The purpose of the veil in the tabernacle was to protect the priests from the “shekinah” glory of the Lord.
Only high priests could enter the veil and stay alive.
“I will not let you see my face, because no one can see me and stay alive.” (Exo 33:20)
The high priest and only the high priest entered through the veil once a year. He was to present the blood of the sacrifice to the Lord. To protect himself from seeing God’s presence he had to fill the Most Holy Place of the tabernacle with smoke from burning incense.
“He shall take a fire pan full of burning coals from the altar and two handfuls of fine incense and bring them into the Most Holy Place. There in the LORD’s presence he shall put the incense on the fire, and the smoke of the incense will hide the lid of the Covenant Box so that he will not see it and die. He shall take some of the bull’s blood and with his finger sprinkle it on the front of the lid and then sprinkle some of it seven times in front of the Covenant Box.” (Lev 16:12-15)
Tradition has it that whenever the high priest had to enter through the veil of the tabernacle into the Most Holy Place, a rope was bound to his one foot so that he could be pulled out in case he should die in God’s presence.
When Moses was allowed to see God, it was only from the back and only from the protection of a rock.
“Here is a place beside me where you can stand on a rock. When the dazzling light (glory) of my presence passes by, I will put you in an opening in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take my hand away, and you will see my back but not my face.” (Exo 33:21-23)
This Rock spoke of Christ.
“All ate the same spiritual bread and drank the same spiritual drink. They drank from the spiritual rock that went with them; and that rock was Christ himself.” (1Co 10:3-4)
Just like Moses was safe in the Rock, we must also be in Him if we want to approach Father God.
“It is through Christ that all of us, Jews and Gentiles, are able to come in the one Spirit into the presence of the Father.” (Eph 2:18)
In Christ we can now enter beyond the veil of the tabernacle of heaven.
“In union with Christ and through our faith in him we have the boldness to go into God’s presence with all confidence.” (Eph 3:12)
The Bible says that God met with Moses behind the veil, where they spoke face to face.
“The LORD would speak with Moses face-to-face, just as someone speaks with a friend.” (Exo 33:11)
But, just like the priests that went beyond the veil of the tabernacle, Moses could not actually see God’s face, because God was hidden in a cloud.
“After Moses had gone in, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the door of the Tabernacle, and the LORD would speak to Moses from the cloud.” (Exo 33:9)
Nevertheless, the glory of God so affected Moses that the people of Israel could not look at him.
“Even though the brightness on Moses’ face was fading, it was so strong that the people of Israel could not keep their eyes fixed on him.” (2Co 3:7)
Whenever Moses left the tabernacle, he, therefore, had to wear the veil to hide the glory of God from the people.
“When Moses had finished speaking with them, he covered his face with a veil. Whenever Moses went into the Tabernacle of the LORD’s presence to speak to the LORD, he would take the veil off.” (Exo 34:33-34)
Fortunately, the veil of the temple was torn when Christ died. We can now all enter into the presence of God
“We have, then, my friends, complete freedom to go into the Most Holy Place by means of the death of Jesus. He opened for us a new way, a living way, through the veil —that is, through his own body.” (Heb 10:19-20)
God now gives us an even greater glory than what Moses had!
“All of us, then, reflect the glory of the Lord with uncovered faces; and that same glory, coming from the Lord, who is the Spirit, transforms us into his likeness in an ever greater degree of glory.” (2Co 3:18)
We can now enter od’s presence. It only needs a step of faith through the veil of the tabernacle of heaven.