Foundational themes in Genesis (Part 22)

Theme: Covering

(Key verses: Gen 3:7 and Gen 21)

Every human comes naked from the hand of the Potter, and this nakedness refers spiritually to our marred and sinful condition for which God Himself takes full responsibility:

Jer 18:4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

Isa 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

But nakedness and flesh were never God’s ultimate condition and goal for humanity. He is in the process of covering all in the generation of the first man Adam with His spiritual glory. But first we must see and understand our earthy condition for what it is, to be able to appreciate what a holy God is all about. In Genesis 3 verse 6 it is clear that the hearts of Adam and Eve were filled with lusts and pride before they actually ate of the forbidden fruit. After they ate, their eyes were opened to see their nakedness. Their solution to have their nakedness covered was totally inadequate:

Gen 3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves [Hebrew: “âleh” from “âlâh” which means “to ascend” or “exaltation”] together, and made themselves aprons [Hebrew: “chăgôr” or “chăgôrâh” is a covering for the waist only].

The apron did not cover the whole body (their nakedness) and was made of fig leaves which again reflect spiritually on their inherent pride and self-righteousness. Our own works to cover our nakedness is seen as “filthy rags” and “profitable for nothing” in God’s eyes, which physical “Judah and Jerusalem” was also shown through the prophet Jeremiah (Jer 13:1-27).

Isa 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

God in His mercy and grace will “mar” our covering of pride and self-righteousness, and we won’t give it up without a painful sacrifice, which “righteous” Job also show to us (Job 40:7-14). Natural man was made to be “accustomed to do evil” in the Potter’s hand:

Jer 13:22-23  And if thou say in thine heart, Wherefore come these things upon me? For the greatness of thine iniquity are thy skirts discovered, and thy heels made bare.  23  Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.

The worldly spirit in Adam and Eve did not cause them to consult or wait on God, but proposed their own answer for their nakedness. This also reminds us of Abraham and Sarah who found in Hagar a solution to satisfy their pride and impatience with God’s timetable (Gen 16:1-2). So the spiritual type of the improper covering of fig leaves appears right through the Scriptures and applies in different ways in our lives. When “every man [do] that which [is] right in his own eyes” our man of sin (the first Adam) sits on God’s throne and exalts himself with his own hopeless solutions to cover his own deceits with so much stubbornness and glaring arrogance (2Th 2:3-4):

Jdg 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel [when God is not on the throne]: every man did that which was right in his own eyes [self-righteousness].

That is of course our natural perception, but self-righteousness is a delusion which God sends via evil spirits (2Thess 2:11). Not to see God as responsible for all the things which happen in our lives and think we can avoid giving an account for our own transgressions, is how we also use fig leaves to cover our own nakedness (Gen 45:5,8; Isa 63:17; Eph 1:11; Pro 16:4):

Gen 3:12-13 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

Improper “clothing” is familiar with the attire of a harlot. A harlot is known by her “subtil” sensual dress code and smooth words aimed at enticement (Gen 38:14; Jer 4:30; Rev 17:4; Rev 3:17; Pro 5:3; Matt 5:28):

Pro 7:10-12 And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. 11 (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: 12 Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)

The attire of a harlot is not actually meant to cover, but rather to show more flesh in a seductive way, to create a desire in a man to come closer. This clothing of nakedness is all a type of the enticing mind-set of the spiritual Babylonian harlot we all fall for at our appointed times. She eats her own bread and wears her own garment, but she is also called by the Name of Jesus (unashamedly using and quoting His words) to deceive the spiritually naked multitudes:

Isa 4:1 And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.

Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

God’s order is also something the harlot (and all natural minds) despise (Num 12:1-15; Num 16:1-3). Cross-dressing is forbidden in Scripture because it reveals a rejection of the order and distinctions God established for the male and female, which in turn reflect spiritually on the order in the Godhead and the way God ordained order in the Christ (1Cor 14:40; Rom 1:20; 1Cor 11:3):

Deu 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

Another deceitful way of a “covering” is to look like a sheep or a lamb, but speak as a dragon, even the spiritual wolves in “sheep’s clothing”:

Rev 13:11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

Mat 7:15  Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

That is why spiritual wolves are extremely successful, by God’s design, because they come in sheep clothing (Act 20:29-30). These wolves speak with the forked tongue of the serpent (dragon) because they say that the outward (flesh) is nothing, but with the same breath turn around to promote and elevate the lasciviousness or indulgence in fleshly “blessings” (Mk 7:20-23; 2Cor 12:21; Gal 5:19; 1Pet 4:3; Jud 1:4). This is the breath or spirit of the antichrist in us when we deny the appropriate place and function of the physical application of God’s word (Gen 2:7-9):

1Jn 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

Mat 7:15-16 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

After we spent our appointed times under the harlot’s spell, God will drag us to Jesus who will clothe us with the new robe, like the father of the prodigal son did:

Luk 15:22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

God supplied better clothing and protection for Adam and Eve:

Gen 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats [Hebrew: “kethôneth” or “kûttôneth” which is a a long shirt-like garment] of skins, and clothed them.

They were much better prepared now for what was still lying ahead of them. Right through the Scriptures it is revealed that the proper “covering” can handle the enduring of a long and painful process (Luk 21:19; Acts 14:22; Rom 5:3-5; 1Pet 4:12; Rev 15:8). God’s spiritual covering is special and different to the inadequate clothing and spirit of this world. This was typified by the Aaronic priesthood who was given “holy garments” to function in the tabernacle and the physical temple:

Exo 28:2 And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty.

Eze 44:18-19 They shall have linen bonnets upon their heads, and shall have linen breeches upon their loins; they shall not gird themselves with any thing that causeth sweat. 19 And when they go forth into the utter court, even into the utter court to the people, they shall put off their garments wherein they ministered, and lay them in the holy chambers, and they shall put on other garments; and they shall not sanctify the people with their garments.

The concept of “sweat” points to our own covering of the works of self-righteousness when our earth (“dust you are”) bring forth thorns, thistles and the eating of herbs (1Cor 15:50; Rom 14:1-2):

Gen 3:17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Our flesh’s own work (“bodily exercise”) is all vanity

Ecc 1:3-4  What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?  4  One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.

1Ti 4:8  For bodily exercise profiteth little…

That is the natural estate and the sum of the overall effort of all in the generation of the first Adam. Only God’s works are profitable to salvation and man is not able to contribute anything – it is all God’s “good works” (Tit 3:8; 1Tim 4:8; Eph 1:11). For God to make the “coats of skins” it required the sacrifice of a life. God’s provision of a sacrifice satisfies the proper covering for our nakedness [we will discuss this in our next discussion (#23), God willing]. God’s proper provision for adequate clothing is foundational to our understanding of the process of salvation of all in the generation of the first man Adam (1Cor 15:22-28). Although the flesh of Adam and Eve was covered by physical clothes, outward clothing in itself is just a type of the covering we all need for our spiritual nakedness. The outside is not God’s priority, but the inside – the condition of the heart. But the inside is reflected and expressed even in the “conversation” or outward walk in the life of God’s elect (2Cor 1:12; Phil 1:27; Heb 13:5):

1Pe 2:12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

When Jesus came to “dwell among us” He too came in the same naked flesh and “took part of the same” flesh as His brothers. He is the true inward shepherd who had an outward covering of naked flesh for a specific purpose (John 1:14: Heb 2:14):

Luk 2:7 And she [Mary] brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

God and His Son do not hold flesh or nakedness in any esteem, but the outward “body of sin” with all its “members” is an integral part of God’s plan. We would never have known what sin is if it was not for the outward first. In that sense we would also never have known how the new spiritual body, the church, functions and how we play our part in it (1Cor 12:12-28; 1Cor 15:38-40; Heb 10:24-26). After His death to His flesh, Jesus was resurrected to be clothed again by His Father. Jesus appeared to John “in the spirit” and He was still “clothed with a garment down to the foot”:

Rev 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.

Rev 1:13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

Christ is our covering and we are His. As He covers and completes us, we complete Him:

Eph 1:21-23 (GNB) Christ rules there above all heavenly rulers, authorities, powers, and lords; he has a title superior to all titles of authority in this world and in the next. 22 God put all things under Christ’s feet and gave him to the church as supreme Lord over all things. 23 The church is Christ’s body, the completion of him who himself completes all things everywhere.

The right clothing has to do with having the “right mind” which is the righteous mind of Christ (Rev 7:14; Rev 19:7-8,14). That is spiritually referred to as being seated with Him in heaven, even in this age (Eph 2:6). Christ and His mind is our covering and will be our spiritual “house” in fullness at the resurrection (2Cor 5:1-4):

Mar 5:15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.

1Co 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

The scriptures warn against uncovering the “nakedness” of the next of kin. A godly marriage union covers nakedness and only Christ is the appointed Husband and Head by the Father to be the one lawful partner or part to cover His spiritual bride. Any other cover is deceitful and a shame:

Hab 2:15 Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!

1Co 11:6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.

God’s heritage is true love which will not uncover the nakedness in our next of kin in Adam to rule over others or to compare among self (or getting benefits for ourselves) just to abuse other’s kindness (1 Pet 5:3; Isa 26:13; Matt 20:25-26; 2Cor 10:12; Jas 2:14-17):

Lev 18:6 None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the LORD.

Php 2:2-3 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Ham shamelessly and openly told his brothers about his father’s nakedness revealing his own loveless and naked condition (Gal 5:22-23):

Gen 9:20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: 21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.

Mat 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

Knowing we all have the same naked condition in Adam while we are in this “body of sin” and shame, we do not oppose ourselves but cover others with meekness (2Tim 2:24-26; Gal 6:1; Eph 4:2).

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Want let op julle roeping, broeders: julle is nie baie wyse na die vlees nie, nie baie magtiges, nie baie edeles nie; maar wat dwaas is by die wêreld, het God uitverkies om die wyse te beskaam; en wat swak is by die wêreld, het God uitverkies om wat sterk is, te beskaam; en wat onedel is by die wêreld en wat verag is, het God uitverkies, en wat niks is nie, om wat iets is, tot niet te maak, sodat geen vlees voor Hom sou roem nie. (1Kor 1:26-29)
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