Institution of the Patriarchs

It says in Genesis 4 that: "Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, ‘I have gotten a manchild with {the help of} the LORD. And again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. And Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not {your countenance} be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.’ And Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Where is Abel your brother?’ And he said, ‘I do not 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 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.’" (Genesis 4:1-14)

We notice from the above selection that we have the first recorded acceptable sacrifice, which was offered by Abel. Abel knew it had to be the firstlings from his flock. But Cain also knew he had to make a sacrifice as well. Also God must have laws in place that forbade murder or Cain would not have been punished so severely. So we can take from this that God had instituted some type of moral laws to deal with the subject of sin, even though it is not recorded up to this time.

At this point we know the world was filled with wickedness and violence because the flood is coming up soon. So there must have been laws for these people to break or they would not have been classed as "wicked" (Genesis 6:5) and "Violent" (Genesis 6:11).

Abel’s sacrifice contained that blood of an animal, of which we can learn something from Leviticus 17:11: "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement." And then in Hebrews, we read "And according to the Law, {one may} almost {say} all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." (Hebrews 9:22).

God asks Cain in verse 4:6 "Why are you angry?" And since it is very tough for humans to take out their vengeance on God, they will instead result to attacking others. For it says in Hebrews 12:15 "See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled." We can see from this passage that bitterness springing up causes trouble and defiles many. And we also learn from the bible that the unrighteous will persecute the righteous. In John 3:11-12, it says "For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; not as Cain, {who} was of the evil one, and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother's were righteous."

Even the dearth of the righteous cannot keep him/her from speaking. The righteous will leave behind a legacy for the rest of the Godly to follow. Hebrews 11:4 says "By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks." And how does that relate to the legacy of Christ. Hebrews 12:22-25 says "But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than {the blood} of Abel."

And why is it that people like to persecute and torture the righteous. I think John 12:42,43 unlocks the answer. It says "Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing {Him,} lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God." So you either have the choice of trying to please men or to please God. You can follow in the footsteps of Cain or in the footsteps of Abel.

"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.’" (Genesis 4:25). So Seth took the place of the righteousness that was lost and took his place as the son of God. So when we get to chapter 6 and read of the sons of God, they had to be the descendants of Seth.

God said in Genesis 6:3 that "Then the LORD said, ‘My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.’" How can this be? There were men and women that lived after this that lived to be more than 120 years old. So the 120 years has to be talking about the length of time it took Noah and his family to build the ark.

The Bible contains one more reference to Cain and it is in the book of Jude. Jude 1:14 says "Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah." And about Abel, the book of Luke says "from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the house {of God;} yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation." (Luke 11:51)

And there is another person mentioned in the Genesis 5 that the New Testament talks about. Genesis 5:19-24 talks of the birth of Enoch, who that book of Jude says was a prophet. Jude 14,15 says "And about these also Enoch, {in} the seventh {generation} from Adam, prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him." For we know God will do this because he is God of wrath as well. God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:29)

Basically the message of the story of Cain and Abel is this:
Man’s conscience is not strong enough to keep the flesh from overpowering it.