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Why Was It Torn?

"And when the sixth hour [i.e. using the ancient manner of time-keeping, the sixth hour of daylight, about noon] had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour [i.e. about 3:00 pm on a modern-day clock]. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani?" which means [in Aramaic], "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" ... And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last. And the curtain of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing Him, saw that He thus breathed His last, he said, "Truly this man was the Son of God!" (Mark 15:33-34,38-39 RSV)

Why Was It Torn?

The Temple In the Temple (see Temples) a dividing wall separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place (see Layout Of The Temple). Although the wall had a door, which was always kept open, a curtain, or veil, was hung over the entrance as a screen. It was lifted only once a year by the high priest when he entered into the Sanctuary on The Day Of Atonement. As described in the opening paragraph, it was that veil that was miraculously torn at the moment that the Messiah's sacrifice for humanity was complete.

Why was it torn?

First, the meaning of the ritual symbolism that foreshadowed the coming Messiah:

"Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. For a tent was prepared [see The Tabernacle In The Wilderness], the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence; it is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain stood a tent called the Holy of Holies, having the golden altar of incense and The Ark Of The Covenant covered on all sides with gold, which contained a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron's rod [see Aaron] that budded, and the Tables of the Covenant [see The Ten Commandments and The Ten Commandments Now?]; above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail."

"These preparations having thus been made, the priests go continually into the outer tent, performing their ritual duties; but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood which he offers for himself and for the errors of the people. By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the sanctuary is not yet opened as long as the outer tent is still standing which is symbolic for the present age. According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, but deal only with food and drink and various ablutions, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation."

"But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent, not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, He entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but His own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption." (Hebrews 9:1-12 RSV)

It was the Messiah's sacrifice that opened The Way to God:

"Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way which He opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God [see "My Father's House"], let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water [see Baptism]. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works [see Believers], not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day [see The Return Of Jesus Christ] drawing near."

"For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the Truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire [see Planet On Fire!] which will consume the adversaries." (Hebrews 10:19-27 RSV)

Fact Finder: What is meant by "type" and "antitype"?
See Type and Antitype


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