“The veil of the Temple was torn”-Matt 27.51-Part 1

This brief study is going to open up a number of things that some have never seen. In Mark 1.9-23 we have the immersion of Yeshua. In verse 10 it says that the “heavens were torn open” and this will be a very important phrase. In Ezek 1.1 we read about the “heavens were opened” and there have been many articles written about this concept. The Jewish writings are full of references to this phrase (1 Enoch; Baruch; Testament of Levi; Gospel of John and Revelation).

When Yeshua was immersed, there are several accounts. Why is he being immersed? He is starting his ministry and he is being empowered as the Messiah. He was the Messiah, but he wasn’t empowered until his immersion. The other gospels have a difference than Mark. Matt 3.16 the Greek word “anoigo” is used for open, and it is the same as Luke 3.21. But, in Mark 1.10 the word is “torn” (schizo). In Isa 64.1 it says “rend the heavens” and it carries the same connotation. A lot of scholarship is misguided and misdirected and totally off track. One such case is Isaiah, Deutero-Isiah and Trito-Isaiah. This is the belief that the book of Isaiah was written by three different people.

This is totally untrue, and it was written by Isaiah. But, where the divide from Isaiah to Deutero-Isaiah happens is Isa 40, where the total tone of the book changes. It goes into what is called the “servant passages” and into messianic prophecies about the Redemption. Before Isa 40, it gives history and some prophecy, and we have what is called “dual reference prophecies.” Isaiah chapters 40-66 do not have the historical aspect. Isa 64.1-2 gives the idea of the heavens being torn open and the mountains quaking, thus making the name of the Lord known among his adversaries. This happened at the cross, and Isaiah says it will happen again when Messiah returns.

In the book “Ancient Israel” by Roland Deveaux gives the coronation process of a Judean king. There are five steps to a coronation which are: anointing (empowering with oil);investiture (with a crown, bracelets and prophecies called a decree; acclamation (clapping the hands); enthronement (sits on the throne) and homage. We are going to see traces of all of these in Yeshua’s immersion and what transpires at his death. We have several examples of a coronation in Solomon and Joash.(2 Kings 11).

Psalm 2 is a coronation psalm, and verse 2 says “thou art my son, today I have begotten you.” Every king of Judea had the title of “son of God” according to Deveaux. This concept comes from 1 Chr 28.5-7 where kings were seen as “adopted” by the Lord. In Mark 1.10 we read about a “voice” saying Psalm 2.7 with the phrase “in whom I am well-pleased.” So, what you have in this passage is that the heavens are torn, the Spirit descends to empower Yeshua, and God the Father saying that Yeshua is his beloved son. All of these phrases are related to the coronation of a king. We should be making the connection between this and a coronation.

We have had the anointing when the Spirit descended. We have the investiture in a sense, and the acclamation from God when he says “I am well pleased.” We will have a pattern between Ezek 1 and Mark 1 because the “heavens were opened.” Both take place by a river (where immersions took place-see Acts 16.13). We have a “voice” from heaven and the Spirit coming upon Ezekiel and Yeshua.

Isa 40.22 says that the “heavens are like a curtain” and this concept will be seen in the Temple. In Mark 15.33-38 Yeshua cries out from the cross. Some think he is calling for Elijah, who was to come back before the Messiah came and bring the “new covenant” (Mal 3.1; Jer 31). The “veil is torn” and it is the same word as in Mark 1.10 (schizo). It is torn from “top to bottom” which is a curious thing to add, unless you knew what this veil was. Elijah was to come as seen in Mark 1.13, Isa 40 and Isa 62.10-12.

There is a concept called a “chaistic structure” and it is where certain points at the start point to a center concept, then it fades back to the beginning (ABCCBA). The middle point is the main theme, you “meet in the middle.” The Torah, Revelation and Isaiah are examples. We have a basic chaistic structure in the life of Yeshua. We “Elijah” at the beginning and “Elijah” at his death (A and A). The “heavens are torn” at the beginning, and they are torn at the cross (B and B). The Spirit is upon Yeshua at the beginning and the Spirit leaves when he departs (C and C). So, how does all this relate to the Temple and the concept of the tearing of the veil?

In the Temple, there were six veils. They were about 4 inches thick and it took 300 priests just to handle them sometimes. Now, you will need to get a floor plan or a picture of the Temple building to see where we will be talking about. As you enter the Sanctuary building, there was veil, also called a curtain, at the main doorway. Josephus in his book “Wars of the Jews” 5.5.4 talks about the veils. You can also Google articles on the veils of the Temple also. These veils/curtains were woven like a tapestry. Techelet (blue) threads symbolized heaven, lavon was linen and symbolized the earth, argamon is purple and symbolized the sea and shanni was scarlet and symbolized fire. All these colors were woven together and this curtain typified “the universe” and was called a “panorama of the heavens.”

1 Maccabees 1.20-22 says that Antiochus took the curtain when he desecrated the Temple. It also says he took the “golden vessels on the facade of the Temple.” There was a “vine” of golden leaves above the door. These “leaves” were donated and if a priest needed financial help, a “leaf” was given to him to help. The veil/curtain was huge. It took 300 priests to take it down, and it was about 4 inches thick and about 80 feet high, 36 feet wide. The wind could move the bottom, moving it towards the top. When Yeshua died, this was the veil/curtain that was torn from top to bottom.

In the Mishnah, Shekalim 8.5, it talks about how this curtain was made. They made two a year and it took 300 priests to immerse it in water. According to the guidelines of kedusha, this immersion had to be done in the Temple. According to Shekalim 3.13 of the Tosefta (additional information not found in the Mishnah) a second veil which was 20 cubits by 10 cubits hung in the doorway to the Heichal, or “holy place.” In total, there were 6 veils or curtains in the Temple building, and in Part 2 we will begin to discuss these veils and where they were.

Posted in Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Tanach, The Temple, Understanding the New Testament

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