Easton's Bible Dictionary
the second or interior portion of the tabernacle. It
was left in total darkness. No one was permitted to enter it except the high priest,
and that only once a year. It contained the ark of the covenant only ( Exodus
25:10 - 16 ). It was in the form of a perfect cube of 20 cubits. (See TABERNACLE
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
Smith's Bible Dictionary
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
ho'-liz (qodhesh ha-qodhashim, Exodus 26:33 , debhir,
1 Kings 6:16 , etc.; in the New Testament, hagia hagion, Hebrews 9:3):
The name given to the innermost shrine, or adytum of the sanctuary of Yahweh.
1. In the Tabernacle:
The most holy place of the tabernacle in the wilderness
(Exodus 26:31 - 33) was a small cube of 10 cubits (15 ft.) every way. It was divided
from the holy place by curtains which bore cherubic figures embroidered in blue
and purple and scarlet (Exodus 26:1), it contained no furniture but the Ark of
the Covenant, covered by a slab of gold called the MERCY-SEAT (which see), and
having within it only the two stone tables of the Law (see TABERNACLE;
OF THE COVENANT). Only the high priest, and he but once a year, clothed in
penitential garments, amid a cloud of incense, and with blood of sacrifice (Leviticus
16 ; compare Hebrews 9:7).
2. In the Temple of Solomon:
The proportions of the most holy place in the first temple were the same as in
the tabernacle, but the dimensions were doubled. The sacred chamber was enlarged
to 20 cubits (30 ft.) each way. We now meet with the word debhir, "oracle" (1
Kings 6:16 , etc.), which with the exception of Psalms 28:2 , belonging perhaps
to the same age, is met with in Scripture only in the period of Solomon's reign.
This sanctum, like its predecessor, contained but one piece of furniture--the
Ark of the Covenant. It had, however, one new conspicuous feature in the two large
figures of cherubim of olive wood, covered with gold, with wings stretching from
wall to wall, beneath which the ark was now placed (1 Kings 6:23 - 28 ; 2 Chronicles
3:10 - 13 ; see TEMPLE).
3. In Later Times:
In Ezekiel's temple plans, which in many things may have been those of the temple
of Zerubbabel, the prophet gives 20 cubits as the length and breadth of the most
holy place, showing that these figures were regarded as too sacred to undergo
change (Ezekiel 41:4). There was then no Ark of the Covenant, but Jewish tradition
relates that the blood of the great Day of Atonement was sprinkled on an unhewn
stone that stood in its place. In Herod's temple, the dimensions of the two holy
chambers remained the same--at least in length and breadth (see TEMPLE, HEROD'S).
The holiest place continued empty. In the spoils of the temple depicted on the
Arch of Titus there is no representation of the Ark of the Covenant; only of the
furniture of the outer chamber or holy place.
In the Epistle to the Hebrews we are taught that the true holy of holies is the
heaven into which Jesus has now entered to appear in virtue of His own sacrifice
in the presence of God for us (Hebrews 9:11). Restriction is now removed, and
the way into the holiest is made open for all His people (Hebrews 10:19 , 20).
W. Shaw Caldecott
ark of the covenant, bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, define, hagia hagion, holy of holies, tabernacle