him?
How does all this relate to Jesus – and to us? We’ll discuss more on Friday!