Nimrod’s Robe – Part 7
The Book of Genesis records post-flood civilization began where Noah’s ark landed atop Mount Ararat, which lies between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea—in present day Georgia, Armenia, or Turkey. Within several decades, most of Ham’s family moved southward into the Mesopotamian Valley. This move likely occurred following the time when Ham saw his father, Noah, lying drunk and naked in his tent (Genesis 9:21-27). Considerable speculation persists regarding the exact nature of that sin. Theologians will continue to debate those possibilities. However, interesting information in The Book of Jasher (extra-Biblical document of ancient history) indicates Ham stole the garment Noah had worn prior to his being found naked and intoxicated in his tent. The Book of Jasher also claims this was the original garment God made for Adam shortly before he was banished from the Garden of Eden. Other extra-Biblical sources make this claim too. The eminent Jewish rabbi, Eleazer, and other reputable rabbis believed the Hebrew word for nakedness in Genesis 9:22 more accurately refers to loss of skin covering. They also agree Ham took the garment God had made for Adam, in order to steal the spiritual inheritance from his father. When Noah awoke he cursed Ham’s youngest son, Canaan, who also allegedly participated in the theft. Ham later gave this garment to his oldest son, Cush, who ultimately passed it on to his oldest son, Nimrod. The Jewish Talmud indicates Nimrod’s hunting success resulted from wearing the coat of animal skin God made for Adam. This amazing tale is somewhat difficult to believe, but it makes for interesting novel material! Ham and his family subsequently moved south to Mesopotamia following this sordid event.
This brilliant story, whether true or not, connects to a thread that weaves its way through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. This thread begins in Genesis 3: 21-23:
The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the Lord God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.’ So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.
This Scripture begs the question: Why did God make garments for Adam and his wife? Weren’t the conditions of the world tropical in that day? Adam and Eve previously lived comfortably without clothes. What is going on here?Genesis 2:25 states: “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”
We are familiar with the story—God’s command to abstain from eating fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and His warning of severe consequences should they disobey. Unfortunately, Satan deceived them and they subsequently ate that fruit. They became mortal, sinful, shameful human beings. (Genesis 3:1-24). Their sin was incorporated into the genome of all people who descended thereafter. Shame permeated their very being and caused embarrassment for their nakedness. Adam and Eve crafted garments of fig leaves to cover their nakedness, but these were woefully inadequate (Gen 3:8-9). Their sin was exposed in all its darkness to the Holy God. They feared God’s judgment and hid from his presence. A Holy God banished them from His presence. Satan claimed the throne of the world. Adam and Eve could no longer see the face of God. However, in His everlasting love for mankind, God provided a way to establish fellowship once again. He sacrificed animals and made garments to cover their sin and shame. These unblemished animals were untainted by sin. They were not carnivorous, disfigured, or diseased animals we might see today. They were perfect creations of God. He used the blood of these unblemished creatures as a sacrifice—to cover the sin that enveloped Adam and Eve. He taught them only innocent blood can cover man’s sin and enable fellowship with a Holy God. They would pray and commune with God thereafter, using this pattern of purification. The later sacrifice of Cain was not acceptable to God because it was not a blood sacrifice. God required an innocent life for sin’s wickedness. This pattern remained in effect from Adam to Moses and down to the ultimate blood sacrifice given by the God’s Son at Calvary’s cross. The prophet Isaiah described a momentous sighting of God in His garment (Is 6:1-6):
In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain He covered His face, and with twain He covered His feet, and with twain He did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I: ‘Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.’ Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar. And he laid it upon my mouth and said, ‘Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.’
God provided a way for Isaiah to fellowship with Him. He purged Isaiah’s sin with hot coals so Isaiah could look partially at God in His garment.
God always provides a way to maintain fellowship with His children. God provided Adam’s garment, obtained via innocent blood sacrifice to cover man’s sin in the midst of world judgment. The ark Noah built provided God’s covering in the midst of worldwide judgment. God commanded Israel to sacrifice unblemished animals that their blood might cover the sin of His people. He provided the blood of His innocent, only begotten Son as the final payment for sin, so God could have an eternal relationship with His children.
The prophet Isaiah later realized the garment of salvation God had provided when he penned the following words in Isaiah 61:10:
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my God; for He hath clothed me with the garment of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
A thread of the garment picture will now be stretched to the New Testament Gospel of Matthew 22:1-14. Jesus expounded a parable of a wedding feast a rich king was preparing to commemorate the marriage of his son. The king is a reference to God the Father and the son represents God’s Son—Jesus Christ. This passage of Scripture is a bit long to quote here, so I will provide its interpretation instead. The king sent his slaves to call all those who had been invited to the wedding feast. Those invited paid no attention to the slaves and ultimately seized, abused and killed them. The slaves represent God’s prophets and messengers who have invited those of the world to His wedding feast. His messengers have been rejected and many killed. The king was enraged and sent his armies to destroy those who spurned his invitation. They were not worthy to come to the great feast. The king sent his remaining slaves to gather the common people from the streets. The wedding hall was filled with guests, but when the king arrived, he found one man at the dinner dressed in an inappropriate garment. The king ordered this man ‘bound and thrown into the outer darkness where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.’ The implication is that God calls His chosen nation, Israel, then ultimately invites the entire gentile world. He provides garments for all who come to the wedding feast, for they are truly ‘the bride of Christ.’ They can only enter the feast if they wear the garments God has provided. Jesus Christ purchased the garments with His blood and is the only One who can dress the attendees. All who refuse to accept His free gift are denied garments to enter the great feast. Man-made garments of fig leaves simply will not do. Only God’s garments will suffice. This thread continues through other New Testament Scriptures. Romans 13:14 says: “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” The Apostle Paul also writes in Gal. 3:27: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
The last book of the Bible reveals a prophetic picture of the great wedding feast, earlier described in Jesus parable. “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hand” (Revelation 7:9). This prophecy describes countless people from all nations and languages chosen to attend the great wedding feast to celebrate the union of Jesus Christ with His bride. These individuals are clothed with white robes God has provided for them. These white robes imply purity and righteousness, solely obtained through the blood of Jesus Christ. Only God can provide these garments for His chosen.
Revelation 19:13-14 describes the garment Jesus Christ will wear when He returns to this world to defeat His last enemies—the antichrist, false prophet and Satan. “And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.”
We have traced this thread from Genesis to Revelation—the beginning to the end of God’s Word. However, the thread becomes eternal at one momentous event—Calvary’s cross. The best description of it occurs in the Gospel of John 19: 23-24:
Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also His coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, ‘They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots.’
Jesus had only one earthly possession when He was tried before Pontius Pilate—His robe. It was a special robe, without seams and woven in one piece. Perhaps the Romans would allow Him to be crucified in that garment—a small decency in the midst of a horrific crime. But no, heap humiliation upon the wounds of whips, thorns, spears and nails. Jesus left this world with no material possession. Wicked men took all He had. He endured bitter humiliation, suffering and loneliness while hanging on that cross. His physical and emotional suffering far exceed our comprehension. The Romans designed crucifixion to be a horrific death.
It is a fact, however, that Jesus—though hanging naked on the cross—actually did wear a garment. It was not the pure, white, seamless garment that He deserved. It was a black, heavy, burdensome garment woven with threads that attach to the sins of every human who has or will live upon the face of this earth. This garment was so abhorrent that God, the Father in heaven could not look upon His Son. Father God abandoned His Son. This was the greatest suffering Jesus endured in those agonizing hours preceding His death. His followers abandoned Him. His family (except His mother) fled the scene. Those whom Jesus had healed were nowhere to be found. The sins of all mankind were hanging on His shoulders. Worst of all, His own Father could not commune with Him. A Holy God could not look upon the sins that enveloped His Son. God the Father offered no comforting words in the hours leading up to Jesus death. Matthew 27:46 records the last words Jesus uttered before He died: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
Why did He do that? He was the only unblemished man—the only man without sin. He could have ‘hung out’ with His Father God in Heaven for eternity without bothering with this world and all it’s sin-stained inhabitants. Why did He choose to enter this world as a man and suffer such a horrific death? Because He loved us (John 3:16)! He wore the garment of our sins during that time. He poured out His lifeblood as payment for all these sins so we might have the opportunity to wear the perfect, white robes of righteousness at that wedding feast. God looks upon us wearing these robes and He sees no sin. He sees the work of His Son. O, what a Savior we have in Jesus! Why do men refuse this wonderful free gift He has given? Have you accepted His gift? Will the Father find you wearing the white robe of righteousness at His wedding feast?
- The Bible
- Nimrod—Darkness in the Cradle of Civilization; Author Steven Merrill
- The Book of Jasher
- The Jewish Talmud
- Collected Works of Hugh Nibley. Volume 5, Part 2; Author Hugh Nibley
- Antiquities of the Jews; Author Josephus Flavius