Better Blood Than Abel

A Powerful Symbol

and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
Hebrews 12:24 (NASU)

In Genesis Chapter 4 we find the story of Cain and Abel. This story is full of many lessons, such as: the importance of offering the “best”; the quarrels which can exist between brothers; and the great danger and evil outcomes of envy and jealousy.

Although the chapter does not reveal much about Abel (he was the second son and a keeper of flocks), the story remains a powerful symbol throughout the entire Bible, focusing upon the blood that was spilled.

Blood of a “Righteous Man”

The Hebrew writer, in this curious reference refers to this very blood of Abel. This blood was referenced by Jesus as being of a righteous man (Mat. 23:35; Luke 11:51). The Hebrew writer refers earlier to Abel as having offered a better sacrifice through faith (Heb. 11:4). The blood of Abel came to describe true innocence and righteousness – a figure strongly placed into the Jewish mind. The key thought in this text, however, is just how much better Jesus’ blood stands as a “speaker” (or testifier) than Abel. There are two important reasons why:

Grace is better than justice

The blood of Abel cried out for vengeance (Gen. 4:10). Such vengeance is reserved for God alone, and is promised by God on the part of the innocent (Deu. 32:35, 36; cf. Rom. 12:19). By contrast, the blood of Christ eliminates the need for divine vengeance by removing the penalty of sin. Although justice is good and necessary, grace is the more powerful. Any honest man before God would acknowledge this truth.

A better witness

The blood of Abel was a martyr’s blood for God. The word “martyr” literally comes from a word meaning “witness,” but came to mean one killed for the Divine cause (such as Stephen). A great number of saints have lost their lives for the Kingdom (as did many righteous Jews under the Old Law). The power of such “testimony” lasts long after the body is put to death. In contrast, Jesus’ blood brought reconciliation to God. Jesus could have been the “best” martyr, if His death was to serve the sole purpose of testimony. Instead, it brought something better – a way to return to God.

True Innocence

Abel stands as a hero of faith, but was still but a man. His blood was a powerful “speaker” because of his innocence and devotion to God. However, the only true innocent Man’s blood is all the better, because He suffered agony and faced death for all.

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