Bible Character Study: ABEL – “Acceptable to God” Lesson 3
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In the previous lesson, we studied the story of Abel in the Old Testament. Today we will study Abel’s story in the New Testament.
A RIGHTEOUS END:
ABEL “ACCEPTABLE TO GOD” BIBLE STUDY
“He was commended as righteous“
PREVIOUSLY WE LEARNED:
- Abel never had a line in the Bible
- Abel died before being able to contribute any of his thoughts or feelings to the Bible
- Abel’s entire story in the Old Testament was written in one chapter (Genesis 4)
- Abel’s story was relatively short but meaningful
- Abel’s “life” in the Bible was short lived
- The only time scripture mentions Abel speaking is after he died.
So then what?
What is then so special about Abel? What makes him a character worthy of studying?
THREE WORDS. His silent righteousness. Although he didn’t figuratively speak, his voice was heard by God and recognized in various New Testament passages.
Abel was not only mentioned in the New Testament five times, but he was mentioned (along with other significant heroes) in one of those most famous NEW Testament passages – Hebrews 11
Now before, we go any deeper into discussing Abel’s presence in the famous-Hebrews-11-faith-heroes list, let’s take a look at the actual list of people who made the cut.
HEBREWS 11: “BY FAITH” CHAMPS
All the characters considered to be FAITH heroes in the Hall of Faith:
- Abel (v.4) – Presented an acceptable offering to God – murdered by his brother.
- Enoch (v.5) – Never experienced death – he was simply taken by God.
- Noah (v.7) – Built an ark – Noah and his family were the only people saved from the flood.
- Abraham (v.8-19) – The father of multitudes – his offspring could not be counted.
- Sarah (v.11-12) – Conceived Isaac at an old age – one of the matriarchs of Israel.
- Isaac (v. 20) – Escaped a sacrifice (by God’s will) as a kid – become the father of Jacob & Esau.
- Jacob (v.21) – The father of the twelve tribes of Israel – obtained many blessings.
- Joseph (v. 22) – Saved the earth from hunger – became the second most important man in Egypt after Pharaoh.
- Moses (v. 23-29) – Liberated the Israelites from slavery – was used to demonstrate God’s power.
- Rahab (v. 30-31) – Hid the spies in Jericho – ultimately helping the Israelites obtain a victory.
- Gideon (v. 32) – Led a group of 300 men and defeated an army of Midianites.
- Barak (v. 32) – From the Tribe of Benjamin – Along with Deborah, he defeated the canaanites.
- Samson (v. 32) – From the tribe of Dan – Saved the Israelites from the Philistines.
- Jephtah (v.32) – Led the Israelites in battle against the Ammonites.
- David (v. 32) – King of Israel – unified the kingdoms of Jersualem and Israel.
- Samuel (v. 32) – A well-known and loved prophet and judge of Israel.
What a glorious list this is! Do you recognize any names in this list? Oh, I’m sure you do! There is a total of sixteen people mentioned and recognized as faith heroes in this passage – Abel being one of them. Not only is he mentioned in this list, but he is the first one to be on the list. His example of faith is the first to be discussed in this chapter. So, now we ask ourselves, how did Abel make the list along with many fearless biblical heroes who had big roles in the bible? Charactes like Moses – who liberated the Israelites from the Pharaoh and wrote FIVE books in the Old Testament? Or characters like David, who become the King of Israel?
-> Through his faith.
Faith is the one thing that all of these characters have in common. They were all from different time periods, led different lives, had different missions, but they all had the same faith.
ANALZYING HEBREWS 11:4
4. By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
Have you ever wondered why God accepted Abel’s offering and not Cain’s?
They were sibilings. They were raised the same way. They were the only kids alive at the time. They had no friends to influence their behavior.
Why was one accepted and the other one wasn’t?
Why was one gift more acceptable than the other?
Was God playing favoritism? (Absolutely not)
Luckily for us, scripture never leaves us without an answer. The answer to all these questions is found in the verse above (Hebrews 11:4) Abel was able to present a more acceptable offering because he had FAITH, unlike his brother Cain. God accepted his gifts due to his faith. Abel didn’t know what was yet to come (his death) when he was picking out his offering for God, but he believed that he could present God an acceptable offering – AND because he had faith, HE DID.
->His offering was presented with faith AND through his faith, God recognized his righteousness
Abel was only able to present an acceptable offering to God, through the faith that was in him.
1 JOHN 3:12
We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.
So that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah.
From these last two verses of Abel in the New Testament, we can conclude that God truly loved Abel. Abel’s faith and righteousness was certaintly not fogotten or disregarded by God. Abel may have died in a tragic way (he was meant to be a martyr after all), but in the end it was HIS voice that was heard and his offering that was accepted and remembered throughout all the centuries.
I truly hope you enjoyed these lessons on Abel. If there is a specific Biblical character you would like me to study next, let me know in the comments below!
Until next time,