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Through the Rent Veil

by David A. DePra

Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the

ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in two from the

top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks split. (Matt.


Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the

Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way,

opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body. And since we

have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God

with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts

sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our

bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the

hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (Heb. 10:12-23)

     Both the tabernacle in the wilderness and the holy place of the

temple in Jerusalem were made according to the pattern which

God had given Moses. In it we find a tremendous revelation of the

finality of God's redemptive work in Jesus Christ.

     At the center of this spiritual type of the temple is the veil. The

veil stood between the Most Holy Place and the holy place. But

when Jesus died, it was torn in half, from top to bottom. The Bible

reveals that this torn veil symbolized something else -- something

REAL -- which had happened because of the death of Jesus.

Shadow vs. Reality

     As a background, we must first understand some basic facts

about how and why God uses such spiritual types as the tabernacle,

and the veil. He does so throughout the Bible. Often, He calls these

symbols "shadows." And He calls the reality which they represent,

"the substance," or reality.

     What is a shadow? A shadow is an area where light is absent.

There is an object in-between the source of light, and the area upon

which the shadow is "cast." The shadow, therefore, is an accurate

representation of that real object. But it has no substance. It exists

only as the result of physical laws working together.

     Now several things stand out here. First, you MUST have light

to have a shadow. Second, you MUST have a reality to have a

shadow. Without each of these, there is no shadow. But the

shadow itself is not reality. It merely represents it.

     Our problem is that we mistake the shadow FOR the reality. For

example, God says, "the law is only a shadow of the good things to

come -- not the realities themselves." (Heb. 10:1) Many of us

read that but don't get it. We think the law is the reality. It is not. The

law is only a SHADOW -- yes, a true shadow -- but nevertheless

ONLY a shadow. There is a great reality which the shadow only

represents. That reality or substance is the Person of Jesus Christ.

     Most all of what God gave in the Old Covenant was a "shadow

of things to come." Thus, if we, who are under the NEW Covenant,

try to bring into that NEW Covenant those things which are of the

OLD, we will never experience much reality and substance. We

will be settling for a shadow.

     If you were welcoming a loved one back from a long journey, it

would be utter nonsense for you, upon seeing them, to fall to the

ground and try to "hug" their shadow. Despite the fact that their

shadow was an accurate representation of them -- at least as far as

it goes -- there would be no substance there for you to grab. Not

only that, but what do you do with the shadow AFTER the greeting?

     There is nothing you can do. There is no possibility of fellowship

or relationship. You cannot fellowship with a shadow of a person.

     Unfortunately, many Christians do embrace only a shadow. We

rejoice in the shadow. We insist that the shadow is the real. We

spend all of our time and effort IN the shadow. And what is the

result? The result of living in a spiritual shadow is the same as that

of living in a physical shadow: There is no light. There is darkness.

In fact, you cannot even see the light. Of course not. You are IN a


     The most amazing part of living in "the shadow of things to come"

is that while you are doing it you THINK you are in the light. Why?

Because your "eyes" have become adjusted to the darkness; to

the shadow. You think that what you believe is IT! But it isn't. The

reality is OUTSIDE of anything you have ever seen or known. To

you, it may even look like error.

     Thankfully, God knows exactly how to get us moving out of the

shadow and into the reality of Jesus Christ. May we not miss the

hour -- and there will be many of them -- of His visitation in doing so.

May we thank Him for the shadow, but leave it behind in favor of

the Person Himself.

Behind the Veil

     Now we come to the subject of Hebrews 10:12-23, the "Most Holy

Place." We find that the physical Most Holy Place was merely a

SHADOW of something real. And what God says about the

physical is a revelation of what Jesus Christ has done through His


     If you were standing outside of the MOST holy place, you would

nevertheless still be in the holy place. You would be where the

shew bread, candlestick, and other objects were situated. But

right in front of you would be this immense curtain. It separates the

holy place from the MOST holy place. You aren't allowed to go

behind this curtain into the MOST holy place unless you are the

High priest. And even then, you can only go in once a year.

     What was God showing through this setup? Well, He was

showing that there was a great chasm and separation between

God and man -- an impenetrable barrier. The MOST holy place

is the immediate presence of God. It is actually oneness with Him.

But you cannot see it -- let alone enter into it. There is this curtain

keeping you out.

     Don't picture this curtain, or, as it is called, veil, as some kind of

transparent fabric -- like the ones we often have hanging on our

windows. No. This veil was, in some cases, six inches to a foot

thick. There are records which say that it was so heavy that it took

an ox to lift it in place. It was very much a formitible barrier.

     As mentioned, only the high priest was allowed to enter behind

the veil, once a year on the day of atonement. Indeed, when he did

so, he entered with a rope tied around his waist. This was in case

he died while in there. His body could then be dragged out. This is

how serious a prohibition there was to anyone else entering into

that MOST holy place. They weren't allowed in under even

emergency circumstances.

     Now we must ask: What does this veil represent? What is it a

shadow of? The Most Holy Place represents the presence and

throne of God. It represents fellowship and oneness with Him. So

what does the veil which separates us FROM all of that represent?

     The veil represents the sin nature. For it is THAT which

separates us from God; makes it impossible for us to enter into His

presence. The sin nature is like a great barrier between God and

man, which keeps us in separate realms from each other.

Who Put Up the Veil?

     How did this veil get put up? I mean, the spiritual "veil." Actually,

Adam put it up when he committed THE sin. And we have all

pretty much advocated what Adam did ever since.

     Now note something here: God did not put up the veil. WE put

it up. God has never done anything to separate Himself from us.

It is our sin which separates us from God.

     If there is one thing which seems to be difficult for people to

grasp it is this: God is not the one responsible for the separation

of man from God. He is NOT. But we think He is. We think that

when Adam sinned, God became angry and withdrew. And we

think that this withdrawal is indicative of what God has been doing

ever since -- putting up a wall between Himself and us because of


     Examine your own relationship with God. When your sins and

failures are exposed, what is generally your first reaction? For

some of us, we immediately feel condemned. We feel like God is

mad at us and has withdrawn. It is almost as if we think God has

put up the veil between us and Him all over again.

     For others of us, our reaction is to want to run and hide from God.

This is more indicative of the Truth about what happened between

God and man. After Adam sinned, HE hid from God. God did not

hide from him. Rather, God came seeking Adam. He asked,

"Adam, where are you?" (Gen. 3:9)

     Now notice something here. If God wanted to show us that when

we sin, it causes Him to hide from us, would He have sought Adam

after the sin, and then had it recorded as part of the inspired word of

God? Hardly. We would instead read that after the sin, God hid

Himself, and that Adam had to come seeking out God for help. But

no. Adam hid. God came seeking. In this, we find the eternal

attitude of God towards the sinner: Always seeking him out unto


Our Sin and His Body

     So the veil -- which separates man from God -- is SIN. It is the

nature of sin into which all of us are born. It is a "veil" which Adam

put up. And it is a "veil" which God RENT asunder in Jesus Christ.

We see this clearly by reading the passage from Hebrews.

     There it says that we are to enter into this Most Holy Place -- which

is behind the veil -- by the Blood of Jesus. It says this is a "new and

living way" opened for us THROUGH THE VEIL -- which is -- what?

His body! The veil IS the body, or flesh, of Jesus Christ. THAT is

the reality of which the veil is merely a shadow.

     But wait. Didn't we say that the veil is our sin nature? Yes. So

how can it also be Christ's body?

     Because on the Cross Jesus bore our sin nature IN His body.

The two -- our sin nature, and Christ's body -- became ONE. That's

why the Bible, in other places, says:

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we

might become the righteousness of God. (II Cor. 5:21)

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might

die to sins and live for righteousness. (I Peter 2:24)

For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

(Eph. 5:30)

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of

sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

(Romans 6:6)

     Jesus Christ took upon Himself our old man in Adam -- our body

of sin, or sin nature -- and became one with us through a spiritual

identification. He BORE that. And having done so, He DIED. And

when He died, our sin nature -- our "Adam nature" -- died in Him.

Thus, when we receive Christ, our "old man" is crucified with Him.

That's why we are, in fact, SET FREE from sin: For he that has died

is free from sin." (Romans 6:7)

     All freedom from sin, and freedom to obey God, depends on the

fact that in Jesus Christ, Adam died. Everything of that old creation

in Adam was crucified in Christ. And then, three days later, Jesus

was raised up a NEW creation. Thus, if we have died IN Christ, we

are likewise raised IN Him. We are IN Him, and united with Him

eternally and forever. His life is ours.

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ

were baptized into his death? Therefore, we are buried with Him by

baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead

by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness

of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his

death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. (Rom.


     All of this was powerfully pictured at the moment of Jesus' death.

The Bible says:

And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. And the

veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.

(Mark 15:37-38)

     Of course the veil was torn. Because the body of Jesus was torn!

Jesus had, in His very body, bore all that separated us from God.

Thus, when Jesus died, the veil -- the real one -- was rent in two. It

was rendered powerless to any longer separate us from God.

     We can scarcely grasp the significance of that veil being rent

from the top to the bottom. Such a thing would have been

unthinkable for those who ministered in the temple. But it happened.

God was showing what had been accomplished through the death

of His Son: Man and God had been reconciled.

We Must Believe

     Jesus was the Lamb of God who came to "take away the sin of

world." And that sin was what separated us from God -- symbolized

by the veil of the temple. Thus, when Jesus died, the veil -- which

was the shadow of the sin nature -- HAD to be rent. For the reality of

the sin nature broken. And the Most Holy Place HAD to be opened,

for the reality of it was now opened. Man now had full access to

God through Jesus Christ.

     But many of us don't really believe this. We think, for instance,

that everytime we sin the veil goes back up. Some of us INSIST it

goes back up. We demand that when we sin God puts the veil back

up and refuses to let us into His presence. This, some claim, is the

only way real justice could work. Otherwise, we demand, people

could sin all they want and still enter into the Most Holy Place.

     This is, however, unbelief. It is saying that the work of Christ is

NOT finished. It is saying that the effects of it were not permanent.

It takes the finished work of Christ and make it contingent upon our


     The Truth is, God took sin away through Christ. But if we don't

believe, we will take our sin and put it right back between us and

God. And then we will say God put it there! We will refuse to

believe that the veil is permanently rent, and that there is nothing

which can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ.

     The fact that we are free to enter the Most Holy Place despite

sin is clearly stated in the passage from Hebrews. There God says,

"Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in FULL ASSURANCE

OF FAITH." Faith in what? Our good works? No. Faith in HIS

finished work. We have the right to enter into God's presence, not

because of what we do, but because of what HE has done.

     Now understand what this means. It means that if I REFUSE to

to enter the Most Holy Place -- using my sin and failures as an

excuse -- I am denying the very grace of God! I am saying that

despite the fact that God rent the veil, that my sin is able to sew it

back up again.

     Nonsense. The veil IS rent, just as surely as Christ died. It was

a ONCE FOR ALL sacrifice with eternal effects. There is nothing I

can do to undo the finished work of Christ. I need only believe.

God goes on to reinforce this Truth in our Hebrews 10 passage.

He says we must draw near to God in full assurance of faith,

"HAVING our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty

conscience, and HAVING our bodies washed with pure water." In

other words, those things are ALREADY done in Christ. We do not

have to get them done, over and over again. They are finished

because IT -- the work of Christ -- is finished.

How About License?

     The grace of God never leads to license. Not real grace. If

we believe, with full assurance of faith, that the veil is rent, and that

we can enter in because of Christ, it will not lead to a life of license

in sin. We will never say, "I can sin all I want, because the veil is


     Why won't it lead to that? What is to prevent us from wanting "to

continue in sin that grace might abound?" (see Romans 6:1)

     What prevents it is that we cannot become a Christian to begin

with unless we repent of sin. In other words, the "wanting to sin" is

what we repent of! Therefore, there is no such thing as one who is

born again who WANTS to sin. He is born again because he wants

to forsake sin, and has received Christ.

     John writes: "Who ever is born of God does not (want to) commit

sin; for his seed remains in him: and he cannot (want to) sin,

because he is born of God." There is a new nature in the one who

is born again which carries an aversion to sin. This does not mean

that our flesh will always hate sin. It does not mean that our flesh

will not sometimes crave sin. But WE -- the inner man -- will not want

to sin. We cannot want to sin. For our "seed remains in us" -- the

new nature in Christ Jesus.

     Many Christians become confused because their "flesh"

continues to "want to sin." Somehow we get the idea that if we are

"really born again," that the flesh and sin nature must vanish. But

this is not so.

     We need only go back to the spiritual type of the veil to see the

wonderful Truth about this. God RENT the veil from top to bottom.

But He did not take the veil away. It was not removed. So it is with

us. The "body of sin," i.e., the "flesh" is rent asunder. We are no

longer slaves to it -- that is -- it cannot keep us out of fellowship and

freedom in Christ. But it nevertheless remains hanging there,

howbeit rent and torn. This shows us that, yes, we do continue to

live in a body which is not born again. The sin nature continues

to be present within. But it IS rent. We do not have to allow it to

separate us from God. We can press through it to the Most Holy


     Picture again the torn veil. It is hanging there, torn in half all the

way down. It IS ever present. But it has no power to keep us from

entering into the Most Holy Place. No power, that is, unless we

refuse to believe it is rent to begin with.

     Anyone who is born again will continue to live in a physical body

which is subject to this fallen realm. But the REAL person will want

to forsake that sin and darkness. They will fail many times, but the

overall thrust will be to believe and obey God.

     The fact of the matter is, the same faith by which I embrace

Christ is a faith which likewise desires to do good works. The two

go hand in hand. Real faith not only embraces the free gift of God's

grace. But it carries with it the desire to do good works -- not to earn

that grace -- but as the result of that grace.

     License, therefore, is the product of dead faith. James said so.

He said, "Faith without works is dead." (James 2:20, 26) James

was not talking about REAL faith in Christ. He could NOT have

been. Why? Because REAL faith is Christ isn't dead faith. It is a

LIVING faith. How else could it embrace Christ?

     Dead faith is, at best, mere assent to Truth AS true. But there is

no change in the person. If my relationship with Jesus Christ does

not produce an on-going change in me tending toward the holiness

and righteousness of God, then my faith is dead. It carries no life.

     Now, the mistake we make is to get the cart before the horse. We

try to do good works so that we can prove to God, or to ourselves,

that we have real faith. We usually do this to try to appease our guilt

and condemnation. But this will get us nowhere. We must FIRST

believe, then DO. We must first believe that there is no

condemnation in Christ. Then DOING will come natural.

Full Access to God

     Through Jesus Christ, God has taken away what man has put

between himself and God. God has, in Christ, bore everything which

stood between God and man. We have full and unhindered access

to God through His Son.

     This means that we do not need to come to God "through"

anyone but Jesus Christ. No church, group, leader, or person, can

insist that our access to God is contingent upon our relationship

with them. No. The partition is removed. We are in the Most Holy

place -- as an individual -- in Jesus Christ alone.

     It also means that no matter what sin entangles us, that the veil

remains rent. We can enter into the presence of God in spite of our

sin, for the very purpose of getting help in our time of need. In other

words, God never says that we must be perfect BEFORE we enter.

He says that we are perfect BECAUSE we enter. That's because

we enter solely by faith in Jesus Christ. And once we get in there

by faith, the grace of God will eventually translate into practical

freedom from sin and into good works.

It IS Finished

     Do we realize that at the precise moment that the physical veil of

the temple in Jerusalem was rent, that not one person had yet

believed? God had, in Christ, rent the veil of sin. He had made

entry into His presence possible. But not one person had yet

believed. No one even understood what was going on.

     The point is this: The finished work of Christ, and all that He

accomplished, is NOT dependent upon even our faith, let alone

our works. The veil was rent before one person exercised one

ounce of faith. It was a done deal. It was finished. Historically,

spiritually, and eternally. Nothing could change it. Indeed, if not

one person ever did believe the veil was rent, it was rent. Jesus

Christ had died. He would be raised.

     Now what this tells us is this: Nothing we do changes the

finished work of Christ. Nothing we believe changes it. But we must

believe or we will never draw near. We will never enter the Most

Holy Place if we still insist the veil is keeping us out. Only if we

believe the veil is rent will we enter.

     Through faith in Christ, man has full access to God. We can

come to God with all of our sin, all of our doubts, and all of our pain.

We can be totally honest with Him and completely transparent. He

sees and knows it all anyways! Through Jesus Christ, the veil is

rent. It is a new and living way that Jesus made for us.

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