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Is there a person you really enjoy being with? Who? Why them?
At the moment Jesus died on the cross, the curtain in God’s Temple in Jerusalem tore from top to bottom. According to the Mishnah, this curtain was 60 feet long, 30 feet wide, and as thick as a man’s hand. It’s purpose - like all walls - was to keep what was on the one side from what was on the other side.
God has always wanted to be with His people. He designed Adam and Eve to walk and talk with Him. But sin created a chasm between us and God - His fearsome radiance would kill sinful people. So, God came up with ways to get close to us without killing us. He built walls around Himself.
When God was present in the Israelite camp, He appeared in a room He designed especially to confine His radiance. The people built the Tabernacle (and later the Temple) according to special plans God gave them - to protect them while letting God get as close as He could. God’s room in this structure was called the Most Holy Place and was the heart of the Temple. One day a year, the High Priest was allowed to enter this room. If the massive curtain had not been present the priests, who worked in the first room - called the Holy Place - every day, would have died. The curtain protected God’s people from God.
When Jesus died, it was time for the afternoon sacrifice in the Temple - 3pm. Priests stood in the Holy Place. People watched from the courtyard. All would have been terrified as the curtain, being ripped in two from above, revealed the Most Holy Place. They all expected to die. But no one did. Because everything had changed.
At the birth of God’s Son, a tiny point of light poked through the heavens leading wisemen to a stable. At Jesus’ baptism, those present said the heavens were torn a little wider when God’s voice boomed His affirmation for His Son. But at the death of His Son, the ground shook as God Himself emerged on Earth. He grabbed the top of the wall between Himself and mankind and tore it to shreds. God was free! The final and perfect day of At-one-ment was here. God could finally be with His people. The ultimate sacrifice made, the divine death for sin complete, the wall between God and man fell under the shadow of the cross.
Jesus’ death brought God’s Kingdom back to life on Earth. Now, God’s people - each and every one of us - are God’s Temple and His priests! Our High Priest, unlike any before Him, has made it possible for us to freely and boldly walk into the Most Holy Place and speak directly to God.
Jesus’ death removed the walls between Heaven and Earth.
Now, like Jesus, God calls us to change the world by living with the fearsome radiance of God shining through unveiled faces for all the world to see.
The Review and Herald, May 30, 1882