Posts tagged “Scripture

Genesis 4:16-24, Cain’s Descendants and Implications for Today

Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. (Genesis 4:16, NASB)

Many Bibles read that Cain lived in a place called “Nod”. However, what many readers lose in translation is that nod means “wandering”, and that nod is used just earlier in the phrase often translated as “a fugitive and a vagabond will you be in the Earth” (cf. Gen 4:12).  That phrase should probably be translated as “you will be wavering and wandering [nod] in the Earth”, which would put vs. 16 in proper context: as Cain enters a “land of wandering”, thus living out his judgment.

Previously I suggested there was a prophetic undertone to righteous Abel’s murder, which was followed by Cain’s “desolation” from the “Presence of God” (in other words, a prototypical “holy land”).  I believe this is a prophetic forecast for future “desolations” which occurred in the days of Moses, Judges, Prophets, the Babylonian captives, and ultimately, when Rome destroyed Israel in accordance with the prophecies of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus).  Thus the pattern of desolation is imprinted here early in the Scriptures – as a prophecy of warning to future generations.

So Cain’s “desolation” begins in verse 16 – which is a glorious oxymoron.  How does Cain “settle” (Heb. yeshev) in a “land of wandering”?  Which is it – did he settle down or wander aimlessly?  Adding to this conundrum is what happens next:

Cain knew his wife. She conceived, and gave birth to Enoch. He built a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch. (Genesis 4:17)

The Hebrew word for “city” is iyr, which can designate any fortified place. Given that Cain was preoccupied with “anyone who finds me will smite me” (vs. 14), he likely built some sort of fortress.  At the same time, he named his son “Chanokh” (anglicized as “Enoch”) which is the same Hebrew word used when “dedicating” or “establishing” a memorial – i.e. how King Solomon “dedicated” the Holy Temple (ref. 1 Kings 8:23).  Therefore, when Enoch was born, it appears Cain was intending to re-establish himself!

So Cain built a fortress, he had a new family, and thus he “settled down” …but only according to man’s standard.  Prophetically speaking, Cain was still nod-wandering …according to the Word of God.  So the answer to the riddle is hiding in plain sight: Cain went out from the Presence… and was in the land of wandering.   If you are separated from the Presence of God, you’re “wandering”.  It doesn’t matter if you have the tallest castle with the thickest walls, or married to the prettiest wife with ten sons to carry on your legacy!  It doesn’t matter how you re-establish yourself; without the Presence, it’s vanity.

Let’s consider that Cain and his descendants (cf. Genesis 4:18-24) had quite the accomplishments – specifically, three of Cain’s fourth-great-grandsons revolutionized agriculture, the performing arts, and metallurgy (vv. 20-22).  In fact, these three sons – along with their father Lemech – would yield tremendous power and influence over the rest of the world, for it is written of them that they were “fathers of” all those who followed their trade.  In fact, Methusaleh, who was the same generation as Lemech the descendant of Cain –might have named his own son “Lemech” (who turned out to be the father of Noah, see. Gen. 5:25-30) in honor of him.

Cain’s descendants were sons of a desolation, and I write about their accomplishments and influence because of a strange trend I’m witnessing in Christian churches and especially in the Messianic faith.  You see, there is another group of people who are sons of a desolation, and who are likewise highly influential and successful all over the world.

I speak of today’s Jewish community.

Now, I don’t want to be misunderstood as anti-Semitic.  It’s not anti-Semitic to identify how disproportionately successful Jewish people are in today’s society when compared to the success of other cultures and communities.  I find zero fault in anyone capitalizing on opportunities.

The fault I find is actually with Christians and Messianics.  As Christians/Messianics, we believe that the last desolation of Jerusalem occurred for a reason, one which was specifically prophesied by Messiah Yeshua.  Like Cain, these men went into all nations – wandering you might say, and immediately built shtetls and communities, and “settled down” so to speak.  As the centuries passed, Jews were unfairly persecuted, but eventually, they began to be innovators in the sciences, arts, and various industries.

However, while no one claims the descendants of Cain were successful because of Providence, why are Christians and Messianics claiming that today’s Jewish community is successful because of God’s favor?  This type of success is only measureable in this life, and doesn’t have any bearing on the age to come.

Just ask Cain’s descendants.  Their success and influence couldn’t save them from the Great Flood; in fact, we could argue that it helped contribute to the Great Flood!  And the success of anyone today – Jewish or Gentile – will not him in the upcoming Yom haDin (Day of Judgment).

Therefore, we must stop calling “favor” what the world calls “success”.  They are not necessarily compatible.

Now, in future posts I’ll discuss how Cain’s descendants could’ve been saved from the flood, just as Jews are returning to Israel in preparation for end-time fulfillments.  For now though, let not sons and daughters of God be swayed by anyone’s success in this life.  For as the ancient world was swayed by the influences of Cain’s descendants and drowned, what would become of us if we falsely confused God’s favor with human success? ♦

Genesis 3:4, When False Prophets Quote the Word in Verbatim

And the serpent said to the woman, no death will you die. (Genesis 3:4)

In my last post I proposed that Adam taught the torah (instruction) of ‘you will not eat from the Tree of Knowledge’ (cf. Gen. 2:16) to Chavah (Eve), as she obviously wasn’t there to hear God’s original commandment.

Yet neither was the serpent! It didn’t even know mankind until God brought it (with all other animals) to be named by Adam (cf. Gen. 2:2o). Yet, at the onset of Genesis 3, we see these two absentees have a telling conversation about God’s first torah.

So if we might reasonably assume Chavah learned the commandment from Adam, how on earth did the serpent learn it?

First, we know the serpent was ‘clever from all the beasts of the field’ (Gen. 3:1). From other uses the Hebrew word for ‘clever one’ we can deduce common traits of an arum:

  • operates by schemes (Job 5:12)
  • covers his own dishonor by manipulating the simple (Prov. 12:16)
  • doesn’t tell everything he knows (Prov. 12:23)
  • invests in knowledge before acting (Prov. 13:16, 14:18)
  • understands his every step (Prov. 14:8, 15)

If we didn’t attach the above quotes to a book, chapter and verse, we might say these characteristics describe the serpent’s method of deceiving Chavah, with the exception of ‘investing in knowledge before acting’. There’s no textual evidence the serpent invested in knowledge before slithering over to Eve… or is there?

I think there’s a tell in the Hebrew:

First, Eve quotes God: ‘you will not eat from it… pen t’mutun (“lest you die”-vs. 3:3).

Then, the serpent responds: ‘lo-mot t’mutun (“no dying will you (pl.) die”).

But alas! God originally told Adam: ‘mot tamut’ (“a dying will you (sing.) die”- Gen. 2:16).

Interesting. Although the serpent denies God’s Word – it does so in verbatim.

I can’t offer a concrete explanation for this. The serpent could have eavesdropped on Adam and Chavah’s conversation. It could be that all of creation witnessed and recorded that original Word. Or, which is what I personally believe, the serpent – as its nachash name implies – divined the knowledge from another power – namely, satan – who also quotes the Scriptures in verbatim. (cf. Matthew 4:5-6)

Any of these options are par for the course of a false prophet. They infiltrate God’s people in sheep’s fleece to learn their vulnerabilities and temptations. They study the recorded Word of God and can quote its lingo in verbatim. And the spiritualists, mediums and soothsayers still consult their powers of divinity to this day (e.g. Acts 16:16-17).

So why do false prophets learn Scriptures better than God’s people? Simple! Superior knowledge lends an air of credulity. Therefore, if a false prophet knows the lingo and recites the Word better than the Kingdom – eventually to draw them away – God’s people have only two reactions.

On the one side sits the wise, who act like Bereans, who form a Scripture posse, and study to see whether the things proffered are so (cf. Acts 17:11). Thus they easily spot a serpent tongue that takes quotes out of context or even speaks contrary to God’s word. However, on the other side of the aisle sit the foolish. These are those who were already flirting with temptations, had lost their hearts of thanksgiving, and have itching ears, looking for confirmation biases to justify their desires. These are the ones who listen to false prophets and believe a lie.

It’s obvious that Adam and Eve had vulnerabilities. They too lost their thanksiving. They added and subtracted God’s words, and they also had this air of curiosity about the forbidden underlining their marriage. Eden was already an environment ripe for the serpent to strike, speak the Word of God in verbatim, and entice the couple.

The Take-Away

However the false prophet serpent learned the Scripture in verbatim is open to interpretation and thus inconclusive.

But we did learn one thing: God’s adversaries are not passive. They invest in knowledge before devouring God’s people. They will quote Scriptures verbatim, because they will have to – if they purpose to misrepresent the One True God.

Now memorizing the Bible is one thing, but using verbatim quotes to deceive those who’ve already misunderstood the authentic word is even easier. That’s the serpent’s next trick, which it will prey perfectly on Chavah. That’s where I’ll continue. ♦