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Dictionary of Bible Themes – 7396 Most Holy Place
7396 Most Holy Place

7396 Most Holy Place

The inner sanctuary of the tabernacle set up at Sinai and of Solomon’s temple, where the ark of the covenant was kept. It is a symbol of the unapproachable presence of God.

Terms used to describe the Most Holy Place

Ex 26:33 “the Most Holy Place” (or “Holy of Holies”), in contrast to the “Holy Place” where the altar stood. This superlative suggests increasing closeness to the presence of God. The distinction is not always observed, however. In Leviticus chapter 16 “Holy Place” is used regularly (translated in NIV as “Most Holy Place” in verses 2, 16, 17, 20, 27, and as “sanctuary area” in verse 3, though it is the inner sanctuary that is referred to, as the phrase “behind the curtain” (verse 2) shows); 1Ki 6:16 the “inner sanctuary” in contrast to the outer; Heb 9:7 literally “the second (tabernacle)” in contrast to the first or outer

The structure and design of the Most Holy Place

In the wilderness tabernacle The only details concern the curtains forming the walls of the two sanctuaries, and in particular the dividing curtain which separates the Most Holy Place from the outer sanctuary: Ex 26:31-33; Ex 36:35-36; Ex 40:21

In Solomon’s temple 1Ki 6:16,19-20 pp 2Ch 3:8; 1Ki 6:23-28 pp 2Ch 3:10; 1Ki 6:31-32; 2Ch 3:14

In the temple in Ezekiel’s vision Eze 41:4,15-21,23; Eze 45:3 In Ezekiel’s vision a portion of the land was sacred to the Lord and called the Most Holy Place.

The significance and function of the Most Holy Place

To house the ark of the covenant Ex 26:33 See also Ex 40:3; 1Ki 6:19; 1Ki 8:6-9 pp 2Ch 5:7-9

To house the incense altar (in Solomon’s temple) 1Ki 6:22; Heb 9:3-4 Ex 30:6 and 40:5 suggest that the incense altar was housed in front of the curtain, i.e., in the Holy Place, the outer sanctuary.

To be a symbol of the presence of God Ps 28:2 See also Ex 26:33 The curtain veiling the Most Holy Place represents the unapproachable presence of the Holy God; Lev 16:2

The Most Holy Place on the Day of Atonement

Heb 9:7 See also Lev 16:16-17

The NT understanding of the Most Holy Place as the place of God’s heavenly presence

Jesus Christ enters the Most Holy Place as Mediator Heb 9:8 See also Heb 6:19-20; Heb 9:11-12,24

Entry to the Most Holy Place is open to all believers Heb 10:19-22 See also Mt 27:51 pp Lk 23:45 By Jesus Christ’s death the dividing curtain has been torn in two.

See also

1065God, holiness of
2306Christ, high priest
2525Christ, cross of
6606access to God
7306ark of the covenant
7308Atonement, Day of
7459tabernacle, in OT
7467temple, Solomon’s

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