The Torn Veil and Intimacy with the Father
Dr. Larry Taylor, ACSI President & CEO
April 4, 2023
One of my favorite hymns, written by Charles Austin Miles in 1913, paints a beautiful image of peace, tranquility, and intimacy.
I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
He speaks, and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.
I’d stay in the garden with Him,
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.
This poem wonderfully describes what we, as believers, can experience right now on this fallen earth. But it wasn’t always this way.
In the beginning, Adam and Eve had it good! Living in utopia, the book of Genesis implies that God walked with them in the garden of Eden—stop and imagine that for a moment. Though the Bible doesn’t definitively state it, the connotation given in Genesis 3:8 is that when Adam and Eve heard God walking in the cool of that day, it wasn’t the first time such an encounter happened.
Tragically, the scene in Genesis 3:8 was the first occasion that they recognized His presence after choosing to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The newfound “knowledge” they gained caused them to cover themselves and hide, and mankind has been running away from God ever since.
Adam and Eve’s willful act of sin created a wedge, or veil of separation, between the most holy God and His creation. While we can still find pockets of beauty on the earth to this day, the fall meant that soil would now grow weeds and thorns instead of naturally flourishing like the garden of Eden. Death entered the world, God’s precious children were ejected from paradise, and the everyday intimacy humans enjoyed with their Father was lost.
But the rest of the Bible tells the wonderful, amazing story of God’s love and redemption—and how He has been drawing His bride back to Him ever since the fall.
In Exodus, we find the Israelites wandering in the wilderness, but they needed someplace to worship the Lord. God instructed them to build the tabernacle, and He dwelled in it among them. Later, Solomon built a more permanent temple. Inside this elaborate structure that was built to God’s exact specifications was the Holy of Holies, where the presence of God resided.
This Holy of Holies was separated by a thick, elaborate veil, or curtain, which symbolized the separation between holy God and sinful man. Only a ritually pure High Priest, a direct descendant of Aaron, could enter through the curtain on the Day of Atonement to offer a blood sacrifice for the nation’s sins.
Fast forward to Good Friday. Through His ultimate sacrifice, Jesus carried out the final, and perfect, atonement for all of mankind’s sins on the cross. This Savior shed His blood, sacrificing for us in an act of love that is beyond our human comprehension.
On that day, when Christ uttered His last breath on Golgotha and His body was broken, the earth shook, rocks split in two, and God tore the veil in the temple from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51). Jesus’ shed blood destroyed what separated the Father from His children.
This means that all people on the earth, every race and nation, can have intimacy with their Father because of what happened when Christ died on the cross. We can walk in the quiet of nature at dawn and talk to Him, and we can worship with fellow believers at church and feel His presence. We can ask Him to comfort us when we hurt, appeal for His peace when we doubt, and plead for direction when we are lost.
Let us celebrate this Easter remembering that God loved the world so much that “he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). He is our Creator, our Father, and He wants to walk with us, talk to us, and tell us we are His own! He wants to hear our hopes, frustrations, and dreams, and He welcomes it when we pour our hearts out to Him.
This intimacy we can have with the Father is something we should never take for granted—that we can worship and commune with God Almighty at any time, in any place. We have access to the most holy King of Kings, despite our sins, and this is only because Jesus’ body was broken, the veil was torn in two, and Jesus defeated death when He rose again on the third day. He is now sitting on the right hand of the Father interceding for us (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25)! Let us always be thankful for the unfettered access we have to God’s throne. May we walk with Him so closely that his sweet voice becomes a melody ringing in our hearts each and every day!
And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all the nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. (Isaiah 25:7-8 ESV)
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