A Journal for Bible Teachers

Genesis : : [3] The Lines of Good & Evil

Genesis : : [3] The Lines of Good & Evil

This video session is devoted to the account of the lives of two sons of Adam and Eve—Cain the eldest, and Abel his brother.

We may believe that God commanded Adam, after the Fall, to shed the blood of innocent animals, and after their death to burn part or the whole of their bodies by fire. Thus, that punishment which sinners deserve, even the death of the body and the wrath of God, of which fire is a well-known emblem, were prefigured. Observe that the original worship and means of approach to God has always been by the shedding of blood, and we are told to remember the old paths (Jeremiah 6:16).

In all ages there have been two kinds of worshippers as depicted by Cain and Abel. First, there are proud, hardened despisers of the gospel method of salvation who attempt to please God in ways of their own devising (Romans 9:31-33, 10:1-3). Also, there are humble believers who draw near to Him in the way He has revealed. Certainly Cain is not in this category for he demonstrated malignant anger against Abel. He harboured an evil spirit of discontent and rebellion against God.


Cain’s Offering
Fruits (not first fruits) from the curse ground (Genesis 4:3, 3:17)
It was a bloodless offering
Did not understand God’s ways
Bible’s first murderer (Genesis 4:8)
Abel’s Offering
Firstborn of his flock (Genesis 4:4)
It was a blood offering
Understood true worship
Bible’s first prophet (Luke 11:50-51)


Unfortunately, the offerings and especially the attitudes of Cain and Abel were very different. Cain displayed a proud, unbelieving heart in the manner in which he approached a holy God. He sacrificed and worshipped the way he deemed right, and came to God his own way. Therefore, he and his offering were rejected.

On the other hand, Abel came as a dependent sinner, according to God’s prescribed appointment. By his sacrifice he expressed humility, sincerity, and believing obedience. Abel’s offering and life were respected by God (1 John 3:12). Thus, in seeking the benefit of the new covenant of mercy through the promised Seed, his sacrifice had a token that God accepted. The fact that the offerings were different does not seem to be the point in question but rather the lives of the offerers.

In all ages there have been two kinds of worshippers as depicted here by Cain and Abel. First, there are proud, hardened despisers of the gospel method of salvation who attempt to please God in ways of their own devising (Romans 9:31-33, 10:1-3). Also, there are humble believers who draw near to Him in the way He has revealed. Certainly Cain is not in this category for he demonstrated malignant anger against Abel. He harboured an evil spirit of discontent and rebellion against God.

God notices all of our sinful passions and disgruntlements. There is not an angry, envious, or fretful look that escapes His observing eye. The Lord reasoned with this rebellious man that if he came in the right way, he should be accepted.

Some understand this verse as an intimation of mercy. The same word for sin signifies a sacrifice for sin. “Though thou hast not done well, yet do not despair; the remedy is at hand.” Christ, the great sin offering, is said to stand at the door (Revelation 3:20). Those who will not go to the door to ask for the benefit of this sin offering well deserve to perish in their sins. God’s acceptance of Abel’s offering did not change the birthright and make it his. Why then should Cain be so angry?

It is clear that the Lord was pinpointing the reason He would not accept the offering of Cain. His offering was dependent upon his conduct and attitudes. However, in the graciousness that is so typical of our Lord, He promised that upon having a repentant heart and a change of life, Cain would regain his position and privileges of the firstborn in that he would rule over his brother.

Regretfully, no act of repentance came forth, but rather Cain permitted hatred to fester in his heart, producing diabolical consequences. Even the Lord himself could not reason with Cain. When Cain continuously hardened his heart, he gave Satan an invitation to come and make a stronghold in his life. Cain and Abel both had the same background and opportunities. One chose to follow the Lord; the other went his own way. Thus, we see the subject of choice right from the beginning.

Abel – The line of Rightousness
Abel’s name means “grassy meadow.” The Lord alluded to Abel as a prophet (Luke 11:50-51). Moreover, we know he was a gentle shepherd (Genesis 4:2) with a tender heart. We read in Matthew 23:35, “That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.” Then in Hebrews 11:4, “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.” Thus, Abel has become a role model of a righteous man of faith unto all generations. His life was acceptable; therefore, his sacrifice was acceptable too.

Cain Murders Abel

In Genesis 4:8, records the first murder in the Word of God, and it was between brothers in the first family. The two, therefore, set a pattern of spiritual lineage for all times. The line of Cain descended from the seed of the wicked one, Satan, which had been planted and nurtured in Cain’s heart.

The Apostle John stated, “Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous” (1 John 3:12). John establishes that Cain was an evil man, and that the nature of his offering was not the real issue. The Apostle Jude terms those who followed in Cain’s spiritual line as ungodly men (Jude 1:11).

The Curse of Cain

Sentence was pronounced upon the murderer. Triple judgment was now pronounced upon Cain:

  • The earth would not yield its fruit.
  • He would be a fugitive, meaning that he would flee for his life.
  • He would become a vagabond, since he would wander and his life would be without aim or purpose.

Cain was overwhelmed with his punishment (Genesis 4:13-14). However, we never see any acknowledgment of his crime, or any sorrow for the murder of his younger brother. Under the Law of Moses he would have had the death penalty. Therefore, his sentence was surprisingly lenient. His seed was allowed to promulgate to accomplish the purposes of God. This would have included his being a warning and an object lesson for the instruction of all future generations on matters of eternal judgment.

Something that God had not said, but Cain realised, was that he was now cut off from the presence of God eternally. All other forms of punishment were minor compared to the loss of the joy, peace, and happiness of heavenly bliss.

Because of Cain’s fear of being slain by anyone who found him, the Lord afforded the following protection. This mark (in Genesis 4:15) is seen in the spirit realm. It is also a mark of protection accorded to the righteous, as seen when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians in Ezekiel 9:1-7. Again this is the case with the 144,000 of Israel who are similarly protected by a mark during the great
tribulation (Revelation 7:2-8).

The Conduct of Cain – A Wanderer
Cain cast off all fear of God, and attended no more to God’s ordinances. Hypocritical professors who dissemble and trifle with God are justly left to themselves to do something grossly scandalous. They throw off that form of godliness to which they have been a reproach, and of which they deny the power. Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and we never find that he came into it again.

The land Cain dwelt in was called the “land of Nod,” which means “shaking or trembling,” and shows the restlessness and uneasiness of his own spirit. It also means “wandering” or “the land of a vagabond.” They that depart from God cannot find rest anywhere else. Those on earth who looked for the heavenly city, chose to dwell in tabernacles or tents; but Cain, not minding that city above, built one on earth (Genesis 4:17). Thus, all who are cursed of God seek their settlement and satisfaction here below, and wander without eternal purpose or direction.

The Lineage of Cain

Thus Cain went into the land called Nod to live out his life and to produce a lineage that would cause a great rebellion in the earth. Eventually, intermarriages between Cain’s line and the righteous line would bring forth God’s judgment in the form of a flood.

Cain was the first city builder. The fact that he named his city after his son Enoch was a symptom of wickedness and pride, as we see in Psalm 49:11, “Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue forever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names.” The unredeemed only think about this life and strive for an enduring name on earth. They do not want to consider the thought of the hereafter and standing before God’s judgment seat. We will now go over some of Cain’s descendants.

Irad, whose name means “town dweller,” implies a settled adherence to the things of the world.

Mehujael, whose name means “smitten of God,” suggests that doom had enveloped Cain’s offspring. Perhaps Mehujael responded to God’s smiting and began to pray, thus naming his own son.

Methusael, whose name means, “man of God or of prayer,” makes it seem possible that there were some repentant sinners in Cain’s line.

Lamech means “powerful or strong” in the sense that he used his strength, power and aggressivesness for evil. In the Lamech is the beginning of polygamy.

Adah means “pleasure.” Pleasure certainly sums up the goals of the wicked line. Even in the last days they shall be lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:4). Zillah, as some have suggested, means “tinkling.” The daughters of backslidden Zion wore tinkling ornaments in the days of Isaiah (Isaiah 3:18).

The Skill of Cain’s Descendants
In Genesis 4:20 “And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle.” In the spiritual sense, Jabal could be likened to the Reubenites who chose not to go into the Promised Land because they were occupied by their cattle (Numbers 32:1-5).

In Genesis 4:21 “And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.” While many musical instruments were used and even invented by King David, those of Jubal imply that they were not used for the glory of God but rather for fleshly amusement. Wrong music inspires evil worship and places people under bondage.

In Genesis 4:22 – “And Zillah, she also bare Tubal-cain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.” The inclusion of Naamah, which means “pleasant or graceful,” reflects the worldliness and sensuality of the Cainite daughters. Tubal means “producer,” and the surname Cain means “smith or forge.” He was the inventor of cold forging native copper and meteoric iron, a fact that has surfaced from artefacts recovered from pre-flood times. This hints at the beginning of idols and idolatry, and heathen worship. Romans 1:18-32 applies to Cain and his offspring.

In Genesis 4:23-24 – “And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.” This is called the swan song of Lamech, who has boastfully declared his murderous act in the killing of a young man who wounded him. There is no remorse, but rather a declaration that he will avenge ten times that which God would do to anyone who touched Cain. The thought of 77 fold vengeance may have provoked the Lord to speak of the 7 x 70 acts of forgiveness that we are expected to grant those who offend us (Matthew 18:21-22).

Cain produced an offspring of spiritual wanderers who had no eternal vision. It is also interesting to note that none of the descendants of Cain have their ages mentioned. This is because their years on earth were wasted, worthless years filled with wickedness. They lived for self and for Satan.

The Godly Line of Seth

In chapter 5 we have a record of the godly line, from Adam to Noah. The age of each man in the godly line is given, in contrast to Cain’s descendants whose ages are not given. Our first parents were comforted in their affliction by the birth of another son whom they called Seth.

Seth means “set, settled, or placed’, begins the godly line of patriarchs that extends for ten generations until Noah. In his seed mankind should continue to the end of time, and from him the Messiah should descend. The true Church would come from Seth, a man who was fixed. We can only truly be settled in Christ and His Church. Seth walked in the steps of his martyred brother Abel. He was a partaker of like precious faith in the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ. As such, he became a fresh witness of the grace and influence of God the Holy Spirit. God caused Adam and Eve to see a marvellous spiritual awakening in their family. The worshippers of God began to emerge. Some, by an open profession of true religion, protested against the wickedness of the world around. The worse others are, the better we should be. The distinction between the righteous and the profane began, and has been kept up ever since, and will be, while the world stands.

Enos means “humanity or mortal.” He was conscious that man is on earth but for a short time. Moses prayed, “Teach us O Lord to number well our days that we might apply ourselves to wisdom” (Psalms 90:12). These great men understood our frailty. Life is fleeting and we must make every day count for eternity (Ephesians 5:16-17).

Cainan (Kenan) means “acquisition” or “redeemed.” The truth God made real to Cainan was that we are not our own, we are bought with a price. The world and those who follow the way of Cain say, “It’s my life and I will do what I want.” Another implication of Cainan’s name (“acquisition”) is that we should acquire those things that are eternal. In the New Testament, Jesus tells us to buy of Him gold tried in the fire (Revelation 3:18). This speaks of having our faith and other virtues purified by the tests of life—thus developing qualities that will endure for all eternity.

Mahalaleel means “Praiser of God.” He was a deep worshipper and praiser of the Lord. Even prior to the Flood these patriarchs understood that the Lord is Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. Worship is the key to becoming like the Lord, for we become like the object or person we worship. Cain’s line worshipped self and Satan, and it showed in the fruit they produced.

Jared means “descending.” The truth of which God made Jared so conscious was that there was a serious downward plunge in morality in his generation; thus judgment was coming. Natural man was waxing worse and worse, though they thought they were getting better and wiser.

Enoch means “instructed one.” He was a teacher of righteousness, a prophet who declared the Second Coming of the Lord (Jude 1:14). He also was the type of those who shall be raptured without seeing death. He had the testimony that he pleased God, and God took him (Hebrews 11:5). Enoch walked with God for 300 years. According to the law of first mention the number 300 is used to denote “walking with God.” Therefore, hereafter that number signifies walking with God. Noah’s ark was 300 cubits in length, showing that only those who were walking with God could enter.

Methuselah means “at his death shall the waters flow.” His father, Enoch, named him prophetically. The patriarchs were prophets who knew that there was a forthcoming judgment upon the world through the Flood. Methuselah died the same year of the Flood.

Lamech means “overcomer” or “strong” in the sense of doing good. He died at the age of 777 years. Seven is the number of perfection; thus 777 speaks of a man perfect in body, soul, and spirit. He named his son Noah.

Noah means “rest”, indicating that he would bring the godly into rest and comfort them concerning the work of their hands. This showed that life was not easy for the descendants of Adam, due to the curse that had been placed upon the earth because of his sin. Noah was the man upon whom the salvation of all people before the Flood rested. He was, after all, the link between them and Christ, the Seed of the Woman who would bring redemption.

Divine Meaning of Numbers

God is mathematical genius. Every number has a meaning. Some have a multiplicity of meanings.


About the Teacher

Dr. Brian J. Bailey is the President of Zion Fellowship International, Zion Ministerial Institute, and Zion University. He is also Senior pastor of Zion Chapel in Waverly, New York. He has traveled to over a 100 countries during his ministry of over 50 years, teaching in Bible colleges and preaching in leadership seminars. He is a prolific author of over 50 Christian books, teaching believers the ways of God, and establishing them on the pathway of holiness that leads to spiritual Mount Zion.

Related Articles