By the time Yeshua finished his message on anger, every Jew listening that day would have recognized its connection to one of the most important accounts in the Torah. It is an account that was, and still is, considered so important because when past generations failed to observe the principles it taught, the result was the Great Flood and the conquering of Israel and Judea by foreign kings. Its message is clear -- the greatest threat to the existence the Jewish people -- and to mankind – is the failure of man to be his brother’s keeper.
Yeshua’s teaching on anger was a commentary on the account of Cain and Abel – Cain’s anger led to Abel’s murder.
At the end of days Cain brought an offering to YAHWEH of the fruit of the ground. And Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions.[i]
Cain and Abel brought QORBAN to YAHWEH. Now pay close attention to what happened next:
And YAHWEH gazed toward Abel and toward for his offering; but toward Cain and toward his offering He did not gaze.[ii]
Remember what Yeshua said about leaving the QORBAN at the altar? Why did YAHWEH ignore Cain and his QORBAN? In light of Yeshua’s commentary, YAHWEH ignored Cain because he had committed an unreconciled sin against his brother. Cain had not done TESHUVAH -- genuine remorse for the wrong he had committed, ceased from doing it and doing acts of TOV.
And Cain burned exceedingly and his face fell. And YAHWEH said to Cain, "Why are you burning? And why has your face fallen?[iii]
Cain was so angry that it could be seen in his face. Now, based on what we learned from Yeshua Cain (see You Shall Not Ignore Your Brother’s Anger), YAHWEH demonstrates His love for Cain. Remember the parallelism that defined “love” in Leviticus 19:
You shall express sharp, stern disapproval, reprove and reprimand your neighbor // You shall love your neighbor
Ignoring Cain and his anger would have been to hate him! YAHWEH confronted Cain, directly addressed his anger, and instructed him about how to overcome it:
Surely, if you do TOV, you shall be upstanding; but if you do not do TOV, sin will be crouching at your door; its desire shall be for you, but you will be able to master it.[iv]
Cain’s father had also faced an adversary, the serpent in the Garden in Eden. He failed to take dominion of it by following YAHWEH’s commandment. Cain’s serpent is “anger.” YAHWEH also gave him the instructions he needed to take dominion over it -- YAHWEH told Cain “to do TOV”:
TOV is an act that is visible and concrete, good to the sight, beautiful and pleasant to the eyes, that makes something more functionally complete; protects and preserves life; and, enhances the quality of life.
Only Cain could what would protect and preserve life, and overcome the adversary crouching, ready to spring upon him. However, instead of choosing to be the “image of the Creator” by doing “acts of TOV,” Cain chose to become and act “like a wild animal”:
And Cain appointed a place to meet Abel his brother. And it was when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.[v]
Cain rose up like a wild predatory animal and committed the first murder in the Bible – brother against brother. Cain introduced violence and murder into the world. When YAHWEH came and asked him where his brother was, Cain spoke what has to be one of the most famous quotes in the Bible:
And he said, "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?"[vi]
Uncontrolled anger led to murder. Yeshua’s goal was to teach his disciples how to recognize the signs that anger was becoming hotter and hotter until a person became furious and committed an act of murder. However, the Jewish audience knew that the consequences of Cain’s decision to murder Abel did end there – it affected lives of many others who had not even been born yet. Lamech, Cain’s great-great-great-grandson, not only remembered Cain’s sin – he glorified it. Listen to the words of what many scholars believe is the first song recorded in the Bible. Lamech sang it to his two wives:
Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;
you wives of Lamech, give ear to my speech.
For a man I slew, as soon as I wounded him,
Yes, a young man, as soon as I bruised him.[vii]
Lamech was not angry with his victim – he didn’t even know him. Notice how Lamech brags about the violent act of murder he committed against a complete stranger. His song emphasizes his superiority over his victim by stressing that the victim was a young man, indicating that he was a man in his prime, not a weak old man. He chose his victim so he could exceed the deed and legend of Cain. He revealed his motivation in his song:
If sevenfold Cain shall be avenged,
then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.[viii]
Lamech’s song sounded very much like the songs sung by victors when they returned from war. Success in Lamech’s mind was to surpass the violent act of murder committed by Cain – and he achieved it. And, just like with Cain, Lamech’s appetite for murder and violence was passed down from one generation to another until:
YAHWEH saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. YAHWEH regretted that He had made human beings on the earth, and His heart was deeply troubled. So YAHWEH said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created — and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground — for I regret that I have made them.”[ix]
Now the earth was corrupt in ELOHIYM’s sight and was full of violence. ELOHIYM saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So ELOHIYM said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. . . [x]
How important was it for everyone to recognize how deadly the consequences of uncontrolled anger could be? What could begin with a spark could flare up and destroy a nation. Yeshua’s message wasn’t directed only at the angry person – it was also to remind everyone hearing his words that “we are our brother’s keeper!”
Is Yeshua’s message still relevant today? We are all aware of the impact of anger, violence, and murder in our world. Gang members and disturbed individuals are choosing their victims for sport – just like Lamech. Angry violent murderers the heroes of the games people play, as well as the television shows and movies that we – and our children -- continually watch. What do you think Yeshua would say about it?
This brings us to the end of the teaching of Yeshua about anger. We have many more lessons to learn from him. If you believe understanding the messages of the Real Yeshua is important and relevant today – we ask you to help us do the following so together we can make others aware of what he said:
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