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August 29, 2010


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Though I'm not a student of the Bible we all know the CAin and Able story. And this is what bothers me. Able doesn't offer all the sheep born, and Cain offers some of his crops. I fail to see the difference. Yes, I read the part about his best, but, maybe Cain did too. God know why he looked dejected. Why the question as opposed to telling Cain: "Here's what you could've, should've done."

Another god test, where humans fail. Like Eve and the apple.

Not trying to cause a fuss here, just sharing a different view.

To put a historical perspective on the Cain and Abel story. The first people to worship the Abrahamic God were semi-nomadic shepherds not farmers. Growing crops was looked down upon. Similarly in just about every culture where sacrifices to the gods were made blood sacrifices were always seen as better because you were killing a living being while harvesting crops is not exactly the same. Also offering even your best fruits, vegetables, or grain isn't as good as offering your best lamb, that lamb would have had more value as breeding stock than the seeds from the crop would have been.

In my opinion, I think Cain presented the wrong sacrifice. After sin entered this new world because of Adam and Eve's disobedience, God established a sacrificial system and explained that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness for sin (Hebrews 9:22). He told them that these sacrifices pointed forward to the time when Jesus would become a man and die as the Lamb of God for the sins of the world. Abel faithfully brought a young lamb as a sacrifice for his sins, but Cain thought it was unnecessary to obey God's command so precisely. He considered the sacrificial system to be messy and reasoned that as long as he brought an offering and worshiped God, the details wouldn't matter.

> Why the question as opposed to telling Cain: "Here's what you could've, should've done."

The question, in the original language, takes the form "isn't it true that...", suggesting quite strongly that Cain knew exactly what he should have done. Rather than insult Cain by lecturing him on what to do, God simply challenges and encourages him to do what he already knows to be right. (Yes, challenges AND encourages!)


> "offering even your best fruits, vegetables, or grain isn't as good as offering your best lamb"

That depends on the circumstances. Sacrifices for atonement had to be blood sacrifices (but could be, for example, a pigeon or turtledove), and therefore even the best grain would not have qualified. But this wasn't an atonement sacrifice.

Sacrifices of praise or worship, which is what this was, simply had to be "the best" of whatever it was you raised. If you raised both livestock and crops, you'd be expected to offer the best of both. There was no hierarchy of "better" or "worse" from person to person, only a question of whether a given individual had given their best.

Interesting in that people comment on the C&A story but not the revelation. Maybe becasue it is all too real.

My father was a Great Depression survivor. He grew up in a coal mine town and they had it all in enough money to buy a farm. Then the crash of the bank wiped out there savings. Sound familiar? How man others have been wiped out by the bank in current times? Yes history repeats itself because we froget teachings that are true.

People will survive this Great (Recession)(Depression 2)( choose your word)but at what cost?

Maybe people realizing what is truely important to themselves. God,family then money.

The others will wail and grind there teeth in utter dispair in the self made misery they made with a little help from greed.

Well, I think there are many cities in the US that you count point to that could be 'Babylon'. I live outside Detroit, and that is definitely a city that went from prosperous to disastrous. I don't know what will ever bring the city back short of a miracle. There are so many people that have dropped out of school, and the jobs are just not around for uneducated people anymore.

It is very scary times.

RE the Revelation passage...most of that was written about Rome, which is mentioned both as a place and as a being in various places in the text. Because that Empire was so powerful in its day, much of the apocalyptic rhetoric in Revelations is about predicting the eventual, and dramatic, fall of Rome.

The verse from Revelation speaks of a future city. Revelation teaches that the Anti-Christ will re-build Babylon and it will be his city. It will then be destroyed by God during the final judgments before Christ's return.

Plenty of candidates for the Revelations version of Babylon in today's world. NYC. Beijing. Tokyo. London. Dubai. Hong Kong. Singapore. Take your pick.

I'm sure that, over the last 2,000 years, thousands of people have asked if the Revelation passage is talking about a city located in their land and time. Whether it is talking about a real city that exists today or not, the passage reminds us to not live for, or ultimately put our trust in, money, which is here today and can be gone tomorrow.

I believe the reason Abel's sacrifice was accepted and Cain's sacrifice was rejected by God was a matter of the heart. It wasn't that Abel's sacrifice was better, but that his heart was was humble and right before God while Cain's heart was full of selfishness and pride.

In regard to Cain & Abel, God required a BLOOD sacrifice. Abel sacrificed his finest lamb, often that meant without blemish! Cain knew this yet he gave from his crops. Even if he was a farmer, he could have sold his best crops for the price of a fine lamb to sacrifice or asked his brother for one.

This story not only illustrates the humanness (jealousy, wanting to so things our way instead of God's way) of the people of the Bible (hence, our practical application for today), but it alludes to Jesus. Abel's lamb (the best of his herd, without blemish = Christ, the only son of God, the Father & perfect - without sin. Cain's crops (not quite the best of his yield = the feeble attempt of man to gain forgiveness and reconciliation with God through works).

God gave us our BLOOD sacrifice and all we have to do is graciously accept it! Our works will never be enough!

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