Summary: The writer to the Hebrews attempts to show that the Offering of Christ at Calvary was far better than that of Abel. Abel offered up the first human animal sacrifice to atone for his sins, as good as that was-it pales in comparison to what Christ offered.
AUDACIOUS ACTIONS ADVOCATE AN ATONEMENT
I. ADAM’S ADVERSITY:
II. ABEL’S ACTIONS:
III. ANOINTER’S ADVANCEMENT:
The writer to the Hebrews wraps up his eleventh, “Better” by going back to the Old Testament from where he drew so much of his arguments regarding the present belief in Christ being better than the former beliefs of the Old Testament. Here, he begins his last argument by referring to Abel’s sacrifice as compared to the one made by Christ and shows his readers that whereas the former one was sufficient for the one who offered up that sacrifice-Able, yet it pales in comparison to the one which Christ offered on Calvary.
However, before we look at the sacrifice of Able and see how great that one was, it is necessary to go back one more generation-back to Adam-to comprehend the full import of the sacrifice made by Adam’s son, Able, and then move forward to the sacrifice of Christ and see just how great that one was in the light of history and of all time.
No where do we read that Adam made a sacrifice to God. The first sacrificial offered by a human was the son of Adam, Able. One has to wonder why Adam never made a sacrifice of any kind to God, but the idea and actions of offering sacrifices began with the second generation of creation. The puzzle grows more mysterious as we stop and contemplate that both boys of Adam and Eve-Cain and Abel-were well aware of offering sacrifices, but how did they learn about this action since it can be assumed that Adam and Eve may not have offered any sacrifices? How did these boys know about offering sacrifices? Furthermore, how was it that both boys knew about this act of worship and both knew what type of a sacrifice to make, yet one did it right and the other did it wrong? Also, one has to consider that the offering made by Able was acceptable to God and thus set the stage for all the Old Testament sacrifices which finally culminated in the Greatest Sacrifice made by Jesus for all time.
To fully comprehend the beginning of the correct form of sacrifice and then to fully understand why Christ’s sacrifice is superior to Abel’s and to the rest of the Old Testament sacrifices, it is necessary to study three things. The first important point to grasp in discussing sacrifices of the Old Testament and to fully understand the importance of the sacrifice made by Jesus is to contemplate, ADAM’S ADVERSITY. The second aspect of this is to study ABEL’S ACTIONS regarding his offering. Once these two aspects have been observed, it is necessary to study the ANOINTER’S ADVANCEMENT.
I. ADAM’S ADVERSITY: The story of the Garden of Eden and what transpired there is one of the favorite Bible stories of all times. Children learn about it early when attending Sunday School and Confirmation classes. The story of the Garden of Eden with Adam, Eve, the serpent, the Tree of Life, and the visits by God, are not only relegated to the Church world, but it has passed into modern culture in so many countries of the world today. Whether it is accepted as truth is one thing, but so many people of the world are familiar with this story there is so little to add to it.
Yet, that is the very essence of the first part of my story-to re-examine this story again for background on why Able and even Cain made offerings to God and why one was accepted and one was not.
When the Fall happened, Genesis 3, concerning Adam and Eve, the chain of events began to transpire very quickly. As soon as these two realized what they had done, they took steps to try and cover their bodies and their happenings. When God did make His appearance in the Garden, after the fact of the transgression, God called upon them for an explanation of what had transpired. After hedging a bit, both Adam and Eve, Acknowledged their transgressions.
Irregardless of what one wants to believe about the steps to their actions, the Bible records some simple statements regarding their coverings. Adam and Eve, made for themselves garments of leaves. The command was that they could eat of all of the fruit of the trees except one and that was the one they chose to try. There was nothing spoken in the Word about destroying the plants/trees by striping them of their leaves. The only part of the trees they were to eat and take were the fruits of the trees. Yet, here we see them denuding part of some tree or trees, to cover themselves. Sin was already multiplying in them at an alarming rate.