The Rending of the Veil

Mr. Kelly,

I have been thinking about some recent and previous discussions and I am curious about the nature or dynamics of how some of them relate. What I am wondering is when we have talked previously about piercing the veil, that refers to the use in a perverted sense of Satans once held position of a covering of G-d’s glory? Because who can stand it? Also, if so, what is its, if at all, relationship to the veil that was torn between the holy and holy of holies in the temple? The reason I ask is some of the recent discussions about Jesus as our High Priest making intercession for His own seems related, and these all related to Redemption. There is just so much at work in Jesus dying on the cross. Restoring relationship, establishing the new covenant and paying the cost and being the propitiation for the old in His blood, the tearing of the veil etc. Now I know that the veil was torn by the Father, but the other day when I was praying I felt as though I should ask the Father to tear the veil in my own life. Now I had never thought of that before and it could be the most completely irrelevant, absurd thing, or even just a personal imagination. Thats the only reason I ask, because I dont know?

Also in I or II Timothy Paul is talking about Apostacy and list some things and one of the final statements is that “knowledge will increase.” Now when I first think about that it seems like a good thing not a bad thing. But I remember Watchmen Nee saying something like “the knowledge of good and evil is in and of itself evil in that it takes away from a dependency upon G-d.” Is that what Paul is warning of? Is it at the heart of humanism and the arm of the flesh? The independence of man suggesting he does not need G-d, and is to be god himself? Where as throughout the Proverbs the writers, Solomon I think, says repeatedly the fear of G-d is the beginning of knowledge. Is it that true knowledge is the knowledge of G-d? Is this the struggle over realties that Art once spoke about?

Must be very quick with this, dear brother, but you were quite correct to pray as you did. In fact, if I know anything, THAT was a Spirit quickened prayer. I’ve also ‘found’ myself praying like that. The veil of the temple was torn in divine statement that the unveiled glory of God had been perfected by the final rending of the Redeemer’s flesh, thus signifying the final victory over the flesh. “Go and tell that fox that today and tomorrow I do cures, and the third day I am perfected.” As you rightly intuit, there’s a remarkable correlation between the density of the veil and human self-sufficiency, what Paul calls confidence in the flesh, the antithesis of faith. This why the the concept of ‘apocalyptic’ (revelation) often carries with it a certain connotation of violence against the flesh, or at least the carnal security of human autonomy. The flesh is a power (giving power to the powers) that must be broken before the light of the gospel can shine in. That’s the veil, and its power to obscure. Death to the flesh “in this sense” means resurrection, simply because this kind of death can only be ministered by the life giving Spirit that kills in order to quicken, as it is always invariably effectual unto resurrection. This is the logic of the covenant and the whole story of Israel and the approaching time of Jacob’s trouble.

As to Nee’s theology of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, I would say that it is axiomatic that knowledge can be snare, but so can ignorance, particularly willing indifference to truth. Without gainsay, anything that builds up the old man is treacherous and perilous, but then what is not capable of building up the old man? Thus the continual need of the cross (Paul’s thorn, perils etc.). Certainly knowledge is particularly nefarious for its ability to inflate; such knowledge of divine mysteries was at the heart of the original fall (Ezek 28:12-17). But nothing is more flesh debasing as the true knowledge of God, but such is the subtlety of knowledge that even a Paul, possessed of flesh stripping, Christ exalting truth, required a buffeter from Satan, not to completely eradicate this powerful propensity, but just enough to hold it in check.

Listen to Paul’s words: “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations (true revelation, not just the racy esoteric gnosticism that titillates and enthralls so many in our time), there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure” (2Cor 12:7). Look at that! “Above measure” is Paul’s choice of words, as if to say that he was aware that the messenger from Satan did not fully accomplish the complete eradication of this intractable propensity, for if it did, the buffeter could be finally removed. But if only to keep this thing in check enough for Paul’s ministry to continue required this radical divine measure. That’s very sobering! But the answer is never a studied avoidance of ‘knowledge’ of truth, but a trembling concerning the pernicious evil of pride and reliance on natural aptitude. Paul had such natural aptitudes, and that’s why he trembled lest he draw upon such resources to advance even his God entrusted stewardship, namely, the very cause of God and truth. But HOW was it to be advanced? For Paul the thought of employing even a natural gifting to accomplish a divine end would have evoked a trembling “God forbid!” Such dependence on nature, even to do ‘good’ always mixes and pollutes the pure thing that comes only out of the cross.

Everything that comes to the Christian is to teach him to lean, to make him increasingly dependent on ‘the God that raises the dead (2Cor 1:9). Do we know Him as THAT God? That’s why you were right to pray as you did. The Lord have mercy and give understanding to those that feel to some measure the depths of their great need. So happy to see your precious reflections on the great themes of the faith. The Lord give you understanding, even to help correct me, since I’m no final authority on anything, just a resource and sounding board in hope of a mutual benefit for His glory.

Your brother in Christ, Reggie

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