The Torn Veil & the Torn Flesh

In the past two posts, we presented the Brazen Altar and the Brazen Laver (Basin). In this post, we conclude The Blood Stained Door.

There are three veils (entrances) into the Tabernacle. One had to pass through one to get to the next. Everyone enters the same way. This study is on the veil entering the Holy of Holies.

The Tabernacle

Exodus 40:1–33 is the order in which God commanded the holy furniture to be placed in the tabernacle.

Tabernacle setup:

  1. Holy of Holies:
    1. The Ark of Covenant
    2. The veil separating the ark
  2. The Holy Place:
    1. The Table of Showbread
    2. The Lampstand
    3. The Altar of Incense
  3. The Courtyard:
    1. The Altar of Burnt Offering (or Brazen Altar)
    2. The Laver of Washing (or Brazen Laver)
    3. The hanging at the court gate

God had the tabernacle set up from His perspective: inside outwards. In this blog post, we will approach God from our perspective: outside inwards.

The Courtyard

We have been in the outer court where the color is bronze for strength and judgment. Through salvation, we seek atonement for our sin which is separating us from God. Through our prayer for salvation, we recognize our need to choose Heaven over Hell.

Once saved, we ask for forgiveness for sins that are a hindrance to our daily walk with our heavenly Father. This is where we start our spiritual walk striving for holiness. As we take on more of Jesus’ nature, our old sinful nature seems to have less influence over our lives. It is a step by step process taken one day at a time. Yes, we will slip but the Holy Spirit will remind us of our shortcomings and tell us how to correct our actions. Learn to listen to that small still voice.

The Holy Place

Let’s pass through the veil from the courtyard into the Holy Place where the color changes from bronze to gold. Gold signifies rarity, purity, and represents God’s deity.

There are three items in the Holy Place which are made with gold:

  1. Lampstand
  2. Table of Showbread (or Shewbread)
  3. Altar of Incense

In this room, there is no outside light. All of the light comes from the always burning lampstand. As we stand before the entrance to the Holy of Holies, we see the third veil.

Exodus 26:31–33 mentions four colors employed strategically though the tabernacle:

  1. Blue (yarn)
  2. Purple (yarn)
  3. Scarlet (yarn)
  4. White (finely woven linen)

The three colors of yarn were woven into the fine linen and used for the:

  1. Gate at the entrance to the courtyard
  2. Door of the Holy Place
  3. Veil to the Holy of Holies
  4. High priest’s garments

It is significant that every entrance was embroidered with the same colors. You can find the meaning of the colors in The Brazen Altar post. The images of cherubim gazing on the movements of the ministering priest made him aware of the holiness of his office. But, the entrances to the Holy of Holies is the first time we have seen cherubim, a class of winged angels (Psalms 61:4; 94:4).

The awesome figures of the cherubim woven into the veil were images of angelic begins of the highest order. Cherubim are symbolic of God’s protective presence over the Holy of Holies.

The cherubims were intricately involved in the veil’s ability to accomplish its designated responsibility: protectors and proclaimers. The cherubim woven into the veil appears to possess a dual role.

Angelic roles:

  1. As a protectors:
    1. Angels guarded the veil to the Holy of Holies. They kept God in and man out. Entering the holy of holies would be death except for the high priest on day of atonement.
    2. Angels guarded the entrance to the Garden of Eden protecting the tree of life (Genesis 3:23–24).
  2. As proclaimers, angels announced to the shepherd the birth of Jesus the Messiah (Luke 2:8–14).

Humanity had to meet with God by going through priests because of the first sin in the Garden of Eden. The veil not only protected God’s dwelling place but also protected the lives of a people yet unprepared to stand in His presence.

Now, let’s enter the Holy of Holies!

The Holy of Holies

The Ark of the Covenant resided in the Holy of Holies. And, God’s presence resided above the Ark.

According to Hebrews 9:4, Moses placed three important items inside the Ark:

  1. Rod of Aaron that budded –
    Symbol of God’s authority or God, the Father.
  2. Tablets of the Law –
    Symbol of God’s order or God, the Son.
  3. Gold Pot of Manna –
    Symbol of God’s provision or God, the Holy Spirit.

In other words, the contents of the Ark represented the triune nature of God which Christians call the Trinity.

According to 1 Kings 8:9, only the two stone tablets remained in the Ark in King Solomon’s time. This left the Israelites with only a symbol of God’s order. Or you could say God, the Son, the Messiah.

Nugget: Is it because only the Law remained that the religious leaders put such a yoke around God’s children? Jesus and the religious leaders had many discussions over man-made laws. Jesus came to bring back God’s authority and provision. The religious leaders wanted to appear to be source of authority and provide for the people. It seemed that Jesus was taking these roles away from them. They didn’t like that.

The Mercy Seat

The cover of the Ark is known as the Mercy Seat. The Mercy Seat was the focal point of the God’s manifested glory to His people! The Hebrew word for the Mercy Seat is kapporeth (כַּפּׂרֶתkappōreṯ), which means lid or cover of the sacred Ark. The Hebrew word kaphar (כָּפַרkāp̱ar) is a derivative of that word meaning to cover the sins, to reconcile, to pardon, to cancel, or to make atonement. Jesus is the mercy-seat. How? Let’s look in God’s Word.

Romans 3:25 (AMP)
Whom God put forward [before the eyes of all] as a mercy-seat and propitiation by His blood [the cleansing and life-giving sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation, to be received] through faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over and ignored former sins without punishment.
1 John 4:10 (CJB)
Here is what love is: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the kapparah [atonement] for our sins.
1 John 2:2 (NIV)
He [Jesus] is the atoning sacrifice [kapparah] for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

On the Mercy Seat or Atonement Cover were two cherubim on each end. This is a picture of Jesus, the arisen Messiah.

John 20:12 (NIV)
and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

It is interesting that the Lampstand and the Mercy Seat with the two cherubim were each beaten out of single sheet of gold (Exodus 37:17; 37:6). So, the cherubim and the Mercy Seat were one piece. The Lampstand in The Holy Place was a shadow or symbol of God’s true glory which dwelt above the Mercy Seat.

God dwelt between the two cherubim (11 Kings 19:15).

God’s Glory Departs

In 1 Samuel 4, we witness the end of the intact tabernacle of testimony. The glory of God departed from the tabernacle (1 Samuel 4:22) because the Ark was captured by the Philistines. So, in essence, the Israelites had their glory stolen from them. The worn and misused tent was nothing but an empty shell without the glory of God who once graced it. In 1 Samuel 4:21–22, the name Ichabod means “no glory.” The name Ichabod refers to many of our churches today.

In the new covenant, believers must be concerned if the Spirit’s presence, power, holiness, and gifts are absent from them. To the redeemed of the Lord and our churches: “Let’s wake up!” We need God’s glory. We need to be watchful and not let the world creep in and steal the glory or cause the glory to depart from us.

Lord, teach us to meet with You until the glorious day when we stand in a new tabernacle (Revelation 21:3–5). God will always reveal Himself when we seek Him.

The Two Temples

God raised up David, “a man after His own heart,” (1 Samuel 13:14) to prepare a homemade tent for God’s divine furnishing. King David deeply desired to build a glorious dwelling place for the name of the Lord. He did help bring the Ark back to Israel. However, it was through his son Solomon that God granted David’s special request (1 Kings 8:12–19).

The ancient sacred objects had found a new home, no longer in a portable tent meant for travel. They had finally come home to Jerusalem.

In Haggai 2:3–9 is the promised glory of the new home. God’s spirit will remain among the people. The glory of the new (God’s) house will be greater than the former home.

The Ark of the covenant had been removed by the time the Solomon’s Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians. During the time of Herod’s Temple, the high priest entered three times on the Day of Atonement performing his task where the Ark of the Covenant once stood.

Jesus’ Death on the Cross

At the time of Jesus’ death, the ninth hour (3 pm) [Matthew 27:45–50], the veil was torn in two from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51). The veil was not shredded but torn into two equal halves from the top down, heaven to earth (Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45).

1 Peter 1:19–20 (NLT)
19It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 20God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days.

The torn veil symbolized the opening new and living (or life-giving) way to God (Hebrews 6:19; 9:3; 10:19–21). Hebrews 10:20 compares Jesus’ torn flesh to the torn veil as if they were one. So, as the veil was torn in half, Jesus’ flesh was torn for each one of us. So, we, through His shed blood, can receive salvation and have direct access to God. The veil to the Holy of Holies is a picture-to-person of the Messiah.

Seems ironic that after weeks of murder in their hearts, the night before Passover, the religious leaders started the preparation of their sacrificial lambs. Now it is Passover and they are performing their normal religious duties! They were not aware that their murderous intent would result in the sacrifice of the true Passover Lamb foretold in the Torah.

Starting around 9 AM the outer courts were filled with Jews bringing in their Passover lambs for atonement. By 3 PM the outer court had the stink of death with blood dripping from the brazen altar.

The Bible indicates that at 3 PM Jesus said, “It is finished.”

At this time, major things transpired:

  1. An earthquake shook the entire region (Matthew 27:54).
  2. The rocks were split, including many of the tombs (Matthew 27:51–54).
  3. The veil in the Temple was ripped from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51–53).

Now view this miraculous event through the words of David Levy in his book Tabernacle (pages 74–76):

The rending took place at the time of Jesus’ death, the ninth hour (3 pm) [Matthew 27:45]. At that time, the priests were busy in the Temple preparing the evening sacrifice. Hundreds of people were in the Temple area. Their eyes witnessed the miraculous event. Imagine the shock to those present that, at that the same moment Jesus spoke His last words, the earth shook and the veil was torn.

The priests heard and viewed the divine stroke of God tearing the huge veil in half. The empty room of the Holy of Holies stood wide open before the priests and the Jews, as if inviting them to come in. A privilege nobody had enjoyed accept the high priest on the day of atonement.

It was at this point that God proclaimed to the Jewish people and the world that the ministration of the Jewish priesthood had ended. Jesus, the true High Priest, had opened the way for mankind to come into the presence of God through His atoning blood (Hebrews 6:19; 10:19–20).

The torn veil is a picture of the torn body of Jesus, who made it possible for us to worship at the throne of God. The same hand that tore the veil in the Temple tore the body of Jesus on our behalf. His shed blood is a continual fountain, cleansing all who appropriate [receive] it for their sin. Not only is it new, but it is a living or a life-giving way. Jesus, who is the only way and life (John 14:6), has made it possible for us to enter into God’s presence through the veil of His flesh. Jesus changed the veil from a barrier to a gateway.

Jesus was led outside the city walls (Hebrews 13:12) to be crucified on a hill called Golgotha. In Numbers 19, it would have been necessary for Jesus’ execution to occur outside of the walls of Jerusalem.

Nugget: Jesus’ death outside Jerusalem represented the removal of sin, as had the removal of bodies of sacrificial animals outside the camp of Israel. NIV Study Bible note: “Jewish law taught that a blasphemer was to be executed outside the camp (Numbers 15:35).” What was Jesus accused of? Blasphemy! So, even is His death, Jesus was fulfilling the law (Matthew 5:17–18).

Now let’s use an artist brush to paint an awesome picture. Draw a rectangle putting in the outer court, holy place, and holy of holies. (If you have a picture of the tabernacle you can use it.) Now put in all the holy furniture. For fun you can put the twelve tribes in their proper place outside the tabernacle. The tribe of Judah is east of the tabernacle.
Write the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5) in front of the gate leading in.

Draw a straight line from Judah to the holy of holies. Then draw a straight line from the Lampstand to the table with the show/shew bread. What have we drawn? The Cross! Just like the cross on the bloodstained door in the exodus from Egypt.

Place our beaten and flogged Jesus on that cross in the tabernacle. Notice the placement of head, hands, and feet on the cross.

Blood dripping:

  1. A crown of thorns on His Head (John 19:2).
  2. Nails driven into His right and left hands (Luke 24:39–40).
  3. Nail driven into His feet (Luke 24:39–40).
  4. A spear pierced His side (John 19:34).

The True Lamb of God, Jesus the Messiah, poured his precious blood onto the Brazen Altar atoning for the sins of the world. Because of Jesus’ shed blood on the altar, the temporarily (for a year) atoning blood from all of the animal sacrifices upon the Brazen Altar became permanent and everlasting. It was a sweet aroma and accepted by His Father.

This picture-to-person from the tabernacle to the cross is completed once and for all time. Salvation is for all!

Jesus paid the ultimate price for the sins of the whole world. That means He died for your sins so you could be made right with God. He tore down the barriers between us and His Father making the Way for you to enter in.

Song: There is Power in the Blood by Lewis E. Jones, 1899 (public domain):

There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
In the precious blood of the Lamb.

Next time, we will cover the Hebrews leaving Egypt and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Until then,
שָׁלוֹם (Shalom!)