Why Did Caiaphas Tear His Garments?: Passover Series Part 5 of 6

Exodus 28:31-32
31 “You shall make the robe of the ephod all of blue. 32 There shall be an opening for his head in the middle of it; IT SHALL HAVE A WOVEN BINDING ALL AROUND IT’S OPENING, like the opening in a coat of mail, SO THAT IT DOES NOT TEAR.”

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In part 2, you saw that God told Moses the Ephod was to be made in such a way that it not tear.  He was quite explicit and very adamant about it!  Yet years in the future, Caiaphas dared to do the unthinkable.  We are now going to study why it happened.  The answer may surprise you.

After Jesus was arrested in the garden, he was brought to the house of that now infamous high priest to stand “trial;” and what a sham of a trial it was.  But during the course of His being examined by His accusers, something unexpected and quite unprecedented happened.

Mourning In Ancient Israel.

In  ancient Israel, when a relative died, it was customary to demonstrate one’s grief.  The relatives of the deceased would tear their clothes, put on sackcloth, and place ashes on their heads as a sign of mourning. This was a widely accepted practice, and was OK for everyone…..EXCEPT THE HIGH PRIEST. He alone was STRICTLY forbidden from this practice.

Why? 

As a type of Christ, he was to be set apart.  He was never, ever, EVER, under ANY circumstances, to tear his clothes.  EVER.  Not even if his own child died. As high priest, Caiaphas would have known this.

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The Ephod MUST NOT Tear!

Why is God so concerned that the robe of the High Priest of Israel NOT TEAR.  Because his robes were sacred.  He was to wear them AT ALL TIMES as a representative of the people TO God.  He was a depiction of Jesus, our Great High Priest.

As we discussed in part 4, over his heart was the Breastplate of Righteousness with its twelve stones, each engraved with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.  On his shoulders were the two brilliant onyx stones with the names of the twelve tribes:  Six on one stone, the other six on the other.

There is great significance in both of these which we also covered in part 4.  You may follow the link below if you missed it:

https://emmausroadministries.wordpress.com/2016/05/15/the-breastplate-of-judgment-part-4-high-priests-garments-series/

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Secrets In The Hebrew Language.

For some strange reason, at this time in Israel’s history there were actually two high priests! 😮 There is only supposed to be one you see.  This  gives you a pretty good idea of just how far Israel had fallen away from God’s ways.

As if that weren’t grievous enough, they had reduced and diminished the Law into something “manageable,” or so they thought.  Inwardly, however, their hearts were far from Him.

The one high priest you know:  Caiaphas.  The other was named “Annas.”  Curiously enough, his name means “grace.”  Caiaphas’ name, on the other hand, means “Rock.”  This a picture of law and grace together; in other words, “Mixture!”

Yep, the Holy Spirit is drawing pictures for us again!  In the days just prior to His return, like NOW, mixture will and, in fact, IS, quite prevalent.

No Ark Of The Covenant?

Also curiously, during this time, THERE WAS NO ARK OF THE COVENANT in the temple.  It seems to have disappeared sometime just prior to the Babylonian Captivity in the 6th century BC.
The last historical mention of it in Scripture is in Second Chronicles chapter 35, where King Josiah (who reigned in Judah c. 640-609 BC) asked that the Levites return the Ark to the Temple where Solomon had originally housed it after completing and dedicating the Temple.  This was accomplished sometime in the 10th century BC (Second Chronicles, chapter 5).
The Jewish people may not have known why but, while Jesus walked this earth, they didn’t need the golden box.  The Real Ark of the Covenant was outside walking around among the people, healing the sick, cleansing the leper, and doing good everywhere He went!
That’s our JESUS!!!
Jesus on trial
“Trial” At Caiaphas’ House.
Let’s follow the story of the discourse between Jesus and Caiaphas.  We’re going to see the real reason he tore his robes.

Matthew 26:62-65
“62 And the high priest arose and said to Him, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” 63 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!”
64 Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
65 THEN THE HIGH PRIEST TORE HIS CLOTHES {uh oh 😲} saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy! 66 What do you think?
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A New Priestly Order.
Whoa, whoa, whoa!  Wait a minute…..Didn’t we just read that this action is EXPRESSLY FORBIDDEN BY ALMIGHTY GOD?!  YES.  Yes, we did.  Then why did he do it?
Well for one thing, He was a corrupted high priest.  No doubt he was WELL AWARE of this law.  HOWEVER….What he didn’t know, nor could he possibly have understood, that the Man in Whose Presence he was standing was Very God in Human flesh.  Jesus was to become High Priest FOREVER after the order of Melchizedek, replacing the old order of the Levitical priesthood.
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Yom Kippur.
In ancient Israel, as you know, the High Priest went into the Holy of Holies once a year and offered a sacrifice for all the people.  This day is known as “Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.”  If he did everything right and his sacrifice was accepted by God, the whole nation was accepted. They’d have their sins covered for the next twelve months, have bumper crops, and enjoy all the blessings of God for the year ahead.
But…..if his sacrifice was not accepted, the whole nation was rejected.  Why?
Headships And Leaderships.
God works through headships and leaderships.  As the high priest goes, so goes the nation.  If he is accepted, but the nation is bad, they are accepted. But the opposite was also true.  If the high priest was bad, but the nation was good, God rejected the whole nation. Their right standing with God was completely reliant on their high priest.
(For more on this topic, follow the link below:
This went on for some 1500 years.  The high priest could never sit down  when he was on duty in the temple because his work was never done.  You’ll notice there aren’t any chairs in the tabernacle.
But Jesus, as our Great High Priest, went into the REAL Holy of Holies in heaven.  He was both OFFERER and the OFFERING!  He offered ONE sacrifice FOREVER but HE SAT DOWN at His Father’s right hand because HIS WORK WAS FINISHED. We are FOREVER acceptable because our Great High Priest is ETERNALLY acceptable!
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Great High Priest.

To be sure, what Caiaphas did was completely and totally an illegal act.  But God allowed it to occur.  Caiaphas could never have understood the significance of his ILLEGAL act, however justified he felt he was.  But the wrending of his consecrated robes accomplished the following two things:

#1:  It symbolically abolished the Levitical priesthood as he threw them at the feet of Jesus…..literally…..and…..
#2:  It signified that JESUS WAS THE NEW  HIGH PRIEST….FOREVER!
He never knew that the GREAT HIGH PRIEST OF THE NEW COVENANT WAS STANDING RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM
No other priest was ever called “Great High Priest” except Jesus; and when He cried, “FINISHED!” His Father tore that temple veil, in two from top to bottom, a picture of Jesus flesh that was torn.  It was the final act signifying that THE LAW IS USURPED BY GRACE !!!
…..And that, Church, is why God allowed Caiaphas to tear his robes.
Please follow the link below to Part 6.  We’ll have some interesting things to talk about that happened after Jesus died, what happened on resurrection day, and afterward:

 

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