Friday, January 22, 2010

The Fall, Fig Leaves, Fake Coverings....

Our life on this earth is a constant reminder of the Fall.

This Telestial world, full of “thorns and thistles”, is simply the “fake covering”, or apron of fig leaves, that covers the earth waiting to whither away with the heat of the Son. It is important that we focus on the Fall, and understand the doctrine of it, so we don’t forget the need for the “coats of skin”, or sacrifice of the lamb that provided them. The Temple garment worn by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is that constant reminder given to us of the need we have to be covered by the Atonement.

In the Book of Moses, Chapter four it explains the symbolism of the “fig leaf” apron which was used as an attempt to “hide nakedness”:

Moses 4:12 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it became pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make her wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and also gave unto her husband with her, and he did eat.

13 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they had been naked. And they sewed fig-leaves together and made themselves aprons.

14 And they heard the voice of the Lord God, as they were walking in the garden, in the cool of the day; and Adam and his wife went to hide themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.

This self made “covering” was an attempt to cover their own sins or nakedness. Notice it was only useful “in the cool of the day”. In the Temple Endowment, the “fig leaf” apron is always worn as a reminder of the Fall and how ineffectual it would be to try and cover our sins by ourselves. It helps us remember the need we have of our Savior.

Contrasting the self made apron, the "gift" given to our first parents in the Garden of Eden pointed directly to the need of a better covering to make it through “ the heat of the day.”

In the Old Testament in the Book of Genesis it is recorded:

Genesis 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

22 ¶ And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

23 Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.

24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Notice the additional clarity given by adding the account in The Book of Moses:

Moses 4: 27 Unto Adam, and also unto his wife, did I, the Lord God, make coats of skins, and clothed them.

28 And I, the Lord God, said unto mine Only Begotten: Behold, the man is become as one of us to know good and evil; and now lest he put forth his hand and partake also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever,

29 Therefore I, the Lord God, will send him forth from the Garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken;

30 For as I, the Lord God, liveth, even so my words cannot return void, for as they go forth out of my mouth they must be fulfilled.

31 So I drove out the man, and I placed at the east of the Garden of Eden, cherubim and a flaming sword, which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life.

It is so beautifully recorded in The Book of Moses that the Father himself gave them the skins to cover their nakedness. This record shows two distinct persons, the Father and the Son, and points directly to the sacrifice made by both; the Father who offered up His Son, and the Son who was the offering made to provide the skins themselves. We are taught that the Atonement is infinite and eternal, and was effectual even before the “last and great” sacrifice was made.

In the Second Book of Nephi of the Book of Mormon, the prophet Jacob explains how the Atonement ransoms man from the fall and uses the imagery of clothing to show how it covers us.

2 Nephi 9:14 Wherefore, we shall have a perfect knowledge of all our guilt, and our uncleanness, and our nakedness; and the righteous shall have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and their righteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness.

Although the “robes of righteousness” are placed on only after we have been covered by the “coats of skin”, they are also used to show our dependence on the Lord, Jesus Christ. It is interesting to me that the “fig leaves” are always there to remind us too.

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