My sins, and yours, have created a chasm between us and our Holy God. “Your iniquities are separating you from your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you” (Isaiah 59:2).
It all started in the Garden of Eden, where our most-ancient ancestors chose to rebel against their ever-present God and His clear instruction. “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die” (Genesis 2:16–17). When God said, “no!”, like strong-willed children, they said, “watch me!”
“So the Lord God sent him away from the garden of Eden... He drove the man out and stationed the cherubim and the flaming, whirling sword east of the garden of Eden” (Genesis 3:23–24). Expelled! Kicked out! Man was separated from God. An angelic creature, a cherubim with a flaming sword was stationed at the gate to assure that no human would trespass.
In grace, Jesus came to declare, “I am the gate!” (John 10:7). “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Jesus is the door. Through Him, we are welcomed into God’s presence by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus alone (Ephesians 2:8-9).
But I digress…
The Tabernacle’s tent had two rooms. The first room, the Holy Place, held the menorah, the table, and the golden altar. Here, in the Holy Place, the priests labored daily in worship. The second room, the Holy of Holies, where God’s presence dwelt (Exodus 25:22), was hidden behind a Veil, a curtain. Concerning the Veil, God instructed Moses, “You are to make a curtain of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and finely spun linen with a design of cherubim worked into it” (Exodus 26:31). A cherubim symbolically guarded the way into God’s presence.
Nobody was allowed behind the Veil! Nobody except… once each year, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies, through the Veil (Leviticus 16:1-5). That was the iron-clad rule until the day the Greater High Priest presented Himself as an atoning sacrifice. From the Cross, “Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and gave up his spirit. Suddenly, the curtain of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom, the earth quaked, and the rocks were split” (Matthew 27:51). It was torn from the top to the bottom. Man would have torn it from the bottom to the top. But man didn’t. God tore it from the top to the bottom.
Jesus is the Veil, the Door. He opened the Way for us to enter God’s presence! “Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus - he has inaugurated for us a new and living way through the curtain (that is, through his flesh) - and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, since he who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:19–25). “Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).