Entering into the Presence of God

In Matthew’s account of the crucifixion, we read this: “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.  And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom…” (Matthew 27:50-51a NASB) The veil of the temple was a large, thick curtain that physically separated the “holy of holies” from the rest of the temple.  The holy of holies was the innermost sanctuary of the temple.  Our Almighty God, Himself, filled the holy of holies with His presence and glory as He appeared in a cloud above the mercy seat on top of the ark of the covenant.  The veil served a very important purpose and signified something we need to understand:  God is Holy!  You cannot come casually into His presence in whatever way you please!  Only the high priest could go behind the veil, only once per year, and only after taking the blood of goats and calves which he would offer for his own sins and the sins of the people. If the high priest entered behind the veil without first being consecrated, as God prescribed, He would surely die (Leviticus 16:1-2).  No one can come into the presence of God without first being made holy. 

What a shock it must have been to the people of that day when the veil was torn in two from top to bottom.  Why did this happen?  What did it have to do with the death of Jesus?  There is profound significance in the tearing of the veil, as we are told in Hebrews chapter 10: “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh…” (Hebrews 10:19-20 NASB).  The tearing of the veil signified that you and I can go into the very presence of our Holy God with confidence.  We can enter the true throne room of God in Heaven!   There is no longer any separation between Him and us!  We can draw near to Him!  This is all because of the blood of Jesus.  God made the way for us to come into His presence through the death of Jesus.

We need to understand that when the church assembles together for worship, we are entering into the presence of our Almighty God.  Have you considered this fact?  How should we respond to this spiritual reality?  “Let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28-29 NASB)     

—Scott Colvin

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