Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” 2 And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”
All things start or originate from somewhere or someone, and the Bible tells us when (or with whom) false religion first began. Now it is true that Cain was not serving the false gods associated with many of the Satanic religions we know of today. But any system of “religion” that serves anyone but the One True God serves the false god known as Satan Himself. So even though Cain did not, for but three examples, follow the religions of Hinduism, Islam, and Confucianism, he was still serving the same person every system that denies God worships. There are only two options in this life—either God or Satan. And even for those whose aim it is to please the God of the Bible, zeal without knowledge is always dangerous (Proverbs 19:2) because the road to Hell is often paved with good intentions. Zeal without faith results in nothing.
Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.2 For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.
In verse one of Genesis four, “knew Eve his wife” refers to Adam having sexual intercourse with her. The words, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord” should be taken as an expression of joy and thankfulness on her part from seeing the birth of her child. Abel was most likely born later since the context doesn’t indicate that the brothers were twins.
Cain represents the first recorded instance in Scripture of someone trying to work their way to heaven and achieve eternal life apart from faith and grace alone in Jesus Christ. In verse three, the text says (after an unknown and unspecified amount of time) that Cain and Able brought their offerings to the Lord. Ables’s offering of the firstborn of his flock was an act of faith that demonstrated the future sacrifice of the coming Messiah (even though Able and all the Old Testament saints had limited knowledge of how their sins would be paid for). Able demonstrated saving faith just like his parents, who had accepted the coats of skin (representing the future sacrifice of Jesus Christ) offered to them by the Lord (Genesis 3:21).
However, our first parents initially began to head the wrong direction when they sowed clothes of leaves for themselves (which was an act of trying to solve the problem of sin and death by their own way-religion) Genesis 3:7. Thankfully, God was gracious enough to give Adam and Eve a chance to correct their error (which they did upon the Lord’s own offer). On the other hand, Cain was allowed to correct his mistake but refused to do so because of his prideful reluctance to approach God in true saving faith (which would have demonstrated his sinfulness and need for a Savior). As James 1:20 rightly says, man’s anger does not produce God’s righteousness. The jealousy and hatred displayed by Cain’s thoughts, words, and actions all point to the fact that he was an unregenerated unbeliever who chose the broad way of destruction that leads to death (Matthew 7:13-14). His lack of repentance after murdering his brother indicates he never believed in Christ. 1 John 3:15 (the word brother can refer to any person, believer or unbeliever) describes Cain quite well when it says, “whoever hates his brother is a murder, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” Verse twelve, right before it in the same context, says, “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.” Contrary to what some have believed, Cain (and no other person in history) was not physically descended from the Devil. He and all unbelievers can only be described this way because they are on his side under his power and control (only by free will). Satan cannot force people to resist God, but God has endowed humans with free will. Those under the power of the evil one are only so because they have given themselves over to him.
Cain’s legacy has since carried on up to the present day. From the moment he first sinned, there would be people from that point forward who would try to “do something for God.” But, in reality, the human race needed the Lord to do something for them. And this our gracious heavenly Father did by sending His One and only Son to die on the cross to pay for all our sins, past, present and future (John 3:16). Christ has already done all the work for us by taking the penalty of our sins upon Himself (Isaiah 53:5). But this offer of eternal life has to be accepted through faith (Hebrews 11:6). It is the height of human folly to believe the created can help itself without the need of the Creator. Pride was the first original sin committed by the great deceiver himself (Isaiah 14). And all those who never did or will believe, like the devil, are too proud to accept their need for a Savior.
False religion is far from the only dangerous obstacle Satan has thrown into the mix of his world system. Even things that are not sinful in and of themselves can be used to propagate lies and distractions meant to lead people astray. We see demonic influence in many spheres of human life, from music and entertainment politics to the education system. Luke 4:5-8 indicates that God has allowed Satan some (not complete or entire because God is the supreme ruler) control and rulership of the world. Indeed, this has been the case since Adam and Eve’s fall. When he tempted our Lord in the wilderness, the Devil made it clear that much of the world was under his authority and influence. Satan’s influence is described in this context because he enjoys it to a degree that he never had before the fall of the first people.
5 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written,“ ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”
Most of the world lies under Satan’s influence (the kosmos diabolicus) because most have turned away from God. Adam and Eve relinquished the degree of power and influence they had by giving in to the devil’s temptations. In his own clever way, Satan (the Father of lies John 8:44) attempted a similar attack on Jesus to receive complete (not just partial as has been his lot since the first humans sinned) control of the entire world. Had our Lord given in, He would have failed His mission, and eternal life for all humanity would not be a reality because God would have been proven a liar. But thankfully, Christ has defeated sin and death by His own death on the cross. Every aspect of Christ’s time here on earth completed all that was needed for our salvation. This would include our Lord’s birth, death, burial and resurrection. You couldn’t have any of those without each other because they all connect like building blocks.
So this world we live in is a battlefield between good and evil; God, the elect angels on one side, and Satan on the other. The Lord has made His power and existence evident through natural revelation Romans 1:19-20 (creation) and His written Word and workings in this world. The Devil counters all of this through his use of the deceptive lie which he propagates in many different ways and through various individuals. He appeals to the lusts of the human flesh and caters to the desires of the sinful nature that stand opposed to Christ. Ultimately, the broad way of destruction involves Satan worship to greater or lesser degrees depending on the hardness of the heart of the individual(s). So what is the point? The point is that rejecting Jesus Christ (which involves unbelief) is choosing to serve Satan and his world system. How he works to accomplish his goals and the tactics he uses to help make them a reality are so various and many that time and space will not allow us to mention them here (although we could never hope to make a comprehensive list since that is impossible). For more information on Satan’s fall, goals, and “tactical methodology,” I encourage the reader to study through the Satanic Rebellion series on Ichthys.
To get back to and finish off our main discussion, the Tribulation (especially the beginning of the second half after he is defeated by Michael and his forces of elect angels and cast to the earth Revelation 12:7-12) will be the time of Satan’s greatest power and influence the world has ever seen. After that period, he will be bound in chains in the abyss or Tartarus below for a thousand years before being released for one last showdown with God. Although most people who have ever lived will suffer the same fate as Lucifer, Christ will reign victorious for a thousand years during the Millennium and on into eternity forevermore. Satan is already defeated. But this defeat will be completely fulfilled once the devil is thrown into the lake of fire forever.
7 And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, 8 and they did not prevail, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down, the one who accuses them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. 12 For this reason, rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you with great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.”
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he took hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he threw him into the abyss and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.
7 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. 9 They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Finally, the big lesson we can all learn from this is that there is no point in opposing and resisting God. So how do unbelievers and we as believers overcome Satan’s world system? We do so by faith in Jesus Christ (1 John 5:4). But one cannot believe in the Lord unless they love Him, which entails denying self and the world (the kingdom of darkness which Satan offers) for the kingdom’s sake. The passage below sums this up very well.
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.