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The Perfecting of Faith---Abel and Enoch.
pp. 101 - 108
The first of the series of examples of perfected faith that is given in Heb. 11: is the
two-fold witness of Abel and Enoch, who, though unlike in some respects, are alike in
this that they both have to do specifically with death in connection with their faith. Let us
give attention in the first instance to the witness of Abel.
The first feature of perfected faith emphasizes the Atonement. Elsewhere we have
drawn attention to the two words that mark the difference between Redemption (exodus =
a leading out), and Atonement (eisodos = a leading in). Abel does not speak so much of
redemption from sin, as access and acceptance. There are many things that belong to the
life of faith, but all service, witness, suffering or warfare are secondary when compared
with Abel's initial witness, which gives first place to the recognition of the claims and
provision of the holiness of God. Enoch's faith corresponds with this in the fact that it
emphasizes both the walk that is pleasing to God, and further that "he that cometh to God
must believe that He is".
The faith of Abel.
"By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he
obtained witness that he was righteous God testifying of his gifts; and by it he being
dead yet speaketh" (Heb. 11: 4).
Here the good report becomes both "witness" and "testifying", and the correction
should be made in our translation of the passage. We must turn to Genesis in order to see
for ourselves the record that is referred to here:
"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 . . . . . If thou doest well, shalt thou not be
accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his
desire, and thou shalt rule over him" (Gen. 4: 3-7).
"In process of time." Literally, "At or after the end of some days", "some" being
often expressed by the plural form alone. Nothing is certain as to what days are intended.
Some think the sabbath is meant, some the end of the year, or at some set time like
harvest. The important fact to observe is that there was some recognition of appointed
time, and hence the implication is that Abel's faith was connected with "a word of God",
as all faith has ever been.
"An offering" (minchah). This word is often used as a contrast to zebah, a sacrifice
with blood, but standing alone it is often used for sacrifice in general. As the passage
stands in the A.V. the word "also" in verse 4 ("And Abel, he also") simply adds the