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You’re Invited into the Holy of Holies

Aug 14, 2019 | |Andy Nash

Take your Bible and open it to Psalm 120.

Do you notice a little subheading just below the chapter number? Do you see “A Song of Ascents” (NKJV) or “A Song of Degrees” (KJV)?

As you scan ahead to Psalm 121, Psalm 122—all the way to Psalm 134—you will see the same subheading.

These fifteen beautiful psalms of ascents were sung by Jewish travelers (which at one point, included a twelve-year-old Jesus and His family) on their uphill journey to Jerusalem. Hence, the word ascents.

After reaching Jerusalem, the travelers then climbed the fifteen steps leading into the temple courts, singing one psalm per step. When they reached the top step, they walked through the Huldah Gates into the temple of the Lord. That had to be a powerful experience!

My wife, Cindy, and I take tour groups to Israel every summer. When we do, we climb these same fifteen steps, reciting these same fifteen psalms, in the great tradition of all the Yahweh-worshippers who have gone before us.

However, unlike Yahweh-worshippers of the past, we will never be able to enter into the temple in Jerusalem because it was destroyed in AD 70. We will never be able to stand in the temple courts, to hear the Levites sing, to watch the priests enter into the Holy Place.

The truth is worshiping the Lord today isn’t anything like worshiping the Lord in AD 18.

It’s way better!

You see, during the time that Jesus walked the earth, the when, where, and who of entering the temple and its courts was greatly limited.

  • – Court of the Gentiles: anyone could enter.
  • – Court of the Women: only Jewish men and women were allowed, but women could go no further except when offering a sacrifice.
  • – Court of the Israelites: only Jewish men could enter.
  • – Court of the Priests: as the name implies, only priests were allowed here.
  • – Holy Place: only selected priests could enter.
  • – Most Holy Place, or Holy of Holies: the high priest was allowed and only once a year.

Solomon’s temple was glorious, and many traveled far to see it. But only one person on the planet—and only one day each year, the Day of Atonement—was allowed access into the presence of the Lord Himself. Everyone else was forbidden to enter the Holy of Holies.

Then something dramatic happened.

One Friday afternoon in around AD 31, the entire system of temple access was set aside. A few hundred yards from the temple, in a rock quarry, a thirty-three-year-old man cried out, “It is finished!”—more literally, “Paid in full!” And when He did, the temple curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the rest of the world was torn from top to bottom!

For the first time, ordinary people—anybody standing nearby—could peer directly into the Holy of Holies.

What was happening? A new High Priest was taking over, breaking down the barrier between God and humanity, because this man was both God and human.

Forty days later, this same High Priest, Jesus Christ, returned to “the true tabernacle” in heaven (Heb. 8:2 NKJV), presenting Himself both the High Priest and as a lamb freshly slain (Rev. 5:6 NKJV). Christ then unleashed His Spirit throughout the entire earth, filling His followers with spiritual gifts, languages, and the realization that they were now “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:9 KJV) serving their High Priest, Jesus Christ.

One of those who realized the enormity of what had happened would later write a letter to Hebrew readers. The book of Hebrews was, perhaps, directed to former priests who needed assurance that they were doing the right thing in turning to a new priesthood and a High Priest who never changes. This dramatic change can be summed up in this:

“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Heb. 10:19–22).

In the high priesthood of Jesus Christ, you are also a priest. You have direct access to God the Father through the veil of the flesh of His Son. And you are called to do a priestly work in Christ, bringing others into the glorious presence of Yahweh.

Andy Nash is an author, professor, and pastor who leads summer study tours to Israel.

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With more than 2 million copies sold, it’s no secret that the NKJV Study Bible is a reliable guide for your journey into God’s Word. This Bible provides a complete resource for study, including thousands of notes, articles, extensive cross-references, and features contributed by top evangelical scholars.

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17 comments on “You’re Invited into the Holy of Holies

  1. Faustina Andrews says:

    How can I have one of your bible
    NKJV. ?

    How can I have one of these NKJV
    Bible?

    1. John at Thomas Nelson Bibles says:

      Hi. You can find most of our NKJV Bibles wherever Christian books are sold. This includes online sites like Amazon.com, ChristianBook.com, LifeWay.com, and ChurchSource.com.

  2. Rono Kipkoech says:

    Thank you for great insights and revelation on the priesthood and our mandate.

    Am an upcoming preacher n need more resources we have been doing evengelism but we luck bibles for the new converts.

  3. Greg says:

    Christ is not just my Lord and savior he also is my real treasure seated on the glorious throne as my loving friend ,I hope he really is your treasure

  4. Ndoda says:

    “These fifteen beautiful psalms of ascents were sung by Jewish travelers (which at one point, included a twelve-year-old Jesus and His family) on their uphill journey to Jerusalem. Hence, the word ascents.”
    So The Psalms were not written by King David, son of Jesse if Jesus Christ was there?

    1. John at Thomas Nelson Bibles says:

      This isn’t a reference to when the the Psalms were written. It is saying that the Psalms were used by many generations of Jewish people including Jesus and His family after they were written.

      Thanks for reading.

      John from the Thomas Nelson Bibles Team.

  5. MICHAEL MANNING says:

    I just bought The NKJV Study Bible a few days ago. It is very insightful and easy to understand. I’ve always had a problem following certain verses and getting knowledge of where coincidences with other verses. That’s no longer a problem. I thank God for leading me to His Word and having a better understanding.

  6. Rebecca Saluri says:

    What a wonderful post!

  7. Eva says:

    Is there a study tour that references and provides information about the ancient black Hebrew Israelites? If so, I would be interested in a tour.

  8. Harold Archer says:

    Excellent. Amen. Praise and glory and honor to God, through Christ and his sacrifice on the cross for our sins, my sins. Thank you also for this summary of the Biblical links, steps, accents, well done.

  9. Peter witton says:

    A great post, very informative thankyou

  10. Adetutu Aladesulu says:

    Thank u Team,
    I’m very passionate about the mission of Jesus Christ on Earth. But I really appreciate how u shed more light on these exposé, e.g l never knew Jesus’s location of His death was a few 100yards away from d temple, where Holy of holies was…Hmmm, so thoughtful and painful. Thanks for this information.

  11. Tope Odu says:

    Also brings the Holy Communion (Passover) to mind. Christ came to redeem humanity and reconcile mankind to God. The real embodiment of divinity and humanity.

  12. Raphael. O says:

    Great and inspiring article.

  13. Deryk Thompson says:

    It’s a wonderful amazing privilege to enter the holy of holies through the precious blood of our LORD and master JESUS CHRIST

  14. Deryk Thompson says:

    It’s a wonderful privilege to enter into the holy of holies through the precious blood of JESUS CHRIST

  15. Gregory says:

    Very nice article. Thank you. I had been thinking about the heading and what exactly it meant. Now I know! I also appreciate how you highlighted Jesus stepping in to “the true tabernacle” and presenting Himself as the High Priest and the Lamb that was slain. Then he sits on the throne, which is the “true ark of the covenant”. No priest before was able to apply atoning blood to the “true ark of the covenant

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