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In our last lesson, we learned that Adam changed his wife’s name to Eve which means Mother of all the living. By doing so, Adam demonstrated faith in what God had revealed to him. God told Adam that he would live, for a time, and they would have children, but their environment would be under the curse.
Because Adam believed, God then did all that needed to be done to restore their relationship.
This is one of the most simplistic salvation experiences you will find in all of Scripture. I can’t explain it. But I accept it on faith.
The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.
To pick up the Spiritual significance of God’s action, please turn with me to the book of Isaiah.
I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has (what?) clothed me with garments of righteousness.
It was God who “clothed” them (Adam and Eve) in righteousness.
Apart from God’s love and grace, our self-righteousness accounts for nothing. What “triggers” God to act in our favor, enabling us to be recipients of His grace, is our FAITH in Him. Our salvation experience today is based on what Jesus Christ accomplished for us and not on anything we have done.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Of course, this salvation must be appropriated. How is that done? By believing that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and then rose again on the third day, according to the Scriptures. (1 COR 15:1-4)
This is the gospel of grace by which mankind is saved today.
So faith has always been a part of the salvation experience, but you cannot omit the blood.
It involves both of these absolutes.
Much more then, having now been justified by His (What?) blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
Let’s get back to Adam and Eve outside the garden. The Bible does not say how much time has gone by. The Bible does not reveal the ages of Cain or Abel when we pick up the story in chapter four, verse three.
3: So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground.
We’re going to come back to this verse shortly. Let’s read on.
4: Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering;
5: but for Cain and for his offering He (The LORD) had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell.
6: Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?”
7: “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
Let’s look at verse three more closely because there is more going on here than meets the eye.
Where did Cain get the idea that he had to bring an offering to the LORD, and why?
Why did God reject Cain’s offering while accepting Abel’s?
We’ll look at each question separately.
1) Where did Cain get the idea he needed to bring an offering to the LORD?
A few lessons back, God confronted Adam and Eve in the garden after they had sinned, and God punished them. Then God made garments of skin for both Adam and Eve, and He “clothed them.” Genesis 3:21
Adam and Eve were aware of their nakedness after their sin. We know this because they put some fig leaves together and used these to cover themselves. They covered their naked bodies but they could not “cover” up their sin. And there’s the problem.
Sometime prior to Adam and Eve being evicted from the Garden of Eden, God told them that He would accept them on the basis of their faith. And when they sinned, a blood sacrifice would be required of them.
Again, this is implied and we know it’s true because both Cain and Abel brought offerings to the LORD God.
You’re going to hear the word FAITH over and over again. I want you to understand what faith is and why it is so important in a believers experience with God. Please turn to the book of Hebrews.
1: Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
2: For by it (faith) the men of old (Now watch this) gained approval.
Approval from whom? God! Faith was absolutely essential in the salvation process. It still is today. Faith has always played a role in how God deals with individuals and nations. This has not changed.
The simplest definition of faith I have found is this: Faith = taking God at His word.
When Adam took God at His word, back there in the garden, then God did the rest. But faith came first.
So, this symbolic act of God in Genesis 3:21 is a fore shadow of what the Redeemer accomplished for all of mankind by His shed blood.
You know what a fore shadow is? It’s a “slight suggestion” or “a hint” of something that is to come.
Having been a sailor at one time, I became aware of by experience a saying from days of old.
It went like this: “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.” “Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.”
What does this mean?
If you witnessed a red sky at daybreak, there was a high probability of stormy weather coming that day.
It was a fore shadow of an event to come.
You may ask, why did blood need to be shed? Another Good question. Let’s find the answer.
God told Noah that the “life” was in the blood.
4: “Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.”
5: “Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man.”
In Hebrews chapter nine, we find one of God’s absolutes:
Hebrews 9: 22: b …and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Please know this. The blood of sheep and goats could not take away sin. If that were true, ask yourself, why did the Jewish priests offer sacrifices day after day, month after month, and year after year for the people’s sins? Please turn to the book of Hebrews chapter 10.
1: For the LAW (This is the Mosaic Law), since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, (Now watch this) can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer (How often?) continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.
2: Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshippers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins?
3: But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year.
(There was no power in the LAW to take away sin or to save).
Let’s go to II Corinthians chapter three.
I Corinthians 3I
5: Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.
6: who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter (The Ten Commandments) but of the Spirit; for the letter (Does what?) kills, but the Spirit gives life.
The LAW only makes you aware of sin. In affect, the LAW kills.
Return with me to the book of Hebrews to finish up this thought.
For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
The blood of animals covered the sins. It did not erase them. Instead of seeing our sin, God saw the blood; and this act of faith saved men from God’s wrath. When Jesus Christ shed His divine blood on the cross, His substitutionary death permits salvation to all those who believe.
But He (Jesus Christ), having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,
Turn to the book of Romans. This is the apostle Paul speaking to the believers in Rome.
23: for all have sinned (Jew and Gentile) and fall short of the glory of God,
24: being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is Christ Jesus (AND NO OTHER).
25: whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation (Bring disputing sides together; How?) in His blood (It is the blood of Christ Jesus that saves us and this) through faith (Plus nothing).
18: So then as through one transgression (the sin of Adam) (How many?) all men, there resulted condemnation toeven so through one act of righteousness (Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross) there resulted justification of life to (How many) all men.
19: For as through one man’s disobedience (Adam’s willful act of disobedience) the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One, (Jesus) the many will be made righteous.
So, God has declared that the life is in the blood and that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin. That takes care of our first question. On to question number two.
2) Why did God reject Cain’s offering while accepting Abel’s?
Let’s go back to this verse and inspect it.
So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground.
When we researched question number one, we discovered that God demanded a “blood” sacrifice or “offering” for sin. What did Cain bring as an offering to God? “…fruit of the ground.”
According to Scripture, Cain was a farmer. Cain worked the ground to produce crops for food. Abel, his brother, tended flocks of probably sheep, goats, etc.
When the time came to bring an offering to the LORD, Cain brought fruit. However, God demanded a blood sacrifice not fruits and vegetables. Cain’s disregard for God’s command demonstrated a lack of faith in what He had said. In comparison, Abel’s offering was according to God’s word.
4: By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was (what?) righteous, (How? He believed God).
There is the difference. This is why God was disappointed with Cain and his offering (verse four).
God’s rejection made Cain angry. God confronted him and told him that he must be wary of sin “crouching at his door;” evidence that the LORD God knew Cain’s heart.
Evidently, Cain had a problem with God. Cain chose his own way of approaching God and on his terms.
Cain “reasoned” instead of taking God at His word. Doesn’t mankind continue to do this very thing today?
Of course they do.
Cain became jealous of his brother and the positive attention he received from God.
Jealousy turned to anger. Anger became rage. And rage “acted upon” became a terrible sin.
8: Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.
9: Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
10: He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground.”
11: “Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.
12: “When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.”
13: Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is too great to bear!
14: “Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”
Here’s another first. Cain is throwing the first pity party!
15: So the LORD said to him, “Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD appointed a sign for Cain, so that no one finding him would slay him.
16: Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
According to Genesis, the Land of Nod is located "to the east of Eden" and Cain went there when he was banished after murdering his brother. The Hebrew word “nod” means "wandering".
Indeed, Cain worried that he would become a wanderer without a territory to call his own, but this did not happen. Instead, Cain built a settlement significant enough to be remembered as a “city” (Gen. 4:17).
Cain named that settlement after his son, Enoch. The central African equivalent of Enoch is “Nok”.
Cain's Efforts to Rid Himself of Guilt
The first effort of Cain had to do with his own philosophy of discipline. This was the thing that was the bitterness in his soul now. His problem was no longer Abel because Abel was dead and could not hurt him. It was the unfair way in which God had disciplined him.
His punishment was unreasonable, unloving, and unnecessary in Cain's view.
Now Cain was experiencing bitter regret at what he had done. But regret is not the same as repentance.
Most men regret the things they have done which have brought them guilt but they are not repentant.
Like Cain, they are not sorry for what they have done to their family, their friends, to their parents, and to God. They are only sorry for themselves and for that of which they think they have deprived themselves. This is exactly how it was with Cain.
Enoch-The Man and the City
He named his first son Enoch. This is the Hebrew word Chanowk (khan-oke') and it means dedicated, disciplined, initiated, or trained up. Cain named the city that he built Enoch, or the City of Discipline and Training.
Enoch named his son Irad. This is the Hebrew `Iyrad (ee-rawd') and it means fleet of foot, or in other words, a runaway or a fugitive. This shows that Enoch not only considered himself and his family to be fugitives from God, but that he hoped his son would have the courage (which he lacked) to break away from this legalistic city and look for truth in some other place and way.
As soon as he was old enough, Irad did flee from Cain and his heartless religion. But like those who had gone before him, he continued to be religious. Irad looked for God and for truth. He did have a conscience, and felt the sting of God's judgment on his grandfather and his children. He named his son Mehujael. This is the Hebrew M^echuwyaOel (mekh-oo-yaw-ale') or MechiyyaOel (mekh-ee-yaw-ale') which means Smitten of God. Irad's view of God had been clouded by the cruel, autocratic religion of his grandfather.
The only God he knew was the one who had reportedly mistreated Cain and who had caused him, who professed to be right and to honor God, to brutalize his own father.
Mahujael was committed to religion and to God and named his son Methusael. This is the word MethuwshaOel (meth-oo-shaw-ale') which means the man who is of God. No doubt this came from his tradition and his sincere interest in God and his family origins. He had heard the stories of how Eve had said of his grandfather, "I have gotten a man from the Lord." Methusael tried to live up to this name and tradition and became a religious teacher, passing along to his son the old stories. But like all religious humanism-the good intentions and the best efforts of man instead of that which i s of God-every effort failed. The stories and the lessons became distorted and things went from bad to worse.
Nowhere in this line of Cain is their any mention of Abel's sacrifice and of any of Cain's descendants bringing the “blood sacrifice.” No doubt this was not a part of their religious heritage.
This was the thing that had brought about Cain's downfall, and it is most likely that he did not encourage it among his people. Indeed, he may have kept it from them entirely.
Like their infamous patriarch, Cain's decedents believed in the inherent goodness of man, in religion, in good works, and in doing the best one could. They dwelt on the East of Eden.
Let’s return to the Bible text.
17: Cain had relations with his wife and she conceived, and gave birth to Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city Enoch, after the name of his son.
18: Now to Enoch was born Irad and Irad became the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael became the father of Methushael, and Methushael became the father of Lamech.
19: Lamech took to himself two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other, Zillah.
20: Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock.
21: His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and the pipe.
22: As for Zillah, she also gave birth to Tubal-cain, the forger of all implements of bronze and iron; and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.
If you read carefully the verses above, you’ll note this is a record of marriages and births.
It also gives us some information as to their chosen professions.
Adah lived in tents and they had livestock.
His brother Jabal was the father of those who played musical instruments.
Tubal-cain was a metal worker.
This must have been a thriving city, busy in commerce, buying and selling articles, and items which they made from hand. Hardly an ignorant society wouldn’t you say?
23: Lamech said to his wives, “Adah and Zillah, (Yes, Lamech is the first polygamist. He has taken two wives.) Listen to my voice, You wives of Lamech, Give heed to my speech, For I have killed a man for wounding me; And a boy for striking me;
24: If Cain is avenged sevenfold, then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.”
There is much speculation and disagreement on these two verses.
Some see this statement by Lamech as bragging on his accomplishments. Others say this is a statement of regret and judgment to come. I would offer a third possibility.
Perhaps Lamech is simply stating that because these two individuals wronged him he took matters into his own hands and killed them. The text does not clearly reveal its meaning; so I choose to leave this matter with the LORD. This is known: this is the second record of deaths, by the hand of man, in Scripture.
Lamech has struck down two males probably with “the sword.”
His son, the child of Zillah named Tubal-cain, was a metal-worker, and the inventor of weapons such as spears and swords. And now Scripture picks up again with two of our main characters.
25: Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, “God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel, for Cain killed him.”
26: To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD.
When Seth grew up, he had a son and named him Enosh (Enoch).
It was during his lifetime that men first began to call themselves "The Lord's people."
This was the first man to invoke (to call upon a greater power such as God for help) the name of Jehovah" - The Eternal and the Immutable One.
Scripture does not reveal this information to us, but once again I believe it is implied knowledge because of the text. Adam talked to his offspring about God and His ways. He told them of their days in Eden, their fall from grace, and then their exile from the garden. He informed them that they needed to obey the LORD God, believe in Him, and in what He had said in regard to sin offerings, and the shedding of blood.
Adam’s son Seth evidently listened and took these truths to heart because we see the evidence of this in Scripture. Seth passed this information about God to his son Enosh (Enoch) who according to the text “began to call upon the name of the LORD.”
It is a reminder for us today that we should pass on our knowledge of God to our children, and our loved ones. Not only are we to speak about God and His ways to those we love, we are to live our lives so as to be an example of God’s grace to others.