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Man’s Redemption: The Focus of God’s Mission

Posted on October 21, 2012 at 5:52 PM Comments comments (3)
The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. Genesis 3:21 

God launched a recovery mission after Adamand Eve listened to, andbelieved in, the deceptive words of the serpent (Gen.3:1ff). In my Journal last week, I discussed their rebellion.  They made a choice to disobey God!  The text revealed that they made coveringsfrom self-made fig leaves to clothe themselves (Gen 3:7). The sinful behavior of self-made aprons continues today. Living in disobedience to God’s will means, one is covering up his/her nakedness or sinful attitudes like Adam and Eve.  Satan’s deception of Adam and Eve was a direct attack against God and His creation. Hence, the Lord promised to restore man at His appointed time, which was accomplished in Christ.

Prior to their expulsion, from the Garden of Eden, two things occurred: (1) God provided garments ofskin for the couple in place oftheir self-made aprons. And (2) He embedded in the serpent’s curse a promise of the Redeemer (the Seed) for man’s restoration: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman,and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and youshall strike his heel” (Gen. 3:15NIV).  This was discussed in Week-One Journal.  The garments of skin provided for Adam and Eve are being debated by scholars.  However, I intend to prove biblically the kind of animal that was killed for their coverings.  I will summarize the debate, and present four major reasons for believing that lamb’s blood was spilled to atone for them, and its skin was used for their coverings.  In God’s divine wisdom, substitution was necessary, in the Garden of Eden, to prepare for total victory on the cross.

Now, let’s discuss the controversies regarding the kind of animal skin that God used for their coverings and its meaning.  Because of limited space, I will not be able to discuss all the arguments, ramifications and refutations.  However, most scholars agree that God used skin to clothe Adam and Eve.  Some think that since the text did not mention a particular animal, there is no need to invent one.  Others think it was sea cow’s skin; some said, goat, dolphin, dugong, and others believe it was lamb’s skin.  Generally, scholars agreed that the garments of skin provided as coverings for them were taken from some of the animals in the Garden. An innocent life was taken to provide clothing for the first family.  The pivotal question is, why make a big deal about the garments?  Two messages emerged from this text: (1) the word covering used in Hebrew text to describe what God did for them signifies His mercy and grace for man until the “Seed” of the woman (Gen 3:15) crushed the head of the seed of the serpent.  And (2) that the Seed of the woman―Jesus Christ is the ultimate sacrifice─ the sin that was covered in the days of Adam was uncovered on the Cross of Cavalry with the second Adam, Jesus Christ. As I mentioned in Week-One Journal: God’s action shows that His punishment does not exclude mercy, and that His mercy does not exclude judgment – God’s love is greater than man’s sins. In the midst of chaos stands His mercy.   

In spite of the ongoing controversies, I concur with those who believed that it was the skin of lamb used for their coverings. I am comfortable with this position because the lamb's theme began in Genesis 3:21 to the Cross of Cavalry.  There is no forgivingness of sins without the shedding of blood (Heb 9:22).  Innocent lamb's blood was spilled, and the skin was used to clothe them. The Promised Redeemer is the Seed of the woman (Gen 3:15).  The Seed was graciously substituted with a ram/lamb as it was done in the case of Isaac, and the Passover lambs in Egypt to provide coverings for the Israelites.  Let’s summarize some of the major lamb’s themes:  

First, the most important root of this argument is the declaration of  the apostle John  that Christ, indeed, is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (Jn 1:29).  With this in mind, we shall support our claim through the Redemptive-historical progression, which is essential to teach Christ from the Old Testament.

Second, the ram/lamb substituted for Isaac on Mount Moriah Gen 22:1ff was the reenactment of the paradisiacal covering or clothing for Adam and Eve.  “God demands [from Abraham] that the carrier of the promise gives up any control or claim on the promise and leaves the future of the promise with God.”  

Third, the Passover in Egypt symbolizes the Adamic, Noahic, and Abrahamic coverings.  The shedding of blood of innocent lambs signifies a type of covering for the Israelites (Exod. 12:1-19).  There is a true sense of substitution – the lambs were killed instead of the firstborn sons, daughters, and animals of the Israelites.  Exodus 12: 12-13 read, “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn ─ both men and animals―and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord.  The blood will be the sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you ….”    

Fourth, the Promised Seed was born through the Virgin Mary.  However, the coming of the Promised Messiah was foretold by the prophets.  Moreover, the nature of Messianic prophecy is progressive; each prophecy cast more light on the subject: (1) The Messiah is to be born of a woman (Gen 3:15); (2) He would come through the line of Shem Gen (9:6); (3) specifically through Abraham (Gen 22:18); and (4) Isaiah presents the Messiah as a suffering Anointed Servant (Isa 53:1ff).  The perfect lamb (that is Christ) who was substituted for in the Garden of Eden, on Mount Moriah, the Passover lambs, came finally and paid the price for our sins on the Cross of Cavalry. The only condition to this gracious love of God the Son is faith in Jesus Christ.  The God who was to make the last sacrifice (Heb 9:26), made the first, to furnish the first Adam with a covering. The last Adam, Jesus Christ, suffered nakedness and shame (Ps. 22:18; Mt 27:35) for the remission of sins for those who will believe in Him as their Lord and Savior.   

Without a covering, no sinner can go in the presence of God.   Every festival for the Israelites has some historical significance. One of Israel’s great celebrations is called the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). It means the Day of covering, redemption, to appease God with substitutions for sins, to amend, etc.  The truth about these sacrifices is that they do not remit sins. The death of Christ on the Cross of Cavalry is the greatest sacrifice ever, for His blood does not cover, but rather, it remits the sins of those who believe in Him. The Promised Redeemer completed the work He had begun by remitting the shame and nakedness of those who believe in Him with His own blood. “So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” (Heb. 9:26). “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16).     

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Eugene F. Roop. Genesis.  Believers Church Bible Commentary (Scottsdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1987), 1458.