Brother Beebe: The Lord has laid his afflicting hand upon me in removing my companion, and I am left to struggle through this unfriendly world alone. But his promise is, “As thy days, so shall thy strength be.” I have witnessed the faithfulness of this assurance; for he has been a present help in time of need; but I feel very unworthy of his mercy. Dear Brother, all the preaching I have is through the “Signs of the Times.” I wish you would favor me with a short sermon on Mark 15:38. “And the veil of the temple was rent in twain, from the top to the bottom.” I requested your views on a passage of scripture last year, but did not receive them. Brother Beebe, pray for me, that I may be resigned to the will of God, who doeth all things well.
March 13, 1864.
Reply: We have many more applications made to us for our views on the scriptures than we are able to comply with, sometimes because we have no satisfactory views to present, and sometimes for want of time to write, or space to insert such views as we have. We feel a pleasure however in receiving the applications of those who are searching after the truth, and in doing the best we can to edify and enlighten our readers to the extent of such ability as the Lord may bestow on us; and truly, without him we can do nothing.
The subject proposed by sister Brice for consideration is full of solemn and thrilling interest to all who hope for salvation through the atoning blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. The miracles wrought by our Savior in the days of his flesh gave unquestionable outward demonstration of his Messiahship; as Nicodemus frankly acknowledged, “We know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles that thou doest except God be with him (John 3:2).” So also the amazing display of divine power in the convulsion of nature when Jesus was crucified caused even his murderers to cry out in astonishment, “Surely this was the Son of God.” The quaking earth, the rending rocks, the opening graves, the rising dead, the darkened skies, as well as the rending veil; appealed most irresistibly to the intelligence of mankind, in vindication of the divine character and commission of the Redeemer. While the faith of the children of God looks not on the things which are seen, but on things which are not seen; the credentials of the Messiahship of the Son of God, to the world lying in wickedness, were made tangible to the natural intellect of men who are destitute of the vital principle of faith by outward and visible things. The faith of those who have the faith of the Son of God does not live on the visible things which are seen and comprehended by natural men, but they by that faith endure as seeing him who is invisible (Hebrews 11:27). Jews, legalists, and Arminians require a sign, or visible evidences; but the faith of the Son of God is to all who possess it the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen. As an exposure of the deep depravity of fallen man, the miracles were performed that their true state and condition might be demonstrated. “If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father (John 15:24). ”That is, they would have had no exposure or conviction of their sins; but now they have no cloak for their sin.
It is worthy of our serious reflection that Christ frequently, in his contentions with the unbelieving Jews, referred to the demonstration that should be given of his identity as the Son of God when he should be put to death; as, for instance in John 8:28, “When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he,” etc. This saying was so fully verified that they were constrained to acknowledge: “This was the Son of God.”
But among the fearfully grand and convincing evidences given at his crucifixion, or when he was lifted up, we are called now to consider that of the veil being then and there rent in twain from the top to the bottom. Without any reference to the sacred character or figurative significance of the veil, the remarkable phenomena of the parting, rending or separation of the veil, by an unseen power was of itself astounding, and the mystery was deemed worthy of classification with the rending of the rocks, opening of the graves, rising of the dead, and darkening of the mid day. But we are persuaded that there is in each of these wonderful displays of divine power a lesson of spiritual instruction to the children of God, far, infinitely far, beyond what filled the hearts of the carnal Jews and Romans with such consternation and fear.
The temple was itself a divinely recognized emblem of the House or church of the living God; and all its parts were designed to represent some corresponding part, place or thing of or in the church and kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. While the darkness, which prevailed from the sixth to the ninth hour, set forth the eclipse of the Sun of Righteousness, when Jesus bowed his head in death and entered the dark dominion of death and the grave, the opened graves and rising dead showed the bringing of life and immortality to light; the rending rocks, the breaking up of the legal dispensation; the abolition of death and destruction of him that had the power of death, so the rending of the veil signified the removal of the wall of partition which had concealed the most holy place from the view of the temple worshipers. In the epistle to the Hebrews, a description of the temple is given, and the signification of the several departments. At the ninth chapter we read, “Then verily the first covenant [that of the old dispensation] had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; and over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people; the Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us (Hebrews 9.1-11).” From what is here presented explanatory of the figurative design of the first and second veils of the temple, we learn that the veils were designed to separate, first the outer court worshipers from the holy place consecrated within the first veil for the priests of Israel to perform the divine service, of the worldly sanctuary. But within the second tabernacle, curtain or veil, was concealed from the gaze of the people the most holy place. None but the high priest, and even he not without sacrificial blood, was allowed on pain of instant death to go within this veil; and that but once a year, in consecrated garments, with hallowed blood, bearing the names of the tribes for whom he officiated engraved on his breast-plate, and with golden bells between the pomegranates of his garments, to sound while he appeared before the mercyseat, and between the cherubims of glory, to signify that he lived to represent and intercede for them within the veil. Thus signifying that the way into this holy place was not as yet made manifest. The first veil or tabernacle must first be fulfilled in all its jots and tittles before the way into the glories of the gospel could be made manifest. But in Hebrews 10:8,9, we read, “He saith, Sacrifice and offerings and burnt offerings, and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein, which were offered by the law. Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
By the offering of this one sacrifice, which was accomplished by our Lord Jesus Christ at the time when the veil was rent, the obstacle which concealed the way of life and salvation from our view, was effectually removed, and the intervening veil being rent in twain from the top to the bottom, all the glory which it had for ages concealed was at once made manifest. The Ark of God appeared, the Mercyseat was clearly seen, the cherubims of glory, with all the consecrated furniture of the holiest of holies is no longer hidden from our faith. Now in the gospel, the veil of the covering which was over all flesh is taken away, except from those who still read Moses, or look to the law, or to their own legal works for acceptance with God; for to all such the veil still remains to this day untaken away. But all those who have had a view by faith of their crucified Lord, and have felt the sovereign efficacy of his atoning blood, and are clothed in his spotless righteousness, can say with the spouse, “The keepers of the walls took away my veil from me,” and they all with open face, (having the veil removed) beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord. The impending veil removed, life and immortality is brought to light, the heavenly Jerusalem appears, the king of glory mounts his mediatorial throne, death is destroyed, hell is vanquished, Christ is victorious, the church of God is safe. Only through the death of Christ could these triumphs be achieved; it was therefore meet that the veil should be rent, and the way into the most holy disclosed, when Jesus put away the sins of his people by the sacrifice of himself. By himself Jesus enters the holy place not made with hands, even into heaven itself, and having obtained eternal redemption for all his members: they with his dead body arise; for he hath raised them up together, and made them to sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. The faith that now beholds the sacrifice of Calvary, looks also within the veil; and reads the title clear to mansions in the skies.
This mystic veil was not rent from the bottom to the top; for the work did not begin on earth: it was not performed by us: but it was rent from the top to the bottom.
“Tis thy own work, Almighty God,
And wondrous in our eyes.
(To be continued)
October 15, 1864.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 6
Pages 103 - 108