A Whimsical Dictionary: R is for Rending the Curtain

A Whimsical Dictionary: R is for Rending the Curtain

A Whimsical Dictionary of Surprising Influences.

R is for Rending the Curtain –

If you were a priest in the Temple during Jesus’ time, imagine how awestruck you would have been every time you gazed upon the holy curtain, the “veil” at the entrance to the Holy of Holies. This particular curtain was not your typical living room drape. It was 60 feet high, equivalent to a 6-story building, and 30 feet wide. It was beyond enormous. It was 4 inches thick, comprised of several layers of thick yard and twisted linen. There were angels, cherubim, embroidered on it. This curtain was fashioned from blue, purple and scarlet material, as well as the fine twisted linen. It was so huge, so thickly woven, so heavy, that it reportedly took 300 priests to removeĀ it when it needed cleaning.

And yet here we read in Matthew 27:50-51: “And Jesus cried again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.”

What? That curtain was so thick that it was literally impossible for humans to tear it. The historian Josephus said that horses tied to each side couldn’t pull it apart. For it to have been torn from the top, 60 feet off the ground, meant that a man could not have possibly started this tear. This was a supernatural event, pure and simple. This was God’s action, ripping the curtain like it was paper.

So, what does this mean? It means that the Holy of Holies, God’s presence on earth, is now open for business, accessible to all, through Jesus’ blood sacrifice. It means that, rather than one High Priest entering once a year, we can now enjoy the presence of God every minute of every day. It means that each believer is now a portable temple, containing the very presence of God because of Jesus and in His Holy Spirit.

There were many strange and wonderful things that happened during Jesus’ death, things like earthquakes, tombs opening up, someone turning out the lights at noon. But for some reason, I think the rending of the curtain is at the top of the list.

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