THE TWO VEILS
"And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last. And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom." Mark 15:37, 38
"Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, and are not as Moses, who used to put a veil over his face that the sons of Israel might not look intently at the end of what was fading away." II Corinthians 3:12, 13
These two veils represent for us the two main aspects of God's eternal purpose. The veil in the temple and the veil on the face of Moses only exist in the Old Covenant. In the New Covenant, they are removed. However, the sad fact remains that most Christians today are still living by the Old Covenant, and therefore, for them, the veils remain intact.
In order to see this, we must first understand the difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Then, we must see in what ways we are still living by the Old Covenant. And then finally, we need to see the way out of the old system and into freedom of the new and living way. (Heb. 10:20)
The Way of the Old Covenant
Even though everything we read in the Old Testament really happened and is recorded there for our benefit, we need to realize that it is all shadow, symbols, and types of what was to come. What the Old Covenant brings to us in shadow and type, the New brings to us in reality and fulfillment. The main relevance of the Old Covenant to us is that we can learn about the reality by looking at the shadow. There are many riches stored for us in those shadows.
The first thing we need to realize is that the Old Covenant was externally based. Everything happened on the outside of the believer. An external law was given to be obeyed externally. The ceremonial washing of hands is a good example of this. Jesus told the Pharisees that they washed their hands on the outside, but on the inside they were filled with all sorts of uncleanness. The Jews took the law and tried to obey it to the letter. Basically we are looking at a "book religion" here. Read the book, and then do what it says. Holiness and transformation are based upon how well you obey the rules. The problem was that no one could obey all of them. No one could be good, no not one.
The second main aspect of the Old Covenant is that there was no direct access to God. In a sense God was in a box! The Box was called the Ark of the Covenant. No one had access to the box except the high priest once per year when he would enter the holy of holies and perform sacrifices for the sins of the people. There was a veil separating the holy place from the holy of holies that contained the presence of God Himself. No one could pass through that veil except the high priest and he had to perform all kinds of rituals to prepare for that. Direct access by the people was restrictive and external.
Another aspect of the Old Covenant is that it was only temporary. Of course, this makes sense since it was the forerunner to the New Covenant fulfillment. This brings us to the second veil which is found on the face of Moses.
The New and Living Way
In the New Covenant we have the substance and fulfillment of all things that were shadowed in the Old.
Now, everything becomes internal. God comes to actually live inside of the believer. This is accomplished by something the scriptures call "spirit." God is Spirit and he puts a spirit into each one of us. Now when we receive the Lord Jesus Christ, He actually and literally comes to live in our spirits by means of His Spirit. The law is no longer an external set of rules that are written on stone tablets, they have all been fulfilled by a Person who has now come to indwell the believer. Now, it is the life of the Person inside the believer that fulfills every law, not the believer himself (Galatians 2:20).
Moses would go up the mountain to meet with God. Being in God's presence would somehow affect the face of Moses so that it would actually shine or glow. Paul called this "glow" glory, which in the original language means: brilliance, splendor, magnificence, excellence, and beauty. The "glory" of God shone (or was expressed) on the face of Moses whenever he would meet with God. However, this glory would fade from his face after a period of time. The glory was temporary because it was external. So we can see from this that the expression of God would only come through meeting with God. But in the Old Covenant, both the meeting (or fellowship) with God and the expression of God were only temporary because or their external nature.
Access to God has now become complete and intimate. The veil blocking the entrance to the holy of holies has been torn. But now, much more has taken place in our access to God than we could have ever imagined. Through Christ, our access to God is infinitely greater than under the Old Covenant. Not only can we be in His direct presence, now we can actually go inside of Him! Paul doesn't' speak of being in God's presence, he only talks about being "in Christ." The believer is now actually inside of his Lord! This is so much better than being in His presence. This is as intimate as you can get! When you are in the presence of someone you can only get to know them to a certain degree. The only way to completely know that person is to go inside of them to know their thoughts and feelings. That's intimacy! That's the New Covenant!
The expression of God' glory is now permanent because that glory resides internally. Fellowship with God happens in the spirit of the believer and the resulting outward expression is permanent. Paul said it this way: "Christ in you, the hope of glory!" We have no use for a veil because we know that glory will not fade.
Moving from One Covenant to Another
Like I said at the beginning of this article, most Christians today are still living as if in the Old Covenant. We are in the New Covenant, but we live out our lives as if we are under the Old. Please let me explain.
We practice our Christian faith, for the most part, in an external way. We feel that by using external means something will happen internally. Think about all of the things you are told to do to be a "good" Christian. Read the bible, pray, go to church, give, worship, witness, etc. Those things are essentially all external and are not to be the means or engine that drives your life. We are still a "book religion." We read the bible and then do what it ways. We hear the Pastor preach a sermon on Sunday and then we do what he says.
We get to know God by getting to know the bible better. We still view God as being outside of us up in heaven somewhere. We have no Christ-in-you consciousness. We believe that Christ lives in us but we don't live like it. In summary, we don't live the Christian life like Jesus did. He lived His life by an indwelling Father. We live our lives by "religious" activities. We go to church meetings hoping to "feel" the presence of the Lord. We are waiting for Him to arrive, but He is already inside of us! We are still living behind the veils!
Paul said that when someone turns to the Lord the veil is removed (II Cor. 3:16). Brothers and sisters, we need to learn how to turn to the Lord who lives in our spirits.