Christ as the Blood of Abel in Genesis

29 Sep

Read Genesis 4:1-15

Sadly, we see the effects of the fall of Adam and Eve already in the next generation, where the first murder is recorded. Poor Abel is mentioned in this chapter only for his birth, his offering and his death. His birth is recorded in verse two and his murder in verse eight. He is mentioned in several other places in Scripture, though. It’s there that we get a commentary of what went on here in Chapter Four.

“By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.” Heb. 11:4

Jesus also referred to him as “righteous Abel”.

“…that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.” Matt.23:35

Abel is both a type of the true believer and a shadow of Christ.

He is a type of the true believer because of his offering and his faith. He brings an offering of “the firstborn of his flock, and their fat.” This represents the first and best, as fat was considered the best part of an animal. We also know the animal was slain, or else they could not get the fat. So a blood sacrifice is implied. Abel did this in faith, seeing the lamb as his substitute before God, until the Promised Seed would come.

Cain, by contrast, brought “an offering”. He came with neither his firstfruits nor his best. He came with the work of his hands, thinking he could approach God his own way, rather than the way God prescribed. Cain and Abel would have learned from the example and teaching of their parents, that God must be approached by faith and with blood. This was their first expression of faith and dependence on God as adults.

God sees the heart. It wasn’t just the type of sacrifice that was a problem, but the attitude. The offering and the worshipper are inseparable. When God appeals to Cain in mercy, Cain gets angry. He had no reason to be angry, and he could still make it right. Cain was envious. He takes his brother out to a field where he thinks no one will see them, and kills him. He should have loved him because he was his brother, and even more so, protected him as a younger brother. Instead we see,

“…not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.” 1 John 3:12

God asks, “Where is Abel, your brother?”  I find this interesting; as if there was any other Abel in town. God does this to emphasize the heinous nature of the crime and to strike at Cain’s conscience.  Cain lies. “I do not know,” as if he could conceal his crime. Then he goes further with a surly response which questions the right of the Almighty to even ask. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” His response reveals his hard heart and a lack of any natural brotherly affection.

“And He said, ‘What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.’” Gen. 4:10

This shows God’s outrage. Remember, God never asks a question to get information. He knows all things. He asks, as a parent would, to see if Cain will confess and repent. Just as earlier, He asked, “Adam, where are you?”

Cain complains that his punishment is greater than he can bear. He is not sorry for his sin, only sorry he got caught. He fears a violent death, like his brother. Even so, God again shows mercy to him by delaying the sentence of death already over his head because of the disobedience of his parents.

Matthew Henry says, “It shows great hardness of heart to be more concerned about our sufferings than our sins.”

Abel is also a shadow of Christ because Abel’s sacrifice is imperfect, whereas Christ’s is perfect. “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the most holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” Heb. 9:12

He is also a shadow because of the contrast between the intent of the blood of Abel vs. the blood of Christ. Abel’s blood cries for vengeance, but Christ’s blood cries for forgiveness.

“…to Jesus the Mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.” Heb. 12:24

Because of Christ’s death, we can enter the presence of God, from which our first parents were banished. “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus…” Heb. 10:19

“Jesus is the true and better Abel who, though innocently slain, has blood now that cries out, not for our condemnation, but for acquittal.”
Timothy Keller

Prayer-“Lord, forgive me for trying to approach You my way, with the works of my hands, as if that would be acceptable. You have provided the best way through Your Son. Thank you that His blood covers my sin and cleanses me from guilt. Thank You for Your great forgiveness.”

Questions-Do you feel envious of someone else’s ministry? Why do you think you have that attitude?

Response-Thank God for the sufficiency of His sacrifice that allows you to enter His presence with boldness.

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3 Responses to “Christ as the Blood of Abel in Genesis”

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