Message 21 of the Life-Study of Genesis continues with God’s dealing with man’s first fall. First, we see that God disciplined man with suffering primarily to restrict him for his own protection. Concerning the woman, God has ordained suffering in childbearing and the ruling of the husband. Concerning the man, God has ordained the ground growing thorns and thistles, sorrow, sweat, and labor during his whole life, and returning to the ground (death). Although they seen negative, these sufferings appointed by God are actually for our security and protection by restricting the evil in man.
Second, along with the ordained sufferings, Adam experienced the anticipated redemption, which was to be accomplished four thousand years later through Jesus Christ. This can be seen with Adam’s naming his wife Eve which means “Living” and God’s clothing Adam and Eve with coats of skins. These skins most likely came from lambs which were sacrificed as man’s substitution and are to cover man implying union. Both of these aspects typify Christ as the Lamb of God (John 1:29; Heb. 9:22; Gal. 3:27).
Third, God closed the way to the tree of life in order to prevent man from living forever with their sinful nature. God did this by means of cherubim and a flaming sword, signifying respectively God’s glory (Eze. 9:3; Heb 9:5), God’s holiness (Deut. 4:24; 9:3; Heb. 12:29), and God’s righteousness (Lam. 3:42-43; Rom. 2:5). However, through His all-inclusive death on the cross, Christ fufilled all the requirements of God’s glory, holiness, and righteousness, and thereby opened for us a new a living way to the tree of life (Heb. 10:19-20, 22)! Now we can once again come to the tree of life which typifies God Himself as our life (John 10:10, 15:1, 14:6; Rev. 22:14).
With the background of man’s first fall and God’s promise of salvation, messages 22-23 describe the second fall of man. The cause of the second fall was the devil’s gain and man’s presumption in forsaking God’s way of salvation, as seen in the contrast between Cain and Abel. Cain was a tiller of the ground who worked and lived primarily for himself. As such, he offered to God his produce according to his own concept, and not according to God’s revelation concerning the need of a bleeding sacrifice (Heb. 9:22). Because of this, God rejected his offerings and Cain’s countenance fell, resulting in his murdering of Abel, a true worshipper of God. Unlike Cain, Abel worked and lived as a feeder of sheep which must have been only for offering to God since man did not eat meat before the flood (Gen. 1:29, 9:3). In other words, Abel lived and worked primarily for God’s satisfaction and he worshipped God according to God’s revelation. As such, he was the first priest of God as well as a type of Christ. Here is an important lesson for us: we must serve God according to God’s revelation and not according to our own concept, no matter how good it may be. Otherwise, we may end up being Cains who persecute genuine worshippers while thinking that we are serving God (John 16:2), like Saul of Tarsus. May we take heed to these accounts in Genesis and ask God to open our eyes to see His way of salvation!
Do not say that the leading brothers in the church are the only ones who feed the sheep and that the other brothers and sisters must care for their employment, profession, and business. Apparently, you are working at your job or studying in school; actually you are feeding the sheep for God. (Witness Lee, Life-Study of Genesis, Message 22, Online Section 2)
To read online: Living Stream Ministry
To listen to the corresponding radio broadcasts with commentary: LSM Radio