What can the worship of Cain and Abel teach us about “relevant worship” in the end times?
We learned in our last message that when Cain worshipped God in his own way, he was actually equating his ways with God’s. The consequences of God accepting Cain’s sacrifice would have been calamitous and as a result, God rejected his offering. Despite God warning him of what would happen if he chose not to rule over his sinful desires, Cain chose to rebel against God and try and convince his brother to join him in his rebellion.
Cain sought to persuade Abel that his rebellious cause was “righteous”. Like Eve, Cain tried to get Abel to look at the “benefits” of rebelling against God. But when Abel understood Cain’s purpose, he steadfastly rejected his brother’s proposal. The testimony of his parents concerning his downfall was not wasted on Abel. He did not want to repeat the tragic history of Adam and Eve and bring greater sorrow to them and to the God he loved. His faith and obedience to the Lord was unwavering and he would not forsake his God, even for his own family.
Many would do well to learn from this example, for our enemies in the last days will come from our own households (Mt. 10:35, 36). When the antichristian kingdom deceives the world, many people will be brought to their ruin by members of their own family. They will choose to serve it over God by the pleas of their deceived brethren.
But the faithful few who will serve the Lord will not heed them. Their allegiance to their Eternal Father will mean more to them than any earthly tie, as it should. It was by a member of his own family that Adam was deceived. How much more will many of his descendants be deceived by our own kindred in the last days!
God’s elect must not forget the lessons of His Word concerning this time. They must remember that the last temptation, the temptation to serve the antichrist over God, will also come from the ones they love. Though this will certainly pain them, they must not compromise their faith in God. Their calling and their faith will be as sure as their decision to obey Him and not man.
When he could not weaken or overcome Abel’s fidelity to God, Cain was so angry, he murdered his own brother in cold blood. Regard for God and family meant nothing when Cain was consumed in his sinful rage. All that mattered to him was vengeance, vindication for God refusing his rebellious offering. Had he the opportunity, Cain would have done to God what he did to Abel. When his sinful desire overtook his reasoning, nothing was out of bounds for Cain.
Such actions will not be beyond those deceived by the Antichrist. In the last days, those who refuse to take his mark, the mark of the beast, will be marked for death. When this order is given against God’s people, their own family members, deceived by the Antichrist, will seek to hunt them down.
There are many persons, groups, and organizations who are repeating the error of Cain, even now. They work to unite the world in all ways and means. No method or means are being exempted to accomplish this end. Their professed goal of world peace hides their true goal to unite humanity against God, just as Cain sought to unite with Abel to do likewise. They point to the “righteousness” of their cause, world peace, and lay out all the perceived “benefits” of doing so.
They not only seek to unify the nations on worldly matters, but in matters of religion as well. There are many, even among our faith, who advocate uniting on all beliefs common to us in order to achieve global harmony. But the price for this kind of unity is high, for it requires man to rebel against his Creator and His authority over the world. It requires him to set aside the Scriptures and look to man as the source of doctrinal authority in all matters pertaining to God. It requires him to ignore the fact that it was his sin that brought the many woes we face in the world today. (How can sinful man, in his sinful mindset, heal the world of over 6, 000 years of sin in one generation?) But ultimately, it reveals the final attempt of the author of sin to elevate himself as God.
Through Cain’s response to Abel’s refusal, we can truly understand how dangerous man’s attempt to unite the world really is. The world’s pursuit of peace will eventually require the persecution of those who disagree with it. It cannot coexist with those who maintain their fidelity to God. When they discover that they cannot sway them, the leaders of this world peace movement will be moved by the evil one to destroy them. All in the name of world peace.
Was Cain rewarded by God for murdering Abel? No! When he was called to account for his wrongdoing, Cain denied his actions. He was ultimately cast out from the family of God and the earth was cursed a second time (God cursed the ground for Adam’s sake at his expulsion from the Garden.).
Like Cain, many will deny their actions toward the faithful are evil, as they will believe themselves to be doing God’s service by massacring His saints. Forsaking the truth will make them vulnerable to the final deception. There will also be those who will know that their course is evil and will choose to do it anyway. But the end result will be the same: eternal exile.
When Cain was exiled, he feared that he would be cut off from God forever. The grief of it made him feel that his punishment was greater than he could bear. His sorrow will reflect the greater sorrow that the rebellious will feel at Jesus’ return. Jesus sacrificed His life for all mankind, so that we may be reconciled to God. His sacrifice opened the door for sinful man to repent and return to Him.
But there will be many, like Cain, who will not avail themselves of this opportunity. Rather than repent, Cain willingly chose to go out from the presence of the Lord forever. Cain departed from the Lord because he wanted to worship God in his own way. Mark this lesson carefully, everyone. When we choose to worship God in a way that He did not instruct us to, whether we know it or not, it ultimately leads us away from God.
Many are repeating the sin of Cain and risk bearing the same consequences at the Lord’s return. They do not know that their man-made worship is not pleasing to God. False teachings have been cherished and passed down to us from earlier generations and as a result, there is much confusion and dispute as to which is the correct way to worship the Lord. But the story of Cain and Abel answers the question very plainly: we are to worship God in His way. Worship that combines the teachings of false gods, the work of men’s hands, with the worship of the true God is not pleasing to Him. It is not “good enough.”
When this is made plain to God’s people, many of them will arise in wrath against the prophets God will send them. They will ignore His faithful warnings to repent of these erroneous ways and return to serving Him in His way. They will believe that because their ways were passed down for generations, they are in harmony with the Word of God.
“My parents were good people and they worshipped the Lord this way.”
“We’ve always done it like this.”
“God doesn’t care how you worship Him as long as you worship Him.”
They do not know that this misguided stubbornness will make them vulnerable to the final deception. When one refuses to be taught the truth, they open the way to receive error; and the final error that many will receive is the deceptive teaching of world peace.
This “righteous cause” of peace (versus the peace they should seek with Jesus) will require them to persecute and destroy those who choose to serve God and they will do it. They will deny their wrongdoing before men in carrying out this wicked course, but they cannot deny it before the God they profess to serve. In that day, He will glorify those who chose to follow the way of His servant, Abel. They will heed the call of the Lord to worship Him as He commanded them to do in the last days. Their worship will be accepted and they will be made ready to endure the persecution of those among us that will follow in the way of Cain.
We must not wait until the last minute to build the faith in and obedience to our God we need before the coming crisis. We must search our ways and search the Scriptures to determine if we are worshipping Him in spirit and in truth. The two are not mutually exclusive, but inseparably linked.
Every belief and form of worship must be weighed against the standard of truth, the Word of God. We must not only be determined to serve the Lord, but we must also be willing to be taught by Him. In the days before His coming, this is crucial to our preparation and our protection from deception. The time for our “final offering” is near. Shall we do well and be accepted or shall we not”? Will we offer Him a worship of perfect obedience or that which we think is “good enough”?