Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21)
Within this statement is an incredible truth that reveals the heart of God. Even though man had transgressed His commandment and was subject to exile, the Creator, nevertheless, showed mercy. An apron of fig leaves was only going to last so long, so the Almighty took it upon Himself to make them coverings from the skins of animals.
In showing the man this kindness, He also established a principle that is repeated throughout Scripture: without the shedding of blood, there is no remission for sin. Though not stated emphatically, it is understood that for the man and the woman to wear coats of skins, an innocent animal or more had to give up its life that their shame might be covered.
Later, the Bible defines the different types of sacrifices and offerings that men would need to bring to the Sanctuary if they were to approach a Holy God. Among them, the olah or “burnt offering” is the one where the entire carcass is consumed on the altar with the exception of the hides; those were reserved for the priest. My point is that, in the beginning, it seems that God introduced man to this particular offering. This also means that God had to step in and assume to role of Priest because Adam had disqualified himself from fulfilling that role.
In doing this, God established the pattern that would be fulfilled centuries later when the guiltless Messiah shed His blood that our guilt might be removed. The last Adam was stripped naked and hung upon a tree, taking upon Himself the shame that the first Adam was responsible for bringing upon us all. And when He rose from the dead, once again, God stepped into the role of Priest and established the path of reconciliation between man and God, forevermore. Truly, our God is faithful to show kindness and mercy. As the prophet Jeremiah said:
“This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:21-23)
Blessings and Shalom,