“And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last. Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” (Mark 15:37-38, NKJV)
Have you ever passed a door that read “Authorized Personnel Only” and you wanted to open it to see what’s inside? It may only be an equipment room, but we are curious.
When God gave Moses plans for the Tabernacle in the wilderness, one area was off-limits to everyone except the high priest. Called the Holy of Holies, it was the most sacred place in the Tabernacle and contained the Ark of the Covenant. Even the high priest was only permitted to enter once each year on the Day of Atonement to sprinkle blood from the sacrificial animal on the mercy seat. (Read Leviticus 16:2-3.) Anyone else who tried to enter this sacred space would die. Sin separated mankind from God, and the veil was symbolic of that separation. God’s presence was one of holiness; man was unholy.
“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden HIs face from you, So that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2, NKJV).
Just outside the Holy of Holies was an area called the Holy Place, and other priests ministered there regularly. To keep anyone from accidentally stumbling into the Holy of Holies, God instructed Moses to hang a large woven curtain, or veil, between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies (Exodus 26:31-33). Later, when the Israelites built the Temple in Jerusalem, a large curtain still separated the two chambers. And still only the high priest could enter that most sacred place once each year.
Some sources say the curtain/veil in the Temple measured sixty feet from top to bottom. It was massive, thick (some say one inch, others four inches), and heavy. Why is this significant to us today? Because the veil of separation no longer exists. When Jesus took His last breath on the cross, that sixty-foot veil hanging in the Temple was torn from top to bottom. Whether one inch thick or four inches thick, it would have been impossible for a man to tear it. God ripped the veil in two. Now everyone has access to the presence of God.
God established a new covenant with us that no longer requires the blood of bulls and goats to atone for our sins. The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross paid our sin debt once for all. Because of the precious blood of Jesus, the spotless sacrifice, we can be reconciled to God. We can boldly enter beyond the veil into God’s presence.
“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh . . . let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith . . .” (Hebrews 10:19-20, 22, NKJV).
The invitation is given. Draw near. Step through the torn veil and bask in His presence. We have access because of the blood of Jesus.