Before Adam and Eve transgressed they lived in communion with God. It appears God would come in the cool of the day and they would have sweet fellowship together. That all changed after the fall. During the time of Moses, God was pleased to dwell among His people and walk with them in the wilderness. This, however, had its limitations. There was a most holy place within the veil of the tabernacle where God’s presence was pleased to dwell. Moses instructed Aaron, that he would not come “at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not” (Lev. 16:2). The high priest was permitted entrance only once a year on the Day of Atonement, and he needed to come with blood to sprinkle on the mercy seat, first for his own sins, and then for the sins 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” (Heb. 9:8). Let us try to imagine with what fear and trembling the high priest approached the veil and with what awe and reverence he entered and stood in the presence of God before the mercy seat.
Today the veil is no longer there. The Gospels teach us that the veil was rent in twain when Jesus expired on the cross. Now we can come boldly and with confidence to the throne of grace or mercy seat. There we can obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Because of what Jesus has done, the true believer can again experience in his heart that sweet fellowship and communion with God. May we never lose the awe, reverence, and thanksgiving with which we as mortals should approach His mercy seat.
In Hebrews we read of the “hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Heb. 6:19-20). Our soul is like a ship in this world. Heaven is beyond us on a distant shore. Hope, resting on faith, is the anchor that keeps our vessel from being tossed to and fro. This world is the forecourt of heaven, our eternal rest. Jesus, our High Priest, has entered in before us, making it possible that we may one day live in the very presence of God.
Paul, writing about Jesus, says, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth” (Phil. 2:6-10). As God has highly exalted His Son, may we also praise Him and lift Him up to everyone with whom we have contact.
From the Adult and Youth Sunday School Lesson, May 2, 2010