Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Common Man's Commentary on Genesis, Chapter 4

Chapter 4
And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived , and bare Cain, and said , I have gotten a man from the LORD. 2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
  There is no conception mentioned between these two boys, so it is likely they were twins, with Cain being the oldest.  Eve thinks Cain fulfills the prophecy of chapter 3, but he doesn’t. He’s not the ‘seed of the woman’, he’s the seed of Adam.
  There is a rather crazy teaching out there that Cain was the result of some sort of coupling between Eve and the serpent. This idea is based (loosely) off of 1 John 3:12.  It’s such a ridiculous notion in light of the fact that the Bible says Adam knew his wife and that Cain was the result.  Also, in John 8:44, Jesus refers to an entire group of people as having the devil for a father. The serpent must have really gotten around.
  Abel was a shepherd, and Cain tilled the cursed ground.
  I personally don’t put a lot of stock in what the ‘original languages’ say, for a whole host of reasons, but one area where I do think it’s interesting is when you look at what people’s names mean in the Bible.  Often it seems to be some sort of indicator as to their character or temperament or destiny.  Cain’s name means ‘iron spear’.
  Now there is a curious trend in the Bible about iron, which shows up for the first time here. With one possible exception iron in the Bible is tied to the Antichrist, or the world system.  For example, Goliath (a type of the antichrist) had a spear made of iron (1 Sam 17:7). Og, the king of Bashan, who was a giant, had a bedstead that the Bible makes sure you know was made of iron (Deut 3:11).  Egypt, who oppressed the Jewish people and is a type of the antichrist world government, is referred to multiple times as an iron furnace (Deut 4:20, 1 Kings 8:51, Jer 11:4).  Furthermore, the antichrists kingdom is portrayed in Daniel as having iron legs (Dan 2) and iron teeth (Dan 7:7).  God prohibited any iron tools to be used in the Temple (1 Kings 6:7).  So what does it all mean? 
  Well we know that Jesus’s side was pierced with a spear (John 19:34). We also know that Jesus vouched for Abel and called him a prophet (Luke 11:50-51). So here we have one brother whose name means ‘iron spear’ which kills a shepherd. Interesting, isn’t it?
 We also have the beginning of a scriptural pattern in which the 1st birth is no good, and the 2nd birth is necessary. Another example is Esau and Jacob.
“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 .” ( V3-8)
  The Bible refers to the “way of Cain” (Rom10:1-3, Jude 1:11) defined as seeking after his own righteousness as opposed to accepting God’s righteousness. The boys obviously knew the requirements that God had set forth as a sacrifice. They had no doubt heard the story from their parents of how God killed an animal to cover their sins, and that “without the shedding of blood there is no remission”.  Cain decides to offer up fruit instead of blood. He decides to offer up the work of his own hands out of the cursed ground rather than what God made and commanded to be offered. 
 Notice that Cain got there first. Cain is a very sincerely religious person and offers up the work of his hands, which God rejects.  His sincerity and promptness did not help him. In this world there are many religions, but really there are only two. One is the way of Cain where you offer up your works. It doesn’t really   matter what the works are. They could be penance, or rosaries or baptisms or pilgrimages or church membership or good deeds.  The only difference between Islam and Mormonism is the length and contents of the list. The fact that they have a list puts them in the same camp as Cain, in which your salvation is secured by your performance.  The other religion is ‘do what God said’, and let his righteousness cover your sins through the blood of the Lamb of God. As Dr. Ruckman has said “Religion is the shortest distance between two points-the cradle and hell”. Someone else said “One religion is just as good as the other-no good”.
  The next time a lost person tells you that most wars are fought over religion, agree with them. Here we have the first murder, and it was committed over religion.  But it wasn’t righteous Abel the prophet that initiated, it was wicked Cain who, having been rejected by God, and unable to take out his anger on God, took it out on his brother. 1 John 3:11-12 lists Cain’s motivation. Cain believed in God, but didn’t believe God.  He expected God to accept fruit when fruit is what started all of this.
  Abel on the other hand, had some things that Cain did not. He had the right offering. He had immediate acceptance (Gen 4:7). He knew he was accepted (2 Tim 1:12, 1 John 5:13) and he had assurance on the spot (Rom 8:38-39).
  Abel also had quite a bit in common with Jesus.  He was a shepherd (John 10:11) and his offering to God was made as a shepherd. His brother hated him without a cause (John 15:25). God knew Cain was motivated by envy (Matt 27:17). The murderers of Abel and Jesus were both punished for their crimes (Mark 1:28).  Abel and Jesus were both slain by wicked men who happened to be their brethren (Acts 2:23-26).  Both Abel and Jesus presented a lamb ( 1Pet 1:18-19, Heb 11:4, Eph 5:2). Both of these sacrifices were good sacrifices that honored the word of God ( Heb 10:7). Both sacrifices were accepted (Heb 10:12) and they both obtained witnesses of their righteousness (Luke 23:47, Acts 2:32).  Both offerings continue to speak, and still steer men towards God (Heb 12:24).
  Abel had acceptance in the present sense (Eph 1:4-6,2:6, Col 2:10).  Cain, on the other hand, gave a response that indicates God is a liar (1 John 3:17).
“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 .” ( V9-13)
 This passage tells us some interesting things about blood. Blood has a voice, and a man’s blood speaks after he’s dead ( Heb 12:24, Heb 11:11). Sometimes, it cries out to God for vengeance (Rev 6:10), and can  only be cleansed away by more blood (Num 25;33, Matt 27:25, Acts 5:28).
  Verse 9 is the verse that a politician uses when he is trying to get his hand into your wallet. There is a social gospel that is ‘another gospel’ being preached today. The social gospel teaches that all men are brothers and  that people who work for a living are obligated to  provide financially for people who don’t work for a living.  This is unbiblical.
  We do have some responsibilities, according to the Bible, to our fellow man.  We are to love other Christians (1 John 5:1-4) and help them at every opportunity (Gal 6:10). We are to be burdened for the lost (Rom 9:1-3), be a witness to them (Acts 20:24-26) and pray for them (1 Tim 2:1-2, 6-8). We are not obligated to feed unregenerate bums who will not work (2 Thess 3:10).
 God asks him “What hast thou done?” which is the same question in Gen 3:13.   Cain is as bold as to not only answer a question with a question, but to lie to God’s face; he knew where Abel was.  When God was done with him, Cain can no longer be a farmer. The earth, referred to here as a female, won’t grow anything for him. Cain is now a fugitive and a vagabond.  Saved people are called ‘strangers’ and ‘pilgrims’ (Heb 11:13, 1 Pet 2:11). The difference is key; a pilgrim is on his way TO somewhere, and a fugitive is on his way AWAY from somewhere. A fugitive has a past, a pilgrim has a future.
  Cain is a self-righteous complaining griper. His punishment bothered him more than the fact that he had just killed his brother. God can and will save a harlot, a murderer, a queer, or a drunk, but will not save a self-righteous man.
 It only took 1 brother being wrong to ruin both their lives. Church folks should think long and hard about that.
“ 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. “  (V14-15)  
  A repentant man asks for mercy, an unrepentant man says ‘I don’t deserve that.’ Cain blamed God for his harshness, just like Eve.
 Cain has the distinction of being the first man cursed, and the nature of the curse once again links him to the Antichrist.  The curse carries with it a mark, and there has been all sorts of speculation down through time as to the nature of that mark.  This speculation has led to ridiculous assertions like ‘God made Cain black’.  While the Bible doesn’t say here, I think that  by looking at  other ‘marks’ in the Bible, you can at least get in the neighborhood as to what  Cain’s mark was.
   In Ezek 9:4 and Rev 14:1 God marks people for the purpose of protecting them from harm..  In both cases the mark is visible and is located on their foreheads.  In Lev 19:28, the Jew is told not to mark himself, and in Rev 13:1-18, the Antichrist presents his copycat mark. Notice that the Antichrist’s mark is ‘in’ their foreheads, not ‘on’ their foreheads.  So by comparing scripture with scripture, Cain’s mark was most likely some sort of black spot on his forehead that would clearly identify him as Cain.
 It’s also worth mentioning that no time element is given here. Since people were living to be 900 years old back then, Cain could have easily been 300 or more when this happened. That means Adam and Eve have had plenty of time to have children, and some of their children have no doubt had children.  This explains why Cain is worried about other people   finding him and killing him.  We could be 5 or 6 generations out of  Genesis 3 when this happens.
“And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. 17 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.” ( V16-17)
  A common ‘stumper’ given by scoffers out on the streets is ‘Where did Cain get his wife?’ Well there are a couple of options. One is that he married his sister. The other is that he married his niece or grandniece or great-grandniece. Once again, no time element is given.
  The first city on earth was established by a murderer who could no longer farm.
“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.” ( V18-24)
  Cain’s great-great grandson beats Joseph Smith to the polygamy game by several thousand years.  There are polygamists in the Bible, but you will never find an instance where God told a man to have more than one wife. (Matt 19:4-8). Some men just come up with their own ideas and sign God’s name to it (Matt 24:37-38).
  Verse 21 is the last time that music is mentioned until Gen 15, but music is an integral part of the Christian life.   The first time ‘song’ appears in the Bible is after a group of people have been redeemed by the blood of a lamb and brought out of bondage (Exodus 15). In addition to this, in 2 Kings 3:15 Elisha requests a ‘minstrel’.  Good music helps the Christian, and bad music will, according to Kyle Stephens “rot you from the inside out’.
 On a personal note, one of the great deliverances in my life was the deliverance from secular music.  We don’t need the world’s music, and churches that bring in bad music almost never recover.
  Bible rejecting historians who apparently never get tired of being outsmarted by God refer to this time in period (when ‘Iron Spear’s’ descendants are being discussed) as the ‘Iron Age’.  It’s sort of like the time period in which the Roman ‘church’ was forbidding people to possess a Bible being called the “Dark Ages”( Psalm 119:130, Job 5:13).
“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” ( V25-26)
  Once again, the time element is uncertain, but we can see here that Eve is still claiming that her kids are her seed.
  Verse 24 was Lamech’s idea, not God’s.  Some people just like to make things up and claim God was in on it.
  In verse 26, men began to ‘call upon the name of the Lord’, which is prayer according to Rom10:13, Acts 2:21, and 1 Chr 4:10. Why they begin doing this is unclear.
  Enos lived long enough to see Noah born, so there is a chance that men began to be aware that judgment was coming, but it’s not certain.
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