Why did the temple veil split from top to bottom when Jesus died on the cross?

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Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.  And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent” (Matthew 27:50-51).

The veil (curtain) that separated the holy place from the most holy was torn (Ex. 26:31–33; 2 Chron. 3:14) from top to bottom indicating that it was not accomplished by human hands. The access to the most holy place was restricted to the high priest, and he could enter only once a year. So, the rending of the veil at Jesus death, and the consequent exposure of the Holy place, was Heaven’s signal that the typical service had ended—type had met anti-type.

This incident occurred at the hour of the regular evening sacrifice, as the priest was about to slay the lamb of the daily burnt offering. The time was probably about 2:30 in the afternoon, or about the “ninth hour” according to Jewish timing.

When Jesus died on the cross, He fulfilled the temple services, the sacrifice of the “lamb” and the sprinkling of the blood upon the veil as an offering for sin. The Mosaic ordinances that pointed to the Lamb of God who would come and shed His blood to save all people were no longer needed. “having forgiven you all trespasses, Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross” (Colossians 2:13,14).

The veil was a visible reminder to all sinners that mankind had no access to the Father due to sin. But when Jesus died, that barrier was forever removed, but only to those that accept Jesus’ death as the true atonement for their sins.

“Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” [So,] “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession” (Hebrews 2:17 & 4:14).

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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