Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Holy of Holies

I am interested right now in the Holy of Holies and its relationship to Jesus' mission and mystical connection to his mother, Mary. The Holy of Holies was the inner sanctuary of the Tabernacle, and later the Temple, in Jerusalem in the Hebrew Bible. The Ark of the Covenant, which held the Ten Commandments given to Moses, was kept there during the First Temple. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies, the Most Holy Place, once a year on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, to offer the blood sacrifice and incense before the mercy seat. It is significant that the Holy of Holies was hidden by a veil, and that this veil was torn at the time of Jesus' crucifixion.

by A.L. Gardere

In the wilderness, on the day that the Tabernacle was first raised up, the cloud of the Lord (Shekinah) covered the Tabernacle. There are other times that this was recorded, and instructions were given that the Lord would appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat with its two statues of cherubim, and at that time the priests should not enter into the Tabernacle (Leviticus 16:2). Upon completion of the dedication of the Tabernacle, the Voice of God spoke to Moses "from between the Cherubim" (Numbers 7:89). [Information on the Holy Holies has been paraphrased from Wikipedia.]

With respect to my using the triquetra symbol to visualize the nature of God, we can think in terms of an outer court, which contains the masculine principle, the Lord, and an inner court, which contains the feminine principle, Lady Wisdom. I am understanding the Holy of Holies to mystically represent the intersection of these two principles, which is reflected in the bridal chamber of the Song of Songs in the Old Testament. The Beloved (the groom) and the Shulamite (the bride), symbolize God's relationship with his Sophia, Jesus' marriage to Ecclesia (the Church), and the mystical union of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant, where the "glory cloud" presence of God (Shekinah) dwells. Human marriage between a man and a woman most perfectly represents the union of the masculine and feminine principles within God.


Jesus came to restore humanity and the human soul to the family of God, and to reconcile the masculine to the feminine in the unity of Pure Love. In the Old Testament, Israel (God's people) was compared to an unfaithful wife who God brings back to himself. In the Book of Revelation in the New Testament, Daughter Zion is seen in heavenly glory as the New Jerusalem, representing the redeemed people, God's bride.

The teachings of Jesus, the Bible, and the Church are available to us as the "pearl of great price" which is hidden until the right time (like the Holy of Holies behind the veil), for those who have "eyes to see" and "ears to hear."  Jesus' saving act tears the veil. The way of Wisdom, which I believe is reflected in this understanding of the unity represented by the Holy of Holies, leads to this pearl. When the Ark of the Covenant, which had long been lost, is seen in Revelation in God's Temple in heaven, there is revealed the great sign, the woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She is in labor to give birth to the most holy male child, who is taken by God and seated at his right hand, saved from the ancient serpent waiting to devour him. This woman is simultaneously Mary, Queen of Heaven; the Church, Bride of Christ; Daughter Zion, the New Jerusalem--who, with her divine Son, represents the restoration of the people to God and his Wisdom.

Mary is thus understood as Mother of Jesus, Daughter of God the Father, and Bride/Sanctuary of the Spirit. The Incarnation of Jesus in her womb is the Holy of Holies, the Most Holy Place.

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