Philippians Book Chart

philippians-book-chart.pdf

Here is another example of a book chart but with a longer book. I had made charts for each paragraph in the book. I then took the titles for the sections placed them in this chart and then grouped the paragraphs together with titles that fit the grouping sections. This process again led to a summation or title for the book. This helps bring together all of the sections back into a unified whole. Careful observation is absolutely essential in studying God’s Word, but you do not want to take it apart and not understand how it all fits together.

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Published in: on December 27, 2007 at 9:39 pm  Comments (1)  

Another Philemon Chart

Click on the JPEG image to be able to view up close.

philemon-chart-1-2.jpgphilemon-chart-2-2.jpg

Here is another example of a chart. The bottom column contains the verse. Above that is a short summary of the individual verse. Above that the verses are grouped according to the pattern that they seem to fit in upon observation, a title is given to that group. Above that they are grouped into smaller groups. Finally a book summation title is given. Notice that in the bottom columns which contain the verses written out, that observations are notated within the text by hand. “R” stands for repitition of words, “C” or “Contr.” stands for Contrast, “E-C” stands for Effect and Cause, “C-E” stands for Cause and Effect, “Contin.” stands for Continuity of subject or theme. Climax of the passage seemed, at the time I made this chart, to be in verse 9, thus note the  climbing line that culminates with the star at the top of verse 9.  These are just some of the ways that you can begin to interact with the text to note repeated elements, where the contrasts are, where the cause and effect relationships exist, what the continued themes are, what the main point of a verse is, how the verses fit together, to understand both what the individual verses mean, as well as how they fit together to make the point that the section, chapter, or book is trying to make.

Published in: on December 27, 2007 at 9:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Philemon

Outline of Philemon

I. Opening (vv. 1-7)

A. Salutation (vv. 1-3)
1. Author (v. 1a) Paul and Timothy
2. Addressees (vv. 1b-2) Philemon, Apphia, Archippus, and church
3. Greeting (v. 3) Grace and peace
B. Prayer formula (vv. 4-7) Making mention of you in my prayers
II. Body (vv. 8-22)
A. Introduction of subject (vv. 8-16) Appeal for Onesimus
B. Request of the author for the readers (vv. 17-20, 22) Accept him as me, Prepare me a lodging
C. Conclusion (v. 21) Having confidence in your obedience I write to you

III. Closing (vv. 23-25)
A. Closing greeting (vv. 23-24) Epaphras, Mark, Aristarcus, Demas, Luke greet you
B. Farewell salutation (v. 25) Grace of Jesus be with your spirit.

Click on the following for more information in PDF format:

Philemon: Background of the Recipients

Philemon: Background of the Author

Philemon: Background of Slavery

Philemon 4-7 Grammatical Structure Breakdown

Published in: on December 26, 2007 at 10:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Jonah Chart

Jonah Book Chart in PDF
Click to View.

Published in: on December 26, 2007 at 8:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Life East of Eden (Genesis 4)

OPENING SCRIPTURE 1 John 3:11-15

For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.[1]

INTRODUCTION

Just as years later the Lord would expel the people of Israel out of the Promised Land and east into Babylon due to their sin, the Lord much earlier expelled our first parents, Adam and Eve, east of the Garden of Eden (3:24). With that expulsion, humanity must now make its home outside of the Garden of Delight, away from the presence of God, and that is where we all have lived ever since. We live east of Eden, perhaps not geographically, but spiritually. Genesis chapter 4 gives the very first recorded episode of what takes place east of Eden, and part of its purpose is to give us as readers an accurate picture of what our own lives look like from the point of view of one who is looking from without. Genesis 4, the story of Cain and Abel, is not only the story of the first children who were born and raised after the fall, but it is also the story of all who live east of Eden. This is our story.

THE BIRTHS OF CAIN AND ABEL – 4:1-2

In the Lord’s curse upon the serpent (3:14-15) he foresaw the conflict which would rage between two seeds, the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman, and he promised that, while the seed of the woman would be wounded in the conflict (“you shall bruise his heel”), the seed of the woman would eventually triumph and kill the serpent and his seed (“he shall bruise your head”). This has been called “the first gospel” by many, and the first prophecy of Christ and his work of destroying Satan while being wounded at the cross, and this is true. It does not stop there, however. While it is very much a prophecy fulfilled in Christ, it is also a pattern which was meant to describe the struggle between the righteous and the wicked, those who choose life and those who choose death. The seed of the woman, the seed of Eve, the seed of Chavah/life are all those who choose life, while the seed of the serpent, the seed of Satan, he who brought death to our first parents, are all those who choose death. This is why, in John 8:44, the Lord Jesus describes those who rejected him and sought to kill him as “children of [their] father the devil”, and it is why, in Revelation 12:17, the “ancient serpent who is called the devil and Satan,” seeing that the Christ-child born of the woman has escaped his deadly wrath, turns his attention to the “rest of her offspring” who are specifically defined as “those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” Yes the “seed of the woman” is Christ, but all those who are “in Christ” are among her seed as well (cf. Rom. 16:20).

Understanding, then, the prophetic pattern set down by the Lord in the curse of the serpent, it should come to no surprise as we read in the very next episode that two children are born to Adam and Eve, two children who are very different from each other:

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.” 2 And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground.

Cain, not merely the firstborn son of his mother but also the firstborn son of all humanity, enters into the world with great rejoicing and with much promise. The faith which Adam had in naming his wife “Eve” (“life”) since she would be the mother of all living, is now finding substance as God opens her womb and makes good his word that, though death is certain, humanity shall live on through procreation. Having given birth to the very first baby boy the world has ever seen, Eve, happy that through the Lord’s help she has “gotten” or “acquired” or “come into possession of” this child, names him just that: “Acquired.” There is pride in her voice, a sense of accomplishment typical of most new parents, and there is little doubt that this is the best thing that has come to Adam and Eve since being banished from Eden. In this child, this “acquired-one”, humanity has found new hope.

But then another child is born, and this time things are different. There is no expression of joy, no words of praise to God. There are, in fact, no words at all. All of the pride and celebration of life had been spent on Cain, the firstborn, so much so that the birth of the second child is given only passing mention and only in relationship to Cain: he is “his brother Abel.” Cain the firstborn is purposefully given all of the attention, and Abel hardly any at all. This attitude toward Abel is even reflected in his name. Though no explanation of his name is given (in keeping with the brevity of his introduction), his name was a common enough word in Hebrew that it needed little explaining. The name “Abel” is the Hebrew word “hevel” which means “vanity”, “futility”, and that which is “pointless”, a description of what comes and goes briefly and without any apparent purpose. Two children; two seeds: the “acquired-one” and the “pointless-one”; Cain and Abel.

As these two sons of Adam and Eve were different in their births, so too they pursue different paths in their adulthood. Cain becomes a farmer, one who finds a good plot of land and settles there, working the ground and living off of the harvest that comes from it. Abel becomes a shepherd, one who must roam from place to place in order to find sufficient food for his sheep. Both provide different necessities of life. This being before the Lord’s permission to eat animal meat given after the flood to Noah, Cain’s job would have been to provide food for the family, while Abel’s job would have been to provide the wool and skins necessary to continue making the type of clothing God had provided for Adam and Eve.

The Israelites would have understood the tension that existed between shepherds and farmers. In those days and leading right up to the 19th century in the western United States, herdsman and farmers had a strained relationship with each other. Shepherds rely on open pastures for their sheep to graze and farmers rely on clearly defined fields for their crops to grow. This often led to a struggle over the land as one desires to lead his animals into an area for them to graze for lack of food elsewhere while the other has crops planted in it which he does not want destroyed. To the Israelites, reading a story where one brother is a shepherd and another is a farmer would have automatically suggested tension within the family. Understanding this, in addition to the unequal amount of attention and affection given to the two men by their parents, is meant to cause us readers to anticipate the trouble that lies ahead.

THE UNEQUAL TRIBUTE – 4:3-7

In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

Time elapses. We do not know how much time, but it was enough time for both Cain and Abel to have obtained a significant amount of crops or sheep. Though no command or decree is given in the text for Cain and Abel to give an offering to the Lord, the fact that they both do bring an offering and that they do it simultaneously implies that this was something they must have felt was appropriate in some way, whether by command or simple intuition. The word used here for “offering” is not the same word for “sacrifice”, nor any other word used later in the Bible for something that had to contain blood or was offered in order to atone for sin. It is the same word used later in the Bible for the tribute a man or nation would offer to their king or ruler as a gift in recognition for his protection and overall worthiness, and this is how we are to understand it here in Genesis 4. Both Cain and Abel recognize that the crops and the sheep that they have obtained through their work come as a result of God’s willingness to protect and bless them, and so they bring gifts in honor to him as their king. Because Cain is a farmer and is blessed by the Lord through his crops, he brings an offering of his harvest as his gift. Because Abel is a shepherd and is blessed by the Lord through his sheep, he brings an offering of his flock as his gift. Life seems to be well outside of Eden. Men are prospering and living in submission to God. Perhaps things will not be as bad as we thought.

Before moving on with the text, I want to consider the basic geography of the land as we have it here in Genesis 1-4. We are told in 2:8 that, after God had formed the man from ground somewhere on the outside, he places him in a garden which was planted on the eastern border of a land called “Eden,” meaning “delight.” According to 3:24, after the fall, God drove the man and the woman out of the garden toward the east, and on the east side of the garden he placed cherubim and a flaming sword which turned in every direction (which I personally interpret as lightening) in order to guard the tree of life.

This basic geography would have been familiar to the Israelites from the days of Moses onward in that it resembles the way the Tabernacle was constructed with the camp of Israel surrounding it. The Tabernacle was always positioned so that the entrance faced toward the east (this was true later of the Temple as well). For the Israelite to approach God, he had to travel west toward the Lord’s abode, and when he reached there he would be met by a clothe door which had cherubim embroidered into it, guarding the way into the Holy place. As one would enter the Holy place he would encounter a golden tree, the Menorah, just as one entering the Garden of Eden would encounter the tree of life. But just as ordinary men were not permitted to enter into the Holy place, but had to leave their sacrifices outside of it just east of the entrance, so too Cain and Abel were not permitted into the garden but had to leave it outside, east of its entrance. Based upon this basic geography, it is a reasonable speculation that Cain and Abel presented their gifts to God outside the gate of the Garden of Eden where the cherubim were guarding the dwelling place of God, just as the Israelites would do years later with the Tabernacle and Temple.

Although both men brought gifts appropriate to their occupation before the Lord, the two gifts were not equally pleasing to the Lord. For some reason it states that the Lord had respect for Abel and his offering, but not for Cain and his. Although it is tempting to see in this the Lord’s respect for a blood sacrifice over a bloodless one, because the men were bringing a tribute and not a sacrifice (again, they are two different words), we would do better to find another reason. The reason the text gives is subtle, and it may be so that it forces the reader to read the verse more than once in order to discover it. While it tells us that Abel brought to the Lord “of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions,” meaning the best of the best, all it says of Cain’s offering is that it was a portion of his crop. Just as the text earlier emphasized Cain’s birth and almost passed over Abel’s as if it had little significance, so it here emphasizes Abel’s offering and almost passes over Cain’s as if it had little significance. It appears that Cain, the firstborn and loved one of the family, brought a gift that was only mediocre or average, whereas Abel, the overlooked one and considered by men to be of little value, gave to the Lord his best.

Herein do we begin to see the lesson. There are men and women in this world who are praised, loved by all, and are given all that they want in life. Then there are those who are ignored, loved by few, forced to struggle all their lives for the little that they are able to obtain. Who is more likely to come before God with a whole heart and with pure motives? We might think it to be the individual who has it all, having more reason than others to love God. But is this what we find in the world? Often, what we find is the opposite; those who have it all are those who give the least regard for God. They feel self-sufficient, as if all that they have in life has come due to their own self-worth. As they see everyone else loving them they assume that God’s love is similar and they take it for granted. They may even throw in a few bucks at church or a few cents into a salvation-army can at Christmas time, thinking that this is appropriate tribute to God.

But what of the others? Those who have little often have greater appreciation for what they have. Those who are loved by few cherish what love is shown toward them. They must depend upon Lord because for many of them the Lord is all they have, and that is precisely the attitude the Lord wants us to have: a whole-hearted dependency upon him alone. True blessing, true salvation, comes from God and from nowhere else. That is a lesson few among those who appear to have it all learn. Christ said that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven, and this is the reason why.

The story of Cain and Abel living outside of paradise looking in is in Genesis, the first book of Moses. By the time we come to Deuteronomy, the last book of Moses, the children of Israel are living just outside of another paradise looking in, this time the land of Canaan, and the Lord through Moses has many instructions for them before they enter, lest they, like Adam and Eve, also be banished because sin. In 6:4-5 they are given the great commandment upon which all others find their foundation:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Because there is only one Lord, only one Yahweh, then the peoples’ love must also be one, not divided among competing gods like the nations surrounding them. Because there is only one Yahweh, he expects them to love him with their entire being. Anything less is simply unacceptable. Further in the book, in chapter 8, he points out that one of the reasons why he led them through the wilderness for 40 years was so that they would learn to trust in him alone and not upon their own devices:

The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the LORD swore to give to your fathers. 2 And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. 3 And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you. 6 So you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him. 7 For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, 8 a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, 9 a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 10 And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.

Before leading them into the land of Canaan where they would be provided with fields, water, food and raw materials, a land where they would lack nothing, the Lord informs them that his purpose in leading them through the desert was so that they would lack in everything that was not necessary for survival and be forced to depend upon their God. In the wilderness he permitted them to grow hungry so that they might understand that they do not merely live on food, but also upon the word of God. These forty years of trial were to prepare them for proper living within the land, and he gives this warning in the second half of the chapter:

Take care lest you forget the LORD your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, 12 lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, 13 and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, 15 who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, 16 who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. 17 Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18 You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. 19 And if you forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. 20 Like the nations that the LORD makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the LORD your God.

After entering into the land of promise, he warns, there will be the temptation to forget the lesson learned in the wilderness, and they will be tempted to attribute all of their possessions to their own deeds and self-worth. This will result in forgetting the Lord and his commandments, forcing the Lord to punish the people as he did those who lived in the land before them. Here we find the great dilemma: the Lord wishes to bless his people, but in doing so the people find themselves focusing on the gifts more than on the giver, and it is a dilemma which began in Genesis 4 and continues to this day.

Returning to Genesis 4, seeing that God had greater respect for Abel and his offering than his own, Cain becomes furious. Such has never happened before to Cain. He has always been the preeminent one in the family, the one to whom all the attention was given to. Now he sees that the Lord is more pleased with the offering of Abel, this hevel, this nothing, than with his. How can this be?! This is the attitude of the unbeliever and we as believers must never have such an attitude ourselves. To become angry with what pleases God? This makes no sense, and the text reflects this as God asks Cain why he is angry. It is to suggest that God’s priorities are off and that he in fact should be pleased with the offering brought before him. To be angry with God is to accuse God of being wrong, and this, without exception, is always false and wicked. God is never wrong, and when we are faced with a situation where the Lord is not pleased with us we must admit our own guilt, not his.

The Lord continues speaking to Cain, providing a path whereby Cain may repent and make amends with the Lord. God informs him that those who are accepted are those who do well. For those who do not do well and are not accepted, such as Cain, the Lord warns that sin, as a demon crouching at the door, is waiting to pounce upon the one who crosses the threshold. For all who are not doing those things acceptable to the Lord, whether it be Cain or any of us, there is a sin-nature who desires nothing more than to seize and destroy its prey. In light of this, we must learn to rule over it, lest it be the other way around. But what will Cain do?

THE MURDER OF ABEL AND BANISHMENT OF CAIN – 4:8-16

Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. 9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. 11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” 13 Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14 Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” 15 Then the LORD said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him. 16 Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

Instead of conquering that crouching demon called sin, it leaps up and conquers Cain. It tells us first that it began with a conversation, indicating that what takes place next was premeditated. As they talked and walked they arrived at a field and it was there that Cain killed his brother. Why? Because this Abel, this nothing, had the audacity to bring his best before God, thereby revealing Cain’s inferior gift and inferior love. Instead of desiring to change his own ways so as to be acceptable before God, he thinks it better to kill off all those who already are. That is the attitude of the unbeliever and that is the point John wishes to make in 1 John 3:12-15.

We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

The reason John tells us that Cain killed Abel was because Cain’s deeds were evil and Abel’s were righteous. Notice that it speaks of Cain’s deeds, plural. It was not merely his offering that was unacceptable, but his entire life was marked by evil deeds, as Abel’s was of righteous. Drawing from this account John tells us that we should also expect similar hatred from the world. As I mentioned from the beginning, the account of Cain and Abel does not merely tell us of life during the first generation after the fall, but it is meant to describe our own lives as well.

As before, though he knows all, the Lord approaches Cain with a question, offering him an opportunity to confess, an opportunity which Cain does not take advantage of. When the Lord asks Cain where Abel is, note his response: “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper? In an attempt to discourage the Lord from questioning further he disowns any responsibility that he might have for his fellow man. The word for “keeper” is the same word used earlier of Abel as a “keeper” of sheep. Cain is in affect telling the Lord, “I’m a farmer, not a shepherd. It’s not my job to keep and protect anyone but myself.” Wrong. Cain’s job, though not a keeper of sheep, was to be a keeper of men, as is ours also. Regardless of who we are and where God has placed us in the world, every last one of us is called to the occupation of keeping our fellow man. We are all called to be like Abel, shepherds whose flock is one another.

The Lord who knows all then confronts Cain’s actions directly. He tells Cain that he hears a voice crying in his ears coming from the ground, and it is the voice of Abel’s shed blood. God is just, and when there is injustice, as in the case of murder, it sounds in his ears until something is done about it. This is both a comfort and a warning. It is a comfort to those who have been wronged in that their plea, though it may not have reached the ears of the local judge or magistrate, had reached the ears of God the moment the crime was committed. It is also a warning to all who practice injustice, that though you may think your deed was committed in secret, God knows of it. In fact, it rings in his ears and the sound will not cease nor he will rest until justice has been made.

As a farmer, Cain would have been responsible for irrigating his field, bringing the water to his crops. But in killing his brother Abel, he deceived the ground into drinking a liquid it had never before tasted: blood. Because the ground was made to drink of innocent blood, God tells him that he will forever be cursed from the ground. No more will the ground produce the crops it once did for him before, but it has a personal hatred for him for what he did. Instead of settling on a plot of land and working it as a farmer, it will force Cain to wander the earth all his days. When a person kills another, he not only disrupts a single life but he disrupts the entire creation. That is what sin is: a disruption in God’s creation. This is why Paul says in Romans 8:19-21 that

the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

Not only do we look forward to the day of our glorification when we will be completely conformed into the image of Christ and sin no more, but creation is also waiting for that day so that it will no longer be subject to this bondage of corruption brought about because of sin. But in the meantime, however, it must endure with this sick, sinful human race.

Cain, believing the consequences of his actions to be greater than he can bear, pleads with the Lord for some degree of protection from those who may want to kill him. Having no thought for the safety of his own brother, Cain suddenly takes thought of his own safety from the hands of those who may want to hurt him. This is a paradox that continues with us today. No one wants the responsibility to look after others, but they all hope for the responsibility in others to watch after them. In response and in grace, the Lord sets a mark upon Cain that will serve as a sign to all those who see him that God will exact sevenfold vengeance on whoever might attack him. No further information is given as to the nature of this mark and so we will pursue it no further.

The banishment is then carried out in verse 16 and Cain leaves eastward for the land of Nod, the land of Wandering. Returning to our basic geography of Genesis 1-4, the consequences of sin simply lead men further and further away from God. Not only is Cain forbidden to live in the Garden, but he is forbidden to live just outside the Garden. The more we continue in sin, the further east we go.

THE BIRTH OF SETH – 4:25-26

And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” 26 To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD.

The story continues with the line of Cain, a line that sees the advancement of civilization. Cities, music, and metallurgy all stem from the line of Cain, and while we may think this to be strange, it is actually quite simple. The further men travel east away from God and Eden, the more they must learn to depend upon themselves instead of upon the Lord. Man was created to have a relationship with God, and when the relationship does not exist it must be filled with other things, and this is what the line of Cain demonstrates. Some fill this gape with building projects, others with music, others with craft, others with beauty, etc. None of these are evil in and of themselves, except when they are taking the place that God is supposed to occupy.

Without looking any further into the line of Cain, however, I want to examine the last two verses which describe the birth of Seth and the line that came from him. When he was born it was recognized that God had provided him as a replacement for “Abel, for Cain killed him.” Seth is meant to replace Abel, and from Seth comes a son whose name is Enosh, a name which means “man,” but with it the aspect of “frailty” “weakness” or “mortality,” and it is meant to provide a contrast with the line of Cain. While Cain’s line included inventors and warriors, great men by most standards, the line of Abel/Seth produces a more humble line. But note what takes place in the days of Enosh: At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD. This describes formal worship. Cain’s line produces civilization; Abel/Seth’s line produces worshippers. Which of the two lines, two seeds, are more acceptable before the Lord? Men look to their achievements and grand exploits, failing to note that they ultimate originate from a line of murderers. But true worshipers of God, while they may not gain much attention or respect from the world, is the line of people whom God takes notice of.

CONCLUSION

I began by commenting on the prophetic pattern given in the Lord’s curse upon the serpent, and how it describes the struggle which will exist between two seeds, the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, and we see the early fulfillment of this in the very next episode, the story of Cain and Abel. Cain was of the seed of the serpent, and Abel the seed of the woman. Just as the prophecy tells us that the serpent will wound the seed of the woman, so we see the murder Abel. But the Lord will not leave it at that. The prophecy states that the seed of the woman is merely wounded, not defeated, and we see this fulfilled in the resurrection of Abel, not a physical resurrection but a symbolic one in the birth of Seth whom God gave a replacement. But the story does not complete the pattern. The seed of the serpent continues in the line of Cain, and it continues in all who refuse to bring acceptable tribute to God and respond by hating their brothers. But fulfillment came again. There was another man-child, born of a woman, hated by people and killed. He was also raised from the dead, this time quite literally. Jesus Christ will crush the head of the serpent. But why wait? Because at one time each of us were among the seed of the serpent. Every soul that he saves is a rebirth. The seed of the serpent become the seed of the woman. That’s why he waits to finally crush his head. He first desires to save some of his offspring. Praise God, as that is you and I.


[1] All scripture taken from the English Standard Version (2001).

Published in: on December 22, 2007 at 9:29 pm  Comments (2)