When the LORD instructed Moses about building the tabernacle, and later Solomon when he was building the temple, HE had them to make a large curtain or veil which would wall off and hide the ark of the covenant and the mercy seat from the people. The only one who was allowed to go behind this curtain was the high priest and he only went there one time each year to make atonement for the children of Israel. (see Heb.9:1-8) The purpose of this veil was to demonstrate the utter holiness of GOD and the subsequent impossibility of man in his natural sinful state ever approaching unto HIM.
This is the same thing that HE taught the children of Israel when HE told them they would perish if they even touched the mountain that Moses ascended. When Moses, himself, asked to see a glimpse of the glory of GOD, the LORD said, "I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live." (Exo 33:19-20)
GOD has revealed HIMSELF as full of mercy, yet HE has revealed that this mercy is dispensed according to HIS sovereign will and not according to some natural generation or some universal blessing. Many men preach as if access to GOD's mercy is the right of all men rather than the privilege of those who HE sees fit to bestow it on. They seem to think that HIS mercy is just spread out like a big cloud, which a man may walk in or out of according to his own choice and timetable.
The scripture clearly reveals that HIS mercy endureth forever, yea even to all generations but at the same time HE has quite plainly reserved the right to show mercy to whom HE will. (see Rom. 9:15-18). It is quite common for men to think that GOD's mercy somehow modifies all of HIS other attributes as if HE is willing to be less than perfectly just in order to be perfectly merciful. None of GOD's attributes in any way modifies or changes anything HE is or does since HE is perfect in and of HIMSELF. There is never any conflict in HIS mind as to what HIS purpose is nor is there any shadow of turning with HIM. GOD does not "react" to anything but is the first cause of all events and as the scripture says, HE declares "the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure." (Isa 46:10) So for there to be a veil separating men from the mercy seat should come as no surprise to those who know HIM to be the Sovereign RULER of the universe who is of purer eyes than to look upon sin. Can any man question the drawing of this veil? "But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear." (Isa 59:2)
So man is in quite a dilemma insofar as his own supposed ability to do something that would appease GOD or atone for his sin. Even if he could find some suitable offering or payment to satisfy the justice of a holy GOD yet he could never enter into HIS presence in order to be able to make that payment or offering. That man who is burdened with the load of his sin, having been quickened by the HOLY GHOST to see his hopeless condition, is surely overjoyed at the sound of the gospel which says, that our SAVIOR has entered into that holy place in our behalf and has once and for all made an atonement for our sin.
HE is our GREAT HIGH PRIEST. HE did not arise as a priest from the tribe of Aaron for all of those priests had to offer atonement for their own sins as well as those of the people. They also could not continue in this office because they were mortals and the grave always brought an end to their priesthood. But our HIGH PRIEST came after the order of Melchisedek which had neither beginning of days nor end of life. The LORD JESUS had no sin of HIS own and was able to offer HIMSELF as a LAMB without spot and without blemish. Just as the high priests under the law entered into that holy place with the names of their people written upon their breast so HE has entered in once into that place for HIS elect and now ever liveth to make intercession for those that come unto GOD by HIM. (see Heb.7:21-28)
HE is our FORERUNNER. The term "fore-runner" literally means one who runs a race before us. Not only did the LORD JESUS satisfy the curse of the law which was against us by the offering of HIMSELF to die but HE fulfilled every jot and tittle of it in HIS perfect life as HE "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." (Heb 4:15) HE has gone to prepare a place for us because it has pleased HIM to bring us into HIS presence for ever.
HE is our HOPE. "For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God." (Heb 7:19) The Aaronic priests could only remind men of sin as they had to make continual offerings for sin, since the blood of bulls and goats could never take sin away. "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God." (Heb 10:12) What the law could not do JESUS CHRIST has done. HE has not only offered HIMSELF for sin but has now applied the hope and expectation of those benefits which HE has purchased to the very conscience of HIS elect by the witness of the SPIRIT of GOD in applying the gift of faith to them. "And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God." (John 6:69)
HE is our VEIL BREAKER. "The breaker is come up before them" (Mic 2:13) "And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent." (Mat 27:51) The ONE who has the power to cause the earth to quake and the rocks to burst has prevailed to tear down the wall of separation (see Eph.2:10-18) The true sons of GOD have never been the objects of GOD's wrath nor have they ever been destined to destruction. They have however been separated from HIM by their sin, estranged as it were and under the condemnation which is assigned to sin. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." (Eze 18:20) They were without GOD in the world, without hope, and lost in sin and natures night. The same veil that separated all of mankind from the FATHER was the one which separated them as well and they could in no wise enter into that holy place behind it nor could they see the mercy seat which HE had prepared for the ATONEMENT of their sin. But our LORD JESUS CHRIST has rent that veil asunder and has not only offered HIMSELF without spot to GOD in our behalf, but has opened a way for us into the holiest place where we might rejoice in the very presence of the FATHER. For we have seen the SON and he who has seen the SON has seen the FATHER. (see John 14:9) "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2Co 4:6) This is a sure and steadfast hope. We look for no other and we are content to rest in HIS finished work. "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his." (Heb 4:9-10)mam