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With New Testament Eyes: 2 - Abel's Offering

By Henry Mahan


      Genesis 4:1-15

      v. 1. We have been bound in our thinking by pictures and stories in children's Bible storybooks that present a totally unrealistic view of the first family. Adam and Eve are pictured with only two sons, one of which killed the other and left them with only Cain, the fugitive, until Seth was born when Adam was 130 years old.

      There were no children born to Adam and Eve before the fall, but you can be certain that there were many born to them after the fall (Gen. 5:4). Cain was the first man-child. It is not certain that he was the first child or that Abel was the second. One commentary suggests that by the time Seth was born, Adam probably had as many as 32,000 descendants. As you will note in reading the Scriptures, the birth of a female was not usually even mentioned, only the male, and not all of them by any means. It is believed that when Cain was born to Eve, she thought he was the promised Messiah; 'I have gotten the man from the Lord.'

      v. 2. God has singled out these sons of Adam to teach to all redemption by blood (Lev. 17:11; Heb. 9:22) and to condemn salvation by works (1 Peter 1: 18-20). The way of Abel is the way of grace, and the way of Cain is the way of works. Here is the crossroads, and all who attempt to come to God must choose one or the other. There are only two religions in the world--grace and works (Rom. 11:6). Cain was a farmer and Abel was a shepherd.

      v. 3. Cain and Abel were not young boys at this time, but they were evidently heads of households with wives and children and occupations. Nor were these the first sacrifices offered to God for sin, for it is certain that God had instructed Adam as to how he was to worship and approach the living God. Adam, in turn, had taught his sons and daughters as Abraham taught Isaac (Gen. 22:6-7). As their father had done before them, Cain and Abel, as heads of families, brought their sacrifices and offerings to God. Cain brought the fruit of the ground, which he had raised, and Abel brought a lamb.

      vv. 4-5. What was wrong with Cain's sacrifice?

      It was a bloodless sacrifice, thereby denying his need of the Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ. Cain would be his own priest, his own mediator, and his own intercessor.

      It denied that he was a sinner before God, who deserved condemnation and death. He approached God on the grounds of his own merit and works. He was proud of the fruit of his fields (Rom. 6:23).

      He refused God's revealed way of worship and acceptance (Luke 24: 44-47; Eph. 1:6-7).

      Why did God have respect to Abel's offering?

      It was an offering of faith (Heb. 11:4). Like Abraham, Abel believed God. He came to God as he was told to come.

      It was an offering typifying Christ--the lamb of God--as we see in the Passover lamb (Exo. 12:5-6). A lamb, the innocent dying for the guilty. A male of the first year, in the prime of life.

      Without spot or blemish; Christ was without sin. Slay it, shed its blood, and roast it with fire; Christ suffered and shed his blood for our sins.

      It was an offering confessing his sins and owning that they deserve death. Our sins deserve the wrath of God; and in order to justify us, the Lord Jesus must die before the Justice of God (Rom. 3:23-26). Christ, our substitute, made full satisfaction before the law of God and the justice of God, thereby enabling God to be just and the justifier of those who believe in Christ.

      v. 6-8. Cain was angry and became depressed. The religion of works yields no comfort and no communion with God. Men go about their ceremonies but find no peace; they make professions and act religious but find no rest nor assurance because God is not reconciled (2 Cor. 5:19).

      Cain was not angry with himself as he should have been, but he was angry with God and with his brother who believed God.

      Instead of looking into his own heart and finding the reason for his troubles, he turned on Abel.

      Cain, rather than repenting and coming to God by faith in Christ Jesus, rose up against his brother and killed him. The first human blood shed on earth was over salvation by grace or salvation by works. Cain would come to God not by grace through faith in Christ, but by his own works and merit (Eph.2:8- 9). This battle still rages and the results are the same. God is the same, sin is the same, men are the same, the way of life through the blood of Christ is the same, and 'the way of Cain' still persecutes the way of faith.

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See Also:
   Foreward & Acknowledgements
   1 - The Fall
   2 - Abel's Offering
   3 - The Ark Of Noah
   4 - Sarah and Hagar; Law and Grace
   5 - The Lord Will Provide
   6 - A Bride for the Heir
   7 - Bethel - The House of God
   8 - Peniel - The Face of God
   9 - Joseph Opens the Storehouses
   10 - Joseph and His Brothers
   11 - Shiloh
   12 - The Passover
   13 - The Manna
   14 - Water from the rock
   15 - The Blood Before the Lord
   16 - The Ram of Consecration
   17 - The Day of Atonement
   18 - Caleb - The Faithful Dog
   19 - The High Priest Intercedes
   20 - The Brazen Serpent
   21 - A Prophet Like Moses
   22 - The Cities of Refuge
   23 - Joshua
   24 - The Scarlet Line in the Window
   25 - The birth of Samson
   26 - The Kinsman Redeemer
   27 - The Song of Hannah
   28 - Give us a King
   29 - Saul's Great Sin
   30 - David and Mephibosheth
   31 - Why God Permitted David to Fall
   32 - Comfort from God's Covenant
   33 - I Will Not Offer to God that which Cost me Nothing
   34 - The Queen of Sheba Comes to Solomon
   35 - Three Examples of Faith
   36 - Where is the Lord God of Elijah?
   37 - Empty Vessels Filled
   38 - Naaman, the Leper
   39 - Open his Eyes that He may See
   40 - Four Lepers Teach us a Lesson
   41 - Nehushtan--A Piece of Brass
   42 - Bringing Back the Ark
   43 - Uzziah's Great Transgression
   44 - Four Things Learned in Trouble
   45 - How Can Man be Just With God?
   46 - Three Vital Questions
   47 - I Know that my Redeemer Liveth
   48 - Now Mine Eye Seeth Thee
   49 - The Psalm of Messiah the King
   50 - God's two great books
   51 - The Psalm of the Cross
   52 - The Lord is my Shepherd
   53 - True God - True Israel - True Redeemer
   54 - Eight Great Precepts
   55 - My Hope is in Thee
   56 - Many, O Lord, Are Thy Wonderful Works
   57 - A Song of Love
   58 - The Sinner's Prayer
   59 - My Rock and my Salvation
   60 - Our Lord's Sufferings for Our Sins
   61 - Mercy and Truth are Met Together
   62 - The Victory of the Messiah
   63 - Bless the Lord, O my Soul
   64 - Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So
   65 - The King-Priest
   66 - The Chief Cornerstone
   67 - The Observer and the Observed
   68 - Praise the Lord O my Soul
   69 - Wisdom in Christ
   70 - The Conclusion of the Whole Matter
   71 - Remember Now Thy Creator
   72 - My Beloved is Mine and I am His
   73 - What is Thy Beloved more than Another Beloved?
   74 - The Lord Our Righteousness
   75 - The Believers Hope
   76 - From Nothing to Everything
   77 - Lost, Driven Away, Broken, Sick
   78 - Can These Bones Live?
   79 - Four Things God Taught Nebuchadnezzar
   80 - Thy God Will Deliver Thee
   81 - Hosea--Type of Christ
   82 - A Famine to be Feared
   83 - Salvation is of the Lord
   84 - A Fountain Opened for Mourners
   85 - The Messenger of the Covenant

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