Wednesday, November 5, 2014

His Precious Blood (Part 2)



We know that first comes the natural, then the spiritual.

God gave Adam and Eve “coats of skin” (Genesis 3:21), dealing with the natural issue first. Man’s body was now “corruptible,” subject to death. Then God banished them from the Garden (Genesis 3:22-24), thus dealing with the spiritual issue. Because Adam and Eve no longer abided in the Presence of God, the Spirit of Eternal Life that covered them—God’s Glory–was now replaced with the spirit of death.

In Hebrew, the word for “light” and “skin” is the same.

It is the Hebrew word, “or.”

The only difference between the two is the use of a consonant for pronunciation. The letter aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, is used for light, while the letter ayin is used for skin. An apparent word play in the text of Genesis 3:21 suggests the idea that man was originally created with “garments of light,” and when he sinned he received “garments of skin.” Several sources, including a number of midrashim, which are early Jewish commentaries on Biblical text, Philo, the Zohar, and at least one well-known Jewish scholar all identify the “coats of skin” in this passage as the physical, or earthly body of man.

Man was created in the image and likeness of God. God’s blood flowed in his “veins.” He lived in the Garden of Eden and ate freely from the Tree of Life. God’s Glory was his “covering.” Man disobeyed and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God’s blood became contaminated with sin. Death not only flowed in the blood, but had legal authority over the spirit of man. The Glory departed.

There are at least two interesting scriptures in the Book of Job that shed light on this perspective of the Fall.

First, when the devil appears before God—along with the sons of God, the angels—God asks him if he has given any thought about His faithful servant, Job. God then makes the point that Job was perfect and upright, that he feared God, and that he ran from evil. He also points out that Job maintained his integrity even though the devil had unjustly come against him, attempting to make him curse God and die. In essence, God tells the devil that Job was a righteous man. The devil immediately replies, “Skin for skin, yes all that a man has will he give for his life.” (Job 2:1-6) The Hebrew word translated “life” is actually the word “soul.”

The text seems to indicate that the devil was mocking God with his statement. His desire had always been to be like The Most High God. (Isaiah 14:12-15). That is why he rebelled and was cast out of Heaven. Perhaps what the devil was saying to the Almighty was, “You may have created man in your image and likeness, but I caused him to fall. Look at your magnificent being of incorruptible light now. He is nothing more than corruptible flesh and blood. I was the one who convinced him to disobey You by prevailing upon his pride. Therefore, I am the one who really is the most powerful.”

Later, Job is talking with his friend Bildad, the Shuhite, about the calamity that has befallen him. In despair, Job expresses his loss of hope. Bildad responds with a discourse about what happens to wicked men, specifically those who do not know God. He says that destruction awaits by their side anxiously, ready to pounce on those who disobey Him. He then adds that destruction “shall devour the strength of his skin: even the firstborn of death shall devour his strength.” (Job 18:12-13)

Numerous Hebrew words are translated “strength.” In this particular scripture, however, the word translated “strength” literally means “separation.” This is the only passage in all of Scripture in which this word is so used. It doesn’t appear anywhere else. Additionally, the phrase “firstborn of death” literally means “the one who has the birthright of death.” The literal wording in Hebrew is the following: “Calamity and destruction eats, or consumes, the separation or covering of his skin. The one who has the birthright of death shall eat, or consume, the separation or covering.”

Because of man’s disobedience, God’s Glory, His Eternal Life, was replaced by the spirit of death. The imagery of this passage is that death consumes the covering of man. In the allegorical sense, the Glory is taken away. In the literal sense, the flesh of man fades away as the grass. (1Corinthians 15:39-44)

Sin separated man from God, and His Glory.

The skin is a reminder of that separation from the covering, or Glory of God. The high priest of death, the firstborn of death, the one who holds the birthright of death, is the devil. In Hebrew tradition, the firstborn male of the family is the priest of the family. He is entitled to receive the full inheritance of his father. Allegorically, Satan is the firstborn of death, just as Jesus is the firstborn of the new creation. Therefore, the devil’s birthright was the power of death, just as the birthright of Christ is the power of Eternal Life.

The devil was reminding God of this fact by his statement.

There also seems to be confirmation of this idea in the burnt offering Israel was to give to God. The Hebrew word translated “burnt offering” literally means “ascending as smoke.” This offering was called the burnt offering, because it was to be consumed completely, and the smoke would then rise to Heaven as a sweet-smelling savor to the Lord. (Leviticus 6:8-13) The burnt offering, unlike the sin and trespass offerings, symbolized the entire surrender to God of the individual, or the congregation. It also symbolized renewal and sanctification, a consecration to living the kind of life that would be pleasing God. The burnt offering had nothing to do with atonement or forgiveness for sin, as did the sin and trespass offerings. Rather, it was an acknowledgment of God’s grace in the individual’s life. Even the strangers who dwelled among the Israelites were permitted to offer burnt offerings to God so long as they had not committed any notorious offense.

According to the command of God, anyone who desired to bring a burnt offering to the Lord was to select an unblemished male from among the herd of cattle. The bullock was then sacrificed, and the priests sprinkled the blood upon the altar at the door of the Tabernacle. Then the bullock was to be flayed. Everything but the skin was to be consumed by the fire. (Leviticus 1:1-6) Because the skin is a reminder of man’s separation from God it was not to be offered in this “grace offering.”

Interestingly, when the sin or trespass offering was made the bullock was not flayed. Everything, including the skin, was consumed by the fire. However, only the priests were entitled to eat the skin. (Leviticus 6:24-7:8) In these offerings, the atonement offerings, the skin is consumed along with the rest of the animal because it is the reminder of the sin of man.

The key to understanding all of this is the blood.

We know that Mary, the mother of Jesus, conceived by the Holy Spirit. This is commonly called the Virgin Birth. A better term is Immaculate Conception, because God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, was the Father of Jesus. We know that a developing baby’s blood never mixes with the mother’s because of the placental function. Although the mother provides all the nutrients necessary to sustain life, the blood is manufactured by the fetus itself.

Thus, a baby can, and often does, have a different blood type than its mother.

This means that Jesus, when He was conceived by His Heavenly Father, carried His Father’s blood. The same blood Adam carried before the Fall. This is one reason Jesus is called the last Adam. “The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” (1Corinthians 15:45) The first Adam and the last Adam had the same Father, and thus the same blood type.

God’s blood.

No comments:

Post a Comment