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What was the MARK OF CAIN?

(exploratory theology?)

What was the Mark of Cain?  And was this mark a blessing or curse?  The Book of Genesis does not go into the greatest detail on this but merely mentions that God placed it on Cain to protect him. It was a shield of sorts.

 One can read the text of Genesis, chapter four, and see how the various events played out.  Cain envied his brother Abel and killed him because God favored Abel and his sacrifice, whereas what Cain sacrificed (grains and plants) were rejected.  We see in Genesis 4:10 to 4:14 that Cain is cursed and penalized severely but we can see from verse 15 that the mark placed on him is for his protection and no curse.  It is not a further penalty or burden!!!

What was the nature of this mark?  Was it a racial difference as some try to say?  Was Cain turned into an ugly orgre or a Neanderthal like creature?  (some actually say these things.).  Most of these speculation are silly!  The mark was a good thing and for the protection of Cain, despite his committing murder. One might even wonder if Cain was ultimately redeemed. Certainly the Lord cared for and provided for Cain.  We don't hear much more about Cain after some brief genealogies.....

Does the Hebrew text and the early Greek (Septuagint) give us any clues about the mark or sign?  The Hebrew for mark in Genesis 4 is oth or ot and is Strongs number 226.  This signifies a "mark" or "sign".  Note that the final letter for ot is the Hebrew letter Tav, which roughly corresponds to our "T", and up to about 600 BC. this was a cross shaped letter, looking little like the latter squared Hebrew letter.  Could the mark that the Lord placed on Cain be a cross? Some have suggested that this letter can alone indicate "covenant". I think this is very likely and that Cain was actually repentant for his sins. The Septuagint text does not seem to help us determine anything extra. The word mark is rendered semion (semeion) or sign.  It had to be visible enough to warn others so it was either an actual mark or something clear in Cain's activities.  Cain has been demonized down through time but he was probably no more sinful than King David or Saul of Tarsus.

Pastor Steve Zomok


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  • I should have added some additional notes that are related:

    In some translations of the Book of Revelation (1:8) Jesus says, "I am Alef and the Tav" because the Tav is the final letter in the Hebrew alphabet.  It was earlier represented as a cross shape and even indicated a "mark". It is spelled out in Ezekiel 9:4...a most curious text. Interesting how both Strongs no. 226 "ot" (Gen. 4:15) and no. 8420 "tw"(Ezekiel 9:4) both contain the letter Tav.

    • I always figured that if God thought it was important for us to know the details of the mark of Cain, He would have made it more clear in the Bible. I mean, these times, Everything is so clear I wonder how some people can't see it, it's all there in the Holy Bible and the prophecy's are happening right now in front of our very eyes word for word and in the order intended. God made it perfectly clear in Isiah 17 & 19,  Psalms 83,  Zachariah 12,  Daniel 9:27,  Revelation 13,  Ezekiel 38,  Matthew 24: 3-8  (The Olivet discourse)  I just don't understand why some people, Christians too, can't or won't see it. I wonder if God has already sent the strong delusion?  

  • Interesting discussion; I've wondered also about this "Mark". I haven't much to add to the discussion as you've researched it as far as I could go but it would be interesting to know what exactly it was. Unfortunately, I don't think it's possible; it's probably just lost to history.

    • I think it probably is lost to history too, although some have associated the city of Enoch with the settlement called Uruk and also Erech and it would be neat if the cross symbol were to be found deep in the layers.  Of course pagans have used the cross symbol too but there is a school of thought that says monotheism came before polytheism and it degenerated into polytheism.  Plainly the Bible implies this so it would been interesting if evidence were found to clearly support this.  

      It is interesting to point to the fact that many men, including king David and Paul were responsible for the deaths of innocent people and sinned greatly yet God brought them back..  I think Cain and his family, in the land of Nod, promoted the true God.  As the population grew it fell into polytheism.  ?????

      • God will always accept you back, like Paul/Saul and King David, with his more sinful exploits clearly spelled out.I bet Cain did eventually go back to the Lord, given how close he was to Adam and Eve he would have to have been born and raised with God all over the place. People respected the Mark, whatever it was, and it's not unreasonable to see it as a Mark on his forehead- maybe burned in and scarred and obvious, in the shape of a cross, maybe it was just supposed to be an X but God's hand directed the guy scraping the mark into his forehead, and had it's actual shape to be a cross. Could be. But the mysteries of the Scriptures here will continue.

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