Veil of the Temple

Veil of the Temple Torn

Veil of the Temple
John 19:28-30 (B) It Is Finished

John 19:28-30 (C) Veil of the Temple

John 19:31-33 Broken Legs


What happened in the temple when Jesus died on the cross?
It was torn in half: "the veil of the temple was torn in the middle" (Luke 23:45).

In which direction was the veil in the temple torn?
From top to bottom: "Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom" (Matthew 27:51).

So who tore it?

What did this veil enclose in the temple?
The temple's inner-most sanctuary, called "the Most Holy Place": "Then the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place, into the inner sanctuary of the temple, to the Most Holy Place, under the wings of the cherubim" (1 Kings 8:6).

Who could go past this veil into the Most Holy Place of the temple?
The high priest, once a year, with the blood of sacrificed animals as a "reminder of sins," not to pay their penalty: "the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance... But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year, for it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins." (Hebrews 9:7, 10:3-4)

What did the veil of the temple being torn symbolize?
Sin had been blocking our way to God. Jesus removed that obstacle and cleared the way, so that we could come into the presence of God at any time, anywhere, and without going through a priest or any other intermediary.

What else happened?
"The earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many" (Matthew 27:51-53).

Why did these things happen?
The geological tremors were probably a sign of the creation reeling from the gravity of what had just happened to its Creator, while the opened graves and resurrected bodies attest to His sacrifice's life-giving power over death.

How did those around the cross react?
They "beat their breasts" and many, including the executioners realized that they had just witnessed the death of the Son of God the Father: "And the whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned" (Luke 23:48). "So when the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!" (Matthew 27:54)

How about the members of Jesus' entourage?
They looked on from "afar": "And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar, among whom was Mary Magdalene, also Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons" (Matthew 27:55-56).

Who isn't named here who was named earlier?
Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Where was she?
John already had taken her "to his own home" (John 19:27, see His Mother).