Cain & Able Foreshadowed Israel & Christ
Taken from Middle East Peace, Chapter 2, by Arlen L. Chitwood
Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city,
that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.
Verily I say unto you, all these things shall come upon this generation.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!
See! Your house is left to you desolate;
for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!” (Matthew 23:34-39)
When Christ came the first time, He appeared to Israel and offered the kingdom of the heavens to the Jewish people, based upon national repentance. The message was very simple:
Repent [the entire nation], for the kingdom of the heavens is at hand. (Matthew 3:1, 2; 4:17; 10:1-7)
The theocracy could have been restored (cf. Acts 1:3-7); and though only the heavenly aspect of the kingdom was being offered to the nation at this time, any realization of the heavenly would have necessitated a realization of the earthly as well. One cannot exist in its fullness in this respect apart from the other.
Israel, at Christ’s first coming, was viewed as sick, “from the sole of the foot even to the head” (Isaiah 1:4-6). Supernatural signs were being manifested — supernatural healings of individuals, supernatural provision (Matthew 4:23-25; John 2:7-10) — pointing to that which the entire nation could experience and have if the nation would repent.
(“Repentance” and the use of the word in Scripture is, more often than not, misunderstood [e.g., unsaved individuals often called upon to repent prior to believing (some attempt to make repentance and belief synonymous or inseparable); or, in a similar respect, seeing the call for Israel to repent in the gospel accounts and in Acts as a call to the unsaved].
The word “repent” is a translation of the Greek word, metanoia, or in its verb form, metanoeo. Both are compound words [the preposition meta (meaning, “with”) prefixed to words derived from vous (meaning, “mind”)]. Thus, these compound words, in their base sense, mean “with the mind.”
The word [either noun or verb form] refers to doing something with the mind, and that which is referenced through the use of this word has to do with changing one’s mind. And that is really all that the word means.
The Jewish people in the gospels and Acts were called upon to change their minds relative to their continued disobedience, which would lead to a change of actions, etc.
Relative to salvation today, does an unsaved person have to repent? He does if he has to change his mind about Christ before he can believe, though most today would probably have to make up their minds rather than change their minds prior to belief. But either way, it is believing that saves a person, not making up or changing one’s mind. The latter would only place a person in the position where he can believe and be saved.)
The message proclaimed to Israel during Christ’s earthly ministry was God through one Son calling His other son to acknowledge that which had been done, and repent (cf. Exodus 4:22, 23; Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:15; Hebrews 1:6). But the other son refused, and the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis chapter four began to be fulfilled in the antitype.
One son rose up against the other Son, and slew Him. As Cain rose up against Abel and slew him, Israel rose up against Christ and slew Him. And as the blood of Abel cried out “from the ground,” the blood of Christ “speaks better things than that of Abel.” (cf. Genesis 4:10; Hebrews 12:24).
Then the story continues from Genesis chapter four. Cain’s punishment for this act was something that he looked upon as greater than he could bear. He was to be driven from the Lord’s face out upon the earth, he was to be a “fugitive and a vagabond . . . on the earth [a fugitive moving from place to place across the face of the earth, with no permanent home]”; and, in this condition, he would find himself at the mercy of those upon the earth.
Others would seek to slay him, but would be unable to do so. God, in spite of that which Cain had done, would not only supernaturally protect Cain, but He would judge those who did seek to slay him (Genesis 4:13-15).
And this is exactly what has happened to the Jewish people over the centuries since they slew their Brother. Israel has been driven from the Lord’s face out upon the earth (among those “without God,” dwelling in the tents of Ham and Japheth [cf. Genesis 9:26, 27; Ephesians 2:12]).
Israel has been scattered among the nations — a fugitive, one guilty of blood, with no permanent home (cf. Deuteronomy 28:64-67) — and Israel, in this condition, has been placed at the mercy of these same nations.