by Kimberly B. Southall
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A symbol is something we can see which represents an idea or something we cannot see. And there are many symbols in the Bible which are meant to teach us something. Perhaps one of the most special symbols, though, was the temple curtain. At the moment that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, the temple curtain was torn in two, from top to bottom. Now, what could be special about an old curtain being torn in two? Plenty. To understand it, we must look at the history of that special curtain.

Years before Jesus came to the earth as a baby, people who loved God had to worship God and atone or try to make up for their sins much differently than we can today. God instructed His people how to sacrifice certain animals at certain times in order to atone for sins. The temple had two important rooms in it. One was called the Holy Place, and the other was called the Most Holy Place. A curtain separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. (You can read about this curtain in the Bible at Exodus 26:31-33.) The Most Holy Place represented the presence of God Himself. Because of that, the Most Holy Place was so special that God only allowed a priest to enter into it one time each year. No one else was ever allowed inside that room. The priest entered the Most Holy Place once a year to take the blood from a sacrificed animal to sprinkle inside to atone or try to make up for the peoples' sins during that past year.

For many years, this was the only way God's people could hope to atone for their sins. But even this way wasn't really good enough. That's why God sent His only Son, Jesus, to die and atone for everyone's sins, once and for all. The moment Jesus died, that temple curtain was miraculously torn in two, from the top to the bottom! (You can read about the temple curtain being torn in two in the Bible. It is in three different places: Matthew 27:45-56; Mark 15:33-41; Luke 23:44-49.)

Now, think about that. Because the Most Holy Place represented the presence of God Himself, and because the curtain served to keep everyone out of the Most Holy Place, the curtain being torn open to reveal the Most Holy Place means a lot! Because Jesus died for our sins, the curtain being torn in two means that we can each enter into God's presence ourselves. We no longer need a priest to sprinkle animal blood in a special room to try to make up for our sins. Jesus shed His very own blood for own sins, and no other sacrifice ever has to be made for them again. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice. (Read more about the meaning of the temple curtain being torn in the Bible: Hebrews 9:8-12; Hebrews 10:19-20.)

Wow! That is just wonderful news, don't you think? Because Jesus died for us and the temple curtain was torn in two, we can now enter into God's presence ourselves!

Copyright © 1999 Kimberly B. Southall. All rights reserved.