why you need to sing about the torn veil in Bold Before God’s Throne

by Bobby Gilles

in Exhortations And Musings,Songwriting/Hymn Workshop,Worship Leading

"Crucifixion" charcoal art by Brittany Jennings of Sojourn Visual Arts

Few hymns and praise songs describe the rending of the veil to the Holy of Holies in the temple, which occurred as Jesus died. But it’s important to teach yourself and the worshipers in your church about this event, because it portrays our new standing before God — one in which we can go boldly before the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:14-16). As Kristen sings it in our new song Bold Before God’s Throne:

No longer would we need a priest to pray for all our sin;
No veil can separate us now, so boldly we go in …

In Exodus 25:31-35: God laid the blueprint for a massive, ornate veil to separate the Most Holy Place (or “Holy of Holies”) from the Holy Place, inside the tabernacle. Then in Leviticus 16 he gave the Israelite priesthood instructions for the once-a-year Day of Atonement. On this annual event, one man in all of Israel (the High Priest) entered behind the veil and made sacrifice for the sins of the people. No one else — including great heroes of the faith we read about in the Old Testament — could enter into God’s throne room.

And of course the animal sacrifice couldn’t atone for our sins once-for-all; it only moved the sin debt forward to next year’s Day of Atonement.

Yet when Christ gave his life for us, an earthquake rocked Jerusalem and the veil inside the temple was torn from top to bottom (Matthew 27:50-51). Jesus’ victory over Satan and sin on the cross gained our entrance into the Holy of Holies, God’s throne room (Hebrews 9:7-10:10) and made us into a kingdom of priests (Revelation 1:5-6). Resting on Christ’s sacrifice, our “only prayer,” we are now a holy priesthood, able to offer acceptable worship to God (1 Peter 2:7).

This is an important aspect of the gospel for you to remember, and to “teach and admonish one another, in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” (Colossians 3:16). Our new Bold Before God’s Throne will help you do that. The melody is simple. We think it’s catchy and interesting, yet easy to sing. The chorus soars, yet doesn’t require a big vocal leap.

We wrote the verses in Common Meter. As the name implies, this is the most popular hymn meter, which provides the structure for thousands of hymns like “Amazing Grace,” patriotic songs like “America The Beautiful,” folk ballads like “House of the Rising Sun” and jingles like the Gilligan’s Island theme song. In other words, your people will easily pick this song up (more on hymn meter here and a glossary of hymn meter terms here).

The verses not only tell the story of the Holy of Holies and the torn veil, but of our response, and the paradox that we can approach God boldy while at the same time being more aware of our own sin and insufficieny:

Confident before the throne / though humbled all the more
Because the sacrifice of Christ / became our open door

And the verses remind us that, although our hearts condemn us because we realize how often we sin, God is “greater than our hearts” (1 John 3:20).

Kristen and I thank God that more and more worship songwriters are writing songs about the cross, and bringing back old hymns about the cross. Christ’s crucifixion in our place is central to the gospel.We want to continue writing songs that tell this old, old story in fresh ways. More importantly, we want to be true to every facet of scripture. We hope you’ll think the modern hymn Bold Before God’s Throne meets that criteria.

We can’t wait to share this worship song with you next week, when we’ll release it for free as part of the new Kristen Gilles EP The Whole Big Story. You’ll be able to download it for free right here on My Song In The Night or Noisetrade.com/kristengilles.

Get the chord sheet and watch Kristen demonstrate how to play Bold Before God’s Throne on piano, here.

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