In the last three lessons of our series on the tabernacle we examined the furniture within the holy place. The holy place was one of two rooms within the sanctuary. The other room was the most holy place which contained the ark of the covenant and the mercy seat.
The sanctuary was 45 ft long, 15 ft wide and 15 ft high. The holy place was 30 ft long and 15 ft wide, and the most holy place was a perfect cube, 15 ft long, 15 ft wide and 15 ft high. Dividing these two rooms was the veil, which will be the focus of this study. Look up the passage below and answer some key questions about the veil.
• Exodus 26:31-34. Q. What three colours were seen in the veil?
Q. What material was the veil made from? _______________________.
Q. What pattern was found on the veil?__________________________.
Q. What did the veil divide? ___________________________________.
The word veil brings with it the idea of “to separate” or “to hide”. The veil within the sanctuary was designed to separate men from the presence of God. Only the high priest could enter into the most holy place, he could do this only once a year, and then, only with the blood of an offering. (Heb 9:6-8).
• Heb 9:8. Q. According to this verse, what message was God showing us through the use of the veil?
Considering the fact that the most holy place was the place of God’s presence, what do you think Heb 9:8 means when it says “the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest”?
God used the veil in the tabernacle to signify to mankind that he, due to his sinfulness, was unable to enter into God’s presence. The only way the high priest could come into God’s presence was by first killing an innocent sacrifice and bringing this blood with him into the most holy place (Ex 30:10, Heb 9:7). The veil was a constant reminder to all of Israel that they were separate from God. It reminded them that He was holy and that they, in their sinfulness, had fallen short of Him.
Just like every other element of the tabernacle, the veil has real significance. It was a figure and a shadow of things to come. Unlike some of the other elements in the tabernacle, there is absolutely no question as to what the veil represented!
• Heb 10:19,20. Q. What does the writer of the book of Hebrews indicate the veil was a picture of?
For the remainder of this study we will examine the ways in which the veil represented Jesus Christ.
The Double Sided Vail – Christ’s Two Natures
Think for a moment about the veil. It hung between the most holy place which featured the direct presence of God, and the holy place where the priests could do service freely. Not only did the veil divide these two places, but it resided in both. One side dwelt in the presence of God while the other dwelt in the presence of men, and this it did simultaneously. Now consider the nature of Jesus Christ when he walked this earth.
• John 1:1. Q. Here Jesus is called the word. According to this verse what was the word?
• John 1:14. Q. What did Jesus do?
Here we see Jesus’ two natures, his deity and his humanness. When he was born in Bethlehem he was born, not as a normal child, but as God in the flesh. He actually bridged the great divide between God and man, by becoming the God-man!
• Matt 16:13-17. Q. v13. What question did Jesus ask his disciples?
Q. What title did Jesus use for himself in verse 13?_____________________.
Jesus often used the title son of man to refer to himself. In doing so he was indentifying himself with humanity. He was actually 100% man. But his humanness was only one aspect of his nature…
Q. Who did Peter say that Christ was?_______________________________.
Q. How did Jesus respond to Peter’s claim?
In this amazing passage, Jesus refers to himself as the son of man and as the son of the living God. These are his two natures. When Christ walked this
earth he was, at every moment, equally man and equally God. He dwelt both in the presence of God and in the presence of man. This dual nature is reflected very clearly in the double-sided vail which hung between the two rooms of the sanctuary. (For more information about the deity of Jesus Christ get Lesson #7 in the series It’s All About Jesus.)
The Rent Veil and the Offering of Christ’s Body
_ We learned earlier in this lesson that the hanging of the veil signified the fact that man was separated from God, and that he could not approach God freely. With this in mind, how do you think God would signify the fact that the possibility to enter into His presence had been made?
• Matt 27:50-51, Mark 15:37-38. Q. According to these verses what happened immediately after Jesus died on the cross?
God added the veil to the tabernacle in order to signify man’s separation from himself, all the while knowing that one day the veil would be split in two. God split the veil in two, thus signalling that the way into His presence had been made. It was made by the sacrifice of his son. To better understand this, let’s read Hebrews chapter 10 and answer the questions below.
Q. v1. The sacrifices and the offerings under the law were simply a S_______________ of good things to come.
Q. v1. What could these sacrifices never do?
Q. v2. What is the evidence that the sacrifices of the Old Testament never really took away sin?
Q. v3. What is still remembered even after the sacrifices of the Old Testament were made?
Q. v4. What could the blood of bulls and goats not do?
Q. v6,8. What was God’s ultimate attitude toward these offerings?
Q. v5. Because of God’s displeasure with the sacrifices under the law, what did he prepare Jesus when he came into this world?
Q. v10. We are now made holy (sanctified) by the ______________________ of the _____________________ of Jesus.
Q. v11. What did the priests of the Old Testament do continually? What was the result of this?
Q. v12,14. How was the offering of Christ’s body different?
Q. v16,17. Now, under the new covenant, through the sacrifice of Christ’s body, what has happened to our sins?
Q. v18. Now because there has been forgiveness and deliverance (remission) from our sins, what no longer has to be done?
Q. v19. Because Jesus died for us as our perfect substitutionary sacrifice, into where can we now enter boldly?
Q. v20. What is Christ’s flesh compared to in this verse? ________________.
Just as the hanging of the veil in the tabernacle pictured our separation from God, so too the rending of the veil after the offering of Christ signified our reconciliation to God. His once-and-for-all sacrifice on the cross made a way for us to enter into the most holy place, direclty into God’s presence. So much so that Hebrews 10:19 encourages us to enter in boldly.
Now that Jesus has offered his perfect blood to atone for our sins, each Christian has special privileges and responsibilities. • Look at Hebrews 10:22-23.
Q. v22. We can now d__________ n__________ to God.
Q. v22. We are to do this with a t___________ (sincere) heart.
Q. v22. We are able to do this because our hearts have been cleansed from an e______________ c______________________.
Not only has the blood of Christ atoned for our sins. But it has also provided a holy confidence within us. We can be assured that all of our sins have been forgotten by God, and even our future sins will be forgotten when we confess them (1 John 1:9). Because we have this new confidence we can come to God in “full assurance of faith” (v22), that is, with an unwavering confidence that we are accepted in his sight (Eph 1:5-7). Q. According to Heb 10:23, what should this new confidence cause us to do?
God now expects us to hold fast our profession without wavering. This confidence is the basis from which we serve God, endure trials, and grow to be more like Him. Q. What are some ways that we can take advantage of our ability to approach God directly and boldly?
How might our Christian life be different if God did not afford us this confidence and assurance?
(For more info. on Jesus’ substitutionary death for us, get lesson #11 in the series “It’s All About Jesus”)