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The Veil

Jesus' Body Rent For Us



Ex. 26:31-34

And thou shalt make a vail of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubims shall it be made:  And thou shalt hang it upon four pillars of shittim wood overlaid with gold: their hooks shall be of gold, upon the four sockets of silver. And thou shalt hang up the vail under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the vail the ark of the testimony: and the vail shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy.  And thou shalt put the mercy seat upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy place.

The veil separated the holy place (which speaks of the soul) from the holy of holies (the spirit.) It represented the barrier of sinful flesh. Man could worship a God he could not “see” but he still remained separated from God by sin. Only the High Priest was allowed to go beyond the veil and that only once a year on the Day of Atonement.  He had to be ritually purified before he could go beyond the veil, because if he was not ritually and ceremonially cleansed he would die.  Tradition has it that he wore bells on the hem of his garment and a rope around his ankle so that if he died in the holy presence of God, the other priests could pull him out so that they themselves did not have to go beyond the veil and thus die also!  This is because man cannot stand in the presence of God unless man first becomes holy in the sight of God.

 Horatius Bonar, in his little book, The Rent Veil*, says this about the reason there had to be a veil:

Shall it be removed, or shall it stand? If it stands, then man is lost to God and to himself. For the sentence is explicit, 'In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.' If it is to be removed, the barrier swept away, and the distance obliterated, God must do it, and He must do it immediately, before the criminal is handed over to final execution, and He must do it righteously, that there may be no uncertainty as to the thing done, and no possibility of any future reversal of the blessing or any replacement of the barrier”

And so Bonar gives us a reason for the existence of a thick veil separating the holy place from the holy of holies in the Tabernacle.  It stands as God’s barrier set up because the barrier man himself had established between himself and God – that of sin.

 In the Old Covenant the veil remained unrent. The services that were carried out in the Tabernacle were carried out according to the Divine Plan: man’s continuation of separation as man offered the animal sacrifices, and the priests carried out the duties, religiously following the ceremonial order without flaw or fail. The way had not been made yet by which the barrier of separation would be removed.

 The Rent Veil 

Hebrews tells us that we can now come before a holy God, through the veil, that is to say, His (Jesus’) flesh. (Hebrews 10:20.)

And, so, at some point the veil of the Old Covenant that stood intact in  the Tabernacle, and the ceremonies that were to make a man holy before he went beyond the veil, that veil had to be rent in some manner and in some means, in order for the New Covenant to be established and the Old Covenant pass away. That rending was accomplished at the Cross of Christ.  And it is accomplished in each individual when that individual has his own veil rent by that same Cross -- by grace, through faith.

 Matt 27:50-52

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

And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,  

Hebrews 6:13-20

For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,  Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.  For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. 

Commentary from Blue Letter Bible

 On verses Hebrews 6:19, 20: This hope will see us into the very presence of God; hope is the opposite of the discouragement these Jewish Christians have been battling against. We are assured of this access because Jesus has entered as a forerunner; the Levitical High Priest did not enter the veil as a forerunner, but only as a representative; but Jesus has entered into the Father's intimate presence so that His people can follow Him there. The temple analogy and reference to the rent veil reminds the writer that he was speaking of Jesus as our High Priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.

The Rent Veil is Very Significant for the Believer.

There is great spiritual significance to the rent veil.  The veil intact stood as a barrier blocking all humanity from entering into the Presence of God in the Holy of Holies.  The rent veil opened up the way spiritually for all to come before the Throne of Grace.

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. – Hebrews 4:16.

This is what our Eternal High Priest, Jesus Christ, does for us.  He gives us access to the Father.  He ushers us into God’s very Presence, and fulfills His words, “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No man comes to the Father but by me.” – John 14:6.  Matt. 27:50 tells us that Jesus cried with a loud voice before he died; and then the veil was rent.  We know that one of the last things he said on the cross was, “It is finished!” He was no doubt speaking of the completion of the purpose of the ceremonial law, which He Himself fulfilled at His death.

 It is very interesting that the veil separated the holy place from the holy of holies.  As a diagram of the tri-unity of a human, the holy place speaks of the soul and the holy of holies of the spirit.  Therefore, the rent veil speaks of the taking down of the division between the soul and spirit.  The veil rent, now the soul (mind) can  be renewed on Truth by illumination from the Holy Spirit Who indwells man's spirit. 

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. – Romans 12:2

The line of communication with God has now been opened, so that our mind can be renewed by our spirit, indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The Word of God, of course, must be interpreted by the Holy Spirit, Who gives illumination to it. 

Could the following verse indicate the role of the rent veil in destroying the barrier between soul and spirit?  We know that Jesus is the Living Word of God, and the Bible is the written word. The word translated “quick” in the King James means to “make alive!” Therefore the true meaning is that the Word of God gives life to the dead spirit.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12.

 Through the Rent Veil Goes Our High Priest.

The Holy of Holies in the Old Testament Tabernacle could only be entered once a year by the High Priest on the Day of Atonement.  The two articles of furniture in it were the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat that sat upon it.  The Ark of the Covenant contained Aaron’s rod that budded, the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments and  a pot of the manna God provided for Israel in the wilderness. 

 * Read Bonar’s entire book online at:

An Article on The Veil by Charles Haddon Spurgeon 


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