The enlightenment teaching of the Essene was known as THE WAY. This teaching became the final interpretation of the Law and the Prophets, as revealed by Yeshua Messiah. The Way also became the enlightened transitional teaching of the early church.
Many interpretations of the Cain and Abel story have been written. This effort is dedicated to the enlightenment principles within the story, those which concern Jesus’s teaching of the Way.
As to Cain, Cain will come to epitomize the darkened lineage within the generations of man. Cain represents Satan, and many consider him the child of Satan; Cain represents the rebellion within, the assault on righteousness; Cain is ungoverned sin, grudge ridden. Through a chain of events Cain will commit murder. Cain will become ‘he who wanders’, untethered to any righteous attribution. Poisoned with anger, he will initiate affliction upon mankind. ‘Kayin’ means to acquire, and by Cain and his progeny, the acquisition will culminate in whatever actions needed to possess lands, wealth, and women.
‘Hevel’ (Abel) refers to being empty, and on the surface, his name interprets as a lack of substance;* also, ephemeral, short-lived. Another interpretation would view Abel’s emptiness as open or prepared to receive God. The so-called ’emptiness’ of Abel also indicates innocence and one who can be filled with the righteous spirit of God. Thus, Abel represents and intimately connects the attributes of Faith and Righteousness (see, Righteous Abel P. 1).
Abel is willing to prepare and sacrifice his best to God. He recognizes the source of all good, performs a faithful act, and by giving his best establishes righteous behavior for all men. Abel demonstrates that if filled with faith (faithful) you will tend toward righteous acts. Abel represents the righteous. God blesses those who manifest righteousness, and thus points to the kingdom of God within. Much later in biblical history, Jesus will reveal the kingdom within as one of the great secrets of the Way.
EVE NAMES CAIN
Cain is the first person born, the eldest of the twins, Cain and Abel. Later, as Cain sees himself as not only first, but foremost, his problems begin. However, we will begin in chapter 4.1, with “I have gained me a son with the help of God.”“with the help of God.”
A common viewpoint interprets Eve seeing herself as mankind’s co-creator with God, and thus unwittingly puts herself in a presumptuous position: God is mentioned second, and Cain is attached to gain, or as ‘Eve’s acquisition’. This viewpoint may seem a harsh indictment of Eve, for in a certain way Eve would naturally see herself in a co-creator role. She can do what Adam cannot do, have babies, and assuredly realizes this special role.
However, the allegory of Cain and Abel illustrates two important lessons. The first lesson concerns how we name our world, the second describes the nature of man and how he puts himself first, above the requirements of God. Mankind resists humility, and observed in Cain’s offering, this resistance to humility amounts to non-acceptance of one’s proper relationship to God. Continued rebellion ensues. Later, Eve will name Seth as ‘granted (to) me’, instead of mentioning her gain.
In Christian teaching, Eve’s misuse of the spoken word reflects the lesson of how a person names their world. How do we speak and name before our creations come into being? From our naming what then may result? Cain speaks carelessly and with resentment toward God’s authority, God’s plan. Cain’s life will later become one of reckless striving for gain, including desires for recognition, of which both later turn him toward infamy.
The following scripture relates to Cain in many ways: “How can your words be good when you yourselves are evil? For the words that the mouth utters comes from the overflowing of the heart. A good man produces good within the store within himself; and an evil man from evil within produces evil,” Jesus in Matt. 12.35, when he speaks to the Pharisees.
As to the good and the bad within a man, Cain will later tell God that he does not know where his brother is— Cain’s words are lies. He utters inanities, such as, “Am I my brother’s keeper,” when he knows he has already killed Abel. The storehouse within Cain is evil, and as we shall see, Cain will continue to produce evil. He strives after gain and status for its own sake. He is vain and possessive, while Abel accepts bounty and is grateful. Cain becomes distant from God, relying on his own values, the way he sees things; while Abel is growing closer to God, and represents and demonstrates the higher pathway and relationship.
The story of Saul and David illustrates the difference between these two states of mind. Headstrong describes Saul (I Sm. 13.13; 15.11). David, regardless of faults, demonstrates a heart after God. Much like Cain, Saul attempts to murder, though he does not succeed. On the first occasion the righteous remnant is slain, later to be replaced with Seth. In the case of Saul the righteous remnant, David, is preserved.
Consumed with himself, Cain develops a grasping calculating nature. We will see that he is adept at reaching out, but never reaches or looks within. Consumed with himself, Cain jealously pursues after himself: totally self-absorbed, totally self-centered, and totally selfish in a way Abel clearly is not. In such a person false-pride and arrogance cannot be far behind.
Cain lacks the attribute of self-inspection. For if the kingdom of God is within, Cain never seeks that kingdom. He cannot look at himself, and as we shall see, neither will he allow the spirit to reflect back to him. Cain continues to pursue himself. Cain appears to seek the most benefit for what he considers the least amount of work, as he will demonstrate with his offering. Of a fashion, he determines his best advantage by slyness and calculation, portrayed as wholly unrighteous, instead of maintaining a more noble pursuit and pathway.
THE WAYThe Way teaches that this schism must be healed, not only in understanding or teaching, but within the daily walk, or pathway. Even though they are two different things, teaching and pathway should not remain separate. It does not appear that Cain has accepted teaching or absorbed learning from his parents, and as to pathway, those “who leave the path of uprightness” (Proverbs 2.13) describes Cain quite well. While Hebrews 12.13, “make straight pathways for your feet,” describes Abel.
In the Hebrew Bible the schism of good versus evil, righteousness versus sin, is resolved by sacrificial means, observed during Yom Kippur, or the day of At-One-Ment, which Christians pronounce a-tone-ment. The ancients knew that losing enough blood would lead to death, thus life and blood were somewhat synonymous. Blood, representing spiritual life, must be shed for the remission of sin, else the process of remission holds no spiritual power or authority.
Both Judaic and Christian teachings provide a vision of oneness with God, which might be thought of as the final healing of the schism. Jesus reflects this message of healing the schism in Matt. 5.48, “Be ye therefore perfect (whole),” which means to assume the better righteousness.* His statement also effectively establishes that animal sacrifice is no longer the way to righteousness or At-One-Ment. It is the self that must be given over.
Jesus deals with the man himself, and not an outward act such as sacrifice. The Way is a pathway of wholeness (perfect), best exemplified by Jesus himself—completeness, oneness, or wholeness with God. Matt. 5.48 in the New English Bible reads, “There must be no limit to your goodness, as your heavenly Father’s goodness knows no bounds.”
* “Perfection for Matthew means the better righteousness… the total and unreserved obedience to the whole person,” (see, Mt. 5.20). Harper’s Bible Commentary. Ed. James L. Mays. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1988. Print.
Teaching and Pathway
With teaching and pathway combined, wholeness becomes the end result. Without uniting teaching and pathway the enlightenment of the Way remains hollow. Throughout his ministry, Jesus spoke to Jews who had no spirit awakened in them, and thus no real concept of the pathway to God. Under the law, they had many rules to follow, participated in ritual sacrifice and offerings, but for them, God remained one step away.
Jesus resolves this problem in two ways. First, he tells them that the kingdom of God is within, forming a relationship, and that He is with the person always, everpresent, guiding with conscience, motivation, and unity with the spirit.
Secondly, Jesus then provides the teaching that must accompany such an understanding, or how to walk on such a pathway. Jesus’ teachings will become Messiah’s final interpretation of the Law and the Prophets, of which the Essene believed was the Messiah’s primary task. The teaching of Belief-Faith will initiate the pathway; Love-Forgiveness becomes a cornerstone for it touches all other attributes of character; Knowledge-Wisdom, as mentioned in the story of Solomon, will be the final assumption.
Deepening knowledge and practice of love and forgiveness will become the key elements, not the law, and all else will hinge on these two attributes (Mt. 7.1-8). This pathway was known to the Essene, particularly Nazarene Essenes, and is mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls as the Way.
Abel seems to comprehend this pathway notion in some fashion, unlike Cain who seems to have no real direction, no pathway, and otherwise remains a dullard. In the Cain series, we will observe a continuing decline in Cain, as well as his generations which follow.