Devotion on Notable Firsts of the Bible (The First Death on Earth), 23 April 2015 Anno Domini
“Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21)
The Garden of Eden (Paradise of God) was a place of utmost beauty and dreamy comfort, yet man still was tempted to turn away from that beauty and turn to the ugliness offered by Satan over a matter of pride. There was every wholesome and delicious fruit of the Garden, yet Eve chose the only poison fruit in the whole realm. God had given only ONE commandment, and this they could not keep. There was neither sickness nor death in Eden until sin was found in the heart of our primordial parents. As a result of Adam and Eve opting to follow Satan rather than God, sin, sickness, and death befell – not only the human race – but every creature of the world.
Tell me, if you recall, the first death to occur on earth? You will remember, perhaps, that Cain killed his brother, righteous Abel; but though that was the first man to die, it was not the first death. So by whose hand, and for what purpose, was the first death on earth? If you read closely you will discover that the first death on earth came by the hand of God, and the purpose was for the temporary covering of the nakedness and sin of Adam and Eve. “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” (Gen 3:21 (KJV) Nakedness is often an illustration God uses to show that we stand as naked people before God having our sins exposed to His omniscient eye. So God found it expedient to take the life of an innocent animal in order to get the skins from which to make a coat to cover their nakedness. This is the second allusion to the Lord Jesus Christ in the Bible. What was the first? God said to Eve: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Gen 3:15) This makes reference to the bruising that the serpent (Satan) gave Christ on the cross, but the crushing of Satan’s head by the death and resurrection of Christ – the Lamb of God.
What kind of animal do you suppose had to die in order that skins be acquired to cover the nakedness (sin) of man? The Bible does not say but, certainly, God would not have chosen an animal that He later decreed to be unclean, so it must have been a clean animal according to Scripture – it would have been perfectly consistent with His purpose if He had chosen a lamb for that best describes the prophetic meaning God intended to convey. Whatever the animal, all were innocent in the Garden. But, even though innocent, that animal had to die as a result of the sin of Adam. Had God not covered the nakedness of Adam and Eve, it is doubtful that they could have survived in the world into which they were driven by the Holy Angels. All of Creation suffers and groans under the curse of death and sin brought upon it by our first parents. There doesn’t appear to have been thorns and thistles until Adam’s sin, but God said that these would spring up perhaps with blood-sucking insects as well, as a result of sin. “Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.” (Gen 3:18) Because of Adam’s sin, the WHOLE earth was cursed.
Though Adam could be forgiven, if he repented of his sin; sin, nevertheless, leaves damaging scars. The first animal to die for Adam’s sin gives testimony of that truth.
Returning to the innocent animal that was slain in order to cover Adam’s nakedness, we should consider the crucial implications for a Savior that God enacted by taking that innocent life. Do you suppose that God was surprised or amazed that Adam and Eve fell for the bait of Satan? No, He knew this would be the result, and He had already, before the dawn of light of the first day beamed its rays through endless space, made provision for it! The whole of our lives and being are viewed by God in the Eternal Present, not past, present, and future; for God is the Great I AM! We see and judge the character of others by the present moment, and past behavior; but God sees the end of the man He judges. We may see a murderous, drunken slave trader in the moment of our time, but in the prescience of His character, He sees a great minister become John Newton of England. God knows you now, He knew you yesterday, He knows you tomorrow, and He has known you from before the foundations of the world were laid. So He made provision for a Savior since He knew that the man He created with a self-will would sin.
Did God know Jeremiah, the prophet, before he ever was born? “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jer 1:5) God knew you, too, even before the world was made: “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” (Eph 1:4-5) In whom did God the Father choose us before the Foundation of the World? It was in His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, that was prefigured in that first death at Eden. We wear the resplendent White Robes of Righteousness purchased by the Blood of the Lamb of God before the Foundation of the World.
We find in Revelations 13:8, a most interesting statement of Scripture: ‘The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.‘ What does this mean? It is making reference to the end times of Anti-Christ when all whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world will worship the anti-Christ. Those who are elect in Christ shall have their names written in the Book of Life (by Grace) and shall not worship the Anti-Christ. But you may say: “Christ was sacrificed only 2,000 years ago. How can He have been slain from BEFORE the foundations of the world?” Because, in the Eternal Decrees of God, a thing decreed is not bound by the limits – either past, present, or future – of time. That means that those of the Old Testament Church of the Wilderness such as Abraham, Moses, and David are also covered by that blood of Jesus Christ that would be shed in the fullness of time according to the Oracles of God. Any decree of God, regardless of when uttered, is not time-bound.
Rev. Tony Warren, of the Mountain Retreat, summarizes the point in this way: “Christ being slain from the foundation of the world illustrates not only that He was foreordained to be slain, but also that the efficacy, or the beneficial effects of that death, is the same as if that sacrifice had been made before the creation of the world. Thus, Old testament saints are washed clean in Christ’s blood the same as we are today. In other words, the efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice is not limited by time. God had already chosen who He would Save before creation, and had thus already ordained the Saviour to shed His blood for them, to make this possible. their Salvation wasn’t something which could be thwarted, it was something which was as good as ‘done’ from the time that God ordained it.”
God knows our weaknesses and frail frames. He desires our minds to be fixed on Him and His uncompromising will for our lives. When we allow the poison of Satan to settle on our ears (as did Eve) our lives become a mire of mud and sewage. But He stands at the ready to lift us up and place our feet on Higher Ground in His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus, too, was fore-shadowed by that innocent bloodshed in Eden for our sins since the sin of Adam became our own. We have Adam’s sin-tainted blood coursing through our veins. It is carrying the deadly disease of sin. The only cure is a transfusion of disease-free blood – that of the Lord Jesus Christ – for our healing. The Throne of Mercy and Grace of God is the Blood Bank where that healing may be procured. Have you been there?