In the dispensation of conscience, Man was let go by his conscience which has been awakened to know good and evil.
Dispensation of Conscience. Gen. 4:1-8:14
This dispensation lasted about 1656 years from the Fall to the Flood. Adam and Eve by their disobedience became aware of four things:
(1) of a principle and power of evil in the universe as opposed to God and His purposes.
(2) of the consequences of disobedience and unbelief.
(3) of the advantage of faith and confidence in God and His wisdom.
(4) of the necessity of choosing the good and rejecting the evil.
Conscience was awakened by the Fall. Adam and Eve had no conscience before then. Conscience is a knowledge of good and evil, which they acquired by eating the forbidden fruit. Man is untested as to which he will choose, good or
The following are some of the outstanding features of this period preceding the Flood:
1. Cain and Abel:
In these men, we see two seeds, one godly, the other self-willed and rebellious. Cain and Abel have doubtless grown men at the time here recorded, for Adam was 130 years old at the birth of Seth. Abel’s approach to Jehovah was in full accord with what his parents had doubtless told him and in harmony with the lesson presented in the clothing of skins, which Adam and Eve wore. He knew that the basis of approach to God was that of sacrifice, of substitution of life for a life, of the shedding of the blood of an Offering Cain could not have been ignorant of this, but in and self-satisfaction offered to God on the altar the product of his own labours.”
These men are symbolic of two classes of people today. One class represented by Cain, are willing to acknowledge the existence and beneficence of God, but refuses to acknowledge themselves as sinners and would present to Him their own good works. The other class, represented by Abel, conscious of the holiness of God and of their own unworthiness and sin, come presenting in faith Christ, as their only plea for acceptance.
God put His seal of approval upon Abel’s offering Heb. 11:4. Cain’s jealous anger was aroused, because he felt he was being superseded in God’s favour by Abel and would doubtless lose his rights as the first-born.
Jehovah intervened before Cain’s wrath should immediately produce tragic results and said to Cain, “Wherefore hath it angered thee, and wherefore hath thy countenance fallen? Shall it not, if thou do right, be invited up? But if thou do not right, at the entrance a sin-bearer is lying:
Unto thee, moreover, shall be his longing and thou shall rule over him
In other words, the Lord was giving Cain an opportunity to cool down, acknowledge his wrong position, and to go out and even yet bring a lamb for a sin-offering, available at the entrance.
Cain in his pride and self-sufficiency refused and later murdered his godly brother, and there was pronounced upon him the dire judgment of the record.
2. The Godless Civilization of the Antediluvian Age (Gen 4:17-24).
a. The city with all its attendant evils (v.17) God’s wise intention in a world marred by sin and the wickedness of the human heart was that its populations should live in scattered communities (“be fruitful and multiply and replenish (fill up) the earth”) and not in great centres, such as our modern cities. Evil spreads so much more rapidly, where great;
numbers are brought into close contact, just as rottenness in apples | spreads from one to another when they are left in a barrel, rather than spread out over a large space. The rural communities of the earth have been always the most wholesome.
However, in modern times even these are being corrupted by the! easy means of access to cities through modern transportation facilities and by the radio.
b. Jabal, one of the sons of Lamech in the line of Cain, Was remarkable as being the first man to accumulate cattle in large numbers He lived with his descendants in tents, a nomad life. Pember suggests probably introducing in defiance of God’s command, animal flesh and milk as a food, with the view of escaping the labour of tilling the ground, thus avoiding some of the consequences of the curse.
Be this as it may, there is certainly a marked modern movement through mechanical invention and legislation to make life more comfortable arid easy, to provide more time for leisure and pleasure and to palliate the curse.
C. Jubal, another son of Lamech, was the inventor of musical instruments. Music is of the Lord and there will ‘be wondrous harmonies in heaven, but we are here in Gen. Ch.4 reading of the ungodly line of Cain. These men Jabal, Jubal, Tubal-c^in were ungodly as 4:26 proves, consequently, we see a wrong use of things which under divine direction are good, Jubal was not intent on glorifying god. By him was Satan’s effort through perverted music to dull man’s sensibilities toward God and to hinder him in meditation and contemplation of God.
It is a known fact that the best music of the modern centuries has a Christian background and was written by men of devotion to God and spiritual sensibilities. Modern Jazz is positively Satanic and tends to the sensuous and immoral, as well as exciting the nerve centres with marked detrimental physical results.
d. Lamech was the first polygamist. We can gather instruction concerning the boastful, blasphemous spirit of this man from the address to his wives”. cf. Gen. 4:23, 24. Pember suggests that this was a kind of song which may have been popular among the antediluvians. Literally translated, it runs as follows:
“Adah and Zillah, hear my voice, Ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech, For I have slain a man in return for my bruise For sevenfold shall Cain be avenged But Lamech, seventy and sevenfold.
“The meaning of this appears to be that he had quarrelled with a young man and, having been wounded and bruised by him, had slain him 19 in revenge. God had promised a sevenfold punishment upon one who should kill Cain, but let all know that if anyone injured Lamech, seventy-sevenfold would be the vengeance He would bring upon him”. – Pember.
The modern counterpart of this is in what practically amounts to polygamy in the ease with which divorces are obtained, in the growing looseness in moral standards, and in the growing confirmation of the public in this looseness by the novels, magazine articles and moving picture shows of the day. All this is given impulse by the lack of positive Christian emphasis on Divine standards, as embraced in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the pulpits of modern ecclesiasticism
e. “Tubal-Cain was a worker in brass and iron. He was possibly the first man who forged weapons from these metals. We learn from Gen. 6:13 that the earth was filled with violence. This would certainly indicate that a wild orgy of murder and evil work was manifest in those days”. Compare the increase of crime and violence, war, class and civil strife of today.
“The Cainites, with the restlessness of men alienated from God, were ever striving to make the land of their exile a pleasant land: to reproduce Paradise artificially instead of longing for the real garden of delight, they were ceaselessly trying by every means to palliate the curse, instead of patiently following God’s directions for getting rid of it altogether.
“Cain himself, who had been condemned to wander, was the first to build a city which he called Enoch after the name of his son, the first to attempt to settle comfortably upon the earth”. – “Earth’s Earliest Ages”,
f. The prominence of women in the Cain line (Gen 4:19,22) The name Adah means “Ornament, beauty”; Zillah means “shade”; and Naamah means “lovely”. These names were given doubtless in recognition of the physical beauty and charm of these antediluvian women. There is no mention of the women in their line Seth.
In modern times feminine physical charm and beauty are exploited commercially in advertising displays, beauty contests, theatricals, and fashions.
3. The New Godly Line of Seth. Gen. 4:25-5:32.
Seth, and his immediate descendants, were godly as proven in the statement of 4:26 – “Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord”. Enoch, the seventh from Adam, is singled out for honourable mention as a man of God (5:22). Because of his faithful walk with God, he was caught away from the ungodliness prevalent before the Flood and stands as a type of the overcomes of the last days who will escape the tribulation judgments.
When we turn to Seth’s posterity, an: scene changes. Envyings, strifes and licentiousness and violence are no longer before us. our ears cease to be assailed with the lowing of herds, the strains of soft music for the soothing of uneasy consciences, the clatter of the anvil, the vauntings of proud boasters and all the mingled din which arises from a world living without God and struggling of overpowering His curse.
“But we see a people, poor and afflicted, toiling day after day to procure food from the soil according to God’s appointment, and patiently waiting till He shall be gracious and humbly acknowledging His chastening hand upon them. They have no share in earth’s history: that is entirely made up by the Cainites. As strangers and pilgrims in the world they abstain from fleshly lusts, they build no cities, they invent no arts, they desire no amusements, they seek a better country, that is heavenly”. Pember, “Earth’s Earliest Ages”.
4. Mixture of the Descendants of Seth and the Ungodly Cainites.
God expects His own people to maintain their character of separation from the evil of their own day. 2Cor. 6:14-18. The evidence is clear that these Sethites were gradually drawn away from their walk with God and finally overwhelmed in the judgment of the Flood. Only eight individuals were saved from the Flood.
In modern ecclesiasticism and denominationalism, one can hardly distinguish between the professor of Christianity and the out-and-out worldling. Their lives run parallel in almost every activity of life.
The dispensation of conscience ended with divine intervention and the judgment of the Flood, which lasted for a period of one year and ten days. 6:3-8:14. The close of that ancient period does not mean that man is no longer responsible for a conscience which has been called “the voice of God within the soul”. Noah and his family had seen bet the good and the evil and were responsible with their posterity to heed the voice of conscience and choose the good. The Flood simply marks the close of an era with divine intervention in the affairs of men and a new beginning with Noah and his sons.
with those who accept His Son. He is still dealing inexorably in judgment with an ungodly world. If some of the sickly sentiment displayed toward the hardened criminal were turned into a demand for law enforcement and the purging of our courts and our whole system of jurisprudence, of unjust judges, shyster lawyers, easy bail, and underserved parole, with the prompt visitation of capital punishment upon the guilty murderer, there would be less talk of “the crime wave”.
Our Anglo-Saxon neighbour across the sea can give us some salutary lessons in this direction as statistics clearly show. God knows best what deterrent to violence and crime is needed and any effort to change this o man’s part ends only disastrously.
As the descendants of Noah and their sons began to multiply, there is a very evident departure from God. Nimrod, the grandson of Ham, was the founder of the ancient kingdoms of Babel (Babylon) and Asshur (Assyria).
“He began to be a mighty one in the earth”, that is a great hero or leader of men, an organizer, a builder, His leadership was evidently in defiance of the Lord. The Septuagint Version of the Old Testament translates 10:9, “He was a mighty hunter against the Lorde,” the sense of which in accord with some ancient Hebrew paraphrases, is that he was a mighty rebel against the Lord.
The spirit of rebellion against the Lord which culminated in the building of the tower of Babel doubtless found its source in this “giant” of ancient times. In defiance of God’s command to Noah (Gen 9:1) these ancient inhabitants of the land of Shinar (Mesopotamia) (11:2), lifted up in pride, boastfulness, and self-assertion, presumed to build a tower which would reach up to heaven. They purposed to concentrate in one spot of their own choice, to organize with the marks of confederated greatness (11:4). How like the spirit of the leaders of modern Russia, whose defiance of God is pictured in one of their posters, showing a Soviet workman at the top of a ladder reaching to the clouds. On the edge of the clouds are seen the three persons of the Trinity, who are about to be dislodged from their eminence by a hammer in the hand of the workman.
God will tolerate that spirit for only a brief period and will quietly and deliberately deal in judgment with such blasphemers, as He did of old when He came down, confounded their language and scattered them upon the face of the earth (11:6-9).
God expected the man to obey his conscience and live right in the perfect will of God. The man had been taught by God in principle and practice, the need for blood sacrifice for sin. God expected the man to go by this in his approach to God. Also through his conscience he could shun evil and do the right, to prove man’s will and not compulsion.
Genesis chapter. four through chapter six gives the record of a series of man’s failures to obey his conscience:
2. Cain failed to obey his conscience to accept God’s correction to offer himself as a living sacrifice to God (Genesis 4:6-7).
3. Cain developed bitterness against the innocent Abel his brother and killed him (Genesis 4:8).
4. Cain felt no remorse for the sin he committed (Genesis 4:9).
5. Lamech, a descendant of Cain. complained of having killed an. unknown person (Genesis 4:23).
6. Sons of God married daughters of men, (Genesis 6:2). This was the: climax of man’s disobedience to his conscience which attracted God’s Judgment upon that dispensation.
THE INTER-MARRIAGE THEORY (Gen. 6:2)
“Sons of God” married Daughters of men. Who were these sons of God and these daughters of men?
Three main theories have been advanced:
SONS OF GOD DAUGHTERS OF MEN
1. Fallen angels married human beings
2. Sethites married Cainites
3. Godly people married Ungodly people
1. Fallen angels married human beings:
Scholars of this first theory above hold that the sons of God (Genesis 6:2) were fallen angels that
sinned and are in chains of darkness (2. Peter 2:4) and the angels “who kept not their first estate but
left their own, habitation” (Jude 6-7). They also contend that this intrusion produced wicked gi-
ants (Genesis 6:4). That. in the. Scripture: angels could put on human appearance, eát human food
(Genesis 18:1-8) pass, night, in human residence (Genesis 19:1-3), that possibly, fallen angels can
appear in human, “(go) in unto daughters of men” which could produce such superhuman beings
2. Sethites marrying Cainites:
Supporters of the second view of Sethites marrying Cainites contend that, angels are said to be sexless and unproductive (Matthew 22:30) and that the words “took them wives” suggest a legal marriage contract and also long-lasting marriage to an extent. That the intermarriage could have been
non-other than that Sethites married Cainites since angels are spirits. Shelton Lois in his book
“STUDIES IN DISPENSATION,” said, “Seth’s sons began marrying Cain’s daughters.” This is
the stand of many orthodox and Evangelical churches.
3. Godly people married Ungodly people:
The third view holds that the term “Sons of God” refers to all the godly, irrespective of their natural descent, whereas ‘” daughters of men” refer to all the ungodly irrespective of their natural descent. Scofield in his summary of these views said, “Whichever View is held, it is obvious that Satan attempted so to corrupt the race that the Messiah could not come to redeem man. But God salvaged a remnant (Genesis 6:8) and a godly line Was preserved. The ultimate failure in the dispensation of conscience was intermarriage.
And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have crèated from the face of
the earth; both man and beast, and all creeping things. and the fowls of the air for it repenteth me that have made them (Genesis 6:7).
God judged them with the flood by destroying all animate beings except those with Noah in the
ark. The ultimate purpose of the flood was to establish a ‘new ‘race with righteous people. The
words, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:8) implies that Noah was saved
by grace and not by his merits. God’s principle of salvation had been “by grace” (Ephesians 2:8) and
not of works. God allowed Noah to warn them against the
flood and to build the ark (Gen. 6:3,14; 2 Pet. 2:5).
THE SIZE OF THE ARK (Genesis 6:14-16)
God gave Noah what the measurement of the ark should be:
Length 300 cubit ft.=450 ft. 47, plots length
Width 50 cubit f. = 75 ft. =1/, plots width
Height- 30 cubit ft. = 45 ft. 3 floors. Capacity: 1.518.750
The area of the ark – 33.750 sq.fi= 6.75 plots in size.
This was the first record of a ship in the Scripture and the flood was also the first record of rainfall in Scripture. God ordered the structure of the ark as a method of salvaging a remnant on the earth. The method of salvation must be according
to God’s principle.
THE SOURCE OF THE FLOOD (Gen. 7:11,12)
Out of the flood of Genesis 1:2, God called forth the dry land and caused some water to hang in the air and others to settle and form the oceans.
In Noah’s flood, “the same day were all the fountain of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth for forty days and forty nights” (Genesis 7:11.12).
God broke the fountain of waters underneath and released the water above, both met on earth for forty days and forty nights without break till the highest mountain was covered with the flood.
Every living creature was floating on the water. It was with this flood that God judged the dispensation of conscience after 1656 years.
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