Summary: According to Genesis 4, God rejected Cain’s pure, bloodless, vegan oblation but accepted Abel’s violent, gory, animal sacrifice. This alleged act on the part of God goes against the essential Christian notion of “God is love”. Moreover, throughout the Bible, God time and again condemns animal sacrifice (e.g. Isaiah 1:12, Isaiah 22:12-14, Isaiah 66:2-3, Jeremiah 6:20, Psalm 50:7-14, Ezekiel 34:1-10, Hosea 6:6, 8:11-13, Micah 6:6-8, Matthew 9:13). And in Hebrews 11:4, Abel righteously presented to God “gifts,” the plural form of which implies that it was various fruits of the ground rather than one kind of gift — the fat portions of the firstborn.
Further, according to The Clementine Homilies, The Book of Jubilees, The Book of Adam and Eve, and the Essene Humane Gospel, Adam told both of his sons to offer a vegan sacrifice to God. Abel did precisely what his father instructed him, whilst Cain offered a lamb instead. So isn’t the role of Abel and Cain actually reversed by “the lying pen of the scribes” (Jeremiah 8:8)?
1. Genesis 4:1-8 NIV (Cain and Abel) reads:
“Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she…gave birth to Cain… Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering — 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. Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.’… While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.”
2. God Says Much of the Original Law is Lost in Translation
“How can you say, “We are wise, for we have the law of the Lord,” when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely? (Jeremiah 8:8 NIV).
Indeed, St. Jerome, who under duress edited the New Testament, spoke defiantly against the many inaccuracies and interpolations of the Old Testament, and argues that much did not belong and much was left out that did belong (cf. Jerome and Augustine 390).
3. Litmus Test to Determine whether a Bible Verse is Real or False
According to Don Gwillim (2009), the prime directive to help us tell “divine inspiration” from “human manipulation”, as far as individual bible verses are concerned, is the two commandments given by Jesus Christ — “Love the Lord your God….. and Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-40). As God has everything and does not need anything from us, the only way we can love God is to love His creation. And by reason of the commonality of possessing a living soul the animals are also our brothers and sisters to be loved by us (Farians 2009). (Genesis 1:30 KJV reads, “And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so”. Hebrew for the phrase “life” therein is “nephesh chayyah [living soul]”, which is mistranslated as “life” in most English versions of the Bible.)
In my interpretation, this prime directive or litmus test can be further summarized as “God is love” (1 John 4:7-21 ESV).
4. Is it a Loving and Righteous Act to Slash the Throat of an Innocent Creature of God?
Let’s now return to the Cain and Abel narrative. Hebrews 11:4 KJV reads: “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his GIFTS: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.”
Why should God deem Abel’s sacrifice of the fat portions of the firstborn, which required carnage and unspeakable pain to one of God’s innocent creatures, more excellent and righteous than Cain’s peaceful, bloodless offering? It clearly contradicts God’s principle of love. “Is it morally right and just to slash the throat of an animal?” queries John Vujicic (2009).
5. Abel’s “Gifts” (in Plural) must Refer to “Various Fruits”
So much the more, as “GIFTS” in the verse above is in plural, both in King James Version and in the Greek version, it must refer to “various fruits of the ground which Abel offered. In contrast, Cain offered one kind of gift – the fat portions of the firstborn”, according to Vujicic (2009).
6. “Who has Required Animal Sacrifices from your Hands?!”
In order to explain away or gloss over the unreasonableness of the Cain-and-Abel narrative in Genesis, quite a few Christian commentators argue that God did not object to offerings as such but instead rejected offerings submitted sans reverence, faith and a saintly way of living. However, if that had really been the case, God would not have rhetorically asked, “Who has required these things [burnt-offerings and animal sacrifices] at your hands?!” (Isaiah 1:12 Brenton Septuagint Translation).
7. God Repeatedly Condemns Animal Sacrifice
In fact, throughout the Bible, God again and again and again and again condemns animal sacrifice. Below please find some examples.
“Your sacrifices mean nothing to me. I am sick of your offerings of rams and choice cattle; don’t like the blood of bulls or lambs or goats.” (Isaiah 1: 12 Contemporary English Version)
“…You KILLED SHEEP AND CATTLE TO EAT, and you DRANK WINE…This EVIL will NEVER BE FORGIVEN THEM as LONG AS THEY LIVE” (Isaiah 22:12-14 Good News Bible).
In Isaiah 43:24 [Greek Septuagint], God says that He did not desire the fat of their sacrifices: “οὐδὲ [nor] τὸ [the] στέαρ [fat] τὸ θυσιῶν σου [of your sacrifices] ἐπεθύμησα, [I desired]”.
“Whoever sacrifices a bull is like one who kills a man, and whoever offers a lamb, like one who breaks a dog’s neck…They have chosen their own ways, and their souls delight in their abominations” (Isaiah 66:2-3 NIV) .
“Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices pleasing to me” (Jeremiah 6:20 ESV).
Jeremiah 7:21-23 reads exactly like an angry, satirical, derisive mockery delivered by God concerning animal sacrifice and meat-eating: “Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices and eat meat which I did NOT command your fathers to eat. Neither did I command them concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices in the day when I brought them out of the land of Egypt” (Lamsa Bible/Aramaic Peshitta, translated by Dr. George Lamsa).
In Psalm 50, God points out that He does not want burnt offerings which the Jews presented daily as His food. God categorically says that He does not eat flesh and that He does not drink blood but that He wants only spiritual sacrifices – praise and thanksgiving.
“I will not take a bull from your house, no goats out of your folds. For every beast of the forest is mine…Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer to God thanksgiving…Whoever offers praise glorifies me” [Psalm 50:7-14, 23 KJV].
Correspondingly, in Psalm 51:16-17, the psalmist says to God in prayer:
“You do not desire sacrifice, or I would bring it; You do not delight in burnt offerings.”
In Ezekiel 34:1-10(The Greek Septuagint Bible), God says to the shepherds:
“You shepherds of Israel are doomed. You care only for yourselves, but never care for the sheep. You drink the milk, wear clothes made from wool, AND SLAUGHTER AND EAT THE CHOICEST SHEEP – never caring for the sheep…I, Lord Yahweh, declare that I am your ADVERSARY… I WILL RESCUE MY SHEEP FROM YOU AND WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO EAT THEM.”
Similarly, in Zechariah 11:4-6 (The Greek Septuagint Bible), “Thus saith the Lord Almighty, FEED THE SHEEP OF THE SLAUGHTER; which their possessors have slain, AND HAVE NOT REPENTED: and they that sold them said, blessed be the Lord; for we have become rich; and their shepherds have suffered no sorrow for them. Therefore I will no longer have mercy upon the inhabitants of the land”.
In Hosea 6:6 NIV, God says, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”
“For if they should offer a sacrifice, and eat flesh, the Lord will not accept them.”(Hosea 8:11-13 Brenton Septuagint Translation).
“Lying on ivory beds…they dine on lambs from the flock, and stall-fattened veal…they drink wine…that is why they will be the first to be exiled” (Amos 6:4-7
“Keep your foot when you go to the house of God; for to draw near to hear and obey is better than to give the sacrifice of fools too ignorant to know that they are doing evil” [Ecclesiastes 5:1 The Amplified Bible].
“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; because they bring it in an unjustified way” (Proverbs 21:27 The Aramaic Peshitta).
The righteous prophet Micah plainly asserts that he would not present any animal sacrifice to the Lord because that is by no means what Jehovah desires and that is by no means what He commanded His people to do:
“With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with whole-burnt-offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams or ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:6-8)
In Matthew 9:13 CSB, Jesus admonishes the Pharisees, quoting Hosea 6:6, “Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice”.
8. The “Pleasing Aroma” of Animal Sacrifice in the Bible must be Fabricated
In fact, the “pleasing aroma” of animal sacrifice which appears in certain parts of the Bible, like Exodus 29:18, Leviticus 1:9, Leviticus 7, may also be a product of “the lying pen of the scribes”.
The reversal of Cain’s and Abel’s roles in presenting offerings to God in the Book of Genesis is corroborated by The Clementine Homilies, The Book of Jubilees, The Book of Adam and Eve, and the Essene Humane Gospel.
9. Adam Hated Animal Sacrifice and Abel was Righteous & Filial
Clementine Homilies, an early Christian script containing the preachings of Apostle Peter, reveals that Adam was a genuine prophet who loathed animal sacrifice and wine libation:- “He himself being a true prophet, fittingly gave names to each animal, according to the merits of its nature…He hates sacrifices, bloodshed, and libations” (Homily III, Chps. 21 and 26). Since Abel was a righteous man as testified by God in Hebrews 11:4, he must have followed his father’s righteous example and always presented to God a vegan offering rather than a bloody sacrifice, which was detested by his true-prophet-father (cf. Vujicic 2009).
10. The Book of Jubilees
The Book of Jubilees, written in Hebrew, supports the fact that Adam in actuality presented a vegan and pure sacrifice sans blood:
“And on that day when Adam went out from the Garden of Eden, he offered a sweet-smelling sacrifice – frankincense, galbanum, stacte, and spices – in the morning with the rising of the sun” (Jubilees 3:27).
The Book of Jubilees was found amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls and was highly regarded at Qumran,
11. The Book of Adam and Eve
In Chapter 77 of The Book of Adam and Eve, there is an account of Cain’s and Abel’s offerings. Adam told both of his sons to bring something “of their sowing” and to present it to God. Abel did precisely what his father instructed him, but Cain offered a lamb in its place. When Cain’s gory offering was turned down by Jehovah, he murdered Abel. In fact, Satan had long implanted in the mind of Cain the idea to get rid of his brother in order to marry their beautiful sister Luluwa.
Chapter LXXVII – Cain, 15 years old, and Abel 12 years old, grow apart.
1 But when Adam saw that the older brother hated the younger, he endeavored to soften their hearts, and said to Cain, “O my son, take of the fruits of your sowing and make an offering to God, so that He might forgive you for your wickedness and sin.”
2 He said also to Abel, “Take some of your sowing and make an offering and bring it to God, so that He might forgive you for your wickedness and sin.”
3 Then Abel obeyed his father’s voice, took some of his sowing, and made a good offering, and said to his father, Adam, “Come with me and show me how to offer it up.”
4 And they went, Adam and Eve with him, and they showed him how to offer up his gift on the altar. Then after that, they stood up and prayed that God would accept Abel’s offering.
5 Then God looked at Abel and accepted his offering. And God was more pleased with Abel than with his offering, because of his good heart and pure body. There was no trace of guile in him.
6 Then they came down from the altar, and went to the cave in which they lived. But Abel, by reason of his joy at having made his offering, repeated it three times a week, after the example of his father Adam.
7 But as to Cain, he did not want to make an offering, but after his father became very angry, he offered up a gift once. He took the smallest of his sheep for an offering and when he offered it up, his eyes were on the lamb.
8 Therefore God did not accept his offering, because his heart was full of murderous thoughts.
The Book of Adam and Eve is the writing of unidentified Egyptians (the lack of historical reference makes it not possible to date the work). Portions of it are found in the Talmud, the Koran, and somewhere else, demonstrating what a crucial part it played in the original literature of human wisdom. The Egyptian writer first penned in Arabic (which may be regarded as the original hand-written text) and that found its way farther south and was rendered into Ethiopic. For the present English rendition we are indebted to Dr. S. C. Malan, Vicar of Broadwindsor, who worked from the Ethiopic version edited by Dr. E. Trumpp, Professor at the University of Munich. Dr. Trumpp had the benefit of the Arabic original, which renders our crossing over the gap of many centuries a straight one.
12. The Essene Humane Gospel of Jesus
In The Essene Humane Gospel of Jesus, Jesus Christ himself confirms that God prefers vegan offerings and Abel did righteously offer fruits and grains only to God:-
“But ye believe that Moses commanded such creatures to be slain and offered as a sacrifice unto God and eaten. Ye believe wrongly; ye do not know of temple oblations; for at no time did the True God delight in or demand flesh and blood offerings, but only the Pure Oblation–the unbloody sacrifice of man’s obedience to His Holy Law.
“For Abel offered up the grains and fruits of the earth, but God required only Abel’s keeping the holy law: for the pure oblation is from the heart of man, that he seeketh after truth and righteousness and pure worship of the Eternal All.
In the same book, Jesus also testifies that possessed by the Satan, Cain offered a bloody sacrifice to God and was rejected:-
“But I tell ye: Satan, the evil one, maketh the truth a lie, and giveth to the sons of man, flesh and blood, the burnt offering, the unholy law of evil doers, things that my Holy Father hateth and abhorreth.
“Did not Adam speak of me as the bread of life that cometh down from heaven to save the righteous seed? And did not Abel know the Pure Oblation and was put to death on account-for Satan entered into Cain and bloodshed was manifested in the earth, and man and beast crieth out to God and God heareth their cries.
“But I did not recognize Cain’s blood offering nor did God the evil of Satan…
Jesus then declares that He has come to the world specifically for the purpose of doing away with animal sacrifice and meat-eating.
” For truly, I say to you, for this end have I come into the world that I may put away all blood offering and eating of flesh.”
According to the Edenite Society, The Essene Humane Gospel, ascribed to Jesus Christ, published in English by the same society in 1979, and “translated from the original Aramaic and edited by a disciple of the Master … is one of the most ancient and complete Christian fragments, preserved in one of the monasteries of the Buddhist Monks in Tibet, where it was hidden by some of the Essene community for safety from the hands of corrupters.”
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The Book of Jubilees (160-150 B.C.). Trans. R.H. Charles (1913). Oxford: Clarendon Press. (https://www.bible.ca/manuscripts/book-of-Jubilees-full-text-PDF-Free-Online-Chronology-ancient-Jewish-calendar-Textual-variants-Bible-Old-Testament-Torah-Tanakh-Rabbinical-Judaism-170BC.htm#pdf) (http://wesley.nnu.edu/index.php?id=2127)
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