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"And behold, the veil [parokhet] of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom, and the earth quaked and the rocks rent" (Matthew 27:51).

Exodus 26:31-35 describes this curtain (Hebrew word parokhet) as it existed in the desert Tabernacle. It separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. Only the Hight Priest (Cohen Hagadol) was allowed to pass through it into the Holy of Holies; and that he could do only once a year, on Yom-Kippur, to make an atonement sacrifice for his sins and for the sins of the Jewish people. When it was ripped in two from top to bottom symbolized the fact that God was giving everyone access to the most holy place of all in heaven, as taught explicitly at Hebrew 9:3-9, 10:19-22.

The Talmud bears an amazing witness to the work of Jesus in altering the system of atonement. The background is that on Yom-Kippur, when the Hight Priest sacrificed a goat (Leviticus 16:9-10), a piece of scarlet cloth was tied between its horns. If it later turned white, it meant that God had forgiven Israel's sins in accordance with Isaiah 1:18, "Though your sins be as scarlet, they will be white as snow".

"Our Rabbis taught that throughout the forty years that Shim'on the Tzaddik served, ... the scarlet cloth would become white. From then on it would sometimes become white and sometimes not ... Throughout the last forty years before the Temple was destroyed ... the scarlet cloth never turned white." (Yoma 39a-39b).

Thus in the days of Shim'on HaTzaddik the sacrificial system established by God in the Tanakh was observed, and it was effective. But afterwards Israel's spirituality decline, so that the sacrificial system was effective only sometimes. Finally, after Jesus' death, forty years before the destruction of the Temple, it was never effective. The Talmud does not say it, but what had become effective for forgiving Israel's sins was the sacrificial death of Jesus the Messiah.