Friday, September 16, 2016

Genesis Notes: Abel's Resume

All we really know about Abel is that he was a shepherd and his offering pleased God. As with Adam and Eve, I like the way that the Life Application Study Bible profile makes the key lessons from Abel's life stand out.

Icon of Abel by Theophanes the Greek
The Bible doesn't tell us why God liked Abel's gift and disliked Cain's, but both Cain and Abel knew what God expected. Only Abel obeyed. Throughout history, Abel is remembered for his obedience and faith (Hebrews 11:4), and he is called "righteous" (Matthew 23:35).

Strengths and accomplishments:
  • First member of the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11
  • First shepherd
  • First martyr for truth (Matthew 23:35)
Lessons from his life:
  • God hears those who come to him
  • God recognizes the innocent person and sooner or later punishes the guilty
Vital statistics:
  • Where: Just outside of Eden
  • Occupation: Shepherd
  • Relatives: Parents - Adam and Eve, Brother - Cain
Key verse:
"By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead" (Hebrews 11:4)

Abel's story is told in Genesis 4:1-8. He also is mentioned in Matthew 23:35; Luke 11:51; Hebrews 11:4 and 12:24
Here are a few extra tidbits of interesting information via Wikipedia. At least they interested me.
In Christianity, comparisons are sometimes made between the death of Abel and that of Jesus, the former thus seen as being the first martyr. In Matthew 23:35 Jesus speaks of Abel as "righteous", and the Epistle to the Hebrews states that "The blood of sprinkling ... [speaks] better things than that of Abel".(Hebrews 12:24) The blood of Jesus is interpreted as bringing mercy; but that of Abel as demanding vengeance (hence the curse and mark).

Abel is invoked in the litany for the dying in the Roman Catholic Church, and his sacrifice is mentioned in the Canon of the Mass along with those of Abraham and Melchizedek. The Alexandrian Rite commemorates him with a feast day on December 28.

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