Matthew 27:45-66 Part 5


We turn our minds once again to the cross of Christ.  And we fearfully and hesitantly peer into the things of His crucifixion, His death, and His resurrection.  And may God make us wise unto salvation due to the fact that our royal High Priest has entered into the Presence of God in His Judgment Room above the heavens….

On Friday at about three o’clock (as Jesus expires with a shout), the great veil in the temple is ripped into two pieces from top to bottom.  That veil, a majestic figure of the universe (separating the holy Presence of God Almighty from the profane and fallen creation), (the veil) for over a thousand years has represented the separation that exists between cursed and sinful man and the “Wholly Other” and self-existing God.

Since Adam, man had been “barred” from approaching a holy God.  “No Admittance” has been posted on the entrance to the mercy seat.  Sin and uncleanness and autonomy and rebellion are the “marks” of human existence since ‘the fall” and the curse.  And God The Holy One is “unapproachable” by men – all of whom are unsavory, disgusting and repulsive.  Therefore there has been a “veil” of separation… a “Wall” of separation if you will… represented by the great, eighty-foot temple veil in the temple, on the dome of the rock, in Jerusalem, in Israel – for over a thousand years.

Once, annually, according to God’s prophetic Law-Word, one man – the high priest in Israel – having made all the ceremonial preparations in the Law, enters the holy of holies (the Throne-Room of God above the firmament) making intercession for Israel (the people of God).

Having followed God’s “Sinai” instructions explicitly (in order to avoid instantaneous death), the high priest of Israel was to exit the created realm (the universe that God called into existence by the Word of His Power), and to move with humility, fear and caution through the veil of separation – between-the-creation-and-the-Presence-of-God and performing the duties required in the Throne-Room of the “heavenlies”… (duties of adoration and intercession).

But on this particular Passover day, up on the “dome of the Rock”, inside the temple many were working feverishly for that “moment” of passage into the holy of holies.  At the same time, outside the gate (called Golgotha) beside the highway, the Son of God gathers His strength (in order to give His life); and He shouts out... “Into Thy hands I commit My Spirit.”

And He expires.  At that moment the mighty veil of separation (in the temple0 rips into two pieces from top to bottom.  The Lord Jesus Christ, the God-Man, has “passed through” that separation between man and God… into the Presence of the Father in His Throne-Room above the heavenlies.

Having suffered and been humiliated; having become sin; having been abandoned and having received the full wrath and judgment of God (and descended into hell); having died the death of the first Adam… the Perfect and obedient sacrificial Lamb of God now enters into the Presence of God as the Royal High Priest for all His people, having been made a substitute for us!

At the moment that the “figure” of separation (the veil in the temple) is split and opened wide, the “Second Adam” – the second “humanity” has gained direct access to the Mercy Seat of God the Father!

And as the apostle Paul was so fond of saying, we were “in Him” in His suffering and humiliation; we were “in Him” in His crucifixion; we were “in Him” in His forsakenness and in His descent into hell; and we were “in Him” in His entrance into the heavenlies!  And, in Him, we are the beneficiaries of His “intercession” before God!  He is the ONE, CHOSEN Royal High Priest Who entered once through the veil of separation… having “bought” us and Who makes intercession for us.

In Him we are no longer descendants of Adam… we who belong to God have a new beginning – a new heritage – a new humanity.  The “Second Adam” – a perfect and obedient Man – suffered the curse of sin and depravity for us (in our place); He is our “sin” substitute; He is our “depravity” substitute; He is our “curse” substitute; and our “death” substitute; and there in His “Body” (His Person) we are “reconciled” unto God Almighty.

Now, there are a number of allusions to it, but there is one primary “teaching” passage in the Newer Testament Revelation having to do with the “veil” of separation and the entrance into the Holy Place by the One Man Jesus Christ.  (There is another having to do with the “outer” veil, which separated Jews from Gentiles – which is also broken down in Christ.  But we won’t deal with that now.)

But listen carefully now to the author of the letter to the Hebrews as he describes what has happened as Christ (crucified and dead) entered into the presence of God.  And, remember, he has written the letter directly to the Jewish remnant.  Salvation was created in their nation… in their city… in their temple… on Passover day 30 AD.  This is the Revelation of God to them concerning the salvation of the world that happened right in their midst!


“Therefore it was necessary for the ‘copies’ of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices then these.  For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the True one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.  Nor was it to offer Himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy place yearly with blood not his own; for then He would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world.  But as it is, He has been manifested once at the completion of the ages for the annulment of sin by the sacrifice of Himself….

For since the Law has but a shadow of the good things to come (instead of the true form of the realities) it can never, by the same sacrifices which are continually offered year after year, perfect those who draw near.  Otherwise would they not have ceased to be offered?  If the worshippers had once been cleansed, they would no longer have any conscience of sin.  But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sin year after year.  For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins.

Where entering into the world He (Jesus) says:  ‘Sacrifice and offering you did not wish, but you did prepare a body for Me.  You were not pleased with burnt offerings and those concerning sins.  Then I said, ‘Lo, I have come to do Thy will, O God’ (as it is written of Me in the heading of a Book!)”

(Having said those things)… He abolishes the first in order to establish the second… in Whose will, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all, we are the ones having been sanctified!

And every priest (on the one hand) stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.  But (on the other) when Christ had offered a single sacrifice for sins (in perpetuity), He sat down at the right of God – then to wait until His enemies be put underneath His feet!

For by one offering He has perfected, in perpetuity, those being sanctified.  And the Holy Spirit indeed witnesses to us having declared… ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord; I will put My Laws on their hearts, and write them on the minds,’ (then he adds) ‘I will remember their sins and their iniquities no more.’ Now, where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer offering concerning sin!

Having therefore, brothers, confidence in the entering of the holies in the blood of Jesus, a new and living way (through the veil) which He instituted for us (this is His flesh); and having a Great Priest over the household of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, from evil conscience having been sprinkled (as to) the hearts, and having been bathed in clean water (as to) the body; let us hold fast the confession of the hope unyieldingly… for faithful is the One promising;

And let us consider one another to incitement of love and of good works… not forsaking the assembling of ourselves (as is the custom of some) but exhorting, and by so much the more as you see the day drawing near….”


Now. As you have heard there is, indeed, an incitement of the Jewish believers to Christ-like living and piety… because The Royal High Priest has once entered the Holy Place having made atonement for sin!

And there is, in his Revelation (as you heard), an equation between “the veil” and the “body of Christ”.  For in Adam mankind is dead in his sin and iniquity!  There is a “wall” of separation – a great gulf or abyss, a terrible separation, an “exclusion” (if you will) from the Presence of God.

But in the body of Christ – in His Person – that “abyss” of separation has been breached!  The second Adam has eliminated that veil for us.  Humanity is “alive” in the body of Christ, and we have confident approach directly into the heavenlies into the Presence of God the Father!

And this is what happened in verse fifty-one of our text, as the Lord Jesus Christ “yielded” the Spirit into the hands of the Father, and as the veil in the temple was rent from top to bottom.

Now, as verse fifty-one says, there were other mighty events which took place when Jesus freely gave His death to the Father and yielded His Spirit into the Father’s hands.  As the “wall of separation” was breached by the sinless Man, there was powerful “seismic activity” in the earth; and the great “craggy” rocks and hills and mountains around Jerusalem sustained “splits” and “fissures”.  As if the “windows” of the heavens were opened, and the created universe was “exposed’ to the judgment seat of Almighty God, the creation itself groaned and shook and split!

Many tombs in the burial places and cemeteries around the city were opened in the quaking of the earth and in the splitting of the rocky hills.  And Matthew says that many of the “holy ones” who were in a state of “having been put to sleep” were awakened!  And later, on Sunday morning at Jesus’ resurrection, these were seen by many in the city of Jerusalem!

As we’ve seen before, in instances of the “mighty acts of God”, there are a lot of “fanciful” interpretations by those who won’t take a “Biblical-Theological” approach to the Scriptures.

But in reference to these catastrophic events, we cannot say such things as “the earth is protesting the death of Jesus”; or “this is a gesture of ‘mourning’ by all of nature”; or “the earth is refusing to receive His body”; or “this is symbolic of the Spirit’s ‘shaking and rending’ of hard hearts”!

All of those are “fanciful”, in that “imagination” is preferred over God’s Revelation!  Some would rather use their imaginations than do the searching through Scripture to find the reasons for all of this!  And (of course) there are many who view the Law and the prophets as yet to be fulfilled, rather than being fulfilled at the time of Christ!

But the events and prophecies of the Scriptures are approachable and understandable when our eyes and ears are opened by the Spirit.  And, as we look quickly at some of these, we only have to remember the scene at Sinai to set us on the right track.  For when the top of the mountain was engulfed in the Glory-cloud, there were cataclysmic effects on the earth.  The “sounds” were enormously terrible; and there was “potent” seismic activity; and the two million (plus) people of Israel were so terrified they wouldn’t even come close to the foot of the mountain!  They begged Moses to allow them to stay away.  But we need to see, as well, in that awful appearance of God in His Throne-Room, there was His grace to His people in the giving of the Law.  Sounds and events of judgment but also grace.

But these are all “signs” of judgment… judgment of a Holy God upon all that is cursed and profane, and judgment on the nation of Israel!  And I would like for you to listen closely as we read just a few (of the many), short passages in which we see these very same things.

The first one is the song of David close to the end of his life.  It is a song of “deliverance” (remember that as we read it).  And also remember who the “real” author is.  From Second Samuel chapter twenty-two we read (in part):


“The Lord is my Rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer… the God of my Rock; in Him will I trust; He is my shield and the horn of my salvation; my high tower, and my refuge.  My Savior, You shall save me from violence.  I call on Jahveh, the One to be praised; and I shall be saved from my enemies.

When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of wickedness terrify me, the cords of Sheol are round about me, the snares of death confront me; in my distress I called on Jahveh, and to my God I called, and He heard my voice form His temple, and my cry was in His ears.  And the earth shook and trembled, the foundations of the heavens were troubled and were shaken, for He was angry.  Smoke rose up in His nostrils, and fire out of His mouth devoured; coals were kindled by it.  And He bowed the heavens and came down, and thick darkness was under His feet.”


I’m sure that, in that reading, you can hear the very words of Matthew as he writes concerning the crucifixion of the Christ and the catastrophic events that accompanied it.  It’s the wrath and judgment of God.

In writing the Revelation of God concerning judgment upon Israel and Jerusalem, Isaiah says (verse eighteen, chapter twenty-four):


“For the windows from on high are open, the foundations of the earth do shake.  The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is completely dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly.  The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage….

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones and the kings of the earth… … then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed when the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mr. Zion….”


(Catastrophic events signaling the fall of Jerusalem and Israel.)


And just one other… the prophecy of Haggai, chapter two, verse six:


“Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the ‘desire’ of all nations shall come (the Christ) and I will fill this house with glory… and the glory of this latter house shall be greater than that of the former….”


(Catastrophic events accompanying the coming of Christ.)


So you see, the great catastrophic events of our text were all prophesied in the Older Testament (in these and in many other passages)… including the resurrection of the saints from death.  These are the accompaniments of the appearance and death and resurrection of Messiah at the end of the age… and the inception of the New Order!

At the point of the salvation of humanity by the Son of God there is great upheaval in the heavens (as the great veil of separation is eliminated by Jesus Christ, and earth is exposed to the judgment seat); and great upheaval on earth as God comes in terrible and fearful judgment upon the old covenant nation, and as He comes with grace and mercy toward the saints and toward His elect!

Age meets age; and aeon meets aeon.  Old Covenant meets new Covenant; and God “shakes the heavens and the earth” as there is the birth of a New Adamic Race in Christ Jesus!  All of the “old things” are passed away in the wrath and fury of God.  And in his grace and mercy all things are become New.


“Lo, the veil of the temple was rent from above to below into two, and the earth was shaken and the rocks were split and tombs were opened and the holy ones were awakened; and they came out at His resurrection!”


The Royal High Priest has entered, once, through the veil, into the Holy of Holies to make intercession for us!

And now, let’s hear one more time the exhortations of the author of the Hebrew letter: 


Having seen all these things concerning our great Priest, therefore “let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having been sprinkled from an evil conscience as to the hearts, and having been bathed in clean water as to the body; let us hold fast the confession of the hope unyieldingly, for faithful is the One promising.

And let us consider one another to incitement of love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves (as some are want to do); but exhorting, and so much the more as you see the day drawing near.  For if we willfully remain in sin after receiving the full knowledge of the Truth, there remains no longer a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire which will consume the adversaries.”


We now have direct access to the Father because we have been “sprinkled” by His blood from an evil conscience.  Let us proceed with full knowledge of the judgment of God upon the unrepentant, and the mercy of God toward His Own people.