Hebrews 9:1-14

Image One

Image Two




Image Three


Image Four

Click on these great Tabernacle Sites:

Color Photo of Tabernacle

Tabernacle Place

Tabernacle Details

Tabernacle Diagrams



Photo taken by Galyn at Shiloh which was the location of the tabernacle after it was set up in the land of Canaan by Joshua.  Notice in 1 Samuel 1:9 the tabernacle is called “temple” because it had been permanently placed in Shiloh on this foundation. 

            “Now Eli the priest was sitting on a chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s temple.”

Eli would have been sitting just to the left of the “7” in “75 feet” on the right side of this picture above. 

See more photos of Shiloh at Generation Words Website at: http://www.generationword.com/Israel/shiloh.html


This is the back of the tabernacle. This is the west wall.
The ark would have sat just inside this wall to the left inside the holy of holies

The south wall can be seen going to the left of the picture at the end of this west wall.
The pile of rocks in the middle to the left would have been the location of the ark.


Hebrews 9:1-14

Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary.


The inadequacy of the old physical tabernacle is brought into contrast with the real sanctuary in heaven.

Why is the tabernacle used as an illustration instead of the temple? 

  1. The tabernacle was the original sanctuary
  2. The tabernacle plans were given to Moses who established it
  3. The Torah gives details of the physical dimensions of the tabernacle
  4. The tabernacle was a by design temporary and moveable
  5. The temple in the days of the writing of the book of Hebrews was known to be corrupt.  The Qumran community, and others, had actually set up their own places of worship.
  6. The temple in Jerusalem was built as a replica of the wilderness tabernacle
  7. The people receiving the letter of Hebrews were probably not in Jerusalem and associated themselves with the people of the wilderness.


A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place.


The Arch of Titus in Rome and Hasmonaean coins show this lampstand.

The inscription in square at the top of the Arch of Titus reads:

Which means:

"The Senate
and People of Rome (dedicate this)
to the divine Titus Vespasianus Augustus, son of the divine Vespasian."


More Photos of the Arch of Titus here:

- http://www.essential-architecture.com/ITALY/ROME/RO-003.htm

- http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Pantheon/9013/Titus.html





 The Arch of Titus (Arco di Tito) is the oldest triumphal arches in Rome Italy .  Dating back to around 81 AD, this victory arch was built by Emperor Dominitian to commemorate the suppression of a Jewish revolt in Palestine .  The artwork under the archway depicts the victorious Roman legionnaires enjoying the spoils of their victory. Some 50,000 Jews were brought back to Rome as slaves and were used to helped build this arch.











  Mattathias Antigonus, 40-37 BCE.
Obverse Side (front or heads): Seven branched menorah with inscription "King Antiogonus" in Greek 
Reverse Side (back or tails): Showbread table, Inscription "Mattatayah the High Priest" in Hebrew. Probably a propaganda coin minted as the Hasmonean Dynasty was being destroyed Herod and Rome .

The above and below pictures were taken by Galyn of the Menorah prepared for the new temple. 
It is kept in the Cardo and brought to the Western Wall during the Feast of Lights. 



The Table of Shewbread

  •   “Shewbread” is the Hebrew phrase “lehem hamma areket” or “bread of the face” or “bread of the presence”  meaning the “bread set before the face or presence of God.”  
  • The table was made of acacia wood and overlaid with gold.
  • The table was about 3 feet long, 1 foot 6 inches wide and 2 feet 3 inches high
  • On the table were golden plates, spoons, jars, and bowls
  • The bread was 12 cakes baked of fine flour and placed fresh on the table every Sabbath. They were stacked in two rows of six.
  • The week old bread was then removed and eaten by the priests there in the holy place.  No one else could eat this bread (Lev. 24:9)





Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place,



The first covering or curtain was the finely twisted lined with blue, purple and scarlet yarn.
The priest would pass through this curtain as they moved from the outer court into the holy place.

Hebrews 9:3 says, “Behind the second curtain. . .” 

The second curtain refers to the second curtain the high priest would pass through.  This curtain separated the holy place from the most holy place.




which had the golden altar of incense (Gr. “thymiaterion”) and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron's staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant.


The Most Holy Place is said to have two pieces of furniture:

  1. Golden altar of incense (1 foot 6 inches x 1 foot 6 inches x 3 foot)
  2. Gold-covered ark of the covenant (3 feet 9 inches long x 2 feet 3 inches wide and 2 feet 3 inches tall)


By saying the incense altar was behind the curtain with the ark in the Most Holy Place the writer creates a problem.  In Exodus 30:6 it says:

“Put the altar in front of the curtain that is before the ark of the Testimony – before the
atonement cover

that is over the Testimony – where I will meet with you.”


Exodus 30:7 says Aaron must burn incense on the altar every morning and evening when he tends the lamps.  This indicates this altar was in the Holy Place and not behind the curtain in the Most Holy Place.

Exodus 30:10 says that once a year Aaron will make atonement by putting blood on the horns of this altar with the blood of the atonement offering.


The Greek word for “incense altar” is “thymiaterion” is used in the LXX (Septuagint) for the word “censer” (2 Chron. 26:19; Ezekiel 8:11). 

  • But this word means “a place where incense is put” or “a vessel for burning incense.”
  • Herodotus, Josephus and Philo use it to refer to the incense altar in the Jewish temple.
  • We would expect the incense altar to be mentioned here since the author is naming all of the other furniture in the tabernacle: lamp stand, table, ark.
  • On the Day of Atonement Aaron would take a censer into the Most Holy Place when he would enter.


The ark of the covenant was the focal point of the Most Holy Place.  It is not heard of again after the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 586 BC. 

  • When Solomon brought the ark of the covenant into his temple “there was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it.” (1 Kings 8:9)
  • In 605, the first of three captivities, Nebuchadnezzar took “some of the articles from the temple of God” according to Daniel 1:2 along with the royal children.
  • At the second captivity in 597 took some more of the temple furnishings when he took King Jehoiachin into exile according to Jeremiah 27:18-22.
  • Jeremiah records what happened to the bronze pillars, the movable stands and the bronze Sea in Jeremiah 52:17.  Jeremiah records that the Babylonians took away the pots, shovels, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, dishes and bronze articles.  He also mentions that the commander of the imperial guard took the basins, censers, sprinkling bowls, pots, lampstands, dishes and bowls made of gold or silver.
  • When Cyrus sent the Jews back to Jerusalem in 538 BC he also sent back the articles belonging to the temple which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away. The list in Ezra 1:9-10 includes 2,499 articles of gold and silver but a total of 5,400 were returned according to Ezra 1:11.
  • Josephus records (70 AD) that the Most Holy Place was empty since the ark of the covenant was never recovered.  In 63 BC the Roman general Pompey had entered the Most Holy Place and was surprised to find it empty.


What happened to the ark of the covenant?

  • The most likely answer is that the Babylonians melted it down for the gold when they destroyed the Temple in 586 BC.
  • There is a rabbinic legend (written down around 100 BC but presumably older) that, when the Babylonians invaded the Temple, the priests hurled the Ark skyward, and God took it back into Heaven.
  • The Second Book of Maccabees mentions in chapter 2 (verses 4-8) that Jeremiah the prophet by divine revelation secretly removed the Ark and other valuable items from the Temple before its destruction to the mountain which Moses had climbed on before his death. He then sealed the passageway so that nobody could find it till the end times.  So the ark is in a cave somewhere by the Dead Sea or at Mount Nebo.
  • The Ark was hidden by the priests in a secret cave under the Temple Mount, carved out by Solomon (or perhaps by King Josiah, 640 - 609 BC).
  • In 1991, a journalist named Graham Hancock wrote a book called SIGN AND SEAL, claiming the Ark is in a small church out in the desert in Ethiopia.
  • In his book, 'Temple Treasures' (Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, 1994), Bible scholar and explorer Dr. Randall Price states that at least three rabbis in Jerusalem have claimed they have seen the Ark or have been very close to it. Their accounts(not identical) indicate the Ark is kept in a room or cave deep underneath the Temple Mount, but directly beneath the Holy of Holies. A secret excavation was under way in 1981 to close in on the Ark when the Moslems heard of it and sealed the tunnel entrance with concrete with the blessing of the Israeli government.
  • Ron Wyatt claims to have seen the ark in a cave under the temple mount.  See more here
  • Revelation 11:19, "Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm."



Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover.  But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.


The atonement cover or the mercy seat is comparatively called by the author of Hebrews the “throne of grace” in Hebrews 4:16.


The mercy seat is called “the chariot” by David in 1 Chronicles 28:18:

“He also gave him the plan for the chariot, that is, the cherubim of gold that spread their wings and shelter the ark of the covenant of the Lord.”


The blood of the bullock which was offered for atonement of the sin of the high priest and his family and the blood of the goat that was killed as a sin offering for the whole nation  was sprinkled on the mercy seat and in front of it.  The Lord would appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat according to Leviticus 16:2 and 14


The cherubim of Glory refer to the cherubim in the presence of the Lord as in Psalm 18:10:

            “He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind.”


See also Deuteronomy 33:26 and Ezekiel 1:5-13; 10:10-14


All of this could have been elaborated on in detail by the author of Hebrews but he is focusing on what took place in the tabernacle on the Day of Atonement.




When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry.



But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.


The blood of a bullock for the high priest.

The blood of a goat for the sin of the people.



The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing.



This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper.



They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order.




When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.



He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.




The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean.



How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!