Searching the Scriptures
“Search the Scriptures…they are they which testify of Me.
Author: Bob Moses
Genesis Chapter Four
“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? And he said: What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. And the Lord said unto him: “Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him. And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch; and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son Enoch. And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech. And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah. And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold. And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord. Genesis 4: 1—26.
Verses 1 through 5 are most significant. We see that the first born of Adam and Eve was Cain and then secondly bared Abel. Their various occupations are notable. Cain was a tiller of the ground. And Abel was a keeper of the sheep. And when the appointed time came to present an offering unto the Lord, Cain brought forth the fruit of the ground. In other words, Cain brought to the Lord an offering from the ground which the Lord had cursed back in Gen. 3: 17. Speaking to Adam; God said: “Cursed is the ground for thy sake”. So now we have Cain bringing to God the fruit of something he had cursed (the ground). Whereas Abel brought forth the firstling of his flock, for he was a keeper of the sheep. God accepted the offering of Abel because there was a blood sacrifice which he tendered. Keep in mind that God provided coats of skins to clothe Adam and Eve after their transgression, therefore an offering of blood had to be shed. It is commonly shared that it was the blood of a sheep which God chose as this particular sacrifice, as throughout scripture it was the sheep which were predominate as the sacrifice. Many examples can be offered upon this documented fact, however to mention just a couple; remember that it was a ram, caught in the thicket which surpassed the death of Isaac from the blade of his father Abraham. Furthermore, it was the blood of a lamb that protected the Jews from the death angel, when Moses cast his last miracle upon Egypt. Christ also is mentioned many times as the Lamb of God. Christ also referred to himself as the Shepherd and the Lamb of God.
There is undoubtedly a correlation as to why God accepted the offering of Abel verses the unacceptable offering of Cain. Cain brought forth the fruit of the ground, while Abel brought the acceptable sacrifice; the firstling of his flock. Both sons had been brought up by Adam and Eve. No doubt both had heard the story of how God had provided clothing for them. Both had known that it was the skins which God had provided; had known that the shedding of blood was a prerequisite to forgiveness of sin. Both had known that God had cursed the earth for their sake (Adam and Eve), both had learned what God demanded for forgiveness. Nevertheless, Cain brought to God his fruits and vegetables and Abel brought a sheep. In other words, Cain brought his “works” rather than the true sacrifice. He could have bargained with Able for the suitable sacrifice but refused to do so. As he was proud of what he had done and accomplished. God is not interested in what “good works we do”, He is more concerned with our willingness to follow his Son “The Lamb”. He has already done the work, by offering his Son upon the cross. He does not need works, rather he needs us to follow our faith in Him.
Let’s plow a bit deeper into the consequences of the disobedience of Adam and the fall of man. We shall quote from A.W. Pink in his remarkable work “Gleanings in Genesis” Pages 53 thru 55: Moody Press, 1922. “What was the punishment which followed the first Adam’s sin? In answering this question we confine ourselves to Genesis 3: beginning at the seventeenth verse. Here we trace a seven-fold consequence upon the entrance of sin into this world. First, the ground was cursed. Second, in sorrow man was to eat of it all the days of his life. Third, thorns and thistles it was to bring forth. Fourth, in the sweat of his face man was to eat his bread. Fifth, unto dust man was to return. Sixth, a flaming sword barred his way to the tree of life. Seventh, there was the execution of God’s threat that in the day man partook of the forbidden fruit he should surely die. Such was the curse which fell upon Adam as the result of the Fall.
Observe now how completely the Lord Jesus bore the full consequences of man’s sin. First, Christ was “made a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). Second, so thoroughly was He acquainted with grief, He was denominated “the man of sorrows” (Isa. 53: 3). Third, in order that we might know how literally the Holy One bore in His own body the consequences of Adam’s sin, we read “Then came Jesus forth wearing the crown of thorns” (John 19: 5). Fourth, corresponding with the sweat of his face in which the first man was to eat his bread, we learn concerning the second man, “And His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22: 44). Fifth, just as the first Adam was to return unto the dust, so the cry of the last Adam, in that wonderful prophetic Psalm, was “Thou hast brought Me into the dust of death” (Psalm, 22: 15). Sixth, the sword of justice which barred the way to the tree of life was sheathed in the side of God’s Son, for of old, Jehovah had said, “Awake, O sword, against My shepherd, and against the man that is My Fellow” (Zech, 13: 7). Seventh, the counterpart of God’s original threat to Adam, namely, spiritual death (for he (Adam) did not die physically that same day, the day of his sin), which is the separation of the soul from God, is witnessed in that most solemn of all cries, “My God, My God, Why hast Thou forsaken Me?) (Matt. 27: 46). How apparent it is, that Christ in His own body, did bear the Curse entailed by the Fall?
In conclusion, we shall now consider Christ reversing the effects of the Fall. God alone is able to bring good out of evil and make even the wrath of man to praise Him. The Fall has afforded Him an opportunity to exhibit His wisdom and display the riches of His grace to an extent which, so far as we can see; He never could have done, had not sin entered the world. In the sphere of redemption Christ has not only reversed the effects of the Fall, but because of it, has brought in a better thing. If God could have found a way, consistent with His own character, to restore man to the position which he occupied before he became a transgressor, it would have been a remarkable triumph, but that through Christ man should actually be the gainer is a transcendent miracle of Divine wisdom and grace. Yet, such is the case. The redeemed have gained more through the last Adam (Jesus the Christ) than they lost through the first Adam. They occupy a more exalted position. Before the Fall, Adam dwelt in an earthly Paradise, but the redeemed have been made to sit with Christ in heavenly places. Through redemption they have been blest with a nobler nature. Before the Fall, man possessed a natural life, but now, all in Christ have been made partakers of the Divine nature. They have obtained a new standing before God. Adam was merely innocent, which is a negative condition, but believers in Christ are righteous, which is a positive state. We share a better inheritance. Adam was lord of Eden, but believers are “heirs of all things,” “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.” Through grace we have been made capable of a deeper joy than unfallen spirits have known: the bliss of pardoned sin, the heaven of deep conscious obligation to Divine mercy. In Christ believers enjoy a closer relationship to God than was possible before the Fall. Adam was merely a creature, but we are members of the body of Christ—“members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.” How marvelous ! We have been taken into union with Deity itself, so that the Son of God is not ashamed to call us brethren. The Fall provided the need of Redemption, and through the redeeming work of the Cross, believers have a portion which unfallen Adam could never have attained unto. Truly, “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” We give honor unto our Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit for the inspiration afforded to Mr. A.W. Pink, and his writings, and to Moody Press for making them available to us through the printed Word.
I wish to take my reader’s back with me to some of the passages revealed to us here in this forth chapter of Genesis. Genesis 4: 2: And she (Eve) again bare his (Cain’s) brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of the sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. It is interesting that the Holy Spirit interrupts the verse by adding “but”, as it refers to Cain. The meaning of the name of this first child of Eve is “acquisition”. Apparently Eve jumped to the conclusion that Cain was the promised Deliverer. Actually, he was “of that wicked one” (1st John 3:12), and the first as a member of the seed of the serpent, or Satan. Vs. 3; “And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.” The phrase “in the process of time” many consider to be the Sabbath Day. As God rested on the seventh day from his work of restoring the earth, and it was considered a Holy Day. Keep in mind that both Cain and Abel had honorable occupations, Cain producing food and Abel for clothing and sacrifice. Nevertheless, God had respect to the offering of Abel which was the firstling of his flock, whereas God had not respect unto Cain and his offering of the fruit of the ground. Why, one might ask. God’s curse was on the earth and Cain’s offering was from the earth. God demanded a “blood” sacrifice, as demonstrated by His covering Adam and Eve in coats of skins.
Taking a closer look at vs 4 & 5, we observe that the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth (wroth; meaning, mad, upset, in today’s language, “pissed-off”) and his countenance fell. Hebrews 11: 4 informs us that “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous” Matthew 23: 35 also tells us that Abel was considered righteous as does Luke 11: 51 & 52. We then have established that Abel was righteous before God whereas Cain was wroth and his countenance fell. Cain’s anger reflects pride in his own works, which, because of the fact that God had no respect unto what he had brought forth, God regarded as evil. (1 John 3:12). (Gen 4: 6 & 7) “And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door, And unto thee shall be his (Satan’s) desire, and thou (he, Satan) shall rule over him (Cain)”. Note the similar terminology to that of Genesis 3:16. Just as Eve’s desire would be toward Adam and he would lead her, so would an unrepentant Cain become so committed to rebellion that “sin” (Satan) would rule Cain. Abel’s offering implies a previous instruction (Gen. 3, 21), for it was “by faith” (Heb. 11:4) “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh (his blood speaking to God from the earth) Gen. 4: 10. Faith is taking God at His word; so that Jehovah made a last appeal to Cain (Gen. 4.7), even yet, to bring the required offering. Consider here the juxtaposition of these two men. The root of the problem was not the names of these brothers, nor the heritage of who came first, since obviously Abel was the second born; that impressed the conscience of God, but rather the required sacrifice which they rendered. Abel offered the blood sacrifice, by faith, which was mandated by God, Cain however brought of his works, and his pride was more instrumental than his faith.
Let’s appeal once more to the inspiration of Brother Pink: “The nature of the offerings which Cain and Abel brought unto the Lord, and God’s rejection of the one and acceptance of the other, point us to the most important truth in the chapter. Attention should be fixed not so much on the two men themselves, as upon the difference between their offerings. So far as the record goes there is nothing to intimate that up to this time Cain was the worst man of the two, that is, considered from a natural and moral standpoint. Cain was no infidel or atheist. He was ready to acknowledge the existence of God, he was prepared to worship Him after his own fashion. He “brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord .” But mark three things. First, his offering was a bloodless one, and “without shedding of blood is no remission” (Heb. 9:22) Second, his offering consisted of the fruit of his own toil, it was the product of his own labors, in a word, it was the works of his own hands. Third, he brought of “the fruit of the ground,” thus ignoring the Divine sentence recorded in Genesis 3:17, “Cursed is the ground.” Abel “brought of the firstlings of his flock and the fat thereof,” and to secure this, sacrifice had to be made, life had to be taken, blood had to be shed. The comment of the Holy Spirit upon this incident is, that “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain” (Heb. 11:4) He does not state that Abel was more excellent, but that the offering which he presented was more pleasing and acceptable to his Maker. (Gleanings in Genesis Pg. 58).
Vs. 8. “And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him”. Readers would assume that this took place immediately after the offerings were presented to God. Keep in mind however that this “talk” could have been an ongoing dialogue over a span of time. Abel was a righteous man, perhaps even a prophet and he undoubtedly urged Cain to repent and believe in God and His word. Cain could have rejected his brother’s council and grew weary of it. Many of us have had the same experience, we know that a loved one is going astray and we have tried on numerous occasions to have them accept God’s word, but to no obvious effect. They seem to rebel even further. This could have been the cause of Cain’s desire to get his brother off of his back. He finally could take no more, and therefore slew his brother just to shut him up. Nevertheless the time frame; Cain’s rebellion overtook him and he killed Abel. His consequences soon became very apparent.
Vs. 9 & 10: “And the Lord said unto Cain. Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? He said; “What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.” A most interesting note is observed here in the fact that God asked Cain “where is thy brother”? Truth is, Cain did not know where his brother was. He knew he had killed him and he knew where he had killed him but his concern, as to his actual whereabouts, he did not know. The Scriptures do not specify that Cain buried his brother. Therefore what happened to his body after Cain had slain him, Cain himself did not know. What is even more revealing is, that even at this stage of this episode, God gave Cain the option of seeking repentance of his sin. Cain could have said : “ I have killed him”. And undoubtedly God would have found a way to forgive him. However Cain still rebelled against God, and said, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Which placed the blame entirely upon Cain; for God said: “The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground”. Note that God did not say that Abel’s body cried from the ground, but rather his “blood” cried from the ground; innocent blood, corresponding to the innocent blood of the Lamb which God sacrificed to Adam and Eve and also unto the innocent blood of, Jesus the Christ, the ultimate sacrifice for our sin.
Vs. 11--15: “And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand: when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment (iniquity) is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. And the Lord said unto him; therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken upon him sevenfold, And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.”
As usual much is to be gleaned from these verses. First let us note that God said to Cain “And now art thou cursed from the earth”. Reflecting back on Gen: 3: 17 we read God proclaiming unto Adam : “Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life”. The earth had been cursed because of Adam’s sin; now the earth itself had been defiled by Cain sin. God’s curse was on the earth; Cain’s curse was from the earth. His boastful pride in the fruits he had been able to grow from the cursed earth had been the occasion of his sin. The message being that those who trust in their own good works eventually find it impossible to produce them anymore. (Henry Morris Study Bible). Hence God’s manifest that the earth should no longer yield unto him (Cain and his harvest) her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be.
And Cain said unto the Lord; “It shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me, shall slay me. And the Lord said unto him. Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.” The question is, what is or was this mark? While most have and undoubtedly many continue to do, is that if you find a suitable question, the mainstream simply reads right over it. Those of us who are students of the Word, generally have a tendency to probe, at minimum, a bit further. Sometimes we find an answer, sometimes we don’t, but at the very least we look into possibilities. I found that this mention of the Lord to place a mark upon Cain worthy of a fuller examination. With all the tattoos and such so prominent today, I had to wonder if there was any connection. My curiosity was piqued when reading Lev. 19:28; “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord” The latter (Hebrew: (Qd”dga), meaning, incision) refers to tattooing, and has no reference to idolatrous usages, but was intended to inculcate upon the Israelites a proper reverence for God’s creation. This demonstrates that God does not condemn a person for having a mark (tattoo) but rather calls upon all people to respect God’s temple, the human body, which God created in His own likeness.
Good job right? But hold on, I recall that God placed a distinguished feature upon the Jew and his countenance. You can recognize a Jew most anywhere, the hooked nose, the manner in which they speak, their overbearing personality, etc. etc. Are not these distinctive features which are held by the Jews? Of course, and in this case could it not be the mark placed upon Cain? I think the answer is yes. If you will allow me some latitude here, I would take this one step further and state that in my opinion, this distinguished feature is what separated the Jew from the Gentile. Cain somehow became the nefarious father of the Jew, before God proclaimed that Abraham was the Father of the Jew because Abraham had not even been born yet. Whereas Adam, Eve and Abel represented the Gentile. I’ll carry this premonition further when we get to Cain’s heritage and then the coming of the third child of Adam and Eve, that of Seth. Remember that Eve thought Cain, the first born, Cain meaning “acquisition” implied her thankfulness that the Lord was keeping His promise to her, and her faith that her son would grow to manhood. Possibly Eve jumped to the unwarranted conclusion that Cain was the promised Deliverer; that man who would deliver all mankind of his sin, which Adam and Eve had woefully committed. Actually, however he was “of that wicked one” (1 John 3:12), and thus, was the first in the long line of the serpent’s seed. I am not concluding here that all Jews proceeded from the “wicked one”, I am just bringing to mind the fact that it was the ruling Jews, of the Sanhedrin who demanded the crucifixion of Christ. Just as the first Jew slew his brother. There are no contradictions in Scripture, but there are examples, shadows and pictures. This first Jew could well have been the example, or foreshadow of his later brethren. Do not forget that all things relating to the earth and mankind, begin in the Book of Genesis.
Verses 16—24: “And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he (Cain) built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son Enoch. And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujhael: and Mehujael began Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech. And Lamech, took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron; and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah. And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, harken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold. Some theologians suspect that Lamech actually killed his father Cain; however this is not presented to us in this verse.
Verses 25—26: “And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For god, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos; then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.” It is quite obvious that Seth was God’s chosen one to proclaim and continue to espouse “faith” unto his God and to be the leader of the select men of God, for Seth was considered “righteous” before God. His name meaning “appointed”.
In our next lesson we will consider Genesis Chapter 5, also known as the death chapter of Scripture. May God bless you as we continue to explore the Book of Beginnings; “Genesis”.