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2012 A.D.:  Do Clothes Make the Man?

  The history of humans and of human clothing are of pretty similar ages, but not exactly the same.  Humans began their walk with God in the Garden of Eden a little bit under-dressed by modern standards.  As for our beginning, it was on the 6th Day of Creation.  And the very first full day humanity ever experienced was the next day, the 7th Day, the first Sabbath, which God declared to be a Holy Day of Rest because he was finished with the unfathomable marvel called 'the Creation' on the 6th Day.  It deserved to be commemorated, since it was the most remarkable work that was ever to be, I suppose.

  Gen 2:2,3  "And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.  Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made." 

  It may have ruined mankind forever, however, to have our first full day of existence be a vacation day.  We have been inordinately fond of vacation days every since.

  Eve was soon made, taken from one of Adams ribs when Adam was in a deep sleep, and she was then formed into the first woman.  And though a woman, Eve was not fashion conscious in the very beginning, as we know from this scripture, speaking about Adam and Eve when they still lived in the Garden of Eden:  Gen 2:25  "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed."  This also tells us that Eve was considered a 'wife' to Adam.  Marriage, this suggests, is an institution given to us from our most ancient foundations as a creature of God.

  In discouragingly short order the crafty serpent had tricked Eve, and through and because of Eve, Adam, into eating the forbidden fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil - the one tree among all those in the Garden of Eden from which they were specifically told not to eat!  Mankind!!!  One rule....just one simple little rule....and we couldn't break it fast enough!!  Of course Adam knew God had told him not to eat it, and before Eve came he had not eaten of that tree.  But, out of his relationship with Eve, he became guilty like her of the first sin.  O-OH!  It's similar to how Jesus, a sinless being, was sent to Earth and ended up being hung from a tree, where the accursed are hung, because of the sins of His bride...we humans!  This eating of the forbidden fruit is also the first instance of human-kind being tricked - and it was by the serpent, who was therefore the first deceiver.

  But, in Eve's possible defense, Adam was warned by God not to eat of the tree before Eve was pulled out of Adam's side and formed into a woman.  But during Eve's conversation with the serpent she makes it plain that she knew that eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was forbidden, so she was not guiltless.  Mankind had then engaged in the first act of disobedience!

  When they ate the fruit, their eyes were opened, and they then knew that they were naked.  Genesis 3:7  "Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings."  

  This is the first documented bad shopping choice.  And it was a very bad one indeed.  It also constituted the first harmful dietary choice and the first time that sharing food proved harmful.  Through it, the first clothing line was born.  It came in the color 'green' only, at first, but later they must have passed through various colors on their way to becoming the dead brown leaves we are familiar with.  Of course, the fig leaf clothing line probably did not last long. 

  We have that saying that someone is 'Green with envy!" because they wish that they had something that they see with their eyes.  Since Eve was brought to covet the fruit, to be envious to have it in a sense, it is worth noting that the clothing line that it led to was 'green'. 

    A Fig Leaf

                                                                

  The clothes were composed of fig leaves sewn together.  Fig leaves constituted the first clothing material - cellulose, essentially.  Cellulose is a thread-like molecule made of glucose molecules connected end to end.  OH-O after OH-O in a long connected string.  Each cellulose molecule looks kind of like a long worm, snake, serpent...whatever.  OH-O!  How ironic.  In the English language, when we make a mistake, we often say Oh-O!  Though I guess we spell it 'Uh-O!'.  Good clothing choice to use for after this particular 'mistake', wouldn't you say? 

  Who taught them to sew we do not know, nor do we know what they used for thread.  Perhaps God allowed it to be done through human ingenuity alone. 

  It was a clothing line dreamed up by humans, and as we will see, God did not later find it sufficient to cover their nakedness.  What is somewhat interesting however is that leaves fall, and they were first used as clothing when mankind had 'fallen'.  What is also interesting is that it was 'fig' leaves, and the fig would quite often be used as an allegorical object for Israelites and of Jews in the Old Testament and the New.  The 'fig' tree would come to be the tree associated with the Jews, and the 'fig' fruit was used to symbolize Jewish and Israelite people, figuratively, in several cases in scripture.

  One question, never answered, was whether the fig was the fruit that the serpent tempted Eve with.  Would they have used leaves from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?  It would have been ironic if they had, but I think probably not.

  Fig leaves can have a variety of sizes and shapes due to there being many varieties of fig tree.  But a common shape is a 5 lobed leaf somewhat like the maple leaf of Canada, but with smoother, rounder, and less jagged edges than a maple leaf.  They can be hand sized, up to at least the size of a human head in the case of some varieties.  Below is a photo of a second variety.  Which of the two do you think would look best on you?

   Another Type of Fig Leaf

  The guilty couple soon heard God walking in the Garden, and they hid so he would not find them 'naked', though in fact they probably had fig leaves on.  God was not in the dark about these recent events, of course. As soon as God called Adam's name Adam finally responded that he had been afraid to answer God because he was 'naked'.  And God responded (Gen 3:11):  "Who told you that you were naked?  Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?"

  Oddly, the eating of forbidden fruit had the same affect upon people as another event that would happen around 2500 years later...the giving of the law to Moses.  Just as knowledge from the tree of good and evil let them know that they were naked and therefore needed to be covered, so also the giving of the law, to Moses, told them that they were living in violation to many of those newly given laws, and they realized they had offended God.  They realized that they needed atonement, because once you know what the laws are, then you know if you've broken them.  In the Israelites case, in Moses' day, they saw that they had broken laws!    

  Well, what happens next is the first recorded instance of a pathetic attempt to disassociate yourself personally from responsibility for a terrible mess that you ended up being involved in.  It appears that this proclivity and willingness to pass the blame on to others was already dwelling latent within us at the time that the first instance inviting it's use presented itself.  Here are Adam and the as yet not officially named Eve's response to God asking if they had eaten from the forbidden tree.  It also holds the first instance of the husband blaming his wife for one of his own failures or misdeeds.  Additionally, it holds the first instance of a wife, when accused of wrongdoing, revealing that it wasn't exactly her fault, she'd in fact been misled into making the error.  These two culpability avoidance techniques would become the first enduring Standard Operating Procedure for both genders when it came to dealing with accusations of being responsible for things gone very very wrong.

12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

   The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

 14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,

   “Cursed are you above all livestock
   and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
   and you will eat dust
   all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
   between you and the woman,
   and between your offspring[a] and hers;
he will crush[b] your head,
   and you will strike his heel.”

 16 To the woman he said,

   “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
   with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
   and he will rule over you.”

 17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’

   “Cursed is the ground because of you;
   through painful toil you will eat food from it
   all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
   and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
   you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
   since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
   and to dust you will return.”

 20 Adam[c] named his wife Eve,[d] because she would become the mother of all the living.

 21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side[e] of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

End of Quote/Excerpt

  So, the Lord rejected the covering of vegetable matter (fig leaves) and chose coverings of animal skins as proper attire for the first sinful couple.  Obviously, animals had to die to provide this.  This became the first leather clothing line, and it also constitutes the first case of the innocent having to die in order to cover the guilty sinner.

  We are not told which type of animal God chose to kill in order to make this clothing.  It would be deep indeed if it was lamb skin, because far in the future God would provide one that would be called 'the Lamb of God' who would be killed to cover the sins of that portion of mankind that would enter into His covenant.  And men would be told to 'put on the righteousness of Christ'.  So, could God have made the first clothing out of lamb skin?  Who knows?  Had Adam and Eve been allowed to choose, I'm pretty certain that serpent skin would have topped their list, don't you think?

  The precedent was set, at any rate:  to cover the sinner, innocent blood must be shed!

  After this, we are not told so very much about clothing changes or clothing choices as time went by as seen through the pages of the Bible.  Yet there are a few notable clothing related events, of course.

  Soon after the flood, there is another clothing incident.  Noah grows a vinyard and makes wine.  He falls asleep drunk in his tent, and his clothing falls away enough to leave him in some unseemly partially naked posture, which his son Ham sees and decides to make light of to his two brothers, Shem and Japhet.  They are more respectful to Noah than their younger brother.  They walk in backwards with a blanket to cover their father's nakedness.  When Noah woke up, he was angry to hear about what young Ham had done.  But he was unwilling to take out his anger directly on Ham, so he cursed Ham's eldest son Canaan.  Ham was guilty of the offense, but Canaan, presumably innocent, was made to pay.  Canaan and his descendents were to be slaves of Ham's brothers descendents!

  What's interesting about that incident is how it's sort of like the story of Jesus in a way.  I think maybe Jesus' life is like Noah's in a few aspects.  Jesus is a father figure to his followers and believers, though Jesus always acknowledges that His Father Yahweh is the only true Father.  Noah was a father figure to all that survived the flood...and an actual earthly father of Ham, Shem, and Japhet.  Just as Noah had a vinyard that he planted after the flood, Jesus also had a vinyard...the Jews of Israel who should have recognized Him as their Messiah.  Remember the parable of the vinyard owner?  The tenants deecide to kill the son of the owner so they can have the estate?  So, Jesus is likened to a son of a vinyard owner in that parable, right?  And just as Noah drank wine (from a cup?) because of his actual grape vinyard that he had decided to grow, so Jesus also had to 'drink from a cup' because of his vinyard (the Jews, to whom He should have been the Messiah). 

  Remember when Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane that if he could avoid drinking from that cup, he'd like to, but never the less, whatever the Father wanted He would do?  Noah, because of the cups of wine he drank ended up naked and undignified and exposed to ridicule by one that he should have been able to trust.  Jesus was whipped and flogged and slapped and punched and made to wear a crown of thorns.  His beard was pulled, He was dressed up to look like a mock king, and then He was strippped naked, crucified, exposed to the eyes of passers by.  Then He was mocked by leaders of the Jews and strangers walking by as He hung there on the cross, then died and was stabbed by a Roman sprear such that His blood and water poured out from His body, all because of the Jews of His time not wanting a Messiah such as Him who rejected and criticized their corrupted ways.

  Noah had two older sons, Shem and Japhet, who took care of his body, his sleeping, drunken, passed out body, and covered Noah with a robe, walking in backwards so as not to gaze upon Noah in his state of non-dignity and shame.  Jesus had two followers, Joseph of Arimethea and Nicodemus who treated his 'drunken' (remember the 'cup' he had to drink), naked (he had hung naked on the cross because of His vinyard), and sleeping body (He seemed dead, but He was to reawaken), and they treated it with dignity, covering and wrapping Jesus with aromatic burial spices, and giving Him a rich man's burial.

  When Noah awoke he did not curse Ham, but the next generation of Ham's offspring, who was Canaan.  Canaan and Canaan's descendents were cursed to be slaves of Shem and Japhet's descendents.  In much the same way, Jesus didn't curse that very generation of Jews that crucified Him to be slaves.  He caused the Jews that lived 40 years later (in the 70 A.D. time frame - the next generation and the descendents of the ones that dealt so disrespectfully with Him) to be just about totally wiped out by the Romans, and those Jews that survived were mainly made to be slaves in various parts of the world such as Egypt and Rome, and other nations as well.

  That's a comparison which can be made, but it may or may not be right or intended by God.  I think I see something there, but could be wrong.    

 Jacob's son Joseph - before he was attacked by his own brothers and sold off to Egypt - had a colorful coat of many colors, which his brothers used to falsify 'proof' of their poor envied brother's demise to father Jacob.  They tore it up some, and dipped it in blood, and convinced their father that a 'wild beast' appeared to have killed Joseph. (Gen 37:33)  I feel pretty convinced that this, aside from being a real event back in those long ago times, also hinted of a future event, when a 'nation' which has Joseph's qualities and perhaps contains citizens bearing his bloodline which will be attacked and almost destroyed by a plot that will involve the descendents of the other sons of Jacob, and the 'Beast' spoken of in the pages of the Book of Revelation.  This 'Joseph' nation, I'm guessing, will end up being the last hope for the very nations which try to throw him into a depression (pit), and then more successfully forced him into some form of servitude (through a connection with Arab trade?) in 'Eqypt'.  That's just conjecture, though, and I know it's probably wrong. 

  There in Egypt, as a servant to Potiphar, Joseph catches the fancy of Potiphar's unfaithful wife, who takes the opportunity to grasp Joseph and try to induce Joseph to sleep with her.  Joseph runs away, his clothing tearing off of his body because she has grasped it and won't let it go.  Joseph knows he's better off running off with nothing on - naked - than to end up in her clutches.  

  (He's like the unnamed youth in the Garden of Gethsemane who ran off without his garment when Jesus was captured, and the captors grabbed at the Apostles, and the mysterious youth as well.  A legend says that this youth was Mark, from the Gospel of Mark.  John Mark.  Here is a very speculative conjecture upon that incident:  You can't go to the wedding supper of the lamb unless you have a wedding garment on.  Jesus said so in a parable.  And in the end times, if you are MARKed, if you take the 'mark' of the beast, you cannot go to heaven.  Was this incident showing that a time would come when people were trying to capture Jesus' followers, that some would take the Mark - become MARKED - and lose their garment of righteousness given them by Jesus.  Again, just a thought.)  

  But, back to Joseph running from Potiphar's wife.....with her Joseph's torn off garment in her hands.  It is a famous clothing incident, right?  And she then tells Potiphar that it was Joseph who accosted her, not the other way around.  An angry Potiphar has Joseph unfairly thrown in prison, but there Joseph rises to prominence, is released from prison (and scrubbed clean and given proper 'court' clothing) to help Pharoah interpret some puzzling information from a nightmare, and after successfully helping Pharoah interpret his bad dream, Joseph ends up second in all of the land of Egypt.  He is able through this unexpected rise of his 'star' to help his murderous betraying brothers in their time of famished need. 

  Joseph is also like Jesus in some senses.  His early days were auspicious.  His brother 'Israelites' rejected him.  They tried to make out like 'a beast' (for Jesus that was Rome) had killed Joseph, but it was really Joseph's brothers that had thought to kill him (for Jesus that would correlate to his fellow Jews.)  Joseph was given to Potipher, the man that handled Pharoah's earthly affairs.  Jesus was given over to Rome's governor, who ruled Earth's Holy Land affairs in Jesus' day.  Pontius Pilate found out that Jesus was from Galilee, which gave Pontius an excuse to let King Herod deal with Jesus, so Jesus was sent to Herod.  Herod had long wanted to meet Jesus.  He tried to become Jesus' friend, tried to get Jesus to do a miracle. 

  Herod should have been loyal to Rome, but Herod had his own plans, sometimes.  Maybe Herod had the idea of Jesus running the nation of Israel with Herod as his 'significant other' (client king).  Jesus refused to get close to Herod, and it cost Him his 'mortal coil of flesh' in the end.  It cost Jesus His 'flesh covering'. Was Herod relatable to Potiphar's wife?   

  Joseph, in a somewhat similar fashion to a later Jesus, had 'Potiphar's wife' try to seduce Him, but he preferred to run away without His covering than take part in that unholy adulterous union.  Joseph was thrown into 'prison' for two years, and emerged on the third, having correctly predicted the fall of the 'man of the bread' (the bread is the word, referring to the Baker, but also to the Old Covenant perhaps) and the new found favor of the wine steward (referring to the Christian church, perhaps.  They were in charge of presenting the Covenant of the Blood to the world.)  Jesus, for His part, lost His clothing, was crucified, was buried in burial clothing in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, was taken from that tomb (leaving some burial clothing behind), spent two days in hell, emerged on the third, and was placed in charge of bringing all things into the posession of God, just as Joseph had eventually brought all things in Egypt into the posession of Pharoah.  

  Notice how the 'Baker ' had a dream where 'birds of the air' ate 'the bread' from his head?  I mean, from the basket on his head?  The Jews were called 'the people of the Word', and that word was the 'Word of God' and the Word of God is likened to BREAD or theBread of Life' at times.  The Jews were punished by God, but not the ones that accepted the blood shed by Jesus.  Not the Jews that had become Christians.  The Baker, Pharoah's Baker, is executed.  The wine steward, Pharoah's wine steward, is allowed to live and restored to favor.  Well, the Roman's carried symbols on poles.  Each legion had a 'standard' on a pole, which they protected very zealously.  Some were 'Bird Symbol' standards, like Eagles.  Eventually all were made into Eagles, if I remember right.  One thing is true, it was Rome that destroyed the Jews in 70 A.D., about 40 years after Jesus' death.

  Joseph was able to save the people, the family from which he sprang, from a 7 year horrible period of time, from a terrible famine.  Jesus will be able to save His people from the midst of a 7 year tribulation.  Joseph was able to bring his much loved little brother Benjamin, His brother from the same mother, to safety in the end.  Jesus will bring not just the descendents of the Israelites, but also the sons of Benjamin (the modern day Jews of Israel?) to the place where He lives with God the Father.  This 'Benjamin' may be the modern day Jews, who will be accorded greateer honor, though they embraced Jesus later.   Whoever that Benjamin is, he will be fed and honored above 'the others'.  That happened with Joseph and his brother Benjamin also.  When Joseph fed his brothers in his Egyptian palace, he fed Benjamin more.  Joseph, though loved by Pharoah, was unable to eat with Pharoah's Egyptian servants that served him.  They detested a shepherd, so he ate apart.  But yet he also ate apart from the family from which he sprang (his brothers, the offspring of Jacob.  Even apart from Benjamin.)  Will Jesus also have this seperation from the servants of God the Father?  Will they serve Him, yet stay somewhat seperate from Him somehow?  This is a part of the Joseph and Jesus allegory that I think I probably have wrong, though it is all of it just conjecture, and may all be wrong.

  On to another part of the Bible.

  We learn that Jacob's son Judah surrendered a few fashion accoutrements - his signet, cord, and staff - to his disguised daughter in law Tamar as a downpayment on a quick roll in the hay with this disguised woman that appeared to him to be only an unknown prostitute.  Tamar had been married to one of Judah's sons, but the son died.  Two more sons had married her to 'raise up children for the household of their deceased brother' but they had both been careful not to let her become pregnant so as not to endanger their inheritance, and for this evil selfishness God had killed them.  (That's somewhat like how the Pharisees and Sadducees would not adopt Jesus as their Messiah...they didn't want to endanger their own inheritance.) 

  Judah had promised Tamar that when his last remaining son got old enough to marry, she would be given to him.  But....she hadn't been given to him when the son got old enough.  Judah was avoiding the keeping of his promise to her.  Angry, cheated, and not willing to die childless, she had decided that if Judah wouldn't let her have children through his son, then she would trick Judah into giving her children directly. 

  Her plan worked, and disguised to Judah's eyes as some foreign prostitute, he had inpregnated her.  She went home, took off her disguise, and went about her life.  Soon enough, it was obvious that she was with child - and unmarried!!  She was a fornicator...a shameful woman!  They told Judah, who was quick to proclaim that she must die!  She would be burned!  But, she brought out Judah's clothing items - badges of his authority and identity to any familiar eye - and she held them up!  "By the man who gave me these I am pregnant!!", she proclaimed.  Judah - obviously unable to explain how else she might have come into posession of these important clothing items of his, confessed to being the father.  "She has been more righteous than I because I did not give her to Shelah my son." Genesis 38:26 

  Tamar went on to bear Judah twins, though he never slept with Judah again.  More importantly, Jesus', who was of the Line of Judah, the line propheseyed to rule the Israelites, got His Earthly lineage through Pharez, one of these two twin sons that Tamar gave birth to.

  So what about Jesus, at His crucifixion...there was something to do with clothing there as well.  There were apparently four soldiers that did the work of attaching Jesus' body to the cross, and Jesus was a very famous man, known for His unbelievable healings.  Even touching His clothing had made the sick become well.  So, though His clothing would probably have been very bloody and sweat soaked because of the night that He had just been through, the four Romans began to cut up His clothing into a pile for each of them.  But he had one undergarment that was different, woven as a one piece garment from top to bottom.  They stripped Jesus of this as well, but they decided to draw lots for it instead of cutting it up into four parts.  This fulfilled prophecies that predicted that a certain 'fortold one' would have his clothes divided up, but also that they would cast lots for some of it.  That added to the long list of prophecies that Jesus fulfilled by His birth, His life and His death.

  But it also fore-shadowed, in a sense, how His gospel, His teachings, would end up in four places (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John)  and how the great big interlinked garment of God's guidance of human history would remain intact and in one piece - the underlying story of the Bible, with all of it's 66 books, or 73 books for the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, which was like the woven garment that the chosen, the winner of the drawing of lots, would bear forth into history.  The Bible is a collection of books, yes, but all of the books in it foretell things in other books, or refer back to things in previous books, or help make sense of other books.  The Old and New Testaments help to explain each other.  It's like the great one piece garment that was too wonderful to cut up. 

  They say that all of the Bible speaks of Jesus.  Well, all of Jesus' clothing helped people to get an image of Jesus.  There was a man inside of that clothing, just as there were glimpses of a Messiah and a Savior inside of all of those books of the Bible.  The Word clothed Jesus, so to speak.  And the Shroud of Turin....true, people debate it's authenticity.  But, it does sort of cement the idea that the image of Jesus is to be found in His clothing, that the face of God can be gazed upon in the complex weave of his covering.  And we, the Christian, get our glimpse of God and what He is like by reading this great book, the Bible, which is like a piece of clothwoven from top to bottom in one intricate, inter-related piece. 

  So how odd is it that the ancient writings of the Jews were written on vellum (animal skin used as paper) in many cases.  The word vellum derives from the Latin word 'Vitulinum', I learned.  Vitulinum means 'calf skin'.  The skin of sheep or calves or goats were cleaned and treated, cured, and then finally written upon.  They proclaimed the teachings of God, these skins, this 'vellum'.  Well, the Lamb of God, the Scape-goat, the Son of God who is called 'the Word' also proclaimed God's teachings - this Jesus that we owe everything to.  He came as the living Word of God.  Just as it was the skin of sacrificed calves or lambs or goats that held the words of the Old Testament (a Covenant came with it's constant need for the sacrifice of more lambs and goats) so also did Jesus come bearing the words of God, and the New Covenant which required the once and final sacrifice of it's bearer, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God in the flesh.  It's a deep and profound thing that God did there, if I see it rightly (though I know that I could only ever see the deep things of God in part, at best, if I even see them correctly at all.)

  But what about Jesus' followers, what clothing should we wear?  We wear this Jesus as our righteousness.  We wear Jesus' righteousness in place of our own because our own is worthless, like dirty rags.  We wear the Living Word as our righteousness.  The words of the Jews we wear...the Old Testament and the New Testament we wear, because it is all the Word of God, personified in Jesus.  We Christians believe it all.  But it found it's fullness in Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God in the flesh, the Christ, the Jews unrecognized Messiah, and our only possible Redeemer.

  Back to Adam and Eve:  they tried to cover their nakedness with 'fig leaves', and the fig tree and it's fruit are symbolic of the Jew, and so the leaves of the fig tree are what cover - symbolically - the Jewish people.  As the Torah was a scroll with 5 books, the fig leaf is often a leaf with 5 lobes.  It is also a covering (offering) made up of what comes out of the dirt, just as Cain's unacceptable offering was made of field crops. 

  God's chosen covering for Adam and Eve was clothing made of animal skin, provided by God, and sewn together by God.  Abel had an acceptable offering, and it was an animal from the flock.  It was an offering acceptable to God, an offering of precious, nearly perfect and innocent blood.  It was suitable to God.  It sufficed as an offering.  Cain's offering from the vegetable world...crops, raised up by the effort of a human farmer...did not suffice in God's eyes just like the fig leaf clothing items that were the work of men (Adam and Eve) were not found acceptable to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve.  The skin sacrificed by an innocent animal was what God saw as the proper covering for these sinners.  Likewise God saw Abel's offering of an animal from the flock as acceptable rather than Cain's vegetable offering.  There was a sort of paper called 'vellum' which was made of animal skins.  It is recounted in Josephus' telling of how the Septuagint Old Testament was put together, that the writings of Moses (the Law and the 'covering' of the Jews) were in gold lettering, written onto scrolls made of animal skins sewed skillfully together.  The Mosaic Covenant was their 'covering'....their covering was made of animal skins.  God had given them those writings.  Interesting, huh? 

  In the days of the Mosaic Covenant, a portion of all crops were devoted to God (to the Levites) but that was counted as a suitable tribute, not something suitable for atonement of sin.  For that, Mosaic law said that the blood of innocent animals was required.  People saw, because of this, that when there was sinning going on, the innocent are made to suffer because of it.  Sin affects you, but it affects others also, others that may not have even sinned.   

  Jealous Cain killed Abel because it was plain that God was with Abel, but not with Him.  The jealous Jews of 2,000 years ago killed Jesus because it was obvious that God was with Him (the miracles, the prophetic fulfillments, etc.,) and not with them. God personally provided Adam and Eve - sinners - with the covering that He felt was best.  He did it again - made clothing for all mankind - with His precious Son's outer covering, which was His Son's human body, and with the Word of Righteousness which He sent with His Son, and the shed blood of Jesus, and the Living Water that came through Jesus sacrifice (the Holy Spirit) are at work even today trying to redeem and cloth poor blind wretched pitiful naked sinners.  Such we are, all of us, except for by the work of Jesus who died to save us.  Through Him we can have the wedding garment that covers us in a respectability granted through Him. 

  The discussion of human clothing would be cheated if we didn't mention the Christian clothing accessories that are recommended by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians Chap 6 starting at verse 10, and elsewhere.  This tells us how to dress for work when you work for the Lord!:

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

 

  I'll end with a question:  If it's true that Jesus was beside the Father when all things were made, including man, as the scripture says He was, and if it's true that Jesus is our covering of righteousness, then isn't it possibly true that clothes really do make the man, as the old adage says?  There can be more to clothing than meets the eye!

  

©2017 Daniel Curry & 'Deeds of God' Website