“WHY DIDN’T THE SOLDIERS REND JESUS’ CLOTHES?”
 

A: God wouldn’t let them so as to fulfil the prophecy of Psalm 22:18

“Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots.” (John 19:23-24)

Funny isn’t it, how God can make an unsaved man obey him. Here’s the soldiers thinking that they were making the decision not to rend the coat of Jesus but it was actually God making them do that … and they wouldn’t have had a clue about the Old Testament scripture. Would they be saying “Hey Achaius and Adolphus, we must not rend Christ’s vesture so we can fulfil prophecy.” Yes? Pigs can fly too!

Now the rending of clothes or material in the Bible has significance and meaning. It can mean death, separation, a ceasing of a dispensation or a change. 

In the Bible ‘rending’ a garment could mean a physical death

 “And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons, Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the LORD hath kindled.” (Leviticus 10:6)

For lighting strange fire (Leviticus 10:1), God killed the sons of Aaron as they were not worthy to have clothes rent on their behalf, although bewailing would be acceptable, and any son that would do any rending would die.  

Moses was careful not rend his clothes

(Exodus 39:23) “And there was an hole in the midst of the robe, as the hole of an habergeon, with a band round about the hole, that it should not rend.”

For Moses to rend his habergeon, either consciously or unconsciously, it would not represent an unrendable God … that is, God is not made up of torn parts and neither is he able to be rent. We are reminded that Christ’s kingdom of heaven on earth as represented in one of the thirteen parables, is a pearl (Matthew 13:46). Indeed, unlike other gems and stones that can be cut, sawn or divided, and still remain as a valuable gem and stone, a pearl ceases to be a pearl should it be subjected to any of these treatments. A pearl will be ruined and worthless should it be cut in two or interfered with in any way.

For Moses to have a God representing garment that would have any tear, abrasion or division in it, would be akin to a worthless pearl that had been ruined by man’s neglect or interference.

In the Bible ‘rending’ a garment could mean a spiritual death

 “And he that is the high priest among his brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil was poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not uncover his head, nor rend his clothes;” (Leviticus 21:10)

A rending of a high priest’s clothing would signify the end of his priesthood. This could happen and did happen (Matthew 26:65) but the high priest in Matthew’s account was unconsciously fulfilling God’s purpose, with an action that signifying a dual purposes – the ceasing of his priesthood and the transferring of his high priest office to Christ.

What did the rent veil in the temple signify?

“And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.” (Mark 15:38)

There would be no more intact curtain of a physical tabernacle under Moses … it was to be done away with. The Jewish dispensation under Moses was destroyed from top to bottom … it emanated from God in the uppermost to Israel down below and not the other way around. God decided the end of this dispensation not man. If the curtain was rent from bottom to top, this would signify that man was in control of ending this dispensation.

Was Christ issued forth or rent?

Christ was not rent from the Godhead but was issued forth as a son (2Kings 20:18). An issue is not a rending (Hebrews 1:3) as it is an expressing or something from something else. A rending of the Godhead would have meant the end of God. He cannot be divided as he is one God of three persons … and he will always be one God and not a God of separate parts. He will always remain eternal (Hebrews 1:11).

Back to the top …

“WHY DIDN’T THE SOLDIERS REND JESUS’ CLOTHES?”

should be

“WHY COULDN’T THE SOLDIERS REND JESUS’ CLOTHES?”
 

God would not allow any rending of his clothes by anyone, Old Testament or New, let alone by men of an unsaved world. It was impossible for the soldiers to rend the coat.

Now, Dear Reader, what does God require of you having said all this?

 “And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.” (Joel 2:13)

Of course in the upcoming tribulation. God will enact his purposes upon Israel, but in the meantime, before ‘the rapture’, God would require rending of all unsaved hearts.

As the scripture says

“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22)

 

Harley Hitchcock


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