Cain And Abel: The Two Class Of Worshippers At The End of Time
Cain and Abel is a story that gives the fundamental gospel parallel representing the two class of worshippers that will be present at the end of time. Just one generation outside the gates of Eden, there is already a division between the murderous wicked and the martyred righteous. Many have made the story of Cain and Abel a mystery. They say, the reason why Cain’s offering was rejected was because Cain did not have as much faith as Abel or that Cain did not offer the BEST fruits of the ground. But to take this point of view would be to miss the fundamental and obvious differentiation that is presented between the two.
Abel, whose name means “emptied out”, offers a spotless lamb for acceptance before heaven. The story of Adam and Even who had their fig leaf garments removed and were instead covered with the skins of the freshly slain lamb, was a lesson that was not lost on Abel. He understood that man could not longer stand before God covered in the works of his own righteousness. Therefore, Abel offered what God required in order for fallen man to stand justified before the holy Law of God. Abel offered the life of another. This lamb was to be the representation of Christ and His life that would stand accepted in our place.
Cain, whose name means “to obtain”, knew the right offering to bring. Cain new what was required to stand justified before the Law of God. Yet instead of bringing a substitutionary life to stand acceptable in his place, he brought the fruits of the ground. The fruits are a picture of one’s own righteousness. Cain’s excellence, his skill, his superior craftsmanship had deceived him into believing that God would be pleased by the works of his hands. Yet fallen man cannot atone for his sins. The debt to sin must be paid and without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. Cain knew to forsake the works of his hands and to hide under the blood stained banner of Immanuel. Even the bible records Christ’s tender reasonings with Cain’s hardened heart. “The LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted?” Genesis 4:6,7.
The story of Cain and Abel is not a mystery. It is clear that Cain and Abel represent the two class of worshippers that will be present at the end of time. Will we empty ourselves out of our attainments and pride and offer the Lamb of God in order to be made acceptable before the Father? Or will we pride ourselves in our accomplishments and be rejected as we seek to stand before God in our own merits?