Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show to the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:…
There in the temple, in the day of the old Hebrew service, there hung the veil, heavy, gorgeous, mysterious itself, and in its fabrication concealing mystery; made and suspended "after the pattern given in the mount." Very glorious was the embroidery of that impressive symbol, "the purple, the blue, the scarlet, inwrought with the fine twined linen," and the forms of the golden cherubim spread over the richly coloured vesture (Exodus 26:31, 32). Thus, behind the veil, lay enshrined all the gorgeous symbols and heraldries of the Jewish history and faiths; the veil concealed their splendours, and defended their beauty — it was a parable and a mystery.
I. WHAT WAS THAT VEIL, AND WHAT DID IT SAY TO THOSE WHO BOWED PROSTRATE BEFORE IT, AND WHAT DRIES IT SAY TO US NOW? When the Jew bowed there, and heard from behind the veil the sound of the bells upon the beautiful vestments of the priest, and heard the echo of feet moving to and fro, and saw the priest stepping in whither he could not follow, lifting that veil, entering that door; what think you were the feelings of the ancient Jew? what did it all say to him? This was what it said, "Separated, separated! cut off from holiness; cut off from God." That was what it said, and the echo within the heart of the Jew said, "Separated, separated." What do you feel, and what are you able to realise now? What is that veil to us? What says the apostle? "The veil, that is to say, His flesh." Behold that broken body, behold that pierced side; this is the world's great wonder, and the church's too. That is the tree veil. It is sinful humanity which hangs between our happiness and God. It is our human nature which cannot go up into the holy of holies. Christ took up that infirm, sinful human nature, bore it, lived in it, died in it, and resumed it after He had laid it down. He took it again, glorified it, and by it " broke down the middle wall of partition contained in ordinances, and by Himself made one new man, so making peace." I look down to my nature, laden with sin, and I despair; I look up to Christ's nature, and rejoice with "joy unspeakable, and full of glory, receiving the end of my faith, even the salvation of my soul." I look down to my nature, and I see my helplessness; I look up to Christ's nature, and see my hope. I look down to my nature, and see my sin; I look up to His, and see His holiness, and I know it is mine. That veil which separated me from God, becomes now the "fine linen which is the righteousness of the saints," in which I approach him, and say, "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God, for He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, and with the garments of salvation."
II. And now, WHAT IS WITHIN THE VEIL, WHAT DOES MY TEXT OR CONTEXT FIND?
1. And lift up thine heart, Christian; lilt it up, for IT is there — the immutable and the unchangeable will. We need strong consolation, and the apostle fetches the strong consolation for the heirs of promise from behind the veil. Surely I need not detain you by so trite a remark as that we stand in the midst of mystery. "The day breaks, and the shadows flee away," where we understand the body of our Lord, where we pass through that sacred veil. There is a life not to be accounted for by human conditions, and time, and space. His will is "the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever," immutable! Hence, within the veil, is God's Divine map; there is the plan to Him all known, and clearly seen; infinite consciousness, and prescience, provision, and providence — this is the everlasting and unchangeable God.
2. Within the veil. Who is within the veil? He is there. Do you find it difficult to realise it? Do you find it difficult to send your heart to Him, and to see Him? But where is He but there? Where should He be but there? "Yet a little while," said He, "and the world sooth Me no more, but ye see Me, and because I live, ye shall live also." Dying saints have seen Him. Yes, He lived, He died, He rose to be revived, and He is there waiting till He shall come without sin unto salvation.
3. Within the veil. What is there P They are there, they are there. The loved but not the lost; why, then, their loss deplore? They are there, the holy, and the immortal, and the pure, and the true. They are there! Beyond the flesh. "Where should the dying members rest?" All mystery supposes a solution of the riddle; they are beyond the enigma. All is plain now within the veil.
III. "SEEING, THEN, IT IS SO, WHAT MANNER OF PERSONS OUGHT WE TO BE?" Such is the plea of the apostle. All this veil must be dissolved. They can hear us and see us, even behind the curtain. Therefore believe, and wait, and rejoice, and aspire. Within the veil! Are not these comfortable words? Within the veil! Even now has not "the darkness passed"? Is it not true that "the true light now shineth" beyond the veil? Henry
IV. was told of the king of Spain that he had great acquisitions, and was asked what he had to say to it? He replied, "I am king of France:" but he is king of Castile; "I am king of France": but he is king of Navarre; "I am king of Franc": but he is king of Portugal; "but I am king of France: "He is king of the Sicilies; "but I am king of France": he is king of the New Indies; "but I am king of France." To he king of France answered all questions, and was to him equal to all. So thou and I, oh, Christian, have an answer for all questions, and equal to all, "within the veil." Your church is imperfect and erring, and small in the world's esteem. Ah, but "within the veil"! You are yourself dark and cloudy, and desponding, and you cannot see the promised land or the Saviour. Yes, but "within the veil!" And as with the world, so with your family; death invades and breaths in on your household, and your household loves. True, but "within the veil." And sin accuses you, and conscience stings, and beyond is the judgment-seat. But " within the veil."
(E. P. Hood.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: