The Torn Coat and Curtains                                 


Genesis chapter 37 records the story of Joseph. Jacob was concerned for his ten sons who were tending sheep far away, so he determinedly sent his beloved son Joseph to visit them. This pampered son of his father finally found his brothers after overcoming several obstacles, yet he could not imagine that they would conspire together to murder him. But God was secretly managing all things, and employed the hands of the evildoers to accomplish His future plan of salvation. The wicked plot to kill Joseph turned into a decision to sell out their sibling for profit. In the end, the brothers sold Joseph to some Ishmaelite traders on their way to Egypt. They slaughtered a male goat, tore up the coat of many colours worn by Joseph, dipped it in the goat’s blood and dispatched it to their father, hoping to deceive their father with it.


Jacob did not think that sending Joseph to find his other sons would cause him to lose his most beloved. In exchange, he had just the torn coat of many colours. This coat was hand-made by Jacob for his cherished offspring. “He recognized it and said, ‘It is my son's robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.’” (Genesis 37:33) Holding the bloodied coat of Joseph, Jacob was utterly despondent, and thought that he had lost his beloved son forever. Jacob was likely very remorseful and self-afflicted, regretting that he had sent out Joseph that day, and hating himself for making a foolish and misguided decision. Actually, God allowed these things to happen so that Joseph would be dispatched ahead to Egypt, and through him, the grace of salvation could be manifested and the lives of many people preserved.


God permitted these occurrences in order to reveal His magnificent grace of salvation in the future. The Heavenly Father loves mankind, and so sent His only begotten Son to earth to seek lost sinners. But astoundingly, mankind despised His great love. The beloved Son of God, Jesus Christ, obeyed the will of His Father, and willingly came into the world so that sinners might receive grace and the Truth. Yet he was actually sold out and abandoned by His own disciples, and rejected by His people, who even nailed Him to the cross. When Christ was hung on the wood, the Roman soldiers torn off His outer garment, and split His clothing into four shares, one for each soldier. They also cast lots to see who would get His undergarment. This all fulfilled the words of Psalm 22:18 (John 19:23-24). Jesus Christ carried the sins of mankind on the cross. He cried out loudly and breathed His last. The curtain of the Holy Temple was suddenly torn in two from top to bottom. This was not torn by human hands, but by God to express clearly that the death of the Beloved Son has opened up a way for us sinners to enter into the presence of the Holy and Righteous God. “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body. “ (Hebrews 10:19-20)


Unlike Jacob, the Heavenly Father does not regret sending His Beloved Son to earth. It was the Lord’s will to crush His Son and cause His Son to suffer (Isaiah 53:10). The word “will” can be translated as “pleasure”. God is pleased with this arrangement, so that the Son may be like the lamb offered in sacrifice, and be killed and shed His blood through the cross, to redeem with His life the transgressions of us sinners. By human standards, if Jacob knew beforehand that Joseph would be sold and would suffer, but in the end gain honour and glory, he would likely still not allow his beloved son to endure the pain, and would not tolerate separation from his son for more than a decade. But with the foreknowledge of God, the Heavenly Father and His Son actually made such a plan, and furthermore, in the past two thousand years have revealed to mankind through different things His purpose to save sinners. Therefore, at the moment Christ said, “it is finished” on the cross, the Heavenly Father tore the curtain in the Holy Temple. The torn coat of many colours of Joseph makes us think about the torn curtain. It clearly indicates the great love of salvation of God the Father for us sinners.


By: Daniel To