Chapter 1 | Table of Contents | Chapter 3

Because Adam and Eve fell into spiritual darkness, they lost man's first estate and were expelled from the Garden of Eden and banned from the Tree of Life. At the time of their expulsion, God gave them a promise of redemption--a promise of restoration. God said to the subtle serpent, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He will bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel" (Genesis 3:15 MKJV).

Adam and Eve initially had two sons, Cain and Abel. These two men are prototypes of mankind. Two distinct types emerge. The seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman, the Godly and ungodly, the righteous and wicked, Christ and Anti-Christ, the Son of God and the son of perdition, the wheat and the tares, the sheep and the goats, the wise and the foolish virgins, the son of the bondwoman and the son of the free woman. In Abel and Cain we see the pilgrim and the city-builder. We see the godly tendency toward servanthood in Abel; he became a keeper of the flock. In Cain we discover the fleshly tendency to dominate the earth by his own strength and ingenuity. One was a nomad, following his herd in harmony with the earth. The other was fixed and territorial--a tiller and planter of the cursed earth that insisted on growing weeds and brambles.

It is widely believed that Eve considered her firstborn, Cain, to be the promised seed spoken of in Genesis 3:15. Alfred Edersheim explains:

Of the two sons of Adam and Eve, Cain was the elder, and indeed, as we gather, the first-born of all their children. Throughout antiquity, and in the East to this day, proper names are regarded as significant of a deeper meaning. When Eve called her first-born son Cain ('gotten,' or 'acquired'), she said, 'I have gotten a man from Yahveh.' Apparently, she connected the birth of her son with the immediate fulfillment of the promise concerning the Seed, who was to bruise the head of the serpent. This expectation was, if we may be allowed the comparison, as natural on her part as that of the immediate return of our Lord by some of the early Christians. It also showed how deeply this hope had sunk into her heart, how lively was her faith in the fulfillment of the promise, and how ardent her longing for it. But if such had been her views, they must have been speedily disappointed. Perhaps for this very reason, or else because she had been more fully informed, or on other grounds with which we are not acquainted, the other son of Adam and Eve, mentioned in Scripture, was named Abel, that is 'breath,' or 'fading away.'1

We know the story.

Cain was a religious man. Like righteous Abel, he came to worship God. God showed favor on Abel's offering. The obvious difference between his offering and Cain's was the shedding of blood in an animal sacrifice. A less obvious difference was Cain's inability to hear and follow God because of his heart condition. Cain brought his gifts and his offering to Jehovah but his sacrifice was unacceptable because his heart was not in it. It was not so much the nature of Abel's offering that God saw as acceptable, but it was the heart in which he did it. Note that God did not scold Cain for the type of offering, but the state of his heart (Genesis 4:6 and 7). God showing favor on the heart and sacrifice of Abel angered Cain so much that he killed his brother. History has been saturated with the blood of those led by the Spirit, whose lives have been taken by others who abide in the religious spirit of antichrist. God judged Cain as follows:

"And now you are cursed more than the ground which opened its mouth to receive your brotherís blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it will not again give its strength to you. And you shall be a vagabond (a rover or wanderer) and a fugitive in the earth." And Cain said to Jehovah, "My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold! You have driven me out from the face of the earth today, and I shall be hidden from Your face. And I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth, and it shall be that anyone who finds me shall kill me." And Jehovah said to him, "Therefore whoever kills Cain shall be avenged seven times." And Jehovah set a mark upon Cain so that anyone who found him should not kill him. And Cain went out from the presence of Jehovah and lived 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. (Genesis 4:11-17 MKJV)

When Adam and Eve fell, the earth was cursed. Now that curse was placed on a man in greater degree. Cain was not just cursed, but bitterly cursed beyond what was placed upon the ground. Because of Cain's act of violence, there was a great shift, an acceleration of sin that was unknown in God's creation before that time.

Ironically, Cain chose to settle in the land of Nod, which translates from the Hebrew as wandering. No matter a man's spiritual state, he continues to be a wanderer on the earth, searching for a place of rest. Instead of coming back home to his father's house, Cain found rest in building an empire after his own design. He built the first cities on earth for protection. He thought he had escaped the punishment of God, but no matter the outward appearance, he remained under the curse of being a fugitive and vagabond in the earth. He exhibited a form of Godliness but denied and walked away from the power of it.

The wandering man always attempts to settle and build in hope of meeting his insatiable need for rest. To his dismay, all his building only frustrates him further. The righteous man who is current with God is on a journey of certain completion and reward. He has ceased from his own labors and entered into his Father's rest (see Hebrews 4 ). He is no longer driven by the need to build his own empire because he has found his place in an eternal kingdom. He is now released to explore the profound depths of his Creator. Rather than bearing the burden of the builder or taskmaster, he is now built together with other living stones into a habitation of God in the Spirit. Great is the peace and rest of the man who forsakes the way of Cain to enter the Father's rest.

The Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, explains the changes that occurred in the earth as a direct result of Cain unleashing the sin that was crouching at the door.

And when Cain had traveled over many countries, he, with his wife, built a city, named Nod, which is a place so called, and there he settled his abode; where also he had children. However, he did not accept of his punishment in order to amendment, but to increase his wickedness; for he only aimed to procure every thing that was for his own bodily pleasure, though it obliged him to be injurious to his neighbors. He augmented his household substance with much wealth, by rapine (plundering or theft) and violence; he excited his acquaintance to procure pleasures and spoils by robbery, and became a great leader of men into wicked courses. He also introduced a change in that way of simplicity wherein men lived before; and was the author of measures and weights. And whereas they lived innocently and generously while they knew nothing of such arts, he changed the world into cunning craftiness. He first of all set boundaries about lands: he built a city, and fortified it with walls, and he compelled his family to come together to it; and called that city Enoch, after the name of his eldest son Enoch. Now Jared was the son of Enoch; whose son was Malaliel; whose son was Mathusela; whose son was Lamech; who had seventy-seven children by two wives, Silla and Ada. Of those children by Ada, one was Jabal: he erected tents, and loved the life of a shepherd. But Jubal, who was born of the same mother with him, exercised himself in music; and invented the psaltery and the harp. But Tubal, one of his (Lamech's) children by the other wife, exceeded all men in strength, and was very expert and famous in martial performances. He procured what tended to the pleasures of the body by that method; and first of all invented the art of making brass. Lamech was also the father of a daughter, whose name was Naamah. And because he was so skillful in matters of divine revelation, that he knew he was to be punished for Cain's murder of his brother, he made that known to his wives. Nay, even while Adam was alive, it came to pass that the posterity of Cain became exceeding wicked, every one successively dying, one after another, more wicked than the former. They were intolerable in war, and vehement in robberies; and if any one were slow to murder people, yet was he bold in his profligate behavior, in acting unjustly, and doing injuries for gain.2

In Cain we see the birth of a new brand of wickedness, an ambition to procure everything for his own bodily pleasure, even at the expense of his neighbors. We see greed in the sense of amassing great wealth, gathered by plundering, theft and violence. Cain's greed found expression in the invention of measures and weights, which were often used to facilitate and legitimize open theft. The establishment of weights and measures also indicates an attitude of exacting, the antithesis of generosity. Greed not only fuels commerce, but is also the father of theft and oppression. The way of simplicity, living innocently and generously with one another, was changed into a world of cunning craftiness. In the city of Cain you have to watch your back.

Along these lines Alfred Edersheim wrote,

On the other hand, one who embraced the promises would consider himself a pilgrim and a stranger in this earth, and both in heart and outward conduct show that he believed in, and waited for, the fulfillment of the promise. We need scarcely say that the one describes the history of Cain and of his race; the other that of Abel, and afterwards of Seth and of his descendants. For around these two - Cain and Seth - as their representatives, all the children of Adam would group themselves according to their spiritual tendencies. . .Abel chose the pilgrim-life, Cain that of settled possession and enjoyment of earth.

On the one hand we see nomadic shepherds, pilgrims and sojourners, waiting for the promised Seed and the full restoration of all things. Conversely we see wanders, like Cain, seeking to find rest by tilling the ground and founding secure cities.

Edersheim continues:

The place of Abel could not remain unfilled, if Godís purpose of mercy were to be carried out. Accordingly He gave to Adam and Eve another son, whom his mother significantly called "Seth," that is, "appointed," or rather "compensation;" for God, said she, "hath appointed me ('compensated me with') another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew." Before, however, detailing the history of Seth and his descendants, Scripture traces that of Cain to the fifth and sixth generations. Cain, as we know, had gone into the land of "Nod"-- "wandering," flight, "unrest," - and there built a city, which has been aptly described as the laying of the first foundations of that kingdom in which "the spirit of the beast" prevails (see Revelation chapters 17-19).

Cain was the first son of perdition, the prototype. The corrupt cities and governments of men are our inheritance from him. Cain's way is the beast system.

What does the way of Cain, who has been dead for all these years, have to do with us today? Cain is dead but his ways are not! The division between the descendants has continued down through history. The natures of these two brothers give us insight to the relationships of men to this very day. This becomes evident as the story continues.

The Sons of God and the Daughters of Men

With Abel dead and Cain gone from the presence of God to settle and build his own cities, we come to the birth of Seth. Seth's name means appointed. Eve gave him that name because "God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed." Seth also had a son, and he called his name Enosh (Greek Enos). "Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD" (Genesis 4:25-26 NKJV.)

The marginal reading of this verse is translated, "Then began men to call themselves by the name of the Lord." We believe this is the correct rendering. In the time of Enosh, the true followers of God began to call themselves "the sons of God." The other branch of Adam's family, the hedonistic descendants of Cain, were the children of men. God later referred to them as flesh.

And Jehovah said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man; in their erring he is flesh. And his days shall be a hundred and twenty years. (Genesis 6:3 LITV)

As Adam Clark points out:

What an awful character does God give of the inhabitants of the antediluvian world! They were flesh, (verse 3,) wholly sensual, the desires of the mind overwhelmed and lost in the desires of the flesh, their souls no longer discerning their high destiny, but ever minding earthly things, so that they were sensualized, brutalized, and become flesh; incarnated so as not to retain God in their knowledge, and they lived, seeking their portion in this life.3

The ultimate corruption of the pre-flood race occurred when the lineage of Seth (the sons of God) began to inter-marry the daughters of men (the offspring of Cain). Edersheim amplified on this overt corruption of man when he wrote:

The corruption of mankind reached its highest point when even the difference between the Sethites and the Cainites became obliterated by intermarriages between the two parties, and that from sensual motives. We read that "the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose." At that time the earth must have been in a great measure peopled, and its state is thus described, "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."

In Genesis chapter six, we are told how this intermingling brought on widespread trouble and violence among the races. So thorough was this corruption that God regretted having made man.

As a result, God purposed to start over. He brought judgment on the earth in the form of a great flood, saving only one righteous man and his family. This man's name was Noah. His name speaks of his calling and destiny; because it means rest. Nearly every child knows the story of how God saved the world through water. The rainbow represents God's promise never to judge the earth by water again.

God began to preserve purity by means of separation. By calling a people out unto Himself, He preserved a remnant. The calling out or exodus of a remnant from the corrupting influence of the world is God's way of advancing His redemptive purposes.

The Post-Flood Revival and Continuation of "The Way of Cain"

After the majority of mankind was destroyed by the flood, the remnant were sent out of the safe haven of the ark.

So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth" (Genesis 9:1, NKJV).

This purified generation out of the loins of Noah was to be short lived, for we next read of another rebellion. This time it was one of Noah's sons rebelling against him as Godís righteous representative in that generation (Genesis 7:1).

And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside [Noah's tent].
But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were turned away, so that they did not see their father's nakedness.
When Noah awoke from his wine, he knew what his youngest son had done to him. So he said, "Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brothers."
He also said, "Blessed be the LORD, The God of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, And let him dwell in the tents of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant." (Genesis 9:22-27, NASB).

Hundreds of years later, God judged the people of Canaan, the descendants of Ham, by the hands of His righteous servants, because Canaan had become totally corrupted with its hedonistic practices.

"We Will Revolt"

The next stop on our walk through our common heritage is Ham's grandson, Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord. His name means we will revolt. He was an empire builder. The city he built--Babylon--is a symbol of opposition to God. At Babel men refused to obey God's command to go forth and fill the earth. Here for the first time, a man took the way of Cain into corporate rebellion, founding the first kingdom.

The Jerusalem Targum says of Nimrod,

And Kush begat Nimrod: he began to be mighty in sin, and to rebel before the Lord in the earth. He was a mighty rebel before the Lord; therefore it is said, From the day that the world was created there hath not been as Nimrod, mighty in hunting, and a rebel before the Lord. And the beginning of his kingdom was Bavel the Great.4

Nimrod was filled with the same ambition and violence first found in Cain. He is the epitome of fallen man's tendency to settle and build his own kingdom outside of God. From a worldly standpoint, Nimrod was successful, heroic and popular. In fact, "mighty one" is the same term used in Genesis 6:4 to describe the Nephalim, the offspring of the unholy mixture of the sons of god and the daughters of men. It describes someone who is intentionally making himself famous by committing bold and daring acts. Although the flood rid the earth of all corrupted flesh, the spiritual forces behind that corruption were again surfacing. (See Gen 6:4, Num 13:33). Babel is a model of the continuing desire of man to settle and build.

And they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth." (Genesis 11:4, NKJV).
So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. (Genesis 11:8, NKJV).

Notice there was a pseudo-unity from everyone speaking the same language. They journeyed until they came to the plain of Shinar, where they decided to settle. They built a city with bricks, not with stones; this is significant in itself. But for now let us focus on the mentality revealed in verse four above.

Their first efforts went toward building a city, and then building a tower. Their stated purpose was to establish a legacy that would keep them intact both generationally and geographically. They were reverting back to the way of Cain, building cities and naming those cities after themselves. Why did they so quickly repeat the errors that eventually lead to global destruction?

God confused their languages and scattered man upon the face of the earth as a stop-gap measure, before their rebellion reached its fullness. The very idea of kings and kingdoms sprang out of the heart of Nimrod. God never intended men to build city-states and appoint kings to rule over them. This was a direct affront against Him as their only Righteous King.

The following parable is a satire exposing the vanity of seeking a king.

Once the trees went forth to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, "Reign over us!"
But the olive tree said to them, "Shall I leave my fatness with which God and men are honored, and go to wave over the trees?"
Then the trees said to the fig tree, "You come, reign over us!"
But the fig tree said to them, "Shall I leave my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to wave over the trees?"
Then the trees said to the vine, "You come, reign over us!"
But the vine said to them, "Shall I leave my new wine, which cheers God and men, and go to wave over the trees?"
Finally all the trees said to the bramble, "You come, reign over us!"
And the bramble said to the trees, "If in truth you are anointing me as king over you, come and take refuge in my shade." (Judges 9:8-15a, NASB).

All the fruitful trees and vines that provided oil, good fruit and new wine to honor God and men refused rule over the trees. To them, ruling was useless and demeaning. But the bramble, which otherwise serves no useful purpose, agreed to rule over the trees, setting only one condition."If in truth you are anointing me as king over you, come and take refuge in my shade." The bramble has plenty of thorns but little shade from the blistering sun. If you attempt to take refuge under its covering, beware of its thorns.

Years later, Israel wanted to come under the rule of the bramble. When the prophet Samuel was of a ripe old age, Israel came seeking a king. Trusting God to govern them was too fearful a thing, so they wanted to go the predictable way of the kings of the Gentiles. In so doing, they rejected the rule and sovereignty of God. They rejected God as their King. They would rather have a bramble rule over them--Saul, a herder of asses. Israel preferred the governmental style of Cain and Nimrod.

Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah; and they said to him, "Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations."
But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, "Give us a king to judge us." And Samuel prayed to the LORD.
And the LORD said to Samuel, "Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them. Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day--in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods--so they are doing to you also." (1 Samuel 8:4-8, NASB).

Note here that when Israel chose to have a mere man rule over them and be like the idolatrous nations around them, God was displeased and equated their lust for a king with serving other gods. The desire to have a king is tantamount to idolatry, because both replace the rule or Lordship of the true King.

A Return to Theocracy, the Direct Rule of God

The tempter's statement "you will be like God" reveals the true problem. Seeking to be self-governing like God, is in itself the rejection of God's kingdom and leads to nothing but corruption. When fallen men band together, they multiply their rebellion and soulish power, leading to greater decadence. As man consolidates his fleshly power, his government is bent toward degeneration and slavery and is at enmity with the government of God.

The government of man and the government of God oppose each other. (See Psalms 2:2-3) In the city of man, every new law is an increase of man's control and tyranny, supplanting the sovereignty of God. Men may not intentionally set out to do this, but it is the nature of their government, which originated in the way of Cain. For God's kingdom to be fully advanced, God must first call a remnant out unto Himself--a people governed by His Spirit (Romans 8:14 and19) and called by His name--a people of another way.

Unfortunately, this remnant only wants to journey so far, and then build a tower. Such was the case with Israel. In Acts 7, Stephen rebukes the Jewish leaders for this very thing.

Chapter 1 | Table of Contents | Chapter 3

to top