Jesus shouted and then died.
At once the curtain in the temple tore in two from top to bottom.
I wonder if you understand the significance of the curtain being torn in two. This was not just something that happened because of the earthquake that was happening at that moment. There is great significance in this curtain being torn.
You see, this curtain, separated the rest of the temple from the Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies is where the Ark of the Covenant stayed. It’s where the Lord God resided. No one but the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies and then only once a year to offer the sacrifices for the sins of the people. Not only that, the High Priest had to go through a cleansing process to enter or he could die from being in the presence of the Lord.
“But only the high priest entered the inner room,
and that only once a year, and never without blood,
which he offered for himself and for the sins
the people had committed in ignorance.” (Hebrews 9:7)
And this was no ordinary curtain, this was not the sheers we hang in our living room window. But it was a huge, thick curtain. Through scripture’s description of the temple, we can deduce that “the veil would have been up to 15 feet high, and 18 feet long. As to the weight of it, the Bible does not say. Tradition says that two horses hooked to it would not have been able to pull it in two, it was so thick, but the Bible never says that.” (1) But I think we can safely say that it would not easily be torn, even by an earthquake.
So, what is the significance of the torn curtain?
It is this .. Up until the time of Jesus’ death, forgiveness of sins was acquired through the sacrificial ceremonies. From offering up a perfect lamb to cover the sins of the people. I had to be done every year.. over and over again. But Jesus death and resurrection changed all that.
First of all, The sacrifices had to be given every year; but now, Jesus’ sacrifice (the Perfect Lamb) was given once for all.
Romans 6:10 says,
“The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.”
Secondly, Jesus became the Perfect Lamb to be sacrificed. He lived a perfect life without sin in order to be our perfect sacrificial lamb.
For this reason he had to be made like them,
fully human in every way,
in order that he might become a merciful and faithful
high priest in service to God,
and that he might make atonement
for the sins of the people.
and Third .. Before God’s ultimate sacrifice was given, each one had to go through the high priest. He could not approach the throne of Grace himself. Only the high priest could stand before God.
Hebrews 4:15-16 15
“For we do not have a high priest who cannot
sympathize with our weaknesses,
but One who has been tempted in all things
as we are, yet without sin.
Therefore let us draw near with confidence
to the throne of grace,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace
to help in time of need.
So you see, the curtain is no longer needed because once we have given our lives over to God, we all can boldly approach the throne of God .. personally! [Read more about our private worship by Nancy Missler at Koinonia House.] (2)
Praise the Lord!