Cain's Naughty Heart
Cain's Naughty Heart
By Tom Stephens
Did God Judge Cain For His Sacrifice, Or For The Condition Of His Heart?
A young minister, a guest in our church, taught about the story of Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1-8). He stated Cain's sacrifice of "his garden" to the Lord had nothing to do with God's anger toward him (Cain) neither had anything to do with "a blood sacrifice".
To prove his theory, the young minister used two passages: The first was: "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins" (Heb 10:4). In the second, he attempted to show that the Lord was pleased with Cain's fruit offering by going to Deuteronomy 26 concerning "firstfruits". He believed these first-fruits proved Cain's honor before God. So why did God reject Cain's offering?
The young minister believed it had only to do with Cain's attitude. Admittedly Cain had an attitude problem. Genesis 4:4 says Abel brought the "firstling of his flock and of the fat thereof" indicating a fine healthy lamb. Cain, on the other hand, brought "an offering" of the fruit of the ground. There is no indication Cain made any effort to pick the very best of his harvest.
But I believe the most important part had to do with the sacrifice itself. In those very early days of man, there was no instruction for the sacrificial offering so we have to look to God's example. Adam and Eve tried to cover their sin with fig leaves, the fruit of the ground. God Himself, slew an animal, very likely a sheep, and used it's skin to cover Adam and Eve's nakedness, looking forward to the day when the sinless Lamb of God would be slain to cover our sin.
Peter said Jesus, the Lamb of God was without blemish or spot and His blood was precious (1 Pet. 1:19). From the beginning, God saw the necessity of teaching his people the importance of the blood sacrifice. From Eden to the Tabernacle in the wilderness and all the way to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, God continued to show His people a "picture" of Christ's giving of Himself for the sins of the world.
When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, they suddenly realized their nakedness, and God showed them their realization was because they had sinned against Him. They had been disobedient. Realizing their guilt, they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves; but God slew an animal and, after discarding the fig leaves, used the animal hides to cover them (a picture of animal sacrifice). God was teaching that only blood could take care of man's sin problems. God could do nothing to cover or forgive sin without the blood. On one occasion, God said, "Not Without Blood'. "But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: .. " (Heb 9:7 - My Italics).
Today it is through the blood of Jesus that man can be saved. It's true that the blood of animals cannot save, but in the Old Testament, it did cover sufficiently for a period of time. Then this rite was to be repeated until Jesus would give Himself. God could do nothing in the Old Testament without blood, just as today He can't. It must be by the blood of the precious Lamb.
Compare that with God's act of substituting the fig leaves for animal skins from the creature God Himself slew. Likely taught by their father, Cain and Abel should have realized that sin sacrifices must be by the blood of animals (a picture of Jesus' shed blood at the Cross), and not by vegetation. Cain must surely have known his sacrifice would displease God. And when God rejected his sacrifice, rather than repent, he killed his own brother.
Cain had a rebellious heart. He rejected God's law and sinned against Him. He wanted to do it his own way, thereby gaining in himself the spirit of antichrist. There's Biblical proof of God's dissatisfaction with the sacrifice of Cain because:
1) His sacrifice did not coincide with God's plan for eternity. "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: .. " (Heb 11 :4)
2) He hated his brother because God honored his brother's sacrifice. "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)
3) He tested the spirit of the enemy, and greedily lusted after the pleasures therein. "Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished. .. " (Jude 11).
Furthermore, the "firstfruits" had nothing to do with Cain's sacrifice. The firstfruits was a celebration of God's gracious acts in the deliverance of His people from Egypt, and a tithe to be given to the tribe of the Levites. This tithe was given to minister to the Levite tribe and was administered only after the twelve tribes of lsrael entered into the land of milk and honey (Dent. 26: 1). This tithe was given the Levites because they were not allotted any land to farm, and it became their "substance". Also, the tithe was given for the sake of " ... the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled" (Deuteronomy 26:12).
The firstfruits was a part of God's blessing to His people in deliverance from Egypt, the miraculous keeping of His people during the forty years, and the claim to the land of milk and honey. They now had a nation and God promised His continued blessings if they would consistently harken unto His Word. The 26th chapter of Deuteronomy discusses the "firstfruits" celebration.
Note - If Cain had repented before God instead of murdering his brother, God would have forgiven him concerning his poor quality sacrifice.
Christians today also have attitude problems. Hopefully, they have nothing to do with the precious blood of Christ in their lives. Sacrifices were used all through the Old Testament to honor God; to show the Israelites of old the perfect picture of a coming Peace-Jesus Christ; and a prophetic standard which links the Old Covenant God made with Israel, with the New Covenant which absolutely saves to the uttermost!
11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Hebrews 9:11-12-my bold).
Blessings from: www.christsbondservants.org