Thought for the Week: From: FFOZ eDrash [mailto:email@example.com]Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Yeshua, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19–22)
You shall hang up the veil under the clasps, and shall bring in the ark of the testimony there within the veil; and the veil shall serve for you as a partition between the holy place and the holy of holies. (Exodus 26:33)
God commanded that a veil should be made to separate the Holy of Holies from the holy place.
According to the gospels, a veil was torn when Yeshua breathed His last upon the cross. Scripture says, “And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” (Mark 15:38) The tearing of the veil is often wrongly understood as a sign that the old covenant, the Torah and the Temple system were all rendered defunct by the cross.
In the book of Hebrews (10:19–20) we are told that the veil symbolized Messiah’s body. He is the veil. Just as the life was rent from His body, so too the curtain was rent with the result that we might have access to the most holy place through Him. This is not the same as abrogating the Temple worship system; rather, it is a vivid dramatization of what the death of Messiah accomplished: access to God.
Embroidered upon the veil were two cherubim. The cherubim invoke the imagery of the Garden of Eden and the way to the tree of life, as the Torah says in Genesis 3:24, “And at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.” The cherubim on the veil stood sentry in front of the Holy of Holies like the two cherubim that guard the way to the tree of life (immortality) and the Garden of Eden (paradise). As the curtain was rent into two pieces, a way between the cherubim was created.
What is more, the veil in front of the Holy of Holies is considered the “tunic of God.”1 The Talmud states that if one person is present when another “breathes his last,” that person must rend his garments:
Rabbi Shimon ben Eleazar says, “One who stands near the dying, at the time when he breathes his last, he is duty bound to rend his garments.” (Bava Meitza 25a)
In the gospel of Mark we read the same sequence in the same type of language. “And Yeshua uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last. And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” (15:37–38). Thus the Father rent His garments over the death of His Son.