What does, “through the veil, that is to say His flesh” in Hebrews 10:20 mean? In what sense was Christ a veil that was rent?
Several things must be borne in mind when approaching this Scripture. We have heard men speak reverently about the Lord’s body being rent on the cross and an entrance into the Holiest being secured for us. Many expositional works on Hebrews would concur with this view. While the sentiment may be sincere, and all must agree that His work on the cross was necessary for us to enter into God’s presence at any time, that is not the meaning of this verse.
The Lord’s flesh was never a “veil” hiding anything. He came to reveal, not hide. We never read elsewhere of His body being rent. Also, the expression, “that is to say” always refers back to the main subject of the sentence wherever it occurs in the epistle (see 2:14; 7:6; 9:11; 11:16; 13:15) – the “new and living way” in this verse.
Hebrews 10:20 is the climax of the epistle. The Spirit of God has been showing them that the service, sacrifices, and sanctuary could never bring to “perfection” the Israelite of old. What Christ accomplished by His once-for-all sacrifice has “perfected forever them that are sanctified.”
Verse 20 is telling us that we can have total confidence in drawing near to God. That confidence is based on two things: His blood and His flesh. This is one of the three mentions of His “flesh” in the epistle; all are worthy of note and comparison. His blood was shed on earth. Our “boldness” for this entrance into the sanctuary above is based on His blood which was shed for us. In His ascension, He has inaugurated a new and living way through the veil. He has consecrated or inaugurated this way by taking a body of flesh into heaven, there to appear as our High Priest (Heb 9:24). As a result of His flesh taken into the sanctuary, we can have “full assurance of faith.” His blood removed the barrier of sin; His flesh gives us confidence for admission.
A real man represents us in heaven. He has led the way, and now we are to have total confidence that as we come, we are at home in the sanctuary of God with nothing to hinder. Our consciences have been purged (what the OT sacrifices could never do) and our bodies washed.
While perhaps no epistle in our NT so emphasizes the value of our Lord’s sufferings and death as does Hebrews, there is no epistle which so declares the value of His intercession at God’s right hand. A living Man there is our Surety (7:22), our Succorer, Sympathizer, and Savior in trial (ch 2, 4, 7), our Supreme example in the race (ch 12:1, 2), our Shepherd (13:20), and our Secured Entrance into the sanctuary (10:19).
What can be done when a conflict arises between two members of an assembly who are also members of the same family? What if one party does not want to resolve the issue, but instead spreads the issue to other assembly members?
The presence of family members, business associates, neighbors, etc., in an assembly is wonderful, and can be very supportive, but it creates the potential for some unique problems which may taint all of these relations, and may mar the unity of an assembly for years to come. A person is received into an assembly as a believer, not as a member in these other relationships; therefore, God’s Word must be brought to bear on such matters.
The particular details not being known, I can only suggest that several courses of action are open, depending on the nature of the issue.
First, the most Christ-like way is set out in Ephesians 4:31, 32 concerning forgiveness. Verse 31 represents the offender; verse 32 represents the offended. The matter itself may not be resolved immediately, but such forgiveness sets at ease the mind of the offended, knowing we are acting as God has done with us, and that He will complete the process of healing in His own good time. Think of Joseph and his brethren, or of David and Mephibosheth.
A second course of action, is seen in 1 Corinthians 6:1-8. It applies when a dispute is material or secular. The preferred course, we are advised, is to “take wrong” or “be defrauded” (i.e. write off the loss) when another believer wants to take us to court to settle the matter. God will ultimately make it right, if not now, then in the coming day of reckoning.
A third course, least preferred from the above passage, when adjudication is required, is to allow a “tribunal” of those “least esteemed” in the assembly to hear and judge on the matter. Their decision can then be written and recorded for future reference.
And fourth, if a person has sinned against another, Matthew 18:15 outlines a three step process which may be taken. First, the offended is to graciously approach the offender to rectify the matter; this is preferred. Second, if step one is unsuccessful, they are to take one or two assembly members for the same purpose. If still unsuccessful, the matter is to be taken to the assembly, its body of elders, who validate the seriousness of the matter and determine if the completion of this process is to be effected. That is, should such a person be removed from the assembly?
Three points are to be observed: a) the initial sin must not be a frivolous matter without Scriptural foundation; b) if one party is a member of the oversight, they must withdraw from this process and, c) the person excommunicated is deemed not to be a “brother” because of his behavior (as in all extreme discipline cases). Such action is therefore serious.
As to the second part of the question, it is very serious business to gossip such matters to the assembly, for if it escalates into denigration of one’s character, it becomes railing, and may require excommunication. Let the injunction of 1 Peter 3:8 saturate our treatment one of the other: “love as brethren.”
-Dr. Paul Robinson