THE 95 THESES OF THE RE-FORMATION #2

Cain and Abel’s sacrifices
THESIS#2 0F 95 – “Cain and Abel as the first humans to be born of woman were representatives within a de facto universal covenant that has been eluded by theologians”

BIBLICAL REFERENCE: 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 (Gen4:7 Masoretic – King James Version)

COMMENTS: “Will you not be accepted?” might also be translated “will your countenance not be lifted?” which is utilized by some versions of the Bible. The King James Version quoted above rightly understands “sin” to be referring to a person (the Sinful One), for he is lying or crouching (Hebrew: rabats) at the door and has a desire to control Cain. Sin per se could hardly be at the door in Cain’s case, it’s already in Cain’s heart and about to wreak havoc. Cain is described elsewhere as “of the evil one”, confirming that the Sinful One was indeed at the portal of his soul and was able to master Cain and thereby control him, in fact own him. From the human perspective, that would not have been so if Cain had responded differently to the challenge JHWE presented to him in Gen4:7, so the verse effectively reflects a Universal Covenant for fallen humanity; for Abel was fallen but he was accepted. The focus of the Cain and Abel story which is drawn upon in the New Testament is not concerning Abel’s salvation but Cain’s reprobation (rejection), indicated by the vital yet typically glossed references to “this day” and “now” regarding the elder brother’s fate.

Whilst there may be a prophetic connotation to Calvary, the idea that Cain and Abel were expected to anticipate a future Sacrifice for sin by killing an animal is unsustainable; cultic sacrifices were not clearly established as a religious system until the Law of Moses. Paul, James and the writer to the Hebrews make it clear why Abraham had been counted as righteous, being a belief in the God he had encountered evidenced by obedience, in his case that he would be rewarded with a great family. No one in the Old Testament is declared to be justified based on offering an animal sacrifice, so Abel cannot be an exception. Abel exercised faith and produced fruit in the form of good works. Abel didn’t “get saved”, he remained accepted (justified) and was acknowledged as righteous within the Universal Covenant; Cain reprobated (became rejected) and was brand-marked for Satan, and as a warning to those who would cross him, but that was not at the point he failed to offer his first-fruit in sacrifice, for although God was not pleased with his offering, He still held out an olive branch. Rather he was called to account immediately he had killed his brother. The issue was never the brothers’ religious observance per se for as always God delights in compassion more than religious offerings as Jesus Himself affirmed. This historically eluded universal covenant is fundamental to the misrepresentation of divine providence within Western theology.

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