Considering Vail and Veil
And he made the vail of blue, and purple, and crimson, and fine linen, and wrought cherubims thereon, 2nd Chronicles 3:14.
A particularly astute reader from Florida recently brought my to attention the two variant spellings, "vail and "veil used in our King James Bible. At about the same time, a pastor from Shinglehouse, Pennsylvania who has been teaching his people the perfection of the King James Bible and teaching them to be sensitive to small variants in the text, had his mother in-law point out the same thing.
My first reaction is that I rejoice in the ever expanding cadre of people who have come to know the inerrancy of the King James Bible. The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it, Psalm 68:11. Never before in the history of the King James Bible have so many people been educated as to more than just its beauty. More and more people have learned that trusting God means trusting a King James Bible.
Why are there two variant spellings? At first brush, it is tempting to say that "vail" is used in the Old Testament and "veil" is used in the New. The same curtain described as a "vail" in our opening verse, is called the "veil" in Hebrews. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all, Hebrews 9:3. That explanation won't work. It doesn't take long to see that both spellings are used in each Testament. The keepers of the walls took away my veil from me, Song of Solomon 5:7. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart, 2nd Corinthians 3:15.
With all of that being said, I think we can weigh into this and make some sense. Years ago, my mentor Billy Randall who was convinced of the King James Bible position in the 1960s, decades ahead of most preachers, told me that the Tabernacle used scarlet when making the vail, whereas the temple used crimson. He explained that the Tabernacle's scarlet represented the blood of Jesus Christ while still in his veins, whereas the temple's crimson represented shed blood. Could the difference in spelling have a similar reason?
What we will see is that the word "veil" is used to represent the torn or open curtain. Therein it is consistent. Yet, there are two principal places that give pause to that conclusion. We will look at them both. Look at these verses from the Book of Hebrews:
Hebrews 9:1 Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.
Hebrews 9:2 For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.
Hebrews 9:3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;
Hebrews 9:4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;
Hebrews 9:5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.
The Apostle Paul, that absolute master of the Old Testament described the Old Testament Sanctuary. You'll note that in verse 3 he places the censer in the Holiest of all, the inner chamber. There is only one day a year when that censor is in that chamber. It is only there on the Day of Atonement when the high priest carries it in there. And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail, Leviticus 16:12.
In Leviticus 16, it is spelled "vail" because it is describing a future action. The vail is still closed. In Hebrews 9, the "veil" is pulled back for the priest to go in and out.
That leaves us with 2nd Chronicles 3:14 wherein the word is "vail", but the crimson represents the blood outside of his body; And he made the vail of blue, and purple, and crimson, and fine linen, and wrought cherubims thereon. Here we have picture of the beaten and scourged Lord Jesus Christ wearing a crown of thorns. He has his blood upon him, but he has not yet gone through the veil of his flesh. By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; Hebrews 10:20.
That leaves us with Song of Solomon 5:7; The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me. Here we see the word "veil" used to depict a woman's facial covering that in every other place is spelled "vail". The allusion to Jesus Christ having the veil of his flesh torn asunder by Roman soldiers is unmistakable.
By believing that each and every letter in a King James Bible has a meaning and that spellings are important, we can discern much.