Good morning. Today we start a new series of four talks on the subject of "Some coverings of Scripture". The first talk will start with Adam and Eve and the covering or clothing that God provided. Talks 2 and 3 will consider the various coverings that were used on the Tabernacle and talk 4 will look at the subject of head covering.
This morning's talk on "The covering for Adam and Eve", will be considered under the following four headings:
Genesis provides the background as to why Adam and Eve needed a covering from God. This will include Satan's opposition, the apparent defeat of God's plans, God's remedy and God's judgement upon all concerned, Satan, depicted as a serpent, and Adam and Eve.
By way of introduction to our subject we should mention that Genesis 1-3 are immensely important to Christians. We are introduced to a Creator God, the Hebrew word used is "El-o-heem", meaning God plural as in the triune God or Trinity. We are instructed in the process and detail of creation which, as Christians, we should accept by faith. Included in this creation is Adam and also Eve who was formed from the side of Adam (Genesis 2:21-22). We see that Adam is given the responsibility to control and watch over creation (Genesis 2:15).
This is something that in general terms mankind has failed to do, in fact the opposite is true. Mankind has acted irresponsibly with destruction and carelessness in God's creation. However, in the early time of creation the environment was very different to what we have today. It is in Genesis 3 that we are introduced to Satan, who is totally destructive in his ways. He is presented as a serpent (Genesis 3:1), a name which is used in Scripture as symbolic of deceitfulness. In the book of Revelation we have his names brought together. Revelation 20:2 states, "He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years." As you read through the Bible you will come across these names which all refer to the same person: the dragon, the serpent, the Devil, Satan and Lucifer, his original name before he rebelled against God.
In Genesis 3:1-24 we have recorded the serpent's attack. It is not open hostility. He uses the subtle approach by questioning what God has said, Genesis 3:1. In my opening remarks I mentioned creation. I wonder how many listeners accept the Biblical view of Creation: created in six days and God rested the seventh day. While visiting my daughter recently, I joined in a house Bible study group and during the study I mentioned about creation in Genesis 1:1-2:3 holding the literal meaning of six days. There was at least one person who thought it was ridiculous! Well, I believe in a God of power and ability. Just as Jesus stilled a storm instantly by just speaking, I believe God in Genesis 1 spoke in creation and it was done instantly. What kind of God do you believe in?
The woman's answer in Genesis 3:2-3 embellishes what God said in Genesis 2:17. This was the fatal mistake of which the Bible warns about, twice in Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32) and once in both Proverbs (Proverbs 30:6) and Revelation (Revelation 22:18-19).
Once the serpent had moved Eve off the solid foundation of the pure and simple Word of God, then she was open to his contradiction of what God had said, Genesis 3:4. Genesis 3:5 brings in the challenge that God was hiding something better from her. With this doubt in her mind the next step was disobedience and so sin against a holy God. With that we have the sad destructive legacy that is with us today, sinners by nature, under condemnation and the only remedy is repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work of redemption.
The impact upon Adam and Eve was dramatic. Genesis 3:7 states that when they ate the forbidden fruit their eyes were opened. They now perceived what sinning against God had done to them. Previously, in innocence, the fact that they wore no clothes was not a concern. No doubt the climate was such that clothing was obviously not needed. Now they were embarrassed and ashamed, they felt exposed and vulnerable. Their remedy was to sew leaves together but when they heard God walking in the garden they realised that leaves might cover their bodies but their conscience was still exposed, so they hid themselves. Previously they were very happy to meet God but now they were afraid.
God looks for them and calls out for Adam (Genesis 3:9). Adam has to confront his failure. He has to speak with God and God has to challenge them both about the reason for hiding, which is their nakedness. He challenges them about eating the forbidden fruit. Nakedness is symbolic for the exposure a sinner feels when confronted by a holy God. God stands for everything that is good and He is totally the opposite of what we are as sinners. Hiding from God is what all sinners do. The first step in being reconciled to God is being confronted with what we are before a holy God. This is the painful working towards repentance. In Genesis 3:12-13 we have the classic blame game.
We see it all the time in the news. It is always the fault of someone else. The result of the blame game is the compensation culture of today. Adam blames both God and Eve. Eve blames the serpent. Both Adam and Eve had choices as we do today. If we make the wrong choice, then we have to live with our mistakes. This is the reality of life.
What were the consequences? Genesis 3:14-15 give God's judgement on the serpent. Genesis 3:15 also speaks of things to come, the crucifixion of Christ and the final judgement on Satan. Genesis 3:16 is a rather sad verse to my mind. God's intention in Genesis 2:18 was that the woman He had created would stand alongside the man and together they would be one perfect whole. Not in the sense that they were imperfect as individuals but their completeness was enhanced as each complemented the other. There was no companionship within the animal creation that satisfied human requirements. The end of Genesis 2 states that the completeness and union of a man and a woman is the basis for marriage (Genesis 2:24). This is what God intended and it was established before sin came in. Marriage as God intended was reaffirmed by the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 19:3-9 where He deals with both marriage and divorce (see also Mark 10:2-12). Sorrow and pain are the particular consequences for Eve (Genesis 3:16). Also, Adam was given the senior role in this marriage partnership but he does not escape God's punishment. Genesis 3:17-19 speak of greater consequences because he listened to Eve and ate the fruit instead of helping her to refuse the serpent's temptation. The whole of creation was affected and Adam was placed in the position of having to work and provide for his wife and subsequent family. The sorrow or toil of working was placed on Adam and his food would come through his hard labour. So very different to the garden of Eden where food was plentiful and only needed gathering! Additionally, the ground would no longer be as productive. Thorns and thistles would now grow and no doubt would be a constant source of irritation and reminder of his failure.
In Genesis 3:21 we come to the point where God makes coats of skins for Adam and Eve, "Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them." By implication we have the first sacrifice mentioned in the Bible. The skins must have come from a dead animal. It is God who makes the sacrifice, not Adam. It was God who knew the seriousness and extent of what had happened. Not only was creation affected but Adam had broken the close relationship he had with God. They would never again walk together in the garden. Work replaced the paradise of the garden. The garden would become a no go area for Adam and Eve as God "drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life" (Genesis 3:24). In Romans 8:20 we have the statement that "Creation was subjected to futility [or frailty], not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope". Creation itself would be under failure until the time of Christ's Kingdom. Then the curse on creation will be lifted and the world will blossom and be fruitful like it has never been seen since the Garden of Eden.
Throughout the Bible there are references to a specific sacrifice that God would require. For the nation of Israel God gave a series of sacrifices that the Israelites needed to keep. In themselves, these sacrifices were not effective in removing sin but illustrated what was required. In Genesis 22:8, Abraham responded to Isaac his son with a wonderful statement, "My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering." Then in John 1:29 we have the statement from John the Baptist, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! "
We see here what God had in mind from the very beginning, when the Son of God in manhood came to be the sacrifice for sin. As Peter in his first epistle states, "Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God" (1 Peter 1:18-21). In order to have a relationship with God the Father we need to be covered by the sacrifice of Christ. This becomes true when we accept Jesus as our Saviour. This involves "repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ", Acts 20:21. Once Christ has become my Saviour, then I am considered to be "in Christ". Romans 8:1 states, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus". Being "in Christ" is the secure and eternal standing we have before God. This is true from the moment we believe. Never again can a believer be found under condemnation. Sinners are under condemnation because they have NOT trusted Christ. There are over seventy references in the Scriptures to Christians being "in Christ". God is focused upon Christ and the eternal purposes are fulfilled in Him. Salvation, blessing, redemption and resurrection are all true for those who are in Christ.
When God clothed Adam and Eve it not only made them suitable for His presence but it was a little picture of the reality that, when Christ accomplished salvation, it was then possible for people to be eternally suited for heaven. All God's purposes are fulfilled in Christ.
In Paul's first letter to Timothy, we have teaching on the role of Christian women, their testimony and their relationship to men, specifically their husband (1 Timothy 2:8-15). These verses and other similar verses have over the years proved to be controversial and sometimes rejected as "not for today". Well, we have a choice: accept what God says in His Word or reject it. This is the Adam and Eve situation all over again.
Timothy had been sent to the Christian fellowship at Ephesus to give further instruction on behaviour in the assembly and the home. In 1 Timothy 2:8-14, the teaching links back to what God said in the Garden of Eden to Adam and Eve. 1 Timothy 2:8-10 state, "I desire therefore … that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works". The way the woman is to dress not to draw attention to self but to let her godly character shine out and to symbolically cover herself with good works as intended by God. The woman was to do those things that bring glory to God. In 1 Timothy 2:11, an often misunderstood verse, we read, "Let a woman learn in silence with all submission", a voluntary submission. It is what the godly Christian woman would want to do. The word "submission" means "a voluntary attitude of giving in to, cooperating with, assuming appropriate responsibility, and sharing in burden carrying". There is no implied suggestion of an overbearing husband or father demanding conformity by subjugating a person with fear. In every sphere of life a Christian is expected to exhibit love. 1 Timothy 2:12 expands on the previous verse that Christian women do not have roles of teaching or authority in the church.
It is in 1 Timothy 2:12-13 that the above instruction is linked to God's judgement in the garden of Eden, "For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression". Disobeying God always has sad consequences and this is seen clearly in the above referenced verses.
We ignore Scripture to our detriment. As I consider these things, I am very conscious that I fail in many ways to follow what the Bible says but that is no excuse and I should make more effort to be obedient. I am aware that what I say may upset some listeners and, if that is the case, do not "shoot the messenger" but prayerfully search the Scriptures yourself. Even the Bereans in Acts 17 did not accept what Paul said without checking out the Scriptures first (Acts 17:11).
If Eve's failure in the Garden of Eden had what might be considered by some to have a detrimental and restricting effect upon godly women, then in this section we will see the greater impact relative to Adam's failure.
Let us read from Romans 5:15-20, " (… the free gift is not like the offence. For if by the one man's offence many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offence resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offences resulted in justification. For if by the one man's offence death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) Therefore, as through one man's offence judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous. Moreover the law entered that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. "
Paul writing to Christians at Rome, the same writer to Timothy, considers Adam as the one who has caused the problem of bringing sin into the world, as Romans 5:12 states, "By one man sin entered into the world". In the book of Romans, Adam is the guilty person because he had the responsibility to care for and protect his wife but Adam failed miserably. The consequence of Adam's failure was that sin entered the world and as a result death came upon every person. Sinning is as easy as "falling off a log" and it takes no effort at all. This whole sad situation is summed up with the statement in Romans 5:14 that "death reigned". The evidence is all over this world with cemeteries and crematoria. Death is feared by multitudes.
From Romans 5:15, Paul starts to write about deliverance from this hopeless situation by introducing the remedy that God has provided in His Son, Jesus Christ. This remedy is God's free gift based on grace. In Romans 1:16-17 Paul introduces the remedy in this way, "… the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, 'The just shall live by faith.'" This gift, the Gospel, is God's salvation to liberate from the penalty for sin - death. Let us list the positives that God's Gospel has available.
It's good news (the meaning of the word 'gospel'), Christ made it possible, it shows God's power to save, it requires a true believing, it is available to all, this salvation maintains God's righteousness and it requires the intended recipients to have faith. What is faith? It is taking God at His word.
We find then as we return to Romans 5:14 that one man, Adam, had brought in death to reign over this whole world. We now find that God had a different Man in mind, Jesus Christ, to bring in life righteously (Romans 5:15). It was essential that God's righteousness was not compromised. Therefore Jesus Christ had to pay the price for your salvation. Salvation is open to all but it only becomes mine on the basis of faith. Have you believed? Is Jesus your Saviour? Are you covered by the sacrifice of Christ?
The victory that Christ has achieved means that it is possible for you and me to know with certainty that we are safe and secure for all time and eternity.
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