COATS OF SKINS INSTEAD OF FIG LEAVES
Adam and Eve…..had no idea of religion; for hitherto they had needed none. It yet remained to be revealed as the divinely appointed means of healing the breach which sin had made between God and men.
Man having been made subject to evil, and consigned to the bondage of a perishing state, the Lord God repudiated their fig-leaf invention, and “appointed coats of skins” for their covering. In this testimony there is much expressed in few words. To appoint coats of skins implies a command for the sacrifice of animals whose skins were converted to this purpose. It also implies that Adam was the priest on the occasion, who presented himself before the Lord with the mediatorial blood. When the sacrifice was accepted, the offence was provisionally remitted; for the scripture saith: that it is not possible for the blood of animals to take away sins. (Heb 10:4) It was impossible, because if the death of a transgressor would have sufficed, then, Adam and Eve might have been put to death at once, and raised to life again. But this was not according to the divine wisdom.
The great principle to be compassed was – the condemnation of sin in sinful flesh, innocent of actual transgression. Sin was to be condemned in sinful flesh. This required the death of a man; for the animals had not sinned: so that, if the whole animal world, save man, had been made an offering for sin, sin would still have been un- condemned in his nature.
Besides the necessity of a human sacrifice, God deemed it equally necessary that the victim should be free from personal transgressions; and that when he had suffered, he should rise from the dead so as to be “a living sacrifice”. This principle necessitated the manifestation of one, who should be born of a woman, but not of the will of man. Such a one would be the Seed of the Woman, made of her substance, with Him for his Father who by His overshadowing spirit should cause her to conceive. He would be Son of God by origination; and Son of Mary by descent, or birth of sinful flesh.
Now, it is not to be supposed that Adam and Eve did not understand this: God doubtless explained it to them; for they had none to teach them but Him ; and without His instruction, they would not have known what they should believe. It was from them that Abel derived the knowledge which was the foundation of his faith, to which God testified in the acceptance of the firstling of his flock and the fat thereof.
Adam and his wife had faith, or God would not have accepted the sacrifices with whose skins they were clothed; for it was as true then as it is now, that “without faith it is impossible to please God ”. Faith, then, in the Seed of the Woman, first as a sacrifice for sin, wounded to death by his enemies ; and afterwards the destroyer of the sin-power; in connection with the sacrifice of animals as representative of the bruising of his heel – was the ground of their acceptance with the Lord God. It was The Way of Life.
John Thomas, Elpis Israel