Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 2
Cain and Abel
Genesis 4:1 – 5:24
Now let’s just pick up again where we left off last lesson, and that would be in Genesis chapter 4, and verse 8. If you remember the last time we were together we were talking about Cain and Abel, and why Abel’s sacrifice was accepted and Cain’s rejected. And it all boils down to the simple matter of obedience to what God said to do. Remember Abel brought a blood sacrifice as required by God’s instructions, and God accepted it, and Abel came back in the right relationship with his God.
However Cain brings a bloodless sacrifice, that which was of self will, and God rejected it. We then found Cain got angry, and God came back and said, “But Cain I’ve already provided the lamb for you to sacrifice if you will only go to your tent door, pick it up and bring it, and I’ll accept you.” And still Cain would not do as he was told.
To get our mind kind of cleared as to why some people seemingly can never get these things to the place that they can believe it, let’s go back again before we go any further in Genesis chapter 11, the great faith chapter and again look at verse 4.
“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, (why was Abel’s sacrificed accepted? His faith!) by which he obtained witness that he was righteous,…”
Now come on over to chapter 12, and we’re going to pick up that other individual that I alluded to in our last lesson. A man also who morally and in every other way was probably better than his brother Jacob. Just about everyone knows the story of Jacob and Esau, and how that Esau was a hunter and was loved by his father, and when Isaac wanted that venison meal, Esau went out and got it. But in the mean time, Jacob by trickery, had beaten Esau to the blessing.
And remember earlier in the story, when Esau came in from the field, and was all exhausted and hungry, he glibly gave up his spiritual birthright for a bowl of bean soup Jacob had made. Now why would he do such a thing? Because like Cain, he was destitute of faith. What God had said concerning the coming of a Redeemer through the line of Abraham, meant nothing to Esau. But Jacob, the rascal that he was, evidently had enough of a concept of what God said He would do that Jacob could believe it. So Jacob was a man of faith, and Esau was not.
“Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 17. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: (just like Cain was) for he found no place of repentance, through he sought it carefully with tears.”
Now that verse is hard to comprehend until you can understand, that even though Esau wept because he missed receiving the blessing, yet he never got to the place that he could understand why he missed the blessing. And why did he miss it? Because he could not believe what God had said! Esau was a man who had no faith.
And again I always have to bring all these things up to our own contemporary time. How many people have we got all around us who are good people, I mean morally good people, and they’re emotions are stirred, but they just cannot simply believe what God has said to believe for their salvation, as we find in I Corinthians 15:1-4 and Romans 10:9-10. So where are they? They’re out there in disobedience and trying to make their own way, usually under the Law of Moses. They’re like Esau or Cain, they are destitute of faith. They just cannot accept what God has told the Apostle Paul concerning Salvation for the Church Age, which we are now part of.
Now then let’s come back to chapter 4 of Genesis and carry on. We should make a little head way this ½ hour. So now we see that Cain is still carrying that rebellious attitude with him and now he is filled with that four letter word, “envy.” What’s he envious of? Oh the fact that Abel is now right with God, and he isn’t. There is nothing else that has come between these two brothers except this one fact. So now Cain becomes envious. Do you realize that you cannot break a single one of the Ten Commandments without first being guilty of envy?
Let’s look at that in Romans chapter 7 for a moment where Paul is having this great battle. And you know the concept here is that Paul makes it so plain “the things I would, I don’t. And the things that I should do, I don’t.” So he’s got this great controversy within himself. But now in verse 7 he says:
“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? (is there something wrong with the Law?) God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, (for what it really is) but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.”
So think about that in the next few days as you go about your daily work, and see if there is anything in the Ten Commandments that you can break without coveting? There’s not a one. Everything that is in our relationship with God, so far as our disobedience is concerned, is always triggered by coveting or envy, or jealously, and it can just eat at the inner being of people, then pretty soon it comes to the surface.
Now come on back to the Book of Genesis chapter 4. You see, that’s exactly what happened to Cain. Oh he became so envious of Abel’s relationship with God. The very fact that God accepted him, and instead of just going back to God in obedience, what does he do? He let’s that envy eat and eat until finally Cain settles this jealously with his brother by killing him.
“And Cain talked with Abel his brother: (he didn’t just talk with Abel, but rather he confronted him) and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.”
Now over the twenty years I’ve been teaching, I’ve developed a few little cliques I call them, that I use over and over, and one of them is, “sin begets sin.” Once we get down that road of sin, another sin just follows so naturally, sin begets sin, and that’s what happens here. What was Cain’s first sin? A lack of faith. He could not believe what God said was true. After that sin, what followed? Envy, jealously. Now his envy and jealously actually comes to the place where he commits a still more terrible sin, when he murdered his brother. Now verse 9
“And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not; Am I my brother’s keeper?
So then Cain lied, and what’s a lie? Another sin. See he just keeps piling them up. Now verse 10.
“And he said, What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.”
Now I think there’s more in this verse than I’m even able to gleam from it, but there is a connection here with the blood of Abel going into the ground, which is already under the curse. There is a connection I’m sure, but I’m not to the place where I can clarify it just yet. So it might be something that you would want to study on your own. Now verse 11.
“And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; 12. 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.”
Now Cain comes back and cries doesn’t he? He cries just like Esau did. Remember in Hebrews, Esau cried bitter tears, but he was still destitute of faith.
“And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.”
Listen, would God have forgiven Cain even here? Sure He would have. All Cain would have had to do was just let his pride come down, say, “Oh God I’ve sinned, I’ll do what you want me to do, I’ll go and get that sacrifice, and bring to you.” But Cain doesn’t, and you just see the man go down, down, down. Let’s read on.
“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.”
Here God says: “Oh no they won’t, I’ll prevent that.” Now verse 15.
“And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD sat a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.”
Now we don’t know what that mark was, and I wouldn’t even venture a guess, but I’ll tell you one thing, everybody that was contemporary with Cain, knew who he was. And they wouldn’t touch him for anything. So God providentially put that protection on him.
Now this also points out something else. Here we are in the dawn of human history, and from Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel, and these first families that are just starting up on this side of the Garden of Eden, all the way to the flood, you want to remember that there is no system of what we call law and order. There is no government, or law and order. In other words everyone operated simply from conscience. There was no system of organized worship. Now they knew to approach God with an animal sacrifice, but there was no system of worship as we find introduced to the nation of Israel, or as we find Paul introducing to the Church. But rather every person was more or less on his own to be obedient to his God by virtue of the conscience within him. Maybe I can show that best from the Book of Romans chapter 2. I always stress that we have to use all the Scriptures.
In fact it came up in our class last night where we have been studying the Book of Acts, where Paul had been driven out of the little city of Thessalonica up there in Northern Greece, where they refused to let him teach and preach, and so he went down to the next little city south of Thessalonica to Berea, and that verse says what?
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
And oh that’s a good admonition for us. If you don’t agree with me, don’t come and argue with me, but rather search the Scriptures. I always like to make it clear that I don’t trumpet any one denomination, and I don’t try to get a person to leave his denomination, but rather all I try to do is teach the Word! I just told someone at break time, that very seldom do I ever come down on the so called “sins of society.” You don’t very often hear me talk about drugs, and sex and gambling, and so forth, because I don’t have to. All you have to do is get in the Book and those things will take care of themselves. So now in Romans chapter 2 we find Paul writing to the Gentile believers at Rome, and he’s explaining all of this, as he’s preparing for chapter 3, a chapter we’ve already looked at quite a bit in our study.
“For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, (do you see that? Gentiles that Paul is referring to are those who are either contemporary with Israel while they’re under the Law or that civilization coming up to the time of the Law, when as yet there was none.) do by nature (or naturally) the things contained in the law, (in other words they refrain from murder, adultery, stealing, and so forth. They didn’t do all these things because there was a law that told not to,) these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15. Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
Now that tells it as plainly as it can be told, that for these people who lived before the Law was given, operated on the influence of conscience. That which God had placed in the very breast of Adam and Eve and those following of what was right and what was wrong.
I was amazed years and years ago when we first got interested in foreign missions, and missionaries would come home from parts of the world that 30 or 40 years ago were still pretty much steeped in a spiritual darkness. It isn’t so much that way anymore, in fact much of what we used to call dark Africa is now beginning to send missionaries to America now. I hope you know that. But anyway I remember missionaries coming back and would say, “These pagan people, under the influence of the witch doctors, yet they had a moral code that would make us American look pretty shabby.” Where did they get this moral code? Oh from their conscience! They knew deep inside that it was not right to murder, or commit adultery, and be immoral.
In fact I remember one missionary in particular that their missionary work was down in central, South American down on the Amazon River, and that particular tribe was so hung up on sexual immorality that if any young girl was married with any doubt whatsoever that she was pure, her first child was taken into the jungle and killed. Now think of that! They had that much emphasis on a pure marriage relationship. Now where do they get it? Conscience. Now let’s come back to Genesis chapter 4. So at this time there is no system of organized law as we know it, no controlled behavior, nor are there any organized system of worship. Now verse 16. Cain, we know is a rebel
“And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD,…”
Cain didn’t want any more to do with God. I suppose also that when the Lord told him that He had put a protection on him that no one could avenge the death of his brother death. In fact Cain I think had a smugness that he had nothing to fear, and he removes himself from the place where God won’t have any contact with him.
“…and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.”
Now the question coming up quite often lately is, where was the Garden of Eden? Well I think most people who give any credence at all to the Book of Genesis, especially out of the archeological community, I think they would all agree that it was someplace between the Euphrates and Tigress River. And with our controversy with Iraq, which is right in the cradle of civilization. So Cain moved somewhere around that area or maybe the area of Babylon, it’s in that area of the world.
“And Cain knew his wife, and; and she conceived, and bare Enoch:…” (not the same Enoch that walked with God in Genesis 5:22)
Now in these verses between 17 and 24, we have the explosive beginning of that first Cainatic civilization. I’m saying Cainatic because this civilization is going to explode technology, it’s going to explode in population, but it is totally destitute of a relationship with God. There is nothing spiritual in this civilization whatsoever, although it’s going to explode. Remember now, God’s out of the picture. Now when you force God out of a situation, there is a natural phenomena, and who comes in? Satan. Now don’t delegate Satan to the little guy in a red suit with a pitchfork, with a couple of little horns on his head, because that is not the Biblical picture of Satan. Satan is an angelic personality with tremendous power. The Apostle Paul tells us:
II Corinthians 11:14
“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light “
We also know that he has the power of the universe at his disposal with only the Sovereign power of God to control him. So this Cainatic civilization is going to be driven by the powers of Satan, and not by the power of God. Now let’s read a few more verses.
“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.
Now you know I’m a strict adherence of the Genesis account. I mean after all this is what God says about it, and I believe every word of it. The other side will try to tell us that man came up in the process of evolution from that primeval soup and finally came up through the monkeys and apes and what have you. And then after he began to walk up right, he began to hunt and raise a family, and all that garbage that they spew out of their mouths and books. Then he lived in caves almost like a wild animal, and little by little he finally formed a civilization.
Well that is not what the Bible says! The Bible says the first thing the off spring of Cain did was settle down, and they buildth a city.
Now it wasn’t a city like New York or Chicago, but nevertheless it was not just a cave dweller or two, these are groups of people who have actually settled in one place and they have set up a community, a society is the best word I can use.
Now if you’re going to have a city, whether it’s 500 or 1000, or 10,000 I think you all realize that a good many of the people involved in that society are in service. Most of our jobs even today are service connected. In other words you have the grocer, the hardware store, and all of these things that are basically service. Very few jobs are really connected with production, now that’s just part and parcel of having a city. Now it was the same way here.
You go back into some of the tribal areas that I’ve already referred to, like down into the central part of South America, on the Amazon River. When our missionaries go down there and approach these natives, running around in the jungle, they know nothing of a civilization like we do. They don’t have villages and towns, they just roam through the forest. And as soon as our missionaries can see them converted, teach them our so called Western ways of living, then what’s the first thing these people do? They settle down in a little village, or community, and begin to work together for one common purpose, and that is to enhance their little village.
Now we won’t have time to go into it any further than this, but this is exactly what Cain and his offspring began, a city. There’s nothing in this Bible that agrees with evolution process, but instead we’re going to see that God said it happened in a particular way, and that’s the way we’re going to believe it.