The old agreement and the tabernacle
1 The first agreement included rules about how people should worship God. It also spoke about a special place for people to worship God on this earth. 2 Israel's people made a special tent for God. The first room in that tent was called the holy place. The special lampstand was in this room. The special table with the bread which they offered to God was there too.
3 Behind a second curtain, there was a very special room. It was called the Most Holy Place. 4 The gold altar for incense was in there. The Covenant Box was there too. The box had gold on all its sides. Inside the box was the gold pot that contained the special food called manna. The box also contained Aaron's stick that had grown leaves. It also contained the two flat stones on which God had written the rules of his agreement with his people. 5 The shapes of two special angels stood on the top of the box. They were made from gold and they showed that God was there with great power. The angels held out their wings over the lid of the box. That lid was the place where God forgave the people's sins. But we cannot explain everything about these things now.
9:4Exodus 16:14-31 describes how God supplied manna for Israel's people to eat in the wilderness. Exodus 16:32-34 describes how Aaron put some of this special food in a pot to keep it. 9:4Numbers 17:1-11 describes how Aaron's stick grew leaves, flowers and fruit. This showed people that God had really chosen Moses and Aaron to be the leaders of Israel's people.
6 So that was how they prepared the special tent. Then the priests would go into the first room of the tent every day. They went in there to serve God, as his rules taught. 7 But only the special leader of the priests could go into the second room. He went in there only once every year. He had to take with him blood from an animal that they had killed. He offered the blood to God on his own behalf, so that God would forgive his sins. He also offered it on behalf of the people. Then God would forgive their mistakes too.
9:7Leviticus 16 describes how the chief priest went into the Most Holy Place once a year.
8 In this way, God's Holy Spirit was showing that the most holy place was not yet open to everyone. While the tent with its first room was still there, those were the rules for people to worship God. 9 This is like a picture that means something for us today. It teaches us about the gifts and sacrifices that people offered to God, to worship him. When someone gave those things to God, it could not make him clean again in his mind. 10 The old rules taught people about different kinds of food and drink. They taught about how people should wash in special ways. Those rules were about people's bodies. They had authority only until the time when God would make things new and better.