If The Soldier Knew Yeshua Was Dead, Why Did He Pierce His Side?
There are literally thousands of prophetically symbolic references within the Bible that were, by design, placed where they are in the text to lead the reader on a path to the Messiah. There are also thousands of verses that we, by design, placed in the text so that we would recognize the Messiah when he arrived. Many of these verses seem to be what I consider a drop-in verse within the chapter. A drop-in verse is a verse within the greater narrative that doesn’t change the story. In other words, the verse or verses could be removed from the text and it would not change the story for the reader. Sometimes these verses may even seem out of place or superfluous to the story itself. However, if the reader looks a little closer to the words themselves, they will almost always find that these drop-in verses will have a clear connection prophetically to Yeshua’s coming.
One of these verses is found in John 19:32-34:
32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then the other who had been executed with Yeshua. 33 Now when they came to Yeshua and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.
When we read these verses, we should notice that in verse 33 the soldiers already knew Yeshua was dead, so there was no need to pierce His side with a spear. Also, the reference to the piercing of Yeshua’s side really doesn’t add to the crucifixion story itself because He was already dead. So, why was the verse included? Remember that there is not one letter in the Bible that was not purposefully placed there by the Author, G-D. So, that means there must have been a reason for this sentence being inserted at this point.
What if this line is significant? What if this line is prophetically placed there in the text for a very important reason? What if this verse was placed there to establish Yeshua’s Messiah-ship and to encourage those watching and later reading these words to recognize Yeshua as the promised Messiah of Israel?
However, in order to understand this prophetic passage, one must understand that Scripturally, Israel is known as the Bride of G-D. In Judaism, the giving of the Torah is looked at as the wedding contract between G-D and Israel. It would take too long to list all of the verses that establish this husband-wife relationship between Israel and G-D, so I encourage you to do a study of this topic on your own. But, if G-D is the husband and if Israel is the Bride, then in order to understand this Biblical dynamic, we have to start with the first husband and wife in the Bible: Adam and Eve. So, let’s look at Genesis 2:21-24:
21 Adonai Elohim caused a deep sleep to fall on the man and he slept; and He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Adonai Elohim built the rib, which He had taken from the man, into a woman. Then He brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh from my flesh. This one is called woman, for from man was taken this one.” 24 This is why a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife; and they become one flesh.
In these verses, G-D established marriage between a man and a woman. But, before the marriage could be established, something significant took place. Look at verse 21 where we see the words, “took one of his ribs,” in Hebrew. The word translated rib is actually from the root word צֵלָע Tzelah, which means side, not rib. From Adam’s side, G-D made Eve his wife. To further understand the symbolism, we must note that the word Adam in Hebrew is אָדָם Adam, which comes from the Hebrew word דָּם Dam, which means blood.
We know that the Bible says life is in the blood (Lev 17:11), and we know that the Bible also teaches that we are born again through the water and the spirit (John 3:5). We also know that Yeshua is referred to as the second Adam in 1 Corinthians 15:45-47:
45 So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, made of dust; the second man is from heaven.
As it was not good for Adam to be alone, so from his side G-D formed his wife. Likewise, from Yeshua’s (the second Adam) side, blood and water flowed so that we would understand that G-D had supernaturally brought forth from Him a Bride; the Bride of Messiah. This is what Yeshua said to Nicodemus in John 3:5-7:
5Yeshua answered, “Amen, amen I tell you, unless one is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be surprised that I said to you, ‘You all must be born from above.’
Just as from Adam’sצֵלָע Tzelah, G-D brought forth a bride for Adam, from Yeshua’sצֵלָע Tzelah, G-D symbolically and spiritually brought forth the Bride of Messiah. The piercing of Yeshua’s side was not a superfluous drop-in of an unneeded verse. It was actually a prophetic fulfillment of the establishment of the forming of the Bride of Messiah.