Question about the Nature of the Veil

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Question: Do we know from the scriptures the nature of the veil spoken of in Ether 4:15, which the Gentiles are invited to rend?

Answer: A true definition of what constitutes the veil can be gleaned from analyzing and comparing many scriptural instances of the word “veil.” Discerning a scriptural “pattern in all things” serves as a defense against deception (Doctrine & Covenants 52:14)—in a time of such deception by false christs and prophets that, “if it were possible, they will deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:24). So that, as Nephi saw, even among the best of believers, “they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men” (2 Nephi 28:14).

Such a prospect’s comprising an end-time state of affairs should make us seriously consider the points upon which the main body of saints has gone or is going astray. And, in particular, where even the few humble followers of Christ are in error on account of “precepts of men.” Can we identify which precepts of men? Could misunderstanding the nature of the veil be one of them?

Scriptural instances of the veil identify it as a “veil of unbelief,” which acts like a “cloud of darkness” of the mind (Alma 9:6); a “veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind” (Ether 4:15); a veil covering the mind and the eyes of one’s understanding (Doctrine & Covenants 110:1); and a “veil of darkness” that keeps men from personally knowing Jesus Christ (Doctrine & Covenants 38:8; 67:10).

The common experience of those who succeed in rending the veil—as did Moses, Isaiah, Hezekiah, Nephi, Jacob, the brother of Jared, Moroni, and others—is that they see the Lord Jehovah, who is Jesus Christ (Exodus 33:11; Isaiah 6:1; Ascension of Isaiah 1:4; 2 Nephi 11:2–3; Ether 3:13–14; 12:39). In other words, their personal experience of seeing him forms the scriptural “pattern in all things” given of God that men may not be deceived. It accords with Jesus’ teaching that “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” and that “no man cometh unto the Father but by me” (John 14:6).

And although the Father dwells in the Son—so much that he who sees the Son has seen the Father (John 14:7–13)—they are nevertheless distinct divine beings, the one being in the express image of the other (Hebrews 1:1–5). This, the prophet Joseph Smith saw in his first vision. But so have all—whether in this life, before, or after—who see the Father and are received into his presence. Jesus’ three Nephite disciples, who inherited the Father’s kingdom, exemplify this spiritual category (3 Nephi 28:4–13; Ether 12:17–19).

Those who have seen the Father testify of this, that—with rare exceptions that serve a higher purpose—it is first the Son who appears to them, and afterwards the Father, that being the order of heaven. Any interpretation of the term “veil” that disaffirms this scriptural pattern, therefore, constitutes a precept of men and sets at nought the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It negates an entire phase of spiritual progression that of necessity precedes entering into the presence of the Father.

In general terms, the “doctrine of Christ” as Nephi teaches it consists first of “feasting upon the words of Christ” that are given in the scriptures. As a sure guide in the beginning phase of one’s spiritual journey, these “will tell you all things what ye should do.” Second, having thus “entered in by the way” and received the Holy Ghost, it, in turn, “will show unto you all things what ye should do.” This constitutes a higher law, as now the Holy Ghost becomes one’s personal guide and companion.

Third, after Jesus “manifests himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do” (see 2 Nephi 32:3–6). This constitutes an even higher law. The brother of Jared, for example, diligently accomplished many things the Lord said to him when he appeared to him in a cloud or in person (Ether 2:4–5; 3:17–28).

Then, after having known Christ personally by rending the veil of their unbelief and doing the things he commands them to do—having followed the heavenly order by experientially passing through each essential phase of spiritual growth—is it inherent for men to be “led even by God the Father” and to be received into his presence (Moroni 5:17; Doctrine & Covenants 88:17–20).

Says Jesus Christ, “I am Messiah, the King of Zion, the Rock of Heaven, which is broad as eternity; whoso cometh in at the gate and climbeth up by me shall never fall; wherefore, blessed are they of whom I have spoken, for they shall come forth with songs of everlasting joy” (Moses 7:53).

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The Isaiah Institute was created in the year 2000 by the Hebraeus Foundation to disseminate the message of the prophet Isaiah (circa 742–701 B.C.). Avraham Gileadi Ph.D’s groundbreaking research and analysis of the Book of Isaiah provides the ideal medium for publishing Isaiah’s endtime message to the world. No longer can the Book of Isaiah be regarded as an obscure document from a remote age. Its vibrant message, decoded after years of painstaking research by a leading authority in his field, now receives a new application as a sure guide to a rapidly changing world. To those who seek answers to today’s perplexing questions, the Book of Isaiah is God’s gift to humanity.

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