April 22, 2011
The Temple Veil Torn Top to Bottom
“And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split”
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We have seen in the last few weeks that only one priest, once per year, could enter the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle of the Old Testament. Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest would go inside the second veil and sprinkle blood to make atonement for the sins of Israel (Leviticus 16:15; Hebrews 9:7). Likewise, when Solomon built the temple, it had a second veil of violet, purple, crimson and fine linen separating the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple (2 Chronicles 3:14; compare Exodus 36:35). Later, the temple was destroyed and rebuilt, and that other temple followed the same plans of Solomon’s temple, but perhaps scaled down in magnificence. The holiness of God required men to approach Him only through a blood offering to mask their sins until Messiah, Jesus Christ, would come to atone for them permanently.
The High Priesthood of Jesus. In Numbers 18:7, we see that only Aaron and his sons were able to serve at the altar and the area inside the veil separating the Holy of Holies from the rest of the world. Yahweh gave Aaron and his sons the priesthood as a bestowed service (“עֲבֹדַת מַתָּנָה, אֶתֵּן אֶת-כְּהֻנַּתְכֶם”). They had the duty to present the blood of sacrifice to Yahweh, even in the Holy of Holies. In Hebrews, we learn that no man can take the honor to himself of being a priest, but God calls Christ to be a priest, “being designated a priest according to the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5:10). Whereas as the Old Testament priests died and served as a priest only for a limited time, Christ holds His priesthood permanently (Hebrews 7:24).
Jesus the Perfect Priest Saves Forever and Intercedes Continually. Because Jesus has a continual priesthood, “He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25.)” Hallelujah! Glory to God in the highest! Jesus lives right now and forever, and He makes constant intercession for me. I now live near to the holy God, once separated by a veil in the temple.
Jesus the Sinless Priest. In the Old Testament, all priests were sinners and they had to offer daily sacrifices, first for their own sins and then for the sins of the people. Jesus, however, being perfect and sinless Himself, never had to offer daily sacrifices for Himself, but gave Himself, once and for all when He offered Himself up as the perfect sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 7:26-28).
Jesus and the Outer Tabernacle. The Holy Spirit signifies that the way into the holy place had not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle was still standing, which is a symbol for the present time (Hebrews 9-10). When Christ appeared, He entered the greater and more perfect heavenly tabernacle, not through the blood of bulls and goats offered as a mask in the Old Testament, but through His own blood. Christ once and for all times obtained redemption for us through His blood, and cleansed our consciences by faith and established a new covenant with all believers (Hebrews 9:11-15; Hebrews 9:24).
The Veil Torn Top to Bottom When Jesus Died. Now, based upon our study above, we can appreciate more fully the value of Jesus’ death for each believer. When Jesus died, that veil that had separated sinful man from the Holy of Holies and the presence of God was forever removed in Christ. Jesus inaugurated a new and living way to draw near to God (Hebrews 10:19-20). He now stands alive before God making intercession continually for us, because He provided the once and for all offering for sin. He sacrificed Himself, in the flesh, to redeem me from my sins. Now, I am free from the penalty of sin, and able to approach God with a clean conscience. Now, only because of what Jesus has done for me, I too am holy and blameless before God, because Christ gave me His righteousness by faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24).
So we learn more about the veil today.
● The Old Testament had a second veil in the tabernacle that separated the sinful world from the Holy God, who appeared in the Holy of Holies. When Christ died, God tore that veil in two, starting from the top, indicating to me that God ripped that dividing wall down by the death of Jesus Christ. When He died, His death paid for all sin, and allowed me to draw near to God by His blood alone, applied to my heart by faith alone, as a gift from God.
● When Christ died, He accomplished what no priest could ever do in the Old Testament. Because He was Holy God in the flesh, Jesus gave His life not only to cover my sin, but to take it away once and for all, never again to be held against me in judgment or for any other reason. My sin has been placed upon Christ, and Christ has paid the death penalty for my sin. He also removed my sin from me, so that I can now approach God and live with Him forever. I love having a personal relationship with the living God, and it is only possible because that veil was torn apart, and the way into the Holy of Holies has been opened by the death of Jesus Christ.
● As you meditate upon Christ this week, remember Him standing before the Father right now, making intercession for you, and without any veil separating you from your Heavenly Father, who loves you, just like He loves His Son, Jesus Christ.
Application for Today
Today I will remember that veil torn in two, top to bottom. I will remember Jesus standing before the Father, making intercession for me. I will have confidence to enter near to God, because He loves me, and wants me to be near Him forever. Do you see the veil torn in two today?