The Veil: “Just a Piece of Cloth”
Matthew 27:45-54

A. Opening our Understanding – The Road to Emmaus – Luke 24:25-27, 44-46
25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!
26 “Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?”
27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”
45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,

1. In this passage we see the marvelous unfolding of the Word of God that Jesus laid before the two disciples on the way to Emmaus.
a) In the latter part of the chapter the Lord opened the minds of the eleven disciples that they might understand the Scriptures.
b) The Scripture says the Lord showed them all things concerning himself.
c) That meant that what we read in the Old Testament are types, pictures, outlines, and presentations of the great truth that God would have us learn in Christ Jesus.
d) One of the most profitable and spiritually rewarding of all the studies of the truth of the Word of God is the study of the types of the Lord in the Old Testament.
e) Through them the Lord was teaching us what happened when Christ came into the world.
2. All the Old Testament prophets are finger-posts pointing to the Messiah-Redeemer. Whether it be
a) Moses the lawgiver-prophet, or
b) David the psalmist-prophet, or
c) Isaiah the excelsior writing-prophet, or
d) Jeremiah the broken-hearted prophet, or
e) Ezekiel the visions-prophet, or
f) any of the other prophets,
g) all point to HIM.
3. Apart from the Christ of Calvary, the Old Testament is a book of
a) unexplained ceremonies,
b) unfulfilled prophecies.
4. Remember, Jesus, to One Who was to come must be
a) a second Adam,
b) a prophet like Moses,
c) a priest like Aaron and Melchizedek,
d) a champion like Joshua,
e) an offering like Isaac,
f) a king like David,
g) a wise counselor like Solomon,
h) a beloved, rejected, exalted son and world’s bread-supplier like Joseph,
i) and all the other typical persons, all in one!
5. He must be
a) the ark of the covenant,
b) the sacrifice on the brazen altar,
c) the mercy seat in the sanctuary,
d) the water from the rock,
e) the manna from the sky,
f) the brazen serpent lifted up,
g) the Passover lamb,
h) the scapegoat,
i) the lion of Judah,
j) the good shepherd,
k) the lily of the valley,
l) the “root out of a dry ground” yet the “fruitful branch”-
m) “without form or comeliness”, yet the “altogether lovely”,
6. The marvel is that all are perfectly fulfilled in Jesus!
a) Oh, what a mighty fulfillment is the Christ of Calvary!
b) All the mysteries of prophecy are resolved at the Cross.
c) The mysteries of the types are all deciphered at the Cross.
d) The serpent’s head is crushed at the Cross.
e) The door of heaven is opened at the Cross.
f) The fountain of salvation is opened at the Cross.
g) Calvary is the triumphant focal-point of fulfillment.
h) It is the place where Jesus said “It is finished”!

I. The Veil
A. The Tearing of the Veil (Matthew 27:45-54)
45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47 And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” 48 And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. 49 But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

1. The type described in the Old Testament that today we are going to see fulfilled in the New Testament is the veil.
a) To many it is “just a piece of cloth.”
b) Today I want us to have a very close look at that “piece of cloth”.
2. That piece of cloth stretched between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies inside Herod’s Temple on Mt. Moriah in Jerusalem on the day that Jesus was crucified.
a) It is called “The Veil”.
b) Do you know what it was?

B. What the Veil Was
1. The Veil was a gorgeously embroidered, massive curtain that stretched across the outside of the Holy of Holies.
a) It separated what was inside the Holy of Holies from everything that was outside.
2. Josephus, the Jewish (non-Christian) historian, said that that veil was 30 feet long – half the size of the length of the Tabernacle or “Holy Place” in the Temple.
a) Josephus said it was 60 feet high – almost twice as high as a standard telephone pole in the USA.
b) It was the thickness of the palm of a man’s hand – about four-five inches thick.
3. Alfred Edersheim, the Jewish Christian historian, said, “It was so heavy that it required upwards to 300 priests to adequately handle it.”
a) So it is a pretty good sized piece of cloth

C. The Way Not Yet Seen in the Old Testament (Hebrews 9:6-8)
1. If you are ever going to understand that piece of cloth and what happened with it you need to understand two chapters of the book of Hebrews.
a) The first is Hebrews 9 and the second is Hebrews 10
2. The writer of Hebrews has taken each piece of furniture in the Tabernacle and he says in Hebrews 9:6-8

6 These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section (that’s the Holy Place, the middle room), performing their ritual duties,
7 but into the second (the Holy of Holies) only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself (because he too was a sinner!) and for the unintentional sins of the people.
(Now the Holy Spirit is going to tell us what that means:)
8 By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places (Holy of Holies) is not yet opened as long as the first section (and the veil) is still standing
3. Do you understand how important this is?!
a) All people have a desire to get to that place where God is – The Holy of Holies.
b) It took God only five verses to finish the whole story of the creation of the sun, the moon, the earth and the stars! Five verses!
c) Do you know how many chapters God took to explain and describe the construction of the Tabernacle?
d) 40 chapters! 40 chapters just to tell us how it was to be built!
e) No wonder the devil doesn’t want you in the books of Exodus and Leviticus!
f) If you understand the Tabernacle, then you understand all of what God would have you to know about salvation and Jesus Christ.
4. There is no part of the economy of God that is held out of the Tabernacle!
a) Every nook and cranny,
b) every piece of furniture,
c) every turn of the corner,
d) every fabric of a curtain,
e) every thread and seam in it,
f) everything tells us something about “How to get to God”!
g) But in the OT it is only a picture, “the way was not yet made manifest”.
5. It is very important for us to understand this today, and especially how Christ fulfilled it all on the Cross!

D. The Way That Is Seen in the New Testament (Hebrews 10:19-20)
1. Now skip over to chapter 10. Something has happened between the time described in Hebrews 9 that described in Hebrews 10. Listen carefully: Hebrews 10:19-20
19 Therefore, brethren (so a family has been formed), having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus (that explains what has happened!),
20 by a new (freshly slain) and living way (His death and resurrection) which He consecrated for us (now listen!), through the veil, that is, His flesh,
2. So what does the veil mean?!
a) It represents the earthly, incarnate, human body of the Son of God.
b) That Veil is Jesus!
c) That is what God’s word says! “the veil, that is His flesh.”
d) Let’s look closely at the Veil and see clearly that it is a picture of Jesus!

II. The Veil Was Remarkable in It’s Make-up
A. The Description in Exodus
1. This is the way God said it to Moses in Exodus 26:31-33
31 “You shall make a veil woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen. It shall be woven with an artistic design of cherubim.
32 “You shall hang it upon the four pillars of acacia wood overlaid with gold. Their hooks shall be of gold, upon four sockets of silver.
33 “And you shall hang the veil from the clasps. Then you shall bring the ark of the Testimony in there, behind the veil. The veil shall be a divider for you between the holy place and the Most Holy.
2. Now isn’t that strange?
a) Study it carefully!
b) The Bible says that man lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
c) And how carefully you should study every word of God!
d) Let’s analyze these words just a minute.

B. It was a cunning work
1. That means it was a skillfully, carefully produced piece of cloth.
a) Beautifully designed and made by Bezaleel (Exodus 31:1-11) (and Aholiab)
b) It was the work of one person, who was himself an absolutely skilled artisan.
c) Bezaleel is the first person said in the whole Bible said to be filled with the Spirit of God!
d) So he worked in the energy and power of the Holy Spirit.
2. Do you remember what Jesus said, according to the writer of Hebrews?
a) Before time ever began, talking with the Father with the Holy Spirit as the recording secretary and writing it down so we could know it, Jesus looked His Father in the face and said,
b) Hebrews 10:5 (NKJV) Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me.”
c) When Jesus came down, He wrapped Himself in that physical body.
d) The Holy Spirit is the One person who could knit that veil.
3. Mary, questioned the virgin birth when the angel said, “Your body is going to incarnate the Son of God”, she said, “How can it be since I have never known a man.”
a) The angel said “That’s none of your business. The Holy Spirit, the one person who can build that veil, He presides over it and He will form in you that Holy thing and it will be born of God!”
b) So, the Veil, the flesh is Christ, had a Divine Designer.
4. It was a cunning work.
a) It was fine twined, bright white linen.
b) That means it had no coarseness in it.
c) There were no bumps in that piece of fabric – it was completely smooth.
d) That means you could touch it, run your fingers down it and you would never feel anything but perfect texture.
e) There was no coarseness in the character of Jesus.
f) Touch Him anywhere and He is always the same!
g) It is a picture of the perfect moral excellency of the Son of God with no inconsistency anywhere throughout His life.

C. Cherubim
1. When you approached it from one side, there were images of cherubim.
a) Who are the cherubim?
b) They were the guardians of the Holiness of God!
(1) partially to keep people out who would get burned up by looking at God’s holiness, and
(2) partially to keep God’s holiness from ever being in the presence of sin
c) When Adam and Eve sinned, God drove them out of the garden and put cherubim at the east gate of Eden.
d) They each had a flaming sword that turned in every direction to guard the way to the Tree of Life.
e) The Cherubim guarded access to the Holiness of God.
2. It was held up by four posts of acacia wood, overlaid with gold.
a) Have you ever noticed that this veil hung up on four posts of wood, overlaid with gold?
b) If you study the Tabernacle anytime wood is seen it represents humanity, human nature.
c) But every time gold is seen, it represents Deity, the Divine Nature.
d) So here you have something full of awe!
e) You have a picture of four human things covered over with the divine nature of God and they are assigned to hold the veil up so that all can see!
3. Which four humans, superimposed by divine inspiration, were assigned to hold up that veil for everybody to see.
a) The color was blue – that is the heavenly color. That is John’s assignment.
b) The color was purple – the royal-kingly color. That is Matthew’s assignment.
c) The color was scarlet – the color of blood and sacrifice. That is Mark’s assignment – The gospel of the suffering servant.
d) The last one was bright white finely twined linen. That is Luke’s assignment – the pure and perfect Son of Man.
e) These four men were covered by the protective cover of divine inspiration.
f) In Matthew’s Gospel, Mark’s Gospel, Luke’s Gospel, John’s Gospel, the veil is hung up so that anybody who looks in can see the Holy character of Jesus!
4. That means this veil was divinely made and divinely placed.
a) Every thing about it God was responsible for putting there.
b) So it was truly remarkable in it’s makeup.

D. The Veil Was Representative in It’s Meaning
1. It was also representative in it’s meaning.
a) It’s Location is described in Exodus 26:33
b) Exodus 26:33 says “… and the veil shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy.”
c) It’s very location helps us to know what it means.
2. And in Exodus 39 it is called “the veil of the covering.”
a) So what did it do?
b) It divided. It covered. It hid. It concealed. It barred the way to God.
c) It was an obstruction and a screen so that you couldn’t even look through it to see.
d) So it represents that which separates men from God.

III. What is it that separates man from God?
A. The stunning answer!
1. Now, I am about to hit you with a hammer here! If I were to come to you today and ask you, “What is it that separates man from God?”, what would everybody in this room say?
a) One word, Sin!
b) There is something far more serious than sin that separates you from God.
c) God would have lost His right to be God and the whole universe would have collapsed, but He could have accepted you as you were, as a sinner.
d) There is something more important than your sins that separates you from God!
e) What is it?!
2. It is the absolutely perfect, Holy humanity of the Son of God.
a) The veil is the flesh of Jesus and the veil separates us from God!
b) You see, what you have is a double sided veil.
c) It has an outside side toward me, that looks upon our sin.
d) It has an inside side which God alone understands and it is the Holy humanity of His Son – The perfection of Jesus Christ.

B. God has a standard for humanity
1. We have argued with that from daylight till dark, half of our lives, trying to justify ourselves.
a) If you try to justify yourself by your works, by what you can do, then you take your case out of God’s hands!
b) Then you can never be justified by Him.
2. We spend half our lives arguing with God’s standard for humanity.
a) We say, “You mean to say that God expects us to be perfect?” YES!
b) How do I know? Because of the veil!
c) There He stands, a perfect pattern for humanity!
d) A required standard.
3. Perfect righteousness is the only kind of life God would accept.
a) And thank God that He sees Jesus’ righteousness when I come to Him rather than me!
b) The Veil has faced God all the time in eternity, and God spoke from inside that veil three times.
c) He shouted from heaven, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased!”
d) God sees Jesus from the other side of that Veil!

C. Then what did Jesus come for?
1. He came to hide God!
a) Think about that for a while.
b) We have always heard that He came to reveal God.
c) In order to reveal God so that we could understand Him and receive Him in any way, He first had to hide God.
2. Just like that veil hid the presence of God behind it.
a) He came to hide God, to conceal God, to cover God.
b) Every Christmas we sing the words of Charles Wesley hymn, “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, hail the incarnate deity” and we don’t even stop to try to understand what that means.
c) Jesus veiled the Godhead’s deity – He hid God.
3. One time God reached down and lifted a corner of the veil and said, “Do you want to see what’s inside?”
a) On the Mt. of Transfiguration God pulled the corner of the veil up.
b) The best prepared men in the history of the world, Peter, James and John, fell flat on their faces before that awful radiance of God!
c) Do you know what happened?
d) Suddenly, while up on that mountain, while in prayer, the divine radiance on the inside of that veil came bursting out and the radiance of God came out and His face became white like lightning and His garments became white and glistening.
4. I think that is the way Jesus is going to look during the millennium reign on this earth.
a) I don’t think many people are going to want to argue with Him close up!
b) Do you know why you argue with Him today?
c) Because the veil hides the radiance!
d) And thank God that it does.
e) It would burn us to a crisp with the tiniest fragment of sin!
5. So one side of that veil is seen by men and some of them say,
a) “Oh He’s a wonderful teacher.”
b) He is a great prophet!
c) He’s a good man.
d) He’s probably the best human we have ever seen.”
6. But looking at one side of the veil where God is hidden.
a) Something awesome is there on the inside God is saying, “You had better listen, this is My Son!”
b) God speaks to us from the inside, from what God sees on His side of the veil.
c) So, what was the effect of that veil? It was to shut us out from the presence of God.

IV. The Veil Was Removed in a Moment
A. Standing Before the Veil
1. One last idea. Great God Almighty!
a) You can stand before Jesus like those priests stood before the veil.
b) Those priests studied that veil.
c) You can study Him like they studied it.
d) You can admire Him like they admired the beauty of that veil.
e) You can praise Him like they praised it.
f) You can imitate Him like they undoubtedly imitated it, but as long as it stands there intact, there is no way into the presence of God.
2. Do you know how that priest got into there?
a) He shattered the body of an innocent and perfect lamb.
b) He shed its blood and on the basis of that poured out blood, he then came in.
c) The High Priest – On the Day of Atonement – only once a year!
d) Even this is a picture of Jesus!
3. The Priestly robes were taken off – beautiful colors, covered with jewels.
a) He was cleansed, then dressed in plain white linen – but it was coarse linen, not fine twined!
b) He performed the sacrifice, and made the offering, and then he dressed in his priestly robes and jewels again.
4. Christ took off His robes of glory, too, and laid them aside (Philipians 2:7)
a) He made Himself of no reputation to come to earth to walk “like as unto a man”!
b) Then He performed the sacrifice just like the High Priest, but Jesus Christ Himself was the sacrifice!
c) Then He took up His glory again and sat down at the right hand of the Father in heaven!

B. Caiphas – The High Priest
1. Let’s go to old Jerusalem – On a skull shaped hill, just a few steps north of where the temple stands.
2. There is a High Priest of Israel who will soon have to leave here to go to his duties at the Temple.
a) It is 1:30 in the afternoon of that day, and it is dark in the middle of the day.
b) The High Priest’s name is Caiphas.
c) It is as if he presided over the whole affair, He watches as the Son of God hangs on a cross.
3. They hang Jesus up there, but Caiphis can’t stay till the end. He has another assignment.
a) He hurries down off that skull shaped hill, walks back to the temple and cleanses himself, changes his garments, puts on bright white priestly garments, arrives a few minutes before three at the brazen altar just inside the gate of the temple.
b) There he takes that sacrificial animal, ties it to the altar and at exactly 3:00 in the afternoon he takes that silver knife and plunges it down into that innocent lamb.
c) The priests are already standing inside the Holy Place, facing that veil.
d) They have already begun to tremble because the whole religious life of the nation is ready for this offering before the Passover.
4. Then suddenly at 3:00 in the afternoon, all of Israel is hushed.
a) There is not a noise in the air.
b) Every fiber of their bodies tremble! (See how God orchestrated this!)
c) All of a sudden from out on the hill, there is a loud cry!
d) Jesus said “It is finished!” and in that instant the priests, right before their eyes as they watched, there was a tearing sound as that veil tore wide open from top to bottom.
5. It is as if those cherubim at the entrance to the garden of Eden said “Now!”
a) And God took that sword and slashed that veil right down the middle!
b) Jesus’ body was broken and His blood was shed and in that instant when Jesus cried from the cross, “It is finished!”, that veil was split open from top to bottom and the priests were standing there watching it!

C. It was torn from top to bottom! (Isaiah 53:12)
1. Have you ever thought how that veil was torn?
a) It was suspended up between heaven and earth, just the way Jesus was.
b) God started in His Spirit at the top side and split it away from Him.
c) God came down through His soul —
d) Isaiah said “He poured His soul out unto death” and Isaiah said that God tore His body through and through so that He could not even be recognized as a man.
2. Isaiah 53:12 “Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
a) The veil was torn from top to bottom by God Himself.

D. It was torn simultaneously with His death.
1. That veil had hung there for 1500 years and it looked like it was going to hang there forever.
2. But if it had remained untorn for one minute after Jesus died, the whole economy of God would have collapsed.
3. If it had been torn one minute too soon, the whole economy of God would have collapsed.

E. It was torn completely.
1. There was not one thread left in place to hold the veil together.
a) You may have seen pictures of the torn veil with it torn half way down and still attached at the bottom!
b) Man has been trying to rethread that veil from that day until this.
c) Every formalism in religion is trying to put the threads of the veil back into place!
d) Every ritual in our religion is trying to put the veil back into place.
e) Every work we try to do to make ourselves presentable to God is trying to rework that veil and put it back into place.
2. You know what we are trying to do when we do these things?
a) We are putting a barricade that sinners are going to trip over when they try to come to God!
b) All you have to do is furnish the sinner, God has already furnished the sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ!
3. Remember what Jesus said at the Lord’s Supper?
a) This is my body, broken for you – Remember!
b) This is my blood, shed for you – Remember!

F. Your Sins
1. Is There a Veil Today?
a) Is there a veil between you and God today?
b) If it is it is because your sins and your works have put it there.
c) Jesus left the way wide open.
d) All day, every day, we should tremble as we walk in the presence of God.
e) The way is open.
2. We are to go in to Him boldly!
a) to face Him,
b) to have Him stare us in the face and
c) to have us know the furrows of the love lines on His face and
d) to pick us up and cleanse us inside the veil,
e) to reassure us.
3. Then we are to come back out to tell people what has happened.
a) Remember, every day, all day long, the sound of your feet, wherever you walk, are going to be heard in heaven as you walk with God.
4. The veil is wide open.
a) When you hear God’s word preached or
b) When you study God’s word and
c) When you pray,
d) When you finish, go out and tell somebody!
e) The way is open!

G. Invitation
1. Man’s attempts to come by some way other than by Jesus Christ just shows the total depravity of mankind.
2. Man will not humble himself and admit his sinfulness.
3. As a result he shuts himself out of heaven and the presence of God.
4. Have you acknowledged your sinful condition and realized that your only hope is Jesus Christ, who paid the penalty of sin for you?
5. If so, have you placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?
6. If not, do so before it is eternally too late.
7. I want to ask you to bow with me in prayer.