Hebrews Lesson 135 September 4, 2008
NKJ Acts 4:12 "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
Open your Bibles to Exodus 26. We're continuing our study of the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle was one of the ways in which God communicated to the Israelites in the Old Testament about the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I don't know that I could actually prove this, but it is my belief the longer I study the Word that in the process and progress of revelation - God chose to reveal different aspects of His plan and different aspects related to salvation through a lot of different means and in the Old Testament. He does it through very concrete visual means. You have all of the different types. You have the physical, visible sacrifices. All these things are very concrete, easy to see, easy to understand. I think that one of the reasons for that is because in the layout and progression for God's plan for history in those dispensations of the Old Testament; there's no indwelling or filling of the Holy Spirit and so people do not have the Holy Spirit to help them understand the basic doctrines, the advanced doctrines of the Word. They can grasp certain basics apart from the Holy Spirit - things that are seen visibly, visually, things that are more concrete. But it's not until you get into the New Testament where you have much more abstract sophisticated developments of doctrine within the whole category of what we call the mystery doctrines of the Church Age - the special revelation that God gave especially through Paul and also through John and Peter, the primary writers of the New Testament…to understand these things you have to have the Holy Spirit.
Even with the Holy Spirit, Peter says at the end of I Peter (He commends the writings of Paul.),"Many things of which," Peter says, "are difficult for me to understand."
So if Peter, an apostle with the Holy Spirit finds Paul difficult to understand; if you didn't have the Holy Spirit, you just don't have a clue.
In the Old Testament you don't have anything comparable to that. But you do have an understanding that comes through the Holy Spirit to the prophets, the writers of Scripture and as Peter says they understood to a certain degree the things that they saw and the things that were revealed to them. The gospel was one of those things that they longed to understand, longed to look into. But they didn't understand the fullness of what they were writing even. They understood I think - in some things, they understood more than what we know that they understood. In other words, there was revelation that was in addition to what became inscripturated. For example, when you read about Abraham in Hebrews 11 it says that he understood that if he sacrificed Isaac that God would just raise him from the dead, which indicates that Abraham had a pretty sophisticated understanding of the doctrine of Resurrection.
But if you go back to read Moses' account in Genesis 22, there's no indication there at all that he understands resurrection. Resurrection isn't even mentioned in Genesis. So there is obviously revelation, information that was available to certain people in the Old Testament – Enoch who walked with God prior to the Noahic flood. He walked with God right off into heaven one day and never went through physical death. Abraham, Moses - I think there were a number of things that Moses understood that wasn't put into Scripture. But he had a clear grasp of certain doctrines. But these were also men who had the Holy Spirit who was revealing things to them. There were things revealed to Daniel that Daniel was told not to write down, to shut up. They wouldn't be understood until the end times. Same thing with John when he writes Revelation - there are some things that he is not supposed to write down. So there were clearly some things revealed to them, that they understood but that were not part of the full corpus of knowledge that was available to every believer in the Old Testament. But when they did write, they didn't fully comprehend or understand the full implications of what they said.
For a lot of people that's hard to understand. They think, "Wow, with everything that Paul understood, what do you mean we understand some things better than Paul did?"
Just think about the concept of the trinity. Most of you - if you've been a believer since you were 6 or 7 or 8 years old like I have or since you were in high school - you've heard the trinity. If you grew up in some sort of church that had a little ritual to it and you recited the Apostle's Creed or Nicene Creed or something like that, you understood the trinity. You've heard the term "trinity" all your life. You drive around Texas. You'll see developments by Trinity Corporation. This word is just part of the vocabulary of almost any 20th century American whether they understand the Christian doctrine or no.
But Paul didn't have that vocabulary word. He understands the trinity to a certain degree He doesn't not believe what we believe; but he doesn't even have the precision of our vocabulary that's developed in subsequent generations to express, synthesize, summarize that which he communicates. That's part of the growth of the church. The Doctrine of the Trinity is all through Paul's writings. I'm not saying it's not. But he doesn't have the tight vocabulary and definitions that are developed on the basis of what he says.
So it's interesting just to look at this and think about how God reveals things so that at different eras and different dispensations people understood things. There's that progression.
We come to today and Jesus said, "Of whom much is given, much is expected."
The modern church today, the contemporary church has more available to it. There are so many things that are available and in print (both good and bad.) There are people like Bob Pritchard who's the president of Logos whose life ambition (He's a young guy. He's about 30, 31). His life ambition is to (actually it's not even his life ambition) - by I think 2030 he wants to have every book (Christian book) that's ever been written to be on computer. That's just a phenomenal thing – to think about that, that I might even live long enough to see that. Just unbelievable!
They have teams of men (volunteers and paid students) that they have hired at different seminaries around the country. Somebody invented for them – it's like a Xerox machine (scanner, whatever) and all you do is take these old books and you know what these old books look like printed in 1850 or 1640 and you set those into the machine. The machine swallows it into its innards, opens it and gently turns each page and scans the whole book and then puts it back out. So they're paying teams of seminary students at libraries all across the US and Europe and England to take books and go through this process. It blows your mind what they're trying to accomplish here in getting all this stuff in print. Everything printed before 1923 is public domain. So that's there project right now – is to get everything printed before, published before 1923 to get that into an electronic format. The data that we have in front of us is just unbelievable.
And the ignorance is just – you just can't fathom the biblical illiteracy and the theological ignorance that's out there today. I think that's an irony of God's plan that we live in an era when there is so much available, so much biblical truth available on the internet – dozens, hundreds of pastors teaching solid stuff, have it out on the internet – free, paid for, whatever. Yet there is just unbelievable dearth of desire. People don't want to know. They sit in churches.
I know pastors who sit in church say, "You know, I just keep hearing this from certain vocal minority in the church that I'm too deep. I talk about Greek and Hebrew too much. Even when I don't even talk about it, I talk about it too much."
This is happening more and more. It's just – I think that's part of God's - the way in which God shows the failure of a generation - is by giving them more truth and they reject it even more.
Well, we're getting aside from our main topic here, the Tabernacle. God in the progress of revelation gave all these events, people, various objects of ritual to teach in very concrete ways key doctrinal principles and realities and key things about the person and work of Christ within the Tabernacle as we have seen. We've looked at various pictures and portraits of the Tabernacle as it would have appeared in the ancient world. We've gone through the outer courtyard, the brazen altar, the laver, and then into the Holy of Holies itself. We've come to the outer room in the Tabernacle itself, the dwelling place of God. In the outer room we've seen that there are these three pieces of furniture each of which says something about the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
On the left (which would be on the south side) was the golden menorah, straight ahead the altar of incense and on the right the table of showbread. The golden menorah pictures Christ as the light of the world that He is the… When John comes - if you notice a lot of the verses that I've gone to in the New Testament to depict these truths, come out of the Gospel of John. John has a lot to do – the imagery in the Gospel of John has a lot to do with the Tabernacle and the Temple. But, when we begin at the beginning of the Gospel of John:
NKJ John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Word is that aspect of communication and enlightenment. This is the role of the Second Person of the Trinity to reveal who God is to the people. So the golden menorah depicts Christ as the light of the world, the one who shines forth in the darkness.
Then we looked at the table of showbread which pictures Christ as the bread of life, just as the Word of God, the written Word of God, is described as bread. In Deuteronomy:
NKJ Deuteronomy 8:3 "So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.
…quoted by Jesus in Matthew 4:4.
NKJ Matthew 4:4 But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.' "
Christ as the living Word is also a source of spiritual sustenance. We're to eat His body, drink His blood which as we saw when I studied that as a metaphor for the fact that we are to appropriate who He is and what He did into us. We are to believe it, to accept it, make it part of us. That's the imagery behind eating.
Then last time we looked at the altar of incense which is a picture of Christ as our intercessor. He is the one who stands before the Father. He is the one who prays for us. We looked at John 17 as John 17 is the true Lord's Prayer in the New Testament (Christ's high priestly prayer) on the night just before He goes to the cross and as part of the whole - what's called the Upper Room Discourse even though all of it does not take place in the Upper Room. It begins there where they're celebrating Passover - the Upper Room immediately in John 13, John 14. Then as they leave to go on the way to the Garden of Gethsemane, on the way He prays in John 17 - comes to the Garden of Gethsemane. All of that section from John 13 to John 17 is designed to communicate Church Age truth to the disciples in preparation for Jesus' eventual ascension.
So tonight we come to the next thing, the next article of furniture in the holy place that separates (divides) the holy place (the outer room) from the inner room (the inner sanctum, the Holy of Holies). That is the veil, which depicts Christ as our mediator.
As we look at this we have a picture here taken from what previously was a model that was set up out in the southern Judean desert of the Tabernacle in Israel. We see the pictures of the veil as it hung so that no one would see into, no one could go into the presence of God.
As we think about what is described in Exodus, there are three sets of curtains that are involved with the Tabernacle. There is the outer set of curtains which forms the outer wall which prevents anyone from entering into the Tabernacle itself, except through the one entrance. So there are the curtains that surround the outer courtyard.
Then there's a second curtain and that's the curtain that hangs on the outside separating the outer courtyard from the inner holy place. Then there is the third curtain, the curtain that separates the holy place from the Holy of Holies.
Each of these curtains indicates and reinforces the idea that God is completely separated from man. That is the emphasis here is God is unique. He is different from man. He is set apart from man. He can only be reached if you come to Him on God's terms. The point is that God is unapproachable except on His terms. He has the right to determine the basis by which people can come into His presence, the basis by which people can have a relationship with Him. So the idea of these curtains is the idea of separation, the idea of keeping God at a distance because there is something that separates God from man, something that prevents men from being able to have immediate access into His presence.
This is related to the basic idea of the meaning of the word that is translated veil. Sometimes it's even translated curtain. It's the Hebrew word paroket. It refers to this curtain in front of the most holy place. A different word is used in the Hebrew to refer to the other curtains, the curtain that's the outer entry into the holy place. The curtains that hang outside the courtyard are referred to by a different word. That word is the Hebrew word kella (sp?). So this word is a distinct word emphasizing this one curtain that separates the holy place from the Holy of Holies. It's used 15 times and its etymological root has the idea of that which shuts off, that which separates. So the very word that's used here emphasizes God being separate and distinct from people.
Now if you look at the descriptions in Exodus 26:31-35 as well as Exodus 36:35-38, this veil was to be woven in the same way with the same colors as the outer curtains. Just like the other curtains, it was to have images of cherubs embroidered on it. Cherubs were one of the highest orders of angels that are always associated with the presence of God and with His holiness, His righteousness and His justice. So you have this idea of God's holiness, His uniqueness, His distinctiveness once again reinforced in the imagery of the curtains.
There were three colors that were used in the veil. The first color is a blue color; a second color was a scarlet color; a third color was kind of a purple color. Then there was a white color. Each of these indicates and emphasizes a different aspect or different dimension about the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When we look at these colors, the first color that we're going to look at is the color white from the linen itself. This was the finest kind of linen that has ever been made by human beings. It was a type of very fine Egyptians linen that only the extremely wealthy could afford. Only the highest in the royal family, the wealthiest Egyptians could afford this particular kind of linen. It was a very white linen. White of course in Scripture is a picture of purity and righteousness. So the white depicts the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Isaiah in Isaiah 53 says, "He who knew no sin was made sin for us."
Paul reinforces that in Romans 8. So this idea is that Jesus is absolutely perfect. He is impeccable and there is no sin in Him.
The second color that is emphasized here is the color - sometimes it's blue, sometimes it's kind of a purplish color. It's translated different ways in different translations. It's the Hebrew word tekelet and it's a kind of bluish purple and it represents heaven as the dwelling place of God and the place from whence the Lord Jesus Christ came. He originated in heaven. He spent eternity as the Second Person of the Trinity, the eternal Son of God, prior to the incarnation. So it speaks of heaven as the origin, as the home of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The third color that's mentioned is the color argaman in the Hebrew, which is also translated purple. It can be confusing in the English because the first word tekelet can also be translated sometimes as purple because it's a bluish purple and aragaman is more of a reddish purple. This was a color that depicted royalty, a color that depicted royalty. It was a very special dye that was extremely expensive. It was made from the secretions of a sea snail, the murex trunculus, and it took 250,000 mollusks to make one ounce of the dye. So that took a tremendous amount of man hours to do that plus just in collecting all of them not to mention collecting all of the secretions, mixing them, preparing them and then dying the fabric with that. These snails were harvested only during the fall and winter. In the spring when egg laying took place, there was little dye that was available. They tended to remain concealed during the summer and in the warmer months, so they're only available in the winter months.
Lydia in the New Testament is called a seller of purple. This was her commercial enterprise and you would think because it is such an expensive dye that this was a very profitable business to be in.
The Lord prescribed this purple to be used in the curtains hanging outside the courtyard, the curtains hanging outside the holy place as well as the veil within the holy place. It's also used in the garments of the High Priest. So it indicated that this was something that was very special.
When we get to the High Priest and what the High Priest wore - this guy was just unbelievable. When you look at the clothing and the dyes and the fabrics that made up the garments of the High Priest, this is the most impressively dressed individual in the ancient world. The average person didn't have, couldn't afford to have clothes with these kinds of colors. They just had a very narrow range of colors.
It sort of reminds me of back in 1994 when I first went into the former Soviet Union and went to Moscow. We were met in Moscow. The first thing we did because they have to show American this – we had to go to the first McDonald's that was ever built in Moscow. About the only time I'll ever go to McDonalds is in a foreign country like that. But we took the metro down there and then we had to get off and walk about a mile to get there. And about every city block – this is like in New York. Just imagine New York City like this or some other large eastern city where you think of a lot of life – you know, urban. Not Houston, Houston turns the lights off downtown at 6 o'clock at night. These are very populated, urban centers. There would only be one street light on in each block. It was very dim, no signs, no billboards, no flashing lights, no signs advertising restaurants or hotels or anything like that. So it's just very, very dark and the people all wore black or gray or dingy white.
I remember. If you want to hear a funny story sometime when the Myers are back here, ask Phyllis what it was like washing clothes when they were over there. About the 5th week of being there everything was sort of a dingy white. As soon as they got back to the West and washed everything, "Wow, that's really a white shirt isn't it?"
So everybody dressed like that. It was like going from Technicolor to a black-and-white movie. I remember taking the overnight train to Modulo and getting off at the train station and another train station had come in from Minsk from the west and was parked on the other side of the station and still had their big front spotlight on so that everything in the station was cast in relief. I immediately thought of all those movies you see about World War II and the Nazis and people being herded off the trains. Everything's in black and white. Then when I left after two weeks you think there is no color left in the world. You fly back and you get off the airplane in Amsterdam or London or someplace like that and it's like somebody turned on a rainbow. I remember I had an overnight delay in Amsterdam and you're coming off of the airplane and on the way to the hotel. It was right near downtown and I went out and I felt like somebody right off the farm seeing a city for the first time, walking down the streets, and all the street lights were on and there're people everywhere. There's noise and there're signs and flashing lights. I had to close my mouth.
Well, that gives you something of an idea of what it must have been like in the ancient world to see these colors. This was not in their normal day-to-day experience. They didn't have high definition color TV or color screens or all the colors we have when we go to the store. So we read these colors and we're not as impressed with this as they were. This was just amazing to them to see all of these beautiful, brilliant colors with these extremely rare and expensive dyes.
So the reddish purple speaks of royalty. Then the red dye – the "red" actually used two different words. There's the word sani which refers to a scarlet red, a bright red that had a touch of orange – an orangish red. And then there was the tola red which was a crimson. This is usually translated crimson and this is a – the tola is a noun, means worm. It referred to a kind of worm that was taken, collected and then it was crushed in order get the coloring for the crimson dye. It was of such an intensity and permanence that once it got into the fabric you couldn't get it out. So this is used often to describe sin because sin is such a permanent stain on the human soul that it's a perfect analogy. This is a stain that can't be easily removed or easily washed out. This is the word that's used in Isaiah 1:18.
The Lord says:
NKJ Isaiah 1:18 " Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.
So this is the depiction here of the crimson speaking of sin as does the scarlet. The purple speaks of royalty. The bluish-purple speaks of heaven. So, all of these were woven together in just a brilliant, brilliant material that had no comparison in the ancient world.
Remember the artisans, the craftsmen, the silversmiths, the goldsmiths, the jewels, the seamstresses; all of these people were given a skill (Chokmah is the Hebrew word)—also means wisdom. They were given a special skill (at what they were doing) by God the Holy Spirit so what they produced in terms of its artistry and its beauty was just unique in the ancient world, unsurpassed.
These models that we make today give us some idea but I'm convinced from reading through the text and understanding the role of the Holy Spirit in this that we can't even duplicate this. This was to mark off the dwelling place of the God who created the heavens and the earth and to demonstrate His uniqueness and His distinctiveness and the veils and the curtains especially were designed to indicate that He is completely unapproachable accept on His terms.
Now when we come to the veil itself, and it's just the basic architecture of the veil, it was hung from a frame that existed in the doorway to the inner Holy of Holies. It was hung from gold hooks that were supported by these four pillars of acacia wood that in turn were covered in pure gold.
So we have the depiction here from the model. These four pillars of acacia wood covered with gold again are a picture of the hypostatic union, the union of undiminished deity with the true humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. The acacia wood again reinforcing the idea of the impeccability of the Lord Jesus Christ - a hard dense wood that took a long time before any sort of rot or corruption entered into it. Then of course here they don't have cherubs embroidered into the veil but that was the biblical description.
They had an understanding through revelation of what the cherubs looked like. There were different uses of cherubs in the ancient world. The Egyptians had their view of these kinds of animals like the Sphinx. These depictions of creatures with human bodies and lion's head or eagle's heads or things like that are somewhat reminiscent of the picture that we have of cherubs in Ezekiel 10 that they have the face of an ox, the face of a man, the face of an eagle, and face of a lion. These depictions that we have that come down often in mythology are simply pale remembrances and distorted remembrances of these actual creatures. So they had these creatures embroidered there as if they are standing guard.
If you remember after Adam and Eve sinned in the garden as they are being expelled by God from the garden, God setup cherubim in the plural which means there was a host of these, an army of these cherubs that surrounded the Garden of Eden and each had a flaming sword. Sword in the Scripture always depicts the power over life and the power to and the ability to take life so that if anyone were to try to enter into the Garden of Eden after the fall, these cherubs were authorized to immediately execute that individual. They were not to have access to the Tree of Life.
You see the same kind of thing in the Tabernacle and the Temple that no one was allowed to come into the presence of God. If they did (if they tried, we saw this last week with Nadab and Abihu, two of Aaron's sons) - that if they had tried to access God in an unauthorized way; then they immediately lost their life.
We think of the episode that occurred with David in 2 Samuel 6 as he is bringing the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem. As he's bringing the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem, it's on a cart. They hit a bump in the road and the cart sort of jostles a bit. One of the men sticks out his hand to stabilize God. God doesn't need man to help stabilize Him. He instantly is killed. Uzzah dies instantly because he violates that presence of God.
NKJ 2 Samuel 6:7 Then the anger of the LORD was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his error; and he died there by the ark of God.
So we see this theme that runs all the way through Scripture that God is totally distinct and totally separate and we can only come to God on His terms. That's on the basis of a blood sacrifice, that substitutionary atonement that's depicted through the various sacrifices at the brazen altar, all of which picture the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ on the cross which is why Jesus can say:
NKJ John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
He is the veil and you can't enter except by Him. You can't enter apart from His death. I Timothy 2:5 says:
NKJ 1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
He is the only way. A mediator is the go-between and He can be the go-between because He partakes of humanity on one side and deity on the other. So there is only one mediator. That's the picture of the veil.
Now we don't know much more about the veil that hung in the Tabernacle. We come to Solomon's Temple it appears that there is a doorway, a gate type doorway, that stands between the holy place and the Holy of Holies and we're not sure whether the veil in Solomon's Temple was inside or outside of that doorway. The rabbis have a lot of discussions about this in the Talmud in Yoma 51.
According to Maimonides (who is also known by one of those wonderful little nicknames that the Jews give the rabbis down through the Middle Ages) is known as Rambam for Rabbi Moses Ben Maimonides. It's sort of a shortening the name. You have Rambam and Rashi and Ramban and a number of other different names for these rabbis. But Maimonides said that there was no wall between the holy place and the Holy of Holies. There's a lot of debate among the rabbis that there was a space of 18 inches where the veil was hung. So it's hung in the midst of the wall. That was his conclusion. So nobody actually knows exactly what that was like because we have no data on it in the Scriptures and no information from archeology. Nothing is left of the first temple or Solomon's Temple.
In Herod's Temple they had a phenomenal veil that hung in that Temple. The veils were 60' long and 30' wide. It was said that they were woven so thickly that they were the breadth of a man's hand. That's how thick the fabric was. So that's approximately 4 to 5 inches. It was made of 72 squares that were sewn together. This made the veil so heavy that according to the Talmud it took 300 priests to hang the veil. This was a mammoth veil hanging there and you think about how thick it was and how tightly it was woven. This is the veil that was split from top to bottom at that time when the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified when He was dying on the cross between 12 noon and 3 pm.
In Matthew 27:51 we read:
NKJ Matthew 27:51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,
…to indicate that access to God is now open - that Jesus Christ's death on the cross opens the way.
He said, "I am the door" in the Gospel of John. He is the veil. He is that entryway into the presence of God. This is not something that could have happened by men. Men could not tear it even from the bottom. If men were to do it because of its height at 60 feet in height, it would take a large number of men to enter into the holy place and to bring this about. So the only way it could happen is through a miraculous event caused by God.
Now speaking of Herod's Temple what's interesting is that on the inside of the Holy of Holies (We will get to this next week.), you had the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant was a box made of acacia wood covered in gold and it had a lid on the box that had two cherubs on it which of course also depict the holiness of God. These cherubs are looking down at the top of the lid, which was called the Mercy Seat. It was the role of the priest, the high priest, every year on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) for the priest to come in and to put blood on the Mercy Seat. It is a picture of the covering of sin, the payment for sin.
Inside the Ark of the Covenant there were three things. There was manna picturing God's provision of food, nourishment, sustenance physically which was rejected by Israel. They gripped and complained about that. There was Aaron's rod that budded which was the event related to a rebellion against Aaron's leadership. Then there was the 10 Commandments which they broke, violated right off the bat when they had Aaron build the golden calf. So those depicted key events in Israel's history.
So the priest was to come in and put the blood there on the Mercy Seat. But prior to the Babylonian captivity (the invasion by Nebuchadnezzar where they destroyed the first Temple in 586), the Ark of the Covenant disappeared. Where did it go? (Well, maybe it was found in the Raiders of the Lost Ark. It's probably sitting in a warehouse somewhere.) But, we will get into that and the theories on that next time when we get into the Ark of the Covenant.
But, the Ark disappeared at that point. So when they came back after the exile and rebuilt the temple the Second Temple (Zerubbabel's Temple) which was dedicated in 516, there was no Ark of the Covenant inside the Holy of Holies. But the priest still would go into the Holy of Holies every year at Yom Kippur and bring blood from the sacrifice there. According to Josephus and according to the Talmud, what the High Priest would do is he would actually enter into the Holy of Holies three times during that day. First he would come in carrying a censer of hot coals in one hand, incense in another. The coals would come from the brazen altar and the light from the coals (the burning coals) would give off enough light so that he could see the room itself and see what he was doing. Then he would take the incense and he would put this upon the coals. As it began to burn, clouds would fill the Holy of Holies much like the cloud associated with the presence of God had filled the Holy of Holies in the First Temple.
The Ark was gone so he would come back in a second time. He would bring the blood of a freshly sacrificed bull. He would enter the Holy of Holies and he would sprinkle blood - splatter blood up once in the air and then 7 times down on the ground. Then he would go out and take a male goat that was sacrificed - come in a third time and he would offer in the same way he did the blood of the bull. But there was no Ark of the Covenant there. So they carried on that ritual up until the destruction of the Second Temple in AD 70.
Now the veil itself as I pointed out depicts the person of the Lord Jesus Christ as our mediator. The veil hid the glory of God from the people just as the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ hid or veiled the glory of God during His carnation.
Turn with me to Philippians 2. Philippians 2 is a great passage on the hypostatic union beginning in verse 5. This is a passage that is familiar to most of you. I'm not going to go through a detailed explanation of it. We're just going to hit the high points. What Paul is saying in these verses from 5 through 11 is to give a practical illustration that people can get a hold of in order to understand the concept of humility.
Now what always boggles my mind is that in so many churches today even doctrinal churches (I get these stories from pastors as I alluded to earlier) is that they want stories -but they want stories kind of like the stories I was telling earlier - not stories that come out of the Bible. They want a little entertainment and they want to be made to feel good and feel all upbeat and they don't want technical or detailed.
It has always amazed me. I think one of the first Bible studies I ever put together when I was in seminary to take a sort of canned message to take around when I did pulpit fill and candidating was based on these first 11 verses. Paul starts off talking about humility in verses 1 through 4 and what that is. And then having challenged the Philippian congregation to live in a manner of genuine humility, he gives them an example of this attitude. The example that he gives isn't one of these little trivial entertaining examples that you get from most homoleticians today. This is one of the most profound examples you will ever find anywhere. If Paul was going to tell you how to fix your car, he would start at the throne of God and he would go all the way through.
That's one thing I appreciate. We are going to show this Jesus film for family night at the end of September. One thing I appreciate about it, it's the Gospel of Luke but it starts in the garden. It starts with God's creation of man. It doesn't start with Jesus showing up in Bethlehem with His birth. It starts with the creation because if you don't understand the creation and the fall as we've covered so many times, if you don't understand the Old Testament in some sense; then Jesus showing up in Bethlehem doesn't make any sense. It doesn't have any context.
So Paul starts off talking about:
NKJ Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
NKJ Philippians 2:6 who, being in the form of God,
…being in the morphe of God, the form of God. That indicates the essence of God - that word morphe.
…which is one of the great verses to emphasize His true deity, His undiminished deity.
did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
That's the King James translation. He didn't consider equality with God something to be grasped after or hold onto such as Eve was grasping for it through the fruit.
Satan said to the serpent, "If you eat it, you'll be like God."
So she is grabbing for deity. Jesus who is deity doesn't feel like deity was something to be grabbed after.
NKJ Philippians 2:7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form
of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
So Paul is going to teach about humility. He's going to delve right into one of the most complicated explanations of the hypostatic union anywhere.
So people get the idea that "Well, we just don't want anything very complicated."
They need to take Romans to Philemon and just take a razor blade - cut it out of their Bible. They might as well take care of Hebrews at the same time. Not that Paul wrote it, but it's difficult.
NKJ Philippians 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
This is the incarnation. This is one of the greatest passages on the incarnation in all of the Scripture. So that's what is depicted here in the veil is the veil hides the glory of God. When Jesus, the eternal second person of the Trinity is incarnate, His eternal attributes are veiled as it were so that when people looked at Him they just saw an everyday baby. He didn't look any different from any other baby. When He was a little boy He running around Nazareth, He didn't look any different from the other boys running around Nazareth. He'd come in and He'd have dirt on His face and dirty feet and everything else because He was a true human being. As He grew up He didn't appear to be any different from anybody else.
As Isaiah says there was no comeliness in Him. There was nothing in His physical features that set Him apart as being distinct. He didn't look like Charlton Heston or any of the Hollywood stars that have been chosen along the way to sort of depict Jesus because they had some feature that stood out or made it look like they were really looking into heaven whenever they looked anywhere or some of the silly things that you see in some of the films. But Jesus veils that. That's the idea there that He was found in appearance as a man. He takes on humanity.
So this is the kenosis passage here that talks the fact not that He gave up deity; but that He willingly limits His divine attributes, veils His glory. The only time it's seen on a couple of occasions on the Mount of Transfiguration. His glory is revealed to Peter and James and John. Then there is that one moment in the Garden of Gethsemane when the Roman soldiers reach for Him. There is this flash. All the soldiers fall down on the ground. There is this instant where that glory breaks forth. Then everything is just normal. They probably went home scratching their heads about that. But this is the idea of the veil. The tearing of the veil depicts the opening up of the way to Jesus.
Now if you turn over a couple of books to I Timothy 2:5.
NKJ 1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
NKJ 1 Timothy 2:6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,
So it is when He makes that purchase, He pays the price of a substitute that the veil then can be ripped from top to bottom opening up the way to God because the price is paid. But before people can get saved they have to trust in Jesus Christ. They have to believe in Him because they are still spiritually dead. They still lack eternal life and they still lack the kind of righteousness that God requires.
Now let's connect this to one more passage before we finish tonight. Keep going towards the end of your Bibles to Hebrews 10 – Hebrews 10. Remember we've been in this study since the first of May. We've had a few diversions along the way, missed a few weeks but we started off with Hebrews 9 taking a diversion to understand all of the intricacies of the Tabernacle so that Hebrews 9 would make more sense to us as we go through it. But when we come to the end of this particular section, which began in chapter 7 and extends through chapter 10, when we come to 10:20 once again we come back to this imagery of the veil and the removal of the veil.
Verse 19 says:
NKJ Hebrews 10:19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,
20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,
That is the veil depicts - this isn't flesh used like the sin nature - Jesus Christ in His person as the veil - makes that connection. He is the one that opens the way.
21 and having a High Priest over the house of God,
22 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.
So we saw that same imagery of the cleansing, the water, the washing with the laver outside of the Tabernacle, outside the tent of meeting when we covered that. So we see all this imagery connected there and tied together that the work of Christ is to breach the opening to God so that He opens the way. He is the only way to God. There is no other way to God. It's that exclusivity of the Christian claim that just drives the world nuts because they want to think that they have the right to dictate to God the terms on which they can come into His presence.
But the imagery that we get in the Scripture from the fact that there is only one door to get onto the Ark, there is only one ark to escape the flood, there's only one Tabernacle, one presence of God, one way to enter. Everybody has to enter on the basis of the prescriptions of blood sacrifice, the cleansing at the altar. It has to be the right fire that is brought in from the brazen altar into the Holy of Holies for the altar of incense. If any of this is violated, then you can't come into the presence of God. The only way we can come into the presence of God is on the terms that He has set forth because He understands what the real problem is which is sin that has separated man from God. Only God is the one who can correctly and fully solve the problem of sin. So all of these different elements in the Tabernacle depict these different facets of that solution to the sin problem. It's not a simple problem.
That's why it drives me crazy when I talk to people who don't believe in eternal security and think you can believe one day and get salvation and do something the next day and lose your salvation. You have such a superficial view of what sin is and what the problem is. You have a very superficial idea of what the solution is. The solution is so complex. There are so many different facets to the solution of our salvation that we ought to just stand with our mouths open in awe as we contemplate this. It's all yet done in such a way that is so simple that a 3 year old or 4 year old 5 year old can express faith in Jesus Christ and have salvation. Yet all the theologians in 2,000 years of history still wrestle with trying to articulate and explain all the dimensions of this salvation.
Let's bow our heads in closing prayer.