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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

Man having been made subject to evil, and consigned to the bondage of a perishing state, the Lord God repudiated their fig-leaf invention, and "appointed coats of skins" for their covering.

In this testimony there is much expressed in few words.

To appoint coats of skins implies a command for the sacrifice of animals whose skins were converted to this purpose.

It also implies that Adam was the priest on the occasion, who presented himself before the Lord with the mediatorial blood.

When the sacrifice was accepted, the offence was provisionally remitted; for the scripture saith, that it is not possible for the blood of animals to take away sins.

It was impossible, because sin was to be condemned in sinful flesh.

This required the death of a man; for the animals had not sinned: so that, if the whole animal world, save man, had been made an offering for sin, sin would still have been uncondemned in his nature.

Besides the necessity of a human sacrifice, God deemed it equally necessary that the victim should be free from personal transgressions; and that when he had suffered, he should rise from the dead so as to be "a living sacrifice".

If the death of a transgressor would have sufficed, then, Adam and Eve might have been put to death at once, and raised to life again.

But this was not according to the divine wisdom.

The great principle to be compassed was the condemnation of sin in sinful flesh, innocent of actual transgression.

This principle necessitated the manifestation of one, who should be born of a woman, but not of the will of man.

Such a one would be the Seed of the Woman, made of her substance, with Him for his Father who by His over-shadowing spirit should cause her to conceive.

He would be Son of God by origination; and Son of Mary by descent, or birth of sinful flesh.

Now, it is not to be supposed that Adam and Eve did not understand this: God doubtless explained it to them; for they had none to teach them but Him; and without His instruction, they would not have known what they should believe.

It was from them that Abet derived the knowledge which was the foundation of his faith, to which God testified in the acceptance of the firstling of his flock and the fat thereof.

Adam and his wife had faith, or God would not have accepted the sacrifices with whose skins they were clothed; for it was as true then as it is now, that "without faith it is impossible to please God".

Faith, then, in the Seed of the Woman, first as a sacrifice for sin, wounded to death by his enemies; and afterwards the destroyer of the sin-power; in connexion with the sacrifice of animals as representative of the bruising of his heel -- was the ground of their acceptance with the Lord God.

It was the Way of Life.

If they walked with God in this way, they would be as pleasing to Him as Enoch afterwards was, who was translated about 57 years after Adam's death.

It was the way which was corrupted by the antediluvians; and although the sacrifices have been interrupted, the faith and hope which gained celebrity and commendation to Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and a cloud of other witnesses, comprehended substantially the same things, but less in detail than in that faith which was preached by the apostles as the gospel of the kingdom and name of Christ, for the justification of all who should believe.

The things believed by Abel as compared with the faith preached on Pentecost, were as the acorn to the oak.

The gospel of the kingdom in the name of Jesus was the revelation in full of the things communicated in the beginning; and afterwards more considerably amplified in the promises made to the fathers of the people Israel.