The Life Behind the Second Veil
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.” – Heb. 10:19
The Apostle, after speaking of the way into the most holy place being opened through the rent veil, that is, Christ’s torn flesh, mentions four things we have, and then exhorts us to perform four important duties in order to retain the blessing.
I. Boldness through the Blood.
The blessing of Holiness imparts a heavenly boldness and a supernatural courage. It is impossible to go behind the second veil, eat of the hidden manna, have the law of God written in our hearts, the glowing radiance and heavenly Shekinah to take up his abode in our spirit, and ever be the same again.
Fletcher, Inskip and Finney all went behind the second veil and returned filled, thrilled and fired with a burning message that awakened hundreds of dead churches and started a wave of salvation to rolling that is still being felt.
Catherine Booth, the mother of the Salvation Army, went into the holy of holies, came back with a shining face and a holy boldness, and led the Army to victory that transformed the slums of East London and started a movement with its blood-and-fire spirit that has belted the globe.
The world took knowledge of the disciples when they came from the upper-room experience, when they saw their boldness. The baptism of the Holy Ghost is death to cowardice and man-fearing spirit.
Then we are exhorted to seek and enter into the holiest with boldness. The contrast is between our entering in by the blood of Jesus and that of the high priest of old, entering with fear and trembling. There is a difference in conviction for pardon and holiness. Conviction for sin strikes the sinner like a flash, but conviction for Holiness steals over the believer like the dew and breath from Heaven. This was illustrated in the two crossings of the children of Israel. There was such a marked contrast between the two that we are sure they stand for some spiritual truth and experience. At the Red Sea they were driven and were fleeing from something. A dry path was opened for them before they moved forward. However, at the Jordan, which is typical of our entering into the Canaan of Holiness, they were drawn toward the beauties of the land. They were tired of wandering and the tent life, and longed for rest, the stone house, and the food of Canaan – noticed at the Jordan. They were commanded to march forward into an overflowing river without any outstretched rod or outward sign, but with a boldness they stepped into the flood and the waters parted.
In entering into Holiness a child of God should not have to be driven by threatening sermons, but his faith ought to be strong enough to make him step right in with a confidence and assurance that the waters will recede while he enters Canaan.
II. “And having a high priest over the house of God.”
What worlds of comfort in these words! The high priest of the Jewish covenant not only offered sacrifices and blood for the sins of the people, but for their errors also. Jesus fulfilled the office of a priest in every sense of the word. He was the lamb and altar, too, and through the eternal Spirit offered up His own life and blood, which not only atones for sin, but takes in our mistakes, blunders and human weaknesses. Let it be known that a soul does not forfeit its pardon or purity because of some blunder through ignorance, providing it will go to Jesus at once and plead the merits of the all-sufficient Blood. If one is wounded by some fiery dart of the enemy, which may cause a cloud to come over the soul, why wait until we get to class meeting or some great camp meeting to get restored? Why not go at once to the great High Priest and wait until the Spirit answers to the Blood?
III. And “having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.”
A sprinkled conscience means a purged, quickened conscience, which approves of the right and condemns the wrong. Nowhere is an unenlightened conscience a safe guide. It is only as it is washed and purged from dead works, then illuminated by the Holy Ghost, that we are safe in following the dictates of conscience. Still, there is a higher power than conscience. We read in Col. 3:15, “Let the peace of Christ arbitrate your hearts.” (Revised Version Margin.)
“Whenever,” says Bishop Lightfoot, England’s greatest ex-pastor, “there is a conflict of motives or impulses or reason, the peace of Christ must step in and decide which is to prevail.” For instance, I may be invited to take part in some amusement. Reason and conscience may not see any harm, but the peace of Christ does; so I decline. Anything that causes a veil between the soul and the face of Jesus should be avoided the same as sin.
A sprinkled conscience is a tender conscience. A sanctified conscience should be as tender and sensitive as the eye is to a grain of sand. A host of professors seem to have no conscience when it comes to keeping vows, meeting obligations, paying pledges and scores of other little things. There is no such thing as real, vital Godliness without a quickened conscience.
IV. “And our bodies washed with pure water.”
There were two objects in the court of the tabernacle – the brazen altar, where the blood was shed and the laver, or fountain of cleansing. Here the high priest washed his body five times before he went into the holy of holies. Surely God would not require a higher type of Holiness under the old covenant than He does under grace. If it were necessary for God’s Priest to wash his body, that he die not before entering into the holiest, the believer that would go behind the second veil must bring a body that is free from all unholy habits, appetites and passions and present it, a living sacrifice, to God. The word soma (body, in Greek) has an inward as well as an outward meaning. The inward meaning refers to appetites, passions and desires. It is this which the Holy Spirit cleanses and brings under subjection to the spiritual nature.
Next, we want to notice four important duties enjoined upon us if we would live behind the second veil in the holy of holies.
I. Let us, who have thus entered, “hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering.”
Confession and fruit are like twin sisters; they go together. The term confession embraces our public testimony, confessing with our lips the inward contents of the heart. The term fruit includes holy living, heavenly graces and tempers. This was beautifully set forth in the Old Testament when the high priest went behind the second veil, which was a figure of the believer entering in. Upon the hem of his garment was to hang a bell (testimony) and the pomegranate (fruit). Between each pomegranate was a golden bell, showing that our testimony should correspond with our living. “The sound of the bells shall be heard, that he die not.” The figure is still true. A dumb Christian is a dead Christian.
It is impossible to retain the blessing of heart purity without testifying to it in a clear, definite way. The holy Fletcher lost the blessing four times by not testifying to it. When Israel entered Canaan they were commanded to bring the first fruits in a basket and say to the priest, “I profess this day unto the Lord, that I am come unto the country which the Lord swore to give us.” Here we see both fruit and testimony, which should always go together.
II. “Let us consider one another.”
The nearer we get to God, the closer we will get to each other. Let us consider one another’s interest, good name and influence like we would our own, not criticizing one another, but provoking each other to love and good works.
III. And “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is.”
This is death to come-outism. There is a class of people who roam the earth and who attack every organized church and call themselves the only true church. They are made up of a class, in a great many instances, of these that were too self-willed to come under church discipline. We have never met one yet but what showed a fighting, sour spirit. We need to mingle with God’s people. We are essential to each other, not in the sense of leaning upon each other, but there is a spiritual development that we can only get by mingling with the saints.
IV. “Cast not therefore away your confidence which hath a great recompense of reward.” – verse 35
It seems that the Apostle had most every heresy to deal with that we have today. There were those that had a tendency to withdraw fellowship from the saints. But the worst calamity that can happen to a child of God is to cast away his confidence.
It is alarming to know how many good people in these last days are casting away their confidence. There are numbers of God’s people whom, because of ignorance, Satan takes advantage of their weakness and throws a cloud of darkness over them; lacerates their spirit, and discourages them; and, because the blessing has momentarily been forfeited, they think the blessing is gone forever. Therefore, they cast away their confidence and give up in despair, where, if they had gone to Christ at once and confessed all to Him, they could have been instantly restored.
Still others, who have been mightily used of the Spirit for years, because they meet someone who apparently seems to have more power than they have, will cast away their confidence and seek what they call their real baptism. Now, if Satan can succeed in deceiving them once and tell them what they had at first was not God’s pure gold, who knows that when the newness of the blessing wears away and they get down to good, old, plain, everyday living by faith, that he will get them to cast away their confidence the second time and perhaps make a shipwreck of faith.
If God has given us the pure gold experience, and if it has been tried by the acid test of hard trials, then why should we cast it away for mere brass or human fuss? Whenever a millionaire wishes to make a few more millions, he takes what he already has and makes more. Let us use that much wisdom in grace and spiritual truths, by holding fast to our confidence and gaining more.