Two Ways, Two Religions, Two Brothers, Two cities
This chapter is a historical record of mankind ho w he progressed and how sin grew. Genesis chapter 4-5 records how two individuals gave birth to two different cultures. Chapter 4 records mans genius, his achievements but also his depravity. He was of high intellect and physically at his best in history. It records the building of the first city and the restless spirit and wanderings of man. It has culminated in mans frantic search for happiness and meaning in the 21 century. It is the beginning of two lines. a) The first line has God at the centre. It goes from Seth to Noah- through Abraham – the nation of Israel who was Gods custodian of the way of God and His witness – then unto the Church because of Israel’s rejection of their Messiah to the city of God the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2 the holy city) that Abraham was looking forward to. This is the godly society. This line emphasises the sacred. b) The other emphasises the secular. It has man at the centre. This line was though Cain to Lamech who followed the Way of Cain- in whose family line was the first murder, the first polygamy, and the record of terrible sin, which culminated in Genesis 6 with God pronouncing judgment. This led to the secular city Babel and throughout scripture Babylon the godless society. It ends up in judgment and fallen (Rev. 18:2).
A Savour or a Murderer
Vs 1 “Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to a Cain. She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.” Adam and Eve expected to die but God in His mercy promised He would send a deliverer (Gen. 3:15). Adam believed God and called his wife Eve meaning “life” or “life giver.” She was a called this even before she was pregnant. They carried out the purpose of the mandate in having marital loving sexual intercourse and reproduction. They saw the marvel of a birth for the first time when they left the garden. It was an exciting moment. They gave God his rightful place “with the help of the LORD” He was the giver of life. They believed God’s promise and showed their faith and thought the child was the promised deliverer. Little did they know this little baby was a murderer “he was of “that wicked one” (1 Jn. 3:12) and not the saviour? Cain means acquired, she thought here he is the promised deliverer
“Later she gave birth to his brother Abel”. He was born into a household of faith and is first mentioned in the “Faith Hall of Fame” (Heb.11: 4). He is called righteous and a prophet (Matt. 23:35; Lk.10: 50-51). He was a believer. His name means “vapour or vanity”. This was because the earth was now subject to vanity (Rom.8: 20).
The Great Conflict – The Great Historical Division -Two Ways – Two Religions
Vs 2-5 “Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel (means frail or sickly). Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.” This is the beginning of the age long conflict of the two seeds. Cain typifies the “seed of the serpent” and Abel is a type of Christ and those who by faith are “in Christ” who are “the seed of the woman.” Adam and Eve regarded these boys in two different ways: Cain was the strong one, a farmer Abel the weaker, a shepherd. (Man was not authorised to use animals for food until after the flood (Gen.9: 30). Cain brought the fruits of the soil Abel brought an offering. Perhaps this strong hint of favouritism, his destiny was a deliverer so they thought. This can cause problems, heartache and despair in later life. But Cain’s offering was rejected. This was not unfair, as it did not really cost him much. Adam probably had taught them about Gods sacrifice of an animal to cover him in the garden but did not obey his father. This is the beginning of religion Gods way or mans way engineered by Satan. Cain manufactured another way to God and mankind has been doing it ever since. At the dawn of history mankind has understood and been involved in agricultural and pastoral pursuits.
A Place of Offering God Has a Meeting Place
“They brought their offerings to the Lord.” God desires to meet with man. He first met man in then Garden of Eden. He continued to meet man at special times after Adam was put out of the Garden. He met them at the place of sacrifice and continued through meeting man at the place of the offerings that were brought to the Tabernacle and his final meeting place is the Cross-, in His Son, the Lamb of God. Early on Adam and Eve taught their children how to approach God and it had to be done in His way. We don’t know if Cain had brought the right sacrifice before and this time choose to rebel. God must have given instructions to Adam, Eve and their descendents the proper place to bring their sacrifice before the Lord. Some think the place may have been that at the gateway of Eden, where once a year Adam and Eve and their children were to come with an offering for the Lord. It was a place of mercy the mercy seat. The sacrifice involved blood and testified to the death of a substitute. God in providing a covering (an atonement) of skin for Adam and Eve showed that an innocent victim must die in order that guilty sinners may be pardoned, the innocent for the guilty. The sacrifice pointed toward Christ. When Abel came with an offering of blood he believed God and was looking forward to the provision of the deliverer. Later in the days of Moses the offering offered on the Day of Atonement was consummated at the mercy seat when the high priest brought in a lamb for all the people, once a year When Cain brought his sacrifice he was unconcerned about how he was to meet God rejecting the right way. He did not come in faith and his heart was not right before God. His sacrifice was from the ground that was cursed, an insult to God and He rejected it. “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins,” (Hebrews 9:22). Sin was costly; it cost the life of another. It is a serious matter and that is why the death of Christ is of great significance.
Man’s Way (Religion) or God’s Way (A Sacrifice)
Throughout history man has devised many religions and so many ways to God. Man knew who God was, but departed from that knowledge and turned to idolatry (Romans 1:20-23). The human race corrupted this truth of God as history unfolded. Our Lord Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes unto the Father but by me.” Cain’s offering was rejected, how that rejection and acceptance were indicated we are not told, but it may have been that God sent down fire to consume the sacrifice, as He did with Gideon or Elijah on Mount Carmel.
Cain was Angry at God’s Rejection of His Offering
Vs 6-7 So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen (downcast)? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” God was merciful to him and did not walk away form him. He reasoned with him and told him what to do and that was to bring the right sacrifice. He was calling him back to Himself. All he had to do was repent and do right and be accepted. But he refused to come God’s way. That is why we have THE WAY OF CAIN. The Lord Jesus still calls for men to come to Him today but they will not, it is the same old story. Cain’s countenance changed, his haughty look now became anger, his facial expression changed, and he felt rejected. His offering remained untouched and his smile changed to a frown He was resentful, angry, jealous and filled with envy. He expected God to accept his sacrifice. Jealousy is an awful thing; it was festering in his heart. It eats you up from the inside and affects your countenance and your attitude as well as your actions. He did not like the way God was doing things and became jealous because God chose Abel’s sacrifice. He thought he was right and God was wrong. Because God did not accept his sacrifice bothered and offended him. He thought God would accept his good work. He did not like what God had chosen to do for Abel. We ask how can a loving God do this accept one and reject the other? His hatred was against God and Abel.
We all get bothered when God does not do what we want or answer our prayers the way we want we even get upset.
God shows him grace and asks “Why are you angry, and why has our countenance fallen?” It is a question we should often ask ourselves, “Why am I so angry or resentful”.
Wars at the Dawn of History
We have in our passage the record of the first murder and the root cause of wars, bloodshed and death. Where do wars come form ask James do they not come form among you form your own members. Men fight because they have a problem on the inside. Men make awful weapons because of the war, jealousy, and hatred inside. So long as man lives he will have wars, Jesus told us history would be littered with wars. The real problem sis not economics, politics, greed but a problem of the heart. The source goes back to Cain and Abel.
“If you do well, will you not be accepted?” If you do it Gods way your will also be accepted. He could go to his bother and he might sell him a lamb. God was willing for him to change. He could go back and bring the right offering.
“Sin lies at the door.” This is the first time the word “sin” is mentioned. Sin is sitting at the door like a snake ready to strike and destroy. He should not have continued in his rebellion. Neither should we deal with it while it is crouching. Don’t let sin strike. God was warning Cain about what was about to happen but he did not listen. God was saying “Cain don’t you know what you are doing by harbouring this hatred in your heart?” Don’t give sin the opportunity. But Cain rejected God’s warning.
The Way of Cain – The Evil Murder Plot
Vs 8 “Now 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 killed him.” Cain encouraged his brother to go into the field and talk. He was scheming to murder him in cold blood. His heart was full of pride, envy and jealousy. Perhaps Abel was trying to persuade him to repent and turn back to God’s way. But Cain may have accused him of favouritism. Cain went his own way. He turned from God’s way. He plotted to kill his brother and became the first murderer. Sin took him from God
Some think it was a knife and he slit his throat other that it was an axe and he smashed Abel’s skull. He did what was in his heart. Now we see the fruit of Adams sin passed down to his offspring. Jesus said, Satan was a murderer from the beginning; the old Serpent was quickly striking at the “seed of the woman.” He was trying at this early stage to prevent the promise of the Messiah coming true. It must have been a tragic event for Adam and Eve to see their firstborn slay their second born. They must have wept bitterly. What causes a man to kill is brother. He had hatred and jealousy in his heart. John says if we hate our brother we have murdered him in God’s sight. (1 John 3:10-15). God told us in the commandments “You shall not kill.”
In the New Testament Paul says, “Do not let the sun go down upon your wrath, and thus give the devil an opportunity,” (Ephesians 4:26-27). Don’t carry your wrath into another day, deal with it today. If you don’t it will be like a lion crouching at your door ready to pounce and cause you to attack someone. Don’t let Satan in through the door. You can do this by unforgiveness and it will poison your life and destroy you. Instead follow the words of the Lord Jesus “But, be at peace with one another” (Mark 9:50). Make it a priority to go to a brother and get things right. “If you bring your gift and there remember that your brother has something against you or you have something against him leave your gift and go to your brother, be reconciled, then come and settle things with God… (Matthew 5:23-24). Don’t harbour evil again anyone. Don’t hide anger in your heart. Don’t be jealous. Don’t be resentful. “Forgive one another in love.”
The Mark of Cain – Cain’s punishment
Vs 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” When God called Cain to account he showed disrespect to God and his lack of concern for what he had done to his brother. God sought him out this is the same mercy He shoed to his father Adam. But Adam responded in confession Cain did not. Cain knows what he has done and disclaims any knowledge of his brother. He was covering his guilt. “I do not know. Am I my brothers keeper?” Here is recorded the first human lie and the first human question. He knew he was responsible for his brother’s death and tried to hide it. He follows the pattern of his father and mother Adam and Eve to hide form God. They did not lie they shifted the blame. He knew he had done wrong. Abel was the first inhabitant of Sheol, the grave.
We may say the same today, “Am I my brothers keeper.” Cain’s heart was hardened and says he is not responsible for his brother. He did not care what happened to him. We do that today we hide from our responsibility of taking the gospel to brother humans. We need to go to the entire world. We need to care for the sick, the broken hearted, the lonely, the shut- ins. We need to care for the Lords people-our brethren.
The All Seeing God – Everything is Open Before Gods Eyes
10-12 And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.”
Like father like son, he thought he could hide his sin from God but God saw everything. God said, “The blood of your brother is crying to me, shrieking to me, from the ground!” This is the first time blood is mentioned and since then the blood of many innocent victims throughout history who have suffered unjustly cries out to God. It culminated at great conflict on Calvary when Christ defeated Satan. The religious leaders cried out “Let his blood be upon us, and on our children” (Matt.27: 25). Like Cain they would see innocent blood shed rather than obey God’s Word. Abel’s blood cried out to God for justice. God could not ignore it. He could no longer speak to Cain in mercy but in judgment. It said, “Don’t let it go unnoticed.” It is crying out for vengeance from God, not man. “Vengeance belongs to me,” says the Lord… (Hebrews 10:30, Deuteronomy 32:35). It never belongs to man. God had to act. Scriptures says, “the blood of Jesus, which speaks of better things than the blood of Abel,” (Heb. 12:24). The blood of Jesus is crying out before God for forgiveness. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” said Jesus from the cross (Luke 23:34 KJV). ? The blood of Jesus is crying constantly for mercy, for grace to all who take refuge under it, and thus it does speak of “better things” than the blood of Abel.
The Fugitive – God sentences Cain! He assigns a punishment to him.
This was the first curse on man. Satan had been cursed, the earth was cursed in Adams day now his son is cursed. Cain was driven by his own guilt and became restless. He got of lightly. The curse on the ground was intensified for him. Cain’s worked with the soil he was a tiller of the ground; Cain was a farmer, who delighted in producing beautiful crops of fruit and grain. But now he has poured the blood of his brother upon the ground. So God cursed the ground he walked on. It will no longer yield you its increase. He found, in his attempts to work the ground, nothing but frustration, sweat, tears, and toil. He became a “vagabond and fugitive” on the earth.
The Mark of Cain – The Fear of Cain of Reprisals From His Other Brothers
13-15 And Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear! Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.” And the Lord said to him, “Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him.” Cain was unrepentant. This settled farmer was forced to wander from place to place as the crops failed wherever he went he became a wanderer. Sin drives us form God. His punishment (iniquity) caused this. Sin has consequences. He now found it difficult to make a living from the land and so became a wanderer on the face of the earth. He did not protest his punishment he knew it was just and he was guilty but his punishment was too hard to bear. God was merciful and spared his life. Later capital punishment was required for murder (Gen.9: 6). God was giving him hope for repentance.
Family problems. He was afraid of his other brothers who had been born form Adam and Eve. His life would be in danger wherever he went. He was the original fugitive and had to run form his relatives who anted revenge killing. He is obsessed with his guilt. He cannot hide form anyone. Some would even want to kill him. Who could he trust? He complains to God “My punishment is greater than I can bear. I will live in constant danger of reprisal.” He felt the burden of his sinful actions. But God showed him grace and put a mark upon him to show that God protected him and “whoever takes this life will be avenged sevenfold.”
The Mark of Cain. God gave him a “sign” a mark of some kind. No one knows what the mark was but whatever it was it caused others to know God was protecting him. Even though he was guilty he was God’s property. “All souls are mine saith the Lord.” This informs us of the value of a human life. “What should man give in exchange for his soul” God was willing to show mercy. God is not willing that any should perish (2 Pet. 3:9-10).
The Way of Cain – Ancient Civilisation Without God – The Origin of Cities
16-18 “Then 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 bore Enoch. And he built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son–Enoch. To Enoch was born Irad; and Irad begot Mehujael, and Mehujael begot Methushael, and Methushael begot Lamech.” Cain left the area of Eden and went to Nod (Nod means wandering). He went wandering.
The First civilization. This is a cameo of the antediluvian world, the only information we have of civilisation before the Flood. This was the first civilization on the earth. Some view this as the sunken Atlantis. When the Flood came it was buried beneath the waters. It was a different world than the one we live in today. The whole earth was warm with a mild climate. It was a hothouse effect. There was lush vegetation and animal life. Disease had not spread as much as it has today. The gene pool was clearer and cleaner and there probably were no mutant genes. However polygamy, and murder characterised it.
Where did Cain get his wife? The answer is, he married one of his sisters. In that time the there were no mutant genes and the genetic systems of the children. Men married relatives even up to the time of Abraham, who also married one of his sisters, his half-sister. Since people lived to hundreds of years there were many millions of people on earth at this time. Genesis 5 gives us an account of the many “sons and daughters of Adam.” By the time of Moses mutations had accumulated to the point that such unions were dangerous.
The First Cities and Descendents of Cain
Names are highly significant in the Bible.
“Enoch” means “dedication or commencement”. This is where Cain started a new life. He commenced building a city. He may have moved on and left his son Enoch to finish it. This is the beginning of Cainite civilization.
“Irad was born” his name means “the city of witness or townsman.” Man was trying to show his glory and ability to create things but it will culminate in the tower of Babel, erected to the glory of man, an attempt to be another way to God.
“Mehujael” means “smitten of God,” which is suggestive, perhaps, of a rather defiant attitude: “God has smitten, yes, but we’re going to make a success of this anyway,” is man’s attitude.
“Methushael” means “God gives life” but man promoted his own importance and treated God as though he were dead. This philosophy is still with us today.
“Lamech” means “strong” or “powerful or conqueror,” this is man boasting and even though he is in his fallen state. We have here all the ingredients of modern life — travel, music and the arts, the use of metals, the organized political life, and the domestication of animals.
The First Case of Polygamy in Civilisation – The Beauty Cult
19-22 “Then Lamech took for himself two wives: the name of one was Adah, and the name of the second was Zillah (shade). And Adah (ornament, pleasant or beauty) bore Jabal. He was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal. He was the father of all those who play the harp and flute. And as for Zillah, she also bore Tubal-Cain, an instructor of every craftsman in bronze and iron. And the sister of Tubal-Cain was Naamah (lovliness).” Lamech may have actually married sisters who had the same mother. He lusted after the two beautiful women. He did not look for inner beauty as Scripture exhorts man to (1 Pet. 3:4). There was a religion of beauty and music and inventions were dominant just as today. He may have also wanted to have many children so as to become a powerful man. This was the beginning of polygamy. God’s way was monogamy one man for one woman. Bigamy is contrary to Gods Word. He was a rebellious person and may have led other sin to rebellion against God. This was the seventh generation form Adam. We can see the progress of sin. The more people that are gathered into one place the more sin there is. Culture becomes hard and ruthless. One of the loneliest places to be is in a big city. Sin runs rampant particularly sexual sin. People permit sexual perversions, which are openly tolerated. The city life was godless. It was a civilization without God. It traces back to this early Cainite civilization.
Jabal means “traveller or wanderer” “ he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and such as have cattle.” He invented the tent in order to live a nomadic lifestyle. He developed and produced domestic animals such as camels. Cattle, asses, goats etc.
Jubal, “sound or trumpeter;” “the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.” Music was there early in the first civilisation. His ear for music was wonderful he invented stringed and musical instruments.
Tubalcain, “metalworker” “an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron.” He was a genius, an inventor and his inventions brought up the standard of living in first civilization. Technological advancement came early on. Metal tools and implements of all kinds were available.
His sister was Naamah, meaning pleasant. He probably made jewellery and ornamentation for her.
Life in the first civilization had wonderful technology that produced comforts and luxuries. The state of the family began to decline. The trend toward urban over rural life increased. Toleration of sexual excess and other sins became popular. Violence was sung about and defended on the grounds of the protection of rights. Human nature has not changed since Cain. Men think they have advanced. They may have done so technically like that civilization but morally they are submerging in the morass of sin and heading for destruction just as they were heading for the judgment of the Flood. Mankind is not getting better he is getting worse. Morality is ant an all time low. Our cities run with the blood of our brothers. Life has become meaningless and superficial. Man is dispensable and we live in a society that believes it an engineer limbs to prolong life, leaving God out of it all. Men build their cities but men of faith look for the city god has built.
The Evil Song of Lamech
23-26 “Then Lamech said to his wives: “Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; Wives of Lamech, listen to my speech! For I have killed a man for wounding me, even a young man for hurting me. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, Then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.” “And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, “For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.” And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the Lord.
The song of Lamech. He proudly sings his song. He put his poetry into song form. He was a poet with corrupt words. He boasts of murder and of his vengeance upon those who oppose him. It was number one in the top ten. The lyrics were as sinful as some of the lyrics in our songs today. They boldly promote violence just like this song. It was a kind of taunt on Lamech’s part, in which he is justifying his violence. He boasts to his wives, “Listen to what I have to say: I have slain a man for wounding me.” Evidently, a young man had assaulted him and, in self-defence, he says, “I slew him.” He boasts of this to his wives and justifies it, saying that if God avenged Cain sevenfold for taking the life of his brother without any justification whatever, then, surely, “I will be avenged seventy-seven fold for having acted in self-defence.” Here we have the first clear instance of a pattern that has repeated itself a thousand times over in human history — the justifying of violence on the ground of protection of rights. Now there is a picture of civilization:
Some called upon the Name of the Lord
Vs 26 “they began to call upon the name of the LORD.” They remembered God’s way and that they had to turn to him to heal their society. They cried out to the Lord as many faithful believers do today. They ad everything but knew they needed God. They knew many had taken the broad ay that leads to death.
Or society, our world is facing a crisis. The world needs to turn back to God’s way. We have our technology, our science, our inventions, our music, our luxury, but not God. Believers need to remember we are in the world and not of the world; we use this world but so do not abuse the things of the world. But we are warned not to “Love not the things of the world, neither the things that are in the world,” (1 John 2:15). This world is doomed. We look for a city a new world that is eternal that fades not away. Our treasures are not here but there. Don’t make this world the centre of your affections.