Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

by Jeannette Haley

“And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom…” Matthew 27:51

At the moment of Jesus’ death upon the cross, great and terrible events took place. The veil of the temple supernaturally tore in two, from top to bottom. A great earthquake occurred, rocks split apart and many graves of the saints opened. The events surrounding the death of Christ caused such terror for the centurion and those with him who were watching Jesus, that they proclaimed, “Truly this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54).

One can only imagine what frenzied thoughts flashed through the minds of these Roman soldiers as they realized they had crucified the very Son of God. Undoubtedly they expected to be struck dead at any moment. These Soldiers had gained a glimpse of God’s Omnipotence, grace and mercy. We can only hope that none of these people would ever again allow the veil of ignorance and sin to blind their eyes to His reality.

You may be thinking to yourself, “If I saw what they saw, I’d never doubt again! I’d be a sold-out believer to the end!” This is how the children of Israel felt after their deliverance from Egypt and miraculous passage through the Red Sea. It was only a matter of time, however, before they lost their confidence in God. And, sad to say, many Christians today are no different than the complaining, faithless Israelites. We all have our struggles with the weakness of our flesh. And like Thomas, we long to “see and touch” before we truly believe!

What causes us to be so weak in our faith? One reason is the veil that is continually before us. This veil can cover our minds, blind our eyes and limit our perspective of God. It is the veil of our flesh or our old man that God tells us to mortify.

If you will recall, the Tabernacle in the wilderness was made up of three parts. The outer court, the inner court (or Holy Place) and the most Holy Place, or Holy of Holies. A thick veil separated the Holy Place from the most Holy Place, which contained the Ark of the Covenant. Only the High Priest could enter into the Holy of Holies once a year to make atonement for the people. The veil in the temple represented Christ’s body that was torn for us; thus, when Jesus gave up the ghost, the veil was ripped apart signifying that now the way into the Holy of Holies (very presense of God) was opened for all who believe in Christ Jesus. (Hebrews 10:17-22.) God is calling us to commune with Him in the Holy Place.

We limit God by refusing to meet with Him beyond the veil;
we confine Him by refusing to be enlarged by His Spirit.

When we find ourselves stumbling around in the darkness of our own limited perceptions, understanding and concepts, it is not because God has not made a way for us to gain His perspective. We limit God by insisting that He come to us according to our ways rather than by His ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9.)

When we labor under a veil, we pray to God for deliverance from different dilemmas, and when He sends an unexpected answer through an unacceptable source, we refuse to accept it as having come from God. It is so hard for Christians to believe that God can and does answer prayer outside of our comfort zones, mindsets, traditions, ideas, concepts and rigid religious “rules”. Yet the Bible tells us, “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence” 1 Corinthians 1:24b-29. Will God’s people ever realize that we finite human beings can no more understand all about our great Creator God than a goldfish can understand the universe outside of its goldfish bowl?

The King of glory cannot be limited by any of man’s devices,
be it by his finite understanding of the written Word or otherwise.

We can limit God’s work in our lives by using His word to confine Him to our own level of understanding. The way a person does this is to build barriers around him or herself by using the Word of God to “insulate” themselves of any experiences that they determine are “outside” of the literal Word. This means that the Word of God is used to form neat little doctrinal packages and creeds that supposedly “contain” the entire essence of God’s truth and God’s will.

Our human nature wants to be able to put God in a box so we can reduce Him to our own level of understanding. Granted, God will never move contrary to His word; however, He is not limited to what we hold in our hands as the written Word of God. A good illustration of this point is the following: If I were to dip a cup into the ocean, I could truthfully declare that what the cup contained is “ocean substance”. But I cannot declare that my little cup contains ALL of the ocean! It is merely 100% ocean confined within a small container.

Likewise, we are but “small containers” that have a “measure of the Spirit” and who “see through a glass darkly”. We do not contain or understand “all of God”. To think or believe otherwise is unadulterated PRIDE.

Even Job was brought to the place where he realized his creeds were not able to confine the Almighty I AM. And while Job maintained his integrity, faith, uprightness and godly fear, yet in order to be enlarged in spirit, mind and heart he was forced to repent in the dust—to be on his face—when the God of his faith stepped on the scene, before he could be healed.

When Job got beyond the veil of his righteous deeds, religious creeds, piousness and limited knowledge and even humility, he was met by Jehovah God Himself! Talk about being enlarged! The result? Job declared, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” Job 42:5-6.

So it is with us who have heard the good news; who have believed and who have enjoyed the blessings of the Holy Place but who have never gone beyond the veil into the Most Holy Place to commune face to face with God. When we get past our limited understanding and experiences by answering the Spirit’s call to come higher, to draw nearer we will enter into that place in the Spirit that suddenly reveals God in greater ways than we ever knew before. It is with God in the Holy Place that we are taught by His Spirit to “see” him more fully.

The veils before our spiritual eyes that dim our vision of God and His ways are made up of sin, conceit, rebellion, traditions, our fallen nature, things we have seen and heard yet not comprehended, our religious creeds and doctrines. Often the veil is actually preferred by our fallen fearful flesh to hide us from the face of Him whose holiness penetrates the darkest darkness of the far reaches of the Universe—and our hearts.

While our immortal spirit may beat against the limitations of our fleshly veil, longing to ascend into the very throne room of the most high God, nevertheless, within each of us lies the fallen nature of Adam, causing us to flee and hide amongst the “trees” in our lives. We must go beyond the veil to commune with the living Word in order to understand the principles behind the written Word.

Oh that the awesome, majestic power and sovereignty of God would move upon our self-limited lives—and blow by the wind of the Holy Spirit across our stubborn bows re-routing our obstinate course within shallow waters of complacent comfort into the deep—the deep that flows over hidden channels unknown yet to man’s dulled spiritual senses. What wonders we would behold there if only on the wings of faith we would trust Him to take us beyond the narrow perimeters that have hindered us for so long.

We limit God to our own understanding because of unbidden undercurrents of desire to be god ourselves—though we steadfastly refute and deny this desire. Nevertheless, it still remains that even the saintliest saint knows not the depths of deceit that lie within the fallow ground of his own soul.

When the veil was rent, and access was made by the torn body of Christ into the Holy of Holies, the Presence of God, this new and living way was only accepted and believed by a few as it is to this day. Like insects scrambling for cover when the rock they hide under is lifted, so too, people really cannot accept any other way than the one they are comfortable with. Even the most seasoned Christian will shrink back from a lifting of the veil that covers his vision to gain a greater glimpse of God if it means going beyond the confines of his established religion.

When man limits God, he limits himself because he cannot accept
those things of God that are beyond his narrow scope of understanding.

Does God move outside of the confines of the Word? The best answer to that question is to realize that everything written in the Bible is TRUTH—but not ALL truth is in the Bible! The key for the Christian is to test all things (experiences, inspirations, teachings, prophecies, signs, wonders, etc.) by God’s character and Spirit. The problem with so many of God’s people is they don’t know and understand the character of God!

Neither do they know how to test the spirit as commanded in 1 John 4:1. Knowing this, Satan takes advantage of man’s ignorance, fear and prejudice. He keeps people from growing in faith and tests people beyond their comfort zones like Job. He mocks us in our veil state, counterfeits God’s ways and challenges our limited knowledge about God to cause doubt. This can cause Christians to fear things outside of their knowledge and/or experience thus limiting themselves in their spiritual lives.

Faith is trusting beyond what you have already learned or experienced thus far. People who refuse to be enlarged are those who do not want to go beyond their present understanding of God because it requires effort and faith—it takes a continual stirring up of one’s spirit to seek and embrace a greater vision of God and who He is. Few are willing to pay the price because every step towards God is a step away from the world.

Those Christians who become uncomfortable with any greater revelations of God are those who, like Job, must be shaken (and taken) out of their spiritual slumber behind their veils. Granted, there are ungodly and satanic deceptions that lead away from Christ, which are out of order with the Word of God in Spirit and Truth. Examples of this would be all of the hoopla taking place in churches today under the banner of “revival”, “signs and wonders”, “taking our cities for God”, “prosperity doctrine”, etc. Rather, it must be realized that be we ever so humble, as was Job throughout, even our humility is weak and pale insofar as it limits the God of heaven.

Therefore, it is actually sin on our part because we set ourselves up as little judges of God and His ways. God is sovereign. We fear, when God’s ways (which are above our ways) move beyond our familiar borders, that somehow we must bear the responsibility of “defending God” because He has revealed a side to us that we are not familiar with. An example of this is when the Apostle John saw the revelation of Jesus and fell at his feet as dead, (Revelation 1:17). God may appear strange to us by asking us to do very unconventional things such as He did Ezekiel.

We are arrogant in our ignorance!

If the Bible was the containment of ALL truth, or could somehow contain the total essence of God and all the mysteries of the Universe, then God would be no bigger than man’s finite ability to understand. Furthermore, if we were able in this life to exhaust the knowledge of Christ, then for what purpose will we be shown, in the ages to come, the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus? (Ephesians 2:7.) But bear in mind, Satan’s counterfeits of greater, on-going revelations of Christ are his so-called “new revelations” that go contrary to the Word. Beware, there is a difference between “new revelations” and “greater revelations”.

To enter in beyond the veil is done by faith. “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin” Romans 24:23b. If God is calling you to come higher in Him, and you refuse to come higher because your flesh (veil) desires to remain within its comfort zones of pride, fear and complacency, this is the subtlest form of rebellion and sin.

It is time to cease from settling for that which is legalistic and familiar. The Christian must accept the real challenge to lose their control as they step beyond the veil to bow before the Lord. They must leave their comfort behind and outward religious facades that will perish at the presence of Almighty God.

Beyond the veil is light where you will begin to understand the inner workings of man and God. It is where you will learn of the character of God when you commune with Him, as Moses did, face to face. Then you will realize there is so much more to God than you ever imagined even in your best religious pursuits and understandings. It will be at this place where you will know all barriers are down and declare, “Lord, show me your glory!”