HAVING ACCESS BEYOND THE VEIL
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
13 FEBRUARY 1994
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
2 Corinthians 3:1-3, 14-16
Have you ever been back stage during the presentation of a play?
Things sure look a whole lot different from back there than they do from the audience, particularly when the curtains are closed during a scene change.
From out front all we see is the curtain until it is opened and then only the illusion that has been created; but from behind the veil of the curtain, we see what is really there.
Now let's assume that the curtain was left open, and the light turned up during the scene change; then everyone would see what was going on.
The same is true in our relationship with God; but with God, the curtain isn't even opened during the play, except for those who believe in Him.
In essence, it's like the curtain becomes transparent to the believer so they can see beyond the veil, as being able to see beyond a window.
But for the non-believer, the curtain is thick and dark, and no light can even be seen through it.
In the first six verses of Psalm 50, the Lord is calling every one in the
world including Israel and the Church to Him, as in a great theater:
1. The Mighty One, God, the Lord, has spoken,
And summoned the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.
2. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God has shone forth.
And as all the people come together, a prayer of judgment is spoken to separate the righteous from the wicked.
3. May our God come and not keep silence;
Fire devours before Him,
And it is very tempestuous around Him.
4. He summons the heavens above,
And the earth, to judge His people:
5. "Gather My godly ones to Me,
Those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice."
6. And the heavens declare His righteousness,
For God Himself is judge.
All the people are gathered together, and God is behind the veil of the curtain. And not only are the believers able to see beyond the veil, but they can walk through it; but for the non-believers, they can do neither.
And remember, that the meaning of the sacrifice is that we have truly repented of our sins, and come forth never to sin again.
The death of an animal had nothing to do with this; it's all in our repentant attitude as we approach God.
But then the psalmist tells us what God really wants for a sacrifice, as He tells us of our sin of hypocrisy.
Let's continue at verse 7.
7. "Hear, O My people, and I will speak;
O Israel, I will testify against you;
I am God, your God.
This testimony against Israel can also be applied against the Church.
8. "I do not reprove you for your sacrifices,
And your burnt offerings are continually before Me.
God is not reproving Israel for their sacrifices, but for the reason behind the sacrifice: the sins that prompted the sacrifice in the first place, and their attitude in bringing it.
Listen to what He says next:
9. "I shall take no young bull out of your house,
Nor male goats out of your folds.
Now, remember that according to God's law, the animal is to be taken to cover the sin of the person.
But here God is saying He will not take it. Do you know why?
The answer can be plainly seen beyond the veil.
10. "For every beast of the forest is Mine,
The cattle on a thousand hills.
11. "I know every bird of the mountains,
And everything that moves in the field is Mine.
12. "If I were hungry, I would not tell you;
For the world is Mine, and all it contains.
13. "Shall I eat the flesh of bulls,
Or drink the blood of male goats?
Well, shall God do that?
The answer we should see beyond the veil is, "NO!"
Then what does God want?
14. “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
And pay your vows to the Most High;
15. And call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.”
This is the reason we are to come together, as we are this morning.
We are to turn away from our sins, and not constantly be asking God to forgive our sins.
We are to offer to God our thanksgiving that we are able to see beyond the veil and, thus, not sin in the first place.
Today, we get this vision and access beyond the veil through Jesus Christ our Lord, just as we are told in our preparation verses for this morning (Hebrews 6:19-20); and it is in this assurance that we can cease our sinning and live for God.
19. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil,
20. where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
Someday we’ll talk again about Melchizedek; but for now just remember that His priesthood is forever, unlike the descendents of Aaron, who died.
The important thing to understand is that we have access beyond the veil into heaven.
Let's return to our Scripture reading for this morning, Mark 9:2-8, and see beyond the veil as did Peter, James, and John.
2. And six days later, Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John, and brought them up to a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them;
3. and His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them.
4. And Elijah appeared to them along with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus.
Jesus entered through the veil, and the veil became transparent for the three
apostles; but they didn't completely understand what was taking place.
5. And Peter answered and said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
6. For he did not know what to answer; for they became terrified.
So often we become as Peter: we put our mouth in gear before our brain.
So, God spoke more plainly to the apostles.
7. Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!"
We all want to have access beyond the veil, but we don't all want to listen to what Jesus has taught us.
In the new commandment that Jesus gave us, He told us to love one another (John 13:34).
34. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
Elsewhere, He told us that an even greater commandment was to unconditionally love God (Matthew 22:37-40); that by this we would fulfill all the Law and the Prophets.
37. And He said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
38. “This is the great and foremost commandment.
39. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’
40. “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
Moses represented the Law, and Elijah represented the Prophets; and it was Jesus' love for us that fulfilled both and opened the veil into heaven. That is what He is showing us, that we can do likewise.
Returning to Mark 9:8 –
8. And all at once they looked around and saw no one with them anymore, except Jesus alone.
Jesus had come back through the veil, and the apostles could no longer see through it.
Next time, they would have to do it on their own, just as with you and me.
But we aren't really alone, for when we truly and sincerely reach out for Jesus with all our heart and soul, He will make the veil transparent, and one day help us enter through it.
Note what Paul says about this in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4.
3. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,
4. in whose case the god [with a small "g" – meaning Satan] of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
Have you ever tried to talk to someone about the things of God, and you got the feeling that you were talking to a brick wall?
This is why.
These are the same people who can't see beyond the veil; and what is even worse, most of them don't even realize that there is a veil blinding them.
Listen also to what Paul says about himself and the believers who have this spiritual vision in 2 Corinthians 3:1-3.
1. Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you?
2. You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men;
3. being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts [or more literally, upon hearts of flesh].
This is why believers have access beyond the veil, because they are one with Christ in heart and soul.
But of the non-believers, he says in verses 14-15:
14. But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.
15. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart;
For they only hear the Law, and not the fulfillment of the Law, which is love.
And Paul adds:
16. but whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
If we come to church and sit there and participate as one in a theater that never opens the curtain, we are there only for social reasons.
But if we come in love, caring about the welfare of others, and our relationship with God; if we come with a heart that is sincerely trying to live as God desires us to life, and filled with thanksgiving for the new spiritual birth – the new spiritual awakening, then we also see beyond the veil to the spiritual things.
Today we can only see in part, but someday fully; but for now the Holy Spirit, who dwells within every believer, gives us access beyond the veil.
But unfortunately, many refuse to look.
Make use of this privilege, and truly see beyond the veil.
It is given to you in love.
Use it in love.
Amen.See: Our Visitors' Comments
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