THE OLD TESTAMENT TABERNACLE
The Veil Before the Holy of Holies
Once again I would like to have you take a look at the floor-plan of the Old Testament Tabernacle and if you will, please notice the outer court. The entrance was on the east. We have considered the altar of burnt offering, a type of the crucified Christ; the laver, a type of baptism; the Holy Place, a type of the Church; the lampstand which signifies the Word of God, the only light in the Holy Place; the table of shewbread, a type of the Lord's Supper; and last lesson we considered the altar of incense, a type of prayer.
The Dividing Curtain
Now we want to consider the dividing curtain. In the Bible it's called a veil. The Hebrewsew word translated in German means "dividing curtain," because it divided the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. This veil is so very, very important that I want you to consider with me the veil at the entrance of the Holy of Holies.
The Holy of Holies itself was a very vital part because it signified the very presence of God. There was one piece of furniture in the Holy of Holies which was the ark of the covenant signifying the throne of God and therefore is a type of heaven.
The Dimensions of the Holy of Holies
We know that the overall dimensions of the tent was 15 x 45, divided into two rooms, the first room was 15 x 30 feet, the Holy Place, a type of the Church. The second room after the veil, ( Hebrews 9:2 calls it the second veil), after that second veil was the Holy of Holies which was 15' x 15' x 15'. Fifteen feet long, fifteen feet wide, and fifteen feet high, a cube. It was a gold room because the boards of acacia wood were overlaid with gold. They were fifteen feet high, stood on end, and were bound together with golden bars. Within the Holy of Holies was the altar or the ark of the covenant which we are going to be considering at a future time. In Revelation 21:1 6, it says,
And the city lieth four square, the length thereof is as great as the breadth. And he measured the city with a reed . . . furlongs . . ." And so on And so forth . . . "the city foursquare."
It seems that the room in the Tabernacle called the Holy of Holies, a cube, is representative of the city foursquare, that is, of heaven itself. Read this verse in the context of the 21st chapter of Revelationlation and you have a beautiful, wonderful description of heaven. It signifies the very presence of God which was the only light in the Holy of Holies. The only light in the Holy Place was the lampstand; the only light in the Church is the Bible. The only light in the Holy of Holies was the glory of God, and the only light in heaven, according to the 21st chapter of Revelation, is going to be the glory of God. Isn't that significant?
Let us consider the veil before the Holy of Holies. In Exodus 36:35 we read that it separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies.
And He made the veil of blue and purple and scarlet and fine-twined linen; [there are the four colors] with Cherubim, the work of a skilful workman made he it. And he made thereunto four pillars of acacia and overlaid them with gold; and their hooks were of gold; and he cast for them four sockets of silver.
This is the Bible description of that veil and of the pillars upon which it hung. The context speaks of another veil. The veil of verse 35 separated the veil of heaven, separated the two rooms. But then there was a veil, or a screen, at the entrance to the Holy Place. You remember that as they came in from the outer court, they went through the veil or through that screen. Here's the description of it:
And He made a screen for the door of the Tent of blue and purple and scarlet and fine-twined linen [exactly the same colors], the work of the embroidery and five pillars of it with the hooks, and he overlaid it with gold, and these five sockets were of brass.
This is talking about two different curtains. Hebrewsews 9:3 speaks of the second veil, and that's the one that we primarily want to think of at this time.
First, Its Four Pillars.
They were made out of acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold, and for a foundation set in sockets of silver. The four pillars might be representative of the four divisions of the New Testament. That is,
(1) the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John which tell of the coming of Christ;
(2) Acts, the book of history, which tells how to come into Christ;
(3) the epistles, Romans through Jude, which tell how to continue in Christ, how to live our lives in Him; and
(4) Revelationlation which tells that we shall be one day crowned with Christ. Our entrance into heaven is hung upon the entire New Testament.
Just One Verse Won't Work
A lot of people think that you can go to heaven on one verse, but I want to tell you that there is not one single verse in the Bible that contains the whole gospel truth. One verse is not enough, not even John 3:16. You must have the whole New Testament. Your salvation, your approach to God, your entrance into heaven is hung upon what is contained right here in this blessed Book, the New Testament.
The Materials of the Veil
I would have you take a look at the Holy Place, the most Holy Place, and this from a rear view of the Holy of Holies. This is from the west, the back wall is not in. It has been eliminated so that we can get a look into it. Notice the acacia wood overlaid with pure gold. The back wall likewise was overlaid with pure gold. It was a golden room. The veil was of four colors:
(1) blue signifying Jesus Christ come from heaven,
(2) purple signifying that He was royalty, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords;
(3) scarlet reference to His sacrifice, the blood that He shed for our salvation, and
(4) white indicating His purity.
But notice in this veil there were the cherubim that were interwoven, embroidered into that veil. Neighbor what might be the meaning of the cherubim themselves. If the veil represents the Lord Jesus Christ, then what might the cherubim represent?
The Meaning of the Cherubim
What's the significance of the cherubim? In Exodus 36:35 it states that this veil was to have cherubim in it. The outer veil was to be of the same color but it had no cherubim. This second veil had cherubim and that was not by accident. It was in the pattern that God gave, and so, what is the significance? Everything that you and I know about cherubim is from the Bible. They are heavenly creatures, angelic creatures and they serve a mission for God. What is significant about the cherubim that were interwoven into that veil? Since the veil signifies and pictures to us Jesus, it would be most appropriate that the angelic creatures should likewise be included because they were associated with the Lord Jesus Christ throughout all of His earthly ministry.
Angels at His Birth
You remember in Luke 1, the angel came to the virgin Mary and told her she was going to have a child. Then when Jesus was born, suddenly there appeared a great host of angels out on the hillside and sang to the shepherds, "Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, good will toward men."
Angels at the Temptations
When Jesus went through forty days of temptation, He was tempted sore; afterwards an angel came and comforted Him, according to Matthew 4:11. When Jesus was down on His knees in the Garden of Gethsemene, you recall that incident, and He prayed that the cup might pass from Him, nevertheless "not My will but Thine be done." Afterwards an angel came and ministered unto to him, according to Luke 22:43.
Angels at the Resurrection
Then at the resurrection you recall when Jesus came forth from the grave, who was there? There were two angels. They were there to greet the women when they came to the tomb, and the angel said, "Why seek ye the living among the dead?" Christ wasn't dead in the tomb, He was alive.
Angels at the Ascension
After the ascension you recall that Jesus was taken up and a cloud received Him out of their sight and the disciples were standing there gazing into heaven and there were two angels who came and said "This same Jesus that you have seen received up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye beheld Him going into heaven."
Angels at the Second Coming
And friend, at the coming of the Lord Jesus, when He shall again come, He is going to come with His holy angels, according to Matthew 25:41. And so, we have angels associated with Jesus throughout His entire sojourn. I am confident that they were with Him, that they accompanied Him every day of His earthly life, in every situation of His life, in every time, and in every trouble of His life.
The angels were there to minister unto Him and to comfort Him. What is the significance of the angels that were interwoven into that veil? I would like to say something more important, something more wonderful than the fact that they were associated with Jesus.
Angels With Adam
Do you know where it is that cherubim are first mentioned in the Bible? In Gen. 3 where sin was introduced into the world, with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. In Gen. 3:24, "So He drove out the man and He placed in the Garden of Eden the cherubim." This is the first mention of cherubim in the Bible and He placed there at the gate to the Garden of Eden the cherubim with a flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way unto the tree of life.
This was the first mention of the cherubim and the first responsibility was to guard the way, block the way so that no one could enter in. What is the significance of the cherubim being there on the veil that leads into the Holy of Holies? We know that men were privileged to be in the Holy Place daily, but no man could enter into the Holy of Holies except the high priest and that only once a year. The cherubim on the veil was a reminder to block men from entering through that veil into the Holy of Holies because if they did, they would be killed right on the spot. God would smite them dead.
Not a Contradiction
But, friend, do we not have a contradiction here? A paradox? If the veil represents Jesus Christ and He is our approach to God and if in the veil we have the cherubim to block our way to God, how is it that the veil signifies our approach to God and yet it signifies our blockage to God? Did God make a mistake? Is the pattern inaccurate? I don't think so because I want you to take your Bible and turn to Matt. 27:50 and here's the explanation. It is just absolutely gorgeous and beautiful. We read these words:
And Jesus then cried with a loud voice and yielded up His spirit" [that was while He was on the cross, right?] "and behold the veil of the temple" [which is also the Tabernacle] "was rent in two from the top unto the bottom.
That's rather significant isn't it? When did this happen? It happened the moment that Jesus Christ died on the cross. That veil before the Holy of Holies was ripped right down the middle when Jesus died. Jesus is our approach to God because he died for us. The veil was rent in two. How was it rent? Well, if man had done it, I imagine since it was 15 feet high, he'd have grabbed hold of it from the bottom and torn it apart. But inasmuch as it was rent from the top to the bottom signifies that it must have been the divine hand of God that tore that veil. What is significant about the veil being torn in two. Well, it signifies that the way into the Holy Place is now made open through the death of Jesus Christ. It was laid open through Him. I want to read to you from the Bible in Hebrews 10:19-20,
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by the way which He dedicated for us, a new and living way, through the veil, that is to say, through his flesh.
The Bible says the veil was His flesh. When His flesh was torn on the cross of Calvary, when He died, the veil was torn in two thus opening up the Holy Place, shoving aside the cherubim, or the blockage to God, making it possible now to approach God. Amen! Isn't that beautiful?
Please recall the floor plan of the Tabernacle. In the Holy Place we have those three articles of furniture, and then we have the Holy of Holies, the veil between the two. The Holy Place represents the Church and the only way into heaven is through the Church. It's not through the lodge. If God wanted to, He could have kicked a board out of the side of the Holy of Holies and instead of tearing the veil in two He could have said to the world, "Come on in." But He didn't. He tore the veil in two. It meant that men could enter in from the Holy Place, the Church, into heaven itself. In John 14:6, Jesus said
I am the way and the truth and the life; no one cometh unto the Father but by me.
How vitally important therefore that you believe in the crucified Christ and that you be baptized in the laver so that you can be in the Church and have the promise of one day of entering into heaven.