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Sabbath School Lessons on Rebellion and Redemption
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 3: Global Rebellion and the Patriarchs *
Introduction: In our first lesson of this series we discovered how
sin began in heaven. Next, we learned how the instigator of sin in
heaven, who had been tossed out of heaven, spread the sin problem to
God's perfect creation on our earth: Adam and Eve. This week we
explore how sin continued its insidious march on earth. Let's dive
into our Bible study and learn more!
- The Sons
- Read Genesis 4:1-2. Do you recall what it was like with
your first born child? I thought that my son was doing
things no other child in the history of the universe had
done! What would it be like for the first-born of Adam
and Eve, since it was literally true that Cain's actions
as a baby were unprecedented?
- Notice the division of work between the two sons. Why
do you think they chose these jobs? (Read Genesis
3:17. Cain is doing exactly what God said he should
do. Perhaps Abel wanted to be a little different and
thought his work was more spiritual.)
- Read Genesis 4:3-5. Can you understand Cain's anger? (No
doubt he thought he was doing the work God commanded. Why
isn't the result of that work a worthy sacrifice?)
- Read Genesis 4:6-7. What do we learn about whether Cain's
anger is justified? (Reading between the lines we learn
that Cain's anger is not justified. When God spoke to him
about doing "what is right," this reveals that God gave
him instructions about a proper sacrifice.)
- What is the nature of Cain's failure at this point?
How would you compare it to the sin of his mother?(It
was like Eve's sin in that he apparently disbelieved
what God had said about proper sacrifices. Cain
decided that he would follow his own logical
understanding of what he should be sacrificing, based
on the circumstances of his job.)
- Read Genesis 4:8-12. What kind of penalty does God impose?
(In Genesis 3:17-19 we learned that one penalty for the
original sin was that it would be difficult to grow food.
Cain's penalty is more severe, the ground will not produce
any food for him.)
- Put yourself in the place of Eve and Adam. Their
first born murdered their second born, and then the
first born is sent into exile. They lose both of
their two sons in one day. What are your thoughts?
- What do you think about the penalty God imposed on
Cain? (Read Genesis 9:5-6. It is premeditated murder,
and it is unprecedented. Yet, God gives Cain a
- Who do you think inspired Cain to commit murder?
- What do you think life would be like if Satan
had complete control of the world?
- Read Genesis 6:1-4. What is meant by the "sons of God" and
the "daughters of men" is unclear. What is clear is that
they produced giants, and God was not happy about this
with the result that He reduced their life span. Why do
you think God thought this was a good remedy? (If you had
people who lived for hundreds of years, and they asserted
an influence for evil, it would interfere with God's work
- Read Genesis 6:5-7. Are we a mistake?
- God created humans with free choice. Does God regret
that He gave us choice?
- Since we are looking at the history of rebellion and
redemption in this series of lessons (the great
controversy between good and evil), who is winning?
- If you were Satan, would you complain that God
changed the rules?
- Has God changed the rules? (Read Genesis 2:15-17. Death is the penalty for sin. God has not
changed the rules. Once people reject God, they
are subject to this penalty.)
- Read Genesis 6:8-13 and Genesis 6:17-21. Let's see if we
can understand God's mind. Does He regret creating humans?
(No. God wants to continue with the human experiment.
However, God does not want to continue to sustain evil.)
- What does this teach us about living a righteous
life? Will God favor a righteous person? (Yes!)
- Why didn't God destroy Satan and his fallen angels at
the same time? Why not remove the leadership for the
promotion of evil? (My best answer is that the time
was not right. God had not come to earth to save
humans and Satan had not shown the full extent of his
- Read Genesis 22:1-2. Tell me what is going through your
mind if you are Abraham?
- Read Jeremiah 32:35 and 2 Kings 16:3. Everything is
wrong with this. God calls child sacrifice in the
fire "detestable" and says such ideas would not
"enter My mind." The sacrifice is to take place on a
mountain, a traditional place for idol worship. Would
you believe this message was from God? (Abraham must
have known the voice of God. Otherwise, this command
- Read Genesis 17:19-21. How would you reconcile God's
promise here with God's instruction to offer Isaac as
a burnt offering?
- We just got through discussing how God favors those
who follow Him. How do you explain this terrible
instruction to one of the faithful?
- Read Genesis 22:3-5. How long does Abraham wait to follow
- Notice the last part of verse 5: "We will worship and
then we will come back to you." Is Abraham lying so
the servants will not interfere? If not (and I'm
assuming not), what is Abraham thinking? (He believes
God's promise about the future of Isaac. Somehow God
will work this out.)
- Read Genesis 22:9-12. Why would God do this to Abraham
(and Isaac)? Why would God record it in the Bible? (If
this is one of the worst stories you have ever heard,
God's point to Abraham and to us is that this is what God
did on our behalf when He sent His Son, Jesus, to die in
our place. There was no one to stop the horrible death of
- Let's step back a moment. The Abraham story is incredibly
emotional (especially for parents who are close to their
children). At the same time, the story of Noah puts God
in a less favorable light. What is God's overall message
to us from these two stories? (That God loves us beyond
our imagination. God made an incredible sacrifice for us,
even though at the time of Noah God said He regretted our
creation. At the same time, God is a God of judgment. He
will destroy evil.)
- Jacob and Joseph
- Both Jacob and Joseph have complex stories that we cannot
explore in detail here. Each one involved bitter feelings
between brothers. Jacob and Joseph were "good" guys, but
they were to differing degrees responsible for their
brothers' anger toward them. Let's explore how this worked
out for Joseph. Read Genesis 45:1-4. Those who know the
story tell me how Joseph has "attendants," Pharaoh's
household has an interest in his affairs, and Joseph was
previously "sold?" (Joseph's brothers sold him into
slavery because they hated him (Genesis 37), and through a
series of events Joseph is now the prime minister of Egypt
- Are the brothers of Joseph justified in feeling
- Is Joseph helping by reminding them that they
sold him ( Genesis 45:4)?
- Read Genesis 45:5-7. What does this teach us about bad
things happening to good people? (Read Genesis 50:19-20.
God used the bad things in Joseph's life to create good.)
- If you know the story of Joseph and the Hebrews, you
know that they were ultimately enslaved by the
Egyptians (Exodus 1). What relationship, if any, did
that have to Joseph's brothers selling him into
- Friend, sin has created a terrible situation for humans.
Our God is active in the fight against sin. He suppresses
sin without limiting human free choice and He turns the
tragedies of sin into good. He made an astonishing
sacrifice to defeat sin and make available to us eternal
life free from sin. Why not choose right now to give your
allegiance to God rather than to the one who inspired the
death of Abel?
- Next week: Conflict and Crisis: The Judges.
* Copr. 2016, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.