Cain & Abel

According to the Genesis account, it appears that Adam and Eve's first and second born children were boys - Cain and Abel. These two worked at different occupations (Cain as a farmer, Abel as a shepherd), but the true difference between them is found in their relationship to God. Abel pursued righteousness, and brought a sin offering before the Lord. Cain did not.

A Chinese word for RIGHTEOUSNESS is y?. This word appropriately pictures a SHEEP covering over ME. Further, the word ME reveals a HAND with a KNIFE in it. Our righteousness depends upon a sacrifice. This is apparent in the word chū (BEGINNING), which pictures God making atonement for Adam and Eve by clothing them with tunics of skin (see the Garden of Eden article). Abel made sacrifice for himself, seeking atonement for sin, so that he might be righteous.

The word f? pictured Adam's happiness while in the garden of Eden. It revealed that his happiness was based upon his presence with God in the garden (see the Garden of Eden article). Though man could not continue in the garden of Eden, happiness is still possible for man. Consider another word for HAPPINESS (xi?ng). On the left side of the image, we see the character for GOD, while the right side shows a SHEEP. Happiness, like righteousness, is found through a sacrifice. For Abel and those who walked in his likeness, that sacrifice was the offering of the blood of bulls, goats and sheep. For you and I today, it is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, of whom John the Baptist said,

Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29, 36, NKJV)

Elder Brother & Violent
The Genesis account indicates that Cain was the firstborn son to Adam and Eve, Abel's older brother. The Chinese character xiōng tells us about the ELDER BROTHER. Its etymology reveals him to be the MOUTH MAN. It is the case in most cultures that the elder brother is the spokesman for the family.

Though Cain was the first elder brother, xiōng could be used of any older brother. However, xiōng is the base of another word that reveals it was first used to picture Cain. The word xiong means VIOLENT. Cain was the mouth man by birth, but he became a MURDER MAN by his actions. Moses wrote:

...Cain talked with Abel his brother, and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. (Genesis 4:8, NKJV)

The mark which we see on Cain, identifying him not just as the older brother, but now a violent murderous man is also mentioned in the Bible. After God pronounced Cain's punishment for murdering Abel (Genesis 4:10-12), Cain responded:

...'My punishment is greater than I can bear! will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.' And the LORD said to him, 'Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.' And the LORD set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him. (Genesis 4:13-15, NKJV)

What is the mark? The Genesis account does not tell us, but the Chinese language does! On a night that stretched into the early hours of the morning, I was trying to determine what the mark on Cain was. As I stretched my neck - I saw it! The mark which identifies the violent man is the number SEVEN rotated about 140 degrees. This was the warning to any who might think to kill Cain, that vengeance would come upon them sevenfold. [NOTE - the rotation of the number is not significant, it is simply to fit it into the image better]

Consider one last word which uses the image for ELDER BROTHER (xiōng). The word zh?, which means PRAY, shows the elder brother on the right side of the image, with God on the left. Not only was the elder brother to be the spokesman for the family, but he should also fill the role of spiritual leadership. Cain did not exercise spiritual leadership as he should have - his younger brother was the spiritual leader among the children of Adam and Eve.

by William J. Stewart

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