The tabernacle, or dwelling, where Yahweh met his people in the wilderness was a portable sanctuary formed by ten linen curtains (Exod. 26: 1 ff.) sewn into two sets of five and fastened by clasps to enclose the area; it was Yahweh's place on earth, but it symbolized his seat in heaven, for the linen was adorned with figures of cherubim.

In Herod's Temple there was a curtain which divided the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place and the synoptic gospels describe it as being rent immediately after (Mark 15: 38) or just before (Luke 23: 45) Jesus' death. Such an event (who would have seen it?) is symbolic; a barrier which kept people out of God's presence (everybody, especially Gentiles) is removed. A representative Gentile at once makes confession of faith (Mark 15: 39)—or so it is understood by the Church. Perhaps, if he said anything at all, the centurion's words ‘This was a son of God’ were merely an expression of deep admiration.