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Luke 23:45

The Veil

In Shekalim 8:5 the dimensions of the curtain of the Temple are given. This is interesting in light of the gospel account of the rending of the veil upon Christ’s death (Matt. 27:51, Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45). There is some question as to which veil the gospels are referring to, the outer veil separating the sanctuary from the forecourt or the inner veil separating the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. The same question could be asked regarding the curtain of Shekalim 8:5, but according to Blackman it is the inner curtain of Exodus 26:31 (n. 1). According to Mishnah 5 the thickness of the curtain was “one handbreadth,” which Blackman calculates as 3.65 inches. The tearing of a curtain that thick is a divine sign, one designed to show that God was finished with temple worship; Christ and His church are the new temple. Only in Christ do people meet God. And the rending of the veil was a portent of the temple’s impending destruction.

D.A. Carson, Matthew, pp. 580-81; Lane, Mark, p. 574) from Exegesis and Exposition, Vol. 3, No 1 (Fall, 1988) p. 47.