FLESH AND SKIN
The item, or items as it is in this case, to be covered are the blood and its source, the bones. While these two are distinctly different, nonetheless they are intrinsically related; for it is from the bones and the marrow thereof that flows the blood. A life without bones is a life without blood, wherein there exists no life at all.
Bones represent government, structure, and order, which are necessary to bring forth and sustain life. Leviticus 17:11 and 14 specifically state that "the life of the flesh is in the blood"; and, "For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life." Though we must consider the bones as a part and parcel to be covered, the most significant item that finds expression as being covered here is the blood, for in it is life. We will see more regarding this shortly.
Now that we have identified what is being covered, let us turn to a familiar account in Ezekiel 37:1-10 to identify the two coverings.
The hand of Yahweh was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of Yahweh and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. And He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry. And He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" And I answered, "O Lord Yahweh, You know." Again He said to me, "Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of Yahweh.' "Thus says the Lord Yahweh to these bones, 'Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. And I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin, and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am Yahweh.'"
And then the prophet spoke, "and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew, and skin covered them ...." The two coverings we find over bones and the blood are – first, the flesh, and second, the skin.
For the sake of maintaining an identity and relevance with the other paired coverings thus far addressed, let us briefly note that the removal of the second covering equally has grave and adverse affects on the covered. Even as the other second coverings were vital to the continued life of the covered, so the skin is a vital covering of the flesh and the entire body. If the skin is cut or removed, then a terrible judgment comes upon the flesh and blood, depending upon the degree of the removal of this second covering.
The existence and significance of these two coverings in the Old Testament are substantial. Repeatedly they are mentioned together in the atonement ceremonies (Leviticus 4:11, 8:17, 9:11, 16:27; Numbers 19:5). This atonement, which we have already mentioned, was for covering the Israelite's sins – "atonement" meaning, "covering." Judgment was required when they sinned; thus, Yahweh gave them a means whereby they obtained forgiveness by the death of a sacrificial animal. Judgment must fall when sin occurs; and to judge, coverings must first be removed. And they were!
The coverings of the blood – the flesh and
the skin – were cut and the blood was poured out. This
cutting was the judicial uncovering of the
animal. Now uncovered, substitutionary judgment took
place in its death on behalf of the one who brought the
offering (preceded, of course, by laying their hands on
the head of the sacrifice). With the judgment now effected
by its death, the two coverings were removed outside the
camp and consumed by fire. Not only were the coverings removed, they were
entirely destroyed by fire.
Now that we have seen these two coverings
and the great significance of their removal as a necessary
part of sacrificial atonement, let us examine this
further to see and confirm the important aspect of a substitutionary
covering. Remember, these substitutionary
coverings from our other examples included not
only the woman's headcovering, but also the ozone layer,
clothing, atonement money, and the cloth of pure blue.
In the example we are considering now, would it surprise
you that the blood also possessed a substitutionary
covering equal to the other examples? Remember,
blood requires a covering; and when it is uncovered,
judgment is required.
To prevent judgment for the routine shedding of blood, Yahweh established a substitutionary covering. Interestingly, the substitutionary covering He called for was the same substance from which the other two coverings were formed – the dust of the earth. In the same instruction where Yahweh states that the "life of the flesh is in the blood," and that it is "the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement," He also gives the following substitutionary covering instruction for spilled blood:
"So when any man from the sons of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, in hunting catches a beast or a bird which may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth" [Leviticus 17:13].
The substitutionary covering for blood that averted Yahweh's judgment for the removal of the coverings of the animal was the dust of the earth. The earth covered the life of the animal as a replacement for its skin.
You might think: What difference does this make? A lot to Yahweh God and the angels, as it specifically applied to the important matter of coverings and the judicial consequences of their removal. For example, in Ezekiel 24:7-9 Yahweh significantly warned the "rebellious house" of Jerusalem:
"For her blood is in her midst;
She placed it on the bare rock;
She did not pour it on the ground
To cover it with dust.
That it may cause wrath to come up to take vengeance,
I have put her blood on the bare rock,
That it may not be covered."
Therefore, thus says the Lord Yahweh,
"Woe to the bloody city!"
Yahweh was judging Jerusalem, and to present the case of that judgment, He referred to the law of the covering of blood. Through the uncovered blood, He was showing the uncovered state of that city because of their rejection of Him and His ways. Thus, Yahweh said they were uncovered! And because they were uncovered, they were to be judged. The uncovered blood represented the case for the uncovering of the people, which resulted in their judgment. Similarly, will Yahweh judge this nation or the church or women and men today because they are uncovered physically? Clearly, their uncovered state, like the uncovered blood here, is overt evidence of an underlying like uncovering, both of which portend and call for judgment.
Yahweh said that because Jerusalem had placed her blood "on the bare rock" and did not try to cover it (i.e., her sins where committed openly without any attempt to change or atone for them), then He would put "her blood on the bare rock, that it may not be covered." This is the same truth regarding the woman's headcovering and clothing: one, because the dust likewise represents a substitutionary covering; and two, in like manner this nation and the church have performed unclean deeds that deserve Yahweh's judgment. Thus, because this nation and the church have uncovered themselves before Him, Yahweh has in like testimony uncovered them, evidenced by the woman's rejection of the substitutionary headcovering and modest clothing. Yahweh God has equally placed our blood on a rock and blinded our eyes to the relevance of coverings – not allowing us to see the headcovering's relevance, as well as that of clothing and the beard. Both this nation's and the church's blood is on a rock, and few, very few, are finding the substitutionary covering of the woman's headcovering and hiding or covering the shame of their nakedness.
Now let us briefly point out a second substitutionary covering over blood. This additional example further shows the relevance of a substitutionary covering, and blood is unique in that it can be substitutionally covered in two ways. Again, the uncovering of blood – removing it out from under the coverings of the flesh and skin – required judgment. Thus, when a woman was in her menstrual period, her exposed blood called for judgment. And not only did she become "unclean" by her blood, but anyone who touched her or anything she touched, sat upon, or laid upon became unclean for a period of time. To atone for the blood which she shed, she had to take two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, to the priest as sin and burnt offerings (Leviticus 15:19-30). These sacrifices became the legal substitutionary covering for her uncovered blood.
There are two other examples of substitutionary coverings over blood – substitutionary atonement made for the blood shed during the birth of a child (Leviticus 12), and to remove the guilt of shedding innocent blood (Deuteronomy 21:1-9). Each of these reveal that in addition to the dust as a substitutionary covering, substitutionary atonement by the death and sacrifice of another served likewise to cover exposed blood.
Let us now move on to the judgment of
Yahshua, and see how this same pair of coverings found
unique legal expression and fulfillment in His life.
Indeed, Yahshua's judgment as our atonement/covering for sins was a
governmental matter, and was accomplished entirely under
the law of coverings. To fully grasp this truth, we
must go back into the Old Testament and look at yet another
comparable pair of coverings.
In the temple, there were two veils,
or coverings, over the way into the Holy of Holies – the
veil/covering into the Holy place, and the veil/covering
into the Holy of Holies. Once a year the blood of a sacrifice
animal was brought into the Holy of Holies (along
with the incense which would cover the altar
while the priest was in there) and sprinkled on the mercy
seat to atone for the unintentional sins of the people
(Leviticus 16, Hebrews 9:7). This sprinkling of blood,
of course, looked to the work of Yahshua and His atonement
for sins. In this regard, it is important to note that the sprinkled blood
present in the Holy of Holies was indeed covered by two
veils, picturing the flesh and the skin over the blood/the
We are clearly told in Hebrews 10:10-20 that "we have
confidence to enter the Holy place by the blood
of Jesus, by a new and living way which He
inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His
flesh ...." Of what significance was it that Yahshua's
flesh was pictured by the veil? Great in every regard!
We have already seen in the Old Testament that the flesh and skin are two vital coverings over the blood. And anytime blood was spilled, it had to be covered with a substitutionary covering, otherwise the exposed blood called for judgment. Thus, the shedding of Yahshua's blood was an uncovering of life that demanded judgment, which He took for us. Yahshua fulfilled the judgment of sins for us by His shed blood as a substitutionary sacrifice, a substitutionary covering.
Furthermore, a dramatic testimony of this judgment took place in the temple, at the culmination of His own suffering and death! We are told in Matthew 27:51 that upon Yahshua's death, "the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom." As we are told in Hebrews 10:20, this rending of the temple veil was like testimony to the rending of His own flesh in order that judgment might be fulfilled. His flesh was rent, His blood spilled; and in like testimony, the temple veil was split. Judgment was thus required and fulfilled as Yahshua's own blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat of heaven before Almighty God, and atoned for us. Judgment was required, carried out, and fulfilled in Yahshua's suffering and death.
But actually, His judgment, as it related to the matter of being uncovered, was demanded not on one account alone, but on at least three accounts. First, we are told that His beard was plucked out, or removed – one uncovering. Also, they removed His clothing – a second uncovering. And finally, they scourged Him, tearing His flesh and uncovering His blood, and then on the cross pierced His side and His blood flowed out uncovered on the ground – a third uncovering. Three testimonies demanded judgment, and judgment was wholly fulfilled, once for all!
Yahshua came under the law to fulfill the judgment and atonement of sin in His own flesh covering: "For Christ also died for sins once for all, ... having been put to death in the flesh ..." (1 Peter 3:18). But His atonement of sin by the rending of His flesh and the fulfillment of the requirement of the law in no way cancels the law of coverings for today. In fact, it establishes it as a law of continuing immense relevance. Most importantly, it is under this ongoing law of coverings that we continue to find our own forgiveness. We can thus rejoice in that law that brings our forgiveness and seek its application wherever required by the Scriptures, gladly proclaiming – we are covered.
It is interesting how understanding on one passage or principle from the Scriptures links one to understanding other truths. In this matter of the covering over the blood, it becomes evident why Yahweh commanded the Israelites to not make cuts in their skin. By doing so it is clearly evident that they were uncovering their blood and thus calling for their judgment. Let us briefly look at this, allowing some succinct comments.
"You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads, nor harm the edges of your beard. You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead, nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am Yahweh" [Leviticus 19:27-28].
Notice that both shaving the sides of
one's beard and cutting the skin have to do with removing
a covering, and thereby calling for judgment. When
one understands Yahweh's divine principle of coverings,
it becomes evident why neither of these practices were
allowed – they bring judgment. Also, we might digress here
for a moment and ask: Why do you think Yahweh did not
allow tattoos on the skin? Is it not that a
person's skin is a covering of great spiritual significance,
and as a part of His divine governmental purpose thereby
belongs to Him? What if the Israelites covered the tabernacle
with a circus tent? Did not Yahweh give the specific
design? And concerning the incense which we have
seen is likewise a covering, was He concerned
about it, or did the priests have a right to alter it
and bring in any incense? Absolutely not! In Exodus 30:9 Yahweh
warned: "You shall not offer any strange incense
on this altar ...."
We know what happened to those who offered strange incense, or "fire," before Yahweh. In Leviticus 10:1-2 we read: "Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective fire pans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before Yahweh, which He had not commanded them. And fire came out from the presence of Yahweh and consumed them, and they died before Yahweh." Why did he kill them? Because they altered the covering of incense, thus calling for judgment.
Do you now see the importance of not altering or putting your own design or tattoo on Yahweh's covering? Your skin belongs to Him! And may we add – women, don't tattoo your face either. Oh, you say, I would never place one of those ugly tattoos on my face! But don't you? What do you think make-up is? Is it not also altering the covering of the skin which Yahweh has given you? What is the difference between the coloring of a tattoo and the coloring of makeup? The only difference is one is permanent and one is not. Both of these "tattoos" result in altering, or putting "strange fire," on your face.
If you paint your eyes ladies, you follow in the ways of Jezebel who "painted her eyes and adorned her head" just before being pushed out her window and falling to her death under the hoof-beat and wheels of Jehu's chariot (2 Kings 9:30). Equally, you are following in the ways of the inhabitants of Jerusalem who were sent into bondage in Babylon. Yahweh declared to this rebellious people: "Although you decorate yourself with ornaments of gold, although you enlarge your eyes with paint, in vain you make yourself beautiful; your lovers despise you; they seek your life" (Jeremiah 4:30). In Ezekiel 23, Yahweh equally told the inhabitants of Jerusalem that since they desired the ways of the Babylonians, He would send them into captivity in Babylon. Likewise, Christians have sought the ways of the world, and they too have been turned over to the world's captivity. These are the Scripture's two examples of women painting their faces; and these are the two you follow if you paint your face.
Wearing makeup should have the same repulsion as wearing a tattoo. And even today, the church shames the covering of Yahweh and paints pictures on the faces of young children. Are they not also a tattoo, even though a temporary one? The skin of a man or woman is a spiritual covering designed specifically by Yahweh God, being of great significance to Him; and we have no right nor are we showing spiritual wisdom when coloring or altering it. Leave the skin alone! It is Yahweh's divine, designed spiritual covering! There is nothing wrong with natural coloring in skin, or even the absence thereof. Yahweh designed the face naturally. We do wrong in tattooing and altering His design.
Peter tells us we are living stones,
"being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood,
to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through
Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 2:5). We are likewise told in
Exodus 20:25 and Deuteronomy 27:5-6 that when building
an altar of stones on which to make sacrifices
unto Yahweh – "you shall not wield an iron tool
on them. You shall build the altar of Yahweh your God
of uncut stones." It was right to build an altar of stones
for a sacrifice; they just could not take the tools
of man and fashion the stones according to man's design.
Likewise ladies, you who are the "living stones" who
desire to "offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to
God," why would you wield your tools and alter the living
stone Yahweh has fashioned? He has made you
according to His design – a design He saw
appropriate and fit as a living stone for His spiritual
altar. And men, put down the tool used to alter your face.
Let the beard that Yahweh placed on your jaw have its rightful
place as well.
"They shall not make any baldness on their heads, nor shave off the edges of their beards, nor make any cuts in their flesh. They shall be holy to their God and not profane the name of their God ..." [Leviticus 21:5-6].
Note again the grouping of these coverings – hair on the head, hair on the jaw, and do not cut the flesh. All three are coverings which when removed or cut required judgment.
"You are the sons of Yahweh your God; you shall not cut yourselves nor shave your forehead for the sake of the dead. For you are a holy people to Yahweh your God; and Yahweh has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth" [Deuteronomy 14:1-2].
The second of these two sentences is very interesting. If one quoted the second sentence by itself and asked a person to guess what it applied to, who would guess cutting yourselves or shaving your forehead? But we know that Yahweh is a God of coverings, and He wants His people covered.
What happens when the skin is cut and blood uncovered? We have learned that if the substitutionary covering of the dust of the earth or an atonement sacrifice was not applied to the blood, then judgment was required. In 1 Kings 18:28 we see a vivid example of uncovered blood and resulting judgment. The prophets of Baal were in a frenzy trying to get their god to come down and consume their offering with fire, while Elijah stood by and heckled them. "So they cried with a loud voice and cut themselves according to their custom with swords and lances until the blood gushed out on them." Ugh-oh! That was a mistake! They got God's attention all right, but it was the wrong god, and it was the wrong signal. This gushing blood spoke one thing to the one true God – judgment! They were legally uncovered and judgment fell squarely upon them. After Yahweh clearly demonstrated Himself in Elijah's sacrifice, He called judgment due. In verse 40 we read: "Then Elijah said to them, 'Seize the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape.' So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there." Judgment was called for – judgment was effected!
Additionally, concerning uncovered blood
and its demand for judgment, in Matthew 23:35 we read:
"upon you [Jerusalem] may fall all the righteous blood
shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood
of Zechariah ...." This blood of Abel is the same which
cried to Yahweh: "The voice of your brother's
blood is crying to Me from the ground" (Genesis 4:10).
Uncovered or unatoned blood demands judgment. For the sake
of the righteous blood of the prophets, Yahshua
declared to Jerusalem that the city would be "left
to you desolate" (vs. 38). This was fulfilled in 70 AD with
the invasion of Rome. Judgment for all the shed blood of
the prophets was called due on the generation of Jews who
rejected Yahshua. Less than 40 years after His
crucifixion, Jerusalem fell under Rome's severe
judgment and it was left desolate. The uncovered blood of
the prophets demanded the Jew's judgment.
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