Cain and Abel

The purpose of this writing is merely to present some observations of interest. It is in no way exhaustive, but we do hope that it triggers some insight into scriptural truths that will help the earnest seeker after God. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. II Timothy 3:16-17.

Genesis 4:1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.

This account of Cain and Abel takes place after Adam and Eve are driven out of the garden of Eden. Upon the birth of Cain, Eve said, “I have gotten a man from the Lord,” which is not an exact translation of the Hebrew. Many modern translations read “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord,” which strays even further from the Hebrew. The Hebrew is qanah ish eth Yahweh, which is more correctly “have acquired a man, even Yahweh.” This indicates that Eve thought she had acquired the promised seed of Genesis 3:15: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Genesis 4:2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

Abel was a keeper and feeder of sheep; Cain was a tiller of the ground. There is nothing wrong with either profession. Someone needs to tend the sheep and someone needs to till the ground and grow the crops. It is only in the sense of typology that a problem arises. Sheep represent God’s people. So a keeper of sheep speaks of one who cares for and feeds His flock. A tiller of the ground speaks of something entirely different. The ground, spiritually speaking, depicts the adamic flesh nature, seeing that man was formed of the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7). Therefore, a tiller of the ground speaks of effort to improve the fallen nature of man. That is what religion does with its rules and regulations and is in opposition to the plan of God. The fallen nature of man cannot be improved on; man must be born again with a new nature.

Genesis 4:3-4 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.

Verse 26 says that after Enos was born men began to call upon the name of the Lord, but we see here in verses 3 and 4 that Abel and Cain are presenting offerings unto the Lord. Cain and Abel were born after Adam and Eve were sent out of the Garden. Adam and Eve had partaken of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and now they had a fallen nature. The principle of everything producing after its own kind insured that Cain and Abel were born of the same fallen nature. They were a mixture of good and evil as was the tree of knowledge. Man, now outside of the Garden of Eden, had to worship God from afar off. So they brought offerings from the work of their hands. As we shall see it was not their offering that determined God’s acceptance or rejection.

Genesis 4:5 But unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

The Lord had respect unto Abel and his offering, but unto Cain and his offering He did not. The difference was not the offering or the type of work they did. The difference was in their person. God had respect unto Abel’s offering because He first had respect unto Abel. He did not have respect unto Cain’s offering because He did not have respect unto Cain. When Cain’s offering was rejected, he became very angry. Had his heart been right he would have had acted differently. Instead of repentance with a humble spirit, he was rebellious and arrogant. Both men were a product of good and evil, but the evil side of Cain had taken dominion over him.

Genesis 4:6-7 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 lies at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

The problem was not Cain’s offering; the problem was Cain’s heart. It is not the sacrifice of offerings that pleases the Lord, but a broken and contrite heart. For Thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: Thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise. Psalm 51:16-17.

God knows who and what we are. He is aware of the downward pull of our flesh nature; He is aware of the sin that dwells in us. God always responds with grace and mercy to the humble and poor in spirit, but He reacts to the one who is arrogant and proud. Instead of being broken and contrite, Cain was angry. Everybody has a little bit of Cain in them; it dwells in the adamic flesh nature. It is what you do about it that matters. Never cover up the wickedness of your flesh but expose it to the presence of the Lord. His presence will bring the change. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. II Corinthians 3:18.

Genesis 4:8 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.

The talking preceded the killing. We see an example of the Cain-spirit in the early days of the Church. Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. Then there arose certain of the synagogue…disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. Acts 6:8-10. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him… Acts 7:57-58. The Cain-spirit in those certain ones of the synagogue was enraged by the wisdom and spirit of Stephen as he spoke the Word of God. So they rose up and killed him. First the talking and then the killing: the Living Word enrages the Cain-spirit.

Jesus pronounced judgment upon the Cain-spirit of the scribes and Pharisees in the 23rd chapter of Matthew. Notice that in every case the Cain-spirit moves through religious channels. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that kills the prophets, and stones them which are sent unto thee… Matthew 23:33-37.

I repeat, the Cain-spirit always moves through religious channels. Satan himself comes as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his ministering spirits also appear as ministers of righteousness (II Corinthians 11:14-15). The most lethal of deceptions will come through those who seem to be righteous. The three most dangerous spirits are the Cain-spirit, the Balaam-spirit and the Korah-spirit and all three are religious spirits and are operating within the churches. Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Korah. These are spots in your feasts of love, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear…to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. Jude 11, 12, 13.

Genesis 4:9 And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?

There is a play on words here. Abel was a keeper of sheep (verse 2). In other words, he was his brother’s keeper. One who has an Abel-spirit is like the sheep in the parable of the sheep and goats of Matthew 25. They minister to the Christ in their brothers and sisters. But the Cain-spirit says, “No! I am not my brother’s keeper. I am not responsible for him.” He is like the goats in the parable of the sheep and goats.

Genesis 4:10 And He said, What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood cries unto Me from the ground.

God knew what Cain had done. He was giving Cain one last chance to repent with a right heart. In the Hebrew the word “blood” is plural. It should read, “The voice of thy brother’s bloods cries unto Me from the ground.” The blood of Abel and the blood of his posterity were crying out to God for revenge. That same cry is seen coming out from under the altar with the opening of the fifth seal in Revelation. And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held: and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? Revelation 6:9-10.

Genesis 4:11-14 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which has 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.
13 And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
14 Behold, Thou has 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 finds me shall slay me.

The likeness of Cain is found in the fallen nature of man. It is a fugitive and vagabond spirit in the earthen nature of man. It is hid from the face of God, meaning it has no protection from God. God pronounced judgment on it here, and Jesus pronounced judgment on it saying, “How can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Matthew 23:33). Then Jude proclaims that to the Cain-spirit “is reserved the blackness of darkness forever” (Jude 13).

Copyright © 2008 by Henry DuBose