The “First” “Present” Holy Place (Old Covenant) Removed and The Most Holy Place (New Covenant) Established in AD 70 at Christ’s Second Appearing (Hebrews 9:6-10, 26-28)
By Michael J. Sullivan
While Moses received the pattern to build the tabernacle from God in Exodus 25-30, David received the plans to build the Temple from the Holy Spirit in 1 Chronicles 28:11-12 and passed them along to Solomon. Since the plans are specific and come from God Himself, might there be some typological significance to the structure itself? Surely many have written on this subject and have seen Christ and redemption in virtually every aspect of the Temple – from its holy pieces and articles, the kinds of wood and metals used, a figure of a man being seen, numerology of its measurements, etc… Some of these comments and meditations have merit while others may not. Many years ago I spoke at a Full Preterist conference in which I threw out a possible reason as to why there were forty cubits in the Holy Place found in 1 Kings 6:17 and so I thought I might develop that typological/numerological theory out once again in an article for your consideration. In a nut shell, my proposition or typological meditation upon these texts (1 Kings 6:17/Heb. 9:8/Rev. 21:16) is that the forty cubits of the Holy Place represented the forty years exodus and forty year reigns of David and Solomon of the OC age foreshadowing Christ performing another New Covenant New Exodus between roughly AD 30 – AD 70. After which the Holy Place (the Old Covenant) ceased to exist and the Most Holy Place (the New Covenant age) was brought to a face to face mature fulfillment.
Old Exodus and New Exodus
If there were one number to come up with that would characterize the OC age and Israel’s exodus and inheritance of peace in the land it would be forty! Those studying the exodus motif find its climax to be when David secures Jerusalem and God dwells among His people in safety,
“In the earlier part of the Old Testament there are three outstanding moments to which the later writers look back. They are the call of Abraham, the Exodus and the reign of David.5 To Abraham there was made the promise of numerous descendants and a land for them to live in as their own.6 That promise was not fulfilled in his lifetime.7 The Exodus was the event which constituted the descendants of Abraham a nation and the purpose of the Exodus was to bring the people eventually to the promised land of Canaan.8 But the mere crossing of the Jordan into Canaan did not accomplish the purposes of God, for the land had to be conquered. It was not until the time of David that it could truly be said that Israel was given security from all her surrounding enemies.9 Moreover they had to find a place in which Yahweh their God would choose to make His name dwell,10 and therefore the capture of Jerusalem by David was in a sense the climax to which the whole Exodus-event was leading.11”
This process is marked by the number 40. Israel’s lack of faith causes her to not enter God’s rest and wander in the wilderness for a “generation” or forty years (Heb. 3:7-11) before entrance is granted. But even then, it isn’t until Israel goes through the forty year reigns of David and Solomon that she experiences typological rest in the land (2 Sam. 5:4; 1 Kings 2:11; 4:24 11:42; 2 Chron. 9:30).
David and Solomon are types of Christ who would come and in His pre-parousia reign over Israel for forty years (AD 30 – AD 70) would recapitulate another “this generation” exodus whereby He would drive out the unclean spirits from the land and ultimately put down His enemies making them His footstool and then burning them with fire at His “in a very little while” return in AD 70 (Heb. 10:13-37; Rev. 17-20:10/22:20/Matt. 25:31-46; Rom. 16:20). However, the peace of this King’s Kingdom/Temple was not something that the world of the OC age could give, because it didn’t come through a literal sword (as through David or Solomon), but peace through the sword of the Spirit and the Gospel.
The Articles in the Holy Place –
The altar in the courtyard would represent the offering of the lamb at passover. The Laver and then Solomon’s Sea of Bronze would represent commemorating the dividing and deliverance of Israel at the Red Sea. Once in the Holy Place, the lamp stands would represent God being a light for Israel at night in the wilderness guiding them for forty years. The shew-bread – the heavenly manna provided from God to sustain Israel for forty years. Thus, these articles represented Israel’s exodus and wilderness wanderings for forty years and God’s guidance and provision before they would enter God’s Promised Heavenly Land – The Most Holy Place. Therefore, a journey of Israel coming back to Adam’s paradise motif is seen.
Under the New Exodus last days Anti-type “this generation” (Matt. 24:34/Deut. 32:5, 20/Acts 2:40/Ps. 90:15), Jesus becomes all of these articles. He is the firstborn and pure lamb of God. Israel was baptized under Moses with enemies perishing and now those who would not heed Jesus’ words were being baptized by fire – with enemies in the process of perishing. Jesus is the light of the world and the heavenly manna sent down from heaven. Jesus was the High Priest whom led (blazed a trail for) the Church into the Most Holy Place – whereby the heavenly country/Jerusalem was “about to be” received (Heb. 11:10, 16; 13:14 YLT). Jesus and the Church recapitulates the paradise restored motif of the first exodus between AD 30 – AD 70.
In (Hebrews 9:8) I would agree with the EVS translation and those commentators that would identify the “first” compartment being the Holy Place (not the entire tabernacle) – symbolizing the then “present” Old Covenant age still having a “legal standing,” “have status” “lasts,” “has continuance,” or “functioning” (cf. Matt. 5:17-19; Heb. 9:10 “imposed”) and the Most Holy Place being representative of the New Covenant age in-breaking upon and overlapping the old. The Bible teaches that full and complete face to face access is given behind the veil within the Most Holy Place at the blowing of the last trumpet when the Second Coming of Christ takes place at the end of the OC age in AD 70 (Rev. 11:15-19; 21:16–22:3-4, 6-7, 10-12, 20; 1 Cor. 13:12/2 Cor. 3:7–5:10/6:16; Heb. 9:26-28).
The High Priest once a year on the Day of Atonement would travel 40 cubits in the Holy Place (which represented a time of testing and temporal peace – walking through Israel’s OT exodus) before entering the Most Holy Place (representing heaven or the “heavenly country/city”). This was typological of Christ being a High Priest and Him performing another forty years New Exodus/Atonement. At the end of which in AD 70 when He appeared a second time apart from sin to complete salvation for the eagerly awaiting congregation — the “first” compartment/Holy Place (OC) was removed or “vanished” (Heb. 8:13) and He has now clothed and made the Church His Most Holy Place in the NC age Revelation 22:16 (commentators acknowledge the perfect cube to be a reference to the MHP). The “power of the holy people” “the law” which brought about the awareness of the curse of “the death” has been overcome and for those who walk through her gates in faith, within the New Jerusalem/MHP, “the curse is no more” (Dan. 12:1-7; 1 Cor. 15:54-57; Rev. 21:3-4, 16). God has brought us face to face with Christ who is the Tree of Life in the MHP and has thus “restored all things” contained in the law and prophets (Acts 3:17-23; Heb. 9:10; 24-28).