Summary: When the flesh was broken in death, the veil was rent. This gives us the meaning of the veil.
Hebrews 9:14; 10:1,2,22
The books of Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua portray the journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan through the intermediate wilderness. There is a message in this story that the Lord desires us to comprehend. This message will teach us how we can overcome obstacles of the flesh, world and enemy, and be the free believers that the Lord has brought us out of sin to be.
The land of Canaan represents the goal of the believer in the Christian walk. It was the "Promised" Land. And as believers, we have promises that the Lord desires us to enjoy. Canaan it speaks of the Rest that the Lord calls us into (See Hebrews chapters 3 and 4). Yet so many never enjoy these promises and this rest due to hindrances of various types. One of the greatest hindrances is a believer’s own flesh.
Let us look into the hindrance of the flesh, and discover how to cross this barrier. It blocks believers from enjoying God’s promises much like the Jordan River blocked Israel from Canaan, and the temple veil blocked the Jew from the holiest of holies.
Consider the typology in this account.
There were giants in the land that caused Israel to doubt. These obstructions prohibited them from entering the land. They could, therefore, not enjoy the fullness of rest. Their doubtful flesh was like a veil. "There is no way that we can take that land now."
This is comparable to the original sin of mankind in Eden. The first thing accomplished after sinning occurred when Adam put a veil on himself. God didn’t do it. Man barred himself from the garden as symbolized by the fig leaves he made to cover his nakedness. Man was in a state of shame. He tried to solve his problem himself. Adam’s sin came to be symbolized by the donning of the fig leaf apron. It was an act of man attempting to solve his shameful condition through mere physical means. It was an effort to improve, solve a dilemma and correct a problem independently of God. Adam tried to raise himself above guilt by using his weak, fallen, fleshly efforts. In turn, and as direct result of the independency of Adam, the Lord set up cherubim and a flaming sword at the garden entrance.
Human Contrivances of Spiritual Progress
Man cannot save himself from his sinfulness, as Adam tried to shut up the condemnation shouting from his conscience, that resulted from his sin. Man’s heart intentions were naked before God! His heart was shamefully without God’s covering. And man tried to hide that sinful state from God by mere aprons. It was deeper than physical nudity, though.
Man was never meant to solve his own problems. Its like putting a model car engine into a Tractor trailer rig. The motor will break down. The task is to much. And man finds himself having nervous breakdowns and eating nerve pills. We were meant to join to God in the garden, by eating of the fruit of life, and ingesting God’s own life (His Spirit) within. But Adam went his own way. And now the world stands apart and separated from God.
The raging of the overflowing Jordan river at the time of the crossing with Joshua speaks of the turbulence of the fearful, doubting flesh. The giants struck fear into the hearts of the Israelites. The older, doubting generation could not pass this veil.
Though Jordan was not mentioned in the first attempt to cross into Canaan forty years earlier, we neverthless see a picture of what hindered that first generation in looking at the Jordan River. Put both accounts together -- the first attempt with the doubting spies, and the second endeavour with Joshua at lead. You see that there was a barrier in both instances. It speaks of the fears of the flesh which hindered that first group from entering. But the younger generation learned to fear God more than fear the enemy. They had faith. They would see that veil rent, which formerly blockaded their parents.
Frightened flesh is like a veil. And flesh is fearful because it is so incompetent. Much of our unbelief comes from fear of inability of the flesh. We do not consider God’s omnipotence, but look at our fleshly capabilities. And, of course, flesh is too weak to conquer enemy territory for us. Such fear produces doubt. We disbelieve we can experience that which God has promised for us, and we fear.
Born in Sin
We’re all born with this veiling due to Adam. Adam symbolically threw this veil on all unborn humanity when he sewed himself a fig leaf apron. Yet when God is able to move on our behalfs, due to our faith, the Jordan river of fearful flesh is rent in two.