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Sabbath School Insights
2011 Quarter 2: Apr - Jun
Insights #03, April 16, 2011
Second Quarter 2011 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
“A Garment of Innocence”
For the week of April 10 - 16, 2011
There are many symbols used in the Bible. Some of these symbols are closely related to the reality that they represent. Others are more abstract and metaphorical. The expression “Garment of Innocence” refers to a symbol which seems to have had both a literal and metaphorical meaning. Adam and Eve were clothed with light, which has been referred to as “a garment of innocence.” They wore no artificial garments. The Bible says they were both “naked” (Genesis 2:25). Yet we understand from the Spirit of prophecy that “they were clothed with a covering of light and glory such as the angles wear” (Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 45).
The “garment of innocence” covered Adam and Eve as long as they were obedient to the command of God. It seems to have been a symbol of their innocence which would come to be a symbol of righteousness as their characters developed. Yet when they transgressed the command of God and ate of the forbidden fruit the covering of light was immediately lost. The Bible says after Eve gave to her husband and he ate, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked” (Genesis 3:7).
It has always been interesting to me that the covering of light did not disappear and leave Eve naked after she had partaken of the forbidden fruit. It was not until Adam ate that their eyes were opened and they knew that they were naked.
Their supernatural “clothing” could not get dirty. It did not require cleaning. It was always the correct size. We imagine that if Adam and Even grew in size, their “covering of light” would have grown with them. It was always perfect in appearance and it could not grow old or wear out. The innocent pair were evidently aware of a covering. If it had been perfectly transparent they would never have missed it when they sinned, nor could it have been called a “covering.” One wonders whether the covering of light was somehow to point to God of Whom the Bible says “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Perhaps it was even a symbol of a link between God and the holy pair.
Yet when Adam ate of the fruit, the reality of a terrible problem began to dawn upon the couple. Immediately the light vanished. They knew that they were naked and they began their futile human effort to find a substitute for the garments of innocence.
They chose fig leaves as a covering. Taking the covering of a fruit tree, they attempted to hide their nakedness. It was not the same as the garment of innocence but it was the more easily obtainable option. Yet, it was an insufficient symbol as well as an inadequate covering. God knew the leaves would dry up, become brittle and eventually they would disintegrate, blow away, and they would find themselves naked again. Thus their substitute was inadequate. God also knew it was an inadequate symbol since no blood had been shed in acquiring that covering. The true implications of sin were not represented in those garments. A more meaningful symbol was needed.
“Without the shedding of blood is no remission…” (Hebrews 9:22). The gospel must be revealed more clearly to the fallen pair as well as the watching universe. Therefore, God sacrificed an animal, representing the sacrifice of His only begotten son. And from the animal He removed the skin and clothed the fallen pair in another symbol. It was a symbol of the righteousness of Christ. It pointed to another garment from a supernatural source, one that could not be soiled, could not fail to cover adequately and would not grow old or wear out.
In providing Adam and Eve with a temporarily adequate covering, God also provided the universe with the first revelation of “the mystery which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God” (Ephesians 3:9). God revealed the reality that it would be necessary for a great sacrifice, to solve the sin problem. The children of men would have another covering with a supernatural source.
Replacing the garments of innocence required the sacrifice of an animal. This was a temporary stop gap measure. The robe of light was not then restored, yet it would be restored when the conflict is finished. In the intervening time, the tunics of skin would stand as an adequate symbol pointing to the Lamb of God. He would not only restore the original garments of innocence, He would also provide the righteousness which would have been theirs, had they remained loyal to God. Supplying the lack of righteousness would also require a great sacrifice. Christ would come to earth and live a perfect life in their place, but the transfer of righteousness from Christ to the human family could not occur without death.
By His death Christ provided mankind a “second probation” (Ellen White, Faith and Works, p. 22) as well as the “clothing” needed during that probation and beyond. We are told, “The Father consulted His Son in regard to at once carrying out their purpose to make man to inhabit the earth. He would place man upon probation to test his loyalty before he could be rendered eternally secure” (Ellen White, Story of Redemption, p. 20). Thus we see that Adam and Eve were on probation in the Garden of Eden. This probation was forfeited by Adam for the entire human race. Christ by His death has restored the lost probation for all mankind. This transaction has also been referred to as “justification to life” (Romans 5:18).
Mankind has not been placed in the same circumstances as Adam and Eve, but we have been given the same standing. Our sins are forgiven through the blood of Calvary’s cross and we are given these hours of probation in which to choose which side we shall take in the great controversy. We may choose to accept and wear the robe of Christ’s righteousness to cover our nakedness. Yet as free moral agents we are also free to reject it. Apart from that robe of perfect righteousness, the covering from the supernatural source, we shall be ashamed at His coming when we shall have no choice but to stand in our inadequate robes of self-righteousness.
By God’s grace let choose the gift of righteousness now.