Matthew 27:51
Parallel Verses
New International Version
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split

New Living Translation
At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart,

English Standard Version
And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.

New American Standard Bible
And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split.

King James Bible
And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Suddenly, the curtain of the sanctuary was split in two from top to bottom; the earth quaked and the rocks were split.

International Standard Version
Suddenly, the curtain in the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom, the earth shook, rocks were split open,

NET Bible
Just then the temple curtain was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks were split apart.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And at once the curtain entrance of The Temple was ripped in two from top to bottom. The earth was shaken and the rocks were split.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Suddenly, the curtain in the temple was split in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split open.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

King James 2000 Bible
And, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks were split;

American King James Version
And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

American Standard Version
And behold, the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake; and the rocks were rent;

Douay-Rheims Bible
And behold the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top even to the bottom, and the earth quaked, and the rocks were rent.

Darby Bible Translation
And lo, the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom, and the earth was shaken, and the rocks were rent,

English Revised Version
And behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake; and the rocks were rent;

Webster's Bible Translation
And behold, the vail of the temple was rent in two, from the top to the bottom: and the earth shook, and the rocks rent;

Weymouth New Testament
Immediately the curtain of the Sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom: the earth quaked; the rocks split;

World English Bible
Behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom. The earth quaked and the rocks were split.

Young's Literal Translation
and lo, the vail of the sanctuary was rent in two from top unto bottom, and the earth did quake, and the rocks were rent,
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

27:51-56 The rending of the veil signified that Christ, by his death, opened a way to God. We have an open way through Christ to the throne of grace, or mercy-seat now, and to the throne of glory hereafter. When we duly consider Christ's death, our hard and rocky hearts should be rent; the heart, and not the garments. That heart is harder than a rock that will not yield, that will not melt, where Jesus Christ is plainly set forth crucified. The graves were opened, and many bodies of saints which slept, arose. To whom they appeared, in what manner, and how they disappeared, we are not told; and we must not desire to be wise above what is written. The dreadful appearances of God in his providence, sometimes work strangely for the conviction and awakening of sinners. This was expressed in the terror that fell upon the centurion and the Roman soldiers. We may reflect with comfort on the abundant testimonies given to the character of Jesus; and, seeking to give no just cause of offence, we may leave it to the Lord to clear our characters, if we live to Him. Let us, with an eye of faith, behold Christ and him crucified, and be affected with that great love wherewith he loved us. But his friends could give no more than a look; they beheld him, but could not help him. Never were the horrid nature and effects of sin so tremendously displayed, as on that day when the beloved Son of the Father hung upon the cross, suffering for sin, the Just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God. Let us yield ourselves willingly to his service.

Pulpit Commentary

Verses 51-56. - Signs following the death of Christ. (Mark 15:38-41; Luke 23:47-49.) Verse 51. - And, behold. St. Matthew thus introduces his account of the portents which attended the death of the Son of God. The rending of the veil is mentioned by the synoptists as consequent on, and occurring simultaneously with, the completion of the ineffable sacrifice. The veil of the temple (τοῦ ναοῦ). There were two principal veils in the present temple - one between the vestibule and the holy place, and one other which is that here referred to, a constituent part of the edifce. This was the veil between the holy place and the holy of holies, which was moved aside only once a year to admit the high priest to the shrine on the great Day of Atonement (Exodus 26:33). It was large and costly, some sixty feet high, and made of rich materials. Josephus ('Bell. Jud.,' 5:05. 4) tells us of one of the veils in the temple, that it was a Babylonian curtain, embroidered with linen in various colours, woven together with wonderful art, such as the eye loved to rest upon. Was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. An apocryphal Gospel ('The Gospel of the Hebrews'), quoted by St. Jerome, in loc., asserts that the exquisitely carved lintel to which the veil was fastened was at this moment shattered to pieces, and in its fall tore the curtain asunder. The direction of the rent would show that no human hands had torn it apart, and the rending seems to have preceded the earthquake. The violent act was supernatural, and of a typical nature, as we are taught by Hebrews 9:6-12. The sanctuary enshrined the presence of God, from which the veil excluded every one but the high priest on one special occasion, thus denoting the imperfect reconciliation between God and his people, and that the way to the holiest was not yet made manifest. The rending of this veil betokened the opening of the access to heaven through the wounded body of Christ: as we read in Hebrews 10:19, 20, "Having boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say, his flesh." "When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, thou didst open the kingdom of heaven to all believers." The distinction between Jew and Gentile was abolished, the mysteries of the old Law were opened and manifested, all rites and ceremonies were made of sacramental efficacy, and ministered grace. How soon this ominous occurrence was discovered, we know not. The priest who offered incense at the evening sacrifice about this same hour must have seen it, and spread abroad among his comrades the news, to which many would attach a meaning fatal to the security of their religion. But this was comparatively a private sign; the next one was of a more comprehensive and public character. The earth did quake, and the rocks rent. The last verb is the same as was used just before in the case of the veil. There was a local earthquake at this awful moment, as if the very land shuddered at the terrible crime that had been committed. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem is supposed to cover the Golgotha of the Crucifixion (see on ver. 33). "An opening, faced with silver, shows the spot where the cross is said to have been sunk in the rock, and less than five feet from it is a long brass open work slide, over a cleft in the rock, which is about six inches deep, but is supposed by the pilgrims to reach to the centre of the earth. This is said to mark the rending of the rocks at the Crucifixion" (Geikie, 'Holy Land and Bible,' p. 447). The fact of the earthquake is testified by Phlegon, whose words were quoted by Julius Africanus, in his 'Chronographia' (fragments of which work have been published by Routh and others), and by Eusebius, in his 'Chronicon' (the passage, no longer extant in the original, being preserved by Jerome, and in an Armenian version; see Morison, on ver. 45). The rending of the rocks is attested by St. Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem ('Cateches.,' 13:33), who speaks of the remarkable fissure in Golgotha, which he had often noticed.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And behold, the vail of the temple was rent in twain,.... Just at the time that Christ spake with so loud a voice, and expired, and which was at the time of the offering up of the evening incense; and so must be seen by the priest that was then offering, and those that assisted him, for the incense altar was near the vail; and which must be a very astonishing sight unto them: the vail was of a very great thickness; it was made of fine twined linen,

Exodus 26:31, and it is a rule with the Jews (t), that "where ever mention is made in the law of fine linen, or fine twined linen, it means a thread six times doubled:

and whereas this was made of blue, and purple, and scarlet, Jarchi's note on the place is, that "every kind was doubled with each thread of six threads.

His sense is more clearly expressed in his note on Exodus 26:1,

"lo! here are four sorts to every thread; one of linen, and three of wool, and every thread is six times doubled; behold four sorts when they are twisted together, make twenty four doubles to a thread.

Yea, some of them make it to be forty eight doubles (u). What a thick piece of tapestry must this be! and this makes the rending of it the more amazing; for no doubt but that the vail of the second temple was made after the manner of the first; and this was rent

from top to bottom; and which was no less than forty cubits in length, which was the height of the holy of holies in the second temple; and which made the rent the more astonishing. The account the Jews give of the vail, is this (w):

"R. Simeon ben Gamaliel said, on account of R. Simeon, the son of the Sagan, the thickness of the vail is an hand's breadth, and it is woven of seventy two threads, and every thread has twenty four threads in it: it is forty cubits long, and twenty broad, and is made of eighty two myriads; (which is either the number of the threads in it, or the sum of the golden pence it cost. Some copies read, is made by eighty two virgins (x);) two are made every year; and three hundred priests wash it.

The Syriac version renders it, "the face of the gate of the temple"; by which may be meant, perhaps, the vail of the gate of Ulam, or of the porch (y). The Jews have a tradition (z) that "forty years before the destruction of the temple, the gates of it opened of themselves. R. Jochanan ben Zaccai reproved them, saying, O temple! temple! wherefore dost thou fright thyself? I know thy end is to be destroyed; for so prophesied of thee Zechariah, the son of, Iddo, "open thy gates, O Lebanon", &c. Zechariah 11:1.

But whether this may be referred to in the above version, or has any reference to the evangelic history, I will not say. Other writers, as Josephus (a), and Egesippus (b), speak of the eastern gate of the city, which was of brass, and as much as twenty men could shut, opening of its own accord, before the destruction of the temple; which perhaps the Jewish tradition rather regards. This rending of the vail was done, as some think, in token of mourning for, and testifying abhorrence at the crucifixion of Christ; the temple rending its garments, the vail, at the death of its Lord, proprietor, and type, as the high priest did his at supposed blasphemy; or to show that the Lord, who had taken up his residence in the most holy place between the cherubim, over the mercy seat, in thick darkness, was now about to remove, and leave the house desolate; or it signified the rending of Christ's flesh, the breaking of his body for us, which was typified by the vail; see Hebrews 10:20, and may also denote both the fulfilment and abrogation of the ceremonial law, which had its end in the death of Christ; and likewise the more clear discoveries of the mysteries of grace under the Gospel, in which they are laid to open view, and are beheld with open face: to which may be added, that this pointed out, that the way to the holiest of all, to heaven, of which this was a figure, was now made manifest; and was plain and accessible, as it was, first to Christ, who entered by his own blood, as the forerunner; and also to his people, who likewise have boldness to enter by the same,

And the earth did quake: whether this earthquake reached only to the spot of ground where Christ was crucified, and on which the city and temple of Jerusalem stood; or whether it extended to other parts of the earth; since, in the reign of Tiberius Caesar, as Pliny (c) relates, there was an earthquake, in which twelve cities in Asia fell, is not certain. However, it was an indication of the divine anger and resentment, and in detestation of the sin of crucifying Christ; see Psalm 18:7, and was an emblem of the shaking and removing of the Jewish church state and ordinances, Hebrews 12:26.

And the rocks rent; which were near Mount Calvary, and about Jerusalem; and, as we are told, the clefts are to be seen to this day, and which appear to be supernatural. This was also a token of divine wrath and fury, Nahum 1:5, and a rebuke of the stupidity and hardness of the Jews, who were unmoved when rocks were rent asunder, being harder than they; and an emblem of the future conversion of many through the powerful ministry of the word, and in consequence of Christ's death; when hearts, as hard as rocks, were broke in pieces, stony hearts taken away, and hearts of flesh given; of which the three thousand being pricked to the heart under Peter's sermon, were an instance,

(t) Maimon. Cele Hamikdash, c. 8. sect. 14. Kimchi in Sepher Shorash rad. (u) T. Hieros. Shekalim, fol. 51. (w) Misn. Shekalim, c. 8. sect. 5. Shernot Rabba, sect. 50. fol. 144. 2. Bernidbar Rabba, sect. 4. fol. 183. 2.((x) Vid. Bartenora & Yom. Tob. in ib. (y) Vid. Bartenora in ib. (z) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 39. 2. Jarchi & Kimchi in Zech. xi. i. Ganz Tzemach David, par. 1. fol. 25. 2.((a) L. 8. c. 12. (b) L. 5. c. 44. (c) L. 2. c. 84.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

Mt 27:51-66. Signs and Circumstances Following the Death of the Lord Jesus—He Is Taken Down from the Cross, and Buried—The Sepulchre Is Guarded. ( = Mr 15:38-47; Lu 23:47-56; Joh 19:31-42).

The Veil Rent (Mt 27:51).

51. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom—This was the thick and gorgeously wrought veil which was hung between the "holy place" and the "holiest of all," shutting out all access to the presence of God as manifested "from above the mercy seat and from between the cherubim"—"the Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest" (Heb 9:8). Into this holiest of all none might enter, not even the high priest, save once a year, on the great day of atonement, and then only with the blood of atonement in his hands, which he sprinkled "upon and before the mercy seat seven times" (Le 16:14)—to signify that access for sinners to a holy God is only through atoning blood. But as they had only the blood of bulls and of goats, which could not take away sins (Heb 10:4), during all the long ages that preceded the death of Christ the thick veil remained; the blood of bulls and of goats continued to be shed and sprinkled; and once a year access to God through an atoning sacrifice was vouchsafed—in a picture, or rather, was dramatically represented, in those symbolical actions—nothing more. But now, the one atoning Sacrifice being provided in the precious blood of Christ, access to this holy God could no longer be denied; and so the moment the Victim expired on the altar, that thick veil which for so many ages had been the dread symbol of separation between God and guilty men was, without a hand touching it, mysteriously "rent in twain from top to bottom"—"the Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was NOW made manifest!" How emphatic the statement, from top to bottom; as if to say, Come boldly now to the Throne of Grace; the veil is clean gone; the mercy seat stands open to the gaze of sinners, and the way to it is sprinkled with the blood of Him—"who through the eternal Spirit hath offered Himself without spot to God!" Before, it was death to go in, now it is death to stay out. See more on this glorious subject on [1376]Heb 10. 19-22.

An Earthquake—The Rocks Rent—The Graves Opened, that the Saints Which Slept in Them Might Come Forth after Their Lord's Resurrection (Mt 27:51-53).

51. and the earth did quake—From what follows it would seem that this earthquake was local, having for its object the rending of the rocks and the opening of the graves.

and the rocks rent—"were rent"—the physical creation thus sublimely proclaiming, at the bidding of its Maker, the concussion which at that moment was taking place in the moral world at the most critical moment of its history. Extraordinary rents and fissures have been observed in the rocks near this spot.

Matthew 27:51 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Death of Jesus
50And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. 52The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;…
Cross References
Exodus 26:31
"Make a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen, with cherubim woven into it by a skilled worker.

Numbers 4:5
When the camp is to move, Aaron and his sons are to go in and take down the shielding curtain and put it over the ark of the covenant law.

Matthew 27:54
When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!"

Mark 15:38
The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

Luke 23:45
for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.

Luke 23:47
The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, "Surely this was a righteous man."

Hebrews 9:3
Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place,
Treasury of Scripture

And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

the veil.

Exodus 26:31-37 And you shall make a veil of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine …

Exodus 40:21 And he brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set up the veil of …

Leviticus 16:2,12-15 And the LORD said to Moses, Speak to Aaron your brother…

Leviticus 21:23 Only he shall not go in to the veil, nor come near to the altar, …

2 Chronicles 3:14 And he made the veil of blue, and purple, and crimson, and fine linen, …

Isaiah 25:7 And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast …

Mark 15:38 And the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom.

Luke 23:45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the middle.

Ephesians 2:13-18 But now in Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off are made near …

Hebrews 6:19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, …

Hebrews 10:19-22 Having therefore, brothers, boldness to enter into the holiest by …

the earth.

Matthew 28:2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord …

Psalm 18:7,15 Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills …

Micah 1:3,4 For, behold, the LORD comes forth out of his place, and will come …

Nahum 1:3-5 The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all …

Habakkuk 3:10,13 The mountains saw you, and they trembled: the overflowing of the …

Hebrews 12:25-27 See that you refuse not him that speaks. For if they escaped not …

Revelation 11:13,19 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part …

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