Adam and Eve seize the forbidden fruit before it’s time. When they cover themselves, they again jump the gun – using leaves to hide their shameful nakedness. They aren’t ready for that either, and the Lord gives them skins of a sacrificed animal to cover. From that time until the Last Adam, human beings come into Yahweh’s presence wearing animal skins. At Sinai, Yahweh allows a handful of people to approach Him wearing plants as well as animal skin – the linen + wool garments of the priests. Most draw near through animals, clothed in the smoke of a sacrificial substitute. By clothing themselves with leaves, Adam and Eve were claiming a priestly privilege they did not have.
In Revelation, the bride and the saints are clothed in linen (19:8, 14). No animal skins at all. And more centrally, the clothing of the saints is Christ Himself. The progression of clothing is from animal skins, through the animal/plant combination of the priests, to the human covering that Jesus gives.
The progression in clothing is matched by a progression in food. Old Testament sacrifices were meat, but the eschatological meal is from plants, grain and grapes. The progression is also from animal to human: Israel feasted on the animals that figured the coming human savior; we feast on Christ Himself.
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Sunday, May 20, 2012 at 7:01 am
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