“The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:” (Hebrews 9:8, KJV 1900)
Years ago, while living in New Hampshire, I needed to get a part for the garage door opener in our newly purchased home. The store that carried the part as about an hour’s drive to Manchester, NH. I put the address in the GPS and headed out. However, I came to a sign that said detour because of construction. I followed the various detour signs and passed a work crew that was building a bridge over the main highway. Obviously, I needed to get on the other side of the highway to get to the store. So, I kept following the detour signs, believing that they would direct me over the highway. However, about 20 minutes later, I saw a construction crew. It was the same one I passed before. The detour signs led me in a complete circle. It seemed impossible to get to my destination until the bridge was completed. You can imagine my frustration in trying to get somewhere and yet the signs indicated it was impossible.
This is the situation that the Israelites were in under the Old Covenant. The author here indicates that through the earthly Tabernacle set up under the Mosaic law, the Holy Spirit was showing that the way to the holy places was not yet open. The people in the Old Covenant could not even get into the first section of the Tabernacle, much less the Holiest Place. If they were relying on this system, they would not enter the Holiest Place. Yet, there was a purpose for the earthly Tabernacle as it pointed to the Holiest Place in the heavens where Jesus is seated.
Remember Jesus’ words, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6, KJV 1900) Jesus is the only way to gain access to the Holiest Place, the only way for one to have access to God. He is our great high priest. It is only by the New Covenant that we can have access. Jesus is the initiator and mediator of this New Covenant.
If the Jewish readers of the letter would rely on the prescriptions of the Old Covenant, they could not enter the presence of God. It was only in Christ according to the New Covenant that access was possible. The Jews under the Old Covenant were in an endless cycle of trying to enter, but could not by the very prescriptions of the law. They were going in circles, so to speak, and never able to enter the holy places. The earthly Tabernacle did not offer a way. Jesus provided the way through the barrier that prevented them from entering. Yet for them to enter, they would have to make a leap of faith from what they formerly had relied upon, the Old Covenant, to the New Covenant in Jesus.
Today, multitudes of people are still trying to enter by a variety of earthly means. Many are trusting in their own good works, their parent’s faith, or following a religious code. Yet, they are all falling short. They are taking the wide way that leads to destruction. There is only one way, a narrow way that leads to life and there are few who take it. Yet, those who take this narrow way are blessed. Quit taking detours around and around, which never lead to eternal life. Take the narrow way by putting your faith in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation.