Larger font
Smaller font
Copy
Print
Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents

    21 WITHIN THE VAIL

    WE have offered conclusive proof that Christ commenced his ministry in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, and answered some objections which are offered against that view. A few more points remain to be noticed.STTHD 221.1

    Paul’s testimony in Hebrews 6:19, 20, is quoted to prove that when Christ ascended he entered into the most holy place: “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the vail; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.”STTHD 221.2

    The claim here instituted is that “the vail,” within which Christ has entered, signifies the vail dividing between the holy and most holy places; and if Christ entered within that vail when he ascended, or if he was there when Paul wrote, he was in the most holy place.STTHD 221.3

    If we grant this claim, some conclusions follow which demand consideration. If there is a vail dividing between the holy and most holy places, which the foregoing claim admits, then there is somewhere a holy place as well as a most holy. But if the most holy is all Heaven, where Christ has entered, then what and where is the holy place? It must be something outside of Heaven. Then what is it? Is it this earth, as some contend? If it is anything outside of Heaven, it must be; for this is the only place with which we have anything to do this side of Heaven. Then what is the vail dividing between earth and Heaven? Why are not our opponents thoughtful enough to give us some light on such points as these?STTHD 221.4

    But, further, the holy place in the sanctuary was twice as large as the most holy; and if the earth is the holy place of the true sanctuary, and Heaven the most holy, it follows, the proportion being maintained, that this little diminutive earth, of which it would take two hundred and fifty-two thousand to equal the bulk of the sun, is twice as large as all Heaven!STTHD 222.1

    And, still further, in fulfillment of the type, Christ must perform a portion of his ministry in the holy place. If this is the earth, he should have performed a portion of his ministry here. But Paul says explicitly that he could not be a priest upon earth; for there was another order of priests appointed to do all the work of this kind that was to be done on the earth. Hebrews 8:4. And he says again that while the earthly tabernacle stood, while any service of that kind was performed here, the way into the holy places, both the holy and the most holy of the heavenly sanctuary, was not made manifest or laid open. Hebrews 9:8.STTHD 222.2

    We have already seen how this idea that Christ entered into the most holy place at his ascension, and commenced the work of cleansing the sanctuary, disarranges the period of 2300 days, that great central pillar of the prophecies. It throws the whole system of prophetic interpretation into inextricable confusion. It even destroys the Messiahship of Christ, by throwing the seventy weeks far back into the former dispensation. If these two pillars, the seventy weeks and the 2300 days, can be wrenched from their foundations in the temple of truth, as Samson lifted the pillars of the Philistine temple, the whole structure falls, and biblical interpreters of every school are involved in the ruin.STTHD 223.1

    And what is the reason for all this? Why call the vail in Hebrews 6:19 the second vail? Simply to avoid the conclusion that the Lord is doing any special work either in Heaven or on earth at the present time; for if the sanctuary is not now being cleansed, the position and work of our Lord differ in no respect from what they have been the past 1800 years; and the past Advent movement is all a failure. But if there is nothing to the past movement, there is certainly nothing to the present. Thus men labor hard to give the devil the whole field, and exhibit themselves as the victims of the thinnest of all delusions.STTHD 223.2

    We inquire, then, Does the word vail in Hebrews 6:19 mean the second vail? We answer, No; and this we will prove to the satisfaction of every candid mind. There are but two words rendered vail in the New Testament. These are and. The first occurs four times only, in verses 13, 14, 15, 16 of 2 Corinthians 3, referring to the vail over Moses’ face. The second is used six times, once each by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, all in reference to the vail of the temple which was rent in twain when Christ expired upon the cross, Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45; and three times by Paul in the book of Hebrews 6:19; 9:3; and 10:20. Is there anything peculiar in Paul’s use of this word in Hebrews? Yes; when he means the second vail he specifies it. Hebrews 9:3: “And after the second vail, the tabernacle which is called the holiest of all.” Now if the term, “the vail,” was used to signify invariably the second vail, why did Paul use the term second? Why did he not say, here, simply, “And after the vail”? Because a second must imply a first, and he well understood that there was at the entrance to the tabernacle a hanging, which was just as much a vail as that which divided between the holy and the most holy; and to carry out his purpose of instruction in reference to the sanctuary, which is one of Paul’s great objects in the book of Hebrews, he accurately distinguishes between the two, and when he means the second, he says the second.STTHD 224.1

    This word, vail,, is defined in Robinson’s Gr. Lex. of New Testament as follows: “A covering, vail, which hangs down. In Sept. a vail, curtain, of the tabernacle and temple, of which there were two, viz., one at the entrance of the outer sanctuary, Heb.,, Sept.,, Exodus 26:36; 40:5; Jos. B. J. 5. 5. 4; and the other before the holy of holies, separating it from the outer sanctuary.”STTHD 225.1

    Here is good testimony that the same word is used to designate both hangings, the one at the door, and the other in the interior, of the sanctuary.STTHD 225.2

    In the Hebrew, in Exodus 35:12; 39:34; 40:21; and Numbers 4:5, both the terms that are used for hanging and vail are joined together to designate the inner vail before the most holy place, and it is called the vail of the covering. The Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature by M’Clintock and Strong, under the term “Hanging,” says:—STTHD 226.1

    “The hanging was a curtain or covering (as the word radically means, and as it is sometimes rendered) to close an entrance. It was made of variegated stuff wrought with needle-work (compare Esther 1:6), and (in one instance at least) was hung on five pillars of acacia wood. The term is applied to a series of curtains suspended before the successive openings of entrance into the tabernacle and its parts. Of these, the first hung before the entrance to the court of the tabernacle (Exodus 27:15; 38:18; Numbers 4:26) the second before the door of the tabernacle (Exodus 26:36, 37; 39:38); and the third before the entrance to the most holy place, called, more fully, vail of the covering. Exodus 35:12; 39:34; 40:21.”STTHD 226.2

    We have now before us sufficient evidence that the covering of the outer entrance to the tabernacle was a vail, as well as that which hung before the most holy place. The same Greek word, and the same Hebrew word, are applied to both.STTHD 226.3

    The point now to be ascertained is, In what sense does Paul use the term, the vail? All hangs on the answer to this question, as he is the one who makes use of the language now under examination. As we have seen, with the single exception of the three references by the evangelists to the vail on the day of the crucifixion, Paul is the only New Testament writer who makes use of the term. And in accordance with the accuracy with which he is writing, he finds it necessary to discriminate between the two. And inasmuch as he once specifies the second vail when he refers to that, we must understand him as referring to the first vail when not thus specified. To understand otherwise, is to charge Paul with a degree of looseness in his writings altogether unpardonable in a man of his ability and education, and altogether unaccountable in one who wrote, moreover, by the inspiration of God.STTHD 227.1

    We therefore assert that it matters not how other writers use the term. The evangelists by the vail may mean the second vail, as they doubtless do; and if other writers had used it in the same sense a thousand times, it would in nowise affect the case in hand; for Paul has shown us plainly how he uses the term, and that is all we have to know, to understand his writings in reference to it. And when he means the second, he says the second; and when he does not specify, he means the only remaining one, which is the first.STTHD 227.2

    Now to show finally and conclusively that this is so, we quote Hebrews 10:19, 20: “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest [Greek, holies, plural,] by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the vail, that is to say, his flesh.” Paul here assures us that Christ by his flesh, his sacrifice, has consecrated a new and living way for us through the vail. And into what does that way through the vail lead? Into the holy places, plural, both of them, the holy as well as the most holy. Therefore to go into the holy place, or first apartment, is to go through or within the vail, as Paul uses the term. And this passage is exactly parallel with Hebrews 6:19, 20. Christ, our forerunner, is entered within the vail, to make this living way for us into the holy places. But Christ does not minister, nor open the way for us, in both of the places at once. This would outrage all order, and do violence to the type. He ministers in the first apartment till the prophetic days expire, then goes within the second vail, to accomplish the last division of his solemn work, which is to cleanse the sanctuary, and make once for all a disposition of the sins of those who have sought pardon through his blood.STTHD 228.1

    Here are harmony, reason, and Scripture, a divine triumvirate, to oppose which looks to us like willfully shutting our eyes to the light.STTHD 229.1

    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents