The Torn Veil: The Crucifixion of Christ
From the parable of the sower to the apologue of the hidden treasure, Christianity consists of a wide range of biblical concepts. But, today we will have a look at the concept of the torn veil.
Understand the Concept of the Veil
To understand the veil that we will talk about, let us have a look first at Exodus 26:31-33. This is where God gives the instructions to make a veil. In verse 31, “God asked to make a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen, with cherubim woven into it by a skilled worker.”
In verse 33, we understand the use of the veil, where the instruction is to “hang the curtain from the clasps and place the ark of the covenant law behind the curtain. The curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place.” In other words, the veil represented a barrier (some sort of separation), where, compared to children of God, only the high priests could have access to that sacred place. It was also a symbol of the Old Covenant, where only the most humble, sincere and loyal followers, like holy priests could enter the holy place.
However, the veil was more than a physical separation and was also a spiritual barrier between God and His children.
Now, when we talk about sacrifices, we know how much important they were in the Ancient Testament. The sin committed by Adam and Eve led the whole of humanity to fall from the grace of God and thus, sacrifices were the only way to please God and ask for His forgiveness. Different burnt offerings had to be offered when asking for repentance, when giving thanks to the Lord and when asking for healing.
The laws that used to govern the Israelite nation (also known as the Ten Commandments) are the same that established the need of the veil and the sacrifices.
If the veil was a strong barrier, a stronger and mightier power was required to break it. And there was no power stronger than that of Jesus Christ.
When the whole of mankind had to bear the fruits of sin and death, God didn’t want to see us suffer more and this is why He sent His son on earth for us. Born from a virgin (which I know many find to be completely impossible – although what’s impossible for men is possible for God), Jesus Christ grew up and started His journey to save the world from the bondage of sin.
When Jesus was arrested, persecuted and flogged, the suffering didn’t stop there. Hands and feet, he was nailed on the cross with a crown of thorns. When He gave His life and shredded His blood for us, Jesus removed that barrier that was between God and us. And, this can be found in Matthew 27:52, “at that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split.”
This also explains how nowadays people can easily (but genuinely of course) repent of their sins, accept Jesus Christ as their savior and convert to followers of the Christian faith through baptism. Once they accept and believe in Jesus, the veil that was in their hearts is removed and they are able to get their spiritual healing and have direct access to God.
However, there is one question that got me thinking and to get to the root of that question, let’s go back to Matthew 27:50, “And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit… at that moment the curtain of the temple was torn…”
Just when Christ breathed his last moment, that’s when the veil was torn. But the question is if Jesus suffered for six long hours before dying, why was the veil torn only during His last breath and not before?
The answer: that last breath represents the last bit of sin of humanity that remained to be erased. And, when that last breath left Jesus, that’s when the sacrifice was complete, our sins were erased and the barrier was completely broken.
Free from the bondage of sin and death, we, Christians of today, have free access to the presence of God. And, compared to people of long ago, I would say it’s a real privilege and grace. What do you think?