Genesis 3: 21; 37: 3
It is quite a remarkable scene we have in Genesis chapter 3. Rightly, we often make an application of it as to what there was that God was looking forward to in the righteousness that we should be clothed in. But I was thinking of it, firstly, in a literal way. In the earlier chapters we have seen the glory of God, the glory of One who could say, “Let there be light. And there was light”, chap 1: 3, 4. Before that there is the majesty of One who created the heavens and the earth, and there is a history of the grandeur of God’s operations in creation in chapter 1. We would be affected as we think of the majesty, the glory that belongs to God, God, the Almighty. We have these titles referred to, El, and Elohim, ‘the Supreme’, and other titles that are drawn to our attention at the beginning, Gen 1: 1, note. How majestic He is! Then we have His counsel and His operations that there should be what is brought in for His pleasure in man, and Satan’s intrusion on that; how it must have affected the heart of God! He knew what was to be before it took place. He was not therefore disappointed, but there must have been feelings akin to what we have when we are disappointed: He was grieved when He saw what sin had done in intruding in His newly formed universe, and these persons, these two guilty persons - and guilty Satan too - worthy to be immediately cast into judgment. And here He is, Jehovah Elohim, and what is He doing? He is making them clothes. Think of that! The God of glory is here, literally - we take it spiritually, but just think of it literally! What a God we have that He would take the time to make clothes; He would see the need. Adam and Eve would go out of Eden. I do not think it is fanciful to say they would notice a change in temperature as they went out of Eden. All would have been according to His mind, suitable conditions in Eden, but they would have to go out; and before they go out, God takes the time to make clothes for them, and not just to make the clothes for them but to put them on them. I am just affected by what a God we have, and His interest in you and me, and the things that He has provided for us, and the detail of them.
Now we see, of course, in all this the grandeur of what is in His mind, what there would be that God would have. He is going to have persons who go out from being in His presence, not under judgment but clothed in Christ. He is giving some inkling here that what there is that is to be secured for His pleasure is to be secured by means of sacrifice. How great the divine thought! We can apply this to persons clothed in the worth of Christ, that they are going to be suitable for God, and they are going to take a place in the testimony in that way. How great the divine thoughts are! But the One who has these great divine thoughts was prepared to take the time to make clothes for two guilty sinners.
How things are to be worked out, we get in this reference in Genesis 37. What is notable - what I had not really noticed before until it was drawn to my attention in something I was reading - is that Jacob “made him a vest of many colours”. I knew well enough he had given Joseph one, but Jacob made it. Jacob “made him a vest of many colours”. That was the delight that Jacob had in this faithful and beloved son, and I think it gives us just a little impression of the way in which the Father glorifies the Lord Jesus in making Him “a vest of many colours”. You can see shades of glory that accrue to the Lord Jesus, and I think especially we can see them in His pathway here. Applying this scripture, the Father made them. The Lord has many glories, and there are different ways of viewing them. There are His moral glories, and the glories of His own Person, and the glory of what He has won. But let us just think of what this passage in Genesis conveys as to the Father’s delight in Christ - the glory Joseph bore that had been made by the father. The Father conferred upon Him glories. We see it especially in John’s gospel. Early on it says He had “a glory as of an only-begotten with a father”, chap 1: 14. The Father, in conducting Himself towards Him in the way that this figure suggests, conferred a glory on Him. He is giving Him a glory as One who is in the perfection of a son, “an only-begotten with a father”.
It moves on to speak of “the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father”, v 18. Think of the shade of glory that came to the Lord Jesus when He was received into that place in the Father’s bosom, a distinctive place taken up in manhood. No-one had had it before, something unique and distinctive to Christ, glorified as the One. who was received into that place in the Father’s bosom. It goes on to say, “The Father loves the Son, and has given all things to be in his hand” (chap 3: 35), the Father giving another shade of glory, another colour of glory, to Christ as He would display His affection to Him, and confer upon Him that right and that activity as giving all things to be in His hand as the great Administrator. How wonderful it is!
And then in chapter 5 we find again “the Father loves the Son” (v 20), and again there are glories, but there is distinction in the glories. In chapter 3, “The Father loves the Son”, as the note points out, the word for love used is ‘agapao’, which is the settled disposition of affection that the Father had for the Son, so that the Lord Jesus has that glory as the One who is in the settled disposition of the Father’s love. But the reference in chapter 5, “the Father loves the Son”, uses the other word for love, ‘phileo’, the love that is intimate and intense. There is a different shade of glory attached to Him, if I could suggest it, “the Father loves the Son”. Think of the One drawing out the intimate and intense affection of the Father, and glorified as the One distinctly in that place. And then the Father “shews him all things which he himself does”, v 20. This chapter brings out a number of these glories which He has. How wonderful that there is Someone who has been given this glory! The Father “has given to the Son also to have life in himself”, v 26. That is another shade of glory. “Neither does the Father judge anyone, but has given all judgment to the Son” (v 22), another glory conferred by the Father. What an array, a coat of many colours! What a wonderful display it is!
We continue in the gospel and how wonderful it is! When you come to chapter 17, the Lord can speak of “the glory which thou hast given me”, v 22. What a glory it is that the Lord Jesus has had conferred on Him in that reference, “the glory which thou hast given me”, perhaps in a distinct way referring to His place in sonship. But then in this instance the Lord says, “the glory which thou hast given me I have given them”. I was thinking of the ark as it went through the wilderness. It would be quite a scene as the children of Israel moved from place to place. As I understand it, the whole procession would move on, in various orders, and there in the centre of it the movement of the tabernacle and all the furnishings of the tabernacle would go forward, carried by the Levites, covered over in badgers’ skin. The ark was covered in badgers’ skins too, but it was also distinctly covered, covered in blue. There in the middle would be one shade of blue, Num 4: 4-15. There was a distinctive glory of the heavenly Man that was being seen as the ark went through the wilderness. But then where else would you have seen blue? Every one of the children of Israel had a lace of blue on their clothes. That is you; that is you. As going through the wilderness, as going through the pathway, yes, He is there, glorious in the distinctiveness of His heavenly character, the blue; but you have a lace of blue on your clothing too. You have something of that feature of the heavenly Man. Perhaps you feel you do not display it very much, but it is there for you to look at. With a tassel there was a lace of blue (Num 15: 38) for the children of Israel to look at, just to be reminded. So as we go about our daily tasks, and whatever we have to do in the wilderness, just be reminded there is a colour that you have that is the same as the colour that He has. There is something going through the wilderness still after His character. I trust it is right to apply that to “the glory which thou hast given me I have given them”; part of that grand array of glory that belongs to the Lord Jesus, He has given you. You are clothed, too, with that thread of blue so that there is some token of the glory that you belong to when He comes. And when He “shall receive you to myself” (John 14: 3) He is receiving you to the place where you already belong, and that would help us in what our brother has been saying, to be ready because there is that appreciation that that place is secured and is yours already.
May the Lord bless the word!
7th January 2014