Two weeks ago, we covered pertinent verses found in the book of Genesis, chapters 1 & 2, that dealt with this subject, including God the Creator giving mankind the diet he had designed man to be nourished with, which can be found in Genesis 1:29. Last week, we shared some interesting information regarding Genesis Chapter 3, where the serpent (the devil) challenged Eve with regards to what God had said man could and could not eat, with the words, “hath God said?” We now move on to Chapter 4.
“Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.” ~ Genesis 4:2Through the years, people have tried to convince me that man began eating the flesh of animals shortly after God gave Adam that pure plant-based diet in Genesis 1:29. They say just the fact that Abel raised sheep, proves man consumed animal flesh. I say, "that is total speculation, without a shred of Biblical evidence!" But the naysayer says: “If God made the animals,” which the Bible tells us He did, “what did He make them for, if it were not to eat them?” Let’s consider that question... God created thousands of species of animals, from the single cell paramecium and ameba, to the flies, grasshoppers and birds, to the mouse, rat, and snake, to the cat and fox, and man, to the giant hippopotamus and elephant. To those who tell me that just because God made these animal species, this is proof God meant for us to eat them, I have a question for you: “Have you ever, or would you ever, eat a fly, or mouse, or rat, or fellow man?” And do you really believe that to a family (Adam’s) that had been told by God that they were to eat a pure plant-based diet in Genesis 1:29 that they would so soon disobey God and start raising animals for the purpose of eating their flesh? God did not give man permission to consume animal flesh in Genesis 1:29! In fact, it was not until some 1700 years later, after the flood that killed all plant life that God first gave man permission to consume the flesh of an animal. And I believe that was only for survival purposes until the plant life returned after being destroyed by the flood waters. Now I plead ignorance as to why God created some of the animal species that He did, but I do know why God created the sheep that Abel raised. Throughout the Old Testament, and even into the New Testament, we learn that those sheep were to be used by man to make a sacrifice to God! In fact, God even set the example, by performing the very first animal sacrifice Himself, in Genesis 3:21:
“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and he clothed them.”In order to make a covering for Adam and Eve’s sin, God slew an animal, from which He made “coats of skins, and clothed them.” In the process of slaying that animal, blood had to be shed! And from this point on throughout the Old Testament, we see that God always demanded a blood sacrifice as the only way for man to cover his sin. In fact, a blood sacrifice is the required sin covering throughout not only the Old Testament, but throughout the entire Bible. Hebrews 9:22 tells us: “without shedding of blood is no remission.” I am speculating here, but I have no doubt that Adam and Eve taught their children that God demanded a blood sacrifice to cover their sin because of the example God had given them in Genesis 3:21 — thus, Abel became a “keeper of sheep”. Abel kept those sheep for the primary purpose of being able to provide the blood sacrifices God required. He may have also kept them for the making of clothing as God had shown them these skins could be used for that purpose as well, in Genesis 3:21. Let’s remember here folks, that neither Adam nor Eve, nor Cain nor Abel, had the knowledge we have today, nor the tools for cutting, nor the means of cooking food we have today. Everything was a new learning experience! Up to this point, based on what they had learned, a clean animal’s only reason for being in existence was for the purpose of sacrifice, or the making of clothing! Think about it... With all of God's emphasis on the garden and subsequent farming, why would those first humans even consider animals as being something they could or should eat? Can you just imagine those first humans chasing down an animal, catching it with their hands, and then trying to take a bite out of that animal with their teeth while still alive? It's ridiculous! Furthermore, their (our) teeth were not the kind necessary to rip through the hair and skin and flesh of that animal. Not to mention, having all of that hair, skin and flesh, plus the blood that would be dripping from it in their mouth, would be repulsive, even to us today.
Cain's Offering vs Abel's OfferingCain was a gardener, “tiller of the ground” (Genesis 4:1) I believe that Abel was a gardener also. Why? Because that was the only way they had to obtain the foods God had told their parents they were to eat; it was the food they had been raised on. Now both Cain and Abel, no doubt, knew from their parents' instructions that God required a blood sacrifice, and yet we read:
“And in the process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firslings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.” ~ Genesis 4:3-5Why did God not accept Cain’s offering? Because it was an offering of his own hands and effort! The Bible makes it abundantly clear that there is nothing man can do to satisfy God’s judgment against sin apart from a blood sacrifice! Man thinks he can make himself acceptable to God even to this very day, through his own efforts – good works, baptism, church membership, religion, etc. But the Bible makes it abundantly clear that, “There is none good, no not one” (Romans 3:12). And in Isaiah 64:6 we are told: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rages”. And in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. Throughout the Old Testament it is made abundantly clear that the only sacrifice God would accept as a covering for man’s sin was a “blood sacrifice,” coming from an animal, “without spot or blemish”. All through the Old Testament, we see that the clean animals were slain, and the blood was applied as a covering. “For it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul”. (Leviticus 17:11)
Cain Slays AbelAnd so Cain’s jealousy over God rejecting his offering, caused him to slay Abel and, as a result, Cain was cursed by God:
“And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.” ~ Genesis 4:11-12To those who try to tell me that God created the animals for food purposes, I retort, could not the reason for those animals be sacrifice? Could not the purpose of those animals having been created, been for the purpose of pointing man to God’s ultimate sacrifice and redemption plan? And what was God’s ultimate sacrifice and redemption plan? Scripture makes it abundantly clear in both the Old and New Testaments that the purpose of those animal sacrifices was to point man to God’s ultimate sacrifice, the sacrifice of his own son, Jesus Christ! — the one who, on an old rugged cross, would pay the supreme and ultimate sacrifice for sin with his own blood!
New Testament TeachingAs we come to the New Testament, we learn that Jesus Christ was the ONE all those Old Testament animal sacrifices were pointing to, because when Jesus comes on the scene, the Apostle John exclaims:
“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” ~ John 1:29 “Foreasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition of your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot”. ~ I Peter 1:18-19To this very day, in our Bible-believing churches, we sing songs such as: “What can wash away my sin, nothing but the blood of Jesus; what can make me whole again, nothing but the blood of Jesus” Another favorite: “Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power, are you washed in the blood of the lamb?” And then there is the third verse of that beloved hymn: The Old Rugged Cross, “In the old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine, a wondrous beauty I see; For ‘twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died, to pardon and sanctify me." Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your sacrifice for sin? Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power, are you washed in the Blood of the Lamb? To be continued . . . Next week, the good Lord willing and if the creeks don’t rise too high we will return with another exciting issue of the Hallelujah Health Tip. Trust you will join us and that you will share these Health Tips with friends and loved ones.