Thoughts on Resurrection Part 7: The Veil

So, hopefully you read my previous articles on this subject. If not, here they are:
Thoughts on the Resurrection (Intro)
Resurrection and Relationships
Resurrection and the Need to Be Right
Resurrection and Imputed Righteousness
Resurrection and Sinless Perfection
The Danger of Postponing the Resurrection

The key idea is summed up in a quote from Thomas Keating: “The chief thing that separates us from God is the thought that we are separated from God.” Or another way to say that is, “Our perception of God changes our experience of God.”

The best way to show this, from my experience, is by looking at Ephesians 1:3:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ

Ephesians 1:3

This is the objective truth for all who are in Christ, but subjectively, we are not always aware of the blessings we have.

So, from the standpoint of the first century church, there was a past, objective, element to resurrection:

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:4–7

At the same time, however, there was an ongoing and future, subjective, element to resurrection:

The last enemy that is being/ will be [present passive indicative] abolished is death.

1 Corinthians 15:26

This past/ ongoing/ and future aspect of the resurrection is seen all together in one passage in Colossians:

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead…since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.

Colossians 3:1–11

To show these passages are connected, notice the reference to Christ being all and in all. This is exactly how Paul explained it in 1 Corinthians 15:28.

So, their resurrection was based upon them being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him. So, their renewal/ resurrection was dependent upon their knowledge (1 Corinthians 13:8-13; Ephesians 4:7-16). Now, don’t be mistaken: they were already risen with Christ. But Paul is dealing with two different realities here: objective and subjective reality.

This is what Jesus meant when He spoke of things being true on earth as they are in Heaven:

‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.

Matthew 6:10

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.

Matthew 16:19, NASB; compare to KJV

The transition period in the first century had to do with the things that were true in Heaven being revealed on Earth.

Now, this is why, while I am 100% a preterist, I see that we all have our own little personal end times and transition periods. As we learn more and more about God, we become more aware of the blessings we already have in Christ. At our death, we become fully aware of these blessings that were always ours. This is why, in my opinion, to die and be with Christ is far better (Philippians 1:21-24).

Okay, so what does all of this have to do with a veil? This idea comes from 2 Corinthians 3:

Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory because of the glory that surpasses it. For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory. Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3:4–18

Notice the theme at the end of this passage of being transformed. Do you see how that fits with 1 Corinthians 15 and Colossians 3? The transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant is resurrection!

Now, the Law is called the ministry of death and the ministry of condemnation. Pay attention to how it was fading away: “that which fades away” not “that which faded away.” Paul even says, “until this very day…”

If one were to just read the Old Testament, they would come away with a veiled view of God.

613 commandments.
Animal sacrifice.
Exclusive access to the Holy Place.
Righteousness derived from the Law and works.

Do you see how, according to the points we’ve made in the previous articles, why the temple falling was such a big deal? It, and all the customs of the Law in relation to the sacrifical system, was a sign of the “present time” (Hebrews 9:8-10; cf. Matthew 24:3). Once the temple falls, however, the veil is finally taken away. God is able to be seen face to face as He is revealed in Jesus. The sons of God are revealed: not of flesh and blood but of the Spirit.

This is why Daniel, Isaiah, Jesus, and Paul all related the fall of the temple/ end of the Law/ etc. to the resurrection:

Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt… and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed.

Daniel 12:2-7

And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples, Even the veil which is stretched over all nations. He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken.

Isaiah 25:7-8

This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.

Matthew 24:14-16; cf. Daniel 12:11

But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. “O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:54-57; cf. Isaiah 25:7-8, Hosea 13:13-14

Now, we might understand why Hymenaeus and Philetus were condemned by Paul for saying that the resurrection had already taken place. While it is true that there was a past element to the resurrection, without the temple falling, the veil remained. Things were not on earth as they were in heaven. By saying that the resurrection had already taken place, they were denying that Christ and God are all and in all (Colossians 3:1-11; 1 Corinthians 15:28). That is, they denied Jew/ Gentile full inclusion in the body of Christ and the Israel of God.

The nature of the resurrection, funnily enough, is actually seen in the context of this passage:

It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

2 Timothy 2:11–13

How had they already died? Physically? No, they had put their old self to death as Colossians 3 said above.

How would they reign? Is the nature of the kingdom not heavenly?

He’s talking about fully-realized life in Christ. This is why he says,

For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.

2 Timothy 1:10

Who are the chosen in this passage? His brothers and sisters according to the flesh who still had the veil over their face (Romans 9:3-5, 11:2). He wanted the veil to be taken away in Christ for them so they could share in the same liberty that he enjoyed. This would also allow them to not only mourn but also rejoice at the fall of the temple. Undoubtedly it would still be a sad event. Even Jesus mourned over Jerusalem. But it meant that their life was fully realized. Objective truth merged with Subjective reality. Or as one author said with whom you are probably familiar: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place” (Revelation 1:1).

Note: I am compiling all of these articles into one paper and modifying them to flow together as one continuous work. This is also allowing me to add more verses, points, and ideas I have about this subject. If I keep going at the pace I am at, this project may just turn into a book! I already have a book in the works, but having two can’t hurt, right? This will be a good one to self-publish, but the other I plan on trying to get published legitimately.

3 Replies to “Thoughts on Resurrection Part 7: The Veil

  1. Daniel, I appreciate your taking the time to make the Word of God concerning the biblical concept of resurrection. This short essay needs to be read several times in order to fully grasp the biblical teaching of the resurrection as set forth in 1 Corinthians 15. I thank God for those, like you, who can explain the Scriptures in context.

    1. Thanks for the question. My personal opinion is that through saying that the resurrection was past without the Tempe falling, the Gentiles would lose heart because of being told by some they were sort of an afterthought. This would lead them to losing faith in Christ and the teachings of Paul and probably returning to their old life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *