Opening the Curtain (Hebrews 10:19-20)

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;” (Hebrews 10:19–20, KJV 1900)

When I lived up in New Hampshire, one of the things I noticed was that in the summer, the sun would rise at 5:00 AM. That was way before I wanted to wake up. So, we put heavy curtains on the windows to keep things dark until the alarm went off. Yet, it was always nice to get up winter or summer and open the curtains and let the sun shine in. Perhaps it was even better in the winter when it was so cold outside to open the curtains and let the sun bring in its warmth. Opening the curtains removed the barrier that blocked the light.

The author of Hebrews here speaks of opening a curtain that was formerly closed. The veil to which he refers in the verse speaks of a curtain that separated man from our infinitely holy God. In the earthly Tabernacle, there was a veil or curtain that separated man from the holiest place. Behind the veil in the holiest place was the ark of the covenant upon which was the mercy seat. The holiest place represented the place where God manifested His glorious presence. According to the Mosaic law, no person could enter this place except the high priest, and he could only enter once per year on the Day of Atonement.

The earthly Tabernacle was a picture or foreshadowing of the holiest place in heaven. The veil in the earthly Tabernacle that separated people from the holiest place, represented an unseen barrier that separated people from the holiest place in heaven and the living God.

The writer of Hebrews now gives the Jewish readers great news. There is now a new and living way for people to enter the true holiest place in heaven. It still means entering through the veil, but it is not through an earthly manmade veil. It is through the veil of Christ’s flesh.

Something amazing happened when Jesus died on the cross. As His body was torn, so to speak, in death, “veil of the (earthly) temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom” (Matthew 27:51, KJV 1900). The curtain in the earthly Temple that represented the barrier that existed between people and God was torn in two. This pictured that the barrier that prevented people from entering the holiest place in heaven was removed. Now people could enter this place, but not by their own initiative. The way was opened by the torn body of Jesus and the only way to enter was through Him by faith.

You can imagine that the Jewish recipients of the letter, would have rejoiced in this news. They would have been familiar with the significance of the veil in the Temple. They knew the barrier that the veil represented to them. They likely heard that when Christ died, the veil in the Temple had been torn, opening access to the holiest place. Perhaps now they would understand the significance of Christ’s death in opening a new and living way to enter and have permanent access to the true holiest place in heaven.

We who believe should rejoice in knowing that Christ has provided the way to God for us. How wonderful it is to know that this was is not just a temporary provision for us. He has opened to us a permanent way to God through Him.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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