Why is the tearing of the temple veil important?

by Matt Slick
8/11/15

The tearing of the temple veil is important because the veil was a symbol of separation between God and man.  It hung between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place.

"The Holy of Holies, also known as the Most Holy Place, is the inner room of the Tabernacle and also the Temple in which was kept the Ark of the Covenant, the Mercy Seat (Exodus 26:34), Cherubim (Exodus 25:18-22), manna (Exodus 16:33), Aaron's rod (Numbers 17:10) and a copy of the 10 Commandments (Deuteronomy 31:26).  It was the place where blood was sprinkled on the Mercy Seat (the lid on top of the Ark) as an atonement for the sins of Israel (Leviticus 16:15-33)."1

At the death of Jesus, with the shedding of his blood (Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22), the atonement had been made (1 John 2:2; 4:10), and the believer now has direct access to God through Christ. Furthermore, the Scriptures indicate that the temple was torn from top to bottom, not bottom to top. This is significant because if it were to be torn people would've done it from the bottom up.

  • Matthew 27:51, "And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51 And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split."
  • Mark 15:37-38, "And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last. 38 And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom."
  • Luke 23:44-45, "It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 because the sun was obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two."

Furthermore, the temple veil was not thin. It was several inches thick and tightly woven together.  It was made of fine twisted linen (Exodus 26:31-35). So tearing it was not easy to do. Furthermore, there is no conceivable reason that the Jews would have for destroying that veil. It was too religiously important and to damage it would be tantamount to rejecting God himself.

So, the temple veil was torn by God. Therefore, we no longer need the temple, the blood sacrifices, or the intercession of earthly priests because the blood of Christ has been shed and he is our high priest.

  • Hebrews 10:19, "Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus."
  • Hebrews 9:12, "and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption... 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
  • Hebrews 6:20, "where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek."
  • Hebrews 7:25, "Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them."

Therefore we can see that we enter into the holy place by the blood of Christ because he has obtained eternal redemption for us and is our high priest. Therefore,  the earthly temple is no longer necessary.

Conclusion

The destruction of the veil in the Temple is important because it demonstrates that we no longer need earthly temples, earthly priests, and earthly sacrifices. It was all accomplished by Christ and we need only depend on him, by faith ( Romans 3:28; 4:5; 5:1).

  • 1. https://carm.org/what-is-the-holy-of-holies
 
 

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.