The Deeper Meaning Behind the term, “The Heavens Were Opened”

This is a very mystical (Hebrew “Sowd” meaning a hidden, deeper meaning) expression, and this expression is directly related to another expression, “the veil (singular) of the Temple was torn (Matt 27.51; Mark 15.38).” The veil that was torn when Yeshua died was the outer veil (paroket, singular) at the door leading into the Holy Place, where the Menorah was, not the Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies had two veils (plural) and it could be entered by walking between the two veils by the High Priest on Yom Kippur. The outer veil of the gate on the Ulam (Porch) of the sanctuary was made of four colors. Blue indicated the heavens; linen, or flax, was brownish in color symbolizing the earth; scarlet indicating fire and purple indicated the sea. Josephus in Wars, Book 5, Chapter 4.4 by Whiston says that this veil was a “panorama of the heavens.” This veil had stars and the known planets on it and it is said that this veil opened by itself from the death of Yeshua to the destruction of the Temple (Talmud, Yoma 39b; History of the Jewish People/The Second Temple Era, Mesorah Publications, p. 153). This veil, or the “heavens”, was opened on the three pilgrim festivals (The Aryeh Kaplan Anthology, footnote 19 on p. 91, says, “Actually the curtains of the Holy of Holies may have been opened during the annual pilgrimages so that the people would be able to see the Ark. See Yoma 54a, Tosafot Yesherim ad loc, s.v. “U’Marin.” They thus may have seen the Ark and cherubim of Moses, see Ritva ibid).

The tearing or “opening” of this veil meant that the deeper things of God will now be revealed and understood, or “open.” When Yeshua was immersed in Mark 1.10 it says the “heavens were opened”, and the word for “opened” has the same root in Greek for when the veil was “torn” in Mark 15.38. When Stephen was stoned in Acts 7.50 it says he saw the “heavens opened.” In Rev 4.1 John saw that a “door (to the heavenly Temple) was opened in heaven.” This meant he was going to have access to the hidden and the mystical (secret). That is why the book is called, “Revelation” which in Greek is “apokalypsis” meaning “to remove the veil.”

This phrase means people are about to understand the deeper things of God, and in Stephen’s case, he was going there personally, and in John’s case, God was going to reveal prophecy to him (and to those who understand his book) on a deeper level. So with that in mind, when it says in Psa 84.10 that “I would rather stand at the threshold (door) of the house of my God” now you know why. To be a “doorman” in the house (Temple) of God means that you can “open” up to the people the mystical, hidden, secret and deep things of God.

So when Yeshua died on the cross and this veil was torn, some of the people, including the centurion at the cross, knew that something special was happening and that God was revealing something very deep, and access to the things of God was now accomplished for anyone who has a Torah-based faith in Yeshua. There were many mystical signs going on when Yeshua died and when he was resurrected, and the writings of the Gospels and Epistles brought out so much more about the redemption, salvation, propitiation, atonement, and everything associated with the blood of Messiah and what was accomplished. Yehovah gave the people a sign just at the right moment to say he was about to take the people deeper into the things of God and its “mysteries” were about to be opened to the people, and that is exactly what happened. And not everything has been revealed yet, so that door is still open to us today.

For more information on this concept, see our two-part teaching called, “The Veil of the Temple Was Torn-Matt 27.51” on this website.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Festivals of the Lord, The Tanak, Tying into the New Testament

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