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The Gospel in Words: ‘Veil’

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"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say his flesh." (Hebrews 10:19-20)"Veil" comes from the root word to weave. Related words are unveil, revelation, membrane. Veil, as used in scripture, is the piece of precious cloth separating the sanctuary from the body of the temple or tabernacle (Oxford English Dictionary). Veil is often used symbolically to describe the division between heaven and earth, less holy and more holy, the mind and the body, or the soul and the body.Veil and membrane are connected etymologically. In biology, membranes serve to separate or connect parts of our anatomy. Membranes may be permeable or semi-permeable. In our material or carnal state, if we think symbolically of the word veil as a membrane which either separates or connects us from things spiritual or godly, we have the main sense of how veil is used in scripture.For example, in the Book of Mormon the brother of Jared was astonished when literally "the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord" (Ether 3:6). And because of the brother of Jared's faith and knowledge "he could not be kept from beholding within the veil" (Ether 3:19).Likewise, when we, ourselves, "shall rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause (us) to remain in (our) awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind," we shall have revealed to us "the great and marvelous things which have been hid up from the foundation of the world" (Ether 4:15).The veil in Moses' tabernacle and the blood sacrifices therein are important symbols of how we may pass from our mortal and sinful state into the state of sanctification. In the tabernacle the high priest would kill the goat of the sin offering "for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat: and he shall make an atonement for the holy place" (Leviticus 16:15-16). But since "it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins," the only way we can be sanctified is "through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all." Though the veil of the temple was rent at the crucifixion of the Savior, he through the sacrifice of his body and blood, became that new veil through which we must pass to enter into the holy place of exaltation (Hebrews 10:4,10, 19-20).