Within the Veil by Art Katz
I had waited a long time for such an entry, because I thought I had to qualify spiritually. As much as I am at war with the secular world, something of its concept of evolution yet lingered with me, so that I thought that I had to ‘evolve’ into a higher spiritual state, by virtue of which I would then be able to enter into this holiest place. I ‘stumbled,’ however, upon a series of teachings that were entitled: “Within the Veil,” and something in my inner man went click, and I could not rush fast enough to hear them. I put the first tape on with great expectations. Something in my spirit was rising to the mystery in this, and as soon as I heard the first few statements, I was tempted to shut the machine off. Some ‘hillbilly’ American was speaking. He was coarse and ungrammatical, not my style at all, but as my finger went to the stop button, I hesitated, because something now began to reach me through his accent. It was beyond nationality, beyond culture, beyond time, beyond father or mother or beginning or ending of days. I continued to listen, tape by tape, of a man whose frustration was much like my own. He had the same risings and fallings of the spiritual life, the good days and the bad days, that render us incapable of saying with Paul, “You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time” (ACTS 20:18B). As I followed him in the Scriptures through the book of Hebrews, he showed that the Law was only a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very form of those things, and that it could not make perfect those who draw near. He went on to explain that there was One who came in point of time who could. His blood was better than the blood of bulls and of goats and of sacrifices. He had entered by His own blood into the heavenly place, and entered once and for all.
In all of our impressive, spiritual ‘sophistication,’ we have not allowed these words to impact upon our souls. He entered once and for all, and He bids us enter also, and to enter boldly. It is not on the basis of our natural qualification. We must enter the holiest place by the blood of Jesus. We have come to think of His blood only in terms of our atonement, and indeed it is sufficient to wash away sin and guilt, but His blood has done something more. It has opened a new and living way, inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh. Since, therefore, we have such a Great High Priest, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.
I remember the night I heard the last tape. I was in bed, my Bible open to these Scriptures in the book of Hebrews, and he described in the last tape how he came to a Sunday morning service as a minister, weary and defeated, in that kind of terrible monotony and predictability that our churches can so easily come to. But there was a woman that she was waving her arm in the air, wanting to give a testimony.
“Yes sister,” he said. And she replied,
“I just want to say that I have entered within the holiest place of all.” He was quick to correct her,
“You mean to say that you hope to enter.” After all she was only a housewife, he thought. “No,” she said, “I have entered.”
“By what means?” he said.
“By faith in the blood of Jesus, and the veil that was rent by His flesh! I simply drew near with a true heart of faith, and I confessed that right now, in Jesus’ name, without any acknowledgment of qualification in myself that I do enter into the holiest place of all by the blood of Jesus,” she replied.
She said that something had happened to her, and that she had entered into a ‘new place’ — and it was visibly true of her. Before that service had ended, one by one, people were getting up in the congregation and making a simple confession of their ‘entering right now’ on the basis of the blood of Jesus into a new and living way. The pastor himself entered, for which reason I was now hearing his tapes. A new kind of enablement had come to him of an enhanced and deepened quality of apostolic faith. There was a fresh source of creativity and originality that one receives in a place of communion with God in the holiest place of all. At about this point I shut my tape machine down. I took my glasses off and thought for a moment, reflecting upon my years in Christ — the frustration, the rising and the falling, and I just simply breathed a prayer, flat on my back.
I said, “Lord, right now, not on the basis of any qualification, I do enter into the holiest place of all by the blood of Jesus and the veil rent by His flesh. Amen.” Something in my deepest inner man went click, and I believe I have been in that place ever since, holding fast the confession of the faith. A new kind of freedom from the torment of wrestling with flesh commenced. Something happened when I entered in through the veil of His torn flesh that dealt with my flesh in a way I can hardly understand or communicate. It is certain that every power of Hell will seek to steal this from us: “Oh, this is only a play on words, just a kind of Biblical rhetoric. There is no real, actual place of entry. This heavenly thing is only a vapor. It is an intangible thing. You have all that you need by virtue of your new birth. This is only a conceit on your part. Look, you are still the same!” Hold fast the confession of your faith. This is far beyond mere Christian respectability, far beyond any kind of ‘nice-guyism.’ This is having a conscience void of offense with God and with man.
Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need. (HEBREWS 4:16)
If we shall not receive it and if we shall not find it, then how shall we give it? We are therefore bidden to enter. It is the Sabbath rest that God has prepared for His people. Religious acts and works that stem from a bad conscience, that is to say, something that you feel obliged to do, are called dead works by God. The work of God comes always and eminently out of the rest of God, and is always performed on the Sabbath day, and no other. It alone is that act which brings sight to the blind. When the Jews of Jesus’ time were antagonized and stupefied at this bewildering Man, who performed these glorious things on the wrong day, He could say to them in utter simplicity that it was the Father who was doing the works. You will know when you are in the rest of God when you are at peace. This does not mean there will be an absence of trial or tension. Even in the midst of the turmoil of it, you are in the Shekinah place, the holiest place of all, independent of the circumstances that are flurrying everywhere about you.
God is not cruel to set before us such a calling, and to think that we shall be able to fulfill it on the paucity of our own human enablement. There is yet a deeper place, an ultimate place, and an absolute place. It is the holiest place of all, and it is for all those who are called to that which is apostolic and high-priestly. Consider Jesus as you have never before considered Him — the Son in whose image we also are called. The one who is joined to Him is one spirit with Him. We can understand Paul better when he says that he lives and moves and has his being in Him. Where are we and where do we desire to be, and where have we the faith to be? Do we desire an apostolic participation in the eternal purposes of God? Will we be able to stand against apostolic persecution and suffering? We have got to come into a certain priestly place without which there cannot be an apostolic fulfillment. Jesus has rent the veil and bids us come, not on the basis of our qualification, but on the basis of His blood.
God is calling us to an unusual involvement and participation. There is a high-priestly place available for us as a life that flows, and which is indestructible. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. This is not some fanciful play on words, but something to be earnestly considered. Faith is now, and the hour has struck and the time is short, and God is requiring a fulfillment that can only come from this place within the veil. Have the faith to enter with a true and sincere heart in full assurance of faith.