The Tabernacle - 14

The Two Veils

Shemot (Exodus) 26:31-37And thou shalt make a veil of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine-twined linen of skillful work; with cherubim 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 veil under the clasps, that thou mayest bring in thither within the veil the ark of the testimony: and the veil 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. And thou shalt set the table outside the veil, and the lampstand over against the table on the side of the tabernacle toward the table on the north side. And thou shalt make an hanging for the door of the tent, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine-twined linen, wrought with needlework. And thou shalt make for the hanging five pillars of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, and their hooks shall be of gold: and thou shalt cast five sockets of bronze for them.

We have now finished the basic structure of the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. We have discussed the abode of the Spirit of God in the Most Holy Place, the ark of the testimony and the mercy seat placed in the very depths of the believers heart. Let us keep in mind that the ark, the place where YHVH meets with us between the cherubim, is made up of His mercy and grace, and the resting place of His Torah. These two things go together. The two cherubim look down at the blood guarding, covering, and protecting the Word of God. This is where YHVH must begin in order to fully deliver man from his self-inflicted condition. For it is by His grace that we are delivered as a response to our faith, and Sha’ul tells us that we are then His workmanship created in the Messiah unto good works. This brings us to the place of ministry, the Holy Place. This is the abode of the soul, the mind, and the control tower, if you will, of our behavior. If the presence of the Spirit of God is not in our heart showing us His truth, then the arena of the mind can only receive information from the world and surrounding culture. Our behavior, without YHVH, is controlled and manipulated by movies, books, television, public schools, and all our good buddies, who, of course, are only interested in your future and well being. There is a very clear process that our Creator takes his child through that is perfectly pictured in the tabernacle.

We have now come to the two veils in the tabernacle proper. The inner veil that separates the abode of the ark from the Holy Place, is called a paroket (פרכת). This word literally means to divide or to separate. This is to highlight the fact that only the high priest was to enter the Most Holy Place on Yom Kippuriym. The high priest was separate from the normal levitical priests. This veil was to be made in the same way that the curtains in the Holy Place were made, the same order of the colors and the presence of the cherubim. It was to hang upon four pillars set in four sockets of silver. The atonement made beyond this veil was to be for all the sins of Israel nationally, and as it is revealed in the New Testament, the sins of the whole world. This is why four pillars are used. The number four in the Scriptures generally speaks of the earth and world. For example, there are the four elements, earth, wind, fire, and water; the four regions: north, south, east, and west; the four seasons: summer, winter, seed time, and harvest; the four lunar phases: first quarter, second quarter, full and new; and the material creation was finished on the fourth day. When the angels come to gather the elect in Mattityahu (Matthew) 24, they gather them from the four winds from one end of heaven to the other. This speaks of the four corners of the earth, and I could go on and on. This veil has always represented the high priesthood. It has always stood for the barrier that separated the high priest from everyone else. It is this veil that the high priest parted once a year to meet YHVH paniym el paniym or face to face. It is in this place beyond this veil that the high priest is understood to leap from a child to a mature adult, whose hair would turn white from being in the presence of the Almighty. It is beyond this veil that the high priest would know even as he is known. This is what Sha’ul was referring to in 1 Corinthians 13, when describing a yet future event that would find its fulfillment on that great Yom Kippuriym.

1 Corinthians 13:12For now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then, face to face; now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known.

These are the words of the high priest as he is about to meet with YHVH face to face.

I have highlighted the fact that this veil pictures the high priesthood as it is detailed in Torah. It is this veil that was rent in the middle from the top to the bottom in Mattityahu 27:51. Many so-called Christian commentators today claim that this was the end of the law when the veil was rent. But this veil never represented the law, but the high priesthood. Contained in Torah are instructions concerning the duties of the priests in the tabernacle and the temple. These duties were directly related to sacrifices and offerings for sin. If there is no sin then there is no need for sacrifices, offerings, priests, or temples. It is concerning these sacrifices for sin that the New Testament addresses as having been consummated in the Messiah. Concerning the covenant that was vanishing away, the writer of Hebrews chapter nine says,

Ivrim (Hebrews) 9:1-10Then, verily, the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and an earthly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made; the first, in which was the lampstand, and the table, and the showbread; which is called the sanctuary. And after the second veil, the tabernacle, which is called the Holiest of all, which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, in which was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; and over it the cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy seat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. Now when these things were thus prepared, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people, the Ruach haQodesh thus signifying that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while the first tabernacle was yet standing; which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; which stood only in foods, and drinks, and various washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of the reformation.

Now, according to what was just said, all these figures pertain to the offerings and sacrifices for sin. Nothing is mentioned whatsoever concerning health laws, dietary laws, festivals, Shabbat or most of the instructions of Torah. The Torah did not end at the time of the reformation, but rather the means by which sin was atoned for. This is why it is absolutely imperative to see that Yeshua‘ did not die on that tree to put an end to the law. He died to pay the penalty for disobedience to the law. This is why it is so important to understand the meaning of the renting of the inner veil. Before every discussion in Sha’ul's epistles, he reminds us that Yeshua‘ died for sin or that He took upon the curse of the law or He became sin for us. If the believer ignores that simple fact and places himself back "under the law" to redeem himself, then he has rejected what Yeshua‘ did on that tree. (Please review our five part series for a discussion of what it means to be "under the law" in our lessons archive.) The images of the tabernacle were used to describe what Yeshua‘ did for us. In using those images we see that the inner veil was what stood between man and God. There was only one way man could be redeemed in the Tanakh and that was through identification with the high priest. Because of our Messiah, the testimony (Torah), was not cast away, but rather the veil was torn away and every believer now has access to the Most Holy Place where YHVH meets with him above the mercy seat and the testimony.

Ivrim 10:19-22Having therefore, brethern, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Yeshua‘, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say his flesh, and having an high priest over the house of God, Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Let us draw near to what? What is in the Holiest? The testimony of God: His grace and His Torah! His word which cleanses us from all sin. Ephesians 2:12-13 also tells us what the uncircumcised have been brought near to. Sha’ul tells us that gentiles have been brought near unto the commonwealth of Israel, to the covenants of promise, and fellow citzens with the saints and of the household of God by one Spirit. It is what we have been brought into that is always Sha'uls focus. This is the meaning of the inner veil: natural branches and wild branches both having access to the Word of God through the body of the Messiah, our eternal High Priest.

According to Shemot 26:36-37, there was another hanging that separated the Holy Place of ministry from the court. This would be the door to the Holy Place. This masak (מסך) was made of the same material as the paroket. There are two basic differences in these two entrances. There were no cherubim embroidered in the linen in the first veil. The place where God meets with man intimately is described as being between the cherubim above the ark of the covenant. This is again portrayed in the linen of the inner or second veil. Although God's presence and instruction are in the shewbread, the golden altar and the menorah, His intimate relationship with us is only found above the testimony. This is an important teaching of the veils. Many times we find "religious" contentment in the things we "do" for God. Our ministries become our relationship. Our most precious moments, however, are found when we meet with Him personally. It was common in the times of Yeshua‘’s physical presence that Rabbis would walk the dusty roads near Jerusalem with many of their disciples following them wherever they went. At times during these short journeys their teacher would sit down on a flat rock and focus his attention directly at his disciples. It was during these moments that his followers would not only memorize his words but put them in the form of a song. Yeshua‘ was no different. To follow Him was imperative, but to stop, sit at His feet and drink in His words was intimacy. These were moments that were quite different from the ministry that Yeshua‘ had sent them forth to do. YHVH was with them when they went to the cities to speak of their Messiah, but not like He was when they met with Him face to face. Many times, the area of ministry is summed up in the five terms used in Ephesians 4:11: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. These general areas are also pictured, I believe, in the first veil being hung from five pillars rather than the four pillars of the inner veil. I believe this veil was torn or removed when Yeshua‘ sent those first twelve out to teach and to preach, i.e., to minister. No longer would the word of God be limited to the priestly system surrounding the temple. No longer would truth be limited to the weekly Torah and haftarah readings of the temple, but the kingdom of God would be preached to all men (Luke 16:16). It was not the message or instructions of the law and the prophets that ended, but rather the method by which YHVH ’Elohiym would proclaim His word. This is reiterated several times in the New Testament (Ivrim 1:1-2, Yochanan (John) 14:10, 12:49). There is a significant difference between a veil blinding the minds of those listening to the reading of the law and prophets (2 Corinthians 3:14) and the same reading with the veil removed. This veil is not the inner and outer veils of the tabernacle. It is not the law and the prophets that is taken away in 2 Corinthians 3:16, but the veil that blinded them to the focus of the law and prophets, the Messiah. This teaching is captured by Yeshua‘’s comments to the Jewish leaders in Yochanan 5:

Yochanan 5:39Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; but they are they that testify of me.

As we read on in 2 Corinthians 4:1-6, we find out that it is the "god of this world" that is responsible for the blinding of their minds, so that when they read the law and the prophets they cannot see its true purpose. When the light of the world comes and shines unto us, the veil is removed and we can see into the law and the prophets. This is also taught by Sha’ul in Acts 13, when, after the law and the prophets were read, he stood up to reveal to the rulers of the synagogue who they were reading about.

These two veils reveal to us the nature of what was changed by Yeshua‘. God's Torah, His instructions and commandments for life, light and holy living are now available to all who come to them. Jew and Gentile, male and female, master and slave, from kings to peasants, rich and poor. Next time we will enter the court, and discuss the brazen altar. Do not miss this one.

Shalom Alecheim!