Man’s Covering And God’s Covering
In Genesis 3 we read about the evil deed of Adam and Eve by eating of the fruit of the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil”. It was an evil deed because they knew what God had said, and they did not believe God, their Maker, but instead they believed the evil spirit, which indwelt the serpent.
Did Adam and Eve know that there was a spirit indwelling the talking serpent?
Of course they knew. God did not create two dummies. They knew that animals could not speak the human language. Their mouths are not built to speak like humans do. Adam and Eve knew that it was not God talking through the serpent. They also knew that it was a spirit that was against God. And yet they kept listening and debating with this evil spirit, until they too were convinced of the dishonesty of God. They believed the lie!
What has God done to deserve this kind of treatment?
What has God done to this evil spirit called Lucifer, who became Satan, to deserve this?
What has God done to Adam and Eve to deserve this?
Nothing! God has been totally fair with all of them. God created them and God was their Benefactor, which means that God did much good to them. But Lucifer was puffed up with:
Covetousness and Pride (Genesis 3:6, 1 Timothy 2:14, Romans 5:12)
Then, talking with these two humans, Satan also infected them with “Covetousness and Pride”.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
The woman saw. The impure look of Eve, infected with the poison of covetousness, was both the messenger and the witness of her impure heart. Now that she considered the tree to be good for food was in itself a sign of apostacy. Now she lustfully looks at the tree and she persuades herself that it is a tree desirable to make one wise. Then she plucked off one ripe fruit from this tree, she ate from it, and she did not fall down dead. We do not know how long Adam was watching her.
Was he there all along during her temptation, or did he come later?
That is not for us to know. She might have said: “Look Adam, I ate from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the serpent was right, I did not fall down dead”, and then she told Adam about her conversation with the serpent “and she gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat”.
That is why we read in 1 Timothy 2:14, “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression”. She was the one who was deceived. Adam was not deceived. He transgressed the law of God because he went along with the wishes of his wife, and she drew him into the same fatal ambition that the serpent gave her: “Look Adam, the tree is good for food, it is pleasant to the eyes and it is designed to make one wise; don’t you want to become as wise as God Himself?”
Dumb pride is what drew her the most to this fatal experiment. But God tells us in Romans 5:12 that sin came not by the woman, but by Adam himself. This proves that Adam also foolishly coveted more than was lawful. He too gave more credit to the flatteries of the devil than to the sacred command from God. This is how by pride the human race was ruined, and pride has never left mankind since then.
But did you notice how it happened?
It happened in the Garden of Eden the same way it happens today. Men rebel against God when they have forsaken the Word of God and they lend their ears to the lies of Satan. Therefore God will only be seen and adored in His Word, and reverence for God is shaken off when His Word is despised. Just as faith unites us to God, so unbelief for God’s Word was the root of Adam and Eve’s defection. Their unbelief has opened the door to ambition, but ambition proved to be the parent of rebellion, with the result that they would throw aside the fear of God, and shake off their obligation to His commands. All this is a love for what this sin cursed world has to offer. It is the world of Satan. God says:
“Love Not the World” (1 John 2:15-17, Matthew 12:39, Luke 16:31, Revelation 22:18)
Is it not amazing how close Genesis 3:6 is to God’s description of worldliness?
What is worldliness?
Worldliness is loving the things of this world. That is how God defines worldliness in 1 John 2:15-17.
1 John 2:15-17
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.
In other words, if anyone loves things of the world, it is a sure sign that he or she is still unregenerate, because the love of God the Father is not resting on that person.
What are the things that are in the world?
Well, what are the things that are foremost in our minds?
What are the things that we talk about most?
Let me give a few examples:
Are we talking about the word of God?
Are we talking about our Savior Jesus Christ?
Are we talking about how to apply our spiritual food, or do we leave that up to the Pastor?
Or are we talking about strengthening our fellowships during the week?
Are we talking about God’s grace all the time?
Let me give a few other examples:
Are we talking about food, and about recipes, and restaurants, and birthday parties, and how to cut short our stay in church?
These are things concerning the lust of the flesh.
Are we talking about houses, or cars, or computers, or stereo sets, or are we talking about other gadgets for entertainment, or movies, or clothes?
These are things concerning the lust of the eyes. Are we talking about how bright our children and grandchildren are, or about how many books on theology we have read, or how great and important our job is, and so on, then we are talking about the pride of life.
As soon as the church service is over, what are the things that we talk about?
Those are the things that are foremost in our mind. Now, can you see that in our affluent American society there is a great pull toward worldliness, much more so than in third world countries. You can see that if you would live in a third world country, where your walk to church on Sunday mornings takes 2 hours, one way, that the matters of the church and the Bible and God’s grace are much more in the forefront of your mind, because you do not worry much about all the things of this world that we hold so dear.
Now, let us get back to Adam and Eve, who really represented a micro-cosmos of the church in that day. When Adam and Eve sinned, the church of that day was ruined. And let us ask ourselves: “Is this also the way the church is ruined in our days?”
1) When Eve saw that the tree was good for food, and she lusted after that physical food, that was a manifestation of the lust of the flesh.
2) When Eve saw that the tree was pleasant to the eyes, this was a manifestation of the lust of the eyes.
3) When Eve was convinced that the tree was desirable to make one wise, it was a manifestation of the pride of life.
Now, is this how the church gets ruined in our days?
Let us compare:
1) Gospels preached in most churches these days are catering to what the congregations like best. These are gospels that give them such a good feeling inside, almost to the point of ecstasy. The Pastor picks only those passages from the Bible that are well suited to give them a warm, soothing, feeling inside. It means the Pastor would not preach about Hell, or about Judgment Day, or about election and reprobation. These are things the people in the pew do not like to hear, so they do not hear them. But in fact, the preachers are not preaching what God likes, but they are catering to the lust of the flesh.
2) Gospels preached in most churches these days are making people believe that God is today still performing signs and wonders, like He did in the days that the Bible was written. Then the people in the congregations say: “I believe it because I can see it”. It means that the Pastor would not preach on those passages where Jesus says, “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign” (Matthew 12:39), or at another occasion Jesus said, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31). The Pastor is catering to the lust of the eyes.
What does the congregation like to see?
They like to see a play or a show, instead of a worship service. They like to see a service totally performed by children. That will he give them to see.
3) Gospels preached in most churches these days are making people believe that God is still bringing divine revelations to mankind in dreams, or in visions, or in angel visitations, or in tongues. This is what the Charismatic movement wants us to believe. Now this is what the people in the congregations really like. It is so exciting when someone in their presence speaks with the voice from God. It is so exciting when they themselves are experiencing a vision, or a dream. It is so exciting when they can feel the presence of the Holy Ghost, and they hear others testifying that they have changed, and their eyes are bigger and brighter than before. And in their theology they believe that there must be more to it than just the plain Bible, because now we can rise to a higher level of spirituality. Now we can rise one stage closer to God. But all this is nothing but the pride of life. It is worldliness to the max. Just compare it with Genesis 3:1-6. Satan made Eve believe that she was missing out on something very important: “Be more like God”. Today the Charismatic movement makes people believe that, unless they join, they are missing out on something very important. Eve believed that there was more that God had not yet said. The Charismatics believe that God has not finished declaring new things. For Adam and Eve the results were a disaster; they found out that they were deceived. For the Charismatics the results will turn out to be a disaster; they will find out that they have been deceived. And God has said, in Revelation 22:18, that they, by their actions, prove that they have not been saved. The testing program which God placed before Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, turned out to be very similar to the testing program which God placed before the end-time church.
By comparing the sin of Adam and Eve with 1 John 2:15-17 we recognize that their sin is nothing else than worldliness. They coveted the things of this world more than to be in the favor of God.
Let us turn back now to Adam and Eve, in Genesis 3:7.
“Then Their Eyes Were Opened” (Genesis 3:7, Hebrews 4:13, 2 Corinthians 5:2-3, Psalm 111:10, 1 Corinthians 1:20-21)
How long were they in the Garden of Eden in a state of righteousness with God?
We do not know. We only know that it was not very long. They had not had the opportunity to eat from the Tree of Life. They were deprived of God’s benefits before they had become accustomed to use them. One man wrote about this fact in these words: “O wretched free will, which while it was yet intact, it had so little stability”. Another author, wrote about this in these humbling words: “Since we read that a fall so dreadful took place in Paradise, what shall we do on the dunghill?”
Satan promised to Eve, “Ye shall know good and evil”, but that knowledge was therefore accursed, because it was sought in preference to the spoken will of God. Therefore, unless we wish to fasten the same snares upon ourselves in which Adam and Eve were snared, let us learn to depend entirely upon the Word of God alone, because we want to acknowledge Him as the Author of everything good. Let us cast off all self-confidence, and offer ourselves empty to Christ, that He may fill us with His own riches. We read:
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
Now “The eyes of them both were opened” to their sin. This fact, that their eyes were opened, proves them to have been condemned by their own judgment. No one dragged them yet before the throne of God, and no one yet accused them.
But is not this sense of guilt and shame a sure token of their guilt?
A few moments earlier they accused God of lying and accusing God of withholding from them the divine state of godliness. But now they found out that they were deceived, and instead of pursuing godliness they were pursuing worldliness. Now they want to hide themselves from God and they fled to hiding places. What a silly idea! Now their eyes were opened and they could see their own baseness, their own ingratitude to God, and they sensed that they had violated God’s commandment, and that they had done something dreadful. That is why they were now ashamed of being naked. But even though they were convinced of their guilt, they did not humble themselves before God, they did not fear His judgments as they should, and they resorted to passing the buck. The same can be said for anyone on this earth who sins against God’s 10 Commandments. God has planted into each man’s heart an awareness of guilt when he violates anyone of these 10 Commandments. The eloquence of all the lawyers in the world cannot deliver those from condemnation, whose own conscience has become the judge to compel them to confess their fault.
Adam and Eve knew that they were naked, and they were ashamed.
Why were they ashamed now?
They had been walking naked for several days, or weeks, without feeling ashamed. But now they were ashamed of their sins. Now they knew they were exposed to God in all their sins. That is what their sense of nakedness meant, because God says in Hebrews 4:13, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do”.
That is what spiritual nakedness means: being exposed to God with all our sins. For example, speaking about the Last Day the Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:2-3, “For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.”
If we are found naked, exposed to God with all our sins, then our sins have not been washed away in the blood of Christ, and then we will be cast into Hell. Therefore we should fear God when we sense that we are standing naked before Him. If we have no protection, for we cannot hide our sins, then we must “fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell”.
That is a healthy fear. This is a fear that may lead to salvation. The Bible says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10). We cannot hide our sins; neither can we hide ourselves from God. But people try to hide from God, like Adam and Eve tried to hide themselves from God.
How do people try to hide from God?
Well, they think of excuses. For example they say, “I did not think it was so bad. Everyone is doing it”.
But what are people taught in the churches?
God loves you, and God will forgive you anyway.
Is that really so?
Can we continue to hide behind the God loves you slogan?
Is it true that God loves everyone?
No! God says: “The wicked and him that loveth violence His soul hateth” (Psalm 11:5).
But if God is the creator of everyone, does that not imply that God must love everyone as a loving heavenly father?
No! The Lord Jesus said to the Jews surrounding Him: “Ye are of your father the Devil” (John 8:44). If we do not know our Bible, then we are targets for this kind of nonsense.
God sees us the way we are, even though we try to cover up. Let us return now to Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve tried to cover up their sin, but it did not work. We read in Gen 3:7,
They Made Their Own Covering (Genesis 3:7, 1 Kings 4:25, Hosea 9:10, Jeremiah 24:1-10, Romans 9:31-32)
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
They sowed fig leaves together to make themselves their own covering. And what a covering this was! They did not make themselves aprons. The Hebrew word is “girdle”. They made themselves silly girdles of fig leaves. Suddenly their mind seems totally out of commission.
But is it not interesting that they chose fig leaves?
Why did God record this amount of detail?
Fig leaves have the size of large maple leaves, or sycamore leaves, but fig leaves are certainly not large enough to give them a covering. Fig leaves are difficult to tie together.
Why did they not choose banana leaves?
Those would have been much more suitable.
Why did they not choose a vine to wrap it around their body many times?
That would also have been much more convenient. But God does not record things in the Bible just for fun. God recorded “fig leaves” because God wanted us to know in what frame of mind Adam and Eve were when they made their own covering. Fig leaves point us to the fig tree, and the fig tree points us to the nation of Israel. For example, to indicate that the nation of Israel was at peace during the days of Solomon, God recorded in First Kings 4:25,
1 Kings 4:25
And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.
Both the vine and the fig tree were pointing to the physical kingdom of the nation of Israel. Another example is from Hosea 9:10. There God says that He found Israel like grapes on the vine. We read:
I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the first ripe in the fig tree at her first time:
God says that He found their forefathers as the first ripe figs on the fig tree, again pointing to the fig tree as a symbol of the nation of Israel. In Jeremiah 24, God speaks about a large contingent of captives from Jerusalem and Judah who were taken to Babylon, and God compares them with those who were allowed to stay in Jerusalem and Judah. These two groups of people were compared to two baskets of figs.
Where do the figs come from?
They come from the fig tree, or from the nation of Israel. We read in Jeremiah 24:1,
The LORD shewed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the LORD, after that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon.
One basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe: and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad.
Then said the LORD unto me, What seest thou, Jeremiah? And I said, Figs; the good figs, very good; and the evil, very evil, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil.
Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.
For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up.
And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my
people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.
Who is taking all the initiative?
God says: I will do that, I have sent them out of this place, I will build them, I will plant them, and I will give them a heart to know me. God lets us know that He will bestow His favor, His grace, upon this group of people from the nation of Israel who are held captive in Babylon. And then God speaks about the other group of people, who are allowed to stay in Judah.
And as the evil figs, which cannot be eaten, they are so evil; surely thus saith the LORD, So will I give Zedekiah the king of Judah, and his princes, and the residue of Jerusalem, that remain in this land, and them that dwell in the land of Egypt:
And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them.
And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, among them, till they be consumed from off the land that I gave unto them and to their fathers.
You see, both groups of people are identified with the fig tree. There are many more references pointing to the fig tree as a symbol of the nation of Israel.
But what has this to do with Adam and Eve?
What typifies the religion of most in the nation of Israel?
Let me read to you what God says in Romans 9:
But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone;
You see, Israel adhered to a works gospel. Since they were children of Abraham, they believed that God had promised all of them to go to heaven, as long as they obeyed the Ceremonial Law. Therefore they had no need for Christ; they had no use for a Savior.
What would He save them from?
They believed that they could become righteous by obeying the Law. That is what fig leaves indicate. But such a works gospel is not the language of the Bible at all. God says in Galatians 2:16 that “By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified”.
Instead of a covenant of works, God established a Covenant of Grace for all those whom God wished to place in that Covenant. The language of the Bible is that salvation is all by grace, which means that it is all a free gift. We must believe this gift by the Spirit who dwells within us. That is the Spirit which prompts us unto good works, but those good works are not the cause of our salvation; they are the result of our salvation.
What sort of good works are the evidence of salvation?
First and foremost it is the desire to hear the voice of our Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ. His speech comes to us from the words we read on the pages of the Bible. In no other way does Christ speak to us, because the Bible is a Book that has been completed. Secondly, the desire to be with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ is also an evidence of our salvation. This is the communion of the saints.
Do we enjoy to fellowship with the saints, or is it a drudgery?
Do we try to escape it?
Adam and Eve did not like to hear the voice of God, and they did not like the presence of His
Company. Their fig leaves indicated that they were planning to make up for the damage they had done, but they did not know how. They showed by their actions that they had fallen from grace. This was the only time in history that people were under a covenant of works, and as a result we see that a covenant of works cannot work unto salvation. Under the best of circumstances it leads to failure.
But God had mercy on them. God drove them out of the Garden for their own good, and:
God Gave Them Covering (Genesis 3:21, Isaiah 61:10, Hebrews 9:22)
Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
Historically it meant that God took away those silly girdles of fig leaves, and God killed two animals and prepared their skins so that they became suitable for clothing.
But why did God do that?
God sacrificed two animals. We read in the New Testament that all sacrificial animals were types and figures looking forward to the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. These two animals fell in that same category. God showed hereby that “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins”. (Hebrews 9:22)
How can we see that remission of sins is what God had in mind?
We read that “God clothed them”. God put these animal skins on them to show that He has forgiven them. Adam and Eve did not deserve this, but neither do we. This also shows that there is no sin so great that it cannot be forgiven.
In Isaiah 61 God describes the New Testament saints as the planting of the Lord. But then in Isaiah 61:10 one of the saints breaks out in singing:
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
The reason I can be so joyful is that God has clothed me. I did not save myself by accepting the Lord Jesus as my Savior. When God saved me, He took the filthy rags of my own good works away from me, and He has clothed me with the robe of Christ’s righteousness. Now all my sins are covered with the righteousness of Christ. This is the Covenant of Grace. It comes to me freely by grace. But on Christ’s part it required blood, and sacrifice, and death, even unto the 2nd death. The fact that God clothed Adam and Eve with two animal skins indicated that God saved them by His grace, through the blood of Christ, like He saved all the saints both in the Old Testament and the New Testament time, because Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
The question is, how will we respond to God providing for us such a righteous covering?
We know that we do not become righteous by that act of God whereby He declares us righteous. We have not become righteous because we still sin in this body of death. This body still lusts after sin.
But how do we respond to such a great gift of God’s grace?
The answer is that when Christ paid for our sins on the cross, He did not abandon us from that point on. He continues to watch over us as an eagle watches over her young. God continues to give us grace to live the life that He wants us to live.
This Is What God Will Do (Isaiah 61:11).
For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
God will do that. This is what God will do for all those whom He saves. He gives us a life of continued sanctification. Our life is entirely controlled by God, “For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). And also “It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). But if there is no spiritual growth, then we need to worry.
By Alfred Chompff