Here is a simple rhetorical question for the reader. Is mankind more intelligent than God or is God more intelligent than mankind?
We have seen in section I5 on pre-adamic man, that the bible is written in a very intelligent way, and of course Jesus said that it was so written...
18 For truly I say to you that sooner would heaven and earth pass away than for one smallest letter or one particle of a letter to pass away from the Law [of God, the whole bible] by any means and not all things take place (Matthew 5).
Since the bible is written intelligently and diligently, we have to read it intelligently and diligently. Here are 3 examples of how intelligently it is written and how intelligently we need to read it. First impressions of bible accounts are often incorrect. The holy spirit will wrong foot you if you do not think about every word in the account and put the entire jigsaw together. Our experience is that pretty much every time you revisit an account you see something in it that you did see before.
[A] Cain and Abel
[B] The first 6 sons of Jacob
[C] No man has ascended into heaven but he that descended from heaven
And Abel came to be a herder of sheep, but Cain became a cultivator of the ground.
3 And it came about at the expiration of some time that Cain proceeded to bring some fruits of the ground as an offering to Jehovah.
4 But as for Abel, he too brought some firstlings of his flock, even their fatty pieces. Now while Jehovah was looking with favour upon Abel and his offering,
5 he did not look with any favour upon Cain and upon his offering. And Cain grew hot with great anger, and his countenance began to fall.
6 At this Jehovah said to Cain: Why are you hot with anger and why has your countenance fallen?
7 If you turn to doing good, will there not be an exaltation? But if you do not turn to doing good, there is sin crouching at the entrance, and for you is its craving; and will you, for your part, get the mastery over it?
8 After that Cain said to Abel his brother: Let us go over into the field. So it came about that while they were in the field Cain proceeded to assault Abel his brother and kill him.
This account is typical of the way in which the bible is written. Please therefore listen to the classroom lesson from God:
Cain was a cultivator of the ground, so he brought some fruits of the ground. Abel was a herder of sheep so he brought some sheep. The question that the reader is supposed to ask is: What on earth was wrong with Cainís sacrifice?
The account is written so that at first sight it looks like God favoured Abel over Cain out of partiality, having no good reason in justice. If that were the case then there would be no point in serving him, so if you like you can just write God off in Genesis chapter 4 (if you havenít already done so as a result of his claims in Genesis 1 and 2 that is).
Q: Why did God accept Abelís sacrifice and yet reject Cainís sacrifice?
The standard answer is:
A: Because Abel offered his sacrifice with faith, but Cain had the wrong attitude and offered his sacrifice without faith.
Or even worse an answer of the type:
A: Obviously Cain did not have any faith because look what he did after his sacrifice!
Both of these answers are entirely wrong and all modern churches to our knowledge have spectacularly failed to answer this holy poser from God. This question is easy to answer if you understand what sacrifice is all about. In fact the question could just as well be phrased as: What is a sacrifice? To answer this, consider the famous words of Samuel:
22 To obey is better than a sacrifice, to pay attention than the fat of rams (1 Samuel 15).
Obviously avoiding the sin that requires the sacrifice is better than sinning and then making a sacrifice to pay for that sin. So sacrifice comes about because of disobedience. So sacrifices existed to teach us about obedience. With this in mind ask yourself this next question...
Q: How many unspecified sacrifices did God ever prescribe for the Jews?
Or ask yourself this question...
Q: Did God ever say to the sons of Israel bring along whatever you like and Iíll judge your offering on its merit?
A: None and No.
Every sacrifice under the Law was precisely prescribed by God as to the offering itself, the day of offering and even the method of making the offering. Take for example the regulations for the festival of Weeks under the Law of Moses...
16 To the day after the seventh sabbath you should count,
50 days, and you must present a new grain offering to Jehovah.
17 Out of your dwelling places you should bring 2 loaves as a wave offering. Of 2 tenths of an ephah of fine flour they should prove to be. They should be baked leavened, as first ripe fruits to Jehovah.
18 And you must present along with the loaves 7 sound male lambs, each a year old, and one young bull and 2 rams. They should serve as a burnt offering to Jehovah along with their grain offering and their drink offerings as an offering made by fire, of a restful odour to Jehovah.
19 And you must render up one kid of the goats as a sin offering and 2 male lambs, each a year old, as a communion sacrifice.
20 And the priest must wave them to and fro along with the loaves of the first ripe fruits, as a wave offering before Jehovah, along with the 2 male lambs. They should serve as something holy to Jehovah for the priest (Leviticus 23).
As you can see the sacrifice was defined precisely by God. This was because he was trying to teach obedience through sacrifice, he was not trying to teach sacrifice itself.
For example if God specified a kid of the goats, and someone brought along a whole herd of cattle, would that be acceptable? Or if God stipulated an unblemished lamb, and someone presented a picasso, a ferarri and a prize winning Dalmatian to the high priest, how far would that get him? If God stipulated a turtle dove and someone brought along the rights to the whole Beatles back catalogue, would that work for God?
The reason that God does not explicitly say why he rejected Cainís sacrifice and accepted Abelís sacrifice is that if you understand what sacrifice is supposed to be about, and if you credit God with being fair, you will work out for yourself that Cain offered the wrong sacrifice. The point is that God wants you to think about it and work it out for yourself. And if you are not prepared to do that, then he does not want to show you his true love and he does not want to show you his true justice. God does not want to explain himself to his enemies, he wants to explain himself only to his friends. Because his enemies abuse divine knowledge for their own benefit. So he keeps them in the dark in order to lessen their destructive effects. This was also why Jesus said to his disciples at one point: You can either drink my blood or take a hike!
53 Accordingly Jesus said to them: Most truly I say to you: Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves (John 6).
He knew that such a statement was revolting to the Jews under Law, but he made no qualification that they would, in fact, have only to drink wine which symbolically represents his blood, because he was testing them to weed out those who had seen all of his miracles but continued to put no faith in him. John 6 was a faith test by Jesus of his disciples. Genesis 4 is a love test by God of the reader.
Now modern churches do not understand sacrifice to God. They understand self sacrifice, which is giving God what they want to give him, but they do not understand sacrifice to God, which is giving God want he wants to be given.
God could not possibly have accepted Abelís sacrifice unless Abel had offered him precisely what he had prescribed, and on the correct day. So since God did accept Abelís sacrifice, we know that he must have stipulated to the pair of them that they should both bring:
4 Some firstlings of the flock even their fatty pieces (Genesis 4).
Cain brought 'some fruits of the ground'. That was not what God asked for, so he rejected it. That is the end of the matter. But in fact the ground was cursed due to Adam, so Cain added insult to disobedience and offered to God the fruits of his fatherís disobedience!
17 And to Adam he said: Because you listened to your wife's voice and took to eating from the tree concerning which I gave you this command, 'You must not eat from it,' cursed is the ground on your account. In pain you will eat its produce all the days of your life (Genesis 3).
One might also have a look at Genesis 5, the subsequent chapter, in one's attempts to understand Genesis 4. If so then one will find:
29 And he proceeded to call his name Noah, saying: This one will bring us comfort from our work and from the pain of our hands resulting from the ground which Jehovah has cursed (Genesis 5).
Aha! So Cain offered fruits of the Ďcursedí ground to be precise. This does not mean that the fruits themselves were cursed. For sons of Adam were all vegetarians, eating these very fruits, until after the flood when God said to Noah (since there wasnít much vegetation around):
3 Every moving animal that is alive may serve as food for you. As in the case of green vegetation, I do give it all to you (Genesis 9).
When Noah came out of the ark he made a sacrifice of some of the clean beasts to God, who responded as follows:
21 And Jehovah began to smell a restful odour, and so Jehovah said in his heart: Never again shall I call down evil upon the ground on man's account, because the inclination of the heart of man is bad from his youth up; and never again shall I deal every living thing a blow just as I have done (Genesis 8).
At this point sons of Adam became carnivorous. After the flood the earth was no longer cursed, the flood baptised the earth as it were.
So Cainís sacrifice was not cursed but it was seriously substandard, for the poor quality of the produce of the ground was in fact a punishment on men, and a cause of suffering and pain for them, and here Cain is offering what God was using to punish him personally, back to God!!
But that blooper was not why the sacrifice was rejected. It was rejected quite simply because it was the wrong sacrifice.
Furthermore men are incapable of judging faith, we can only judge works. So we are simply not in a position to judge either Cain or Abel as to their faith. In fact under the law of works, if you absolutely hated God and the high priest and your brother and had just finished bullying your entire family yet brought along the correct sacrifice, possibly to show off to your peers, then your sins were forgiven.
The purpose of Sacrifice to God is to humiliate the sacrificer and to glorify God. One does not bring to the altar of God oneís latest screenplay or the fruits of oneís commercial success, in order to get a pat on the back or an Oscar or the Queens award for industry or the medal of freedom from the High Priest. One brings instead something pointing forward to the sacrifice of Jesus, so that God can give him the Oscar that he deserves. As for our efforts, they are not worthy of consideration when compared to the sacrifice and love and righteousness of the Christ and his father.
Here is the Genesis account of the birth of the first 6 sons of Jacob.
When Jehovah came to see that Leah was hated, he then opened her womb, but
Rachel was barren.
32 And Leah became pregnant and brought a son to birth and then called his name Reuben, for she said: It is because Jehovah has looked upon my wretchedness, in that now my husband will begin to love me.
33 And she became pregnant again and brought a son to birth and then said: It is because Jehovah has listened, in that I was hated and so he gave me also this one. Hence she called his name Simeon.
34 And she became pregnant yet again and brought a son to birth and then said: Now this time my husband will join himself to me, because I have borne him 3 sons. His name was therefore called Levi.
35 And she became pregnant once more and brought a son to birth and then said: This time I shall laud Jehovah. She therefore called his name Judah. After that she left off giving birth (Genesis 29).
1 When Rachel came to see that she had borne nothing to Jacob, Rachel got jealous of her sister and began to say to Jacob: Give me children or otherwise I shall be a dead woman.
2 At this Jacob's anger burned against Rachel and he said: Am I in the place of God, who has held back the fruit of the belly from you?
3 So she said: Here is my slave girl Bilhah. Have relations with her, that she may give birth upon my knees and that I, even I, may get children from her.
4 With that she gave him Bilhah her maidservant as wife, and Jacob had relations with her.
5 And Bilhah became pregnant and in time bore Jacob a son.
6 Then Rachel said: God has acted as my judge and has also listened to my voice, so that he gave me a son. That is why she called his name Dan.
7 And Bilhah, Rachel's maidservant, became pregnant once more and in time bore a second son to Jacob.
8 Then Rachel said: With strenuous wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister. I have also come off winner! So she called his name Naphtali.
9 When Leah came to see that she had left off giving birth, she proceeded to take Zilpah her maidservant and to give her to Jacob as wife (Genesis 30).
At first sight it looks like Leah gave birth to Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah, then Bilhah, Rachel's maidservant, gave birth to Dan and Naphtali. As a result all Jewish theologians and all Christian churches today have the birth order of these sons as Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan Naphtali.
But there is one little piece of the puzzle that this interpretation misses. When Bilhah gave birth to her second son Rachel said: With strenuous wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister. I have also come off winner!
Agreed, most but not all bible interpretations are made by men, and we are not normally that interested in the noises women make when they are giving birth, or in the things that they say during that process, which may not be very complimentary. But it was not Bilhah who called her second born child Naphtali, it was Rachel. And Rachel herself did not give birth being unable at that time to conceive. Incidentally according to the law back then (before the law of Moses), Bilhah, the maidservant, was owned by Rachel, and so Rachel also owned her children, and so could name them herself.
So here is the 64 million dollar question: Why would Rachel think that she was the winner in the procreation race with her sister at the birth of Naphtali?
Answer: She had one more child than Leah at that time.
Obviously Rachel would have realised that she was losing the baby race straight after Reuben was born. She would not have needed to see 4 children from Leah before she started competing with her sister. So the birth order must have been...
Reuben, Dan, Naphtali, Simeon, Levi, Judah.
In this way Rachel drew level at one all with the birth of Dan, and then went one baby ahead at 2:1 with the birth of Naphtali. At this point she was in the lead, she was the winner for a while. But then Leah came back with Simeon, the equaliser and it was 2 all. Then with the births of Levi and Judah, Leah went 4:2 ahead.
Moreover, no man has ascended into heaven but he that descended from heaven, the
Son of man (John 3).
If no man has ascended into heaven except the son of man who descended, then the son of man had already ascended before he said this statement. So Jesus, the son of man, had ascended to heaven before he descended as Jesus. But if he had ascended to heaven before he descended as Jesus, then he must have descended as someone else before that ascension in order that he could actually ascend. For it is impossible to ascend into heaven without first descending from heaven. So Jesus had descended from heaven before and then ascended back and then he descended again and made the statement above.
In other words, when Jesus came to preach to the Jews and to give his life for all mankind, this was at least his second visit to us. In other words he had come here before as someone else, before Jesus.
This information is simply an earthquake, but it is merely one step of logic away from John 3:13 above. Why has mankind been unable to take that step? Because we throw away our logic when we join a church. We believe the lie perpetrated by control freak priests, that faith involves taking things on trust from a priest. It most certainly does not. It involves serving God with one's God given mind.
Search and see if any church other than the Lords' Witnesses has ever understood this one sentence!
The bible is brilliantly written and every little detail does contain a great spiritual gem, hidden for thousands of years. As Solomon said in his second Proverb...
4 if you keep seeking for it as for
silver, and as for hid treasures you keep searching for it,
5 in that case you will understand the fear of Jehovah, and you will find the very knowledge of God (Proverbs 2).
The point is that you have to dig, you have to think logically about every scripture. God did not explicitly say why he rejected Cain's sacrifice, he did not directly list the birth order of Jacob's first 6 kids and Jesus did not flatly say that he had been down here before as somebody else, but the bible does say all three of these things if you read it with your whole mind.
Hopefully this section will help the reader to lay bare the exuberance of the literary genius of our God. Hopefully he will begin to grasp the extent of the linguistic dexterity employed in his perfect book. For the king of the love freaks is a teacher whose moral finesse breaks your heart whilst his incisive metaphors wrench your neurons into divine activity. The very activity that Adam first taught to pre-adamic man, to whom he was sent to give everlasting life through Jesus.
So the inescapable conclusion is that God wants us to think really hard and really deeply about every word of his book. He wants us to look behind the scriptures, to look through the scriptures, to look ahead of the scriptures to look beneath the scriptures and to look above the scriptures, to misquote General Norman Schwarzkopf in the first Gulf War. This is what a spiritual being is (not Stormy Norman, but a person who sees through the physical to the underlying spiritual truth). Spirituality is looking behind the physical with the eyes of the mind to the spiritual cause. The bible, by its very construction, is teaching us to see beyond the physical.
This divine teaching method does not only apply to the holy book. It applies to the entirety of creation as Isaac Newton believed. Let us therefore present you with two key examples from nature of this type of thinking...
Why does God permit the terrible disease of Cancer to torture to mutilate and to kill his children whom he loves so much? Is it because God is a sick and cruel murderer? Is it because God is not very good at genetic engineering and made a few mistakes in our construction so that our DNA goes haywire occasionally? Or is it because he is trying to teach us that any form of corruption (financial, moral, political etc) is ultimately terminal to society, if not eradicated completely?
We all know someone who has died of cancer, which is cellular corruption. But what really have we learned from their pain and their death? Does corruption have a future? So please understand that the death of a loved one to this disease is not a waste.
In fact it is just as heroic and significant as a soldier dying in battle. The soldier died for his country or for his beliefs. The cancer victim dies for your beliefs and for the future of your society, which future is the Kingdom of God. That is the big picture. It is our understanding that God wishes to turn your memories of such deaths and of such suffering into an unforgettable moral lesson that will prevent you having any part in cancerous activity in the future.
For the cancer victim himself, when he is resurrected, he will know for a fact that corruption is terminal. Whenever he sees it in others and whenever he is tempted to indulge in it himself, he will recall its effect on his first body and say. I am not going there. So his pain and his death will be his future inoculation against corruption. All the world is corrupt especially the banks the governments and the intelligence services. This is causing a lot of pain to a lot of people. Cancer is the cure for this corruption once it is understood!
Why does God permit the terrible distress that results from class A drugs? Why does he permit such a terrible physical trap door to shadow our every step in life? Is it because God loves to see us lose our minds to an inanimate chemical? Does he revel in the subjugation of all of our emotions by a biochemical need? Or is it that any form of idolatry (worship of any person, any creed, any political system, any sporting team, any creation of man, any non divine creation of God, such as women, any financial instrument, any form of status, any form of sex or any lifestyle) is ultimately terminal to society, if not eradicated completely. And we all know someone who is addicted to a drug, which is biochemical idolatry, but we have none of us learned this lesson. Does idolatry have a future? Did God give us free will in order for us to give it away to a drug whether physical or metaphorical? Surely not. Idolatry is spiritual cancer, it corrupts your spiritual DNA.