Living East of Eden (Genesis 4:16-26)

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Everybody in the world lives East of Eden. This may strike you as a strange statement, but allow me to explain what I mean. In Genesis 2:8, we read that ‘the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed’. When Adam and Eve were created, they were created perfectly sinless, and in this sinless condition, they were allowed to live in the Garden of Eden. However, after the Fall, we read that God ‘drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life’ (Genesis 3:24). And later, we find much the same circumstance when ‘Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden’ (Genesis 4:16). Once sin had entered the world, God had driven man out of the paradise that He had created for him, and man was forced to live East of Eden.

Today, we live in a sin-cursed, God-cursed world. We live in a situation today that is far less than God ‘intended’ for us. God’s desires have given way to sin. And because we all live under the curse of sin, we all live outside of Eden, outside of God’s original best intentions for us. We experience suffering, sickness and sorrow – all because of sin.

But, whilst all of mankind lives East of Eden, notice that there are two distinct kingdoms within mankind. First, there is the Kingdom of Nod, and then there is the Kingdom of God. Amongst Adam and Eve’s ‘sons and daughters’ (Genesis 5:4), there was a son named Cain, and a son named Abel. Cain murdered his brother Abel, and God gave Adam and Eve another son, Seth, whom He ‘appointed [as] another seed instead of Abel’ (Genesis 4:25). Cain was a wicked, ungodly man who ‘dwelt in the land of Nod’ (Genesis 4:16). Seth, however, was a righteous, godly man, who strove to obey God in all he did, dwelling in the Kingdom of God.

There are only two types of people on Earth today. There are those who take after Cain, dwelling in the land of Nod. This type of person is referred to, in Scripture, as ‘the natural man’ (1 Corinthians 2:14). He is ‘born [only] of the flesh’ (John 3:6). He is unregenerate, unsaved, and lost. He is ‘dead in trespasses and sins’ (Ephesians 2:1).

The second group of people are those who of the line of Seth, dwelling in the Kingdom of God. This man is referred to, in Scripture, as ‘spiritual’ (1 Corinthians 2:15). He was at one time ‘born of the flesh’ (John 3:6), but has since been ‘born of the Spirit’ (John 3:6). He is regenerate and saved. No longer is he ‘dead in trespasses and sins’ (Ephesians 2:1). Rather, he has been ‘quickened…together with Christ’ (Ephesians 2:5).

Everyone alive is in one of those two categories. Everybody alive dwells either in the Kingdom of Nod, or in the Kingdom of God. Today, I would like to examine these two kingdoms, and see exactly what characterises each of them.

The Kingdom of Nod

We read of the Kingdom of Nod in Genesis 4:1-24. As we examine these verses, we see at least eight characteristics of those in this Kingdom.

They Are Religious Yet Rejected

We see this in Genesis 4:1-5:

And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

(Genesis 4:1-5)

The account of Cain and Abel is one of the most well-known in all of Scripture. Most of us are familiar with the story. Cain and Abel both offered sacrifices to God. God accepted Abel’s sacrifice, but rejected Cain’s. This angered Cain, and although he was actually mad at God, he took it out on his brother, committing the first murder in the history of the world.

Various suggestions have been made as to why the Lord rejected Cain’s offering. There may be several reasons for this, but I want you to notice at least two. Firstly, notice that Cain offered that which was cursed. When Adam sinned, God said to him, ‘Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life’ (Genesis 3:17). God had cursed the ground because of Adam’s sin. Cain, who was a ‘tiller of the ground’ (Genesis 4:2) brought God an offering ‘of the fruit of the ground’ (Genesis 4:3). Though God had cursed the ground, Cain believed that his ‘fruit of the ground’ was good enough for God. In effect, he was offering to God that which God had cursed.

Is this not characteristic of lost, religious man today? Lost man tries all sorts of methods to please God, yet sinful man is cursed, and his best efforts are ‘as filthy rags’ (Isaiah 64:6) in the sight of God. The best, most religious effort that you can make to please God will find no respect in the eyes of the Lord. Sin has cursed your moral compass, and thus your moral efforts will never hit the mark.

Second, notice that Cain had a wrong attitude, and thus there was a worthless atonement in his sacrifice. Cain knew full well what God expected of him. Right after God had passed down judgement upon Adam, Eve and the serpent, He made ‘coats of skins, and clothed them’ (Genesis 3:21). In order to do this, God would have killed an animal, thus shedding the blood as atonement for Adam and Eve’s sin, for ‘without shedding of blood is no remission’ (Hebrews 9:22). Doubtless, God would have explained to them the significance of the shed blood, and instructed them to command their children to follow this example. Adam and Eve would have been expected to bring blood offerings to God, and they would have taught this same principle to their children. Thus, Cain and Abel would have known that God expected a blood offering. Thus, although Cain was willing to bring a sacrifice, it was not a sacrifice pleasing to God, for it involved no shedding of blood. Cain came with the wrong attitude, for he refused to bring what the Lord had commanded. He would bring what he thought was best, regardless of what God had to say about it. Thus, his sacrifice bore with it a worthless atonement.

Natural man is religious, yet his religion is of his own choice. Man-made religion is never honouring to God, for it ignores God’s only Sacrifice – the Lord Jesus Christ. Michael Horton wrote, ‘Spirituality offers self-help, self-recovery, rather than confession of sin, and dependence upon God alone for complete redemption’. Cain was ‘spiritual’, for he brought an offering; yet he was not godly, for his offering ignored God’s righteous requirements. Lost man may be spiritual, but he can never be godly, for godliness is always the result of an acknowledgement of the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, and a lifestyle of obedience to Him.

The way of Cain is alive and well today, and many there be that dwell in the Kingdom of Nod.

They Are Resentful Towards the Accepted

This is recorded in Genesis 4:4b-15:

And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. And 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 slew him. And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.

(Genesis 4:4b-15)

Cain was the first persecutor, and Abel the first martyr in the Kingdom of God. Because God had accepted Abel’s sacrifice, yet rejected Cain’s, Cain became angry. His anger at God was directed at Abel, and Cain murdered his brother.

This explains the ‘tension’ between believers and the world. Because believers are ‘accepted in the beloved’ (Ephesians 1:6), hostility arises from the world. The world’s anger at God is always directed at believers. Jesus Christ said, ‘If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you’ (John 15:18). Lost man is at ‘enmity with God’ (James 4:4). But this enmity is always directed at the Church, and thus believers should never be surprised when they face opposition from the world. Alienation always produces agitation, and thus the world will always be resentful towards those who have been accepted by God.

They Are Running in Spite of Mercies

This is evident from Genesis 4:13-16a:

And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him. And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord.

(Genesis 4:13-16a)

‘He that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword’ (Revelation 13:10). Capital punishment is God’s moral judgement for murder. When Cain killed his brother, and God cursed him for it, his immediate response was: ‘Everyone that findeth me shall slay me’ (Genesis 4:14). Cain understood (even before God had given any laws instituting capital punishment) murderers deserved to be killed. He knew that death was the logical punishment for murder, and so was rightly afraid after murdering his brother. God later specifically instituted capital punishment when He said to Noah, ‘Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man’ (Genesis 9:6). When Cain admitted fear for his life, God would have been perfectly just and righteous to have said, “Well good! That’s exactly what you deserve!” Instead, God displayed wonderful grace by sparing Cain’s life, and went further by promising seven-fold revenge on anyone who would kill Cain. With such a wonderful demonstration of grace, one would have expected Cain to have embraced the Lord in repentance. However, after experiencing this grace, we read these sad words: ‘And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord’ (Genesis 4:16).

In spite of the obvious mercy of God in his life, Cain turned and ran from the Lord. Scripture teaches this truth over and over again in relation to lost man. Instead of pursuing God, lost man has ‘turned every one to his own way’ (Isaiah 53:6). Despite the grace of God on mankind, ‘there is none that seeketh after God’ (Romans 3:11). Unsaved men despise ‘the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance’ (Romans 2:4). Natural man has been fleeing God’s face ever since the fall, and will continue to do so as long as natural man exists. Adam and Eve had glorious fellowship with the Lord before they sinned, but after the Fall, ‘Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God’ (Genesis 3:8). Many profess that ‘there is no God’, seeking to flee from the reality of a holy God to whom they are accountable. Notice the words of David, which stand in stark contrast to any notion that man can flee from God:

O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

(Psalm 139:1-12)

Natural man is blind to spiritual realities. In Genesis 28, Jacob comes to Bethel, and decides to spend the night there. That night, he has a dream, in which God promises to honour the vow that he had made to Abraham and Isaac. After the dream, Jacob awakes, and exclaims, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not’ (Genesis 28:16). This is the common attitude of unregenerate man. They are oblivious to the fact that God is in every place. They are oblivious to the fact that God is at work in the world, and they are, in fact, trying to flee from that very reality. In spite of the mercies of God, man wilfully flees from Him. Jesus Christ lamented over Jerusalem: ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!’ (Matthew 23:37 – emphasis added). And in John 5:39-40, He perfectly summed up the attitude of lost man when He said, ‘39Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life’ (emphasis added). God extends His offer of salvation to lost man, but lost man will not come to Him, choosing rather to ‘enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season’ (Hebrews 11:25).

They Are Restless as they Run

Genesis 4:16 says, ‘And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden’. Once Cain had fled from the presence of the Lord, he went and dwelt in the land of Nod. The latter part of Genesis 4 is filled with names of people and places. I do not believe that these names were put there arbitrarily. I believe that God put them there for a purpose, and much can be learned from studying these names. The name ‘Nod’ means ‘wandering’ or ‘restless’. It comes from a root word which means a ‘vagabond’ or a ‘fugitive’. The point of this is that once Cain left the presence of the Lord, he became restless and began wandering.

Augustine said, “Lord, thou hast made us for Thyself and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in Thee”. And Pascal spoke of men having a ‘God-shaped vacuum’ that only God can fill. Cain would probably have spent the rest of his life looking over his shoulder, wondering whether or not someone was there trying to kill him. Is this not characteristic of the natural man? The natural man is forever looking over his shoulder in fear, which arises due to the guilt he feels over his sin and the fact that he has no relationship with the living God. Lost men often live under a ‘guilt complex’. One man rightly said that men have a guilt complex because they are guilty! That may be overstating it (for the devil is the accuser of the brethren, and seeks always to bring guilt into the life of the believer), but for the most part, it is probably very true. Natural man has good reason to be restless, for he is as one ‘having no hope, and without God in the world’ (Ephesians 2:12). Natural man is restless, because he is constantly running from God.

They Produce Their Own Refuge As They Run

Moses records, ‘And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch’ (Genesis 4:17). Once again, it is interesting to study the meanings of the name ‘Enoch’ in this verse. ‘Enoch’ was the name of both Cain’s son as well as the city that Cain built, and the name means ‘well-regulated’ or ‘disciplined’. Here we see Cain, who was restless and wandering, trying to restore some order to his life through his own, man-made means.

Restless, sinful man will do all he can to try and escape the realities of his guilt and of this sin-cursed world. Lost man seeks his own refuge in idolatry. Restlessness often drives man to covetousness, and this is described in Scripture as ‘idolatry’ (Colossians 3:5).

Burdened people keep themselves busy by building. Cain was restless, so he built the city of Enoch. Lost men after the Flood were restless, fearing perhaps (despite God’s promises) that another Flood would come and take them all away, built the Tower of Babel. Great Kingdoms and Empires were built by restless kings attempting to secure fame for themselves.

I recently read a sad account of a great baseball player in the United States. This man was a tremendous pitcher for the New York Yankees. He was known all across the country for his skill in the game. While he was playing for the Yankees, another pitcher was signed up by another club for $91m. The Yankees pitcher decided that he wanted to do better, and so he went to the club manager and insist that his contract be renewed for $92m. The management of the team discussed this, and decided that they could only offer him $89m. The pitcher struggled for some months to secure his desired amount, but the management would not budge. Eventually, the player gave up. I read of his wife’s reaction when he went home that day. She said that she could immediately tell when he got home that he had not got what he asked for. She then commented: “It was the saddest day of our lives!” Here is a family whose ‘saddest day’ was the day that they could only secure $89m! This is obviously a family that is attempting to regulate their own rest because they are restless without God in their lives. Building financial and famed empires will never calm the restlessness caused by sinful alienation from God.

Accompanying this attempt at self-regulation is often an attempt at self-preservation and self-salvation. The apostle Paul was a man who sought salvation in his own strength, yet after being saved by the grace of God, Paul looked back and said, ‘Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ’ (Philippians 3:8).

Scripture calls these attempts at self-regulation, self-preservation and self-salvation ‘the cares of this world’ (Mark 4:19). The cares of this world include family, relationships, wealth, position, legacy and much more. Yet all this wrong-headed building will ultimately be to no avail, for lost men need the Blood of the Lamb in order to secure rest in this world and in the world to come.

They Are Resourceful because they Are Restless

The passage continues the record:

And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah.

(Genesis 4:19-22)

Here we see those in the Kingdom of Nod making an attempt (by several means) to escape God-ordained reality. There are at least four ways that these people tried to escape reality in these verses, and these four ways continue to be a escape route for the natural man today.

Escape Route 1: Meat

The first attempt at escape was a change in lifestyle. We read that Lamech’s first wife, Adah, ‘bare Jabal’, and that Jabal ‘was the father of all such as have cattle’ (Genesis 4:20). This is very interesting, because man was not yet allowed to eat meat! Only after the Flood did God permit man to eat meat. At this point, God’s command to man concerning food was: ‘Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat’ (Genesis 1:29). After, the Flood, the Lord spoke to Noah and said, ‘2And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. 3Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things’ (Genesis 9:2-3). But in Genesis 4, they were not yet permitted to eat meat.

So why then did Jabal keep cattle? Jabal kept cattle because man was rebellious. The ground had been cursed, and farming was hard work, so, in order to make life easier, Jabal decided to raise cattle for food. This is the first record of meat-eaters in the Bible, but these people were doing it out of rebellion. We know that ‘Abel was a keeper of sheep’ (Genesis 4:2), but Abel kept sheep for the purpose of sacrifice. However, these men were now acting in direct rebellion towards God, and thus had changed their lifestyle in order to escape the realities of this sin-cursed world.

Natural man today attempts to escape reality by this same route. We have all sorts of ‘alternative lifestyles’, whereby people try to blot out God’s reality. And not only do they ‘commit such things…but [they also] have pleasure in them that do them’ (Romans 1:32). Not only do natural men seek alternative lifestyles, but they encourage others to do so, and commend those that do.

We see a boom today in the ‘longevity industry’. We see all sorts of new diets, which are aimed at improving one’s looks as well as one’s self-esteem, thus helping people escape reality. We see health clubs on every corner, seeking to encourage us to stay super-fit, thus giving us an ‘immortality’ view of ourselves. As we switch on the television, we see all sorts of infomercials for health and fitness machines and products. Some products do not even require any work! You merely have to switch the machine on, relax, and let it do all the work! Now, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with looking after your body (in fact, this is important for believers to do), but lost man has made this an escape route, a means of escaping reality. Natural man has a strong desire for immortality. For them, death carries many uncertainties with it. Yet the believer has no reason to fear death, for death is merely a doorway to eternity with the Father.

Cain’s descendants attempted to escape the reality of God through a lifestyle change – through eating meat rather than performing the laborious task of tilling the ground – and the way of Cain is alive an well today. Natural man seeks to imitate the Kingdom of Nod in this, not realising that changing one’s lifestyle will never enable one to escape the reality of God’s judgement upon the world.

Escape Route 2: Music

Jabal had a brother, ‘and his brother’s name was Jubal’ (Genesis 4:21). Jubal was ‘the father of all such as handle the harp and organ’ (Genesis 4:21). The second route of escape was chasing away the loneliness of life apart from God, and he attempted to do this through music.

Music has a tremendous effect on people. When Saul was troubled by the evil spirit from the Lord, he sought a man who was skilful in music. He found David, and whenever Saul was troubled, he called for David to come and play on the harp in order to sooth hiss troubled mind. And we can all surely testify to the power of music, and the affect that it can have on changing one’s mood. We are all aware of the skilful way that music is used in movies to sway one’s emotions the way that the director would have them swayed. Often, when we are feeling down, we like to listen to some soft music to soothe our emotions. Music is certainly a powerful tool!

Just as these people tried to escape the loneliness of life without God through music, so natural man today still does the same thing. The music industry is booming around the world. I recently saw on the news that a South African music band had been signed by an American recording studio for a seven-album contract, amounting to a several million dollar deal. The music industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, for natural man seeks to escape his loneliness through music.

I have noticed over the past few months that our local television channels in South Africa take every opportunity that they can to insert music videos into the day’s programming. Since 11 September, I have noticed that Larry King closes all his shows with music. This is all done in order to soothe people’s minds against the backdrop of all the terror that the world as recently experienced. Music certainly has a powerful effect on people’s minds and emotions, and natural man seeks to exploit music to his advantage, and use it to escape the haunting loneliness of life without God.

Escape Route 3: Metal

A third escape route that the ungodly line of Cain tried was that of chasing after leisure. We read that Lamech’s second wife, Zillah, ‘bare Tubalcain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron’ (Genesis 4:22). The word ‘artificer’ means a ‘fabricator’ or a ‘mechanic’, and refers to a manufacturer. Cain’s third escape route was the manufacture of metals.

This is a very real escape route for the natural man today. Natural man believes that if he can merely acquire earthly goods, he will then be able to ‘fill the void’ in his life. Music is used to drown the dreaded silence, metal is used to fill the void.

Natural man is consumed with all sorts of research today, believing that technology will help him fill that void. We have all sorts of medical research going on, for man believes that if he can conquer medical threats, then this will help make him feel fulfilled. The current emphasis on AIDS research is evidence of this. If we can conquer AIDS, then we will have achieved something, and this will help us to feel good about ourselves. Yet, again, man fails to realise that that ‘void’, that ‘vacuum’ is a god-shaped vacuum, and only God can fill it.

Cain’s descendants sought to acquire earthly goods in order to escape the harsh realities of this sin-cursed world. Natural man today attempts the same, failing to realise that the ‘emptiness’ of life can only be filled by the God who created man.

Escape Route 4: Make-Up

A fourth escape route that we see in these verses is that of make-up. Cain’s line pre-occupied themselves with a shallow pursuit of the external to quench the thirst. We find out that Tubalcain had a sister, and her name was ‘Naamah’ (Genesis 4:22). In lists of genealogies in Scripture, it is very rare to find the name of someone’s daughter. The Bible concerns itself mostly with the male descendents of a given family. Hence, when you find the name of a daughter, or, in this case, a sister, it is very significant. And the mention of Naamah in this verse is, indeed, significant.

The name ‘Naamah’ means ‘pleasant to the eyes’. In fact, Lamech’s two wives, Adah and Zillah, both have names that refer to external beauty. It seems that these people were trying to fill the void of love with the vice of lust. They sought to escape the realities of life by focusing on that which was pleasant to the eyes. External beauty became an all-important factor in the lives of these men.

Today, natural man follows the same course. Men today live lives of lies in a vain attempt to quench their thirst for fulfilment in this life, not realising that true fulfilment is impossible apart from God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Men live today as Eve, who ‘saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, [and] she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat’ (Genesis 3:6). Men today are deluded into thinking that they can be as God, and thus all their time and efforts are spent on trying to attain to that level. They believe if they pursue that which is beautiful to their eyes, then they will be fulfilled, and so they vainly pursue the externals.

The natural man for six thousand years has been trying to escape the realities of sin and God through ‘meat’, through ‘music’, through ‘metal’ and through ‘make-up’, yet he has failed to realise that the only way he can be truly fulfilled is if he submits to the Master, to the God of the Bible, in repentance and faith. Because of restfulness, the natural man has become extremely resourceful, but the best resources in the world will never fill the ‘God-shaped vacuum’ that is a part of him, for God alone can fill the vacuum, and quench the thirst of the unsaved.

They Are Reprobate because They Have Rejected God

Another characteristic of those in the Kingdom of Nod is that they are reprobate. Genesis 4:23-24 says, ‘And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold’. Here we have a record of probably the second murder in the history of mankind. Lamech murdered ‘a young man’.

Now, there are different theories as to exactly whom he had murdered. Some say that he had tried to murder Enoch. Some say that he had murdered someone who had tried to harm him, saying that the phrase ‘to my wounding’ can be translated as ‘for wounding me’. Perhaps he had murdered someone who had tried to seduce one of his beautiful wives. But regardless of who he had murdered, the fact is that he had murdered someone.

We then read that Lamech bragged about it. In the Hebrew, these verses are written in poetic form. Lamech recorded the first poem in history, and it was about him murdering a man. Lamech was proud of his wicked deed, and he obviously felt that he was justified in doing this, for he claimed that if God would avenge Cain ‘sevenfold’, then God would surely avenge him ‘seventy and sevenfold’.

Lamech had made a blasphemous, presumptuous statement because of a false sense of security. He had no right to claim the protection of God upon himself, yet he did so presumptuously. Interestingly enough, God was silent on this occasion.

The natural man is in the same boat as Lamech. Lost men have ‘lost their minds’. They are unable to make righteous judgement calls. Natural men ‘call evil good, and good evil…put darkness for light, and light for darkness…put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter’ (Isaiah 5:20). And because of this, because ‘they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient’ (Romans 1:28). And we read of such men: ‘For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness’ (Romans 1:18).

Is this not where society is today? After the September 11 attacks in the United States, I was told that a prayer vigil was held in New York, and that Oprah Winfrey led the prayers! Here is a godless woman, who makes no profession to biblical Christianity, yet she is appealing to God on behalf of the United States! Osama Bin Laden, the alleged mastermind behind the attacks appeals to God, believing that his terrorism is justified. Public schools in South Africa open their day with a Bible-reading and prayer, and then proceed to teach evolution and claim that all religions must be equally respected! Lost men today tell God to stay away from them, yet when they are in need, they believe that surely God is on their side! Churches are filled with people on Christmas day, who come to ‘pay homage’ to God, but then these same people ignore Him for the rest of the year. What utter hypocrisy!

Whilst lost men reject God, they seem to believe that He accepts them. The natural man shakes his fist in the face of God, yet they claim God’s protection on themselves, their families and their nations. Yet God has given such men over to a reprobate mind.

They Are Ruined, Removed, Irrelevant

At the end of the day, those of the Kingdom of Nod are irrelevant in the big scheme of things. As we read the rest of Scripture, we find that the line of Cain is never again mentioned. We read of a man named Enoch, and a man named Lamech, but these men are not the same as mentioned in Genesis 4. The Enoch and the Lamech who are elsewhere mentioned are the Enoch and Lamech in the line of Seth. In Jude 1:14, we read of ‘Enoch…the seventh from Adam’. Jude makes a point of specifying which Enoch he is referring to. Enoch is mentioned in Hebrews 11:5, but again the passage specifies which Enoch it is referring to. Cain is mentioned elsewhere in Scripture, but always as a bad example, and example of an unbeliever who was doomed in his unbelief.

The point of this is that these men are irrelevant in the Kingdom of God. They may have achieved much whilst here on earth, but once this live was over, they were ruined, damned to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. Michael Horton wrote, ‘We have reached for the apple of autonomy only to find ourselves naked and ashamed’. When Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit, they had visions of grandeur. Their goal was to become as God, yet they found themselves naked and ashamed, and fled from the face of the Lord. The natural man may achieve all his goals whilst on this earth, but at the end of the day, he will find himself ruined, removed and irrelevant in God’s eternal plan. Of such is the Kingdom of Nod!

The Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God is spoken of in Genesis 4:25-26:

And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.

(Genesis 4:25-26)

In these two verses, we can see at least three characteristics of those that are in the Kingdom of God.

They Are Committed to the Will of God

First, we find that they are committed to the will of God in a world that is opposed to the will of God. As we read the first four verses of Genesis 4, we see that Abel was committed to the will of God. Whilst his brother, Cain, had no interest in doing things God’s way, Abel was absolutely committed to living up to God’s expectations for his life. As we look into Genesis 5, we find the genealogy of the godly line of Seth. If you study this genealogy closely, you will find that not all the people mentioned in this are necessarily the firstborn of their Father. Whilst the firstborn had special privileges throughout the Bible, God’s concern in Genesis 5 was not to list the eldest children, but rather to show the godly men through whom He worked to ultimately bring the Messiah into this world. We see men like Enoch who ‘walked with God’ (Genesis 5:22, 24) in a society that is four times in one verse described as ‘ungodly’ (Jude 1:15). We see Noah, who ‘walked with God’ (Genesis 6:9) in a society that was so wicked that God ultimately destroyed the entire world (save Noah and his family). All the men listed in Genesis 5 will be forever recorded in history because of the fact that they pursued God rather than earthly interests.

Those that are in the Kingdom of God pray, ‘Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven’ (Matthew 6:10). They ‘seek…first the kingdom of God and his righteousness’ (Matthew 6:33), and thus they don’t build kingdoms on earth! They are as Abraham, who ‘looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God’ (Hebrews 11:10). They build that which will truly help them. As we study the line of Seth, we see that the first thing they built was an ark (Genesis 6-8), which was of true value to mankind. Those in the Kingdom of God build those things that will be of help to mankind: godly churches, godly families, godly testimonies, etc. And they are committed to building these things for such is the will of God.

They Are Committed to the Worship of God

Genesis 4:26 says, ‘And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord’. When we find the concept of calling upon the name of the Lord in the Old Testament, it usually has the idea of building an altar for true worship. Seth’s godly influence caused many men to call upon the name of the Lord, to worship the Lord God of heaven and earth. The godly line of Seth began to serve the Lord, to sacrifice to the Lord. They spoke to and for the Lord.

Those in the kingdom of God are committed to the worship of God, and to speaking to and for God. The godly seed speaks the Word of God. They are committed to spreading the Word of God amongst all nations. God’s command is that we worship Him, and then seek to bring others to worship Him. If we truly worship God, then we will be absolutely committed to the Great Commission. The proof is in the pudding.

They Are Caused by the Work of God

In Genesis 4:25, we read of the birth of Seth: ‘And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew’.

In Genesis 6, we read of ‘the sons of God’ and ‘the daughters of men’ (Genesis 6:2, 4). There are various ideas as to who these ‘sons of God’ and ‘daughters of men’ were. Some say that ‘the sons of God’ were fallen angels, and ‘the daughters of men’ were human beings. The theory is that the fallen angels procreated with human women, and thus ‘there were giants in the earth in those days’ (Genesis 6:4). The giants are then the offspring of the angel-human relationship.

Others argue that perhaps ‘the sons of God’ were a line of ungodly kings, and ‘the daughters of men’ were a group of unknown women.

I personally believe that ‘the sons of God’ were the godly line of Seth, whereas ‘the daughters of men’ were the ungodly line of Cain. In other words, we have a case in Genesis 6 of believers marrying unbelievers, and thus God destroyed the earth because of this abomination.

This being the case, we see that the only reason that there were ‘sons of God’ was because God has appointed a substitute in place of Abel. When Cain was born, Eve said, ‘I have gotten a man from the Lord’ (Genesis 4:1). God had promised Eve that He would give her a seed that would ‘bruise’ the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15), and when Cain was born, Eve thought that he was the promised seed. She was saying, “I have borne the man that God promised! Here is the seed that will destroy the serpent!” When Cain murdered Abel, it was pretty obvious that He was not the promised seed. And, obviously, the ‘seed’ could not be the deceased Abel. But now that Seth was born, she realised that God had given her a substitute – someone to take Abel’s place. And indeed, the Messiah eventually came through the line of Seth.

The point is that these ‘sons of God’ came from the line of Seth, who was a substitute from God. They were there because God had performed a work to replace Abel in Adam and Eve’s lives. Today, we are sons of God because of the Substitute that God sent for us. It is written of Jesus Christ that God ‘hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him’ (2 Corinthians 5:21). Damnation is all of man, but salvation is all of God! ‘Salvation is of the Lord’ (Jonah 2:9). We are the sons of God today all because of the sovereign grace of God. The apostle John wrote of this truth in his gospel:

He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.’

(John 1:11-13 – emphases added)

You too can be in this line if you will repent and believe the gospel. If you will do so, then God will perform a work in you, and you too will be able to call God your Father. The choice is yours. Will you remain in the Kingdom of Nod, or will you enter into the Kingdom of God?

The Kingdom of Nod will always exist alongside the Kingdom of God. Thus, be alert! As we enter a new year, we, as sons of God, must be careful to ‘love not the world’ (1 John 2:15). 2002 carries with it many uncertainties. We know nothing of the future of our economy, our safety, or our career. But we know that God will always have His remnant! God’s seed shall prosper, and the serpent’s head will be crushed! ‘The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly’ (Romans 16:20)! Until then, ‘the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you’ (Romans 16:20). Be encouraged – we will win the day!