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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Garments of Righteousness Pt 1

For Catholics, clothes play an important role in our lives. They identify whom we serve. Priests and religious wear distinguished garb to represent certain religious orders. In the Liturgy, both in the old and new Covenants, certain articles of clothing were worn on certain days.

What does the Bible say about clothing?

First, I must give credit where credit is due. My friend Bob Salmon really showed me the importance of garments or clothing in Scripture. In the beginning there were no clothes of course:

Genesis 2:25 And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.

Genesis 3:7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.

Louis Ginsberg - "Legends of the Jews" has an interesting story:
The first result was that Adam and Eve became naked. Before, their bodies had been ... enveloped with the cloud of glory.

Genesis 3:21 And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins, and clothed them.

So what then do these clothes represent?

Clothes, as will become more clear as we go on, represent righteousness. After Adam and Eve become unrighteous through sin, they try to cover themselves in their own righteousness, but God comes along and makes a sacrifice and covers them in the skins of that sacrifice (prefiguring the sacrifice of Christ.) God himself is both the Priest and Victim and then clothes us with himself.

Everything in the Bible is of course significant and so I can't touch on absolutely everything here but just some highlights.

The next big story is when Jacob clothes himself like his brother Esau (with wool from a lamb) and tricks his father Isaac into giving him the blessing. So because he is clothed like the firstborn son he received the firstborn's inheritance.

St. Paul says this:
Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
So, because we are dressed like God’s firstborn Son (Jesus) we too can obtain the inheritance of the firstborn which is eternal life with the Father in heaven.

The next story that stands out to me is with David and Goliath.
David, filled with Zeal, tells Saul that he can defeat the giant Goliath

1 Samuel 17:37 And David said, "The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine."

1 Samuel 17:38-39 Then Saul clothed David with his armor; he put a helmet of bronze on his head, and clothed him with a coat of mail. And David girded his sword over his armor, and he tried in vain to go, for he was not used to them. Then David said to Saul, "I cannot go with these; for I am not used to them." And David put them off.

Now, here is an allegorical interpretation of this passage: I think that Saul is trying to trust is his own strength to fight the Philistines, and that his faith is in his armor. He tries to cloth David with that same armor, but David sees that this type of clothing paralyzes him and not only doesn’t protect him, but will make him worse off. So David will put on the armor of the Lord as he will say in Psalm 3:3 But thou, O LORD, art a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.

Then David is clothed with the Lord’s shield of faith
1 Samuel 17:45 Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin; but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.

This type of "clothing" is what brings victory to David, and will bring us victory as well.

2 comments:

Larry said...

Cool. I really enjoy reading these. I know that I hear a lot of this at school from you, but it is nice to have it stated again. Keep up the exelent work.

mom v many said...

Hi Daniel,
This will come in handy for me in a special way. I am in Prison Ministry and will be preparing someone who had decided to receive baptism.
Thanks,
Diane