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

This past week I have been pondering the significance of the torn veil about which both Matthew and Mark include in their Gospels.

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

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.  Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and 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: 50-53 NKJV

But first a little background about the veil (curtain).  According to scripture, God gave Moses these instructions:

You shall make a veil woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen.  It shall be woven with an artistic design of cherubim. You shall hang it upon the four pillars of acacia wood overlaid with gold. Their hooks shall be gold, upon four sockets of silver.  And you shall hang the veil from the clasps. Then you shall bring the ark of the Testimony in there, behind the veil. The veil shall be a divider for you between the holy place and the Most Holy Exodus 26:31-33 NKJV

In Hebrews we read this about it:

Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary.   A tabernacle was set up.  In its first room were the lampstand and the table with its consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.

When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.  Hebrew 9:1-7 NIV

We know that the first temple was 30 cubits high and that according to Josephus, a first century historian, Herod raised the height another 10 cubits to 40.  Although we are not certain of the exact measurement of a cubit, scholars believe the Veil was approximately 60 feet high. Early Jewish tradition says it was a handbreadth thick (about four inches).

So the magnitude of this veil (curtain), that it was torn from top to bottom, and that it was torn at the precise moment of Christ’s death makes this no small occasion.

What is it’s significance?


The Gospel of John records Jesus’ last words:

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.   John 19: 30 NIV

Immediately after Jesus utters these words, the veil that separated the Holy of Holies– the place of atonement, accessible only to the High Priest and only once a year with the blood of the sacrifice is torn in two! This demonstrates the finished work of Christ. It dramatically symbolized that His sacrifice, the shedding of His own blood, was a sufficient atonement for sins.

We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.   Hebrews 10:10


The veil was torn in two from top to bottom. No man was able to tear it apart like a piece of thin cloth because of it’s thickness nor from such a height. It was God’s doing, His Grace, His Gift.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Hebrews 2:8-9 NIV


The veil is symbolic of Christ Himself as the ONLY WAY to the Father. The veil was torn as His body was broken for us. The High Priest had to enter the Holy of Holies through the veil. And now through Christ’s blood we can go directly to the Father.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,  by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, Hebrews 10:19-20

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  John 14:6

Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected,
    which has become the cornerstone.’ 
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:11-12

This Easter Season, I have particularly been reflecting on this wonderful gift of accessibility to the Father.  I always hate to bother people or impose on them.  Because of this, I almost always send a text asking a friend if they are available to talk before I call.  If I haven’t preceded a call with a text, the first thing I ask upon hearing their voice is if it is a convenient time to talk.  But not with my Heavenly Father! Because of the torn veil, I have complete access anytime I need Him–with no imposition and no reservations necessary.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 NKJV

The New International Version says, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence.” I don’t have to feel like I’m bothering God or imposing upon Him. I have complete permission to speak to Him freely and as often as I need. This is the ultimate FREEDOM OF SPEECH!  I love that old hymn Every Hour I Need Thee by Annie Sherwood Hawks (1835-1918).  There have been times in my life when my journey has been difficult, I have had to sing, “I need thee, O I need thee, every SECOND I need thee! O bless me now, my Savior, I come to thee.”

As great as this is, I never want to forget or take for granted the enormity of this “bold” access to which we have all been given through the torn veil.  I am reminded of Uzzah, who reached out and touched the ark of the Covenant to steady it as it was being transported (not in the way God had instructed) on an ox cart.  According to scripture, God was enthroned between the cherubim on the Ark, which in better times, resided in the Holy of Holies. When Uzzah touched it, he was struck down and died there beside the ark of God.  (2 Samuel 6:1-7; 1 Chronicles 13:9-12)  Also, through the death of  Aaron’s sons, we see  the consequences of man approaching God in His Holiness apart from God’s instruction and before Jesus’ redemptive work on the Cross.  (Leviticus 10:1-5)  How amazing is it then, that now because of the torn veil, we can approach God–The Holy of Holies without any fear or trepidation!

I had intended to end this post here with the following poem . . .

The veil of darkness,
Transformed to the brightest light.
The most dreadful end,
Became the most beautiful beginning.
The depths of despair,
Fade to reveal hope everlasting.
The curse of death,
Defeated by eternal life.
Thank you Lord, for the wonder of Easter

. . . but this morning, I happened upon a quote from a book I read over 30 years ago by A. W. Tozer, which may be a timely word to someone reading this blog. He talks about another veil that must be torn, a veil within hearts.

“With the veil removed by the rending of Jesus’ flesh, with nothing on God’s side to prevent us from entering, why do we tarry without? Why do we consent to abide all our days just outside the Holy of Holies and never enter at all to look upon God? We hear the Bridegroom say, `Let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice and thy countenance is comely.’ (Song of Sol 2:14) We sense that the call is for us, but still we fail to draw near, and the years pass and we grow old and tired in the outer courts of the tabernacle. What doth hinder us?
The answer usually given, simply that we are `cold,’ will not explain all the facts. There is something more serious than coldness of heart, something that may be back of that coldness and be the cause of its existence. What is it? What but the presence of a veil in out hearts? A veil not taken away as the first veil was, but which remains there still shutting out the light and hiding the face of God from us. It is the veil of our fleshly fallen nature living on, unjudged within us, uncrucified and unrepudiated. It is the close- woven veil of the self-life which we have never truly acknowledged, of which we have been secretly ashamed, and which for these reasons we have never brought to the judgment of the cross. It is not too mysterious, this opaque veil, nor is it hard to identify. We have but to look in our own hearts and we shall see it there, sewn and patched and repaired it may be, but there nevertheless, an enemy to our lives and an effective block to our spiritual progress.
This veil is not a beautiful thing and it is not a thing about which we commonly care to talk, but I am addressing the thirsting souls who are determined to follow God, and I know they will not turn back because the way leads temporarily through the blackened hills. The urge of God within them will assure their continuing the pursuit. They will face the facts however unpleasant and endure the cross for the joy set before them. So I am bold to mane the threads out of which this inner veil is woven. It is woven of the fine threads of the self-life, the hyphenated sins of the human spirit. They are not something we do, they are something we are, and therein lies both their subtlety and their power.”
A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine    

Dear Heavenly Father, it is with much gratitude that we celebrate this Easter Season. You have given EVERYTHING to us. We are so grateful that our Salvation and Eternal Life was purchased for us by Jesus’ death and resurrection. LORD, thank you that it is a gift and that you have done EVERYTHING  to secure it for us. Thank you that your Spirit can now reside in the temple that is our body (1 Corinthians 6:19) and we not only have access to your Holy throne but we can have intimacy with a Holy God.  Please help us by the power of your Spirit to tear any veil that may exist in our own heart and give to you EVERYTHING we have. Help us to head your Word:

Tear your hearts, not just your clothes, and return to the Lord your God. For He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in faithful love, and He relents from sending disaster.  Joel 2:13 HCSB

We ask this in Jesus Name.  LH

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is an aspiring Bounty Hunter who is always looking for God's Bounty-- His grace and goodness-- in the mundane and melancholy as well as in the miraculous. She is also a wife, mother of four adult children--two with Cerebral Palsy, grandmother and minister of the Gospel. "You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance." Psalm 65:11 NLT

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2 thoughts on “Torn”

  1. Thank you for posting this Lisa and I do hope you and your family and friends had a blessed Easter.

    I always take great strength and inspiration from the words you write.

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