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Tag Archives: Religion

The Book Of The Generations Of Adam

"And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died." (Genesis 5:5)

“So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died.” (Genesis 5:5)

What type of feelings do you associate with a graveyard? Sadness, fear, regret? Cemeteries often elicit a very powerful emotional response because of what they represent and what they remind us all of, that is, that this life will end someday for every one of us. Regardless of what a person believes concerning the afterlife, people of all beliefs recognize that this life will one day end.

Chapter 5 of the Book of Genesis is really a graveyard right in the middle of the story of the beginning of mankind on the Earth. We are given little more than a list of names, their children, and how long they lived. And the final words given in regards to nearly every single name on the list are: “And he died.” He was born, he had children of his own, and then he died.

This is the cold and sorrowful tale that a headstone relates. Most often, a tombstone tells noting more than the name, date of birth, and date of death of the individual buried beneath it. It has been said that most people will not be remembered at all beyond the third generation that comes after them. For the vast majority of us, we will be utterly forgotten within 20-30 years after we have passed on. Oh, that we might have a better perspective of the ultimate meaninglessness of the busy activities into which we pour so much of our time and strength!

“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—” (Romans 5:12)

Chapter 5 of Genesis is a stark reminder of the consequences that sin brings. While these people mentioned who lived before the Flood had remarkably long lifespans, they all still died. And so it is with every generation, save for the last one which will witness the return of the Lord. This life will end one day for all of us.

The Good News is that we will not remain in the grave! For those who are trusting in Jesus Christ, this life is but a preface to the true life that is to come. Indeed, the moment that these bodies cease to be alive, we will be forever present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). Though we pass through this solemn graveyard of the Fifth chapter of Genesis, may we all be reminded of the words declared by the Apostle Paul:

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”(1 Corinthians 15:55)

The consequences of sin brings death to the body, but the Grace of God brings life to the spirit.

“So that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:21)

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published September 29, 2009]

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

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Dwelling In The Land Of Nod

"And 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 bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch." (Genesis 4:16-17)

“Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Cain had relations with his wife; and she conceived, and gave birth to Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city Enoch, after the name of his son.” (Genesis 4:16-17)

So, after God passed sentence on Cain and laid out what his punishment would be for killing his brother, Abel, Cain departed from the presence of the Lord. This departure was both physical and spiritual. What we read in the next few verses is a perfect picture of mankind’s endeavors apart from God.

The very first thing that we see Cain doing after God has banished him from His presence is that he continues to defy God. God said that Cain would be a “vagabond in the earth” (Gen. 3:14), and that is exactly what the term “Land of Nod” means: the land of “wandering”, or the land of “vagrancy.” So, Cain does indeed become a wandering vagabond. But verse 17 tells us that he “built a city.” Apparently Cain still did not believe that God’s Words were true. Cain was attempting to establish a place of settlement, a place for him to find residence after God Almighty had decreed that he would never find such.

Cain called his first-born son “Enoch”, meaning “one initiated” or “one dedicated.” It spoke of a new beginning, a changing of a way of life. What a horrific contrast between Cain’s son and the man who shared the same name whom we meet in Genesis 5:21-24! The second Enoch was a man dedicated to the glory of the Lord while this Enoch was dedicated to the glory of man. The second Enoch was a model of those who would walk with God while this Enoch was a model of those who would live for themselves.

Cain began a trend that would repeat itself throughout history as he named the city he set about to build after his son, calling it “Enoch”, as well. Mortal flesh has the innate desire to preserve its name and legacy for posterity, fearing that our names will not be remembered and our lives forgotten. The word translated as “built” in verse 17 denotes a sense of repairing, fixing, or continuing to build something. It is not generally associated with a completed project. Perhaps Cain’s efforts to complete the construction of his “city” were so thwarted, as God’s judgment was upheld, that he dared not assign his own name to the city he himself was perpetually building. His hope laid in his son carrying on his legacy. And, sadly, it seems that he and the rest of his descendants certainly did.

“I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 1:14 NKJV)

We are not told very much about Enoch, Irad, Mehujael, and Methusael, but we are given a little more detail about the fifth and sixth generations after Cain. Jubal,  Jabal, and Tubal-Cain, the sons of  Lamech and grandsons of Methusael, are credited as the “fathers” of animal husbandry, music, and metallurgy, respectively. Sometimes, as Christians, we have the tendency to underestimate what unredeemed mankind is indeed capable of accomplishing. While some of the most distinguished institutions of higher learning and some of the most prestigious medical facilities in the world were, in fact, originally dedicated to the glory of God and founded in His name, many were not. While the Word of God certainly teaches us that nothing that is done apart from God shall last, we are never told that humanity is incapable of monumental accomplishments on their own.

The descendants of Cain doubtlessly constructed impressive monuments, composed beautiful music, and possessed great herds of livestock. From the outward appearance, these people would have seemed to be getting along just fine without God. But, as we see in the chapters of the Book of Genesis that follow, these people were not really doing as well as they thought they were.

From God’s perspective, Cain’s descendants lived, had children, set about their business, and then died. They are very briefly even mentioned in the Word of God before the narrative returns in verse 25 to the lineage through which Christ would come. So it is for all who would separate themselves from the presence of God and choose to “dwell in the land of Nod.” Regardless of what they might accomplish in this life, only that which is done for the glory of Jesus Christ will truly last. Though they name great cities after themselves, though they found majestic halls of learning and commission magnificent monuments to be built in their own name; those who die apart from Christ will perish in their sins and spend eternity separated from the presence of God. Their only achievements will forever perish.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published September 23, 2009]

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

*New King James Version (NKJV)Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Why Did Cain Kill Abel?

"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." (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.” (Genesis 4:8)

Last time, we saw that Genesis 4:7 left Cain with a decision to make: to obey God or to disobey God. In verse 8, we see which decision he made. It would seem that Cain’s problem was really with God; after all, it was God Who had rejected him. Why did he turn his anger, then, toward Abel?

“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” (1 John 4:20)

There is a definite correlation between how a person views God and how they treat those around them. One simply cannot revere God while abhorring the people whom God has created. When we truly love and extol the Lord, we will be compelled to love our brethren. As is exhibited by Cain, we see that the opposite of this is also true.

People with disdain for God have always hated those who love Him. Wherever there is repudiation of God’s righteousness, there is invariably contempt toward those who honor it. The arrogant despise the humble. For what great crime did the religious authorities in the Lord Jesus’ day desire that He be put to death? No crime that He committed, but because their own deeds were wicked (John 3:19). Those who walk in darkness yearn to extinguish any light that illuminates their own sinfulness.

“Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.” (1 John 3:12)

Genesis 4:8 is quite remarkable, not only for what it says, but what it does not say. Cain talked with Abel. He had already decided in his heart what he was going to do after God had so graciously reached out to him. He had already rejected God’s offer of reconciliation. But there is no outburst toward Abel after God meets with Cain, no assault on him at the time. No, he talked with him. I am of the opinion Cain never even mentioned his conversation with God to Abel. Cain went on as if nothing was wrong and pretended that he harbored no ill will.

“And it came to pass…”

There was no immediate reprisal made against Abel. Instead, Cain bode his time, waiting for the perfect opportunity. They were in the field together, away from others. Cain wanted no witnesses to his horrific act. Abel trusted him, he went with Cain into that field, never suspecting the fate that would befall him that day.

Isn’t this the way that it so often happens in our lives today? Our greatest harm comes not from those who stand in declared opposition against us, but from those who claim that they stand by our side. It is usually our “friends” and “brothers” who give the greater cause for concern than those who assert that they are our enemies. The most insidious attacks made against the children of God have not come from those who never set foot inside a church; they come from those who sit in the pew beside them.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published September 16, 2009]

**All Scripture quotations in this post are taken from the King James Version (KJV) Bible

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

God Reached Out To Cain

"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." (Genesis 4:6-7)

“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.” (Genesis 4:6-7)

What I find to be some of the most beautiful passages in all of Scripture are those where the Lord reaches out even to those who are utterly opposed to Him. What a truly amazing demonstration of God’s Grace! I find it very comforting to know that God would reach out His hand in mercy to someone like Cain, because it reminds me how He reached out His hand in mercy to someone like me, even when I was utterly opposed to Him. And it reminds me that He will reach out His hand in mercy to anyone else who will take it, regardless of the sin that fills their heart.

Genesis 4:6-7 tells us how God approached Cain after Cain’s offering was rejected. We see a similar method throughout the Bible as God approaches even the vilest of sinners and offers them mercy. The very first thing that we should take note of is the fact that God is not angry with Cain. We are told that Cain is angry, but we can see that God is not. Next, we should also note that God does not stand aloof from Cain, waiting to see if he will do the right thing. Some people like to talk about man’s search for God, but man is not seeking God; God is the One Who seeks us (Luke 19:10). Cain was not left on his own to try to work through his rebellion and, perhaps, eventually do the right thing. God came to Him.

It Starts With A Simple Question

“Why art thou wroth?” God asks Cain. Why is it that you are angry? God knew very well the answer to this question. Socrates was not really the inventor of what we call the “Socratic method”- wherein we teach others by asking questions that cause them to ponder and ask their own questions, leading them to discover the answers for themselves- God used this method from the very beginning. He will ask us why we do or feel certain things when we have never even seriously considered the reasons why ourselves. Saul of Tarsus had made it his mission in life to destroy the early Church and wipe the name of Jesus Christ from the face of the Earth. When the Lord stopped him on the road to Damascus, He didn’t annihilate him, He approached with a simple question: “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” (Acts 9:4)  Why are you doing what you are doing?

If Thou Doest Well

God knew why Cain was angry and He knew what Cain was contemplating in his heart. Cain’s anger was manifesting itself toward his brother, Abel. Sadly, Cain’s anger and frustration wasn’t that he had failed to please God by doing what He had asked him to, he seemed more worried that his disobedience might cost him his position in his family. “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?” The word for accepted is not translated as such anywhere else in the Old Testament. In other verses, it is rendered as  “excellency”, or “dignity”, or it refers to a rising up of something; an “exaltation.” When Jacob is pronouncing his blessings on his sons before he dies, he uses the same term in relation to Reuben, his first-born (Gen. 49:3). Reuben is the “excellency of [his] dignity.”

Cain’s motive was not to be accepted by God, it was to be exalted over his brother, the second-born. His fear was not that God would disapprove of him, but that Abel would take his place in the family and usurp the birthrights of the first-born. Isn’t that so often the reason for sorrow over sinful behavior? It isn’t a concern over offending God’s holiness, but rather a grieving over the loss that it might cost the sinner. Cain’s concern seemed to be more with how other people might view him as a result of his disobedience, not how God would look upon him. Nevertheless, if Cain did what was right and what God expected of him, he needn’t fear the collapse of his position within his family.

The word order of verse 7 has caused many different interpretations concerning exactly what God is referring to, but I think that if we bear in mind the context thus far, we see that the God’s final statement in the verse refers to this brotherly relationship: “And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” The phrase is nearly identical to the one that God tells Eve in Gen. 3:16 (” and thy desire shall be to thy husband…:”). In both instances, God is establishing or upholding an authority structure within the natural family. If Cain submits himself to God, he need not worry about Abel submitting himself to Cain.

Since nowhere in the Bible is the promise given to any person that they shall “rule over sin“, it is inconceivable that God would be making such a promise to Cain. Jesus Christ is the only One Who rules over sin (Romans 7:25). No, God is merely assuring Cain that he will in no way lose his position of “dignity” and “excellency” within the family if he will but hearken to the voice of the Lord and obey Him.

Sin Lieth At The Door

Some have interpreted this passage with the idea of sin crouching at the door, ready to pounce on Cain. The word for “lieth”, however, seems more to refer to lying down; as in rest. Several times throughout the Old Testament it is used to to show sheep lying down, relaxed in safety (e.g., Psalm 23:2 use this term about how God is our Shepherd and makes us to lie down in green pastures). The idea is not that sin is crouching behind the bushes, waiting to make its move. No, the sin is there, “relaxed” and waiting at the threshold of the door for Cain to come walking through. If Cain does not determine to heed God’s call to him now, then when he goes out through the “door” from this place where God has met him, he is going to walk right into the sin waiting for him. The sin isn’t going to “pounce” on him from behind, he is going to head right into it.

The Choice Is Ours

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” (Deuteronomy 30:19)

God made His expectations clear to Cain. Now, it was up to Cain to decide if he would obey or not. His options were simple: obey God and choose life and blessing, or disobey God and choose death and cursing. What he could not do was get God to lower the standard, or change His mind, or let Cain come to God some other way. He would never be able to plead ignorance or accuse God of not giving him ample opportunity. God came to him now giving him the chance to repent and be reconciled. God came to him now as Savior. If he disregarded God at this point, the next time God would come as his Judge.

Obey what God has said, or disobey what God has said. We all face the same decision.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published September 12, 2009]

**All Scripture quotations in this post are taken from the King James Version (KJV) Bible

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

What Was Wrong With Cain’s Offering? (Part 2)

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

“But for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. And Cain became very angry, and his countenance fell.” (Genesis 4:5)

We considered last time some of the problems with Cain’s offering. Cain had tried to make himself acceptable to God on his own terms based on who he thought that he was and by offering his own works.

Abel made his offering according to what God had revealed, but Cain did not. Cain’s “bloodless” offering was not made in recognition of his sin and need for atonement, but out of pride and an utter denial that he was guilty of any sin. Cain created mankind’s very first false religion, born out of humanity’s innate desire to decide for themselves how they will come to God. This is what Jude is referring to when he warns of those who “go the way of Cain” (Jude 11); they, too, ignore the way that God has revealed that we must come to Him and attempt to earn God’s favor by their own merits.

God Rejected The Offerer

“But unto Cain and for his offering He had no regard.” It wasn’t just the offering that Cain brought that caused God to reject him, it was what was in his heart. Cain himself was not accepted by God, not just his offering. This is important to see. No amount of ritual will make us right with God if our hearts are not right toward Him. It is not the motions that we go through that bring cleansing, but a contrite and repentant heart.

“Samuel said, Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22)

The prophet Samuel told Israel’s first king, Saul, that rituals do not please the Lord, obedience does. We cannot please God when we disobey Him, regardless of what we offer instead. Cain’s offering from the harvest of his fields was not a “second-rate” offering. In his eyes, it must have seemed a lot more impressive than the little lamb that Abel was bringing to God. But it wasn’t what God was asking for.

What We Must Bring

For us, there is but one acceptable Sacrifice that we can “bring” to the Lord in order to be accepted by Him: the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. We cannot substitute the works of our hands or the harvest of our fields. We cannot be accepted because of who we are or who we think we are. He’s asking us for a Lamb and nothing else will do.

How many people still “go the way of Cain” and bring to God offerings for Salvation that He will not accept? Maybe it isn’t fruits and grains, but money to the Church. Or they are volunteering their time, or even serving in a ministry. Until we first bring the Lamb, we will not be accepted.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published September 9, 2009]

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

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