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THE FIRST SACRIFICE: Genesis 3 & 4

Craig M. Strawn

Genesis 3:21

(Holman) The Lord God made clothing out of skins for Adam and his wife, and He clothed them.

(KJV) Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

(NASB) The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.

Adam and his wife had disobeyed the command of God not to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This single act of disobedience brought upon Adam and his descendants the sentence of death. God’s law is perfect and He requires perfect obedience. Adam and Eve proved their imperfection by their disobedience of God’s commandment.

Adam and Eve knew that they had disobeyed God. Their attempt to cover their disobedience was to weave together fig leaves to cover their nakedness. These coverings were not of any substance or lasting value. They were small and ineffective, covering only part of them. The insufficiency of the aprons of leaves to cover their disobedience and shame is like all of man’s attempts to cover his sin; they were ineffective and inadequate, not meeting the high standard of perfection required by God.

All of the attempts of man to cover his disobedience and shame before God, Who is holy and righteous, are like aprons of leaves. They are temporary coverings that will soon dry up and blow away. The shame that was covered is exposed and needs to be covered again. New aprons must be made because the old quickly become ineffective. The cycle is endless and exhausting and hopeless.

So is the attempt of man to justify himself before God. The many man-made solutions to sin and disobedience are totally ineffective. Man can do nothing to save himself from the sentence of death imposed by God for violation of His perfect law. Man is not able to live a life good enough to be accepted by God. Failure in one point of the law is to violate the whole law. Man is wholly incapable of the perfection required by God.

Adam and Eve compounded their unholy behavior by running and hiding from God. They both knew that they had disobeyed God and they were ashamed and guilty before Him. The last thing they wanted to do was face the perfect, holy God in their fallen condition. But God demonstrated His great love for Adam and Eve by looking for them and finding them, even though He always knew where they were. He was not willing to let them remain in their sinful condition.

When God confronted them with their transgression, they made excuses and blamed others for their failure. They admitted they had done the act of violating God’s commandment. But, they argued, someone else had caused them to do it, therefore they were not responsible. The fact is, each had made a conscious decision to eat the fruit that God forbade. This disobedient tendency has been passed along to their offspring. The problem of sin did not remain just with Adam and Eve, it has been spread to the entire human race.

At this point, God would have been justified in taking both of their lives instantly for their transgression. But God did not immediately carry out their sentence of death that was the consequence of their sin. They would surely die, but their deaths would be postponed.

Their transgression would result in immediate death, but it would not be theirs. Animals which had committed no sin would give up their lives because of the sin of Adam and Eve. There is only one sacrifice that would satisfy God’s requirement for perfection; the just for the unjust. The first animal sacrifice for sin points directly to the sacrifice that the Messiah, Jesus Christ, made on the cross.

The Lord God, Himself, performed the first animal sacrifice for man’s sin. It is probable that Adam and Eve were watching as God killed the animals. One can only imagine their horror as they watched God carry out this bloody sacrificial ceremony. They would understand that the animals were suffering the penalty of death that they deserved.

Probably, God explained in detail as He performed this solemn, gruesome ceremony; exactly how and why the animals were being killed; how to skin the animal; how to butcher the animals and what to do with the parts. God may have sacrificed the first animal with Adam and Eve watching. Then God could have had Adam follow His example precisely. He may have wanted Adam to teach his sons what the consequences of sin is and what the requirements of God are.

God said that there can be no remission of sin without the shedding of blood. The example of the animal sacrifice was to demonstrate what God was going to do to pay for the sin of man. The horror experienced by Adam and Eve at watching the first sacrifice was nothing to compare with the reality of the sacrifice that the Messiah would experience for the sin of mankind.

The skins provided by God for Adam and Eve for clothing were durable and lasting. Unlike the aprons of leaves, these were effective coverings for the shame of their sin that separated them from the close relationship which they had with their God in the garden. God’s solution was permanent and it meant an eventual restoration of the relationship that was lost by disobedience.

Adam and Eve had to wear the results of their sin. Two animals were dead because of them. Ultimately, it would be Messiah giving His life. Their clothing was a constant reminder of their guilt. Their disobedience resulted in their separation from intimate contact with their loving God. But their loving Creator was not willing to permanently separate Himself from them forever. Therefore, He made the way back to Him through the sacrificial offering of His own Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross of Calvary to pay for man’s sin permanently.

It is impossible for man to live a life of perfection. To violate the law of God in a single point is to break the whole law. Only one man ever lived a perfect life without breaking the law of God in a single point, that person is the Messiah, Jesus Christ. He made up for the imperfection of Adam and Eve. Then He settled the sin debt for all of mankind. The first animal sacrifice pointed to the last sacrifice of the Messiah – both done by God for man. God did it all for man in the beginning and He does it all for man in the end.

John 3:16-18 (Holman) states that, “16 God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.”

http://www.abideinchrist.com/messages/gen3v21.html

http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/80-397/The-First-Sacrifice

http://www.icr.org/article/first-sacrifice/

http://gctnetwork.com/who-made-the-first-sacrifice-in-the-bible/

http://www.reformationonline.com/sacrifice.htm

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