The sanctuary was patterned after "things in the heavens": holy places which were "figures of the
true" as Paul explained. (Heb. 9:24). The room that contained His earthly Throne, the Mercy
Seat, was called the "Most Holy Place", and represented the Throne of God in Heaven:
EXO 25:22 ...there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy
seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which
I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.
Beneath the Mercy Seat, within the Ark of the Testimony, were the Tables of Stone, written by
His own finger, and spoken by His Own lips in the hearing of all of Israel. Thus, was signified
that God's government rested upon these laws, the complete standard of righteousness, and that
they would be in force throughout eternity:
PSA 89:34 My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.
After the fall of man, Satan corrupted the truth of God's government and induced man to worship
idols and false gods. But in these pagan religions, were incorporated many elements of God's
In the ancient Babylonian Epic of Creation, the god, Marduk, states:
"If I am to be your champion, vanquish Tiamat, and save you, then assemble and proclaim my
lot supreme.... let me...by word of mouth determine destiny. So that whatever I decide shall not
be altered, and may spoken command shall come back, shall not be changed."
The ancient kings would make laws, and claim that they received them from their god, and
proclaim that they could never be changed. Many even wrote them in stone.
Satan also induced man to pervert the sacrificial system among the heathen nations, who offered
sacrifices to "appease" their god and win his favor.
But the offerings commanded by God after the fall were not to appease Him; they were to
represent the future Messiah's death for sins of fallen man.
The more detailed ritual law, given through Moses at Mt. Sinai, with its ordinances and sacrifices,
was to be performed by the Hebrews until type met antitype in the death of the Messiah, "the
Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world". Then, all the sacrificial offerings were to
cease. This was the law, that Christ "took out of the way,... nailing it to his cross." (Col 2:14)
The "old covenant", the contract God made with Israel which was ratified at the altar at the foot of
Mt. Sinai, would have remained in effect throughout eternity had all the condition been met by
both parties. But Israel failed to live up to her part of the agreement. Thus was shown that man
cannot keep God's law by his own strength. Paul explained this:
HEB 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for
the second. 8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when
I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
The Lord knew from the beginning that man was helpless against the wiles of Satan, who tempted
Adam and caused him to fall. God deemed it necessary that all mankind fully comprehend its
need for a Redeemer. The penalty for sin is death. Therefore, all were doomed to eternal
destruction, unless that penalty could be paid by another. And the only One Who could pay that
penalty of death was One Whose life was His to give. Every man and angel was created by God
and their life belonged to Him. But when God came in the flesh, lived without sin, and gave His
life as the eternal sacrifice for sin, the payment was made.
Through the ordinances of the old covenant, these great truths were revealed, while at the same
time, showing man how futile it was to try to keep God's law by man's own strength. Not only
would the Messiah pay the penalty for the sins of mankind from the time of Adam until His 2nd
return, He would make it possible for man to live as He lived- without sin, through the indwelling
of His Spirit.
God could not change His law to save mankind. He couldn't even change His Law to save His
Son from the terrible suffering He endured for us. We've seen the result of the disobeying of that
law in the history of this planet from the fall of man until this very moment. And God allowed it to
happen for a reason- that all will see and know the necessity and fairness of His Law.
But because the great battle between God's government and Satan and his fallen hosts took place
on our tiny planet, the Lord made the ultimate sacrifice to allow fallen man to reinstate his
citizenship in Heaven and become heir to the promised land, the New Jerusalem and the new earth
for eternity. God, the Son gave His Life. Those under the old covenant partook in the promise
through their faith in the coming Redeemer. We, today live under the "new covenant", which was
reaveled to us through the "old".
Paul tried to explain this to the Jews with an allegory:
GAL 4:24 ...these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to
bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to
Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is
above is free, which is the mother of us all.
The everlasting covenant, was first made with man in the Garden of Eden when, after the fall,
there was given a Divine promise that the seed of the woman would bruise the serpent's head.
But this covenant could not be fulfilled until the death of the Messiah. Prior to this, it had existed
only by God's promise, and had been accepted by Adam and Abraham only by faith.
Christ said to the Jews:
JOH 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
Paul later wrote about the faith of Abraham and the early patriarchs:
HEB 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar
off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers
and pilgrims on the earth. ...16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly:
wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.