The people would have known about this if they were properly instructed. The law was to be read before the people every seven years (Deut. 31:9–13). The Levites would have mentioned such things in their instructional work among the people. But for most, the change would have seemed negligible. After all, it only affected the high priest, and only once a year. In addition, as more generations passed, there was no further change in the statutes to indicate that any new development could be expected. When the temple was built, a new veil embroidered with cherubim and setting apart the Most Holy Place was made (2 Chron. 3:14). In addition, the walls of the temple were adorned with cherubim. Except for the high priest, once a year, there was no entering the presence of God.
But the prophetic era hinted that further change would come. Isaiah 25:7 says, “And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations.” The word “covering” is not the same as the word “veil.” However, the connection with the holy mountain of the Lord and the eager expectation of the people for the coming of the Lord at least hint at a further change, a very significant change.
Again, a period of silence ensued. Then, at the very end of Jesus’ ministry, at the very point of His death, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. This testimony is included in all three of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). Something strange, marvelous, and wonderful happened. The way into God’s presence was once again opened. The Synoptic Gospels present the fact, while the author of Hebrews explains what happened.