Arlen L. Chitwood
The Blood of Abel . . .
By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. (Hebrews 11:4)
Abel, though having died millennia ago, has continued to speak down through the years by means of the sacrifice that he offered to the Lord near the beginning of the human race. It was the sacrifice that God required, and God Himself has borne witness to this fact by and through the things that He has revealed in His Word concerning Abel.
Abel acted ďby faith.Ē He acted in accordance with that which God had commanded. He acted in accordance with the revealed Word of God.
God, through Moses, recorded His approval of Abelís faith and resulting action, with the writer of Hebrews subsequently being moved to draw from this account. And throughout the past 3,500 years of recorded biblical history, Godís approval surrounding Abelís faith and action has stood as a testimony for all to see.
There though are two aspects to the account of Abelís offering seen in Genesis chapter four. And both aspects are dealt with in the book of Hebrews ó the first in chapter eleven, and the second in chapter twelve.
Abel, in chapter eleven, brought an offering to the Lord. Abel brought lambs from his flock; and these lambs had been slain (Genesis 4:4), allowing death and shed blood to be introduced into the type. But death and shed blood are not really central features in the primary interpretation of this part of the type (though within secondary applications they could be). Rather, the primary interpretation revolves around obedience to Godís command concerning an offering of the first-fruits. Abel was to bring an offering of the first-fruits (ďthe firstlingsĒ[KJV]) from his flock, and Cain was to bring an offering of the first-fruits from the field (ref. Chapter 3 in this book).
Then, in chapter twelve, the other aspect of Abelís offering is that which is associated directly with death and shed blood rather than with an offering of the first-fruits. This part of the type though doesnít have to do with the lambs that Abel slew and presented to the Lord. Rather, this part of the type has to do with Cain slaying Abel. This part of the type has to do with Abel himself as the offering (cf. Genesis 4:8-10; Hebrews 12:24).
Death and shed blood are seen in both parts of the type, but only in the latter part are these things associated with the primary interpretation. Only in the latter part are Christís death and shed blood seen apart from secondary applications.
Cain failed to bring that which God had required. As a consequence, his offering was rejected. This, in turn, resulted in Cain becoming exceedingly angry and looking down. Cain burned with anger (literal thought from the Hebrew text), and rather than looking toward the only One who could help, Cain looked away. ďHis countenance fellĒ (i.e., he turned his face down; he looked down, away from the Lord [Genesis 4:5]).
The Lord then confronted Cain, asking about his intense anger and downward look. And the Lord confronted Cain after this fashion in order to not only offer Cain an opportunity to rectify the existing situation but to make the consequences known to Cain should he choose to continue in disobedience.
The Lord told Cain:
If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should [shall] rule over it. (Genesis 4:7)
The Lordís statement to Cain left the way open for Cain to repent (change his mind) and do that which was required of him. But the Lordís statement, as well, related that which would befall Cain in the event he chose to continue in the same direction which he found himself taking at this time, refusing to do that which the Lord had previously commanded.
If Cain would do that which the Lord had previously commanded, he would be ďaccepted.Ē But if Cain refused, continuing in the same direction that he had taken, only one thing awaited him ó the results of sin, the results of disobedience. ďSinĒ lay at the door. That is, the results of his sin and refusal to repent awaited him. Sin, like a wild beast, was crouching in the way in which he would go. Cain would be completely overcome by sin, though in the end he would ultimately triumph (portending Cainís ultimate repentance).
Thatís what Genesis 4:7 has to do with. This verse has to do with Cainís actions and the results of his actions, typifying Israelís actions and the results of the nationís actions. And this verse carries matters all the way to the end, referring to Cainís ultimate restoration, typifying Israelís ultimate restoration.
Cain, because of disobedience, would suffer dire consequences. But the Lord moved all the way to the end and revealed that Cain would ultimately experience restoration, necessitating his ultimate repentance.
And Israel, in the antitype, would suffer dire consequences as well because of disobedience. But, as in the type, Israel would ultimately experience restoration, necessitating the nationís ultimate repentance.
In the preceding respect, Genesis 4:7 provides a summary statement having to do with the entire history of Cain (from disobedience to restoration) in the type, and the entire history of Israel (from disobedience to restoration) in the antitype.
In relation to Cain, the remainder of Genesis chapter four forms a commentary on this verse (though Cainís restoration, typifying Israelís restoration, is not seen in the commentary that follows; but subsequent types deal with this matter).
And, in relation to Israel in the antitype, a large part of the whole of subsequent Scripture forms a commentary on this verse.
If individuals understood that which Scripture reveals about Israel, beginning with Genesis chapter four, there would be far less confusion today concerning things surrounding Israelís past history, Israelís present status among the nations, and that which lies ahead for the Jewish people. This would alleviate much of the prevalent false teaching surrounding Israel, particularly relative to the existing nation in the Middle East, that which is about to befall the Jewish people (centering on the present nation of Israel), and the ultimate end of the matter.
But, to present a more complete picture from the Genesis account first, note Cainís actions following his refusal to do that which the Lord had commanded (Genesis 4:5-7), which occurred before the Lord drove him out on the face of the earth (vv. 12ff). And Cainís actions lying between his refusal to do that which the Lord had commanded and his being driven out on the face of the earth had to do with his slaying Abel, his brother, along with his continued refusal to repent (vv. 8-11).
Death, Shed Blood
When Christ appeared to Israel with the offer of the kingdom of the heavens at His first coming, Israelís response could easily have been foreknown by the entire nation from that which had been previously revealed in the Old Testament Scriptures. The prophets, beginning with Moses, had foretold Israelís response ó rejection, climaxing with the crucifixion of the nationís Messiah, along with the nationís refusal to repent and the subsequent, consequential dispersion of the Jewish people among the nations.
The beginning of the matter is seen in Genesis chapter four (in reality, the whole of the matter is set forth in this type, when v. 7 is viewed in a proper manner in relation to the overall type); and basic, unchangeable principles surrounding the entire sequence of events are set forth at this early point in Scripture. Later types add additional details to the foundational type (e.g., Abraham offering his son in Genesis 22; Joseph appearing in his brethrenís presence the first time in Genesis 37; Moses appearing in his brethrenís presence the first time in Exodus 2; or the slaying of the paschal lambs in Exodus 12), but the various things set forth in the foundational type can never change or be altered by anything set forth in subsequent types. Subsequent types can only add to and further clarify that which God originally set forth in the foundational type.
And the fundamental statement of all fundamental statements in this respect was set forth in the Lordís statement detailing the overall scope of the matter in the original type, in Genesis 4:7. This statement was set forth because of that which Cain had done; it had to do with God offering Cain another opportunity to do that which was required of him; and it had to do with Cainís future in the event that he refused to do that which God had commanded, taking matters all the way to the end when Cain would ultimately repent.
Israel, as Cain, had refused to do that which God had previously commanded. And when Messiah appeared, the nation could only do that which Cain had previously done in the type. The nation could only attempt to do away with the One acting in complete accordance with Godís commandments. The Jewish people, because of their refusal to do that which God had required of them, could only set their sights on slaying their Brother.
And as the Jewish people sought to bring this to pass, their frame of mind was identical to that which Cain had exhibited in Genesis chapter four. Israelís religious leaders were angry to the point that, in the end, their only thoughts concerning Christ were that He be put to death. And, to bring this to pass, they went to the point of beseeching Pilate (who wanted to release Christ) that he release a murderer in Christís stead, leaving Israelís Messiah, typified by Abel 4,000 years earlier, to be crucified (Matthew 27:15-26; John 19:12-16).
Israelís religious leaders, along with the masses whom they had misled ó following ďthe way of CainĒ (cf. Jude 11; 1 John 3:12) ó were so intent on doing away with Christ at this point that they echoed a statement with far-reaching, negative ramifications, a statement that would affect not only that generation of Jews but all succeeding generations as well: ďHis blood be on us and on our childrenĒ (Matthew 27:25); and the chief priests echoed another statement at this time with equal far-reaching, negative ramifications: ďWe have no king but CaesarĒ (John 19:15).
The Jewish people had rejected their King and the proffered kingdom; and Israelís religious leaders, in a climactic statement, pledged allegiance to a pagan Gentile king ruling within Satanís realm of power and authority (cf. Luke 4:6; John 18:36, 37).
And not only had the Jewish people rejected their King, but they were adamantly intent on continuing in ďthe way of CainĒ and slaying their Brother, slaying their King. Death and shed blood, as in Genesis chapter four, was about to become the central issue. The people were about to become unclean by and through contact with the dead body of their Messiah, a condition that would have to persist for two days, for 2,000 years, from the point of their becoming unclean (Numbers 19:11ff).
To understand that which was happening at this time and that which was about to happen, the Jewish people could have gone back to the original type on the matter in Genesis chapter four and read the entire story. And, if they desired additional information, they could have gone to the numerous other types and prophecies bearing on the subject. It had all been previously laid out for them to read.
Their entire history ó not only up to that point in time, but throughout all the years that lay ahead ó had been prerecorded, in intricate detail. But they refused to avail themselves of that which God had provided.
The entire account forms a rather amazing sequence of events in this respect. When Christ came the first time, Israel acted in a capacity that had been foretold in type after type and by prophet after prophet. The whole of the matter had been prerecorded before the nation ever acted. And the very nation that did all of these things in the antitype, continuing in disobedience today, is the very nation through whom the Spirit of God had previously given all of this material, foretelling that which the nation would do.
The very people committing these prerecorded acts were the very ones who had not only previously recorded all of this information but were the ones, as well, presently in possession of this same information. And not only was this the case, but the Jewish religious leaders even knew the identity of the One whom they were about to slay (cf. Matthew 21:38; John 3:2). The Jewish people, as Cain, knew exactly who they were slaying. And Cainís actions at this point were fulfilled completely and in minute detail in the antitype 4,000 years later.
But, thereís still more to the story about Cain in Genesis chapter four, as there is still more to the story surrounding Israel. And this is what has been foretold in condensed form in Genesis 4:7, with detail provided in the verses that follow, along with the additional types and prophecies bearing on the subject.
A Fugitive and a Vagabond
The Lordís offer and promise to Cain in Genesis 4:7 does not close with Cain slaying Abel. Rather, this offer and this promise continue uninterrupted after Cain slew his brother, and they would continue uninterrupted throughout Cainís entire life. The Lordís offer and promise would have to continue after this fashion, else there could be no ultimate repentance and restoration as seen in that which the Lord had revealed to Cain.
And exactly the same thing is seen in the Lordís dealings with Israel in the antitype. Immediately following Israel slaying Christ there was a re-offer of the kingdom of the heavens to the nation that lasted for about thirty-two years, covered in the book of Acts, beginning in chapter two and ending in chapter twenty-eight. As the Lord had continued to deal with Cain in the type, He continued to deal with Israel in the antitype as well.
(Though Israel, in reality, couldnít repent ó either in the original offer of the kingdom or in the re-offer of the kingdom ó nonetheless, bona fide offers were made in both instances.
In the original offer, the numerous types and prophecies had already previously revealed the course of action that Israel would take. For the nation to have repented at this time would have run counter to that which God had already revealed about the nation.
In the re-offer, the preceding would also hold true, though now something new was added. The Jewish people were now unclean by and through contact with the dead body of their Messiah; and, according to that which God Himself had set forth in His Word, this uncleanness must last for two days, for 2,000 years. Israel could only be cleansed after two days, on the third day ó after 2,000 years, on the third 1,000-year period [cf. Numbers 19:11ff; Hosea 5:13-6:2].)
Then, even with the nation set aside while God calls out from the Gentiles ďa people for His nameĒ (Acts 15:14), Godís offer concerning repentance still continues. It would have to continue, for it is set forth in an unchangeable fashion in the original type in Genesis chapter four.
The day is coming when the Spirit of God will complete His search for the bride and will remove the bride, in complete accordance with that seen in Genesis chapter twenty-four. Then God will resume His dealings with Israel, with a view to the nationís repentance and restoration, in accordance with that which is seen in Genesis chapters four and twenty-five (Cain ultimately being restored [chapter 4]; and Abraham again taking a wife [chapter 25], following the procurement of a bride for his son [chapter 24]).
1) Israel During the Present Dispensation
During the continuing period of disobedience and refusal to repent, Israel in the type in Genesis chapter four is pictured as ďa fugitive and a vagabond,Ē as the nation, like Cain, has been driven from her land out upon the face of the earth (v. 14). The thought behind ďa fugitive and a vagabond [Ďa vagrant and a wanderer,í NASB; Ďa restless wanderer,í NIV]Ē has to do with one who strays about without a home. The picture, through actions that God took with Cain in the type, is that of Israel removed from her homeland, driven out among the nations, but never finding a home among the nations. Rather, the Jewish people (as Cain) would be ever wandering and straying about among all the Gentile nations in which the Lord had driven them.
And further, the Jewish people driven out among the nations would not find friends among these nations. They would not find the Gentiles welcoming them with open arms. Instead, they would find the opposite. They would find enmity exhibited by the nations. They would experience rejection, hostility, etc. This, as well, is set forth in the type in Genesis chapter four.
Cain, when driven out, feared for his very life; but his life was to be spared, with a view to his ultimate restoration. And, through the entire process of hatred exhibited toward Cain and the Lord sparing his life, sevenfold vengeance was decreed upon anyone who might seek to slay Cain during his time of wandering and straying about in a strange land. This would be to say that Godís complete judgment (ďseven,Ē showing the completeness of that which is in view, which is judgment) would fall upon anyone attempting to slay Cain during this time (vv. 13-15).
And so it is with Israel. It must be, for the antitype must follow the type in exact detail.
The Jewish people, driven out among the nations and in strange lands, will never be able to find permanent resting places. The Jewish people can only do that which Cain could do, no more. They can only wander and stray about in the strange lands to which they have been driven.
And the Jewish people in these strange lands, on the one hand, because of the Gentile nationsí attitude toward them, have reason to fear for their very existence (e.g., that which happened to the Jewish people in Europe during WWII; and that which is about to happen to the Jewish people, both in the land of Israel and worldwide [Matthew 24:15-22; Luke 21:20-24]). All of this results from Israelís disobedience and the nation ultimately slaying her Brother, foreshadowed by Cainís disobedience and Cain ultimately slaying his brother.
But Israel, like Cain, has a promise concerning not only supernatural protection but Godís complete judgment befalling any Gentile or Gentile nation that would seek to raise their hand against the Jewish people.
(The Gentile nations, particularly in the Middle East, should take careful note of this today. The epitaph on the tombstones of nations throughout the past 4,000 years [nations occupying their place in history because of Israel (Deuteronomy 32:8; Acts 17:26, 27)], from a biblical perspective, can be worded in a very simple manner: ďFallen because of their attitude toward and ill-treatment of IsraelĒ [Genesis 4:15; 12:1-3].)
Again, the reason and basis for all of this are set forth in the foundational type in Genesis chapter four (vv. 5, 8-15). But also, again, within this foundational type, Godís offer and promise concerning the whole of the matter are set forth as well (v. 7). And this offer and this promise are completely in line with that which is stated in Leviticus chapter twenty-six and Deuteronomy chapter twenty-eight (whole chapters given over to that which would result from either Israelís obedience or disobedience) or anyplace else in Scripture where the matter is dealt with. Blessings follow obedience, and curses follow disobedience. The whole of the matter is stated in terms that simple in Scripture.
Thus, blessings would follow Israelís obedience, and curses would follow Israelís disobedience. And, relative to Israel, God would deal with the Gentiles after a similar fashion. With Israel scattered among the nations because of disobedience, blessings would come upon those Gentiles who befriended Israel, and curses would come upon those Gentiles who took an opposite approach and sought, on the other hand, to harm the Jewish people (Genesis 12:1-3; Joel 3:1-8).
These are unchangeable principles set forth in Scripture that must be carried out in exact and complete accordance with the manner in which they have been set forth. Not ďone jot or one tittle [smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet (yod), or parts of letters that distinguish them from other letters]Ē can fail of fulfillment (Matthew 5:18).
2) A Nation in the Middle East
A major issue among many Bible teachers and students today has to do with the existence of an Israeli nation in the Middle East. And it can only be correct to see this as a major issue, for biblical prophecy surrounding the fulfillment of Danielís Seventieth Week necessitates an existing nation in the Middle East preceding the beginning of the Week.
But, in many instances, the present existence of an Israeli nation in the Middle East has been made to be something that it isnít at all. In many instances, this present existing nation has been associated with a fulfillment of Godís promises in the Old Testament concerning a re-gathering of the Jewish people from among all the Gentile nations where He has scattered them.
Sections of Scripture such as Deuteronomy 30:3-5; Jeremiah 30:3, 18; Ezekiel 34:11ff; 36:24ff; 37:1ff; 39:25ff; Amos 9:14 are cited, and it is stated that God is presently re-gathering His people and restoring the land to a fruitful condition in accordance with His promises (e.g., Deuteronomy 30:9; Ezekiel 36:29, 30; Amos 9:13).
However, this is not what Scripture teaches at all. The present nation of Israel is not in existence as a fulfillment of Godís promises to restore His people; nor does the present productivity of parts of the land of Israel have anything to do with Godís corresponding promise to restore the land as well.
The Jewish people, because of disobedience, have been removed from their land, with the land left desolate; and these same people have been scattered among the Gentile nations of the earth. And Israelís disobedience was climaxed almost two millennia ago by the Jewish people slaying their Messiah.
Israel is the Slayer, removed from her land and scattered among the nations. And because Israel is the Slayer, Israel cannot return to her land until two points in time:
1) Until after two days (2000 years), on the third day (the third 1,000-year period [Numbers 19:11ff]).
2) Until after the death of the High Priest (the termination of Christís present high priestly ministry in the antitype [Numbers 35:15-28]).
There can be no healing of either the people or the land until this future time.
(Refer to Appendixes 1, 2, ďThe Intractable Middle East ProblemĒ and ďThe Death of the High PriestĒ in the authorís book, The Time of the End.)
Further, Israel cannot be restored to the land until the nation is brought to the place of repentance. Israel must first be dealt with concerning that which resulted in the nationís dispersion among the nations. This fact is plainly set forth in connection with prophecies surrounding the Lord re-gathering and restoring His people (e.g., Deuteronomy 30:1, 2; Isaiah 1:16-20; cf. Isaiah 1:2ff).
Further, Israel being brought to the place of repentance, according to Scripture, will not occur until the latter part of the coming Tribulation, during the latter part of Danielís Seventieth Week. This time of trouble that will befall the Jewish people ó ďthe time of Jacobís troubleĒ (Jeremiah 30:7) ó results from Israelís disobedience and the necessity of bringing the Jewish people to the place of repentance.
This will be a time of unparalleled trouble, designed by God to bring the Jewish people to the end of themselves. During this time they will be brought into such dire straits that they will have no place to turn to other than to the Lord (Exodus 3:1-10). Only then will the nation repent; and only following repentance will the nation be restored, with the land being healed.
Further, Israel cannot return until the nationís Messiah returns at the end of the Tribulation. According to the sequence set forth in the seven Jewish festivals in Leviticus chapter twenty-three, the Jewish people must look upon their Messiah (with the nation being saved, fulfilling the Passover, the first festival) before the nation can be re-gathered (fulfilling the feast of Trumpets, the fifth festival).
(Note that Israel has slain the Lamb, but has yet to apply the blood. The Lamb was slain at Christís first coming; Israel though will not apply the blood until Christís second coming. Only then will the first festival in Leviticus chapter twenty-three be completely fulfilled. And these seven festivals must be fulfilled in a sequential order.)
Further, Old Testament saints are to be raised from the dead and be restored to the land along with the living at this time. Both the dead (resurrected) and those living at that time will return to the land together (Exodus 13:19). The resurrection of Old Testament saints is set forth in the third of the seven festivals in Leviticus chapter twenty-three ó the feast of First-Fruits. And this will be fulfilled following the fulfillment of the Passover but prior to the fulfillment of the feast of Trumpets.
Israel possesses a promise that God gave to Solomon almost three thousand years ago concerning repentance, the nationís healing, and the land being healed:
If My people [the Jewish people] who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14)
And exactly the same thing is seen in a promise given by and through Moses almost five hundred years preceding the promise given by and through Solomon:
But if they [the Jewish people] confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me,
and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guiltó
then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land.
Israel can return to the land, with both the nation and the land being healed, only following the nationís repentance. And the nationís repentance is placed in Scripture at a time near the end of the Tribulation, in connection with Christís return.
The present existing nation in the Middle East is there in unrepentance and unbelief, before the time. And most of the unrepentant Jewish people are still scattered among the Gentile nations, with the Old Testament saints still in their graves.
Nothing about the present remnant returning to the land and forming the existing nation in the Middle East has anything to do with the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies pertaining to Israelís restoration; nor does a reclamation of parts of the land have anything to do with Old Testament prophecies pertaining to the land being healed.
The remnant of Jews presently in the land is a remnant from the Slayer, which has gone back before the time. And not only are the Jewish people still unclean through contact with the dead body of their Messiah (the two days are not yet complete), but a remnant from this unclean nation has gone back prior to the time Christ completes His high priestly ministry. And, according to the type in Numbers chapter thirty-five, the Slayer cannot return in this manner prior to the time Christ completes His present ministry in the heavenly sanctuary (Numbers 35:28).
The present remnant in the land ó a part of the Slayer, returning before it is time to return ó leaves this remnant open to great danger. In actuality, it leaves the Jewish people forming this remnant open to experiencing exactly the same thing of which the entire nation is guilty. It leaves them open to being slain (Numbers 35:26, 27). And this is exactly what is about to happen to the present existing nation of Israel in the Middle East.
Antichrist is about to appear and make a seven-year covenant ďwith manyĒ in Israel. And after three and one-half years, he will break his covenant, march into Jerusalem with his armies, and seek to wipe this nation from the face of the earth. The rebuilt temple will be desecrated and destroyed, Jerusalem will be destroyed, and the Jews who are either not killed or do not escape to a place that the Lord will have prepared in the wilderness will be sold as slaves throughout the Gentile world. The present existing nation will be completely destroyed, slain as it were (cf. Daniel 9:26, 27; Joel 3:1-8; Matthew 24:15-22; Luke 21:20-24; 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4; Revelation 12:5ff).
During the latter half of the Tribulation, an Israeli nation, as we know it today, will not exist in the Middle East. Conditions will not only have become similar to those seen in Europe during WWII (Jewish persecution under the Third Reich, prior to the existence of the nation in the Middle East), but will have become far, far worse.
It will be during this time ó days which, unless shortened, no flesh would be saved (Matthew 24:22) ó that the Jewish people will be brought to the end of themselves, to a place where they will have no choice other than to call upon the God of their fathers. Only then will God hear, remember His covenants and promises surrounding Israel, and send His Son back to deliver His people.
Only then ó not before ó will events surrounding Israelís healing, the restoration of the nation, and the healing of the land occur.
(For additional information on the preceding, refer to the authorís book, The Time of the End.)