Not only was Cain the first Pharisee, Abel was the first prophet. A prophet is somebody who has God’s Word.

 

In Luke 11:50, Jesus Christ informs the Pharisees, “The blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation.”

 

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We know from Genesis 4 that “Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.
[2] And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
[3] And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.”

 

Jordan explains, “Eve was trusting God’s promise, looking for the promised seed, so she names the boy Cain. The name Cain means ‘to possess; to acquire.’ He was the one she believed they were going to get it all back (i.e., the fallen creation that resulted from eating of ‘the Tree’) through.

 

“Then she bears his brother Abel. Abel means vanity. He was just an add-on. He was useless, futile; he’s not going to do anything to ease their burden. All their hope was in Cain. And they signify that by the name.

 

“It says in verse 2 ‘Abel was a keeper of sheep.’ In the Bible, keepers of sheep are sort of not very important. You remember David was a keeper of sheep? Samuel comes to pick one of Jesse’s boys to be king. None of them qualify so he says, ‘You got anybody else?’ and they say, ‘Well, yeah, we got the kid out keeping the sheep. Somebody’ll have to send for him; it’ll take two to three days to find him because he’s out there by himself.’

 

“Cain was a tiller of the ground. You know what Adam did with Cain? It was, ‘Here’s my boy!’ He brought him into the family business. Adam & Son. He taught him what he knew about keeping the Garden. That’s what God gave Adam to do. Adam and Eve’s hope was in Cain: ‘Gonna be the Promised Seed!’

 

“When it says, ‘And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought the fruit,’ notice that time passes. They had some understanding. God’s word was accessible to them. Mom and Dad talked to them. Cain knew God had created all things. Adam had actually seen God create things on the sixth day.

 

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“The family knew God had a plan and a purpose for man in the earth. They knew about the serpent; they knew he was an enemy. They knew he was a liar and they were supposed to stay away from him. They knew about sin and punishment; why they weren’t in the Garden any longer. They knew about God’s mercy and grace.

 

“They knew about that first sacrifice. I’m really struck by the fact Cain brought the fruit of the ground because you got to understand Cain—he’s the first Pharisee. Cain is Mr. Religious. Cain brings the sacrifice, the offering..

 

“Cain had a desire to have God’s approval. He longed for the day when God would say, ‘You’re the seed!’ He had that desire, that motivation, that fervor of religion to have God’s approval; to be the one who’s praised by God as the promised seed and magnified before all of his family as the ‘Chosen One.’

 

“The problem is he didn’t bring the right thing. He thought, ‘I’m gonna go and offer something to the Lord; I’m gonna make it the best it could ever be!’ And he worked and toiled and he made it the best HE could make it so that he could prove to God just how worthy he was to be the promised seed.

 

“Jesus said that’s where the Pharisees come from. Paul said that’s what he was—‘a Pharisee of the Pharisees.’ Paul said, ‘I had confidence in what I could do.’

 

“This was supposed to be Cain’s day and it didn’t work out. Cain’s best turned into rage and anger and blood lust for murder. It didn’t turn into good things. It didn’t bring peace and joy and happiness. It brought destruction to his brother and to all that followed him.

 

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“You go down through the rest of this chapter and you’ll see ‘the way of Cain.’ He develops a whole culture of people who follow him, and that generation that begins to follow him when Jesus comes along . . .

“Jesus looks at the Pharisees and He says, ‘You are of your father the devil, the lust of your fathers you will do!’ Cain bought into Satan’s lie and all the Pharisees in the ages . . .  Paul says, ‘That’s where I was. I was over there trusting my works, my efforts, what I was going to accomplish, and I figured out that’s all just dung. Everything I do is just filthy rags.’

 

“You can translate that ‘dung-covered rags’ if you want to. You see, what’s going on in Philippians 3 is something that’s been going on all through the ages. There are just two choices and the question he asked Cain about ‘Why?’ is the question we have to answer today.

 

“Genesis 4 says, ‘And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
[7] 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.sin lies over the door and you can rule over him.”

 

“You see, he was giving Cain a hope even then. Cain wasn’t a helpless victim who was run by sin. He had the opportunity to make some choices; he could have believed God’s word and God’s word would have liberated him.

 

“Cain’s desire was to usurp God’s authority and trust his own resources. Abel had no confidence in his own ability and he just believed God and he trusted God’s word and did what it said. That’s life.”