What Does the Veil Represent? – Satan or Jesus?
October 20, 2013 Bible Answers That Make Sense, Blogs by: Tim Jennings, M.D.

Thanks for your SS lessons which I watch without fail as they become available. Loved lesson 4’s typology. However, there is so much symbolism in Jesus being the 2nd veil, which I have summarized below:

  • Made from wool, cotton [sic – actually linen, which is a different plant], silver & gold = Jesus the lamb of God; cotton [linen] a plant represents Jesus as creator; silver and gold from the earth represents Jesus humanity
  • Hung by 4 nails = Jesus hung by nails = Heb 10:20
  • Angels = Allowed God’s glory to shine through them to the people.
  • Blood = A record of the sins and is destroyed with Jesus “once for all” on Calvary. Represents repentance, substitution and mediation.
  • Curtain torn after Jesus death = Christ’s flesh torn after He died when the soldier speared His side
  • Curtain carried the Blood = Jesus carried our sins
  • Removed from the sanctuary after the “Day of Atonement” = Christ will remove himself at the conclusion of the “Day of Atonement”
  • Shekinah glory shone about the curtain = God’s love for mankind shone through Jesus
  • Curtain made by young female Israelites = Jesus was born of a young female Israelite.

Can it have a double application, i.e. representing Satan and Jesus. Just like Jesus is doubly represented being the lamb and the High Priest?

Kind regards, F

Thanks for being part of our online class, thinking things through for yourself, and sharing your thoughts with us. It is true that many people through the years have thought that the veil represents Jesus or Jesus body. This likely comes from Heb 10:19,20 which says in the NIV:

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body…

The sentence structure in English and in the Greek allow for “body” to refer to either the curtain or the new and living way through the curtain. Thus, one has to use one’s reason, compare with other Scripture, and understand the gospel etc. to ultimately determine which is being referred to. So lets examine the question.

  • The veil obstructed the light of God’s glory from being seen, the glory shone over the top of the veil as the veil didn’t reach the ceiling. Christ did not obstruct the glory of God. He revealed it. But Satan does obstruct the glory, but his obstruction is incomplete, thus we have still seen, in part, the glory shining of God shining over the lies of Satan. So on this point, the veil with angels sewn on, actually obstructing God’s glory fits more closely with the idea that it represents the lies of Satan and his angels.
  • Now there is a battle between good and evil angels raging as well. We get glimpses of this in Scripture, such as Daniel 10 when Daniel prayed and 21 days later Gabriel comes and tells Daniel that the prince of Persia was opposing him that’s why it took so long to get there. Additionally, the Bible tells us that angels are ministering spirits to help us. So, some Bible commentators have seen the angels on the veil representing good angels who are working to help use see through the lies of Satan and evil angels. However, they are incapably of actually destroying the lies or penetrating the veil. Only Jesus could do this, thus even in Daniel, the angel Gabriel said, there was no other angel to help Him except Michael.
  • The veil was rent by divine power. Christ was NOT killed by divine power. Satan and evil men crucified Christ, and some may also include our sin crushing His heart. But our sin is not divine. Thus, if we say the veil is Christ then we put divinity in the role of murdering Christ. But, Satan’s lies were destroyed at the cross; and there is a second element destroyed at the cross that obstructs our unity with God and that is…
  • The curtain can also represent the second factor that obstructs our relationship with God and that is our own fallen/carnal nature. If Satan and all his angels were destroyed today, we would still be separated from God by our own carnal nature, our own propensity to evil, our own fears, insecurities and selfishness. Thus the veil represents the infection of selfishness we inherited from Adam. This Jesus took upon Himself and destroyed at the Cross. Thus, the veil represents Satan, Satan’s lies about God and our fallen natures, all obstacles to our reunion with God, and all fully dealt with by Christ at the Cross. Thus because of Jesus we have a new and living way opened for us back into unity with God.
  • The angels on the veil have no real application to Christ. Hebrews says Christ took human flesh to help us, it specifically says it is not angels he helps. (Heb 2:16) Further the light did NOT shine through the veil, thus the light did not shine through the angels depicted on the veil, but these angels were obstacles to seeing God’s glory. Therefore it is more consistent with the function of the veil to conclude they represent Satan and His angels who oppose our unity and try and keep us separated from God. This is why the veil was destroyed at the Cross because “he took upon himself human flesh that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death that is the devil” Heb 2:14. By Jesus victory at the Cross the destruction of the devil was made certain, and when Satan’s lies were destroyed a new and living way was opened. The body of Christ was the new and living way as He became the new or second Adam, our new “parent” i.e. we can be grafted into Christ and through Christ find the way back into unity with God. Finally, on this point, notice Paul uses the metaphor of the veil to obstruct the minds, hiding the truth about God’s glory we see in Christ, and he attributes this to the “god of this age” which is Satan, thus the veil represents Satan and his lies.

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2Cor 4:3,4

  • As I said previously some commentators see the angels representing good angels. I find this less consistent, but can be incorporated if we remember the controversy in heaven began with angelic beings and we see the angels are in conflict. Yet, the good angels were unable to break the lies of Satan, 1/3 of them being deceived themselves. Thus, even if we conclude the angels represent good angels they were not able to open the way back into unity with the Father. They couldn’t destroy the lies because the lies were about God, not about angels. And angels didn’t take up humanity to cure and cleanse it.
  • One of the great mistakes made by many Bible students is to falsely believe the blood of Jesus in the sanctuary, represents sin. The blood of Jesus does NOT represent sin. The blood represents the remedy to sin. The blood was also sprinkled in FRONT of the veil, NOT on the veil, thus the veil did NOT carry our sins. Sprinkling the blood in front of the curtain represents the antidote being applied to the curtain. Why would the antidote to sin need to be applied to Jesus? No, it is applied to counteract the work of Satan. The symbolism of the blood sprinkling before the veil represents the truth, revealed by Christ destroying the lies of Satan, and the new humanity Christ developed replacing or destroying the carnal nature inherited in Adam.
  • The Curtain was removed just as Azazel was removed from the camp on the day of Atonement, representing that what separates us from God is being removed

As far as the curtains being made by female Israelites, I don’t read too much into this, but if we must, then we could easily conclude Eve was the one who brought Satan’s lies to Adam thus Eve had a hand in sewing the seeds of sin into the heart of humanity, thus represented by the female Israelites.

So, which interpretation do you think fits more fully, especially when we think of the function the veil provided to separate us from God?

It appears most consistent with the weight of evidence that the veil, which obstructed the view of the priests from seeing the glory of God, represents Satan, his lies, and our fallen natures, all of which Christ vanquished and overcame at the cross. Now, when we accept Jesus, we receive the remedy that cures us, renews us and restores us into at-one-ment with the Father! Jesus is the new and living way through the obstructions of Satan back into the presence of the Father!

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Tim Jennings, M.D. Timothy R. Jennings, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist, master psychopharmacologist, Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Fellow of the Southern Psychiatric Association, and an international speaker. He served as president of the Southern and Tennessee Psychiatric Associations and is president and founder of Come and Reason Ministries. Dr. Jennings has authored many books, including The God-Shaped Brain, The God-Shaped Heart, and The Aging Brain.
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