Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Many Veils of the New Testament... Unveiled

The New Testament reveals to us several veils that taken by themselves reveal great spiritual instruction, but if taken as a whole reveal a beautiful work of mysterious art. Matthew, Mark, and Luke speak of a veil that hung before the entryway into the Most Holy Place of the 2nd Jewish temple. The apostle Paul speaks to us of a veil that Moses had to hang over His face after his descent from Mt. Sinai, his face shining brilliantly with the reflection of the presence of God from which he had just come (2 Cor. 3:13). The Scripture states that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly at his face without needing to turn away much in the same way we cannot bear to look upon the sun with the naked eye. Paul then speaks of this self-same veil figuratively representing the inability to view clearly the revelatory teachings of the Old Testament by those who refused to hear its content (2 Cor. 3:14); their hearts being veiled to its living truths because they refused to hear the instruction. Later, he speaks of a veil that lies upon the heart of the unbelieving for they too continuously look away from the word of God toward other enticements for answers to their brief existence (2 Cor. 4:3). And finally, the author of the book of Hebrews defines the temple veil as the flesh of Christ, battered and torn in that mid-day darkness upon that cruel stick of a cross, as the doorway to eternal life (Heb. 10:20).

These many veils paint a picture of the Lord at work revealing His plan for our eternal destiny. In the O.T. Moses stood in the Holy presence of the living God. Yet as miraculous as the reflection of the power of God was, there were still masses that refused to hear his words. Moses’ glory was a fading glory and as he aged, the glory was dimmed to open the way for a greater glory that would come from the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet it was his own words alongside those of the prophets that spoke of this Messiah whose glory would never fade away (cp. Dt. 18:15; Acts 13:27-29; 2 Cor. 3:13-14). This prophet of Deuteronomy 18 that Moses spoke of would come into the world as One who would become a light for all who will hear His call—a penetrating light—able to dispel all darkness to those who would dwell in its brightness (Jn. 8:12; 12:46; Acts 16:14; 26:18; Eph 1:17-20). And then we have this:

Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom (Mt. 27:51b).

This passage describes an event that occurred while Jesus, the “Light of the World,” hung suspended upon the cross between the two thieves. Matthew tells us that as He yielded up His spirit a great earthquake occurred, the rocks were split open, and this veil was torn in half. The event was one that shook Jerusalem and the known world putting in motion the efficacious life of this fully God and fully Man-Jesus-that would transform the world to a degree many times greater than any other would. The temple veil in its original purpose separated the glorious presence of the Lord from the people allowing only the priest entrance into the area in which the living presence of the Lord resided. On the day Jesus breathed His last, from top to bottom, God ripped the veil in two providing an open door for all people to come boldly into the presence of Christ. No longer would the Jewish priest be the only one allowed to enter into God's glorious presence but now you too have the way made clear (Heb. 4:14-16). Just as the veil was torn from the “Most Holy Place,” so too, will it be lifted from the heart of those who hear His words. You do not need to live in separation to God.

Today, that entrance remains open for those who seek a glorious eternal existence in heaven with Christ, the saints, and His angels; truly His miracles have never ceased. God still shines His light into dark the places of our veiled hearts and reveals our sinful nature alongside His truth. He shines brightly the light of understanding in order to lift the veil of hindrance and set the captive free from the bondages of sin and guilt that veil His Word from the hearts of the humanity. Maybe today, you see Him shining upon you.  Is the light too bright? Do you want to run and hide? My dear friend, the light does not shine to condemn but to show you He is focused upon you and that it for you that He conquered death. John 3:17 says:

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Maybe you have heard the Scripture and you have not yet understood it or have turned away in embarrassment not wanting to be counted in the number of the saints. That can all be in the past if you will allow Him to come into your life. Will you ask Him today… while there is still time and breath in your body? Truly, He loves you. He will not cast out any who will come to Him… that includes you!

God Bless
Mike H