HEROES OF FAITH
Part One - Creation and Abel
Pastor Frank Dowsett (Australia)
IN previous studies on the subject of faith we have examined what it is, and most importantly, how we obtain it. We read in Romans 10:17;
"Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing from the Word of God. "
The word "hearing", we discovered, means "to be informed". Thus, we obtain our faith by being informed by the Word of God, and not just from the traditions or teachings of man. To the sincere Christian student, this Word of God must be our ONLY primary source. There are many other avenues of information, but they can only be accepted as they agree with God's Word.
But the phrase the "Word of God" cannot be restricted to the written Word, or the Bible. The saints of old had no written word as we have today. Their faith, or conviction, was based on; (a) The Word which was literally spoken; and (b) their full and complete acceptance of the integrity of the One who was, and is, "The Word." When He spoke, that was the end of the matter. God spoke, and it was so! They did not have the "benefit" of the advice of theological experts on which they could form their conclusions. Let us read the basis of their convictions of the might of the God in whom they believed. We read in Genesis chapter 1, and verses 3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, & 26;
3. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
6. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
9. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
11. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
14. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
20. And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
24. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
26. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Here are EIGHT specific instances in which it is recorded that God SPOKE every phase of creation into existence. We know that the actual Person of the Godhead who thus spoke, was no other than the One whom we know as Jesus Christ, and it is no coincidence that the number of times He spoke these commands was the number associated with His Name. We note also the following supporting references;
Psalm 33:6-9; "By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand In awe of him. For he spake and it was done; he commanded and it stood fast. "
John 1:1-3; "in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."
Revelation 19:1 l-13; "And 1 saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood and his name is called The Word of God."
It is fitting and proper then, that the very first recorded "act of faith" in this eleventh chapter of Hebrews should be an unqualified conviction in CREATION!
Hebrews 11:3; "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."
Romans 1:20; "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.."
2 Peter 3:3-7; "Knowing this first, that there shall come In the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water.
Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished..
But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men."
But the introduction and acceptance of the doctrine of "the evolution of the species" became the primary destroyer of "the faith once delivered to the saints". We read in Romans 1:21-23;
"Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. "
This depraved doctrine opened the doors for the saints to emulate the practices of the heathen, and worship the habits and activities of animals. And why not they asked, seeing that they were our ancestors.
The subject of "Faith" is no different in principle to any other Bible subject. We must start at the beginning. We cannot possibly have "Faith' if we are not absolutely assured in the integrity of the Creator of Faith. If we can't have faith in His creative works, then all we have is a forlorn hope that things will somehow turn out right. Thus, 'Faith" commences with our full and unqualified acceptance of the fact of Creation.
It is only then that we can turn to the study of the faith of the individuals who became our "Great Cloud of Witnesses".
The first mentioned of these Heroes of Faith is Abel. The account is found in Genesis 4:1-4;
"And Adam, knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, 1 have gotten a man from the LORD.
2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:"
Now let us look carefully at this first verse. There is a theory held by some, referred to as "The seed line theory", which teaches that Cain was the child born to Eve as a result of her having sexual intercourse with the serpent. This theory finally develops into the conclusion that the Jews all descended physically and literally from Satan, mainly supported by the statement of our Lord Jesus Christ to the effect that "they were of their father the devil". I wish to go on record that neither I, nor most Identity teachers and believers whom I know, support this theory which I personally consider to be totally evil and Satanic. Look at verse 1 above. The progression of events is quite clear. Adam had sexual intercourse vvith his wife Eve. As a result, Eve conceived. As the logical conclusion of this conception, she bore Cain. As a result of this birth, Eve gave thanks to God for His gift of life. How anyone in their right mind can twist this plain, unambiguous statement to mean that Satan was the father of Cain is quite beyond my understanding. But there is a further statement to be considered. In verse 2 we are told "And she again bare his brother Abel." Note that there is no statement of a further conception made in regard to Abel. The account records only ONE conception, but TWO births. If she conceived two children by two different fathers, then we could logically ask as to why God did not clearly indicate two conceptions, especially as one of them would have been by His arch-enemy. Personally, I believe that Cain and Abel were twins, Cain being the first born of the two lads, both being the sons of Adam.
We then note that when they grew to manhood, each of these lads followed different callings. Abel, we are informed, was a keeper, or feeder, of sheep. On the other hand, Cain tilled the ground. Strong's definiton (#5647) is interesting in that it defines "to till" as "to work, be a bondman, dress, serve, worship".
We then note that both men were religious. Both acknowledged the Lord. Both brought offerings to the Lord. In present-day terminology they would both be considered as good Christian lads. Cain brought a gift of the fruit of the ground which he tilled, whilst Abel brought an offering of the sheep which he tended. But something was wrong here, at least as far as God was concerned. We must ask ourselves the question; "On what basis did God make this decision to accept Abel's offering, and reject that of his brother Cain?" We can reasonably conclude that the Lord had spoken to both the lads and their parents as to the only way by which access to God could be restored. Otherwise, there could be no legal or moral ground upon which God could make this judgment.
The whole point and purpose of this incident being recorded in detail, both in Genesis and in Hebrews, was to reveal the one and only way by which we can regain access to God, and to the "Tree of Life" which had been forfeited in Eden.
God's Way involved the death of a substitute. The automatic and inevitable result of sin was, and is, death. We read of this in Ezekiel 18:4 and 20;
"The soul that sinneth, It shall die".
The "Laws contained in Ordinances", which were the sacrificial ordinances performed under the terms of the Old Covenant, were entirely designed and practiced on the God-Ordained principle of the offering, and acceptance, of the death of a designated animal as a substitute for the life of the sinner, whereby the sentence of death was remitted. As we read in Hebrews 9:22;
"And almost all things are by the law purged with blood, and without shedding of blood is no remission."
Both Cain and Abel must certainly have known this! Otherwise, why would one have obeyed the requirement and not the other?
Abel obeyed God's Way. He believed God. His faith was made manifest by the fact that he believed the Word of God; that is, what God had said! And don't let us forget that there were no theologians around to convince him that God meant something different to what He said.
On the other hand, Cain did things his own way. He disbelieved God, in that he took no notice of God's clearly defined requirements. It was the same story of his mother's temptation; "Did God really say that ... ?" His lack of faith was equally manifest. He invented what he considered to be a "better way". He offered to God the fruit of his own works - the fruit of the ground which he had tilled. But as we read in Genesis 3:17, God had placed a curse on the ground. Thus, Cain's offering was the fruit of a source which had been cursed by God!!!
But the source of Abel's offering, on the other hand, had the Lord's blessing, because it was the Lord's appointed way.
These are the "Two Ways" which have controlled the descendants of Adam ever since.
The "righteous" - the few - have followed God's Way, having "gone the way of Abel", even to persecution and death.
The "unrighteous" - the many - have "gone the way of Cain", as we read in Jude 1:10-11;
"But these speak evil of those things which they know not. But what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core."
Cain introduced a "new theology". Its basic principle was that "man must do something". It is still in almost universal favour and practice today!
But it is the "Way of Cain". As we read in Proverbs 14:12;
"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."
Man can do nothing of himself to restore his communion with God.
All that has to be done has already been done!
Perhaps it would be opportune to conclude this study with the words recorded in 1 John 3:7-14; (NIV)
"Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.
He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work.
No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.
This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.
This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother's were righteous. "
Abel learned and understood the Way of Righteousness through Obedience. Like so many who have followed after him, he possibly didn't even properly understand the full implications of what God required, nor even of what he had himself done.
He Just Believed God.
And in his faith, he never knew the example which he had set for God's children for centuries to come.
He sowed the seed of Faith, and reaped the reward of becoming one of God's "Great Cloud of Witnesses".
(Part Two will be in the next issue)
Back To Archive Contents