Behind the curtain
“Across the inside of the Tabernacle hang a special curtain made of fine linen, with cherubim skillfully embroidered into the cloth using blue, purple, and scarlet yarn.“ – Exodus 26:31 NLT
I recall that scene in the movie, The Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and the Scarecrow found themselves in the presence of the mighty Oz. There was smoke and a scary apparition with a booming, intimidating voice demanding to know the purpose for their visit. They were in awe. They were petrified. They were in the presence of someone mightier than they were. They were afraid for their lives. The Toto happens to sneak behind the curtain and pulls it back to reveal a small man twisting an assortment of knobs and dials, speaking into a large microphone. The “mighty Wizard of Oz was exposed for what he was: a fraud and a charlatan. He was anything but mighty and certainly no wizard.
But as we read the story of the construction of the Tabernacle in Exodus 26, we run across a similar curtain, separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place or the Holy of Holies. This curtain was said to be 4-inches thick and proved a formidable barrier, preventing anyone but the High Priest from coming into the place where the very presence of God dwelt. In it were contained the Ark and the Mercy Seat, but no one was allowed beyond it. No one dared try to go behind it. Out of awe, fear, and respect for the One who dwelt there.
And it was to remain that way for generations – during all the years the Tabernacle existed and throughout the existence of the Temple in Jerusalem. There was no mere man behind this curtain. This was not a sham. It was the holy, all-powerful presence of God Himself. Later in chapter 40 we read that when the Tabernacle was completed, an amazing thing happened. “Then the cloud covered the Tabernacle, and the glorious presence of the LORD filled it. Moses was no longer able to enter the Tabernacle because the cloud had settled down over it, and the Tabernacle was filled with the awesome glory of the LORD” (Exodus 40:34-35 NLT). During set-up and construction of the Tabernacle. Moses had been free to go in and out of the Holy of Holies, but now that God had taken up residence, Moses was no longer allowed access. He could not behind the curtain. And neither could anyone else.
But all that was to change. A day was coming when the curtain separating men from God would be removed. Access to the Holy of Holies and the God who dwelt there was going to be opened up once and for all. Mark records the event. “Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain in the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom” (Mark 15:37-38 NLT). As a result of Jesus’ sacrificial, substitionary death on the cross, the wall of separation was removed. “And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. This is the new, life–giving way that Christ has opened up for us through the sacred curtain, by means of his death for us. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s people, let us go right into the presence of God, with true hearts fully trusting him. For our evil consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:19-22 NLT).
We can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. No fear. No apprehension. No condemnation. Christ has opened up for the a way through the sacred curtain by means of His death for us. We can go right into the presence of God with Jesus as our High Priest. We are clean and totally pure because of the blood of Christ. No more barrier. No more isolation. No more separation.
Father, the curtain has been parted. But behind it we don’t find an imposter or a fake, but the Almighty, Sovereign, Holy God. And we have full access into your presence without fear of condemnation or risk of annihilation. Because of the blood of Your Son, You see us as pure and holy in Your eyes. The sacrifice has been made once and for all. The separation has been removed forever. Thank You!. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men