The Veil Was Torn!
MercyMe is coming to Portland next Sunday, and I am hoping to go, so I’ve been listening to their most recent CD in the car this past week. It’s called The Generous Mr. Lovewell. I’ve written several posts about some of the songs on this CD, including Move, Crazy Enough, and Beautiful. But this week, a thought occurred to me about another song on that CD called All of Creation. The first verse is:
Until the veil was torn
The moment that hope was born
And guilt was pardoned once and for all
This verse reminded me of a women’s retreat I went to about eight years ago. I learned something at that retreat that makes this verse, particularly the second line, especially meaningful. I decided I wanted to share what I learned here on my blog.
When our dear Savior Jesus dies on the cross, something amazing happened. All our sins were atoned for, our debt to God was paid; and that is truly awesome. But something even more profound happened at exactly the moment He died.
It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. Luke 23:44-46 (NIV).
Did you catch that? The curtain in the temple was torn in two. Now you may have read this many times and thought nothing of it. I know I had before I learned what this meant. If you are picturing some sheer curtains like you have in your living room, or even some sturdy drapes, you are picturing this “curtain” or “veil” all wrong. And you will notice that no one tore it, it was torn in two all by itself; or more appropriately, by the death of Jesus.
So what is this curtain that was torn in two? To find out, we have to venture back into the Old Testament and see what was said about the temple, which was preceded by the tabernacle during the time the Israelites were journeying through the wilderness. These are God’s instructions to Moses:
“Set up the tabernacle according to the plan shown you on the mountain. Make a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen, with cherubim woven into it by a skilled worker. Hang it with gold hooks on four posts of acacia wood overlaid with gold and standing on four silver bases. Hang the curtain from the clasps and place the ark of the covenant law behind the curtain. The curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place.” Exodus 26:30-33 (NIV).
The curtain was, I was told at the women’s retreat, at least two inches thick. From the description in this passage of Exodus, I suspect it was absolutely breathtaking. Of course, you would expect nothing less for the curtain through which one would pass to enter the Most Holy Place. This was the place where the Ark of the Covenant was kept; it was the place where God resided among the Israelites.
So do you think just anyone could go through this curtain, walk into the Most Holy Place, and have a chat with God? No way! We are told in Leviticus 16 about the Day of Atonement, the only day any of the people of Israel could enter the Most Holy Place; and on that day only the High Priest (which was Aaron at the time) could enter. In later years, the other priests would tie a rope around the ankle of the High Priest when he entered the Most Holy Place, just in case he died when he was in the presence of God, so they could pull him out.
But when Jesus died, that curtain was torn. The barrier between the people and the place where God dwelled was destroyed. At that moment, “hope was born” because we can now come boldly before the throne of grace and into the presence of God. To be sure, we ought to come into this place with reverence and awe for the Almighty, but we can come. We needn’t be the High Priest; and we surely don’t need a rope tied around our ankle.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, 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 and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:19-22 (NIV).
Well, now that you know how wonderful it was that the curtain or veil was torn, so that we are no longer prevented from approaching God’s throne, I hope you will enjoy this great MercyMe song that reminded me of this awesome truth.
Great thought. I knew that the veil was torn, and not by human hands, but had never really stopped to think about it. Thanks!
Ben, I love your new gravatar! Is that your dog? He’s very cute. Glad you liked the post. When I learned this about the veil or curtain, it was just such a blessing to me that I wanted to share. It is another of those instances in which you must view the OT and the NT together to get the whole picture of God’s love. Peace, Linda
Actually, those are not my dogs. I have two chocolate labs. My dog found this guy (and his two brothers) in our front yard one Sunday morning before church. We live just outside of town and a lot of people dump their animals out here. Anyway, they were cold and wet and starving. We took them in and took care of them for a couple of weeks before we took them to the animal shelter where we volunteer. From there, through a program called the Rescue Waggin, they went all the way to Duluth, MN, where all three were adopted. 🙂 So, to answer your question, no he is not mine, but I got pretty attatched to him while he was here. 🙂
Thank you, Linda
I hope you get to see Mercy Me! 🙂 Please do sing and shout and dance for all of us!
“But when Jesus died, that curtain was torn. The barrier between the people and the place where God dwelled was destroyed. At that moment, “hope was born” because we can now come boldly before the throne of grace and into the presence of God. To be sure, we ought to come into this place with reverence and awe for the Almighty, but we can come. We needn’t be the High Priest; and we surely don’t need a rope tied around our ankle.”
Thanks for this wonderful piece ( I have to tell you how Easter excites me 🙂 ).
I remember being told that the veil was ripped from top to bottom … just in case those who doubted would think it was ripped by human hands. That may or may not be so but the fact that the veil was torn at that moment is more than enough for me!
Thank you Linda. I didn’t always get the meaning of this and I didn’t always understand but I’m thankful that even now He still sends His truth. Thanks for being the messenger to remind us about the Cross today. The Great High Priest stands as mediator for me!
” Now I can go into the Holy of Holies!
I can kneel and make my petition known :- )”
I, a mere human. A sinner saved by grace … *I* can enter in 🙂
Thankful and Happy,
Ann, I get excited about Easter, too! It’s my favorite Holy Day of the year; I love it even more than Christmas. Thank you for adding this wonderful worship song video. It’s a perfect fit!
If I get to see MercyMe, I will sing, dance, and shout for all my blog friends. I’m planning to go, but it’s one of those where tickets are $10 at the door, and when they are gone, they are gone. So it all depends on whether I get in line early enough. They are playing with Jars of Clay and five other bands in a show called the Rock & Worship Show. Should be awesome! 🙂 Peace, Linda
Love all the lesson behind the veil being torn. It makes me wonder what the people made of it at the time? Could they grasp the significance of what had just happened? I still get goosebumps and am awed by knowing that there is so much yet that I don’t grasp about Him, so much more to Him for me yet to see and discover. And I can do that, because He died and made a way for me . . .and tore the veil.
Love Mercy Me! Thank you and God bless your music Mondays!
Deb, I agree; I am awed by knowing there is so much more to know and tickled that someday I will see it all when I’m in His presence standing before the actual throne in Heaven! What a day that will be! And it is so wonderful that we get to learn a bit more about Him each day. Peace, Linda
Shared this one with my FB friends!
Loved this post. Love Mercy Me. And, it is so awesome that the curtain is torn for us – “Jesus Paid It All.”
April, Thanks, I’m glad you liked this one. I love MercyMe, too; their music is so wonderfully Biblical and uplifting. And thanks for sharing with your FB friends. Peace, Linda