Monday, October 25, 2021
A Visible Parable
9 1-5 That first plan contained directions for worship and a specially designed place of worship. First, a large outer tent was set up. The lampstand, the table, and “the bread of presence” were placed in it. This was called “the Holy Place.” Then a curtain was stretched, and behind it, a smaller, inside tent set up. This was called “the Holy of Holies.” Finally, the gold incense altar and the gold-covered ark of the covenant containing the gold urn of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, the covenant tablets, and the angel-wing-shadowed mercy seat were placed in it. But we don’t have time to comment on these now.
-Hebrews 9:1-5 The Message
When Jesus died, the veil was torn apart so the church wouldn’t be divided. It was a symbol of Christ’s work on the cross. The veil at one point was hidden from the public view, but now that the veil was torn, it allowed everybody to approach God directly through Christ. We will go into the veil more in the book of Hebrews chapter 9. Let’s pray before we start into the study of the veil.
Father, I admit, I do not know much about the veil except what is talked about during Jesus’ crucifixion. But, as we get into a new subject, I pray that anyone (including myself) who doesn’t understand it will understand it by the end of the chapter and what it represents and give us more knowledge and a deeper understanding of Jesus. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
The Old and the New
9 Verse 1: Now, even the first covenant had regulations for divine worship and the earthly sanctuary.
Verse 2: For a tabernacle was equipped, the outer sanctuary, the lampstand, the table, and the sacred bread; this is called the Holy Place.
Verse 3: Behind the second veil, there was a tabernacle which is called the Most Holy Place,
Verse 4: having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, Aaron’s staff which budded, and the tablets of the covenant;
Verse 5: Above it was the cherubim of glory overshadowing the atoning cover, but we cannot now speak in detail about these things.
Verse 5 study: Cherubim are mighty angels. One of the tasks of the Cherubim was to serve as guardians. The angels guarded the entrances to both the tree of life (Genesis 3:24) and the Most Holy Place (Exodus 26:31-33). These two gold statues were believed to support God’s invisible Presence (Ezekiel 9:3, 10:4, 18). It is called “the cherubim of the Glory,” which refers to God’s glory, which covered the ark of the covenant (Exodus 40:34-36: Leviticus 16:2).
Genesis 3:24 study: 24 So He drove the man out; and at the east of the Garden of Eden, He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.
The tree of life reference appears after God created Adam and Eve. God placed the tree of life in the middle of the garden of Eden, where the tree symbolizes God’s life-giving Presence, the eternal life that God makes available to us. God placed the tree of knowledge there as well. The garden of Eden is supposed to be enjoyed by the man and the woman as a paradise. After eating from the tree, Adam and Eve broke their relationship with God in three different ways:
- They became convinced their way was better than God’s.
- They became self-conscious and hid.
- They tried to excuse and defend themselves.
Who has done what Adam and Eve have done? I know I have. That is how Adam and Eve broke their relationship with God. The good news is you can build your relationship with God; this is how you can do it:
- Drop our excuses and self-defenses.
- Stop trying to hide from God.
- We must become convinced that God’s way is better than our way.
Exodus 26:21-33 study: The Veil and Curtain
31 “You shall also make a veil of violet, purple, and scarlet material, and fine twisted linen; it shall be made with cherubim, the work of a skilled embroiderer. 32 Then you shall hang it on four pillars of acacia overlaid with gold, their hooks also of gold, on four bases of silver. 33 You shall hang up the veil under the clasps and bring in the ark of the testimony there within the veil; the veil shall serve as a partition for you between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place.
The curtain separated the room between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. The priest entered the Holy Place daily to commune with God and tend to the altar of incense, the lampstand, and the table with the bread of the Presence. The Most Holy Place was where God dwelt, his Presence resting on the atonement cover, which covered the ark of the covenant law. Only the high priest could enter the Most Holy Place, but only once a year which is on the day of the atonement, to make the atonement for the nation’s sins. The curtain tore apart when Jesus died on the cross from top to bottom (Mark 15:38). That is the symbol of our free access to God, and it is because of Jesus’ death. It is not necessary to approach God through priests and sacrifices.
Ezekiel 9:3 study: 3 Then the glory of the God of Israel ascended from the cherub on which it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed in linen at whose waist was the scribe’s kit.
The Cherubim is cherub as a singular word; it is an order of powerful angelic beings created to glorify God. God’s absolute holiness and moral perfection are associated with it. The cherubim were placed at the entrance of Eden to keep Adam and Eve out after they sinned, which we learned in Genesis 3:24. The Cherubim was used to decorate the tabernacle and temple. The lid of the ark of the covenant, called the atonement cover, was adorned with two gold cherubim (Exodus 37:6-9.) It’s a symbol of the Presence of God. Ezekiel sees the cherubim leave the temple along with the glory of God (chapter 10). Ezekiel recognized them as the living creatures he had seen in his first vision (chapter 1).
Ezekiel 10:4, 18: 4 Then the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub to the threshold of the temple, and the temple was filled with the cloud, and the courtyard was filled with the brightness of the glory of the Lord.
18 Then, the glory of the Lord departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim.
Christ revisited the temple in the New Testament times when God’s glory departed from the temple in the Old Testament. God’s holiness required that he leave the temple because people defiled it. God had to destroy what people perverted to bring true worship to be revived. We have to commit ourselves, our families, our churches, and our nation to follow God faithfully so that we never have to experience God abandoning us.
Exodus 40:34-36: The Glory of the Lord
34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 36 Throughout their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the sons of Israel would set out.
The tabernacle was God’s home on earth. He filled with his glory, the overpowering sense of His Presence. Close to 500 years later, Solomon built the temple, which replaced the tabernacle as the primary place of worship. Again, God filled the temple with his glory (2 Chronicles 5:13-14). When Israel turned from God, his glory and Presence departed from the temple, destroyed by invading armies (2 Kings 25). The temple was rebuilt in 516 B.C. God’s glory returned in more extraordinary splendor close to five centuries later when Jesus Christ, God’s Son, entered it and started teaching. Jesus was crucified, and God’s glory left the temple again. But, God didn’t need a building after Jesus rose from the dead. God’s temple is now his church and the body of believers.
2 The Lord said to Moses:
“Tell your brother Aaron that he shall not enter at any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the atoning cover which is on the ark, or he will die; for I will appear in the cloud over the atoning cover.
The Day of Atonement covers verses 1-25, but here is what to understand. If you read verses 1-25, Aaron spent hours preparing to meet God, but the good news is we can approach God anytime (Hebrews 4:16). We have easier access to God than the high priests of the Old Testament times. We can’t forget that God is holy nor let the privilege cause us to approach God carelessly. The way to God was opened to us by Christ. However, the easy access to God doesn’t eliminate the need to prepare our hearts as we come close to him in prayer.
Father, let us rejoice in the education received on the veil. I pray we can continue to grab the knowledge to better ourselves for you. Thank you for allowing time for us to study the veil. In Jesus’ name. Amen!