Commentary on "Worship in Genesis: Two Classes of Worshipers"
Day 7: Friday, July 1, 2011 - Further Study
The suggested quarterly lesson reading for today includes a portion titled; “Cain and Abel Tested,” pp. 71–74, in Patriarchs and Prophets.
For our commentary today we will examine a few quotes made by Ellen White in this book of hers. In doing so, keep in mind the biblical warning of not adding to or taking away from scripture.
In the Old Covenant with Israel we have this warning:
“Now, Israel, listen to the statutes and ordinances I am teaching you to follow, so that you may live, enter, and take possession of the land Yahweh, the God of your fathers, is giving you. You must not add anything to what I command you or take anything away from it, so that you may keep the commands of the Lord your God I am giving you.” (Deut 4:1-2 HCSB)
If you consider the Mosaic Laws binding upon your life you cannot ignore this command about adding or taking away from the word of God. We also have what Jesus has to say to Christians, those who are under the New Covenant:
I testify to everyone who hears the prophetic words of this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book. And if anyone takes away from the words of this prophetic book, God will take away his share of the tree of life and the holy city, written in this book. (Rev 22:18-19 HCSB)
If you claim to have a message from God that adds to or takes away from what scriptures says and means you are in danger of being under a curse from God.
Observations (Each quote is in bold italic print followed by comments in normal print.)
“He (Cain) permitted his mind to run in the same channel that led to Satan's fall--indulging the desire for self-exaltation and questioning the divine justice and authority.”
The Genesis account say nothing about Cain's motives nor what he may have been thinking as he brought his offering. We only know how he reacted when his offering was rejected.
“These brothers were tested…to prove whether they would believe and obey the word of God.”
The biblical record says nothing about this being a test from God to determine if they would believe and obey God’s word. We don’t even know what God’s word to them may have been that prompted them to bring their respective offerings.
“They were acquainted with the provision made for the salvation of man”
Other than the fact God covered the nakedness of their parents with hides of animals, we have no way of knowing what they may have known about God’s plan for the salvation of man.
“They knew that in these offerings they were to express faith in the Saviour”
Once again, we simply do not know what they did or did not know.
“Without the shedding of blood there could be no remission of sin”
While this is a true biblical statement, how can we know this is something they would have known?
“Besides this, the first fruits of the earth were to be presented before the Lord as a thank offering.”
The law of The First Fruits was first contained in the Mosaic Law thousands of years later. It is rather foolish to think that they knew what we now know simply because we now have that knowledge.
“Fire flashed from heaven and consumed the sacrifice.”
The bible does not say this about the offering brought by Abel.
“But Cain, disregarding the Lord's direct and explicit command”
Ellen is simply assuming they had been commanded when we really don’t know that.
“Abel pleaded with his brother to approach God in the divinely prescribed way”
How can Ellen know this when the bible simply does not say?
“both acknowledged the claims of God to reverence and worship.”
While God certainly does have a claim on our worship and reverence, obviously this is something Cain did not acknowledge.
“Cain and Abel represent two classes” “The class of worshipers who follow the example of Cain includes by far the greater portion of the world”
Now we see where the concept of ‘two classes of worshipers’ is derived from. However, an independent but Holy Spirit led search of scripture suggests at least three lines of worshipers. There are those who fully trust and obey God, those who attempt to bring a form of their own works before God and those who openly defy and rebel against God.
“True faith, which relies wholly upon Christ, will be manifested by obedience to all the requirements of God”
Well now, if you prayerfully study and understand Romans chapter four, you find that Abraham’s faith was founded on something much simpler but apparently hard for some to understand. He believed God and he was credited with righteousness. He knew he could do nothing nor bring nothing before God to secure or claim justification and righteousness. All through the record of his life, we see only repeated failures common to all sinners. His willingness to obey and sacrifice his own son was founded upon the knowledge that God would keep and do what he promised. He placed Isaac upon the alter without any idea of how God would keep his promise but knew God would do so.
Copyright 2011 BibleStudiesForAdventists.com. All rights reserved. Revised June 26, 2011. This website is published by Life Assurance Ministries, Glendale, Arizona, USA, the publisher of Proclamation! Magazine. Contact email: BibleStudiesForAdventists@gmail.com.
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