I thought then of another “crack,” one far more important. And Jesus cried again with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom…Matt 27:50-51. The veil in the Temple that separated the holy place from the most holy place also separated men from God. Only one man could go through that veil and that only once a year, the high priest, Lev 16. God “dwelt” behind that veil and man was not allowed access under penalty of death.
Rather than nine different stories about how the veil of the Temple tore, only one is recorded. The fact that it tore “from top to bottom” means someone had to be in the anteroom to see it, perhaps several “someones,” and that would have been the regular priests going about their daily duties. Imagine their feelings as the accompanying earthquake began, and they watched an unseen hand rip that sacred curtain. Imagine their terror as they wondered if they would die now that it hung open and they could see inside. I think it is likely they were the very ones who later accepted the new teaching. And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith. Act 6:7. It would have taken something monumental for those men to give up their livelihoods, their heritage, and their sacred privilege as priests of Jehovah.
We all know that the rip in that veil symbolized the new access we now have to God. Since we then have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God… let us draw near with boldness to the throne of grace…Heb 4:12,14. This access was not given only to the Jews but also to the Gentiles, as prophesied in Isa 25:6,7. “The veil that is over all nations” is “swallowed up.”
The Liberty Bell bears this inscription: “Proclaim liberty throughout the land,” Lev 25:10. We have a far more important liberty, the right to approach God when we need him, the privilege to call him Father and enjoy his care and protection and company! Adam lost that privilege a long time ago, and man suffered for it for thousands of years. Don’t take it for granted now.
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Heb 10:19-22