Monday, July 25, 2011

The Significance of the Torn Veil

You could consider this as something of a Stitches in the Veil Part 2...

I honestly think that a lot of us who profess faith in Christ miss what was said here...

"...And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last. Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom..."

That may be the single most important event within the text of the books of the bible. In my opinion, it IS the single most important event. It changed everything. Up until that point, the entirety of all biblical books focused on the separation of man from God and the struggles of man, in futility, to overcome that separation or to outright ignore it. Everything in the Old Testament text is a stop-gap, a history lesson, a plethora of examples of the outcome of man's separation from God.

In his fallen state, man couldn't withstand God. God was literally confined to a box so his righteousness wouldn't destroy man. Only one individual, the High Priest, was given physical access to the Holy of Holies, where God dwelt, and only once a year. Otherwise, things like the Law were given to slow the separation - a stop-gap, as I said earlier. A limited number of prophets were given access to the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, no one would've been able to hear from God. God didn't reside within man. God couldn't reside within man.  

God didn't delight in the blood of rams and goats. Those things couldn't take away sin. God would only be satisfied with the ability to be within His people and live life, step by step, day by day, with them

When a sinless Christ was crucified, and HIS blood served as the conciliation, the separation became NO MORE.

When I hear people trot out Jeremiah 17:9 as proof that the heart is wicked and deceitful...

The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? me it's almost a concession that they've refused to accept the sacrificial act of Christ as complete and enough. They're content to live with a veil in place between them and God, content to live without the presence of the Holy Spirit inside of their heart, their "lav", their "inner parts/inner man". It's a paradox of monumental proportion to live with the belief that your heart is deceitful and desperately wicked while claiming genuine faith in Christ. It's also a woefully poor and inexcusably irresponsible handling of scriptural passages, using no discernment, making no attempt to rightfully divide.

Jeremiah 17:9 was written to a Holy Spirit-less people in a Holy Spirit-less time. If you claim Christ, if you live under a new and better covenant, you are not a Holy Spirit-less people.

I don't pretend to know why God has done some ("most" may be a better word) of the things He's done, why He's allowed man to do so many things, why He Himself instructed men to do things that I'd never, ever want to do or consider "right" and decent. I don't know. I have to look at life here through the lens of it being little more than a grain of sand within the known universe in the context of eternity - and apply appropriate weight to it through such a lens, understanding that most of my understanding is, and will continue to be, limited in this life. But, what I do know is this...

You can't claim Christ yet still cling to Holy Spirit-less elements and aspects of old covenant belief and expect to flourish spiritually. The Spirit of God either resides in your heart (your "lav", or inner man) or it doesn't, and if you still believe your heart to be wicked and deceitful, it's time for some serious, serious examination, and time for you to either drop some dead-weight and false teachings or to just let go of your claim to faith in Christ before you hurt others with it. A heart in which the Spirit of God has taken up residence is a beautiful thing to follow - and is never to be feared.

The veil has been torn. The separation has been mediated. Why would you keep trying to hide behind it? Why would you let a religiously addicted teacher - a man - again separate you from God and sew the veil back up?

ANY man or woman who places another man or woman between you and God, or who teaches the outright (even if unspoken) denial of the Holy Spirit within the heart of a anti-Christ in every possible way.

If your heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, you need to ask yourself what your heart might be lacking. It's not like provision hasn't been made.


  1. Good clarification of that quote. I appreciate it.

  2. YES. Thank you once again.

  3. Lewis, this is amazing. I was praying to God about what I felt about my heart to be wicked and how I didn't fully comprehend what Christ had done for us. I don't think anyone ever does. So, you're right, it's time for me to seriously examine my heart and my relationship with Christ.

    I never paid much attention to the veil. My focus was largely on the suffering of Christ, the way he called out, that made my heart ache. You brought an unique perspective to this verse!

    Thank you so much for writing about this. I felt like everything seems clearer from this perspective. I love it. I am going back to read your other posts on the Veil because I missed out! And I am so re-posting this on facebook.

  4. yes, exactly, you hit that nail on the head--I hope it is a nail in the coffin of christian legalism (especially the kind that doesn't think it is legalism).

  5. Galatians 3:23-24 "Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith."
    When in school, the teacher taught me what was correct and good, and by this, I was given light to see where I was incorrect and with the mirror of my teacher, I was able to make needed changes.
    Now, before I came to trust in Christ, I heard, saw and felt the old teacher-the law-I could see wrong/sins in me, but I was not able to make the changes needed in my own power. So, the law and its light upon my sins, brought me to conclude that I cannot make myself right in my own effort,leading me to Jesus.
    1 John 2:27 "As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit--just as it has taught you, remain in him."
    When we trust in Christ, we are given Holy Spirit, who writes Gods laws in our hearts, teaching and leading us into all the truth. (Heb. 8:10) The Spirit of Christ, then, becomes our new teacher, for the law will only show us we are condemned, but the work of the Spirit is sanctification.
    Even in Christ, with the benefit of the teaching of Holy Spirit, we still step wrong and falter, we still fall short of the glory of God, we are children who are learning, growing and maturing up into the likeness of Jesus Christ. Thank God Paul wrote Romans 7 and 8! Reminding us, though we are reborn of the Spirit, we still have an "old nature". It's the mature Christian who can look at their faults and know they are not condemned, for their faith is in Christ's work not in their own work. They've rested from the Laws tutoring and have come to abide in Christ, being sanctified by Holy Spirit, growing in the new inner man, putting forth the sweet fruits of the work of Holy Spirit in their character.

  6. I loved this, Lewis. I think the only part I may disagree on is the torn veil being THE most important event in Scripture. I believe that the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is THE most important event in Scripture, because without it, the veil would not have been torn. However, the torn veil is VERY important and has a whole lot of significance.

    When people try to throw Old Testament stuff at me to tell me how I am supposedly living wrong, they also tell me that the O.T. is Scripture, and therefore inspired, and therefore applicable to us today. When I ask them if they keep the commandments about not eating shellfish etc, they don't answer.

    I always explain how the Old Testament was for the Jews, and how now that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again, that we are now under the New Testament, the New Covenant if you will, which is an entirely different covenant, and is more focused on Jesus and the Holy Spirit as well as God. The O.T. is focused more on God, the New on the trinity. I'm not a Jew, I'm a Christian. Which means that I can learn things that are very profitable from the O.T. but that it wasn't written as instruction for me and how I need to live my life. I have the New Covenant for that.


    Katy-Anne: "When people try to throw Old Testament stuff at me to tell me how I am supposedly living wrong, they also tell me that the O.T. is Scripture, and therefore inspired, and therefore applicable to us today."

    Uh, I think you have some confusion here. The Law and the OT are not one and the same, although the Law was brought through part of the OT. They are separate, although the Old Covenant is described in the OT. OT is still alive and well, just as the Law is still alive and well. HOWEVER, the New Covenant that Jesus brought FULFILLED the Law (not abolished). Under the new covenant, all things are permissible but not all things are beneficial. :-)

    And those who bring condemnation to you are as flawed as Job's friends. They, by their actions, place themselves under the Law.

    Shellfish, regardless of the Law or the OT, is still not good for us. Neither is pork.

    And for the record, I avoid shellfish and pork... no thanks for garbage feeders.

    Most religious people act like they are under the old covenant while under the new, and by it, they show that they have not received the new. This means that our communication with them is impossible -- yet without understanding where we come from through the lens of the NT, we have an incomplete gospel and incomplete guide for life.

  8. Yay! Only today I was talking to a friend and saying how one thing most abusive theologies have in common, whatever their other differences may be, is that they major on telling their sheep that they are hopelessly sinful, and therefore can't trust their own heart-responses in any way at all. It's a guaranteed shortcut to keeping people disempowered.

  9. Lewis,

    I despise comments like semperfids (though I am sure he is a well-meaning brother in Christ who intended to clarify what he thinks is an obvious truth). The law is fulfilled in Christ, goes that thought, so that now by the power of the Holy Spirit we can finally KEEP THE LAW.

    Not according to the writer of Galatians, who said that those keeping the law were missing the grace of God completely. The writer of Hebrews points out that the covenant of God and the Jewish race begins with Abraham and faith, not Moses and the Law. And on the mount of tranfiguration, God the Father puts it all in perspective when Moses and Elijah are taken out of sight, only Jesus remains, and God declares, "THIS is my beloved son, listen to HIM."

    If keeping the law was in any way important to the faith, Jesus would have plainly said this. He didn't come to confuse people. He claims to be the Truth, and he said THIS is the law we are to keep: to love the Lord and love our neighbor as ourself. He then added Love your enemies, Love one another as I have loved you.

    As far as pork and shellfish, Jesus specifically said that everything a person eats is clean; what is unclean are the cruelties and selfishness that plagues humanity and have nothing to do with the digestive tract. Peters dream, which God gave him three times, also attests that the law of Moses is no longer in effect for believers. Nope. Nope. Nope.

    People who preach what you do always pick and choose what part of the Law they want to uphold. Do we still ostracize lepers? All they need are the right medications and the disease is totally curable. Do we still make women accused of adultery drink poison to prove their innocence or establish their guilt? What about the year of Jubilee? Are we to return all property to its original owner and start over every fifty years? Can we wear cloth made of two different fibers?

    Your disdain for pork and shellfish are a pretty flimsy foundation on which to lay the "fulfilled so we can now keep the law cause we're saved" doctrine. The apostle Paul never taught this, and in places where it popped up (people demanding circumcision and getting all worked up about where their neighbors bought their meat) he plainly taught that LOVE is the only law that believers need to be concerned about.

  10. I've realized a few months ago that the OT is meant to be fulfilled in the NT. Humanity has grown and the OT was as if humanity was a baby and a child with God trying to teach us. Society at that time was brutal and they didn't have a sense of justice and love. If someone accidently pushed someone else and he fell and broke his arm. The person wounded might have retaliated by killing. There is a situation of the sort in the OT. I just don't remember where or the exact Bible verse. The ten commandments was then a way for God to slowly teach humanity justice, fairnest and love. So the commandment of "an eye for an eye" is actually a start toward justice. It is fulfilled in the NT with many sayings such as where Jesus says that if someone hits you, turn the other cheek. The verse regarding divorce mentions this "progression".

    Christian society has also evolved since Jesus too. You can generally put the present world in 4 general societies, Muslim, Asian (New Age, Buddhismn ect), Atheist/Agnotist and Christian. As much as we wish to complain about Christianity, it is the christian societies as a whole that seem to give the most dignity, freedom and respect.

    If you take the big picture it seems that God is trying to bring us to live in and fill us with His divine love and life. To focus on the OT is to miss the boat as to why we still read it and to step back from God plans and to actually regress. We just need to think about the Christians that insist on worshiping on Saturday, having multiple wives, ect. We are not to live by the OT but to see it through the NT.
    Anyways these are my few thoughts


  11. > People who preach what you do always pick and choose what part of the Law they want to uphold.

    That's strong judgement from someone who does not know me. Instead of picking an argumentative tone and labelling me, try being nice and asking questions instead of casting stones.

  12. Shadowspring - This is Addy aka Adoration in some places, Semperfid is my DH ;)

    I don't think that's what he was saying at all. I've instituted a no pork and shellfish policy in our house from a nutritional stand point ONLY. Just like some don't eat certain things because of food allergies. I can't have gluten because it makes me sick. Shell fish and pork are known parasite carriers, that can make food absorption difficult for humans. I know this makes some friends in the south who love these things uncomfortable but it's our personal choice just like others choose to count calories. Giving up sugar last winter wasn't a throw back to legalism and I wasn't making others feel ashamed of eating sugar. It was a personal dietary choice.

    DH and I are not keeping the law of the OT just for the record, the blood of Jesus is sufficient.

    You might not despise his post if you read it and understood it. My husband can not stand people who keep the OT law or try to force it on others. So he is NOT a proponent of the "fulfilled so we can now keep the law cause we're saved" doctrine". When someone says "regardless" it means REGARDLESS this is a personal choice, not to be judged as "keeping" the law for an action that one chooses to do free of any legal compulsion.

  13. I don't think any of you guys are all that far apart on this, particularly on the essential elements.

  14. It is actually a huge theological difference, whether we are saved and no longer under law, or saved so that we can live by the law. I firmly believe the former; many others firmly believe the latter.

    This is the phrase that caught my ire:

    HOWEVER, the New Covenant that Jesus brought FULFILLED the Law (not abolished).

    I am dead to the law, and the law is dead to me. It is probably a bigger deal to me than most, as the elders of my mom's church came and made a religious ceremony of my mom kicking me out of her home, based on OT Law concerning "incorrigible" youth. These people were definite pickers and choosers, as are the vast majority of Christians who claim "the New Covenant that Jesus brought FULFILLED the Law (not abolished)."

    So that's where I am coming from. I do still despise that comment, though I plainly stated my good will to the poster (semperfid) in my opening statement.

    That good will remains, SS

  15. Shadowspring: Explain Matthew 5:17 and read the whole section.

    The reason I say that the Law is still active is for ONE reason and ONE reason only. Those who are not under grace, are under Law. You and I are under grace. Our parents... I have serious doubts about them.

    Yes, we are dead to the law -- and nowhere do I say that we are not! It has no power over us.

    Jesus called out the Pharisees for their biggest crime: twisting the Law for Power + Fear + Control. Because they did this and other people continued it, you are unable to see today what was intended in the OT.

    And because I do NOT pick and choose what I want to read, accept, or believe, that I recognize the existence of the OT and that legalists have twisted it to the point that many cannot see it as God intended. Law does not equal OT, and not all "law" is Law.

    What was intended to protect people and point to God's plan (Jesus) and point to salvation by grace which comes through faith... was twisted. King David *got it*. Lawmakers didn't.

    The Law has already been condemned. There are still consequences for murder, stealing, lying, incest, and drinking blood. Mixing dairy and meat or fruit and meat is scientifically less than the best, though sometimes tastes great. Handling dead bodies without washing hands doesn't make a person spiritually unclean, but a person could potentially spread disease if they don't wash.

    As for your comment about "flimsy" basis... I was writing a comment, not an essay. If I thought I needed to, I'd write a book. Didn't think someone who had received grace would willfully misinterpret me so badly.

  16. Quote:"semperfids (though I am sure he is a well-meaning brother in Christ who intended to clarify what he thinks is an obvious truth)...

    I plainly stated my good will to the poster (semperfid) in my opening statement.
    That good will remains, SS" :Unquote.

    I am not sure what more you want from me.

    I still disagree with you pretty widely on doctrine, but I don't really want to do battle with you on it.

    Again I propose peace and good will, SS