The Tabernacle must have been a great mystery for people. Even priests did not know everything about this holy tent. A place where only one man, once a year, entered; where God’s powerful presence was visible; where the high priest brought blood and incense to do a ritual of atonement for the sins of the all the people; the Tabernacle was a place of wonder.
The Most Holy Place-or Holy of Holies-was situated at the far end of the Tabernacle. A veil divided the room into two sections The whole interior of the Tabernacle was dedicated to God as a Holy Place in which only the priests-who God especially chose among all the tribes of the children of Israel-could go. However, this third section was especially set apart, dedicated to God as his unique dwelling place on earth.
The dimensions of the room (see Exodus 26-25) formed a perfect cube of ten cubits-or a cube of about fifteen feet. It contained within it only the ark of the covenant, though some consider the golden altar of incense, which stood directly outside the door in the veil, to be technically a part of the Most Holy Place (Hebrews 9:3-4).
The Most Holy Place functioned as a royal tent. In the Old Testament, God was King. It is no accident then that the Tabernacle, also known as the Tent of Meeting, was placed at the center of Israel’s encampment (Numbers 2). It was common practice for the king of any nation to camp at the center of his army as a meeting place for his people. By descending in the cloud, God could live among his people (Exodus 25:8). As king, God provided guidance and protection in this way.
The Most Holy Place also functioned as the center of worship. Archaeologists have discovered buildings with a three-room structure that functioned as temples, just like the Tabernacle. However, only within the Tabernacle did God, the true and only God of the Universe, live. It was the place God chose both as a dwelling place and as a place for meeting with his people.