The writer presents the positive element faith; nevertheless, by mentioning the name Cain, he introduces an example of disobedience and unbelief. By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did.
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The author places the name of Abel, and by implication that of Adam, at the beginning of his list of Old Testament saints. With reference to Abel, note the following points:. As a tiller of the soil, Cain brought some of its fruits. We should look not at the gifts but at the giver. The historical context is quite explicit. If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? In effect, God pleaded with him to repent, to change his way of life, and to conquer sin. Notice, for example, that the expression by faith occurs three times in this verse.
How God communicated with Abel is not known. One assumes that as God spoke directly with Cain, so he addressed Abel. Even after his death, Abel is a constant witness. The author places Abel before the readers as a righteous man who lived by faith Heb. Abel is at the top of the list of the Old Testament heroes of faith. Even after his death, his example encourages people to seek the Lord, because he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Abel, then, is the father of believers of the time before Abraham. His faith in God still speaks as a constant witness. After all, even though Joseph was dead, his witness was still going on.
The Demonstration of Faith Heb. The background story is in Genesis — Abel was a righteous man because of faith Matt. God had revealed to Adam and his descendants the true way of worship, and Abel obeyed God by faith. In fact, his obedience cost him his life. Cain was not a child of God 1 John because he did not have faith. He was religious but not righteous. Abel speaks to us today as the first martyr of the faith. Enoch—faith walking vv.
Noah—faith working v. The patriarchs—faith waiting vv. En Gn , 11 la sangre de Abel clama por justicia y venganza. But how did he obtain this favor, except that his heart was purified by faith. God testifying, etc. Let us then learn, that no right or good work can proceed from us, until we are justified before God. By it he being dead, etc.
To faith he also ascribes this, — that God testified that Abel was no less the object of his care after his death, than during his life: for when he says, that though dead, he still speaketh, he means, as Moses tells us, that God was moved by his violent death to take vengeance. When, therefore, Abel or his blood is said to speak, the words are to be understood figuratively. Abel is also the first hero of faith named in this list.
His death, literally his blood, will be mentioned again in in contrast with the blood of Jesus to which all Christians have come. Cain is mentioned outside of Genesis 4 only three times in the Bible. It becomes the basis for explaining that the wicked world will hate righteous people.
His obedience is held up before us as an example to be copied even though it eventually cost him his life. This is why he still speaks, even though he is dead. Cain and Abel may have talked about what God required as a sacrifice before either of them brought his sacrifice. There is no suggestion that God required an animal which Cain refused, or that Cain did not bring the best from what he had.
The very anger of Cain upon having his offering refused indicates an arrogant distrust of God Gen Cain knew better than God what he should offer! Faith is so important that Paul could say whatever does not originate in faith is sin Rom Jesus explained to the disciples that the reason the Holy Spirit would convict people of sin was because they did not believe in him John —9. Disbelief is the central problem of sin. Belief is mandatory. Through this the witness came, as God bore witness on occasion of his gifts. The character however is given to him, and the title in later times: Matt. When a man leaves this world, be he righteous or unrighteous, he leaves something in the world.
Dead men do tell tales. They are not silent, but still speak to those who will listen. From many thousands of years ago, Abel speaks to twentieth-century man. This man who lived when the earth was new, who was of the second generation of mankind, has something to teach modern, sophisticated, technological man. He lived in a far distant age, in a far different culture, with far less light from God than we have.
But what he has to tell us is more relevant than anything we are likely to read in our current newspapers or magazines. He is the first in a long line of faithful persons who can teach us about the life of faith. It is this distinction that the Jewish readers especially needed to see. They had to be shown that, from the very beginning, faith has been the only thing that God will accept to save fallen man. Adam and Eve could not have been persons of faith in the same way as their descendants. They had seen God face-to-face, fellowshipped with Him, talked with Him, and had lived in the garden of paradise.
Even after they sinned, they had the memory and knowledge of this unique and beautiful relationship with their Creator. Their children were the first to have need of faith in its fullest sense. Abel was the first man of faith , and it is important to understand that his faith had to do with his personal salvation. Because he believed, he offered a better sacrifice.
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Because he offered a better sacrifice, he obtained righteousness. Sin violated their fellowship with God and forfeited their right to be in His presence. But even as His judgment sent them out, His grace promised a way back. Within the very curse itself, a Redeemer was promised. While judgment was being executed, mercy was being offered. Only one woman, the mother of Jesus, has ever possessed a seed apart from its being implanted by a man. The Holy Spirit placed the seed in her, and in this way it was the seed of woman that gave birth to Jesus, the promised Savior. From her comments after the birth of Cain, it is possible that Eve thought her firstborn would be the promised deliverer.
Flesh can only produce flesh. In Adam all died, and the sons of Adam could not give a life which they themselves did not have. We do not know their age difference, but Abel was born some time after Cain. In any case, his life was indeed brief, cut off by his jealous brother. Both were conceived after the fall and were born outside of Eden. They were therefore both born in sin. They were the second and third men ever to live on earth. They lived and functioned as all mankind since their time has lived and functioned. They had the same natures and capacities and limitations and inclinations that every person since then has had.
In other words, in all the essentials of human nature, they were exactly as we are. In no way do they resemble the primitive beings of evolutionist fantasy. The Bible is clear, however, that Adam and Eve were highly intelligent when God created them. Adam named all the animals, which required devising a creative vocabulary. Their sons understood animal husbandry and farming, and within a very few generations came the tools and musical instruments already mentioned. The Genesis account, brief as it is, gives the definite picture of people who were well-developed in language and in general culture.
The first human inhabitants of earth, Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel, lived and functioned as human beings in the ways that we do today. And Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. A Place to Worship Cain and Abel had a place to worship. Because they brought offerings, some sort of altar must have been used on which to make the sacrifices.
There is no mention of their erecting an altar at this time, and it may be that an altar already existed near the east side of the Garden of Eden, where God had placed the cherubim with the flaming sword to prevent man from reentering. Perhaps the altar here was a forerunner of the mercy seat, a place where man could come for forgiveness and atonement.
A Time for Worship There seems also to have been a time for worship. It may be, therefore, that God had designated a special time for sacrificing. God is a God of order, and we know that in later centuries He did prescribe definite times and ways of worshiping. The fact that Cain and Abel came to sacrifice at the same time also suggests that God had specified a particular time. A Way to Worship I also believe that God had designated a way to worship. Cain and Abel would know nothing about the need for worship or sacrifice, much less the way, had they not been told by God—perhaps through their parents.
Abraham sacrificed to God, and through Moses came the complicated and demanding rituals of sacrifice of the Old Covenant. It is inconceivable that Cain and Abel accidentally stumbled onto sacrifice as a way of worshiping God. The fact that God accepted only the one sacrificial offering also seems to indicate that He had established a pattern for worship.
Abel offered his sacrifice by faith. He must have known the place and time and way in which God wanted the sacrifice for sin to be offered. There was nothing intrinsically wrong with a grain or fruit or vegetable offering. The Mosaic covenant included such offerings. But the blood offerings were always first, because only the blood offerings dealt with sin.
Here is where the life of faith begins, with a sacrifice for sin. It begins with believing God that we are sinners, that we are worthy of death, that we need His forgiveness, and that we accept His revealed plan for our deliverance. That is the beginning of the life of faith. It was in such faith that Abel presented his sacrifice to God.
And it was because of such faith that his sacrifice was acceptable to God. When Abel did what God said, he revealed his obedience and acknowledged his sinfulness. Cain, on the other hand, was disobedient and did not acknowledge his sin. Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain because God had prescribed a blood sacrifice. Somehow Abel, and Cain as well, knew what God wanted. The difference between the two was that Abel gave what God wanted, whereas Cain gave what he himself wanted. Abel was obedient and Cain was disobedient.
Abel acknowledged his sin. Cain did not. You promised that if I brought it, You would forgive my sin. I believe You, God. I acknowledge my sin and I acknowledge Your prescribed remedy. Here it is. In the tradition of his parents, he did his own thing. In effect, he was denying his sin. Cain believed in God, else he would not have brought Him a sacrifice.
He acknowledged a supreme being and even that he owed Him some sort of worship. He recognized God, but he did not obey God. He believed in God, but he did not believe God. He thought he could approach God in whatever way he wanted, and expected Him to be impressed and satisfied. In so doing, Cain became the father of all false religion.
False religion is trying to come to God by any other way than the way God has prescribed. False religion says that there is another name, another way. False religion is any way to God that God Himself has not ordained. When a person goes to a doctor with a problem, he first of all wants to know the truth.
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No one likes to hear a diagnosis of a terrible disease. But the sensible person would rather know the truth than live in ignorance of something that could ruin his health or even take his life. Once knowing the diagnosis, he then wants the right cure, not just any cure. He wants the best treatment he can find and will usually go to any lengths to get it. The reason we think this way about medicine is that we believe there are medical truths. Medical science does not have all the answers, but a great deal is known and accepted as factual, reliable, and dependable. The reason this same kind of reasoning is not applied to spiritual and moral issues is that the absolute truths and standards God has given are rejected.
In fact, the very notion of spiritual and moral absolutes is rejected. Cain failed to acknowledge his sin and refused to obey God by bringing the sacrifice God required. He did not mind worshiping God, as long as it was on his own terms, in his own way. And God rejected his sacrifice and rejected him. We should not be sorry for him because God refused to honor his sacrifice.
He knew what God required, and he was able to do it. But he chose instead to do what he himself wanted. There are all kinds of people around under the guise of religion, even Christian religion, who are denying God. Cain is an example of the religious natural man, who believes in God and even in religion but after his own will and who rejects redemption by blood. In addition to being wicked and unbelieving, Cain was a hypocrite. He did not want to worship God but only give the appearance of worship. His purpose was to please himself, not God. His sacrifice was simply a religious activity designed to suit his own purposes and fulfill his own will.
He was patronizing God and worshiping himself. Also like the Pharisee, Cain went home unjustified; whereas Abel, like the penitent tax gatherer, went home justified. God is not arbitrary or whimsical or capricious. He was not playing a game with Cain and Abel. He did not hold them accountable for what they could not have known or could not have done. To obey is righteous; to disobey is evil. Abel offered a better sacrifice because it represented the obedience of faith.
He willingly brought God what He asked, and he brought the very best that he had. Later came the Passover—with one lamb for one family. Then came the Day of Atonement—with one lamb for one nation. Finally came Good Friday—one Lamb for the whole world. Abel Obtained Righteousness Through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous. It is not how good we are, but whether or not we trust in Him, that counts with God. That trust is evidenced in obedience to His Word.
Abel was sinful, just as Cain was. But it is quite possible, even likely, that Abel was a better person than Cain. He was probably more moral, more dependable, more honest, and even more likable than Cain. The difference was the way in which the sacrifices were made. One was made in obedient faith; the other made in disobedient unbelief. True faith is always obedient. These people believed Jesus, but they had not yet trusted in Him, which Jesus said would be marked by obedience to His word.
Obedience does not bring faith, but faith will always bring obedience and the desire to live righteously. Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Can that faith save him? Nonworking faith, disobedient faith, is not saving faith. It is not valid faith at all. Cain believed that God exists. Even the demons believe this, James goes on to say. James does not teach salvation by works. He is saying that our faith is only real when it issues in works. We cannot work our way to God, but having come to Him, works will become evident—and prove that our faith is genuine. In any case, it is clear from Genesis that God made His approval and disapproval of the sacrifices known to Cain and Abel.
He did not leave them in doubt as to their standing before Him. Abel was counted righteous, not because he was righteous, but because he trusted God. He stood righteous before God because He had faith in God. Abel was the same sinner as he was before he made the sacrifice. He did not even receive the Holy Spirit, as do believers today. He walked away with the same problems he had before. Abel Speaks from the Dead God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. His voice also spoke to his brother.
Every bit of soil on which Cain placed his feet would remind him of his wicked deed. The earth, in effect, rejected Cain as he had rejected God and his brother. Abel, though dead, continued to speak to his brother. He still speaks. As in a modern docudrama, Abel appears first to testify to the value of faith. He and his older brother Cain lived when the world was young. Each brought an offering which reflected his occupation: Cain, the farmer, brought fruits and grains; Abel, the shepherd, brought fat from the firstborn of his flock.
The reason suggested is that it came from a heart made righteous by faith! We are not told just how God made known to the two brothers his acceptance of one and rejection of the other. Genesis indicates that when Cain learned that his offering was unacceptable, he grew angry and rebellious. This revealed the attitude of his heart toward the sovereign choices of God. By faith he still speaks, says the author, even though he is dead.
This seems a likely explanation of the continuing testimony of Abel. His faith in God was one of trust and loving acceptance of whatever God sent. He was willing to wait for ultimate vindication of injustice and mistreatment. We do so because we know God cannot ultimately fail to act. Cain, a farmer, brought an offering to God from the ground. Abel, a shepherd, brought firstborn sheep. Cain became so angry that he killed his brother, Abel.
God evaluates both our motives and the quality of what we offer him Genesis From the very beginning of creation, God was concerned more about the heart than the actual sacrifice. The real difference in the sacrifices seems to be that Abel offered his by faith. Therefore, Abel was commended as a righteous man Matthew Yet Abel was murdered. God hates evil, but in his providence he allows evil to happen, even to people very close to him. He did his work and worship well. Other victims of crime or disease, take heart. God leads you through the dark valleys to a sunlit home.
Adam and Eve had two sons—Cain, who went into agriculture—and Abel, who took up shepherding or animal husbandry. Both were religious men, and when it came time to worship each brought an offering appropriate to his profession—Abel from his flock, and Cain from his fields. Cain, in turn, became angry. But Cain nursed his rage and murdered Abel, whose blood cried out to God from the ground. What a strange story, one thinks. What is the reasoning behind this primitive drama? There was the way of Cain—a way of unbelief and of self-righteous, man-made religion.
They have taken the way of Cain. As such, it provides unique insight into the anatomy of an authentic faith—a faith that endures. From this we must understand that God evidently had given explicit instructions to Cain and Abel indicating that only animal sacrifices were acceptable. Not only had God communicated his will regarding the necessity of animal sacrifices, but if, as we think, he communicated this first to Adam and Eve, then Cain and Abel had been conforming to the practice for some years, because Cain was years old?
To this may be added the thought that Cain and Abel both understood the substitutionary atoning nature of the blood sacrifice because when God provided the skins to clothe their parents, he established the principle of covering sin through the shedding of blood. I myself would prefer the lovely fruits of a harvest any day. And I worked far harder than Abel to raise my offering.
It took real toil and sweat. And it is even of greater market value! Enough of this animal sacrifice business, God. My way is far better! This was acceptable worship. Approved Through Attitude. It seems that Cain was determined to stay angry. He liked being mad.
From time to time the brute would ail. Then I would throw a piece of ripe fruit into it, on which it would cast itself in a rage and inject its poison into it. Then it was well again. The release of venom was his elixir. So he directed his hatred for God at his brother Abel and killed him.
But Abel had come to God with a completely different spirit—a submissive, devoted heart. How God desires devoted hearts in his worshipers! God longs for those who worship him with the complete devotion of their human spirits. God desires sincere heart worship above all else! It is very significant that this great chapter on faith begins with a worshiper—because worship is fundamental to everything else we do in life.
He knew that faith and service grow out of authentic worship. So there we have it. Abel brought God exactly what he asked for. This is what the Lord is looking for—followers who bring what he asks for with a joyous heart. This is approved, authentic worship, and it can only happen through faith! And Scriptures do record fire descending on acceptable offerings in at least five other instances cf. Such greats as St. Perhaps it was memorably spectacular, like the experience of Manoah and his wife when fire fell from Heaven incinerating the sacrifice, and the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame!
And St. So Abel rightly has a huge reputation for righteous living. True, living faith produces fruit—living action. Faith and righteous works are like the wings of a bird. There can be no real life, no flight, with a single wing, whether works or faith. But when the two are pumping in concert, their owner soars through the heavens. Authentic faith produces an authentic life that flies high, like Abel of old. In the foreground flees Cain. His body is moving away as he sprints by, but his torso is twisted back so that he faces the observer. His eyes are wide in terror, his mouth gaping in wrenching agony.
They passed through the principal streets, turned down many of the byways and alleys, made their way out to some of the suburbs, and at length returned by a winding route to the monastery gate. As they approached it, the younger man reminded Francis of his original intention.
We were preaching while we were walking. We have been seen by many; our behaviour has been closely watched; it was thus that we preached our morning sermon. It is of no use, my son, to walk anywhere to preach unless we preach everywhere as we walk! Though none of his words have been preserved, he has been eloquently preaching for thousands and thousands of years about authentic faith. And what does he say to us? This tells us that we dare not bring anything to God until we bring the blood of Christ.
This is what God is looking for today. His authentic faith produced authentic worship, which in turn produced authentic righteousness. He selects a number of men and women universally regarded among the Jews as especially outstanding though we cannot always see why he has chosen one and not another. He begins by looking to remote antiquity and showing that faith was manifested in the lives of certain great men who lived before the Flood. Bruce canvasses a number of opinions as to the reasons for the superiority of Abel's offering: it was living, whereas Cain's was lifeless; it was stronger, Cain's weaker; it grew spontaneously, Cain's by human ingenuity; it involved blood, Cain's did not.
But all such suggestions seem wide of the mark. Scripture never says there was anything inherently superior in Abel's offering. It may be relevant that there are some references to Abel as being a righteous man Matt ; 1John , while the author of Hebrews insists on the importance of Abel's faith. Abel was right with God and his offering was a demonstration of his faith. Once again, NIV's "commended" represents the passive of the verb "to witness": "it was witnessed" or "testified" that he was righteous cf.
This is explained as that God "bore witness" to NIV, "spoke well of" his offerings. This indicates the importance the author attached to Abel's sacrifice offered in faith, for very rarely is God said to have borne witness. The meaning may be either that on the basis of Abel's sacrifice God testified to his servant or that God bore witness about the gifts Abel offered. We should probably accept NIV's "And by faith he still speaks," though the Greek is simply "through it," where "it" might refer either to "sacrifice" or to "faith. He is dead, but his faith is a living voice.
Cain and Abel were Adam and Eve's first two sons. Abel offered a sacrifice that pleased God, while Cain's sacrifice was unacceptable. Abel's Profile is found in Genesis 6. Cain's Profile is in Genesis 7. Abel's sacrifice an animal substitute was more acceptable to God, both because it was a blood sacrifice and, most important, because of Abel's attitude when he offered it.
These two qualities need a secure beginning and ending point. The beginning point of faith is believing in God's character — he is who he says. The end point is believing in God's promises — he will do what he says. When we believe that God will fulfill his promises even though we don't see those promises materializing yet, we demonstrate true faith see John The writer to the Hebrews begins his honour roll of faith with the name of Abel whose story is in Gen Cain tilled the ground and brought to God an offering of the fruits of the ground; Abel was a flock-master and brought to God an offering from his flocks.
God preferred the gift of Abel to the gift of Cain who, moved to bitter jealousy, murdered his brother and became an outcast upon the earth. In the original, the meaning of the story is difficult. There is no indication why God preferred the gift of Abel to the gift of Cain. It may well be that the only offering which a man can properly bring to God is his most precious possession. This is life itself, and to the Hebrews blood always stood for life.
We can well understand that, because when the blood flows away, life ebbs away. On that principle the only true sacrifice to God was a sacrifice of blood. Abel's sacrifice was of a living creature, Cain's was not; therefore Abel's was the more acceptable. But it may well be that the writer to the Hebrews is thinking not only of the story as it is in Genesis but also of the legends which gathered round it in Jewish folk-lore. The Jews themselves found the story puzzling and elaborated it in order to find a reason for God's rejection of Cain and for Cain's murder of Abel. The earliest legend tells how every time Eve bore children she bore twins, a boy and a girl, and that they were given to each other as man and wife.
In the case of Abel and Cain, Adam tried to change this and planned to give the twin sister of Cain to Abel. Cain was bitterly dissatisfied. To settle the matter, Adam said to them: "Go, my sons, sacrifice to the Lord; and he whose sacrifice is accepted shall have the young girl. Take each of you offerings in your hand and go, sacrifice to the Lord and he will decide. Whereupon fire descended from heaven and consumed Abel's offering so that not even the cinders were left while Cain's was left untouched. Adam then gave the girl to Abel and Cain was sorely vexed.
One day Abel was asleep upon a mountain; and Cain came upon him and took a stone and crushed his head. Then he threw the dead body on his back and carried it about because he did not know what to do with it. He saw two crows fighting and one killed the other, then dug a hole with its beak and buried it. Cain said: "I have not the sense of this bird. I, too, will lay my brother in the ground," and he did so. The Jews had still another story to explain the first murder.
Cain and Abel could not agree as to what they should possess. So Abel devised a scheme whereby they might bring an end to contention.
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Cain took the earth and everything stationary; Abel took everything moveable. But in Cain's heart there was still bitter envy. One day he said to his brother: "Remove thy foot; thou standest on my property; the plain is mine. At the back of this story lie two great truths. First, there is envy. Even the Greeks saw its horror. Demosthenes said: "Envy is the sign of a nature that is altogether evil. Envy is that poison which can poison all life and kill all goodness.
Second, there is this strange and eerie thought that Cain had discovered a new sin. One of the old Greek fathers said: "Up to this time no man had died so that Cain should know how to kill. The devil instructed him in this in a dream. There is condemnation for the sinner; but there is still greater condemnation for the man who teaches another to sin. Such a man, even as Cain was, is banished from the face of God.
So the writer to the Hebrews says: "Although he died for his faith, he is still speaking to us. He may leave something which will grow and spread like a canker; or he may leave something fine which blossoms and flourishes without end. He leaves an influence of good or ill; every one when he dies still speaks. May God grant to us to leave behind not a germ of evil but a lovely thing in which the lives of those who come afterwards will find blessing.
The power of faith is the message of the glorious gospel, the glorious hope that God has given from the beginning of time. The power is twofold and it is given in the most meaningful way possible, by showing how the power takes effect in the lives of believers. Two believers who experienced the power of faith were Abel and Enoch.
Faith has the power to be counted as righteousness. No greater gift could be given us than to give us the glorious privilege of being counted righteous by God. And unless some way can be found to cause God to count us righteous, we shall never be allowed to live with God. Abel tells us there is a way to be counted righteous. By approaching and worshipping God exactly like He says, that is, by the sacrifice of blood. What does this mean? When Adam and Eve sinned, they became aware of their nakedness. Nakedness is a symbol of their being aware and conscious of sin cp.
Genesis God loved them; therefore, He provided clothing to cover their nakedness. Note what the clothing was. It was coats or skins from animals, a symbol that sin had to be covered by the shedding of blood. This was a symbol that pointed to the blood of Jesus Christ, the blood of God's Son, that had to be shed in order to cover the sins of men. The point is this: from the very first parents on earth, God laid it down that the sin and guilt of man had to be borne by either man himself or by a substitute.
Man had to die for his own sins or else a substitute had to be sacrificed for his sins. Adam and Eve taught this to their children. Note what happened. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
And the lord said unto Cain, Why are thou wroth? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?
And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him" Genesis The difference between the two offerings was this: Abel believed God and approached and worshipped God exactly as God said: through the sacrifice of another, the sacririce of an animal. But Cain did not believe God. He did not accept God's Word; he did not approach God through the sacrifice of another.
He made a material sacrifice and offering to God: he approached God through money and earthly gifts, through the efforts and fruits of human works, the fruit borne of the earth, the fruit borne by his own human, frail, aging, and dying hands. Very simply, Abel believed God. He recognized just what Scripture says: that he was sinful and imperfect and that he could never be acceptable to God who is perfect and holy, not until his sins and their guilt had been paid for and removed.
Abel knew that his sins had to be removed—that he had to be counted righteous before he could ever be accepted by God. Therefore, he believed God would count him righteous if he let another bear his sins for him. He believed exactly what Scripture proclaims to us. This is the power of faith: faith gives us the power to be counted righteous.
Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness" Romans It is God that justifieth" Rom Thought 1. Note that Cain approached God; he was religious. But his religion was a formal religion:. What an indictment of so many religions! What a challenge to search our hearts and lives to make sure that we are worshipping God through His own dear Son who died for our sins.
Deut there bring your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts [sacred offerings NLT; heave offerings KVJ; contributions of your hand NASB], what you have vowed to give [votive offerings NASB; your offerings to fulfill a vow NTL] and your freewill offerings [voluntary offerings], and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. NLT There you will bring your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, your sacred offerings, your offerings to fulfill a vow, your voluntary offerings, and your offerings of the firstborn animals of your herds and flocks.
Deut Then to the place the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name—there you are to bring everything I command you: your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, and all the choice possessions you have vowed to the Lord. Deut When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.
Neh At that time men were appointed to be in charge of the storerooms for the contributions, firstfruits and tithes. From the fields around the towns they were to bring into the storerooms the portions required by the Law for the priests and the Levites, for Judah was pleased with the ministering priests and Levites. Yet you rob me. The burnt offerings Lev. It may have been given as a thank offering Lev. Or it may have been offered as a votive offering to fulfill a vow made to the Lord Lev. Or it may have been offered as a freewill offering in which the person thanked God Lev.
On tithes see Lev. On the law of the firstborn see The special gifts lit. Often the word is used to describe a sacrifice offered to the Lord but eaten by the people. The heave offering was a communal offering, which the priest lifted up to signify that it was a gift to the Lord Ex. The priest took his due Lev. A vowed offering was made in fulfillment of a vow Lev. A freewill offering was voluntary ; Ex. One altar for sacrifices vv.
Canaanite worship permitted the people to offer whatever sacrifices they pleased at whatever place they chose, but for Israel there was to be but one altar. The Jews were allowed to kill and eat livestock and wild game at any place vv. The burnt offering Lev. Paul may have had this image in mind when he commanded us to present ourselves wholly to the Lord to do His will Rom.
The peace offering or fellowship offering Lev. They had a joyful meal as they celebrated the goodness of the Lord Deut. While worship is certainly a serious thing, it need not be grim and somber. The tabernacle was not only a place where the Jews brought their sacrifices, but it was also where they brought their tithes and offerings.
The tithe was 10 percent of what their land had produced, and this was shared with the priests and Levites. The priests also received a certain amount of meat from some of the sacrifices, and this was how they and their families were supported. Moses frequently reminded the people to support the Levites by faithfully bringing tithes and offerings to the sanctuary , 18—19; , 29; , God promised to bless His people abundantly if they would faithfully bring their tithes and offerings to His sanctuary Mal.
Thither they were to take all their sacrificial gifts, and there they were to celebrate their sacrificial meals. The gifts are classified in four pairs: 1 the sacrifices intended for the altar, burnt-offerings and slain-offerings being particularly mentioned as the two principal kinds, with which, according to Num.
That the tithes mentioned here should be restricted to vegetable tithes of corn, new wine, and oil , is neither allowed by the general character of the expression, nor required by the context. For instance, although, according to vv. Burnt-offerings, for example, were not associated in any way with the sacrificial meals. The arrangement permitted in Deut. At all events, the fact that no reference is made to such cases as these does not warrant us in assuming the opposite.
As the institution of tithes generally did not originate with the law of Moses, but is presupposed as a traditional and well-known custom,—all that is done being to define them more precisely, and regulate the way in which they should be applied,—Moses does not enter here into any details as to the course to be adopted in delivering them, but merely lays down the law that all the gifts intended for the Lord were to be brought to Him at His sanctuary, and connects with this the further injunction that the Israelites were to rejoice there before the Lord, that is to say, were to celebrate their sacrificial meals at the place of His presence which He had chosen.
From the earlier laws we learn that the whole of the flesh of the burnt-offerings was to be consumed upon the altar, but that the flesh of the slain-offerings, except in the case of the peace-offerings, was to be applied to the sacrificial meals, with the exception of the fat pieces, and the wave-breast and heave-shoulder. With regard to the tithes, it is stated in Num. In the laws contained in the earlier books, nothing is said about the appropriation of any portion of the tithes to sacrificial meals.
Yet in Deut this is simply assumed as a customary thing, and not introduced as a new commandment, when the law is laid down in v. From these instructions it is very apparent that sacrificial meals were associated with the delivery of the tithes and firstlings to the Lord, to which a tenth part of the corn, must, and oil was applied, as well as the flesh of the first-born of edible cattle. This tenth formed the so-called second tithe, which is mentioned here for the first time, but not introduced as a new rule or an appendix to the former laws.
It is rather taken for granted as a custom founded upon tradition, and brought into harmony with the law relating to the oneness of the sanctuary and worship. We should rather understand them as being free gifts of love, which were consecrated to the Lord in addition to the legal first-fruits and tithes without being actual sacrifices, and which were then applied to sacrificial meals.
According to Ex. These instructions concerning the flesh of the firstlings to be offered to the Lord no more prohibit the priest from allowing the persons who presented the firstlings to take part in the sacrificial meals, or handing over to them some portion of the flesh which belonged to himself to hold a sacrificial meal, than any other law does; on the contrary, the duty of doing this was made very plain by the fact that the presentation of firstlings is described in Ex.
Consequently it cannot be shown that there is any contradiction between Deuteronomy and the earlier laws with regard to the appropriation of the first-born. The command to bring the firstlings of the sacrificial animal, like all the rest of the sacrifices, to the place of His sanctuary which the Lord would choose, and to hold sacrificial meals there with the tithes of corn, new wine, and oil, and also with the firstlings of the flocks, and herds, is given not merely to the laity of Israel, but to the whole of the people, including the priests and Levites, without the distinction between the tribe of Levi and the other tribes, established in the earlier laws, being even altered, much less abrogated.
The Israelites were to bring all their sacrificial gifts to the place of the sanctuary to be chosen by the Lord, and there, not in all their towns, they were to eat their votive and free-will offerings in sacrificial meals. This, and only this, is what Moses commands the people both here in vv. The reason for these instructions is given in vv.
The reference is probably not so much to open idolatry, which was actually practised, according to Lev. This section of Deuteronomy contains the detailed stipulations of the covenant which governed the relationship between God and His Old Testament people. Our lives are to be expressions of worship of God. In these chapters of Deuteronomy we find a number of mixed themes—special instructions about tithes, about ritual cleanness, about war, justice, and compassion.
At first glance they seem unrelated. But what ties them together is the fact that every action commanded describes another aspect of a life so intimately linked to God that all the godly Israelite said and did could be considered an act of worship. Los altares cananeos eran similares a los altares israelitas Exo. Hacer desaparecer el nombre significaba eliminar la memoria de los dioses cananeos, porque lo que no tiene nombre, no tiene existencia.
Los sacrificios eran ofrendas de gratitud a Dios Lev. La ofrenda votiva era ofrecida a Dios y representaba promesas hechas por medio de votos. The primary discussion of this offering is found in Leviticus 1; , 10, 12. The noun is a feminine participial form of the verb meaning to go up, to ascend. The offering was voluntary. The Israelites understood the animal or fowl that was being sacrificed as a gift to God and thus ascending to God as smoke from the altar Lev. The sacrifice was a pleasing odor acceptable to the Lord Lev.
Those presenting the animal laid hands on the sacrifice—possibly to indicate ownership or to indicate that the animal was a substitute for themselves Lev. The blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled against the altar Lev. The offering and its ritual properly carried out atoned for the offerers, and they became acceptable before the Lord. The total burning of the sacrifice indicates the total consecration of the presenter to the Lord. The animals that could be offered were bulls, sheep, rams, or male birds Lev. The ashes of the offering remained on the altar overnight. The priest removed them and deposited them in an approved location Lev.
The burnt offerings were presented often in conjunction with the peace and grain offerings Josh. The burnt offerings, along with other offerings, were employed in the various feasts, festivals, and celebrations recorded in the prophetic books. Ezekiel foresaw renewed burnt offerings in a new Temple Ezek. When Israel returned from exile, burnt offerings, along with others, were once again presented to the Lord Ezra ; In this sequel, he ends with Psalm , singing its song of praise. The book of Proverbs is the most practical book in the Bible. Its instruction in the art of living has been long tried and long proven.
The ancient voice of Lady Wisdom still cries out today. She summons us to the life skills of godliness and helps us say no to the foolish and destructive enticements that inhabit the malls, campuses, housing divisions, and office buildings of the postmodern world. But as much as we glean from the surface of the book of Proverbs, there remains still more in its depths. David Atkinson wonderfully illuminates the ancient cultural and religious background of the discourses and sayings of Proverbs.
More important, he brings the wisdom from the book of Proverbs into conversation with the wisdom of God now more fully displayed in Christ. All is vanity. A wisp of vapor, a puff of wind, a mere breath—nothing you can get your hands on—the nearest thing to zero? So says the Preacher in the book of Ecclesiastes. But is this the whole message of Ecclesiastes?
Derek Kidner introduces this book of Ecclesiastes, which speaks so powerfully, to our generation. His love of Hebrew poetry and his understanding of biblical mind shine through in this book. Derek Kidner began his writing career while serving as warden of Tyndale House in Cambridge from to , publishing his ninth and final book, The Message of Jeremiah , in At first reading, the Song of Songs appears to be an unabashed celebration of the deeply rooted urges of physical attraction, mutual love, and sexual consummation between a man and a woman.
Tom Gledhill maintains that the Song of Songs is in fact just that—a literary, poetic exploration of human love that strongly affirms loyalty, beauty, and sexuality in all their variety. With tender metaphor and extravagant imagery, the Song of Songs writer spins a tale of human love into the cadence of verse, innocent of our quest for historical persons behind the text.
They are transencedental longings, whispers of immortality. Like all of creation, they point beyond themselves to their divine Author, who in this Song of Songs is nowhere mentioned but everywhere assumed. Ever since Jesus read from the scroll of Isaiah in the synagogue of Nazareth, Christians have gravitated to this great prophecy as the interpretive center of the Old Testament.
Here the story of Israel, scourged by judgment and exile yet hopeful of restoration, is framed by its witnesses, heaven and earth. How will Israel be brought through its school of suffering and be propelled toward its divine destiny as the vanguard of a new heaven and earth? In the visionary world of Isaiah, the varied themes and imagery of the Old Testament converge and blend to transcend their plainest meanings as they project an extraordinary climax of the story of Israel and of the world.
Attuned to the magnificent literary architecture of Isaiah, he escorts us through this prophecy and trains our ears and hearts to resonate with its great biblical-theological themes. Barry G. He also serves as assistant editor of Reformed Theological Review. The prophet Jeremiah addressed the people of Judah and Jerusalem over a forty-year period leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem in BC. The book of Jeremiah addresses the exiles, especially those in Babylon, in the years after the catastrophe.
Here we encounter Jeremiah the prophet who, from his youth to old age, delivered the word of God to the people of Israel at the most terrifying time in all their troubled history. We must encounter the God of Jeremiah—an encounter that should be both profoundly disturbing and ultimately reassuring, as it was for him.
If Jeremiah spoke in his day and if the book still speaks today, in both cases it is God who called the man to speak and commanded the book to be written for his day and for our day. Christopher J. Wright is international ministries director of the Langham Partnership, providing literature, scholarships, and preaching training for pastors in Majority World churches and seminaries.
The destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in BC is the likely setting for the book of Lamentations. This was the most traumatic event in all of Old Testament history, with its extreme human suffering, devastation of the ancient city, national humiliation, and the undermining of all that was thought to be theologically guaranteed like the Davidic monarchy, the city of Zion, and the temple of God of Israel.
It is out of that unspeakable pain that Lamentations speaks in poetry of astonishing beauty and intricacy, though soaked in tears. If we neglect this book, says Christopher J. Wright , we miss the challenge and reward of wrestling with the massive theological issues that permeate it. How can suffering be endured alongside faith in an all-loving, good God? He shows that as Christian readers we must not, and cannot, isolate Lamentations from the rest of the Bible, and, equally, that we should not read the rest of the Bible without Lamentations.
We must still let it speak for itself as a book for today. Ezekiel comes to us as a stranger from a distant time and land. Who is this priest who, on his thirtieth birthday, has a dazzling vision of God on a wheeled throne? Who is this odd prophet who engages in outlandish street theater and speaks for God on international affairs? Who is this seer who paints murals of apocalyptic doom and then of a restored temple bursting with emblems of paradise?
Are we bound to take this literally, reading prophet and newspaper side by side? Or is there a better way? Christopher Wright is a proven interpreter and communicator of the Old Testament, and he masterfully opens our eyes to see and understand the message of Ezekiel. God had allowed the unthinkable to happen. His people were in exile in Babylon, and His promises seemed shattered. Was He really in control?
Was He faithful? Did He still care? Why would he ask this of one of his spokesmen? Because he wanted to teach Hosea, the nation of Israel, and all of us today a lesson that we will not forget, a lesson that is painful yet joyous. All of us have played the harlot by forsaking God and His ways. While we are yet sinners, God comes to us and loves us. Derek Kidner takes us through the unfolding story of Hosea and his wife, Gomer, explains the basic message, points out the subtleties, and encourages readers to live lives worthy of God who loves the loveless.
Where is God in times of disaster? How can God allow suffering? While people throughout the ages have long pondered these questions, three of the minor prophets—Joel, Micah and Habakkuk—provide insights to these perennial problems.
Micah rebuked a culture of corruption and moral evil. Habakkuk cried out to the Lord on account of a society bent on violence. He is the author of The Message of 1 Corinthians. Amos observes the society in which he lived and worked. Affluence, exploitation, and profit motive were the most notable features everywhere. Standards were being compromised. People were despising authority and the rule of law.
National leadership, while reeling in publicity and dignity of position, seemed to be contributing to the complete breakdown of law and order. Alec Motyer exposes and explains the astonishingly relevant—but never popular—message of the prophet Amos. Obadiah, Nahum, and Zephaniah are probably among the least-read books of the Bible, and rarely preached. Gordon Bridger encourages us to study and apply these three Old Testament prophets for several compelling reasons.
They bring a message from God on the importance of focusing on God, of facing up to sin, of responding in repentance, and of looking to the hope of future salvation and restoration. He was principal of Oak Hill College, London, from to The book of Jonah is mostly remembered for its oddity—a runaway prophet swallowed by a whale! But there must be more to the book than that. And indeed there is. For one thing, it is a book artfully constructed, with one chapter devoted to a psalm.
It is a book that will reward careful reading and meditation. Jonah will have no part of it—until he is compelled. And even then he pities himself. She was formerly principal of the Theological Institute of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Edinburgh, director of the urban studies unit in the parish of Gatehead, and tutor in Old Testament studies at Cranmer Hall, Durham. She is also the author of Priority of Perfection. Webb explores the kingdom of God as the prophet Zechariah apprehended it. The book of Malachi fittingly sits in Christian Bibles as the last book of the Old Testament, which it assumes, summarizes, and applies.
Yet it also looks forward to the New Testament with its promises of the coming reign of God. A striking feature of the book of Malachi is the way in which every word of God is contradicted or questioned by His people. This was not a neutral territory but a dangerous whirlpool of self-deception.
He was formerly vicar of St. The second half of Joshua gives extensive details of the allotment of the land to each tribe, before resuming the conquest story and concluding with farewell speeches and burial notices. David Firth begins his excellent exposition with a careful and helpful response to this issue. The book challenges those who have read it down through the ages to recognize that God not only includes those who join him in his mission, he also excludes those who choose to set themselves against it.
Logos 8. Courses What is Logos Mobile Ed? Shop New Products Browse All. Shop Courses Browse All Topics. Format: Digital. Publisher: Inter-Varsity. Configure payment plan in cart. Add to Cart. Resources Included. Key Features Applies the truth of Scripture to everyday life in the contemporary world Engages a variety of readers with accessible, nontechnical language Analyzes the flow of thought in passage-by-passage exposition of Old Testament books Provides insightful treatment of key themes.
Atkinson Editor: J. Baldwin Editor: J. Motyer Editor: J. Motyer is largely successful in making the book of Exodus speak today. Motyer has clearly grappled with the Hebrew text in preparing his expositions, and thus his expositions are grounded on a scholarly analysis of the text. Evans Editor: J. Olley Editor: J. Webb Editor: J. Wright Editor: J. This is a great pastoral commentary that shows how the difficult-to-understand book of Jeremiah applies today.
Davis Editor: J. David, obviously a capable preacher, explains the background to Daniel, sifts through interpretive issues some of them quite problematic and then offers a faithful exposition of the book's message. He retains the technical elements but keeps them in the footnotes. It definitely serves as a wonderful entry point into the book of Daniel. Compton, Haddington House Journal. These ancient themes still challenge us today, and Adam continually points us toward the saving work of Christ while reminding us of them. The Message of Malachi will prove a valuable resource for those who desire to preach from Malachi or simply understand it better.