And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. (Genesis 4:3-5)
In the beginning, God cursed the ground because of Adam’s sin, hinting that the fruits of the ground would be cursed as well. This is the offering that Cain presented to God — a cursed offering. Yet as we learned, Abel most likely offered something that had been produced by the ground, as well. However, He also brought of the “firstborn of his flock” indicating that the blood of the Lamb covers our sin so that our works might be acceptable to God.
Cain neglected to do this, however, demonstrating that Cain ignored the need for blood of the Lamb. He felt that the works of his hands was a sufficient sacrifice and was angered when it was regarded as unacceptable. What occurred as a result of Cain’s error led to greater errors. In fact, his actions led to what I will consider as the first religious war fought between two brothers.
More over, according to the Bible, this happened “in the process of time” – literally “at the end of days.” While there are various opinions as to what this means, I will contend it hints at what we should expect at the end of days — wars fought over religious beliefs. Specifically, it would seem that the defining factor will be how people view the Blood of the Lamb.
People who are content to present the works of their hands as acceptable to God will be disappointed. Those who acknowledge the need for a Redeemer will have their works accepted. Following the pattern, those who have the favor of God upon their lives will incite the wrath of those who reject the need for the Messiah. The dragon wages war against those who “keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 12:17). Yet, there will be a righteous remnant who overcome the Adversary “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (Rev. 12:11). If we are to overcome, we must acknowledge our desperate need for the Redeemer and we must walk in obedience to His will.
Blessings and Shalom,