Day 4: B’reisheet/Genesis 3:22-4:24
What was the difference between Cain and Abel’s offerings? It could be assumed and is often taught that Cain brought only of the fruit of the ground and Abel only of his flocks. However, Torah does not say that Cain only brought a grain offering and, more specifically, Abel most certainly could have brought grains along with the firstborn of his flocks. Later, Torah describes what man is supposed to appear before YHVH yielding to Him as his offerings. For some, due to their limited means, a grain offering is perfectly acceptable when offered with thanksgiving and without holding back other gifts. Herein lie the problem and difference between the two brothers’ offerings.
Elohim did not mandate offerings and sacrifice without first showing how and what was expected. It should be mentioned that both brothers had a dad that knew YHVH up close and it had been disclosed to him personally how to make proper sacrifices. When Adam and Chavah were found naked in the Garden, they had already taken from the fruit of the earth and tried to make coverings for themselves. What their hands had cultivated was now being used to make their appearance acceptable/clean instead of what was laid bare, their own uncleanness. Their sin had caused a rift from the Creator and they were in dire straits to mend what was broken so they would once again appear righteous. At their disposal was the work of their hands which either would flourish, due to their tending and cultivating, or would grow wild with neglect. This was not the case with animals. Even with cattle and domesticated livestock; if left alone in the wild, they flourish, multiply, and survive with seemingly ease.
As the Creator came forward to walk in the cool of the day with Adam and Chavah, they were, instead, found unclothed. His nakedness was not something new, as he was created naked. His newly bare appearance was due to the lack of the Creator’s glory shrouding him since the Father cannot dwell with or within sin. Thus, the Master made the first animal sacrifice for their sin, providing its skin for their covering and an example of what to do to atone for sin. The tutorial effect of an animal’s hide would parallel the foreshadow offering of oxen, lamb, and goats for the sake of sin. Human nature cannot be covered but must be redeemed with much more substantial offering and atonement.
Cain knew he had to work by the sweat of his brow for the sake of his own survival. He looked to the earth for provision and for satiation. Abel, being a man of flocks, saw the need for a Shepherd and regarded Elohim as One Who would guide, protect, and even sacrifice for his own personage. Since the Master had done it once, most certainly, in Abel’s eyes, He could and would do it again. Abel’s offerings of firstlings were the closest reminder of this redemption price that only Elohim could pay. It was the heart attitude of Abel in this understanding, wisdom, and awesome fear that empowered favor from the Creator. His faith made the offering acceptable, not the substance.
These insights let Abel’s spiritual and natural gaze upward to the Father in appreciation for his life, breath, and being. Cain, unfortunately, gazed heavily upon the land and the work of his hands. Leaning on his own understanding and the laborious efforts of his personal sweat, he felt that his own equity in and from the earth was enough to satisfy his cravings, as well as the Creator’s desire for him to present himself as clean and atoned. Carnal notions with carnal understandings.
What is the difference in our offerings and sacrifices compared to Cain’s? What about the difference between our offerings and other believers we encounter?
It is not our place to compare our gifts or anointings; rather, it should be our goal to out-do one another through love and awe of our Creator. Quite frankly, the Father looks for the mercy and love we show others; yet, He longs for our desire to be for Him, to do His will by the unction of His Ruach, and to have His Torah in our hearts. In earnestly correcting our flesh and sinful nature, reminding us to die to that which Cain chose not to overcome, Elohim asks for our attention for Himself and away from the things of this earth. YHVH Yirah/Provider is sufficient for us as we take our eyes from the sweat of our brow and the work of our hands, placing them on Him for all of our sustenance, atonement, and judgment. Doing this, like Abel, we are accepted in Messiah’s sacrifice being His fruit bore to the Father—His perfect, whole creation.
Dwell upon Psalm 40:6-8, “Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; my ears You have opened; burnt offering and sin offering You have not required. Then I said, ‘Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my Elohim; Your Torah is within my heart.'”