Heb 10:19,20 which says in the NIV:

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body…

Or his flesh( like Kjv) The sentence structure in English and in the Greek allow for “body” to refer to either the curtain or the new and living way through the curtain.

What is the accurate reference? The veil or the new and living way?


In this link three possibilities are laid out for Jesus' flesh to be either;

1) His flesh typifies the veil (traditional view), 2) The new and living way through the veil with the emphasis being on his flesh as the way through (supported by Westcott) 3) Lane suggests that his flesh refers back to the entirety of the preceding statement, i.e. the free access we have through his blood making a new way through the veil.

Drs. Decker and Slusser maintain that option 2 is made impossible by an idiomatic rule of Greek grammer regarding the phrase τοῦτ᾿ ἔστιν:

"whenever there is an explicit antecedent (i.e., there is a specific word that serves as the antecedent; some occurrences of the phrase τοῦτ᾿ ἔστιν have a general antecedent in which some phrase or concept serves as the antecedent rather than a specific word), the word following τοῦτ᾿ ἔστιν always agrees with its antecedent in case and almost always in gender and number.† When the two words are both nouns, agreement in gender is not always possible since nouns have fixed gender; when one of the words is a pronoun, adjective, or participle, they usually agree in gender.§"

They regard the traditional view as most likely because of the proximity of an explicit antecedent agreeing in case, gender, and number but allow that Lanes supposition of a general antecedent is not ruled out and is thematically consistent with the larger context.

  • 1
    +1 Very informative. Appreciated.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 5 '20 at 20:33
  • Interesting. How then would the flesh (veil) become the new and living way? Jan 6 '20 at 11:10
  • Possibly because, having become sin for us, he condemned sin in the flesh (the separation from God typified by the veil in the temple) and yet had no sin of his own and so is able to pass through? Jan 8 '20 at 13:04

Hebrews focuses on the meaning of Salvation to the Hebrews most specifically so there are free references to well known Hebrew concepts. Prototypes of the veil may go all the way back to the covering God provided Adam and Eve after their Nakedness was exposed by acquiring the Knowledge of both GOOD and EVIL...a "forbidden fruit" . Blood had to be shed by GOD as he took the life's blood of an innocent animal to provide those skins or a "veil". We see the veil continue then for some 4000 years until Jesus is given. The writer (perhaps Paul the Apostles to the Gentiles) shows the reader that Jesus is now the "torn Veil" by which we enter into the Holy of Holies.

  • 1
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