And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom;… (Mat 27:51)
The Temple that existed when Jesus was crucified was a marvel of construction. It was the Second Temple or Herod’s Temple. It consisted of an outer courtyard where the common people could assemble, plus two rooms in the building-proper.
The first room was called the “Holy Place” and was entered only by appointed priests. In the picture, you can see the furniture: the lamp-stand, the altar of incense and the table of show-bread. The “Holy Place” was entered by going beyond the first veil.
The second room was called the “Most Holy Place” or “Holy of Holies.” It was entered by going beyond the second veil. In the picture we see this veil, ripped from top to bottom. Most likely, the rip in the current was not as irregular and ragged as pictured here. But no one knows what the ripped edges looked like.
From Nicholson, we learn the following things about the veil. We learn that upon the “ground-work” or “foundation-work” of “fine-twined linen” was displayed the colors of blue, purple and scarlet. The blue corresponded to the blue heaven; the scarlet corresponded to the earth and the purple was a mixture of heaven and earth. It pictured God coming down and blending with His redeemed ones and working with them to yield to His holiness and becoming like Him.
Those three colors were interwoven with a mass of cherubim (angelic beings). It hung by hooks of gold from four pillars overlaid with gold. The Scripture calls it a ‘cunning work,’ the cunning of God. It was copied from the pattern showed to Moses on the mount.
Only the High Priest had ever seen beyond the second veil. And now the veil had suddenly ceased to exist. It was rent. Suddenly its office was at an end. There it still hung, but the eye might now see through it and beyond it.
As a veil, it was gone. All at once the concealment had ceased. It fell in its own place before the Holy of Holies, as if resigning its office. In all the magnificent building, not another thing was marred or misplaced. May we repeat: nothing else in the Temple building was marred or misplaced! Just the veil!
It was not because of natural decay that the threads of the veil had parted asunder. It parted in the middle, thus opening in the very center of what it had served to conceal. And when did it happen? At the exact second when Jesus Christ expired on the Cross! That was the august moment for which the veil of concealment had been waiting; the moment for which through all the ages it had continued to exist.
At the beginning of the three hours of darkness, Jesus had cried: “My God, My God! Why hast Thou forsaken me?” At the end of the three hours of darkness, Jesus cried: “It is finished!” in great triumph. That’s when the veil rent in two.
The timing of Jesus’ death and the renting of the veil coincided with an assembly of witnesses God had assembled to give testimony to what they had seen. Jesus died at exactly 3:00 p.m., at the exact moment the evening sacrifice was to begin. At that time, the priests were present inside the Holy Place, in front of the veil, actually engaged in their duties relating to the Evening Sacrifice. They were eye-witnesses of the ripping of the veil because God arranged it to be so. It is no accident that “a great company of the priests became obedient to the faith. (Acts 6:7)”
God placed adequate witnesses at every stage of revealing Himself to a million people who had gathered for Passover. From all over the land of Israel and from several foreign countries the Passover Feast drew at least a million people every year to celebrate. This year was no exception. They were packed into the city of Jerusalem and the surrounding area as one big mass of people.
You can be assured that when the sky turned black for three hours and covered the crucifixion of the miracle-working Galilean, a million people took note of it. When the darkness ended as suddenly as it had come and it began to be whispered among them that the most sacred veil in the Temple had mysteriously ripped from the top to the bottom: it was like a spear through their souls!
A million people would go home and tell how it had become fearfully dark with an earthquake and the sacred veil had been destroyed just at the moment of the Evening Passover and at the exact moment when the darkness was lifted. The six miracles of Calvary are there for anyone who wants to know about them. The ripping of the veil is the centerpiece of miracles that occurred that week. In the next part, we will examine the consequences of the ripping of the veil. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
APRIL 18, 2017 – TUESAY
A.M. 1Sam 25-26 P.M. Luke: 16:19-31
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Memory Verse This Month:
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. (Act 2:36)
Song for Today:
The Old Rugged Cross (3:37) – (Gaither Congregational)
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