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Cain & Abel


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I've never heard an explanation to this, and I was wondering if anyone knew - before Cain killed Abel, what was wrong with his offerings? I mean we have a very small piece of that story, and while I'm not going to justify the murder, Cain's jealousy at least seems understandable. He was a farmer while Abel was a shephard, but do we have any idea why Cain's offerings were no good?

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Cain knew what the offering should have been. All he needed to do was sell his harvest to buy the right offering. He chose not too. That's my understanding anyway.

As I understand it, God spoke to Cain, but Cain mocked God, saying, â??Who is the Lord that I should know him?â? (Moses 5:16) Cain loved Satan more than God.

Further, it was obedience to Satan that Cain even offered a sacrifice to the Lord at all. I think this was Satan's nail in the coffin, so to speak, for Cain's complete rejection of God's commandments.

Moses 5:18 "And Cain loved Satan more than God. And Satan commanded him, saying: Make an offering unto the Lord."

For his sacrifice Cain brought crops from his field. God could not accept Cainâ??s offering because Cain did not have faith in God and was obedient to Satan and not God. Satan knew Cainâ??s offering would not be accepted, and sealed Cain his, so to speak.

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I've never heard an explanation to this, and I was wondering if anyone knew - before Cain killed Abel, what was wrong with his offerings? I mean we have a very small piece of that story, and while I'm not going to justify the murder, Cain's jealousy at least seems understandable. He was a farmer while Abel was a shephard, but do we have any idea why Cain's offerings were no good?

Since it was Satan who commanded Cain to make the offering, it should be no wonder the Lord rejected it.

Cain loved Satan more than God, (Moses 5:18). Cain also said, "Who is the Lord that I should know him?" (Moses 5:16) It was Satan who commanded Cain to make an offering and Cain obeyed Satan. Did Satan do this because he somehow thought it might later anger Cain enough to kill Abel? (Moses 5:19-21).

edited to add; Sevenbak beat me to it.

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It's an incredible story. Cain was as intimate with both God and Satan as he was with his own parents and siblings. I've never understood a whole lot about the offerings, or why Cain's was rejected. We know that the Lord told Cain, "If you do well, you will be accepted. But if you don't, sin lies at your door." It was a warning. His offering was rejected because Cain had already made a pact with Satan and had, in effect, chosen sides. John Taylor said that Cain wanted to serve Satan but receive the blessings of Godâ??the same thing that many men do today. Look at the Mafia, for example. Or the Gadianton Robbers. Both of them made religious oaths to do evil. But isn't that incongruous? (Mob turncoats describe burning a picture of the blessed virgin in their hands while invoking a simile curse upon themselves in the event they break it.) In the fun and frolicking days of old Chicago, these guys would be shot on the streets and the first thing they'd do is call for a priest to absolve them of their sins!

Cain doesn't seem to be impressed with God's power or authority. Perhaps Satan had convinced Cain that his parents being cast out of the Garden of Eden was a great injustice, or that God didn't have their best interests at heart. It seems clear that he underestimated God's powers of perception, and that he might actually get away with murder. Perhaps Satan whispered to Cain, "Yes, we can!" and Cain bought into it as a means of bringing about change. Whatever happened, Cain thought that his murder had been covered up to the extent that it could be hidden from God.

Even after he was found out, Cain didn't seem to fully understand his situation, though admittedly the scripture is sparse. We don't know Adam and Eve's reaction, but we know there were those who would have hunted Cain down and killed him for retribution.

Another fascinating question is, why wasn't Cain condemned to die? The Lord's later edict, "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed" is based on the laws of justice. Cain, however, willingly became a son of perdition and Satan willingly acceded to Cain his rule and dominion. At the time, there was no "law" against killing; however, it was enough to bring about Cain's eternal damnation. Cain now rules Satan, yet we still don't know what the relationship is now between the two. Some believe Cain is still alive and wandering the Earth as a vagabond. ("I will set a mark upon thee, and thou shalt be a vagabond upon the earth....")

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As I understand it, God spoke to Cain, but Cain mocked God, saying, "Who is the Lord that I should know him?" (Moses 5:16) Cain loved Satan more than God.

Further, it was obedience to Satan that Cain even offered a sacrifice to the Lord at all. I think this was Satan's nail in the coffin, so to speak, for Cain's complete rejection of God's commandments.

Moses 5:18 "And Cain loved Satan more than God. And Satan commanded him, saying: Make an offering unto the Lord."

For his sacrifice Cain brought crops from his field. God could not accept Cain's offering because Cain did not have faith in God and was obedient to Satan and not God. Satan knew Cain's offering would not be accepted, and sealed Cain his, so to speak.

oh yes (light bulb going on), thank you. I did know this, but my memory is like a sieve at times. :P

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This story is found in Gen. 4:1â??16 and Moses 5:16â??41.)

The first man and woman to live on the earth were Adam and Eve. God taught them the gospel, and they taught it to their children. But Satan tempted their children, saying, â??Believe it not.â? Many listened to Satan.

Two of the sons of Adam and Eve were named Cain and Abel. As Cain grew, he rebelled against his parentsâ?? teachings. He refused to obey God, and chose to follow Satan. Cainâ??s rebelliousness made Adam and Eve very unhappy. They loved Cain very much and hoped he would become a righteous man. Adam had been given the priesthood and had passed this great blessing onto Cain. But Cain did not honor the priesthood.

Abel, however, was obedient. He followed the teachings and example of his parents. He received the priesthood and used it righteously.

When the two boys were older, Abel became a keeper of sheep, and Cain became a farmer. God spoke to Abel, and Abel loved God and kept his commandments.

God spoke to Cain, but Cain mocked God, saying, â??Who is the Lord that I should know him?â? Cain loved Satan more than God.

Abel obediently brought the new born lambs of his sheep and offered them as a sacrifice to the Lord. Abel had faith in God; he believed that Godâ??s Son, Jesus Christ, would one day sacrifice his life for all mankind.

Satan commanded Cain, â??Make an offering unto the Lord.â? For his sacrifice Cain brought crops from his field. God could not accept Cainâ??s offering because Cain did not have faith in God. In giving his sacrifice, Cain was obeying Satan, not God. Satan knew Cainâ??s offering would not be accepted, and he was pleased that he had led someone to do wrong.

Cain was angry because his offering was not accepted, but the Lord still loved him. The Lord told Cain that if he would make the right kind of offering, He would accept it. The Lord warned Cain that Satan wanted him and he would come under Satanâ??s power if he did not obey the Lordâ??s commandments.

Cain became even more angry and refused to listen to the Lord. This brought Adam and Eve greater sorrow, for Cain had chosen wickedness instead of righteousness.

Cain was jealous that Abelâ??s offering had been accepted, but his had not. He was also jealous of Abelâ??s sheep and wanted them. The more he thought about his brother, the more Cainâ??s hatred and anger grew.

Satan continued to teach and tempt Cain in the ways of wickedness, saying, â??Swear that thou wilt obey me and shalt tell no one, and I will deliver thy brother Abel into thine hands.â?

When Cain heard these words, he exclaimed proudly, â??Truly I am Mahan, the master of this great secret, that I may murder and get gain.â?

Then Cain went out into the field to find his brother. While they talked Cain killed Abel.

Cain believed Satan. He thought no one would find out that he had murdered his brother.

But the Lord came to Cain and said, â??Where is Abel, they brother?â?

Cain lied: â??I know not. Am I my brotherâ??s keeper?â?

The Lord spoke again: â??What has thou done? The voice of thy brotherâ??s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now thou shalt be cursed.â?

Satan had lied to Cain. When Cain realized that the Lord knew what he had done, he tried to blame someone else; he said, â??Satan tempted me.â?

The Lord told Cain that because he had rebelled and had killed Abel, he would be shut out from the presence of God. He would be hunted and chased and would never have a home upon the earth.

Cain said unto the Lord, â??My punishment is greater than I can bear. From thy face shall I be hid, and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me will slay me.â?

But the Lord did not want Cain to be killed. He set a mark upon Cain so that any people who saw him would know that they must not harm him.

Cain was punished by being shut out from the presence of the Lord. He, his wife, and many of his brothers left Adam and Eve and went to live in the land of Nod.

Cain and Abel

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Good Post Cold Steel. I seem to recall there are statements by lds leaders claiming Cain is still wandering the earth, correct me if I am wrong. Also correct me if I wrong my understanding is there is no reason to believe cain and able were the first and second born but could potentially be 9 & 10th born sons?

I've never heard an explanation to this, and I was wondering if anyone knew - before Cain killed Abel, what was wrong with his offerings? I mean we have a very small piece of that story, and while I'm not going to justify the murder, Cain's jealousy at least seems understandable. He was a farmer while Abel was a shephard, but do we have any idea why Cain's offerings were no good?

This picture was taken at the North Visitors' Center in Temple Square, Salt Lake City. It depicts Adam and Eve at an altar offering fruits and vegetables and NOT the lamb. 1985. I believe it was removed without explanation. I believe it was Dallin H. Oaks at one time said in general conference that sometimes for reasons not clear the antedeluvians did offer up fruits and vegetables from time to time, or something like that. I think it was inline with seasons and circles it's scholarly and complex I seem to recall from past threads.

adam-eve-statue.jpg

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As I understand it, God spoke to Cain, but Cain mocked God, saying, â??Who is the Lord that I should know him?â? (Moses 5:16) Cain loved Satan more than God.

Further, it was obedience to Satan that Cain even offered a sacrifice to the Lord at all. I think this was Satan's nail in the coffin, so to speak, for Cain's complete rejection of God's commandments.

Moses 5:18 "And Cain loved Satan more than God. And Satan commanded him, saying: Make an offering unto the Lord."

For his sacrifice Cain brought crops from his field. God could not accept Cainâ??s offering because Cain did not have faith in God and was obedient to Satan and not God. Satan knew Cainâ??s offering would not be accepted, and sealed Cain his, so to speak.

Well said, it was Cain's attitude that was the main problem.

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Cain's offering of fruit was a blatant and calculated rejection of the sacrifice of Christ.

In contrast, Abel's offering of the firstling of his flock was an acceptance of Christ.

That's my understanding.

That was Joseph Smith's understanding too:

"Abel offered to God a sacrifice that was accepted, which was the firstlings of the flock. Cain offered of the fruit of the ground, and was not accepted, because he could not do it in faith. . . .
Shedding the blood of the Only Begotten to atone for man . . . was the plan of redemption; . . . and as the sacrifice was instituted for a type, by which man was to discern the great Sacrifice which God had prepared, to offer a sacrifice contrary to that, no faith could be exercised
. . . ; consequently Cain could have no faith; and whatsoever is not of faith, is sin."

(
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith
, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 58)

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I find the punishments of seven and seventy an interesting theme:

Gen 4:15 - Because of sin against his brother, Cain is told that vengeance shall be taken on him seven (LXX: hepta) times

Gen 4:24 - Lamech says that if Cain is avenged seven times (LXX: heptakis), vengeance on him will be seventy-seven (LXX: hebdomekontakis hepta) [or 70 x 7 depending on how you read it.]

Mat 18:22 - When Jesus is asked about how often we should forgive our brother he says: I don't say until seven (heptakis) times, but till seventy-seven (hebdomekontakis hepta) times.

The Savior seems to be intentionally using the LXX terminology of Lamech's aggregation of Cain's curse, in the context of anger and sin against a brother--only in reverse.

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I don't think the problem was the type of offering. Offering up the firstfruits of the field was acceptable.

This was my understanding also... that it wasn't that Cain offered a sacrifice from the field, but the fact that Satan commanded him to make an offering, and that he was without faith and mocked God...

Garden Girl

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God wanted blood not brussel sprouts.

The problem with this belief is that all through Old Testament times and under the Mosaic law, God did in fact demand the sacrifice of fruit and wheat. Shewbread was kept in the temple at all times, a sacrifice of wheat, while Leviticus does specify which fruits and vegetables are to be sacrificed at different times. I do not think there is any scriptural support for the idea that God demanded the sacrifice only of animals.

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In Gen 4:5-7... we read that to Cain...a tiller of the ground... and to his offering he (The Lord) had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?

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..

The Lord asks why Cain is upset... If Cain had offered the firstfruits of his labor with faith and obedience to the Lord, it would have been accepted... but he didn't. Cain offered his sacrifice because Satan told him to... and he loved Satan more than God.

GG

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I've never heard an explanation to this, and I was wondering if anyone knew - before Cain killed Abel, what was wrong with his offerings? I mean we have a very small piece of that story, and while I'm not going to justify the murder, Cain's jealousy at least seems understandable. He was a farmer while Abel was a shephard, but do we have any idea why Cain's offerings were no good?

Many Orthodox Jewish commentators have suggested it was because Cain didn't offer up 'bloody' sacrifice as did his brother, Abel as was required in Levitical sacrifice. Accepted within sacrifice were "burnt offerings" (â??ola), "meal offerings" (minha), and "fellowship offerings" (selem), including "acknowledgement offerings" (toda), "votive offerings" (neder), and "free-will offerings" (nedaba). Since this could be accomplished by either grain or animal then a bloody sacrifice makes little sense. In Genesis 4:6 lies the answer

4:3 At the designated time 9 Cain brought some of the fruit of the ground for an offering 10 to the Lord. 4:4 But Abel brought 11 some of the firstborn of his flock â?? even the fattest 12 of them. And the Lord was pleased with 13 Abel and his offering, 4:5 but with Cain and his offering he was not pleased. 14 So Cain became very angry, 15 and his expression was downcast. 16

Verse three states that Cain brought 'some' of the fruit while his brother brought the firstborn or the fattest of the flock to God. For this reason God rejected Cain's secondary or less than quality offering and told Cain,

4:6 â??Why are you angry, and why is your expression downcast? 4:7 Is it not true 17 that if you do what is right, you will be fine? 18 But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching 19 at the door. It desires to dominate you, but you must subdue it.â? 20

As a perfect example of 'free agency' God offers Cain a chance to repent of his inferior sacrifice and "raise his face up" or "rule over sin" 'mashal.

Therefore, as one author concludes that is was...

not because of some blemish in their offering, but because of their deformed characters. Cain's flawed character led to his feigned worship. Had his mind been enlightened to understand his dependence upon the Creator, who fructified the ground, and the Redeemer, who atoned man's sin through Christ's blood, providing a basis for man's reconciliation to God, he would have offered not a token gift, but one from the heart, and along with Abel both he and his gift would have been pleasing to God.
CAIN AND HIS OFFERING Bruce K. Waltke, Westminster Theological Journal 48 (1986) 363-372.

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I went to my Torah and read what the Sages had to say about this... and they pointed out that Abel's offering was from the firstlings of the flock... from his choicest... while Cain's offering was from "some" of the crop... the inferior portions of the crop, while Abel chose only the finest of his flock. "Therefore, Abel's sacrifice was accepted, but not Cain's.

God wished to teach Cain how to repent: A sinner can atone for his sins if he will repent sincerely.

Re: verse 7: Sin rests at the door. At the entrance to your grave, your sin will be kept, i.e., punishment will await you in the future world unless you repent. If you succumb to your Evil Inclination, punishment and evil will be as everpresent as if they lived in the doorway of your house.

Its desire: The Evil Inclination desires continually to entice you, yet you can conquer it -- you can prevail over it if you wish, for you can mend your ways and cast off your sin. Thus God taught Cain that Man can always repent and God will forgive him."

GG

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I went to my Torah and read what the Sages had to say about this... and they pointed out that Abel's offering was from the firstlings of the flock... from his choicest... while Cain's offering was from "some" of the crop... the inferior portions of the crop, while Abel chose only the finest of his flock. "Therefore, Abel's sacrifice was accepted, but not Cain's.

God wished to teach Cain how to repent: A sinner can atone for his sins if he will repent sincerely.

Re: verse 7: Sin rests at the door. At the entrance to your grave, your sin will be kept, i.e., punishment will await you in the future world unless you repent. If you succumb to your Evil Inclination, punishment and evil will be as everpresent as if they lived in the doorway of your house.

Its desire: The Evil Inclination desires continually to entice you, yet you can conquer it -- you can prevail over it if you wish, for you can mend your ways and cast off your sin. Thus God taught Cain that Man can always repent and God will forgive him."

GG

GG...have you read Steinbeck's East of Eden with the emphasis on 'mashel or what he calls timshel? A great comparison.

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