Today: Genesis 4 The Testimony of the Blood. In Gen. 4 we find the account of the first violent taking of a man’s life. Adam’s firstborn Cain takes the life of Abel, his brother out of rage and jealousy. In the midst of this terrible act, a redemptive truth is found. Abel’s blood has a voice that God hears and responds to, which reflects for us the power that is in the blood of Jesus, shed for our sins.
[Gen 4:1-11 KJV] 1 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. 3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. 4 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: 5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. 6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 7 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. 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. 9 And the LORD said unto Cain, Where [is] Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: [Am] I my brother’s keeper? 10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. 11 And now [art] thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;
Cain is the firstborn of Adam and Eve, and his name means “spear” or to “strike.” There is an implication of violence here and because of this authorities in antiquity such as Philo, an ancient scholar known as Rabbi Eliezer, and others suggest that Adam was not the father of Cain but rather Cain was the product of either rape or adultery between Satan and Eve. The mention of this is important because of strains of mainstream theological conclusion that assert that Cain was the progenitor of the African races, etc., and white supremacist groups thereby insist through this counterfeit doctrine that the black races are not legitimate in the eyes of God which is a total and complete lie.
These false interpreters from ancient times concluded that Cain was half-human and half-angelic, specifically a Nephilim. Gnostic exegesis in the Apocryphon of John suggests that a demon named Yaldaboth seduced Eve. In other false ancient texts such as a text titled the Hypostasis of the Archons, Eve is raped by a pair of Archons or Demi-gods. We recognize these things are untrue, but they must be mentioned that those who hold the truth can impeach these false doctrines from a posture of informed intellectual inquiry. There is no suggestion of any kind in scripture that the black races were in any way associated with Cain or for that matter with the mark that he received for his crime of murder.
In verse three, we see that Cain is working to bring forth the fruit of the ground or crops in order to bring something pleasing to God on his own terms. Here again as when Adam and Eve sewed fig leaves together we see man attempting to please God by the works of his hands which things could never satisfy the demands of divine justice or constitute an acceptable offering of worship to God because they come forth from the pride and ego of man and not humility or contrition.
Abel’s name means vapor. In itself, this name is an acknowledgment of human frailty and total dependence on God. In spite of existing in a state of complete vulnerability, Abel does not rebel but rather brings an offering of worship and obedience to the Creator. When Jesus dealt with the religious crowd, He knew they wanted to kill him as Cain wanted to kill Abel (John 8:40). The religious mentality, the fig leaf “works of my hands” reasoning God constitutes the ground where all hatred and murder originate. Cain expected God to reward the works of his hands. God refused, and Cain shows his real character in using those same hands by which he crafted an offering to God as instruments of hatred and murder to kill his brother.
Murder and hatred are the seedbed from which a religious, performance-based approach to God originates. Performance-based thinking is inherently void of a love connection. Cain brought a sacrifice tainted with his own high opinion of himself. He assumed that he could impose upon God his standards just as Adam and Eve attempted to do when they sewed fig leaves together. We are not to gird or cover ourselves or try to add value to our opinions of ourselves by the works of our hands or the thoughts of our carnal minds. Man cannot leverage God or compel God to accept his person or act on his behalf through religious works or moral excellence. The scripture says to gird yourself with the truth, and John 14:6 tells us that truth is a person His name is Jesus. We are to be clothed with Christ but the fallen nature in man works to cover oneself with the pretense of what we can produce in order to force God and man to accept our autonomy and agree with our prideful estimation of our efforts and our own persons. This is the good of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that condemns man for his arrogance and false estimation of his own worthiness.
Cain brought (v. 3) of the works of his hands, but Abel brought sacrificial blood, something he could not take credit for by his own doing. His offering was an innate act of humility just as when we come before God with nothing other than our faith in the shed blood of Calvary and on that basis we are heard and responded to by the hand of God’s providence.
What was the “sin at the door” that God warned Cain about in v.7? The sin at the door was formed in the plan to kill Abel. When we misconstrue our standing before God, the natural tendency is to step out of love because we feel that God doesn’t love us on our own terms therefore (the conclusion is) He is unfair. Gen. 4:8 tells us that Cain talked with his brother in the field. Beware of pretense. Perhaps the person who seeks you out would not physically harm you, but they might assassinate you with their words all the while approaching you as a friend. Whatever passed between Cain and Abel his real character manifests, and he takes his brother’s life. The Father then came seeking Cain out, but Cain is not interested in answering him but rather retorts that he cannot be expected to be his brother’s keeper. Why did Cain see being his brother’s keeper as a contemptible thing? Because he was a tiller of the soil.
He wanted to make things work for himself without any responsibility to or for anyone else. Here is the mark of Cain – a lone wolf mentality.
[Gen 4:12-26 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. 13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment [is] greater than I can bear. 14 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. 15 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. 16 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. 18 And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech. 19 And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one [was] Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. 20 And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and [of such as have] cattle. 21 And his brother’s name [was] Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. 22 And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain [was] Naamah. 23 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. 24 If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold. 25 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. 26 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.
Because Cain took his brother’s life, spilling his blood into the ground, that very ground will be cursed where Cain is concerned. Why? Because in v. 10 Abel’s blood cried out from the ground. This is an important thing to notice:
- Blood has a voice.
- God hears the voice of spilled blood.
- God hears the voice of spilled blood and responds.
This reference to the spilled blood of Abel is the first mention of blood in the Bible. Why is that important? Because there is a Biblical principle that makes the first mention of a subject in the Bible very authoritative. The “First Mention Principle” is that principle by which the first reference of a subject in scripture aids in interpreting subsequent verses on the same theme.
The first mention is:
- A Key which unlocks the door to greater truth
A gateway to deeper truth of a given subject
A guide to discovering the truth in its progressive unfolding
The first link in a long chain of revelation
A kernel of insight which combined with all the other mentions of the same subject unveils the full counsel of God on a given subject in this case the power of the blood.
The Blood of Abel cried from the ground after his death. Blood has a voice. God hears the voice of spilled blood and responds. Thousands of years later, the writer of Hebrews brings up the voice of the blood that God hears in reference to the shed blood of Christ:
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.
What did Abel’s blood say to God? God asked Cain, “What is this that you have done?” Abel’s blood cried out to God regarding the injustice that had been perpetrated against him. Abel’s blood cried out for vengeance. On what basis? Was not Abel a sinner such as Cain? Is there any crime perpetrated upon a sinful man that is greater than his own crimes against God?
It is true that Abel was a sinner. However, Abel had offered to God a blood sacrifice. This was a sacrifice that God accepted, and it was God’s acceptance of the sacrifice that provoked Cain to an act of jealous murder. Abel offered blood. Cain only offered the works of his hands.
What is the significance of blood? Why did God accept Abel’s offering of blood and reject Cain’s offering of a portion his crop?
Levi 17:11 for the soul of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that maketh atonement [covering] for the soul.
The soul or life of man is in the blood. When Abel offered the lamb, it was a substitute for himself. He was giving his soul to God; he was pouring his life out. He gave the lamb as a substitution representing his gift of himself, his consecration to God. Cain did not give of himself; he only gave of his efforts, the fruits of his labors. God is not interested in mere outward obedience. He desires inward abandonment. In meditating on the blood that cried out, it could be that the Holy Spirit intends us to understand that the blood of Abel’s sacrifice that cried out to God, as surely as Abel’s own blood cried out when it was spilled by Cain’s violent act. The punishment for Cain is reflected in the declaration of Gen. 9:6:
Gene 9:6 Whoso sheddeth Man’s blood, by Man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God he hath made Man.
Blood calls for blood because of the image of God that is in man. When you touch a man in any way, you are touching the image of God. When that image is abused or desecrated in any way there is an immediate demand for justice. In the New Covenant Jesus shed his blood for all humanity, paying the price for every offense and thoroughly satisfying God’s judgment. When God sent the death angel into Egypt, the death angel was out for blood. When He came to the houses of the Israelites, he found lamb’s blood on the doorposts and passed by because the sheddng of sacrificial blood even animal blood satisfied the Father.
Abel’s blood spoke, and Jesus’ blood speaks also.
Heb. 12:22 But, you are come … to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel!
Jesus’ blood does not cry out for vengeance. Abel was slain and left in the field where the earth soaked up his blood. Jesus was slain, and his blood soaked into the soil on Golgotha. When He ascended on high, he also took some of that blood and sprinkled it on the mercy seat before the throne of God. What does Jesus’ blood say? His blood cries out for mercy. That blood cries forgive and it continues to do so because the life in Jesus’ blood was eternal, untainted by sin. This is the basis of our redemption. When you fall short and come to the altar of heaven the blood speaks louder than any other fact about you and on the basis of that shed blood and it’s call for mercy you are accepted and received by the Father.
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