Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds the Scripture passage that details the judgment of Cain and the godless society formed by his offspring.
Will you turn with me now to Genesis Chapter 4 and I want to read for our Scripture reading, Genesis 4:9 through 26. The context, I hope you remember,is the offering of Cain and Abel and then the murder of Abel by Cain that followed. In the 9th verse, we read,
“Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is, Abel, your brother?’ And he said, ‘I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” And he said, ‘What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you cultivate the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. You shall be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.’ And Cain said to the Lord, ‘My punishment is too great to bear. Behold Thou has driven me this day from the face of the ground and from Thy face I shall be hidden and I shall be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth and it will come about that whoever finds me will kill me.’ So the Lord said to him, ‘Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.’ And the Lord appointed a sign for Cain, lest anyone finding him should slay him.”
That expression appointed a sign for, according to The New American Standard Bible, is a difficult expression. It might mean set the mark upon him so that there was a physical mark upon Cain that distinguished him as being set apart by God for protection. It has been suggested that it also might refer to some particular sign that God performed in token of the fact that he was standing behind this word with respect to Cain, something like a miracle, some supernatural type of sign. It’s difficult to now exactly what is meant by the expression, but at least the general import of it is quite clear. Verse 16 we read,
“Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. And 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 the son.
“Now, To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad became the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael became the father of Methushael, and Methushael became the father of Lamech. And Lamech took to himself two wives, the name of the one was Adah and the name of the other Zillah. And Adah gave birth to Jabal. He was the father of those who dwell in tents on and have livestock. And his brother’s name was Jubal. He was the father of all those who play the lyre and harp. As for Zillah, she also gave birth to Tubal-Cain, the forger of all implements of bronze and iron. And the sister of Tubal-Cain was Naamah. And Lamech said to his wives, Adah and Zillah, ‘Listen to my voice you wives of Lamech, give heed to my speech for I have killed a man for wounding me and a boy for striking me. If Cain is avenged sevenfold, then Lamech seventy-seven fold.’
“And Adam had relations with his wife again and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth for she said, ‘God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel for Cain killed him.’ And to Seth, to him also a son was born and he called his name Enosh. (That’s a word incidentally that means simply “man,” probably with a little bit of stress upon the frailty of man.) Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord. May the Lord bless this reading of his word.”
The subject for this morning in the exposition of Genesis chapter 4 is the way of Cain. It is Jude, the brother of our Lord, who speaks of the way of Cain. What does he mean the way of Cain?
Well, in the study of Genesis chapter 4, we would say that it must include the profession of religion without reliance upon the word of God for that is what characterizes Cain. He was not an irreligious man. He was a religious man. He kept to his cultic duties even though he is guilty of murder. He offers his sacrifice just like Abel. Now his sacrifice was different we have pointed out, but he does not fail to offer the sacrifice. He recognizes the existence of God. He recognizes that it is important for a man to approach God. In fact, he even acknowledges the doctrine of sacrifice. So he is a person who makes a profession of religious things but he does not rely upon the word of God. So even though he kept to his cultic duties, even though he was a religious man, he nevertheless was guilty of murder.
And so we would probably say too that the way of Cain must include the disobedience of unbelief. The Scriptures say that by faith Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain and if The New Testament is correct, we think it is, in saying that faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God, then we must assume that Abel was taught by God the proper way of approach. And if Abel was taught by God the proper way of approach, it is a fair inference to assume that Cain was also taught the proper way of approach. And since he did not come by faith, it is obvious that he came in the disobedience of unbelief. He brought a sacrifice, but his sacrifice was not the right sacrifice. He brought a sacrifice of the fruit of the ground whereas Abel brought his sacrifice of the firstlings of the flock and of their fat portions.
Now these two sacrifices were the revelation of two different attitudes of heart. One the attitude of the faith and the other the attitude of the unbelief. And so the way of Cain surely must include the disobedience of unbelief. It also it would seem includes trust in human works because when he brought his offering, it was the offering of the fruit of the ground. It was something actually that Cain himself had been largely responsible for. He did not know the truth that Paul expresses in the Book of Titus that it is not my works of righteousness that we have done that we are saved, but it is by his mercy.
Now you can see from this that Cain is the kind of man who would have God to dance at his piping. And furthermore, when God does not respond to the kind of offering that Cain brings, he moves off and stands in the sulking corner of disappointment and resentment that God does not dance when he pipes.
Now there is another thing that we need to notice about that expression the way of Cain. It seems to me that we are to take that word way very seriously too and suggest, therefore, that the text includes this, Cain’s way is a way. It’s a road. It’s a road that begins in unbelief and ends in murder. In fact that’s what the Bible teaches and that’s what we have been seeing in Genesis chapter 3, the essence of sin is unbelief. The essence of sin is not immorality. We are inclined I think that the essence of sin is immorality. And so when we see sexual perversion or when we see murder, strife of various kinds, even such things as envy, lust, we say that’s sin. But actually the Bible teaches that the essence of sin is unbelief, that unbelief issues in rebellion and then that finally is followed by immorality.
And that is evident in the history of Cain. He is a man who did not believe the word of God and that issued in his sacrifice contrary to his will. He rebelled against the things that he had been taught and his rebellion then ultimately issued in murder. And do not think for one moment that our unbelief, which issues in rebellion is not capable of murder. No doubt many of us would have been guilty of murder had the circumstances been right. So Cain’s way is a way. It’s a road. It begins in unbelief, it leads through rebellion to immoralities. And strikingly in this fourth chapter of the Book of Genesis, you can see that his followers, his descendants follow right in that path. In fact, this man as Helmut Thielicke has said, “Is the very prototype of the homeless one, a man displaced, unhouseholded, disappointed, unannealed.”
Now, we talked a few weeks ago, I guess it’s really a couple of months ago, now about the culture mandate and I tried to point out that the cultural mandate as it is ordinarily spoken of by the students of the Bible is the command that God gave man to fill and subdue the earth and cultivate it that involve sounds, the disciplined study of the phenomena of God’s creation and technology which is the implementation of knowledge in the ordering and development of the earth’s resources. Sounds and technology, research and development, theory and application, study and practice are other ways of expressing what is involved in the fulfillment of the cultural mandate.
The Fall, which is described for us in Genesis Chapter 3, it necessitated a twisted and warped and feeling accomplishment. The result of the Fall is that the whole world lies in the wicked one. And not everything in the world is bad, because man has been created in the image of God and while he is in the image of God and though that image of God is now warped, twisted, he is in the image of God. And so we should not expect from man that everything should be bad, because since he isn’t the image of God, there should be the reflection of it in the life and history of man.
Now, mind you we are talking about things from the standpoint of man, not from the standpoint of God. From the standpoint of God, all of the things that man does are evil in the sense that they do not come from faith nor are they accomplished for the glory of God. And we should not be surprised then when we look at Genesis chapter 4 and discover that some of the great inventions of humanity are traceable to the line of Cain. We are not given a detailed study of the line of Abel, but we are given a study of the line of Cain and some of the things that come out of the line of Cain are, from the human standpoint, good things.
Chapter 4 leads to the inescapable conclusion, however, that the curse of Cain pervades the society that has evolved from him. It issues in rebellion, war, family and sexual sins, independent arts and crafts, arrogant pride, amid religious worship, that’s the most interesting thing it seems to me. Helmut Thielicke has said, “The curse of fratricide is woven like a blood-red thread into the web of human life even in its highest forms.” Therefore, my dear Christian friend, the Christian can never feel at home in this world. We can never feel at home in this world in which we find ourselves.
The Bible speaks very interestingly it seems to me of Christians, it calls us sojourners, pilgrims. We are like Abraham. We dwell in tents. We have no certain dwelling place here. Every Christian deep down within his heart has to feel that this world is not his home. To love the world the Bible says is to love the way of Cain. Christians then are not people who love the world. Now, of course, there may be things about the world that reflect the glory of God which we love, but to love this world systems is to hate the things of the Lord for the whole world lies in the wicked one and the Scriptures say of Cain that he was of that wicked one.
Well let’s take a look now at our passage and see how these things come out. Cain has committed his murder. He has invited Abel out into the field and there he rose up against Abel, his brother, and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel, your brother?” Here is the confrontation and the confrontation of God with presumptuous impudence. And notice too that God does not wait until Sunday. He doesn’t wait until the meeting in order to have a word with him. He doesn’t wait until we all gather together in our public meeting and there speak, he speaks immediately.
Cain has slain his brother, and he’s hardly a way from the field where he has slain him and God confronts him and says, “Where is Abel, your brother?” Now, any Christian who has known what it is to sin against God knows the immediate conviction that the Holy Spirit brings. He does not wait until Sunday when we meet together in The Lord’s Supper and remind us then of certain things that we have done that have displeased him. So God doesn’t wait, the interrogation comes almost immediately. “Where is Abel, your brother?”
Now, notice the insolent cynicism of the hardening heart of Cain, “I do not know,” he says. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” In the first place, it was a blatant lie, he did know. In the second place, he challenges God’s right to question him. He says, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” That’s not my business. That’s somebody else’s business. And I think it’s interesting that he says, “Am I am my brother’s keeper?” because that expression keeper is a word that is used in the Old Testament of the keeping of sheep. It’s not too often used in that sense, but nevertheless it is. It expresses the duty of a shepherd. Now Abel was a shepherd. It’s almost as if Cain said “Am I my brother’s shepherd? He’s the shepherd, I am not the shepherd. He is the one who should be concerned about keeping.”
Have you wondered incidentally about criminals and how even when it seems quite clear that they are guilty that they can remain so calm, when their trial takes place? I have often thought in the past when noticing that certain men who have apparently been guilty of certain crimes are able to remain calm that it must be of tremendous exhibition of self control to be able to do that, but it’s just the opposite really. It is the evil man who finds it easy to maintain self-control in a situation like that. It’s the man who is disturbed and upset who is liable to be the innocent man, because the man who is innocent is disturbed by the accusation of sin, the accusation of wrongdoing. In fact, the person who is calm in the midst of accusation is, therefore, more likely to be the guilty party than the one who is disturbed and upset over the association with it.
We have no indication but that Cain was very calm, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” God speaks again, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.” Incidentally, this is the first mention of blood in the Bible, and it’s a reference to violent death. That’s the meaning of the word blood in the Bible. It’s not simply death but violent death. The kind of death that Abel died under the hand of Cain violence. And isn’t it interesting, it’s almost as if the ground itself refuses to serve the murderer Cain. “The voice of brother’s blood crying to me from the ground.” So Cain may silence Abel, but he cannot silence Abel’s blood.
And this conflict that ensues is the prototype of all the suffering of the righteous and the climax, of course, is the suffering of Calvary where the Lord Jesus Christ bears the sin of sinners. The voice of thy brother’s blood cries to me from the ground. I don’t think that we should pass by that without a word of application. The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. That’s the voice of vengeance; that is, the voice that marks the wrong that has been done. It has its application to those who take advantage of others. It has its application to the seducer who is guilty of wronging the young lady.
You can be sure that the voice, the principle of the voice of thy brother’s blood crying operates in a situation like that it. Is the kind of thing that applies to the pornographers who distort and disturb and render evil the minds of men and women through their pornography. It has its application to philosophers who take young men that are unable to cope with them and confuse them and deceive them by false philosophy. It has its application to apostate preachers who stand in the pulpit and open the Scriptures, but preach something that is contrary to the word of God.
“The voice of Thy brother’s blood cries to me from the ground” is the voice of God who speaks in seriousness and in vengeance with reference to those things that are wrong. And incidentally, it speaks of ungodly parents who raise children, but who are unconcerned about their spiritual well-being, seeking to minister them — to minister to them on the physical level, the mental level, but not the spiritual level. And God shall have a word with parents someday into whose hands have been committed young lads, but they have not faithfully taught the things of the word of God.
Well, the curse comes and God says, now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you cultivate the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you, but you shall be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and Cain cries out, “My punishment is too great to bear.” I wonder what that means. Does he really think that or is it really much more minor than it appears?
Is he complaining of the loss of his green farm? You notice he says, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. Is he saying it is going to be open season on me now, I am known as a murderer, and when I go out on the world they are going to say, “There is Cain, let’s slay him.” Is that what he is worried about? One thing you can see that right here in the beginning of the word of God there is a truth that is expressed later very plainly by the writer of the Book of Proverbs; it is the way of the transgressors, it is hard. “My punishment is too great for me to bear. Behold, Thou hast driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Thy face I shall be hidden, and I shall be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and it will come about that whoever finds me will kill me.”
When Cain is mentioned inevitably, the question comes, when did Cain get his wife? He speaks about whoever finds me will kill me, and evidently the 40 years of burgeoning population, and it suggests where did Cain get his wife? Well, the answer is very simple. Cain got his wife from one of his sisters. Now we’re shocked by that, aren’t we? Well, now we have no evidence that there were mutant genes in genetic systems in Adam’s children. This is something that developed much later. Incidentally even in much later times, such allowances were not considered incestuous. The Athenian law made it compulsory to marry the sister, if she had not found her husband at a certain age. Abraham married his half sister. In fact, Abraham sinned due to the fact that Sarah really was his half-sister. So, when he came to Pharoah he said, “Sarah, tell him that you are my sister, because you are so beautiful that when they see you they are going to want you as a wife and they will slave me.” And you know, he really was telling the truth. Later on he says, she really is my sister. She was his half sister.
Moses incidentally is responsible for some of the laws that prevent matrimony within certain degrees, but Moses himself was the offspring of a matrimony which was later forbidden by his own laws. God instituted those laws later on. Now while we say a brother and a sister are as close together as it is possible to be in relationship for marriage, also remember that at this time, they were as far away as it was possible to be. So, the question where did Cain get his wife, is a question that only reveals that the person who objects to biblical revelation because of something like that is simply guilty of triviality. Cain says, “Whoever finds me will kill me.” And the Lord said to him, “Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord appointed a sign for Cain, lest anyone finding him should slay him.
The Bible says that God cares for the saint, and the Bible says God cares for some sinners too. Cain is given a kind of safe conduct pass, and no death penalty is exercised at once. That comes later with Mosaic law. God is a kind of kinsman-redeemer for Cain and protects him at this stage, one of the evidence is of the mercy of God exercised over this man who was of the evil one.
What follows in the last part of Genesis chapter 4 is an intriguing, even tantalizing picture of life in the antediluvian world. And what we have is a curious combination of good and evil explainable only by the marred image of God, and by the cultural mandate. And incidentally, what you see here too is clearly that there is no salvation in culture. Here is a remarkable civilization, the followers of Cain. But it is remarkable looked at from the standpoint of men, not necessarily from the standpoint of God.
Now, Verse 16 says, then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and settled in the Land of Nod, East of Eden. Incidentally, the Land of Nod is the land in which quite a few people on Sunday morning in the ministry of the word dwell, in the Land of Nod. There may be in someone here in the audience this morning, even at this very moment dwelling in the Land of Nod.
Well, I don’t want to upset you, so I will try to speak calmly and quietly. But when it says in the Bible here in verse 16 that Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, there’s a great and important spiritual truth involved in this, because you see the physical dwelling of Cain is designed to be a symbol of the spiritual separation that has taken place between him and the Lord. And so his physical existence is a visible illustration of the spiritual relationship that he bears to the Lord.
I think of the incident in the upper room discourse in the account of the last Passover in the First Lord’s Supper, when Judas leaves and John puts it this way, “The Lord said to Judas, what you do, do quickly.” And so, Judas gets up and John says he got up and he went immediately out and it was night. It was night outside, and it was night in the spirit of Judas as he left the presence of the Lord. And so, Cain leaving the presence of God is symbolic of the fact that this man has entered into a kind of life in which he has spiritually separated from the Lord.
Abraham Kuyper was a great Dutch theologian, and I referred to him several weeks back. Professor Kuyper used to say that the whole of the human race is divided into two kinds of people. They are the sons of the palingenesis, do you remember I made reference to that, and there are the rest. Palingenesis is the translation of a Greek word that means new birth. So half or part of society represents the sons of the palingenesis and the rest of the society are those who have never experienced the new birth. Are you a son of the palengenesis or are you the part of the rest of the society.
Well, the sons of the palengenesis are those that stand in the line of Adam and Eve and Abel and Seth and so on down the line. But the family of Cain is the prototype of the rest. It’s the prototype of the unspiritual man. It’s the prototype of what Paul speaks about when he says, “The natural man received not the things of the Spirit of God; they are foolishness to him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” Cain is the father of that family. For the civilization of Cain is Adamic, it is Cainatic, and it is Satanic. He was of the evil one.
Now, notice the description that is given of Cain’s — his descendents. We read in Verse 17, and Cain had relations with his wife and she conceived and gave birth to Enoch. Enoch means “initiated” and it’s possible that Cain’s wife, in the light of terrible calamity that has happened to them, expresses some longing for the things of God in naming her child initiated, perhaps it was an indication of hope for some kind of blessing. She named the son Enoch and he built a city and called the name of the city Enoch after the name of his son. Urbanization is traceable to Cain.
Now, I don’t want to make too much over this, but after all God had just said above, “Cain, you shall be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.” It’s almost as if Cain is making every effort he can to keep from being that which God said he would be. Let’s build a city and let’s gather together in order to support one and other. What a difference incidentally between the Enoch here and the Enoch of the next chapter that we shall look at next week, the Lord willing.
In the 18th Verse, we read now, To Enoch was born Irad and became the father of Mehujael and Mehujael became the father of Methushael, and Methushael. Now the thing I want you to notice about that is that that suffix is the name for God. This society of Cain is not divorced from God. They outwardly honor God. They speak of God. This is still a religious society. They name their children after God, Methushael, Mehujael. So we should not think of Cainitic society as a religious. When we look about us today and say that the society in which we live and we do say this that is I say it, I don’t know whether you do or not, but I say it, I think most of you would agree with me, the society about us today is Adamic, it is Cainatic, it is of the evil one, but we don’t say it is irreligious. It is religious. The great vast majority of the human race acknowledges the existence of God. We speak plainly.
There is a bashful brand of Christianity someone has said which tiptoes up the people and hesitatingly suggests, “I maybe wrong, but I am afraid that if you do not repent after a fashion and confess your sins, so to speak, you might be damned as it were.” [Laughter] We don’t say that. We say plainly that the Scriptures teach that society is Adamic, it is Cainatic, it is Satanic, it is a society that lies in the evil one, but it is religious, for religion does not save anyone.
Now, notice some of the other things that are said about the society, it’s remarkable. It’s not all bad according to human standards at least. We read in Verse 20 and Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. He invented the moveable domicile, that was the ancient trailer, I suppose. And furthermore he gathered livestock and he had wealth. He was a rancher.
Now if this was something that was eaten, it was violation of the word of God for at this time they were not eaters of meat, according to Genesis Chapter 1, verse 29. That’s not stated, I put a question mark after that.
And his brother’s name was Jubal, he was the father of all those who play the lyre and harp. He was an inventive genius, this Jubal. But there is no indication that he intended that the lyre and the pipe should be means by which the God Jehovah should be glorified. In fact, it appears from the account that they were means by which God was shut out. It is possible you know for music to play that kind of life in our existence.
James Canley says, “It is an instance of the high cultivation which our people may often possess who are altogether irreligious and ungodly.” Horatius Bonar, Scottish saint, spoke of this as a token of their deepening the depravity. It is to shut out God that these Cainites devise the harp and the organ. I don’t say that the lyre and pipe are altogether bad. But we do say that if they do not have as their goal, the glorification of God, then they don’t serve the purpose that they should. Unfortunately, there are many who use music as a means to shut out God.
And then there was Tubal-Cain. He was one who was the founder of all who forged implements of bronze and iron. He was the professor of metallurgy in his day. But when you notice the context, almost immediately we speak of Lamech and how he wounds a man and slays a man. The implication is that the implements of bronze and iron are quickly turned the implements of warfare. Such is the Cainatic society. By the way, in verse 22, we read on the sister of Tubal-Cain was Naamah. That’s an interesting little clause. I wish I knew all that was intended by that. That word means beautiful. So he named his wife’s name beautiful. I never thought it was really bad to have a wife who is beautiful. But do you notice the difference in the naming, what did Adam call his wife? Well, he called her Eve. Well, he called her actually living. It was an expression of faith. But here this woman is called beautiful.
Now, I say there is nothing wrong in having a beautiful wife, but do you notice the different tenor of the society. One is named as an expression of faith. The other indicates perhaps a growing degeneration, beauty rather than hopefulness or faith is now the chief attraction for man. Men selected wives for their lovely forms and faces rather than for their loving and pious hearts. And young men, there is an important lesson here. In the selection of a wife, it is always dangerous to give advice like this, but speaking generally in the selection of a wife, there are far more important qualities than the beauty of form and face. The beauty of form and face is passing incidentally, but other qualities are lasting and growing and far more significant. How much more significant it is that Adam names his wife Eve, living in an expression of faith than the naming of the sister of Tubal-Cain.
Well, now, we need to say one last word about Lamech, because Lamech was a “creative” genius. Now, I put that word creative in quotes, because you know I don’t like creative. I don’t believe it belongs to anyone but God. So I am using it as a human being use it, he uses it. He was a creative genius. You know why he was? Why he was a creative genius, because he tried to improve on God’s marriage ordinances. God had said, “For this cause, a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave until his wife singular,” and,” they two”, two only, “shall be one flesh.” But Lamech reasoned this way, there is nothing in the Bible that says you cannot have more than one, is there? If one is good, why not have two. That’s twice as good. And so, he created polygamy. He is the first. We read above that Lamech took to himself two wives, the name of the one, was Adah and the name of the other Zillah.
Now you can see that in this line, there is rising rebellion against God. And so here is a man who is full of arrogant bravado. He does not repent over his sin, and he does not confess his sin, and he does not even resent that God puts his finger upon his sin, but he actually exalts in his sin. He brags about it. He says, he was, “Lamech listen, give heed to me. I’ve killed a man for wounding me and a boy for striking me.” Evidently some boys struck him and so he took out one of his implements of bronze and iron that Tubal-Cain had created, and he slew him. And then he added, if Cain is avenged sevenfold, then Lamech seventy-seven fold, an expression that Jesus leans upon when he speaks about being forgiving. Seventy-seven times. So, it’s a picture of self-sufficient man.
And finally, the chapter concludes with a word about the other side of Adam’s family. I noticed the different tone. Here is the recognition of sovereign grace first of all, and Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for, she said, “God has appointed me another seed in the place of Abel.” She is thinking about the promised seed. She is a woman of faith. She sees in the birth of Seth, the fulfillment of the promise of God. In other words, it is the sovereign grace doctrine that grips her heart, and we read on to Seth, to him also was a son was born; and he called his name Enoch, then men began to call upon the name of the Lord. Public Version of Jehovah. Now they did not understand the full significance yet of the term Jehovah, we read in the Book of Exodus that it was not until later, but they began to call upon this God that they do not yet know in the fullness of his being.
Let me conclude. The Way of Cain, what does it signify? Well, it signifies a man who is too proud to follow the word of God. It’s a man who prefers his own way, not the way of God. It’s a man who prefers to approach God by way of a bloodless sacrifice, not the bloody sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. And it’s a man who cares deep within his heart, the rebellion that will issue in murder, given the right kind of opportunity.
In his line, there is advancement. There is also declension. The names and the works show both. Cain is truly present in human society. Thielicke is right. The curse of fratricide is woven like a blood-red threat into the web of human nature, even in its highest forms. And do you know that as you look at the society of man, what you see in it is really the working out of this Cainitic element. Look at the Old Testament, and as you read through the Old Testament, notice the trail of the serpent through it. And then as you come on into the society of which we are apart, notice that it has continued down through the centuries and even today.
Today, our society is as Cainitic it would appear as it is almost ever been. We read in our newspapers and we see on our television screens, a great deal of information concerning the Africans, one million displaced people in the continent of Africa alone. The problems in Latin America and in Eastern Europe, Cuba, all of these are the expressions of the way of Cain, and there are many sufferers of the way of Cain. Humanism, it is simply the way of Cain. Periodically, man is advised and advises himself to moderate his pretensions and it met, and he is really only a little animal, living a precarious existence on a second rate planet attached to a second rate sun. But the striking thing about human nature is, that there are moderns who can come to a realization like that and then take pride in the fact that they had discovered that about themselves. Amazing, but it was no modern astronomer who said, “When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou has ordained, what is man, that Thou art mindful of him?”
Men like to be modest before the cosmic immensity, but that’s modified considerably by their pride and the discovery of this immensity. Swinburne, a modern poet has sung triumphantly, the seal of his knowledge is sure, the truth and his spirit are wed, glory to man in the highest for man is the master of things, thereby proving that the advance of human knowledge about the world does not abate the proud of man, Cainitic society. The conflict between the two seeds continues down to the present day, but fortunately and we can praise God for this, the climax is nearer than when we believed, the time is coming when Abel’s cry is to be answered.
In the meantime, Christ’s blood speaks of better things than the blood of Abel. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews says, what are those better things that the blood of Christ speaks off? Sacrifice for sin, redemption accomplished through the blood of the son of God, the forgiveness of sins offered to all who believe, the assurance of a time in the presence of the Lord, the assurance of a new heavens and a new earth, the assurance of life eternal. The blood of Christ does speak better things than the blood of Abel.
May God help us, to flee of the Society of Cain, and flee it now to be the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of men who know that they are sinners and desire the forgiveness of sins. If you’re in the audience this morning and you have never believed in the Lord Jesus, we invite you to put your trust in him who has offered an atonement for sinners. And if God through his grace has brought you to the acknowledgement of your sin, then you are a candidate for the salvation.
May God speak to your heart. Do not leave this auditorium without the assurance of salvation through the Son of God. It’s very simple. All that one need do is to bow ones heart before the Lord, acknowledge your sin to him, and lean upon our Lord Jesus Christ as your only hope. Casting aside all hope in your own personal righteousness, your good works, your culture, your education, you attendance at the services of a church, your membership on a church, all of the things in which you might have your trust and lean upon him, acknowledging your need of the blood that was shed for the forgiveness of sins. And the Scriptures say, that you shall enter into life. Shall we stand for the benediction?
We are grateful to Thee Lord for the privilege and opportunity that is ours to be delivered from the Cainitic society under which we have been born. And we thank Thee for the work of the Holy Spirit in seeking out the lost and bringing them to the knowledge of the Lord Jesus. And we pray, O God, that if there are some in this audience who have not yet come to him, O give them no rest nor peace until the turn from trust in themselves in religion, in good works, to trust in the good work of the Son of God who shed his blood that we might have life.
May grace, mercy and peace rests upon us until Jesus comes. We pray in his name. Amen.