There was a veil rent when Jesus finished His work of redemption. It was in the old temple. It was thick as a man’s fist. And it was rent from top to the bottom.
In a narrow sense, this veil represents “the law.” Certainly this is the first instance of my understanding. One way of looking at the law, is that the law represents external authority. It can include commands, written regulations, and also authority structures, that is, ”hierarchy.”
When God’s house becomes a hierarchical authority structure, again, I am reminded that judgment begins with the household of God. And in Ezekiel 9, it begins with the elders in front of the temple.
About this, there is an interesting scene in the Mel Gibson film, THE PATRIOT. The British general is objecting to the patriot and his men shooting the British officers first. Understood in this light, the rending the veil from the top to bottom, would indicate that the rending begins with the leadership.
On a more personal level, the rending of the veil has some implications for the “futility of Gentile thinking,” or those with a religious mind-set. In this case, rending the veil from “top to bottom” means being set free from faulty thinking, starting in our own heads.
Jesus, in his own flesh, not only rent this veil of pre-existing external regulation, thus making possible real intimacy with God, but he rent every such veil, past, present and future. This is to say, we don’t have to tear anything down. He tore it all down on the cross. Institutional Christianity, then, has already been torn down. All we need do is walk through the rent curtain into the life which He has made available in its place.
By Jay Ferris