“When these things were all in place, the priests regularly entered the first room as they performed their religious duties. But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. By these regulations the Holy Spirit revealed that the entrance to the Most Holy Place was not freely open as long as the Tabernacle and the system it represented were still in use.” Hebrews 9:6-8
To understand everything that Jesus completed for us as our High Priest we have examples from the earthly Levitical priesthood to guide us in our understanding. Hebrews 9 uses examples from this system to show us how Jesus performed the very same acts on our behalf in the presence of God the Father in the heavenly tabernacle. We can glean so much wonderful truth from these passages of Scripture.
The writer is showing how entrance to the Holy of Holies was not accessible under the Old Covenant. The priests were able to enter into the outer portion of the tabernacle to carry out their daily duties. However, only the High Priest could enter into the Holy of Holies and he could only enter once a year. The High Priest wore bells around his ephod so that the sound of bells could be heard when entering before the presence of the Lord.
“The gold bells and the pomegranates are to alternate around the hem of the robe. Aaron must wear it when he ministers. The sound of the bells will be heard when he enters the Holy Place before the LORD and when he comes out, so that he will not die” (Exodus 28:34-35). Bells were worn to give off sounds so everyone in the outer portions would know the High Priest’s status when ministering. The Cherubim of Glory circled around the atonement cover protecting the entrance to the Most Holy Place. So many guidelines were to be met before the Priest could even enter, so the confidence level was extremely low when entering.
The amazing truth in all of this is that Jesus has made it possible to enter into the presence of God the Father. This was never the case while the first tabernacle was standing. However Jesus’ blood has completely cleansed us so that we are able to enter into the throne room through the veil which is His body and boldly come before the Father. As believers, we are included in a wonderful heritage. Peter tells us, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (I Peter 2:9). Now if we trust in Jesus Christ, we can now enter into the Holy Place.