Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Hebrews 11:4 By faith, God testified

There is a lot of discussion about why God accepted Abel's gift and not Cain's. Some people say that Cain simply gathered any old thing and gave it to God. In that case, Cain's offering was half-hearted and unfelt. Other theologians say that Cain's offering came from a cursed ground and came from the sweat of his brow (or his own righteousness) while Abel instinctively knew --by faith-- that a sacrifice was needed. It is possible that Abel remembered the "report" that God had given to Adam and Eve about a coming seed of the woman whose heel would be bruised. Whatever the reason, Cain's offering was not accepted.
As I look at the verse today, the word that jumps out at me is that God "testified" about Abel's gifts. Some translations merely say God gave His approval. But I like the idea of God witnessing and testifying about His approval of His child. This also brings in the theme of the word of God and of witnesses. God is also a witnesser. I find myself wondering, "Did God testify to the angels about Abel? Did God testify to Cain alone? Or is the mention of Abel in Scripture a sign of God's testimony and witness about Abel?" How wonderful a thought to have God testifying for us!
Paul goes on to state that Abel still speaks although Abel is dead. Again, there are many interpretations as to what this means. On a very basic level, it reminds us that Moses said Abel's blood cried out to God. Who knows what Abel cried out about? Perhaps he wanted to live his life. Perhaps he wept because none of the descendants of man would be descended from him. Perhaps he was alone, being the only human who had died. How long did Able stay in that solitary isolation from God unsaved and unredeemed before another dead human soul joined him? We do not know what he cried out for specifically but it seems he cried out for justice. But then Paul adds, Abel still speaks.
What does this mean? I really don't have any insight on this but I will say that perhaps there is something about Abel and humanity's cry for justice or about isolation in the world.

4By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel's offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.
by faith a better sacrifice did Abel offer to God than Cain, through which he was testified to be righteous, God testifying of his gifts, and through it, he being dead, doth yet speak.
By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he had witness borne to him that he was righteous, God bearing witness in respect of his gifts: and through it he being dead yet speaketh

No comments:

Blog Archive

Popular Posts