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"VESTURE"

As we study the Scriptural term "vesture," let’s keep in mind that the term in general means a "covering" or a "garment." Spiritually, this speaks of the imputed righteousness of the believer wherein the righteousness of Christ Himself is given to the believer.

There are 9 mentionings of the word "vesture" in the Bible. The first one is found in Genesis, and it is used in the plural. Let's  read the Scripture first, then we will look at it with our comments.

Gen. 41:41-43

41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.
42 And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck;
43 And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.

And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. This is a type or foreshadowing of the Kingdom Age when the rulers of the world will have been in a long spiritual draught and will be ready to hand over the rule of the world to the Deliverer of the Jew, to the returning Christ Jesus who will rule the world with a rod of iron.

And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand… Joseph is a type of Christ—the "ring" indicating His royalty. …and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck… The world will finally recognize Christ Jesus as THE HIGH PRIEST of God Almighty. As we will see in the next passage, the vestures of "fine linen" were worn by the high priest. And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had… This term "the second chariot" does not indicate that Christ Jesus is in any way inferior to the rule of man; it is sequential, indicating that God will first let man try to rule the world and when he sees that he is not up to the task, the Son of God will rule in God’s stead. and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. The language agrees with the Christ of the Kingdom Age wherein the people will not be given a choice as to if they want to obey Christ or not. In fact, the reason that His rule will be known as the 1,000 years of peace will be because He will rule with a rod of iron—permitting no acts of sin or violence.


The second mentioning is found in Deuteronomy, and it has to do with the particulars of how the vesture is made.

Deut. 22:
11 Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, [as] of woollen and linen together.
12 Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest [thyself].

11 Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, [as] of woollen and linen together. In the Old Testament, the priest that entered the holy place in the heart of the tabernacle/temple had to wear a linen vesture (Lev. 6:10; 16:4, 32). We see the reason for this in Ez. 44:18: "They shall have linen bonnets upon their heads, and shall have linen breeches upon their loins; they shall not gird themselves with any thing that causeth sweat." (See Lev. 19:19.) The symbolism is that sweat is associated with "works"; and the Bible is explicit that God never has, and never will, accept the works of man which to Him are as filthy rags because they stem from the corrupted nature that Adam brought into mankind (Isa. 64:6). We should also note that it is forbidden to wear a mixture of the lightweight linen and wool which is heavy and causes perspiration. James touched upon this taboo in James 3:12: "Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh." (Reading prophetically: "Can the fig tree [those under the law], my brethren, bear olive berries [the fruit of those under grace like those of the Age of Promise]? either a vine [the Grace Age Church], figs [the fruit of the law which has never and never shall reach perfection]? so can no fountain both yield salt water [the undrinkable water of the law] and fresh [the refreshing life sustaining water of the Spirit and the Word]."

It is interesting that there are only two other mentionings of sweat in the Bible. In Genesis 3:19 we are told that in the natural, man will make his living by the sweat of his brow. The other verse is in the Gospel of Luke, and it has a spiritual application.

Luke 22:44

And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Although God will not accept the work (sweat) of man, He will and He has accepted the work of Christ Jesus, His Only Begotten Son. Because Christ was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, He was part man and part God. (Perhaps a better way of describing His nature would be that He was all man and all God.) At any rate, because of His unique make up, Christ was able to live above sin; and, consequently, He was able to offer Himself—a sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God—and thus He died for the sin of the whole world.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

12 Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself.

The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary defines fringes as:

…an ornamental border consisting of short straight or twisted threads or strips hanging from cut or raveled edges or from a separate band… and/or …something that is marginal, additional, or secondary to some activity, process, or subject.

Note that these fringes were four (the number of the earth) and that they were upon the four quarters of the vesture that the Jews were to use to cover themselves. Spiritually/prophetically, this also depicted another primary chore given to Israel: i.e., the duty of sharing their "covering for their sin" with the world around them. Of course, the Bible and history tell us that they failed miserably on both accounts.


Psalms 22:
16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.
18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

For dogs have compassed me… That is, those with the nature of dogs have compassed Him and taken Him to the cross. How sad that this characterization could be used by the very ones that Christ had come to seek and to save. But this is not the first time that the children of Israel had been labeled as "dogs" by God. Isaiah, one of their favorite prophets, had already depicted them as such.

Isa. 56:10 His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.

…the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. The "assembly" is a term assigned to a religious body; in this case, Jesus is referring to the Sanhedrin (the ruling body of the Jewish nation). Although the Roman soldiers had driven the nails, Jesus is letting them know that He understands who is really responsible for His crucifixion.

…I may tell all my bones… Remember the dry bones of Ezekiel’s vision? (See Ezekiel chapter 37. For an interesting study, go to the Gateway Bible or the Blue Letter Bible in our Treasure Chest of Bible Study Aids on our home page and type in the expression "my bones.") Here in prophetic language, the Lord Jesus is telling His people chosen in Abraham what they will do to Him when He visits them.

…they look and stare upon me. In context, this "stare" means to gloat or to jeer.

…They part my garments among them… That is, they misuse His Word and their positions. …and cast lots upon my vesture… That is, they will see no value in His atoning death upon the cross; and they will count the
covering that He will provide for man a base thing.


In this next passage, the Psalmist is saying that although Christ’ creation will grow old, like a vesture (Like the righteousness of the man He created) He will make a new one that will have no taint of sin or corruption. And as for Christ Himself, He never grows old or changes.

Psalm 102:
25 Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands.
26 They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:
27 But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.


-The next two passages speak of the fulfillment of Psalms 22 above.

Matthew 27:
33 And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,
34 They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.

[Jesus refused the "comfort" of man, which is bitter at its best.]

35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
36 And sitting down they watched him there;
37 And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.


John 19:21-24
21 Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews.
22 Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.

[An ungodly Gentile ruler could see who Jesus was, but the remnant of Abraham’s seed, for the most part, could not.]

23 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.

24 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. These things therefore the soldiers did.


This next passage is basically a repeat of Psalms 102 above—only this time we are given the Father’s commendation and pledge to His Son in the light of what He did on the Cross for the man He had created.

Hebrews 1:
8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:
11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;
12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.
13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?


The last mentioning of "vesture" in the Bible is found in the book of revelations.

Revelation 19
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

Verses 12-15 are discussed in our study of Revelation, so we will only comment upon verse 16 and the use of "vesture" and "thigh" in this verse/passage.

The following is a quote from the Zondervan Bible Dictionary:

THIGH The upper part of the leg…To put one’s hand under the thigh of another, was to enhance the sacredness of an oath (Gen. 24:2, 9; 47:29)…When the angel of the Lord wrestled with Jacob, so that Jacob might know the weakness of his human strength, He touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh and threw it out of joint at the hip; thus making him change from struggling to clinging, and when he thus changed, God changed him from Jacob "a supplanter" to Israel "a prince with God" (Gen. 32:24-32); and remembering this event, the Israelites "eat not the sinew of the hip which is upon the hollow of the thigh."

Of course, the outer part of the thigh is where the men of the day wore their "sword."

Keeping these facts in mind, we can see the reason for the use of the "vesture" and the "thigh" in the same breath. The "spiritual" vesture was first given to Abraham and his seed and was to be made available to the whole world for the "covering of sin." But Israel, because of the weakness of the flesh, was unable to take this gift to its neighbors. Consequently, Christ Jesus came to the earth in the fullness of time and died on the cross to make this righteousness available; and He then took the "vesture" from the Hebrews and put it in the hands of the Holy Spirit and a yielded Church. However, the New Testament church will fall into the same pit fall as did Israel, we’re told (Romans 11), and this will leave Jesus no recourse but to come to the earth and take charge of the "vesture" Himself; and we're told that He will do this in the power and might of His sword.

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