“And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” Hebrews 12:24
ERE we read of the blood of two men, of blood which is said to speak. Both Christ’s blood and Abel’s have this in common – they speaketh. We read in Genesis 4:10 regarding Abel’s blood when God confronted Cain:
“And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.”
Cain, having murdered his brother Abel out of the envy that rose up in his heart against him, could not run from the consequence of his actions; he could not hide from God. His brother’s blood cried out to God from the ground. God heard and God knew. The blood of Abel spoke of Cain’s wickedness.
Abel’s blood was innocent blood. Abel had done his brother no wrong, yet Cain, filled with envy, slew him who was innocent. Christ’s blood too was innocent blood. Christ did not deserve to die. He was innocent of all that was charged against Him. Men with wicked hands took Him and slew Him. Judas, having betrayed Jesus to the Chief priests, realised the horror of what he had done and repented of it:
“Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.” Matthew 27:4
But Christ was righteous; He was sinless, He was perfect, He was innocent. His, like Abel’s, was innocent blood. But unlike Christ Abel was still a sinner like other men – his innocence was only before his fellow men. Before God Abel stood as a sinner and he knew it – he knew that his sins needed to be atoned for, to be taken away. In offering to God a lamb which he had sacrificed Abel saw beyond the type and the figure to the reality – that God would provide Himself a perfect sacrifice for sin, a sacrifice which would remove all Abel’s sin and make Him righteous before God. This Abel believed, this Abel saw by faith (Hebrews 11:4), and it was this which filled his brother Cain with envy and hatred against him. For Cain sought righteousness by another way. He sought to come before God, to find acceptance before God, by his own works and by his own righteousness. Cain despised his brother and the truths he stood for. He hated his brother because of the acceptance with God which Abel found by grace alone – surely God should look upon Cain’s works with pleasure? Surely there was merit in his labours? How dare Abel find acceptance simply by grace?!
Cain, like many who follow him in seeking to please God by their own efforts, by their own works and by self righteousness (yet failing to see that even the best of those works are as filthy rags before a holy and a righteous God), hated his brother because Abel found grace in the eyes of the Lord. And the envy, the hatred, bubbled up within Cain until he could contain it no longer – he slew innocent Abel and shed his blood.
“Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.”
“They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood.”
But Cain could not hide from his actions, and nor can we. The blood of Abel cried out to God from the ground. And so it does and so too does the innocent blood of countless numbers of the Lord’s people throughout history who have been slain (whether in thought or deed) by others out of enmity against God and His righteousness as seen in those who testify of Christ, the Son of God. The innocent blood speaks – it cries out. Nothing is hidden from God.
But there is another blood which speaketh better things than that of Abel’s. This is the blood of Jesus. The blood of Him who was truly innocent, who knew no sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), a lamb without spot or blemish, “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). This is the blood of Him who freely laid down His life for others, the blood of the innocent shed for the guilty. This is the blood which was not shed in vain – it is the blood of God’s perfect sacrifice and it accomplished all that God desired it should. Through it was wrought a perfect and an everlasting salvation for sinners. There is a power in this blood – it is the blood of “Christ crucified”, proclaimed in the Gospel of Christ. The power of God is seen in this blood, the power of God unto Salvation (Romans 1:16). Why? Because of whose blood it is – the Son of God’s. And this blood, like that of Abel’s, is not silent, it speaks and it goes on speaking throughout the ages. Oh, may many be given ears to hear what is spoken by this blood!
Let us briefly look at twelve things which the blood of Christ speaks of in contrast to the speech of Abel’s blood; twelve ways in which Jesus’ blood speaketh better things than that of Abel’s.
Firstly, Abel’s blood speaks of murder – the taking of another’s life (Job 24:14, Matthew 5:21-26).
Whereas Christ’s blood speaks of substitutionary sacrifice – the giving of one’s life for another (1 John 3:16, John 15:13).
Secondly, Abel’s blood speaks of envy and of hatred (1 John 3:12),
Whereas Christ’s blood speaks of the love of God, a love set upon God’s people whilst yet still in their sins (Romans 5:8).
Thirdly, Abel’s blood speaks of sin, the power of sin, and of unrighteousness (Romans 3:10-23),
Whereas Christ’s blood speaks of righteousness and of cleansing for all sin (1 John 1:7, Revelation 1:5).
Fourthly, Abel’s blood speaks of death – the consequence of sin (Romans 5:12),
Whereas Christ’s blood speaks of life – eternal life – because of righteousness (John 6:53, Romans 5:21, Romans 8:10).
Fifthly, Abel’s blood speaks of guilt – it cried out to God against Cain who was guilty of Abel’s murder (Genesis 4:10, Matthew 23:25),
Whereas Christ’s blood speaks of peace with God (Hebrews 9:14) and of redemption (1 Peter 1:18-19).
Sixthly, Abel’s blood speaks of the condemnation of sinners (see Revelation 14:10),
Whereas Christ’s blood speaks of justification before God (Romans 3:24-26), of pardon (Micah 7:18) and of forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:14).
Seventhly, Abel’s blood speaks of judgement – of separation from God and of the wrath of God (“And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear” Genesis 4:13, Revelation 14:10),
Whereas Christ’s blood speaks of mercy, of propitiation (Romans 3:25), of atonement, of the covering of sin, and access to God (“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” Ephesians 2:13).
Eighthly, Abel’s blood speaks of evil fruit – “a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit” (Matthew 7:17),
Whereas Christ’s blood speaks of good fruit – “every good tree bringeth forth good fruit.”
Ninthly, Abel’s blood speaks of the fallen countenance of Cain (“But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell” Genesis 4:5),
Whereas Christ’s blood speaks of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” 2 Corinthians 4:6).
Tenthly, Abel’s blood speaks of shed blood which was spilt on the earth (Genesis 4:11) – of man’s mortality, being made out of the dust of the earth man returns to dust in his death,
Whereas Christ’s blood speaks of that which was taken up and sprinkled in heaven on the mercy seat in the holiest of holies by Christ our great High Priest and “the mediator of the new covenant” (Hebrews 12:24, 1 Peter 1:2, Hebrews 10:19).
Eleventhly, Abel’s blood speaks of how Cain was set apart in judgement – he had a mark set upon him, he was cursed in becoming “a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth” (Genesis 4:14),
Whereas Christ’s blood speaks of sanctification – of a people set apart – in Christ unto holiness (Hebrews 13:12).
And Twelfthly, Abel’s blood speaks of Abel’s offering – of a lamb, the firstlings of the flock, which made Cain envious because the LORD had respect unto it (Genesis 4:4), an offering however, which was but a figure of the true,
Whereas Christ’s blood speaks of that one great offering for sin, of Christ Himself, that perfect offering once and for all which rose as a sweet smelling savour to God, by which He perfected for ever them that are sanctified (Hebrews 9:14, 10:10-14).
“And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.”
“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”, John 1:29.
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”
How much better are the things of which Christ’s blood speaks than those of which Abel’s blood speaks, and Christ’s blood always speaks for the sinner, not against him. We have but touched upon the wondrous truths spoken of by Christ’s blood – what of the finished work of Christ on the cross? Or of Christ being the fulfilment of the Passover as the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world? Or the everlasting covenant of which Christ’s blood speaks (Hebrews 13:20), a covenant which cannot be broken, that new covenant in which Christ fulfilled all the types and figures of the old covenant ceremonies, sacrifices and offerings?
But, we must ask ourselves, which blood will God hear speaking of us? Christ’s blood or another’s? Will God hear the sentence of death against us because of our sins? Or will He hear the plea of Christ’s blood on our behalf – “Washed in the blood of the Lamb”, “Thy sins be forgiven thee”, “Loose him and let him go”?
Oh may it be the blood of Christ which speaks on our behalf! That blood which speaks of righteousness, of pardon, of forgiveness, of everlasting love, of mercy, of deliverance from sin and the power of sin. That blood which speaks of the finished work of salvation, of everlasting life in Christ Jesus, of salvation which is of God by free grace alone to all those who believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. That blood which washes God’s people from all their sins, and through which they are made perfectly righteous in Christ Jesus. What a mercy to have such blood speak for us and to have it sprinkled within our hearts.
What a Saviour! What a sacrifice! How precious is the blood of the Lamb of God, freely shed for sinners, and yet at such a cost to the Son – that blood which speaketh better things than that of Abel!
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
2 Corinthians 5:21