At Jesus' death on the cross, something spectacular happened: the temple veil was torn in two.
Mark 15:37-38 tells us,
"And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last. Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom."
This account is recorded in Mark and Matthew, signifying its authenticity.
What does this tell us? Moreover, what do we receive or enjoy because of this event?
What the veil symbolizes
Before we can understand what this event allows us to receive, we need to understand what the veil was for in the first place.
In Exodus 26 we find God giving Moses instructions on how He wants the Tabernacle created. In verse 31-35, we find the LORD giving Moses specific instruction regarding the veil:
"You shall make a veil woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen. It shall be woven with an artistic design of cherubim. You shall hang it upon the four pillars of acacia wood overlaid with gold. Their hooks shall be gold, upon four sockets of silver. And you shall hang the veil from the clasps." (see vv. 31-33)
We understand that the veil is especially made tough and beautiful. Unlike today's curtains or veils, it is built to last, and does not tear easily like wedding veils or lace curtains. So when we think of the veil in this context, it's important we don't conjure up modern images of a veil. This one was sturdy and strong.
Now, the next few lines tell us what the veil is for:
"Then you shall bring the ark of the Testimony in there, behind the veil. The veil shall be a divider for you between the holy place and the Most Holy." (see v. 33)
From here we understand that this veil separates the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place. It serves as a "door" to the place where God's holy presence resides in the temple.
We understand that in the Old Testament, God's glory was kept inside the Most Holy Place. High priests were the only ones allowed and even then, only once a year to offer blood (see Hebrews 9:7). God's glory resided in that place, and high priests weren't allowed to enter in at any other time as they would die (see Leviticus 16:1-2)
God's glory stays inside that place, hidden by the veil. This veil separates man from God, in the sense that it covers God's glory and doesn't allow us to see Him at any time.
Christ's atonement, however, changes that.
"And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom..." (see Matthew 27:50-51)
What do we receive because the temple veil was torn in two?
1) Free and unrestricted access to God the Father through Christ
Christ said that He is the only way to the Father, and the temple being torn in two is proof of it.
The veil kept God's presence hidden from us. Christ's atonement allowed us to enter into God's presence. Because of Christ, we are beloved sons and daughters of our Father.
2) The opportunity to see God's glory revealed in all the earth
The heavens declare the glory of God, and so does all of His creation. All of creation, however, is awaiting the revealing of the sons of God.
Now that Christ has come, God's light has risen on us. Isaiah 60:1 tells us that we should shine because God's glory has been revealed to us by Christ:
"Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you."
We must seek God and shine for Him, especially where darkness is at its worst.
3) The assurance that this is all made possible by God's grace in Christ alone
Friends, we are told that the temple veil was torn in two from top to bottom. No person was seen tearing it into two, and moreover, it was placed at a high spot in the temple, indicating that no man could ever tear or rip it apart like a piece of thin cloth.
It was torn simply because Christ's work was finished.
God's grace allowed mankind to have a glimpse of His glory and be given the opportunity to become His children, all through Christ Jesus His one and only begotten Son.
All this is by God's grace alone, and we are assured of that.