I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just sit and ponder about things in scripture.
Jeff has been preaching through the book of Hebrews for about 20 weeks. I’ve been learning so much about the old covenant and the new covenant.
Yesterday evening I was thinking about how even after all the events surrounding the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus, the Jewish leaders kept right on with business as usual. They kept right on with the blood sacrifices and burnt offerings, even though the new covenant had come and all their offerings were meaningless. The One final Sacrifice had come. He had fulfilled every aspect of the Law and fully paid our sin debt with His blood. It was finished.
Yet, the sacrifices kept right on being made until God’s judgement came upon them in 70 AD when the temple was destroyed in the siege on Jerusalem, just as Jesus had said it would be.
The continuation of the offerings in the temple got me to ponder further:
What about the temple veil that God had ripped in two during the crucifixion?
If things went back to business as usual, the temple veil would have to be in place. It would have had to have been repaired. So what does one do when one ponders?
So I began to search for what happened to the temple veil after it was torn in two. I found some interesting answers.
In the A.W. Tozer devotional, “The Significance of the Torn Curtain”, he says:
“The priesthood, the priests, the old covenants, the altars, the sacrifices—all that had been involved in the Old Testament system of law—was done away with. God had eliminated it as useless, powerless, without authority. In its place He instituted a new Sacrifice, the Lamb of God, the eternal Son, Jesus Christ. God instituted as well a new and efficacious altar, this one eternal in the heavens, where Jesus lives to intercede for God’s believing children.
When the Temple veil was torn top to bottom, tradition has it that the Levitical priests determined they must repair that long-sacred partition. And they did. They sewed it together as best they could. Not understanding that God had decreed a new order, they took the earthly view by trying to continue the old system of sacrifices.“
Matthew says the temple veil was torn in two from top to bottom. Can’t you just picture the invisible hands of God ripping the massive curtain as easily as we rip a piece of paper from top to bottom? The size of the enormous drape is not easy for us to wrap our heads around. Sources say the veil was 60 feet ( think 6 story building! ) tall and 30 feet wide. It was also said to have been about a “handbreadth” in thickness, or about 4 inches. It is said that it took 300 priests to be able to manipulate it so that no one could easily fall through it and subsequently fall into the Holy of Holies and die. But God ripped it in two like it was nothing. This shredding apart of the weighty woven partition obviously could not have been done by the hands of men. It had to be God. How could the religious leaders and priests have simply said, “We need to get this fixed so things can get back to normal!”?
Were they so consumed with their way of doing things that they completely missed God? Did they recognize the truth and just not care? Did they just nonchalantly call for the temple sewing kit?? This is baffling to me.
How often in life today does God do things so completely obvious to get us to take notice, only for us to look right past it and continue on in a ruinous pattern or cycle with seemingly no notice or impact?
Is God trying to get your attention about something? Could He be trying to tell you that there is something you need to be doing differently? Is your life falling apart because of sin and you know it it, but are refusing to repent? Are you just getting the sewing kit and doing minor repairs so that you can continue on in the same destructive pattern? Maybe your family is out of church and you are finding yourself farther and farther away from where you need to be with God, and He has been nudging you back to where you need to be, but the nudge hasn’t been enough. Now the nudge becomes something much more significant. Maybe sickness. Or an accident. Or perhaps even the breakup of a marriage. Maybe you’re just miserable. Will you just keep on in the routine as the religious leaders did, oblivious to the fact that the old way of doing things will eventually lead to your destruction? Even though God may be giving you clear and obvious signs that things need to change? If you belong to Him, He will not let you continue on in sin forever without either wrecking you over the sin, or taking you home.
So if significant attention-getting things are happening in your life, take pause. Evaluate.
Is there a two ton torn curtain in front of you that is declaring, “Stop! There’s a better way!”
Don’t break out the needle and thread and keep plowing ahead.
The temple veil was NEVER MEANT to be repaired. It was meant to a turning point. Yet this miraculous, magnificent sign was rejected and ignored. And those who ignored it paid the price. They missed God and ultimately missed heaven. If you are a truly regenerate believer, you won’t miss heaven, but to continue in unrepentant sin will lead to missing the life you are supposed to have, and could result in God taking you out all together.
Yesterday in his sermon, Jeff read to us of Ananias and Sapphira, who both dropped dead in their willful sin. God will not tolerate willful, intentional, unrepentant sin.
26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:26-31
Notice verse 29 says that this person has been sanctified, meaning he is a saved person. How terrifying to be the object of God’s fury as one of His own!
So please, don’t disregard the warning signs if you are seeing them.
As believers, our debt has been paid. But do not take that lightly, or profane the blood that has bought you, or count it as a common thing. Recognize and acknowledge your turning point when you see it right in front of you. Don’t be like the religious leaders in the temple who clearly experienced something God had done to set a new course, but it made no impact on their dulled senses. They chose to keep plugging along, doing the “same old, same old”, to their own demise.
Don’t ignore the torn temple veil. And don’t repair it. Take notice of what it means. Change course and take the path that God has given the believer to walk. It is the path of righteousness and holy living.
“God does not always take the life of a rebellious believer, but He always deals with
him…What should a believer do who has drifted away into spiritual doubt and is deliberately despising
God’s Word? He should turn to God for mercy and forgiveness. There is no other sacrifice for sin, but the
sacrifice Christ made is sufficient for all our sins. It is a fearful thing to fall into the Lord’s hands for
chastening, but it is a wonderful thing to fall into His hands for cleansing and restoration.”—Warren Wiersbe
Hebrews 12:6—“For whom the Lord loves He chastens.”