May 3, 2018

Aprons of Fig Leaves and Coats of Skins



After Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit, they made aprons of fig leaves to hide their nakedness and hid from the Lord because of the shame they felt for disobeying Him (see Genesis 3:6-8). Of course the Lord knows all things, so when He called to them asking why they hid, He already knew the answer. The Lord was simply allowing them to acknowledge their mistakes, helping them to begin the process of repentance.

Because of their transgression, Adam and Eve could no longer dwell in the presence of God. Adam and Eve had attempted to cover themselves with fig leaves because of their shame, but the Lord had a better way. Thus, before sending His children out into the lone and dreary world, the Lord first made "coats of skins, and clothed them," (Genesis 3:21) giving them comfort, warmth, and helping to cover the shame they felt.

Though we don't know for sure what the "coats of skins" are, it would only make sense that this was the skins of the first animal that had been killed in the Garden of Eden. Perhaps, even here is where Adam and Eve first learned how to offer sacrifices prior to being expelled from the Garden. If these skins were from the first animal to die in the Garden, it must have been a powerful reminder to Adam and Eve of the consequences of sin. It also would be a constant reminder to them, as they went throughout their lives, of the Father's love for them.

High Priest dabbing or covering horn of altar of incense
In Hebrew the word atonement, or kafar, means to cover. For example, on the Day of Atonement, the most solemn day in the Jewish year, blood was used to cover various parts of the Tabernacle, including the altar of sacrifice, the altar of incense, and the Ark of the Covenant. This is why it is called the Day of Atonement, because it was a day in which symbolically and literally, sin was covered over, or atonement was made, by the blood of the sacrifice. Adam and Eve received a powerful and meaningful message. An innocent animal died so that they could be covered.

Anciently, clothing someone often symbolized giving them power and authority. [1] This is still true today, think of a police officer, the robes of a judge, the graduation gown, or the robes of a priest. The robes and clothing represent their title, authority, and power that have been given to them. Likewise, the fact that the Lord not only made the "coats of skins" for Adam and Eve, but He also actually dressed them, seems to imply that the Lord is now endowing them, or giving them power as they enter the lonely world.

All of us, like Adam and Eve, have each sinned and sought to cover our sins with feeble attempts of symbolic fig leaves. But just as the Lord clothed Adam and Eve with beautiful coats of skins, so too each of us can be covered through the atonement of the Savior. A covering, that like the coats of skins, provides warmth, protection, and blots out or covers over our sins. The Lord, knowing our need to be forgiven and to have confidence to stand again in His presence, shed His blood and died for us, so that we can feel assurance that we never need to hide from the Lord.


[1] The Lost Language of Symbolism, by Alonzo Gaskill, pages 61-62.

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