Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin
The Doctrine of Dispensations. Dispensation of Conscience.
The Mystery of the mark of Cain.
We have now completed the first dispensation of innocence and saw that even though man was placed in a perfect environment, he failed and rejected the plan of God for that dispensation.
GEN 2:7 Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
GEN 2:15-17, Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.”
Then while in the garden of Eden we read in GEN 3:6, When the woman saw that the tree [which God had forbidden] was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
It was at this point that man experienced for the first time a knowledge of “good and evil” that brought into existence the human conscience when his problems really began. For in GEN 3:7-8, we read that for the first time, The eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
Notice for the first time man experienced some negative vibes.
In GEN 3:7, they realized that they were naked and they became ashamed or embarrassed which they were not back in GEN 2:25. In GEN 2:25, before the fall, The man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. For the first time, they were conscious of the fact that they had disobeyed God ; and they sewed fig leaves together and tried to cover their sin. In GEN 3:10, now that they have a conscience, they were afraid, and they were living in fear.
Gen:3:9-10, Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you [Adam, not where are you both, Adam and the woman]?” And he [Adam] said, “I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”
These are the four “I's” of Adam. “I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” What a contrast to what Adam was like before the fall and before he did what the Lord said that he did in
GEN 3:17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat from it'; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.
So much for the first dispensation, the dispensation of innocent perfection! Now, it was at time that because they now had knowledge of good and evil that they also experienced a conscience of what is good and what is evil. And so after the first dispensation which is a period of time that we call the dispensation of innocence, we are not ready for the second dispensation, called theologically, the dispensation of conscience.
HEB 11:4, By faith [by means of pistis or doctrine] Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts [blood sacrifice], and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.
Man's failure - his conscience was so defiled and perverted that we read that God destroyed those who were on the earth in GEN 6:5-7, Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. And the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.”
Man's Tendency = He fell away from God - GEN 6:11-13.
Closing Event = Judgment - flood - GEN 7:11-23.
So the dispensation of the conscience was a period of negative volition beginning with the first murder in history, GEN 4:1-15. Let's look at it one more time to get to our main message on the Mark of Cain.
GEN 4:1, Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the Lord.” She was so deceived from the fall that she thought Cain was the male child from the Lord and the fulfillment of GEN 3:15, which was the first promise in human history and the first prophecy in human history. Remember in GEN 3:15, after Adam and the woman fell, our Lord said to the serpent in front of Adam and the woman; GEN 3:15, “And I will put enmity Between you [Satan, indwelling the serpent] and the woman [the virgin Mary], And between your seed [Satan, the father of all unbelievers] and her seed [TLJC]; He [TLJC] shall bruise you on the head, And you [Satan] shall bruise him on the heel.”
GEN 4:1, “Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the Lord.”
Cain's name Qayin means “one who was made with the help of the Lord.” What hope she much have had when Cain was born thinking that he was the promise see of GEN 3:15. She probably thought that this child, Cain, was to be the one who would bring the end of Satan and restore Eden or Paradise. However, in GEN 4:2, “And again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.”
The name Abel is also very interesting when you learn that Habel means vanity, vapor, nothingness and even disappointment. It's not really the type of name you would like to give to your child. However, the name assigned indicates disillusion on the part of the original parents. By the time that Abel was born, they discovered what they had left behind by way of perfect environment. They had discovered some of the repercussions in history from the old sin nature and they had come to the point of disillusion and discouragement. For they left behind a perfect environment! Perfect sex! Perfect food! No work, no sweat, no kids.
Now right away I want you to notice something else. Cain and Abel are brothers. Cain turned out to be a murderer and a loser in life. Abel turned out to be a winner and a visible hero. Now, they both came from the same home. They had the same parents. They came from the same environment. Therefore, there's no place for blaming the parents! And there's no place for the parents blaming themselves. Cain was a product of his own decisions not his genes.
EZE 18:20, “The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son's iniquity;”
The righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself. So, Cain was the first unbeliever recorded in human history. Cain was also the first criminal in human history. And I want you to notice something! Adam and the woman were right man and right woman, designed for each other by God, and, in spite of that, their children did not all turn out right.
GEN 4:3-4, So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. And Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering;
In the case of Abel, the animal sacrifices were a part of “worship ritual” and they were meaningful to Abel because Abel had doctrine in his soul. HEB 11:4, By means of doctrine [resident in the soul] Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain. Cain offered certain types of gifts and sacrifices but they had no meaning, there was no doctrine in Cain's soul...Cain was an unbeliever and therefore was minus the appropriate doctrine.
Abel is a picture of the believer who has P.V.T.D. and does the right thing in the right way. Cain is a picture of an individual who is minus doctrine and tries to impress God with his works.
GEN 4:6-15, Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin [or an animal or a sin offering] is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” And Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?” And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to Me from the ground. “And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you cultivate the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you; you shall be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.” “And Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is too great to bear! Behold, Thou hast driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Thy face I shall be hidden, and I shall be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and it will come about that whoever finds me will kill me.” So the Lord said to him, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord appointed a sign for Cain, lest anyone finding him should slay him.”
So, this dispensation began with Cain murdering his brother Abel, GEN 4:8, it ends with God destroying the human race, with the exception of Noah and his family, a total of 8; 1PE 3:20. And we are told who motivated this murder in 1JO 3:12, Cain was of the evil one, and murdered his brother. Cain was the original criminal in human history. And what was the reason behind it? In 1JO 3:12, Because his deeds [his form of worshipping God] were evil [religious], but those of his brother were honorable and righteous.”
Cain offered to the Lord the result of his own sweat and toil, his own good works, he should have purchased a blood sacrifice or asked one from his brother Abel, who was a keeper of the flocks. Remember in GEN 3:19, man was to live by the sweat of his brow. And so, in the immediate era following the fall we have envy, jealousy, arrogance, and this was the motive for the first murder. This is a also the beginning in history of capital punishment. Capital punishment has been authorized form the time of the first murder, right down to this moment.
Capital punishment began in Gen 9. It continued in the Mosaic Law, EXO 21:14; Then in the hypostatic union, MAT 26:52; In ROM 13:1-8, it continues in the Church-age; In the Tribulation, terrorism is dealt with by capital punishment; In REV 2:26-28, capital punishment will even be practiced in the Millennium.
Here's something that people overlook and try to discredit the Bible by saying, “If murder demands capital punishment then why did God allow Cain to keep on living?” The reason why Cain was not executed was because it had not been a law up to the time of Cain. Again, here's where dispensational truth answers the seeming contradictions in the word of God.
There are some other reasons why God kept Cain alive. The mark of Cain was also the mark of divine protection not a mark of violence. The mark of Cain permits Cain to remain alive so that he can have an opportunity to be saved. People are always interested in what the mark of Cain was. I do not know what the mark of Cain was but I do have some facts to consider. It is impossible to tell whether it was some physical mark, some sign upon in his body, which indicated that he was God's property, or something else. We simply do not (as all of us are), an object of universal pity. But the point is, even the guilty man is still God's property.