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By David Herzog
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"When Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He yielded up His spirit. At that moment the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom." (Matthew 27:50)
At Easter we remember the sacrifice of Christ at Calvary and how He took the judgment and chastisement for our sins upon Himself. But there's another significant event that took place at the moment Jesus cried out from the cross and yielded up His spirit. Scripture says that the veil in the Jewish Temple was suddenly ripped in two. It was not simply pushed aside, it was violently torn apart from the top to the bottom!
Before Christ's death on Calvary, the Jewish high priest had to spend hours washing himself and offering sacrifices to God before he could go behind the veil and stand before the presence of our holy God. In fact, his garments were adorned with bells around the bottom fringes of his robe and a rope was tied around his ankle because if the High Priest had failed to prepare himself correctly, he would drop dead because of the awesome presence of the Shekinah glory of God. When the High Priest went behind the veil, the other priests would listen for the bells on the High Priest's garments. If the bells stopped ringing they would know the High Priest had died and they would drag him out from behind the veil by the rope that was tied around his ankle!
At Calvary, all of that suddenly changed. When the veil of the temple was torn asunder a new way of coming before the presence of God was instituted. All of humanity could now have access to the presence of God through the shed blood of Christ. All the washings, sacrifices and rituals were done away with and now anyone in any condition can boldly approach the throne room of God and receive mercy and grace and forgiveness of sins without the need for a human High Priest to represent them. Jesus became our High Priest once and forever and now both sinners and saints can come before God and offer prayer and sacrifices of praise to Him. That means pretty folks and not-so-pretty folks, rich people and poor people, mean people and nice people, Catholics and Protestants, Jews and even Gentiles now have the right to access God's presence.
Despite this wonderful news, it didn't take long for that wicked spirit of religion to try to deviously sew the veil back together! Pretty soon religion started saying, "If you don't tithe, you can't enter the presence of God. If you smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol, or if you're divorced and remarried, you can't access God's presence. If you have tattoos or body piercings, or if you don't have the proper clothes on you have no right to enter in. Some even think that if you don't belong to the right church, you're barred from the presence of God."
We need to rise up and say to that wicked spirit of religion, "How dare you tell all the sinners that they can't have access to the throne of God through Christ and receive the forgiveness of sins and have their prayers answered through the blood of Christ just like everyone else! How dare you say that the veil is only open to some and not to all men and women everywhere who are willing to approach God in any condition and seek for His help, guidance and mercy."
The sacrifice of Christ at Calvary was for the whole world and the veil was torn in two so that anyone in any condition can approach God and seek His kind and gracious benevolence on their behalf. Let's keep this in mind this Easter season. A new and glorious way into the presence of God has been opened for all of mankind and it's our job to silence the voice of religion by proclaiming to all that the veil has been torn in two! This a part of the Easter message that has been neglected for far too long! It's time to proclaim these truths far and wide once again!