Posted by: rcottrill | February 11, 2015

The Unveiled Christ

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Words: Noah Benjamin Herrell (b. Mar. 8, 1877; d. May 10, 1953)
Music: Noah Benjamin Herrell

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Noah Herrell was a pastor, until heart trouble led to his retirement. The Wordwise Hymns link will give you the story behind this 1916 hymn, for which Pastor Herrell wrote both words and music.

There has been a legal debate over whether Muslim women should be allowed to keep their faces covered with the hijab, when testifying in court. This veil is not mandated by the Quran, but it’s traditional to wear it as a sign of modesty. Opponents, while recognizing the principle of religious freedom, are concerned that there are times when seeing the woman’s face is important. Facial expressions in court, for example, can be one sign of truthfulness or deception.

The practice of women wearing veils is also found in the Scriptures. When Rebekah, was introduced to Isaac, her future husband, for the first time, “she took a veil and covered herself” (Gen. 24:65). But most times in the Old Testament the term is used of the curtain that separated the holy place from the holy of holies, in the tabernacle of worship, and later in the temple in Jerusalem.

In the holy of holies was the ark of the covenant. It was above the ark, between two golden cherubim, that the Lord revealed His presence in a blaze of glorious light (cf. Ps. 80:1). Admittance to that inner room was severely restricted. Only Israel’s high priest could enter, and then only once a year, on the Day of Atonement. At that time, he brought blood from the altar of sacrifice in the courtyard, and applied it to the lid of the ark (Lev. 16:14, 17).

It was symbolic, of course–the death of an innocent substitute atoning for the sins of human beings. In the final sense, the shed blood of an animal could not pay for human sin (Heb. 10:4). However, when offered in faith, God accepted it at the time, as a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of Christ yet to come, the One called “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29).

All of this provides important background for something that happened when the Lord Jesus hung on the cross. The Bible says that, when He died, “behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Matt. 27:50-51). Josephus says that huge woven veil was about three inches thick. No easy thing to tear! It is even significant how it was done. Not from the bottom up, as by someone standing below, but from top to bottom, as an act of God.

The veil represented a barrier between God and man, cut off from his Creator because of sin. But by the sacrifice of Christ, the shed blood of our Substitute, the way was opened for us to approach God. Through faith in His sacrifice, we are once more able to come before Him, in praise and prayer. And since we have this “new and living way,” God’s Word urges, “let us draw near” (Heb. 10:19-22).

CH-1) Once our blessèd Christ of beauty
Was veiled off from human view;
But through suffering, death and sorrow
He has rent the veil in two.

O behold the man of sorrows,
O behold Him in plain view;
Lo! He is the mighty Conqueror,
Since He rent the veil in two.
Lo! He is the mighty Conqueror,
Since He rent the veil in two.

CH-2) Now He is with God the Father,
Interceding there for you;
For He is the mighty Conqueror,
Since He rent the veil in two.

What a wonderful salvation, purchased for us by our Saviour. For our sake, He became poor (II Cor. 8:9). “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift” (II Cor. 9:15). Now, ascended to the right hand of the Father, He intercedes for us (Heb. 7:25).

CH-3) Holy angels bow before Him,
Men of earth give praises due;
For He is the well belovèd
Since He rent the veil in two.

CH-4) Throughout time and endless ages,
Heights and depths of love so true;
He alone can be the Giver
Since He rent the veil in two.

Questions:
1) What is the only thing that can separate us from God today?

2) What can be done about that?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


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