Matthew 27:51 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;
This is my favorite image in all of scripture.
The veil of the temple separated the Holy Place–containing the shewbread, incense and candlestick–from the Holy of Holies, which contained the Ark of the Covenant. The Holy of Holies represented the presence of God (The Bible Dictionary has good descriptions of the Tabernacle and Temple of Solomon).
The veil of the temple was not torn by men, armies or machinery, but rather an earthquake (such things are still referred to in legal documents as “acts of God”). It also wasn’t just a small tear or hole–it was ripped from top to bottom.
What does this mean? Consider what has just been accomplished: the Atonement. Christ’s body was rent, giving mankind the ability to repent of their sins through Him. Through His blood we can be made clean and return to His presence. The veil separating man from God has been removed.
As the stone being rolled away from the tomb represents the triumph over physical death, the rending of the temple veil represents the triumph over spiritual death.
15 For behold, he surely must die that salvation may come; yea, it behooveth him and becometh expedient that he dieth, to bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, that thereby men may be brought into the presence of the Lord.
16 Yea, behold, this death bringeth to pass the resurrection, and redeemeth all mankind from the first death—that spiritual death; for all mankind, by the fall of Adam being cut off from the presence of the Lord, are considered as dead, both as to things temporal and to things spiritual.
17 But behold, the resurrection of Christ redeemeth mankind, yea, even all mankind, and bringeth them back into the presence of the Lord.
18 Yea, and it bringeth to pass the condition of repentance, that whosoever repenteth the same is not hewn down and cast into the fire; but whosoever repenteth not is hewn down and cast into the fire; and there cometh upon them again a spiritual death, yea, a second death, for they are cut off again as to things pertaining to righteousness.
19 Therefore repent ye, repent ye, lest by knowing these things and not doing them ye shall suffer yourselves to come under condemnation, and ye are brought down unto this second death. (Helaman 14:15-19:15-19)