Tag Archives: Abel

JUST DO WHAT YOU OUGHT TO DO!


William Andrew Dillard

From the earliest days of history comes a powerful point for everyone throughout the ages. It is a point when well taken and observed, that will bring goodness, joy, and appreciation of blessings without end. So, just what is this powerful point? It is: JUST DO WHAT YOU OUGHT TO DO! Think about it!
The story emanates from the lives of two brothers, Cain and Abel, who brought offerings of worship to the Lord. The story is well known. God rejected Cain’s offering, but accepted that of Abel. Cain was exceedingly angry over the rejection, but received the benefit of godly instructions which would rectify his life, and included ample warning of any alternative. God forthrightly told him: “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.” Students have often asked what this means, especially the last part of it.
Sin in the form of anger and resistance to well doing had enveloped Cain as a dirty shirt, or more to the point of the verse, sprung upon him as a roaring lion. It lay at Cain’s door, and it lies at everyone’s door. It does so because it desires to have each person as its prey. Do not be deceived, sin really wants control of your life. Cain, and everyone else, too, will rule over sin, and keep it at bay, though it burn with desire for us, as long as commitment is made to God’s grace in well doing. Just do what you ought to do! To objectify the subjectivity of this statement, the Bible truth for all men is offered.
Solomon put it this way as he concluded the book of Ecclesiastes at 12:13.“ Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” That statement is true and applicable across the ages. The apostle Paul wrote about God to Timothy: “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” I Timothy 2:4.
Making a long and wonderful story short, it is the will of God that all men should be saved, and then go on to serious discipleship through baptism, church fellowship, and spiritual maturity in the university of Christ Jesus using His textbook: the Holy Word. Thus will the awful sins of hurt, heartache, and loss be avoided while the joy of faith, hope, and goodness shield against the desires of the springing lion at the doorstep. How awful are the cries of those who have, through foolish and selfish decisions, become the victims of that crouching lion at the door. But greater is He that is within us than he that is in the world. In well doing one may resist the devil to the point that he will flee, according to James 5:8. What all this translates to in simple terms is: Just do what you ought to do!

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WHAT DID ABEL DO THAT WAS SO RIGHT?


William Andrew Dillard

Abel was the first person to be murdered. A debate precipitated his murder, and a proper act of worship precipitated the debate. Important details surrounding this incident are not spelled out in so many words, but they are present in the construction of the ancient language.
“In the process of time” is a phrase that may envelope years or decades, but it probably indicates these men were heads of households, since in early history patriarchial priesthood was the consistent practice. Cain and Abel brought an offering unto the Lord. Abel brought of the firstlings of the flock, but Cain brought of the fruit of the field. God had respect unto Abel and unto his offering, but He did not have respect unto Cain and his offering. Cain was terribly angry, and as he and Abel walked in the field they talked. “Talked” in the Hebrew is in the intensive stem of the verb meaning they talked intensively and heatedly. It could be called a debate. Of course, Cain was wrong. When one is wrong there are only two options: repent and get right or become angry. Cain chose the latter, and in his anger he sought to silence the voice of truth by killing his brother.
But what did Abel do that was so right? He was a sinner as are all men, and as his brother Cain was. However Hebrews 11:4 tells us “By faith Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain. . .” There is the answer. It is still the answer that makes a difference in men today. Now faith is the belief in a promise. This tells us that both Cain and Abel had correct instructions about how to worship and sacrifice unto the Lord. Abel believed and carried out those instructions. Cain did not, but chose to substitute his own way of worship rather than follow the instructions of God.
It must be noted that after six long millenniums and voluminous instructions and experiences, men still choose the way of Cain which is labeled in the Bible as “Iniquity.” Its judgment is certain, as illustrated by Cain.
It is infinitely more important to follow God in all things rather than substitute the faulty reasoning of sinful men. Abel got a quick ticket home in the ordeal, but by it he also continues to speak to the condemnation of iniquity in men. On the other hand, it is Cain who really lost his life, and the things that count for all eternity.
Truly, God gives us all the opportunity to believe Him and to follow Him. This is the thing sinful men must do if they are ever to be right in the sight of God. Abel did, and he was so right!

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Burnt Offering


The word usually translated burnt offering in the OT is ‘ōlāh (H5930). Interestingly, it is derived from a root (‘ālāh, H5927) that while sometimes rendered “to burn,” as in the burning of a lamp (Exo_27:20), actually means “to go up, to ascend,” or “to move from a lower place to an upper.” Its first occurrence (Gen_2:6) is most interesting, where were we read that in the Garden of Eden “there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.” Other images include the flight of an eagle (Isa_40:31, “mount up”) and plants coming up (Isa_34:13, “come up”).
The burnt offering is the first offering mentioned in the Levitical system (Lev_1:3-17; cf. Lev_6:8-13), no doubt because this type of offering is the first mentioned (excluding Cain and Abel’s) in the biblical record (cf. Gen_8:20; Gen_22:2). The meaning in the Levitical system, of course, went deeper. Its purpose was “to make atonement” for the sin of the offerer (Lev_1:4) and to demonstrate—as illustrated by the term “whole burnt offering” (Psa_51:19)—his complete consecration, his total dedication to God.
All this demonstrates the true nature of the OT burnt offering, which we could even call the “ascending offering.” As the flames consumed the animal, the offerer could watch the smoke and sparks ascend heavenward and know that God had accepted him as he identified himself with the sacrificed animal.
The first application we see in all this is in the Lord Jesus. His complete dedication is evident as He prayed in Gethsemane, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Mat_26:39). Knowing what lay ahead, namely, the ultimate burnt offering that He would become, our Lord was willing to be that sacrifice (Mat_26:39-44; cf. Php_2:5-11).
The second application is that this again illustrates for the NT believer that we each are a “living sacrifice” (Rom_12:1), that all we do ascends heavenward to God. “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name” (Heb_13:15).
Scriptures for Study: Read Heb_10:5-10, noting Christ’s willingness to become the burnt offering for sin.

 

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Hebrew – Abel


 

Heḇel

 

In stark contrast to Cain, whom we studied yesterday, there was his brother Abel, whose name also tells us much. The Hebrew is Heḇel (H1893), which is identical to heḇel (H1892; ) and has an interesting etymology. It literally means “wind, breath, or vapor,” while another form speaks of vanity or emptiness, as is true thirty-eight times in Ecclesiastes alone (e.g., “vanity of vanities; all is vanity,”), showing the total emptiness and utter futility of life without God (Rom_8:20-22).

 

While this word at first seems odd when applied to Abel, it in reality is quite appropriate. Why that name? One commentator offers this reason: “By the time of Abel’s birth, Eve had become thoroughly impressed with the impact of God’s curse on the world. God had indeed made the creation ‘subject to vanity.’” Abel’s existence itself was a vapor, that is, short-lived in comparison with the life spans of the day. Adam, for example, lived 930 years (Gen_5:5). By the evil of his own brother, however, Abel’s life was cut short. As vapor is present one moment and gone the next, so it was with Abel.

 

The application of this word to each of us is challenging. James writes on this very subject: “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil” (Jas_4:13-16). Compared with the long life spans of people in Genesis, each of us is on this earth for a very short time. In light of eternity, it truly is only a vapor. How, then, should we live? Should we live a life of arrogance and self-determination? Or should our life be one that seeks God at every turn, whether it be in business decisions, personal living, or family life? To believe truly in the sovereignty of God is to believe He is in control of all things and that we are to bring ourselves into conformity to His will.

 

Scriptures for Study: Read what Job writes about the fleeting nature of life (Job_7:6-7; Job_9:25-26; Job_14:1-2). What wonderful encouragement do Peter and John give us (1Pe_1:24-25; 1Jn_2:17)?

 

 

 

 

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Cain


 

Qayin

 

When we hear the name Cain, most of us probably think immediately of the first murderer and his heinous crime. But there is more here. The Hebrew is Qayin (H7014), which as most scholars agree is a play on the verb qānāh (H7069), “to buy, purchase, acquire, or possess.” This seems all the more apparent in what Eve herself says of Cain: “I have gotten [i.e., acquired, qānāh] a man from the LORD” (Gen_4:1).

 

It did not take long, however, for that blessed acquisition to take a turn for the worse, long before Cain’s murder of his brother Abel. Jude alludes to Cain’s real problem when he writes of apostates: “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain” (Gen_4:11). The Greek for way is hodos (G3598), which literally refers to a road, highway, or street, but metaphorically to a course of conduct or way of thinking. So what was Cain’s way of thinking? That he could please God his own way.

 

What offering, then, did Cain bring, and why did God not accept it? Some teachers insist the problem was that Cain did not bring blood, as did Abel. Gen_3:21, it is argued, reveals that God taught Adam and Eve that blood had to be shed for sin, so this same knowledge was undoubtedly handed down to Cain and Abel.  The Hebrew, in fact, for the offering (April 17, 20) both men brought is minchāh (H4503), which does not refer to blood, rather the general idea of a gift. There are two Hebrew words used to translate this passage into english. The second is (H6529), meaning fruit. Therefore a fruit offering.Now we find with Abel brings a gift and (H1062) firstling of man or beast. Properly a blood offering such as was slain in the garden for Adam and Eve.

 

So why was Cain’s offering not accepted? We submit two reasons: First,it was not a bloody sacrifice that represented Christ our sacrifice. for Cain (in contrast to Abel bringing the “firstlings” (Gen_4:4). Second,Cain’s offering represented the ability of man to work his way to heaven. Third, it represented the pride of man in self ability in saving ourselves from condemnation.

 

What, then, is the way of Cain? The way of man. Cain’s way of thinking was that he could please God his own way. Christianity, however, is a life, a life found only in Christ by grace through faith.

 

Scriptures for Study: Read Mat_7:13-14, noting the two paths Jesus outlines. What does 1Jn_3:12 say about Cain?

 

 

 

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