by Dr. Brad Black
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Sorry it has been almost a month since I have posted, but we have had all kinds of trouble with our internet (we had to get a new provider) and constant contact, the group we use to send the blog. Everything seems to be settled now.
As I have said several times before, I read several different Bible readings every day. Two of them go through the Bible in a year, and another completes the Bible every two years. Some are just scriptures, but one gives the Bible verses and also a commentary on those verses. The commentary for Genesis 4 got under my skin a little and I would like to talk about that with you for this week’s Blog.
1And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.
2And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
3And in process of time it came to pass, that “Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.”
4And 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:
5But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
6And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
7If 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.
The reason the commentator got under my skin is he said that the reason God did not accept Cain’s offering was that it was not a blood offering. He said only Blood offerings are accepted by God. Blood offering are not the only offerings God accepts. There are over 630 verses that talk about offerings in the Bible. They talk about all kinds of offerings, including but not limited to, drink, grain, gold, silver, cloth, skins, and string besides animals. If God only accepts blood offerings then our offering every Sunday is not acceptable to God.
What I think the commentator is confusing is that only a blood offering can cover sin. See verse below.
1For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
2For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
3But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
4For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
5Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
6In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
7Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
8Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;
9Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
10By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Boiled down, the blood of bulls and goats did not get rid of sin, it only covered it for a time; the only thing that that completely covered it was the perfect sacrifice, Jesus Christ himself. Therefore, the sin sacrifice is not needed any more.
I will not argue with the commentator that sin must be covered by a blood sacrifice; I agree whole heartedly, my point is that this is not the reason God did not accept Cain’s sacrifice. As I pointed out earlier, grain and other things were acceptable offerings. So why did God not accept it? Let’s look at the text, I think it tells us. “Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.” Whereas Abel, “Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof.” Able brought the firstlings and the fat thereof. We might understand this better as Able brought the best of his flocks, the fat or the choice lamb. In fact some of the more modern translations will say something like that. And Cain just brought some fruit of the ground. It almost sound like Cain just grabbed anything with no thought and defiantly not the best. You see the real problem of Cain’s sacrifice was his heart. God was almost an after thought. That is why this story is so important. We are all following Cain’s ways; we almost treat God as an afterthought. That is why our offerings a lot of times are not pleasing to God. I hate to start the year out so heavy, but I really think it is important to put God first in all we do, not just our offering because as God said. “ 7If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.”
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Interesting... I'd not considered Cain's sacrifice in this way. Thank you for these thoughts.