The Door into the Holiest

I needed to get to a business in a downtown area but got caught in rush-hour traffic. An accident had stopped the traffic, which resulted in my getting there five minutes past closing hours. The door was shut and the gate was padlocked. Most people have experienced something similar.

Isaiah 22:22 talks about the key to the house of David and a door that was open and no man can shut and a door that was shut that no man can open.

Revelation 3:7 says, “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens.’ ”

It was the third hour of the day, 9:00 o’clock in the morning, when Jesus was crucified (Mark 15:25). For three hours He was mocked and derided by the chief priests and elders of the people, but at the sixth hour something happened that startled the mockers. Suddenly everything blacked out with a supernatural darkness that lasted for the next three hours.

Notice what it says in verses 33 and 34: “Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which is translated, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ ”

His words struck terror into the heart of the disciples who felt that if God had forsaken Jesus, then what hope was there for anyone else? The Bible says, “Some of those who stood by, when they heard that, said, ‘Look, He is calling for Elijah!’ Then someone ran and filled a sponge full of sour wine, put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink, saying, ‘Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to take Him down’ ” (verses 35, 36).

“And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last. Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (verses 37, 38).

This veil was not like a house curtain but more like a rug or carpet made of a thick, heavy material. No human being could tear it apart. A supernatural power tore the veil of the temple from the top to the bottom, exposing the Most Holy Place.

Nobody had ever looked into the Most Holy Place, which was covered by the veil, except the high priest, who would enter there only once per year on the Day of Atonement. This differed from the Holy Place which could be seen by a person who was in the courtyard when the door of the tabernacle was partially opened.

However, when the veil was ripped open, the Most Holy Place was visible to the common people standing in the courtyard. This was so disturbing for many, even of priests, that they lost faith in the Jewish religion, for this was the place where God manifested His presence.

In Acts 6:7 it says, “Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.”

These priests were the ones who had been there and had seen the veil of the temple ripped in two. They knew it was a supernatural act and that the God of heaven was making a statement.

“When Christ’s life ended, the veil of the Temple was rent in twain. This veil was very significant to the Jewish nation. It was of most costly material, of purple and gold, and was of great length and breadth. At the moment that Christ breathed His last, there were witnesses in the Temple who beheld that strong, heavy material rent in two by unseen hands, from top to bottom. He who had hitherto dwelt in the Temple made with hands, had gone forth never again to grace it with His presence.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 386.

Jesus said to the Jews the last time He walked out from the temple: “Your house is left unto you desolate” (Matthew 23:38 KJV).

The last high priest was called Caiaphas, although he lacked the true qualifications of the position. He may have worn the priestly garments, but he had no vital connection with God. He was not circumcised in heart. Notice how the chief priest responded at the trial. John 19:15 says, “They cried out, ‘Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!’ Pilate said to them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar!’ ”

God had been their King. They had been ruled by a theocracy. Theos is the Greek word for God. A theocracy is a government that is ruled, controlled, or directed by God. But now the priests claimed to have no king except Caesar. When they said that, they un-churched themselves. Will people do that again? Ellen White, writing about this said, “It is righteousness that exalts a nation. A disregard for the law of God will be the ruin of the religious world in the last days of this earth’s history.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 388.

There had been some members of the council that had protested and didn’t want Jesus to be crucified, but the great majority sided with Caiaphas when he said “nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish” (John 11:50). Expedient is tending to promote some proposed or desired object; proper under the circumstances.

So, it was expedient in their minds for Jesus to be sacrificed for the nation. However, the effect of their decision would bring the Aaronic priesthood to an end forever. A study of the last events in the life of Christ shows that the results of what people did were actually the opposite of what was intended. When Caiaphas said it was expedient for Jesus to die that the whole nation not perish, his death actually ensured that the nation would perish.

Three times Pilate said he could find no guilt in Jesus, but he was afraid the mob would get him in trouble with the Romans. So He was willing to sacrifice an innocent man in order to keep his job. However, a few years later, he was dismissed from his position. Depressed after that weekend knowing what he had done was wrong, he finally committed suicide. What he thought would be accomplished by his decision turned out to be the opposite.

We often do not comprehend how totally the events in our world are actually under the control of unseen agencies. It was not by chance that Caiaphas was the high priest at that time.

Ellen White describes it this way: “Caiaphas was the one that was to be in office when types and shadows [antitypes] were to meet the reality, when the true High Priest was to come into office. Each actor in history stands in his lot and place.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 390.

So Caiaphas said that it is expedient to get rid of this man in order to save the nation. By getting rid of Him they unchurched themselves and divorced themselves from the Lord because they said in John 19:15, “We have no king but Caesar!”

Too late they realized what they had done. “When Christ cried out, ‘It is finished,’ the Holy Watcher that was an unseen guest at Belshazzar’s feast pronounced the Jewish nation to be a nation unchurched. The same hand that traced on the wall the characters that recorded Belshazzar’s doom and the end of the Babylonian kingdom, rent the veil of the Temple from top to bottom, opening a new and living way for all, high and low, rich and poor, Jew and Gentile. From henceforth people might come to God without priest or ruler.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 392.

When the veil of the temple was rent in two, the Most Holy Place was open to the common people. This is what Paul is talking about in Hebrews 10:19–22: “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

A new and living way was opened so that every human being could come directly to God through the merits of Jesus as High Priest, with no need to depend on a ruler or a priest. The human priesthood, the Aaronic priesthood, was only a part of the old covenant.

One of the main reasons the people did not recognize Jesus was that His divinity was completely veiled in humanity. You could not tell unless the Holy Spirit was working on your mind that He was anything other than a common man. They killed Him thinking He was just a common man claiming to be the Son of God. His humanity completely veiled the glory of His divinity. This was so true that Ellen White said even His disciples had trouble believing on Him.

The people were horrified when Jesus said, “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30) and they took up stones to stone Him. It was the reason Jesus was mocked while on the cross. “Those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, ‘You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself, and come down from the cross’ ” (Mark 15:29, 30)!

Most do not understand that this was one of the devil’s final efforts to break up the plan of salvation. At any moment while on the cross, Christ could have decided to come down and destroy all of those people. This should make you shudder when you think about that. He could have similarly manifested His divinity in Gethsemane. Ellen White says He could have wiped the blood sweat from His brow and ascended to His Father (see The Great Controversy, 348). He could have come down from the cross. Some said, taunting Him, that if He came down, they would believe in Him.

Had Jesus come down from the cross, the devil would have won the great controversy and the world would have been in his hands. Because He remained, we have hope of salvation. It was not only human beings that were watching the agony of the cross. Angels of heaven who fully knew who He was also watched.

Ellen White wrote, “It was a marvel to the angelic beings that He did not seal the lips of the scoffers and paralyze the hand that smote Him. It was a mystery to them that He did not flash forth His righteous indignation upon the hardened and corrupt soldiers.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 394.

It is a mystery that Jesus was not compelled to do any of these things to save fallen man. He was not compelled to live a life of poverty or to go to the cross. No obligation was laid upon Him. Everything about the life of Christ, including His death, was a voluntary sacrifice. He was equal with God the Father, He was infinite and omnipotent, but He chose voluntarily to leave God’s right hand and come to this world as a human being, live the life of a poor man and offer His life as a sacrifice to save fallen humanity.

In the closing events in the life of Christ, the result of what people thought they were doing was the opposite of what they intended. It was that way with Judas and Caiaphas. It was even that way with the devil. After Adam and Eve had sinned, the devil exulted that now he had control of this world; but the Lord told him, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heal” (Genesis 3:15).

Christ’s heels were literally bruised when they drove through the nails and the cross was slammed into the ground, fulfilling this prophecy. It appeared the devil might be able to win the great controversy if he could in some way get Christ to be impatient, lose His temper, or choose to destroy the cruel people, or simply entice Him to come down from the cross and not go through with the crucifixion. Satan exulted at the cross that he had destroyed God’s Son, but what appeared to be his triumph was actually his defeat.

By Christ’s death on the cross, “The emancipation papers of our race were signed by the blood of the Son of God, and a way was opened for the message of hope and mercy to be carried to the ends of the earth. Now, whoever will may reach forth and take hold of God’s hand, and make peace with Him.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 399.

By His suffering and death, He opened the door. When Christ opens the door, nobody can shut it and when He shuts it, nobody can open it. When Caiaphas rent his robe, he actually brought himself under the penalty of the death sentence because the high priest was never, ever, to tear his garments. Jesus did not tear His garments; His flesh was torn or rent. But the rending of His flesh, the rending of the veil of the temple, is symbolic of opening a door into the Most Holy Place where every human being who is willing may enter. If you are to benefit from that open door, you must open the door of your heart to Him. Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Revelation 3:20, 21).

What does it mean to open the door of your heart to the Divine Knocker?

Many ministers and people who have been Christians for a long time have somehow overlooked this. If you want to go in through the door, you have to have your sins forgiven. Sin cannot exist in the presence of God. All sin and sinners will eventually get destroyed.

Ellen White said she was terrified because there were so many people in the church in her day with only a superficial conversion. A superficial conversion is that of a person who is not really sorry for his or her sins, but only for the consequences. Repentance is something that only the Holy Spirit can produce in the human being. True repentance, which is sorrow for sin and turning away from it, occurs when that person confesses their sins, not only to God, but to whomever they have injured. Any sin covered up instead of being repented of and confessed will prevent that person from entering through the door.

“As they [the angels] looked upon their loved Commander, and heard His cry [‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me’], they asked with intense emotion, ‘Will not the Lord Jehovah save Him?’ ” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 407.

Why did God not save Jesus from the agony and humiliation?

Before this world was created, the Father and the Son had made an agreement, sometimes called the everlasting covenant or the new covenant. Either is correct. God’s Son, the One we call Jesus Christ today, said that if the people they were about to create fall because of Satan’s sophistry, He would pay the price of their sin to give them another chance at everlasting life.

John 19:30 records the last words of Jesus on the cross: “So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ and bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.”

When Jesus said, “It is finished,” He was addressing His Father in heaven. He knew that He had completely fulfilled the agreement He and His Father had made before the world was created. When He ascended to heaven He took with Him those whom He had resurrected, the first fruits of those who are dead. He said to the Father that if His sacrifice was accepted, to accept also those who belong to Him, those who have chosen to follow Him and the Father said, “Let all the angels of God worship Him” (Hebrews 1:6). And when the Father said that, the representatives from the unfallen worlds and the angels of heaven, with excitement and joy, prostrated themselves before Him because He had won the victory.

When Christ said on the cross, “It is finished,” He knew at that moment He had won the victory, that the battle was over and that He had won the war.

“The darkness rolled away from the Saviour and from the cross. Christ bowed His head and died. In His incarnation He had reached the prescribed limit as a sacrifice, but not as a Redeemer. The controversy in regard to the rebellion was answered. The human race has an open door set before them.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 409.

The door was opened by Christ’s death on the cross. “These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth” (Revelation 3:7). Ibid.

“When Christ cried, ‘It is finished,’ God’s unseen hand rent the strong fabric composing the veil of the Temple from top to bottom. The way into the Holiest of all was made manifest. God bowed His head satisfied. Now His justice and mercy could blend. He could be just, and yet the justifier of all who should believe on Christ. He [God the Father] looked upon the victim expiring on the cross, and said, ‘It is finished. The human race shall have another trial.’ The redemption price was paid, and Satan fell like lightning from heaven.” Ibid.

Satan had fallen from heaven at the beginning, but now he fell from heaven again. Christ looked forward to this before His death. Notice what He says in Luke 10:18: “He said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.’ ”

Jesus knew Satan’s ultimate fall from heaven would occur when He had finished His work, but what does that mean?

Satan had physically fallen from heaven when he was forced out by Christ and the loyal angels, but there was a void left in heaven on his departure. There were still unfallen beings that felt sorry for him. But when Christ said, “It is finished,” the angels who had been watching and the representatives of unfallen worlds who were watching, all knew who was really behind this atrocity. Human beings did not understand but angels knew who was behind the crucifixion of Christ. Satan was the one who inspired the chief priests, Pilate, Herod, and the soldiers in their evil deeds. He was the one directing them to say all of the loathsome epithets and mocking cruelties.

Unfallen beings in heaven witnessed it all, and when Christ died on the cross every feeling of sympathy for Satan was wrenched from their hearts. Satan fell like lightning from heaven at that time. Ellen White wrote, “All heaven saw the cruel work done to Christ. In the dreadful scenes transacted in the judgment hall, God showed to the heavenly universe the spirit that would be manifested by those that are unwilling to yield obedience to His law. God then presented the once-hidden principles of Satan’s power. All heaven saw them as they were. The sympathies of the heavenly angels were with Christ, and Satan was uprooted.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 412.

It was Satan who inspired the mob to choose Barabbas and crucify Jesus. They knew Barabbas was a rebel and that he was a thief and a murderer. In Satan’s government, the innocent are crucified and the guilty are set free.

My friends, this is going to happen again. Ellen White describes it this way: “The scenes of persecution enacted during Christ’s life will be enacted by false religionists till the close of time. Men think that they have a right to take into their charge the consciences of men, and work out their theories of apostasy and transgression. History will be repeated. Christ declared that prior to His second coming the world would be as it was in the days of Noah, when men reached such a pass in following their own sinful imagination that God destroyed them by a flood.

“Every power that has been exercised since the betrayal of Christ to force the consciences of men, every court that has taken upon itself to decide man’s destiny by its measurement of what constitutes religion, has revealed satanic attributes. Men have betrayed and persecuted God’s chosen ones. They have taken the life that God alone can give.” Ibid., 413.

When the Lord comes, He will ask those who have done these things, “Who gave you the authority to do this?” “Who required this from your hand?” “Who authorized you to imprison and kill God’s children?”

In Jesus’ day the people thought they were dealing with just a man, but they were dealing with God Himself because Christ had not ceased to be God when He assumed humanity. By His death on the cross, He opened the door into the Most Holy Place with no veil in between.

“The Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world, is dead. The way into the Holiest of all is laid open. A new and living way, which has no veil between, is offered to all.” Ibid., 417.

It is up to each individual to go through the door while it is still open. The time is coming when the door that is open will finally be shut. Then, the prophecy, “He who is holy, He who is true, … He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens” (Revelation 3:7) will be fulfilled.

Before the flood destroyed the earth there was an open door in the ark for all to go through and be saved. But the time came when the door was shut and it was too late to enter. By His sufferings, Jesus has opened the door into the throne room of God. All those who enter there the Bible says, “They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads” (Revelation 22:4).

Right now, that door is still open for all, even for the most awful sinner to go through the door of salvation into the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary.

Enoch had to go into the Most Holy Place as did Elijah and Moses. If you cannot go into the Most Holy Place because you are not willing to forsake your sins, you cannot be taken to heaven.

There were many people who, when the veil of the temple was ripped in two, never again participated in the paschal rites involved in the slaying of animals. They understood that the whole system was now invalid.

Three people watching at the cross that day understood what was really happening. One was Mary Magdalene. She saw Christ dying on the cross and knew He was there because of her sins. She was the first one to whom Christ appeared after His resurrection.

The second person who understood was a man not considered a believer, but a criminal. He was a thief on the cross. Ellen White said the Holy Spirit helped him piece together the events of that day. He believed Christ’s claim to be the Son of God. He knew this One dying beside him had done nothing wrong and decided to commit his life to Him. So, he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). He knew that if Jesus didn’t answer his prayer, he would be lost.

Jesus is the only One who can save you. Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you today, you will be with Me in paradise” (verse 43). When Jesus spoke that word, immediately his guilt was gone, and he died a believer. Those who are saved will meet him some day.

There was a third person there that day watching it all. He had been in a high position and an instructor in the church and figured out for the first time that what he thought was the church really wasn’t the true church. He understood as never before the evil of the religious leaders. As Nicodemus watched, he remembered what Jesus had said to him on a mountain three years before. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up” (John 3:14). He saw Him lifted up and he understood that Jesus is the only way of salvation.

There is only one way you can be saved and one Person who can save you. That is only possible if you commit your life to Him. Remember the thief on the cross called Jesus, Lord. He didn’t call Him sir, but Lord. Do you want Him to be the Lord of your life? When Jesus went back to heaven, the unfallen universe prostrated themselves, exceedingly joyful to be able to worship Him and obey Him.

My dear friend, in heaven today no one questions Jesus’ absolute authority anymore. If you are planning on going there you must allow Him to be the Lord of your life.

If you want to be saved, you have to commit yourself to the only Person that can save you—the One whose death made it possible for the veil to be ripped in two so that the door was opened into the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary.

(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)

Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at:, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.