Exodus 26:31-35, Matthew 27:50-51, Hebrews 10:20-21
In our study this morning we will look at the unrent veil and its place in the tabernacle. Furthermore, we will look at its physical characteristics (including the material, colors, and cherubim) and the pillars. Then secondly we will look at the rent veil and its symbolic meaning (it is a type of Christ’s death). We will also see its real significance: Man has access to the throne of God and God gives an invitation to come. The subject before us should stir our hearts, for the inner veil has special significance and is of utmost importance.
The Unrent Veil
We will consider this as it appeared in the tabernacle. This veil is a type of our Lord’s human body. Hebrews 10:20-21 says, “Through the veil, that is to say His flesh.” The unrent veil represents our Lord before crucifixion. We also see this veil as a barrier to the priests, who ministered in the Holy Place.
The high priest could only enter the Holy of Holies, behind the veil into God’s presence one day a year. Not a foot fall was heard for another full year. The one thing that prevented this was the unrent veil. This was true until Christ came in the flesh and finished His work. Before Christ’s death mankind was unable to approach a thrice-holy God, except through the high priest. Hebrews 9:7-8 says:
“But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing.”
In this Age of Grace, we have access to the throne of God, because the body of our Lord was rent on the Cross. He was the sacrifice and offering-Priest, and because He rose victorious, He now lives forever to make intercession for us.
This veil separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place. God dwelt behind this veil. This was the appointed place of worship. God does not reside in Holy places today (buildings, sanctuaries, etc.). God, by His Spirit, dwells in His people. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 says, “Know ye not that you are the temple of the Holy Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 6:19 similarly says, “What, don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?”
May we keep our bodies a fit place for Him to dwell. To Him your heart is a sacred and holy place. See Rom. 12:1 - We are exhorted to give our bodies as a present to God. Our body is where God dwells on earth today. A divine consciousness of whose property we are is the first step toward a happy and victorious life.
The veil hid the Most Holy Place. The Holy of Holies is a picture of heaven, and the throne of God, where God the Father dwells. Today, the veil is rent and we can know something of what heaven is like. We read much about heaven in Revelation. [Describe some other glimpses of heaven, for example, Stephen and Paul).
Jewish tradition tells us that this veil was woven of pure Egyptian linen and was 4 inches thick. It was made of blue, purple, and scarlet fine-twined linen. This symbolizes the heavenly, the kingly, redemption, and humanity all in one. Also woven into the veil were the cherubim to protect the holiness of God. All of this speaks of Christ and the Holiness of God.
The Pillars - These were four in number, made with acacia wood overlaid with gold. These pillars differ from those of the court gate in four ways: (1) They were four in number, (2) Founded in silver, (3) Covered in gold instead of brass, and (4) They were cut off at the top. The four pillars speak of the Christ of the Gospels. They were cut off – so his life was cut off from the land of the living. The materials from which they were made spoke of His humanity and deity. The silver speaks of His redemptive work.
The Rent Veil
“And behold the veil of the temple was rent from top to bottom.” (Matthew 27:51)
“The veil is representative of the body of Christ being rent at Calvary.” (Hebrews 10:20)
Jesus said in John 10, “I lay down my life.” Picture Jesus being laid on the Cross – nails driven through His hands and feet. Then while in physical, mental, and spiritual agony, the soldiers raised the Cross and thrust it roughly into the ground. “The veil, that is to say His flesh,” was torn or completely rent. When work is completed, it is “finished.” This means to you and me that we have access into God’s presence and a complete and perfect salvation has been attained.
It’s Real Significance: Christ’s Work As Mediator - God now invites us to come into His presence. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Come boldly to the throne of grace.” Consider Hebrews 10:19-22:
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”