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The Veil is Torn
by Mary Kate Hipp
(Picture: Full scale model of inside tabernacle tent looking at the veil of the holy of holies.)
The most holy place according to Jewish tradition is the holy of holies within the temple/tabernacle. This space was a separate room guarded by a thick veil. It had little to no light and held the arc of the covenant built on Mt.Sinai. Only the high priest was allowed to enter the holy of holies once a year during Yom Kippur to atone for the nation's sins. Even then, in order to enter the holy of holies, the high priest had to first wash off his impurities in a large water basin outside the temple and atone for his own sins. On the day of atonement in Yom Kippur, the high priest would then enter the holy of holies with an abundance of incense. So much so that between the lack of light in the room and the incense burning, he could not even see the contents of the room (the arc).
In verse five, Isaiah is saying that he is unworthy of looking upon the Lord because of his uncleanliness, he has not been atoned for, he is surrounded by and covered in sin. Have you ever found yourself feeling as though you are unworthy of looking someone in the eye? Or too ashamed to look at someone in the eyes? This reminds me of when I was a kid and I got in trouble and could not look my parents in the eyes. I would fold my hands behind my back and look down at my shoes, ashamed I had let my parents down. Do you think this is how Isaiah would have felt looking at God, ashamed of what he had done as a fallen person? Likewise, is this how we would feel looking at the Lord face to face?
Well interestingly enough, the Lord has granted us this ability to enter into the holy of holies and look at the Lord face to face through the death of Christ Jesus. Matthew 27:51 says that when the Lord breathed His last, the veil, which guarded the holy of holies and separated everyone from the presence of the Lord, was torn in two. There was no longer a need for a high priest to make atonement for our sins habitually, the Lord had atoned for our sins once and for all. We were far more vindicated through the death of Christ than through any legalistic ritual and high priest. He tore the veil, let light into the holy of holies, atoned for our sins, washed us clean, and still looks us in the face and calls us children of God. The holy of holies has been made available to us all through Christ, hallelujah! Holy holy holy is the Lord God almighty! Throughout the last few weeks of this Lenten season give thanks to the Lord that we have no reason to be ashamed to look at the Lord for He has torn the veil!
(Picture: Full-scale tabernacle model in Timnah National Park in Eilat, Israel)
Try meditating on the lyrics of "Holy, Holy, Holy" and praising the Lord for tearing the veil and welcoming us into the holy of holies to be with Him face to face, unashamed!