Ellen G. White Writings

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Beginning of the End, Page 26

The First Murderer and His Victim

This chapter is based on Genesis 4:1-15.

Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam, were very different in character. Abel saw justice and mercy in the Creator’s dealings with the fallen race, and he gratefully accepted the hope of redemption. But Cain permitted his mind to run in the same channel that led to Satan’s fall—questioning the divine justice and authority.

These brothers were tested to prove whether they would believe and obey the word of God. They understood the system of offerings that God had ordained. They knew they were to express faith in the Savior whom the offerings typified, and at the same time to acknowledge total dependence on Him for pardon. Without the shedding of blood, there could be no forgiveness of sin. They were to show their faith in the blood of Christ as the promised atonement by offering the firstborn of the flock in sacrifice.

The two brothers erected their altars alike, and each brought an offering. Abel presented a sacrifice from the flock of sheep. “And the Lord respected Abel and his offering” (Genesis 4:4). Fire flashed from heaven and consumed the sacrifice. But Cain, disregarding the Lord’s direct command, presented only an offering of fruit. There was no sign from heaven to show that it was accepted. Abel pleaded with his brother to approach God in the divinely prescribed way, but his appeals made Cain the more determined to follow his own will. As the eldest, he despised his brother’s counsel.

Cain came before God with resentment in his heart. His gift expressed no real sorrow for sin, for it would be an admission of weakness to follow the exact plan marked out by God, of trusting his salvation completely to the atonement of the promised Savior. He would come in his own merits. He would not bring the lamb and mingle its blood with his offering, but would present his fruits, the products of his labor, as a favor done to God. Cain obeyed in building an altar, obeyed in bringing a sacrifice, but gave only partial obedience. The essence—recognition of the need of a Redeemer—was left out.

Both of these brothers were sinners, and both acknowledged the

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