Today I attended an awesome women’s retreat called A Walk into the Holy of Holies. I attended a retreat on the same study with the same speakers over ten years ago and it was even more of a blessing today than it was the first time. It is a wonderful study of how the tabernacle of the Lord built by the Israelites is a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice to atone for our sins.
There was so much in this study. We spent a full day and didn’t cover everything that there is to know about the tabernacle. It would take many blog posts to cover it all, but I’m not going to try to do that because I could never do the actual study justice. (If you are interested in using this study for a women’s retreat at your church, you can contact the speaker Corinne Stanley at www.revealingjourney.org.)
But there is one aspect of what we learned today that I want to share because it involves my favorite Bible verse.
Many people, if asked their favorite Bible verse, will cite John 3:16, and it is a good one: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” There are a lot of other great verses. But my favorite is John 14:6: “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'”
I have always loved this verse because it is just so clear and such a beautiful promise of who Jesus is to you and me. But I learned something about this verse today that I didn’t know before. It is something the Jewish people would have known when they heard Jesus say this. It is one of the reasons the Jewish religious rulers wanted Jesus dead, because of what this statement meant.
In the tabernacle or temple there were three veils or curtains. The first veil led into the outer court and any man could enter through it. The second veil led into the holy place of the temple and only the priests could enter through it. The third and final veil led into the Holy of Holies, the place where the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat were kept. This is where the glory of God Almighty dwelt among men. Only the high priest could enter through this last veil and only once per year on the Day of Atonement.
So what does this have to do with my favorite verse? Well, I’ll tell you. The first veil was called the Way. The second veil was called the veil of humility and Truth. The third veil was called the veil of Life. To come into the presence of Almighty God one had to go through the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
But no longer are the Way, the Truth, and the Life merely veils in the Temple, and no longer is only the high priest of Israel allowed to go through them all. Now that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and we are all part of the priesthood of believers (1 Peter 2:9), we can all enter into the presence of the Lord.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV).