The Rending & Removal of the Veil

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the apostle Matthew. More specifically today’s passage begins with the fifty-seventh verse of the twenty-seventh chapter and continues through to the twentieth verse of the eighteenth chapter. “
When the even was come, there came a rich man or Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had token the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulcure, and departed. And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary sitting over against the sepulchure” (Matthew 27:57-61).

 

            “Now the. Next day, that followed the day of the preparation, th3e chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, saying, Sir, we remember that the deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulcure be made sure until the third day, lest this disciples come by night ,and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead; so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulcure sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch” (Matthew 27:62-66).

 

            “IN the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcure. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and because as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him; lo, I have told you And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy, and did run to bring his disciples word. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me” (Matthew 28:1-10).

 

            “Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and told him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews unto this day” (Matthew 28:11-15).

 

            “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:16-20).

 

            When you dome to this particular passage of Scripture you will find the betrayal, the trial, the suffering and the death of the Lord Jesus having been completely and utterly finished. I have to admit that I absolutely the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the resurrection that comes after the death. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand it’s that more often than not the suffering comes before the cross and the cross comes before the tomb. With that being said, however, we must also recognize and understand that even though there was indeed a cross upon which the Lord Jesus died upon and although there would be a tomb in which His lifeless body was laid. There is something about the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for it bring us face to face with the awesome truth surrounding the suffering, the death and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Not only this but if you take the time to read the words which are found within this gospel you will find that from the time the Lord Jesus first began teaching His disciples that He would suffer many things at the hands of the chief priests and the religious leaders He would also emphatically declare that He would rise from the grave on the third day. Even though there would indeed be suffering and death within the life of the Lord Jesus we must needs understand that the suffering would ultimately lead to the cross and the cross would ultimately lead to the tomb, however, the tomb would also have a resurrection on the other side.

 

            THE RESURRECTION ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TOMB! I find it absolutely incredible to read the words presented in this passage and how we come face to face with the events surrounding the death of the Lord Jesus. If you take the time to read the words which are presented in this passage you will find that when Jesus had cried again He yielded up the ghost. After yielding up the ghost the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake and the rocks rent. What’s more is that not only was the veil within the Temple rent in two from top to bottom but there would be a great earthquake that would take place during those days. As you read the words found here in this passage of Scripture you can and will be brought face to face with the incredible reality of that which took place upon the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact I have to say that what is perhaps absolutely amazing about the words found in the twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth chapters of this New Testament gospel is that directly linked and connected to the death of the Lord Jesus as well as the resurrection of the Lord are two earthquakes. There is something truly unique and powerful about the words and language found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the truth surrounding the death and the resurrection of the Lord and how these two earthquakes would accomplish two different things. On the one hand you will find the death of the Lord Jesus and the subsequent earthquake that ensued as a direct result causing the graves of many righteous saints to be opened.

 

            If you take the time to read the words found in these two chapters you will find that the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus would result in a tremendous shaking of the earth. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for there is something truly unique and powerful when you truly take the time to consider the fact that as you read the final two chapters of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you are brought face to face with the incredible truth surrounding these two shakings of the earth. It would be at the death of the Lord Jesus the earth would first shake and when the graves of many righteous saints were opened. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for when we consider His resurrection we find the earth would shake yet again. Stop for a moment and consider the truth that there were two shakings within a three day period of time. As you read the words found in this passage of Scripture you will find the Lord Jesus emphatically declaring with His voice “It is finished” and immediately after He did this He yielded up the ghost. It would be His giving up the ghost that would immediately result in the shaking of the earth—and not only the shaking of the earth but also the rending of the rocks. At the death of the Lord Jesus we encounter a truly awesome and powerful truth concerning this eternal begotten and beloved of the Father who did indeed die upon the cross. It would be as a direct result of His death that the ground would shake and the rocks would rend. What I can’t help but wonder when reading the words found in these passages of Scripture is why the earth had to quake and why the rocks had to rend. Was there a specific purpose behind the earthquake and the rocks rending which would both occur at the death of the Lord Jesus?

 

            I sit here today thinking about the words presented in this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with these two shakings—the first being a shaking as a result of death and the second being a shaking as a result of resurrection. It is absolutely necessary and imperative we recognize and pay close attention to the words found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the truth of the shaking which was brought about at the resurrection of the Lord Jesus as well as the death of the Lord Jesus. The apostle Matthew deliberately and intentionally wrote within this gospel an incredible truth concerning the earth quaking and shaking after the Lord Jesus gave the ground shaking would not be the only thing that would take place. In verses fifty through fifty-six we find it written how when Jesus had cried with a loud voice He yielded up the ghost. As a direct result of His yielding up the ghost we find the veil of the Temple was rent in twain from top the bottom without and apart from the hands of man. Not only was the veil of the Temple rent in twain from top the bottom but the earth shook and the rocks rent. Pause for a moment and consider the fact that at the death of the Lord Jesus—not only was the veil of the Temple rent but so also were the rocks rent. There is something incredible unique when you take the time to consider the words found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the truth surrounding the death of the Lord Jesus and how his death would indeed produce effects that would not only shake the earth but would also reverberate throughout those days.

 

            As you read the words found in the twenty-seventh chapter of this New Testament gospel you will find the veil of the Temple being rent in twain from the top to the bottom as well as the graves being opened. How absolutely wonderful and incredible are the words we find in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous reality concerning the death of the Lord Jesus and how it did more than simply shake the earth. At the death of the Lord Jesus there was more than simply the shaking of the earth for as a direct result of the shaking of the earth there would also be the rending of the veil in two from top to bottom and the graves of many saints were opened. This is something we must needs pay close attention to for when the death of Jesus occurred it was not only the key and the catalyst that unlocked and opened the graves of the righteous but it would also be the catalyst surrounding the glory and the presence of the living God being manifested within the earth. Stop for a moment and think about what it would have been like on this particular day for the veil of the Temple to be rent in twain from top to bottom and how the death of the Lord Jesus would indeed render the Temple absolutely useless. The more you read the words found in this passage of Scripture the more you will encounter the absolutely incredible truth surrounding the death of the Lord Jesus and how it would not only render useless the physical Temple which stood in the midst of the city of Jerusalem but it would also pave the way and make room for the new and living Temple which would be manifested in the earth.

 

            I sit here today thinking about the words presented in this passage of scripture and I am brought face to face with the wonderful and powerful reality of the death of the Lord Jesus and how the death of the Lord Jesus would completely and utterly render the Temple which had stood in the midst of the Temple mount completely and utterly useless. Pause for a moment and think about what this would be like as the Temple would be in existence for several decades—perhaps even a few centuries by this point. Take this a step further and you will encounter and come face to face with the fact that from the time of the days of Moses until this time there has been a habitation and dwelling place for the living God which would be present in the midst of the earth. Despite the fact that the Ark of the Covenant would not be present in the midst of the Temple during the days of the Lord Jesus we must needs recognize and understand that for several centuries now there would be a habitation and dwelling place of the living God in the midst of the earth. For several centuries there has been a habitation and dwelling place of the living and eternal God present within and upon the earth which would begin during the days of Moses and would continue all the way unto the time of the Lord Jesus. It would be during the days of Moses the Tabernacle would indeed be given unto the children of Israel for the first time as they would be given the pattern of the habitation and dwelling in which the living God would dwell among them and meet with them.

 

            If there is one thing I can’t help but think about when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture it’s how during the time of the Lord Jesus the Ark of the Covenant was not behind and beyond the veil in the Temple of the living God. Upon studying the history of the Jewish people you will find and discover the tremendous truth that even though the Temple would indeed be rebuilt after the children of Israel would return from the land of their captivity and exile in the land of the Chaldeans the Ark of the Covenant would not be present beyond the veil. There is something truly unique and powerful when you take the time to think about it for it calls and draws our attention to the reality that when Jesus yielded up the ghost after proclaiming with a loud voice, saying, “It is finished” the veil within the Temple which separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy place would indeed be rent in twain from top to bottom. There is something truly unique and powerful about this when you take the time to think about it for it brings us face to face with a rebuilt Jewish Temple standing in the midst of the city of Jerusalem during the days of the Lord Jesus. This Temple would indeed be rebuilt during the days of Ezra the priest during those days after the captivity and exile and it would be Herod who would engage himself in the process of completing the work of the Temple which would be present in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. \

 

            Now you might be wondering when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture how and why there would be a Jewish temple which would be present in the midst of the city of Jerusalem if the Ark of the Covenant would no longer be present behind the veil. The Ark of the Covenant would be present beyond the veil in the Tabernacle which existed during the days of Moses and even during the days of Joshua, the judges, Samuel the prophet and Saul the king as well as during the days of David the king of Israel and his son Solomon. With this being said, however, we must needs understand that Solomon’s temple which was indeed built within the city of Jerusalem upon mount Moriah. It would be Solomon the son of David who would indeed build the Temple of the living God on the same place of ground where the Lord responded to David his father by sending fire down from heaven. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth of the Temple which would stand in the midst of the Temple which was present during the days of the kings which reigned upon the throne of Judah. Solomon would build the Temple of the living God during the days in which he reigned upon the throne of his father David in the midst of the city of Jerusalem and that Temple would indeed remain sitting upon the Temple mount in the city of Jerusalem. Even though in the next generation the kingdom and nation of Israel would be divided in twain between the northern ten tribes of Israel and the southern two tribes of Benjamin and Judah the Temple would still remain in the midst of the earth. Solomon would indeed fulfill the vision which was present in the heart of his father David and would build the Temple which would be the habitation and dwelling of the living God in the midst of the earth.

 

            What we must needs recognize and understand when reading these words is that when the Temple which Solomon the king of Israel built within the city of Jerusalem was built the Ark of the Covenant would indeed be present in the midst of the sanctuary. That first Temple which Solomon built during the days of his reign would indeed be incredibly significant for it would be in that Temple where the glory and presence of the living God would be manifested in the midst of it. What’s more is that not only would the glory and presence of the living God be manifested in the midst of the Temple but the fire of the living God would come down from heaven and would consume the sacrifice which was upon the altar. Oh there is something truly astonishing and unique about the words found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the truth of Solomon’s building of the Temple which would stand in the midst of the land of Israel and how that temple would be a dwelling place for the living and eternal God. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth for at the dedication of this Temple of the living God we find the glory and presence of the living God being manifested within the Temple. Solomon would dedicate the Temple unto the living God during the days of His reign and as a direct result of this the glory and presence of the living God would be manifested in the midst of the Temple—and not only the glory and presence of the living God but also the fire of the God of heaven coming down upon the mountain in the very same place the fire came down during the days of David his father.

 

            Having said all of this I feel the need to call and draw your attention to the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding Solomon’s building of the Temple—and not only Solomon’s building of the Temple but also His dedication of it in the sight and presence of the living God. I am absolutely and completely convinced we must needs recognize and understand the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Second Chronicles for within this book we find the dedication of the Temple of the living God and how the LORD God of Israel would respond with glory and fire. THE GOD WHO RESPONDS WITH GLORY AND FIRE! THE GOD WHO RESPONDS BY GLORY AND FIRE! I am absolutely convinced we must needs recognize and understand just how significant this truly is for it calls land draws our attention to the last time there would be any manifestation of the glory and presence of the living God within the Temple. This particular time would be the only time the fire of God would come down from heaven upon the altar of sacrifice and consume the sacrifice. We know that during the days of Elijah the prophet the fire of the living God would come down from heaven and consume the sacrifice as well as consume the wood, the stones and even the dust. The fire of the living God which came down from heaven during the days of Solomon wouldn’t be the only time the fire of the living God would come down from heaven for it would indeed come down during the days of Moses, Solomon and even Elijah. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following narratives of the fire and the glory of the living God being manifested during the days of Moses representing the Law, during the days of Elijah who represented the prophets, and during the days of Solomon who could very well represent the days of kings.

 

            With this in mind and having been said I invite you to consider the following passages of Scripture found in these passages of Scripture which help detail and describe both the glory of the living God as well as the fire of the living God coming down from heaven in the midst of His sanctuary and Temple. The only difference between the days of Solomon and Elijah is that when the fire of God came down during the days of Elijah it would not come upon the altar which stood in the court of the Temple but it would come down upon a rebuilt altar in the northern kingdom of Israel. What’s more is I would dare say we must needs also consider the fire which came down from heaven during the days of David king of Israel. Consider if you will the following words which are found in each of these passages of Scripture beginning with the Old Testament book of Exodus:

 

            “Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the barnacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: but if the cloud were not taken, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys” Exodus 40:34-38).

 

            Here in this passage of Scripture we encounter the completion of the Tabernacle according to the pattern and design which was given unto Moses by the living and eternal God while He stood in His presence atop the mountain. IT would be after Moses completed the Tabernacle exactly as the living God had commanded Him the glory of the LORD would fill the tabernacle. So incredible and weighty was the glory of the living God that Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation because the cloud abode thereon and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for this would be the first time the glory of the living God would be manifested in the midst of a sanctuary. This tabernacle would indeed be a habitation and sanctuary for and unto the living God which sits upon the circle of the earth and sits enthroned in the heavens and yet would fill this house with His glory and His presence. Understanding this I am absolutely convinced we must needs recognize and understand the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Leviticus concerning the fire of the living God coming down from heaven upon the altar of burnt offering and sacrifice. There is something we must needs recognize and understand within this passage for it would set the tone and stage for what we find in the Old Testament books of Second Samuel and First Chronicles concerning David king of Israel. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the Old Testament book of Leviticus concerning the fire of the living God which would come down from heaven upon the altar of burnt sacrifice:

 

            “And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and blessed them, and came down from offering of the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and peace offerings. And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people. And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted and fell on their faces” (Leviticus 9:22-24).

 

            Please don’t miss and lose sight of the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the sacrificing of the offerings prescribed by the living God. IF you take the time to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you can and will be brought face to face with the incredible truth surrounding the glory of the LORD appearing before the people—and not only the glory of the Lord appearing before the people but also the fire coming out from the presence of the LORD and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat. Oh we must needs recognize and understand that which is found in this passage of Scripture for it brings us face to face with the incredible truth surrounding the glory and the fire. It would be the glory of the living God which would fill the Tabernacle and it would be the fire which would consume. THE GLORY FILLS & THE FIRE CONSUMES! Oh that we would pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the reality of the glory and presence of the living God—and not only the glory and presence of the living God but also the fire of the living God which would consume. If there is one thing we must needs recognize concerning this passage of Scripture it’s that the glory of the living God would indeed be manifested to fill the sanctuary and the house while the fire of the living God would consume that which was upon the altar. The glory and presence of the living God would be for within the Tabernacle while the fire of the living God would be for the altar and that which was outside the house.

 

            With this being said I feel the incredible need to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the Old Testament book of First Chronicles. It is in the Old Testament book of First Chronicles we find the narrative of David king of Israel and how he had sinned and transgressed against the LORD by numbering Israel. As a direct result of this the LORD would give him three choices of which he would choose to fall into the hands of the living God as opposed to into the hands of his enemies and adversaries. What we find in this passage of Scripture is an incredible reality of the fire of the living God which would come down from heaven and consume the sacrifice which David had prepared for Him upon the altar he had built. Consider if you will the following words which are found in this passage of Scripture and how the living God does indeed bring us face to face with the truth surrounding the fire of God which came down from heaven in response to the offering David made:

 

            “And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was destroying, the LORD beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD stood by the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the LORD stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem Then David and the elders of Israel, who were clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces. And David said unto God, Is it not I that commanded the people to be numbered? Even I it is that have sinned and done evil indeed; but as for these sheep, what have they done? Let thine hand, I pray thee, O LORD my God, be on me, and on my father’s house; but not on thy people, and that should be plagued. Then the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up, and set up an altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. And David went up at the saying of Gad, which he spake in the name of the LORD. And Ornan turned back, and saw the angel; and his four sons with him hid themselves. Now Ornan was threshing wheat. And as David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David, and went out of the threshingfloor, and bowed himself to David with his face to the ground. Then David said to Ornan, Grant me the place of this threshingfloor, that I may build an altar therein unto the LORD: thou shalt grant it me for the full price: that the plague may be stayed from the people, And Ornan said unto David, Take it to thee, and let my lord the king do that which is good in his eyes: lo, I give thee the oxen also for burnt offerings, and the threshing instruments for wood, and the wheat for the meat offering; I give it all. And king David said unto Ornan, Nay: but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings without cost. So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight. And David build there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the LORD; and he answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering. And the LORD commanded the angel; and he put his sword again into the sheath thereof” (1 Chronicles 21:15-27).

 

            The words and language we find here bring us face to face with David the son of Jesse and king of Israel making a very important journey—a journey that would not only lead him to the place where he would stay the plague which had broken out against the children of Israel because of his sin and disobedience but a journey that would bring him to the very place where the Temple of the living God would rest. There is something truly astonishing about the words presented in this passage of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to David making a journey unto the very resting place where the Temple would rest in the midst of the people of God for the next several centuries. The journey David king of Israel would make would not only help bring about the staying of the plague which the living and eternal God had brought upon the nation of Israel and the city of Jerusalem but it would also result in the fire of the living God coming down from heaven in the very place where it would come during the days of Solomon. Oh that we would recognize and understand this for it calls and draws our attgention to the powerful truth surrounding the days of Solomon king of Israel and how during those days you will again find the glory of the living God filling the tabernacle while also finding the fire of the living God consuming. It would be the glory of the living God that would fill the Temple insomuch that even the priests could not enter in and it would be the fire of the living and eternal God that would consume the sacrifices and offerings which were upon the altar. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in these passages of Scripture beginning with the fifth chapter of the Old Testament book of Second Chronicles:

 

            “And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place: (for all the priests that were present were sanctified, and did not then wait by course: also the Levites which were the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun, with t heir sons and their brethren, being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets) It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God” (2 Chronicles 5:11-14).

 

            “Then said Solomon, The LORD hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness. But I have built an house of habitation for thee, and a place for thy dwelling for ever. And the king turned his face, and blessed the whole congregation of Israel: and all the congregation of Israel stood. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who hath with his hands fulfilled that which he psake with his mouth to my father David, saying, Since the day that I brought forth my people out of the land of Egypt I chose no city among all the tribes of Israel to build an house in, that my name might be there; neither chose I any man to be a ruler over my people Israel: but I have chosen Jerusalem that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel. Now it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel. But the LORD said to David my father, Forasmuch as it was in thine heart to build an house for my name, thou didst well in that it was in thine heart: notwithstanding thou shalt not build the house; but thy son which shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house for my name. The LORD therefore hath performed his word that he hath spoken: for I am risen up in the room of David my father, and am set on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and have built the house for the name of the LORD God of Israel. And in it have I put the ark, wherein is the covenant of the LORD, that he made with the children of Israel” (2 Chronicles 6:1-11).

 

            “Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house; And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’s house. And when all the children of Israel saw how the first came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever” (2 Chronicles 7:1-3).

 

            The words and language found in these passages of Scripture bring us face to face with the glory and the presence of the living God filling the Temple of the living God just as it had done the Tabernacle during the days of Moses. It would be during the days of Moses when the glory and presence of the living God would fill the Tabernacle after it was completed and built exactly as the living God had ordained and commanded it atop the mountain in the wilderness. It would be during the days of Solomon king of Israel the glory and presence of the living God would indeed fill the Temple insomuch that not even the priests could enter into it to fulfill and carry out their duties. What’s more is that not only would the glory of the living God fill both the Tabernacle and the Temple but the fire of the living God would come forth from His presence and consume the altar and the offerings and sacrifices which were present upon the altar. Oh there is something truly something we must needs recognize and understand when reading these words for they call and draw our attention to the awesome and powerful truth surrounding the living and eternal God and His glory which would fill the Tabernacle and the Temple and His fire which would consume the sacrifices and offerings. What adds even more weight and significance to this is when you consider that the Ark of the Covenant would indeed be present in the midst of both the Tabernacle during Moses’ day as well as the Temple during the days of Solomon. When, however, we come to the days of the Lord Jesus we find the Ark of the Covenant being completely and utterly absent from the Temple. Although there would indeed be a Temple of the living God that would stand in the midst of the city of Jerusalem the Ark of the Covenant would not be present beyond and behind the veil. ]

 

            The more you think about and consider the days of the Lord Jesus the more you will be brought face to face with the incredible truth surrounding the Temple which stood in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. Although there would indeed be a Temple which would stand in the midst of the city of Jerusalem the Ark of the Covenant of the living God would not be present beyond and behind the veil. What you will instead is the Holy of Holies completely empty and void of that which the tabernacle of Moses and the Temple of Solomon both had. Oh this is something we must needs recognize and understand when considering the death of the Lord Jesus for I would love to know what it was like upon His death when the veil of the Temple was rent in twain from top to bottom. It would be after He had cried out with a loud voice, saying, “It is finished” that He would give up His ghost. Immediately after giving up the ghost you will find the earth quaking. Not only will you find the earth quaking but you will also find the rocks rending in twain and the veil of the Temple being town in two from top to bottom. This is something which must needs be considered when reading the narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ for there is something to be said about His death—and not only His death but also the rending of the veil in two from top to bottom.

 

            If there is one thing I absolutely love about the words which are found in the twenty-seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew it’s that when the Lord Jesus died His death would bring about the rending of the veil which separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy of Place. This takes on an entirely different meaning when you consider the two times when the Lord Jesus entered into the Temple and brought cleansing to it. The apostle John would present Jesus entering into the Temple of the living God earlier on during His ministry and how He would drive out the money changers, overturn the tables of money and drive out all those who bought and sold. It would be the other gospel authors who would indeed write about the cleansing of the Temple and how the Lord Jesus Christ would refer to the Temple as His Father’s house. Oh that we would truly take the time to think about and consider this for it calls and draws our attention to Jesus’ understanding of the Temple during those days. Despite the fact the Ark of the Covenant would not be behind and beyond the veil in the Holy of Holies the Temple would still be the house of His Father. Not only this but the Lord Jesus Christ would speak of the Temple as being a house of prayer—something which the prophet Isaiah would prophesy of during his days. Before we delve any further into the narrative of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ I am convinced we must needs consider the words which are found in the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah beginning with the second chapter:

 

            “The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORd’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat gtheir swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:1-4).

 

            “Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, as when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence! When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence. For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him. Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in they ways: Behold, thou art worth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved. But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our. Iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities. But now, O LORD, thou art our father; We are the clay, and thou our potter: and we all are the work of thy hand” (Isaiah 64:1-8).

 

            “I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, untoa nation that was not called by my name. I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts; a people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrifideth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick: which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and broth. Of abominable things is in their vessels; which say, Stand by thyself, Come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day. Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom, your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the LORD, which have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills: therefore I will measure their former work into their bosom” (Isaiah 65:1-7).

 

            “Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: Where is the house that ye build unto me? And where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mind hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word” (Isaiah 64:1-2).

 

            With this being said I invite you to consider the following words which were spoken by Stephen when he stood before the Sanhedrin and all those who sought to put him to death and destroy him from the midst of the earth. It is in the seventh chapter of the New Testament book of Acts you will find Stephen giving a defense for himself—and not really for himself but a defense of the living God and the stiffneckedness, rebelliousness and hard-heartedness of the children of Israel from the time of Moses unto that present day. I am absolutely convinced we must needs recognize and consider this for it helps us to understand the death of the Lord Jesus and the importance of the earth quaking, the rocks rending and the veil within the Temple being rent in twain from top to bottom. Having said this I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the seventh chapter of the New Testament book of Acts:

 

            “…This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with t he angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us: to whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt, saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not that is become of him. And they make a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoice in the works of their own hands. Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain besasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness? Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon. Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen. Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David; who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. But Solomon built him an house. Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? Saith the LORD; or what is the place of my fest? Hath. Not my hand made all these things? Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye, which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it” (Acts 7:38-53).

 

            With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the seventeenth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts beginning with the twenty-second verse:

 

            “Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD, Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him I declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the LORD, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: because he hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:22-31).

 

            I am absolutely convinced there is a great need to pay close attention to the words which we see in these passages of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to the absolutely wonderful reality of the Temple which stood in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. It’s actually quite interesting to consider that at the time Stephen spoke those words in his defense before the Sanhedrin and when the apostle Paul spoke his words in Athens the Temple of the living God stood in the midst of Jerusalem. What makes this all the more interesting when you take the time to think about it is when you consider the fact that although the Ark of the Covenant was not present in the midst of the Temple during the days of Jesus He still referred to it as His Father’s house. What’s more is that not only did he refer to it as His Father’s house but He also referred to it as a house of prayer. This is directly in alignment with that which the prophet Isaiah prophesied and spoke concerning the Temple of the LORD in the prophetic book which bears his name. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the fifty-sixth chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah beginning with the first verse:

 

            “Thus saith the LORD, keep ye judgment, and do justice: For my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is that man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: Neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbath, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath days from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. The LORD God which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him” (Isaiah 56:1-8).

 

            Please don’t miss the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to the tremendous reality of the Temple of the living God being ordained and appointed a house of prayer. What’s ‘more is that not only was it supposed to be a house of prayer for the children of Israel but it was also supposed to be a house of prayer for all the nations. This is what makes Jesus’ actions in the Temple as He cleansed it so incredibly unique when you take the time to think about it—and not only Jesus’ actions in the Temple cleansing it but also His actions upon the cross which would ultimately result in His death. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it brings us face to face with the significance of His death and how as a direct result of His death the veil would be torn in two from top to bottom. It would be as a direct result of this the death of Jesus would render the Temple completely and utterly useless. What’s more is I am convinced that between the cleansing of the Temple as well as Jesus’ death and the subsequent rending of the veil the Temple would indeed be marked for destruction and devastation. This temple which was the house of the Father and to be a house of prayer would indeed be marked for devastation and destruction during those days. It would be through the death of the Lord Jesus the Temple of the living God would experience a tremendous blow for with the veil being rent in twain—not only were the priests who ministered within it able to see within the Holy of Holies but they were also able to see beyond the veil that had once separated man from the Holy of Holies.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering this and how absolutely incredible it is to read about the death of the Lord Jesus for when we read of the death of the Lord Jesus we read of the rending of the veil in two from top to bottom. Please pay close attention to this for consider the fact that for nearly forty years the veil of the Temple would be rent in twain from top to bottom. I would imagine there was absolutely no one who would dare seek to repair the veil which separated the Holy of Holies from the holy place. With this being said there is something incredibly unique about the Temple during those almost forty years after the death of the Lord Jesus for it would be during those days when although the Temple would stand in the midst of the city of Jerusalem the veil within the Temple would be rent in twain from top to bottom. Oh there is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if the priests left the veil in its place hanging from both sides where it was raised with the Holy of Holies exposed or whether or not they removed the veil altogether. What an incredibly powerful thought this truly is to consider the rending of the veil for the rending of the veil could have quite possibly set in motion the removal of the veil altogether. I cannot help but sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and how as a direct result of Jesus’ death we find the veil which separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place being torn in twain from top to bottom.

 

            THE RENDING OF THE VEIL! THE REMOVING OF THE VEIL! I have to admit that I find it incredibly captivating to think about the words which are present in this passage of Scripture for it would be through the death of the Lord Jesus the veil within the Temple would be rent in twain. I can’t help but wonder if there were any priests in the Temple at the time of the earthquake and if there were any priests within the Temple at the time the veil was rent in two from top to bottom. I continue to wonder what that must have sounded like and what it must have looked like as the veil would be rent in two from top to bottom. The simple fact that the apostle Matthew was able to write about it suggests that there were personal eyewitnesses to the rending of the veil which was present in the midst of the Temple. Oh we must needs recognize and understand this for it calls and draws our attention to those who were present within the Temple at the time of the rending of the veil and how they would describe the scene after the fact. The apostle Matthew would write of the veil within the Temple being rent in two from top to bottom and I can’t help but wonder if the rending of the veil would ultimately be removed after the resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if there were indeed those who would observe the veil hanging there from its place and feeling that it simply needed to come down and be removed. Imagine the Temple of the living God remaining in Jerusalem for almost forty years and not only was the Ark of the Covenant not present in the Holy of Holies but so also was it possible the veil was removed from the house. Stop and think about the fact that Jesus’ death not only directly resulted in the rending of the veil by a supernatural act of God but as a direct result of this the veil might have effectively been removed from the Temple altogether.

 

As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words presented in this passage of Scripture. The words which we find here call and draw our attention to the fact that first comes the rending and second comes the removal. Jesus’ death would result in and bring about the rending of the veil in two from top to bottom while I would dare say that afterward there might very well have been those priests and those who ministered in the Temple of the living God who removed the veil altogether. Oh please don’t miss and lose sight of this for through Jesus’ death the veil would be rent in twain and was quite possibly removed. This signifies and suggests the fact through Jesus’ death He would effectively render the Temple obsolete and utterly useless. Although the Temple would still remain there on the Temple mount for almost four decades it would be absent the Ark of the Covenant, the veil would at the bare minimum be rent in two from top to bottom—if not removed altogether. Not only this but it would be during those days when the Temple of the living God would simply remain there in the midst of the city of Jerusalem—quite possibly without the veil and most certainly without the Ark of the Covenant. Oh that we would recognize and understand this and how the death of the Lord Jesus would indeed bring about the rending and removal of the veil and ultimately the removing of the Temple altogether as a new and living temple—a temple of God and a temple of the Holy Spirit would be formed and brought into existence after His resurrection, ascension and release of the Holy Spirit.

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