I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.
Photo Lew Scharpf
All the photos for this article were provided by Lew Scharpf. To view his entire stunning gallery of flora, fauna, and landscapes, click here.
Some time ago, I read analysis on portions of Genesis by a modern rabbi. In this series, he provided really fun insights into the Hebrew side of the Creation account right through the accounts of Cain and Abel. The thoughts were not complete though - something was missing. The fact is that none of the Old Testament really makes full sense until you add in the New Testament. It's like reading the directions for making a cake to the end of the page, but failing to finish the instructions continued on the other side.
I can't claim the initial insight into the following, but rather I have used what I read and applied it, along with New Testament truths, to explain why I believe certain things happened in the Holy Bible.
Elsewhere on this site, I've quoted hidden nuggets in Hebrew names and places to show truths tucked away within Scripture. Here's an example of this:
The first 10 names in the genealogy of Christ are as follows:
Mahalalel The blessed God
Jared Shall come down
Methuselah His death shall bring
Lamech The despairing
Photo Lew Scharpf
There you have the Gospel in a nutshell Man - appointed-mortal-sorrow-the blessed God-shall come down-teaching-His death shall bring-the despairing-rest-comfort. Right from the creation of man, the plan was hidden right in the names of these people. When I first heard this, it really opened my eyes to hidden possibilities within Scripture.
While we go on, I'm going to explain a lot of names in order to tie the message together. Please don't get lost in it all and miss the overall point. It is necessary, however, to explain these names.
I'm of the belief there's not a word in Scripture, not a person's name, not the name of a place - nothing - that is not in there for a reason. It's just fun to find these hidden reasons out or read what others have found. This particular study is on why the names were given to Adam's sons Cain and Abel. As you see above, Hebrew names convey meanings - something about hopes, aspirations, nature of the child, nature of his/her birth, and etc.
Concerning Adam - he was the first man. He was created by God from the dust and his name conveys that as it comes from the same root "adamah" meaning "soil." Then along comes Eve (Hebrew "Khavaw" or "life-giver.") Adam knew what her purpose would be and so named her:
Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. Genesis 3:20
Photo Lew Scharpf
Before children came along, Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden. Eden is translated as "delight" but the curious thing about the Hebrew Aleph-bet is that letters also have symbols from which the letters come. Eden is spelled "Ayin, Dalet, Nun." "Ayin" comes from the symbol of an eye. In the case of a word beginning with "Ayin" you can infer the state of "seeing." Therefore, Eden can be translated "seeing Dan" - Dan means "judge." Literally, then Adam and Eve "saw the Judge" - or "lived in the presence of God" may be a better way of explaining it to you. You can see in the Genesis account when it speaks of them having this close and personal relationship with the Creator. Then along comes the serpent.......
It's amazing how we were given one command in the Garden of Eden:
"you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." Genesis 2:17.
However, we broke that one command. It's amazing to think of all the grief and heartache from one bad choice, but it's more amazing to think of God's love for us - that He would allow us this choice, and when we made it, that He would reach back and provide us with the covering needed to restore the broken relationship.
After we believed the devil's lie and ate of the fruit, Photo Lew Scharpf
we were cursed. When you read the account, it's interesting to see how God first went to Adam and asked him why he had eaten the fruit. Adam in turn blamed Eve, and she in turn blamed the serpent. Then, in reverse order, God passes His judgment. In the serpent's case He said:
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Genesis 3:15
This has become known as the "Proto Evangelicum" or "root doctrine" because it's the first time the LORD reveals that He will send someone from her "seed" to destroy the devil. Eve was surely standing right there and heard what was said. Soon after this transpired at the end of Chapter 3, they were banished from the garden. Then in the very first sentence of Chapter 4, Eve is having a baby:
Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, "With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man." Genesis 4:1
The really interesting part of this is what she says in Hebrew (forgive me if my transliteration isnt perfect): kaniti ish eth YHVH - acquired (I) man with Jehovah. What's interesting is Eve's use of the word "eth" - translated here as "with." There is another Hebrew word "im" which means "with" and could have been used. I'll give the distinction for each concerning "with:"
(1) I erected this model with pieces of steel.
(2) I erected this model with my son.
In the first case, I did all the work. The steel had no active part in what I've done. In the second case, my son and I shared the job of erecting the model. As it's understood, the first case would be in line with "im" and the second with "eth." In effect, Eve was saying she was taking an active part in the creation of the boy Cain (Hebrew "Kain" which means "acquisition.") Why on earth would she think this? It was Adam who slept with her and yet she says first that she was an active participant, but also that it was with the LORD! One verse later we read: Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Genesis 4:2.
Photo Lew Scharpf
Ok - no boastful statements there, just an acknowledgement that Abel was born. Abel comes from "havel." All of this is where the comments from the rabbi I mentioned above got me curious. This name is the same word as at the beginning of Ecclesiastes "vanity of vanities" - the root word "hevel." This, as he indicated, means vanity or breath - but not just any breath, it's the breath that you see on a cold morning and watch disappear. Now what was Eve thinking here? My guess is that there was some good length of time between these two births. There is no proof of this, but it's an assumption on my part based on the name of Abel. I'll get around to explaining that in a minute.
First, read these following passages and look for the common denominator:
The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. Genesis 3:2
Later with Abraham -
Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." Genesis 22:14
Again concerning the Tabernacle -
If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it. Exodus 20:25
And at the rebuilding of the Temple -
So he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty. Zechariah 4:6
And as Paul says SO CLEARLY -
For it is by grace you have been
saved, through faithand this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8, 9
I could provide other examples, but clearly God is showing that atonement (covering), redemption, the path to Him - are all provided by Him. These cannot be worked for, but come by faith in what He has done.
In the first example, you can infer that something died in order for the covering to be made. An innocent life was taken and the skins Photo Lew Scharpf
covered Adam and Eve.....all accomplished by God and with no effort on the part of man. It's the same in each of the cases. I'll break down the verse from Ephesians:
For it is by grace that you have been saved - God's grace is what brings salvation.
Through faith - Your faith is what "activates" Gods grace. As it says in Hebrews 11:6 - And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. So, we can assume that our faith plays and active part in our salvation....? No, not even that can be assumed:
and that not from yourselves - Yes, even our faith comes from an external source - God!
it is the gift of God - Again, as always, it is God who provides the path. Additionally, a gift is free; of no cost. If there were anything required to receive the gift, it would be no gift!
and not of works - Yes! No work, no effort, no input from us! It is God alone who accomplishes salvation.
so that no one can boast. - Anyone who is received into God's paradise will give ALL credit to God. Truly - Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise! Revelation 5:12
Yes! All salvation is of the Lord. All praise is to Him alone. This makes me want to jump up and shout - Amen and Amen!
Phew, I'm worn out! Going back to the names of Cain and Abel - could Eve, having heard the comments to the serpent, expected the "seed" in Genesis 3:15 to be Cain? I believe when she had this child in her womb she believed him to be the One to fulfill the crushing of the serpent's head.
Remember, she was personally in the Garden of Eden and Im sure desperately wanted to return. Whether it was 9 months or 10 years since they were expelled, Photo Lew Scharpf
the remembrance of what was lost must have almost been overwhelming. When Cain was born, she exclaimed "eth" rather than "im" because she was looking forward to her redemption and return to Eden. And not only that, but that she was actively participating in this return by giving birth to Cain - hence "eth."
With this in mind, I believe Eve began at some point to realize that her thoughts of Cain being the One was incorrect. Somewhere along the line she realized Cain would not become the great redeemer she expected. Then some amount of time later when Abel was born she had come to the point where all attempt to reacquire Eden was simply disappearing breath - "vanity of vanities." I can just hear the thoughts running through her mind - "Somehow, someway I must have misunderstood the LORD. What was it He said to the serpent? Oh me, oh my - I'll never reacquire Eden - it's all vanity - just disappearing breath." And so, in her pall, she named her son accordingly.
This makes me wonder how the names of Cain and Abel affected their lives. Cain was surely told about the Garden and maybe about mom's hopes for him. Abel, on the other hand, realized he was just a passing vapor. This could be part of why they made the offerings they did and God's resulting response to them:
In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Genesis 4:3-5
Because of what happened here, Cain killed his brother in jealousy. Imagine that - the very first person ever born was a murderer! No wonder we're so depraved. As we've devolved from the perfectly made first man, we've become even more corrupt than Cain. (Yes, I said devolved. Despite modern "scientific" thought to the contrary, we were created in perfection and have slowly broken down through entropy.)
After Cain killed Abel, he moved away, to the land of Nod. Then in Genesis 4:25 it says:
Adam lay with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying "God has granted me another child in the place of Abel, since Cain killed him." Genesis 4:25
Here there is no boasting - it is God who granted the child. Further, she doesn't even use the name "Jehovah." Rather she says "God." I suppose by this time, she had given up on the possibility of the personal relationship she once had with the LORD. In her heart, she simply acknowledged God's sovereignty and that whenever redemption would occur, it would be at His decision and in His perfect timing.
The whole point of telling all of this is that the Word of God promises a Redeemer would come - One who would restore our relationship with God. Ever since Eve, Photo Lew Scharpf
it seems we've been trying to claim a part in this restoration. However, since God's first tender example of clothing Adam and Eve, all the way through man's history, this restoration has been on God's terms and through His gracious and loving plan. Who can not look to the Wonderful, the terrible cross and not see grace and perfection? Just as the blood of those innocent animals was shed to cover Adam and Eve, so was the blood of the innocent Lamb of God shed to cover and remove our iniquity!
If you haven't made a personal commitment to God through His perfect gift - the shed blood of His only begotten Son - won't you take a moment and quietly pray for Jesus to cleanse you and make you right again.
Photo Lew Scharpf
The LORD will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see
the salvation of our God.
I use the term Jehovah, because that is the standard translation which most people are familiar with when referring to the Tetragrammaton - YHVH, also translated as LORD.
Just for fun I'm going to give you the Hebrew word for "donut" - "soofganyah." This is from three root words - end, garden, God. Therefore, the name "donut" comes from "the end of the Garden of God." Maybe some Jewish person liked donuts so much that they said "well, we dont have Eden, but these are the next best thing!"
Keep looking up Jesus is coming!
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