Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 10: The Eternal Inheritance
Presenting the first part of Hebrews chapter 9 we felt that we should elaborate on the common nature of sphinxes and cherubs, the importance of which should not be understated. While the first sphinx-like creatures appeared in Egyptian monuments as early as the 4th dynasty, which is perceived to have begun around 2600 BC, by 1450 BC the sphinx was employed as the symbol by which the Israelites had signified the presence of Yahweh their God, in the inner chamber of the temple and on the ark of the covenant itself. Then after the Israelite settlement of Canaan, variations of the Hebrew cherub, or sphinx, began to appear throughout the lands surrounding the Mediterranean, as well as in the architecture of the Mesopotamian nation-states. So the spread of these cherubs, or sphinxes, seems to coincide with the spread of the early Israelites and their influence throughout the ancient world. The sphinx, or cherub, seems to be one of the oldest Aryan religious symbols, and it is no mistake or coincidence that it was used to represent the presence of the God of Israel. To us, the use and spread of the sphinx, or cherub, in this manner also seems to represent the promise that Yahweh would call His son out of Egypt, the primary reference being to the children of Israel, which is found in Hosea 11:1.
Where Paul mentions the ark of the covenant, we also made it a point to demonstrate that the ark was never present during the period of the second temple, and down to the time of Christ, or even to this very day. We did that to make another point. When presenting Hebrews chapter 8 we illustrated the fact that the kingdom of Judah, as well as Israel, was divorced from Yahweh God. So just because the few from Judah who returned to Jerusalem had built a new temple and continued in their traditions does not mean that the divorce from the kingdom itself did not occur. The people of second-temple Jerusalem had never properly constituted a kingdom, since they were ruled by Levites rather than the rightful kings of Judah, and for most of their history they were under the yoke of three of the different beast empires (Persian, Greek and Roman) of the prophecy of Daniel. Furthermore, since there was no ark of the covenant in the temple, then there was no mercy seat, and there were no tablets of testimony which represented the nuptial agreement between Yahweh and Israel recorded in the book of Exodus. So during the second temple period, the sacrifices could not have been effectual, according to the law which required those things for propitiation from sin. Therefore the people of Judaea, those of the circumcision, were actually existing under the same conditions that the Israelites of the dispersions were living under, which is alienation from God with no propitiation for sin. As we have said earlier in this series of presentations, the entire purpose of the 70-weeks Kingdom, as it is described in Daniel chapter 9, was to bring forth the Messiah, and in that same manner Paul explains here that the entire purpose of the Old Covenant itself was in preparation for the Messiah, Yahshua Christ, who would exhibit the true way to life.