The Veil That Once Blinded Us (Article 17-9)
Non-believers are “blinded” from knowing and understanding God. Why? Because a veil covers their eyes and dulls their hearts, and until this veil is removed, they never will know and understand God. So, what is this "Veil" and what does it mean? As for all our questions, we must turn to God's Word in Scripture for the answers.
The History of the Holy Temples and the Veil
Shortly after David conquered Jerusalem, he built an altar to the God of Israel on a threshing-floor (2 Samuel 24:24–25). This was eventual site of the First Temple built by King Solomon: "Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem in Mount Moriah, where [the Lord] appeared unto David his father; … in the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite" (2 Chronicles 3:1). This Temple replaced the Tabernacle that the Israelites maintained in the desert before conquering Jerusalem. And like the Tabernacle, the first constructed Temple contained the Ark of the Covenant.
In 586 BCE (or BC), Babylon, under King Nebuchadnezzar, conquered Jerusalem which led to the eventual destruction of the First Temple of which, the Ark of the Covenant was taken and never found. About fifty years later, King Cyrus of Persia, the conquerors of Babylon and the Israelite's captors, gave the Jews permission to rebuild the Temple (Second Temple): "Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth hath the Lord, the God of Heaven, given me; and He hath charged me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah" (Ezra 1:2). The Second Temple, which did not contain the Ark of the Covenant as the First Temple had, remained until it was again destroyed by the Romans six hundred years later (70 CE [or AD]).
During the existence of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, the Israelites gathered in the temple courtyard to be near God, to pray, and to participate in holy ceremonies conducted by the Jewish Pharisees (Priests). However, only the Pharisees could enter the temple building. The Temple building was divided into one large room and one small inner room. The rooms were separated by a large, heavy and thick veil (Exodus 26:33). This veil hung by gold hooks from four gold-covered acacia wood pillars that rested upon sockets of silver. It was made of finely spun white linen, blue, purple, and scarlet just as the decorated curtains surrounding the Holy Place with the richly ornamented figures of cherubim (angels). The larger room, which the priest first entered, was called the “Holy Place”. On the far end of the temple building was a smaller room called the “Holy of Holies.” It was in this room the Ark of the Covenant of the First Temple was placed and God dwelled. Once a year, referred to as the “The Day of Atonement” or “Yom Kippur”, an anointed priest could pass by the veil into the “Holy of Holies” to conduct a ritual (the sprinkling of animal blood on the Mercy Seat) to atone (forgive) the sins of the Israelites (Leviticus 16:8-34; 23:27-32). This act of atonement brought reconciliation between the people and God. After the blood sacrifice was offered to the Lord, a goat was released into the wilderness to symbolically carry away the sins of the people. Scripture concisely states: “But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord to be used for making atonement by sending it into the wilderness as a scapegoat.” (Leviticus 16:10). This "scapegoat" was never to return.
Man Was Limited to How Near He Could be to God
A repentant sinner entered the temple courtyard and walked forward, to draw closer and closer to the physical presence of God. But, a believer could only draw so close to God, then he had to be represented by a priest or the high priest the rest of the way. Except for the prophets and those specially anointed, the common man had no direct relationship with God. It was the priest's job to represent the Jewish believers, with the most important role being the conducting of sin atonement rituals and ceremonies for the forgiveness of their sins. It was only by sin atonement rituals, the spilling of the blood of choice animals, could the people’s sins be forgiven. As stated earlier though, their sins could only be atoned for one year at a time. The atonement rituals had to be repeated year after year as means for a continual “sin cleansing.”
The Veil Is Ripped In Two
With the spilling of Christ’s blood and at the point of His death in New Testament times, the heavy veil which separated the two temple rooms was ripped open from top to bottom. God took the veil in His hands and tore it just like a man would tear his shirt open to reveal his bosom and the heart within. When God ripped it, He was telling us that His Son, Jesus Christ, made way for us to enter into the “Holy of Holies!”. The torn veil speaks directly to Christ’s body being broken and the spilling of His blood. Just in the annual Days of Atonement in which the Israelites’ were forgiven for their sins with the spilling of blood of sacrificed animals, the spilling of Christ’s blood washed us clean of our sins. The difference is the spilling of Christ’s blood keeps believers sufficiently cleansed for eternity. No further sacrifices are required, for Christ told us in His last breath on the cross “it is finished”. “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (John 19:30). The requirements of the Law (God’s Commandments) were met, and as a result, we now can go directly to God without the intervention of a priest or any other man. Jesus Christ is the High Priest, and His Temple (Third Temple) is established inside us. The Third Temple no longer belongs to the world and the flesh which resides in it, but rather it belongs to the Christ that resides in a spiritual realm within our soul. This is why we must be “born again.” To be with and like Christ, we must be re-birthed into “spiritual beings,” making it possible for Christ’s Spirit to reign over our lives instead of our own. Second, by turning to the Christ's Temple within, we can walk straight into the “Holy of Holies” thus giving us direct access to God. In so doing, we are to go confidently and boldly, for our faith (true belief) in Jesus Christ gives us this right. Scripture verifies this truth: “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated (declared sacred and divine) for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.” (Hebrews 10:19–22)
The Veil Remains for Non-Believers
As born-again spiritual believers in His works on the Cross, Jesus Christ removes the veil that once blinded us from knowing and understanding the Father. However, for non-believers, the veil remains over their eyes and hearts. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians, “Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away." (2 Corinthians 3:12-14).
It Is All About Us and For Us
Christ Jesus died on the Cross to redeem humanity and to save us from our sins, driven by His love for us. As recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the Holy Bible, Jesus Christ was mocked, scorned, and tortured. He carried his cross up the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem to Calvary. He was nailed to the Cross and hung between two common criminals. He suffered an indescribable end. We now must only believe in Christ and His works to have the veil removed from our eyes and heart. For if we do, we will as in the time of Adam, know and feel our loving Father’s presence and be perfected into His image.
Do You Believe?
Whenever anyone turns to and believes in Christ our Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, we finally find our freedom and happiness. With our unveiled faces we can contemplate the Lord’s glory and are transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory by way of Christ's Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:16-18). The question is whether we believe or not? For if we do, the veil will be removed from our eyes and hearts. If not, the veil remains and with it, no meaningful understanding of God, His Glory, and His will for our lives. In such a condition, we have no other choice but to turn to the world for our answers, and consequently the receiving of no hope, joy, or peace – the things we have been seeking all our lives, but could not and will not find if the veil remains.