Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Bloods of Righteous Men

And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground.

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
In the process of time Cain and Abel brought an offering to Yahweh. The offering was probably not an offering for sin, but rather a thank offering, since it involved the first fruits of each man's labors under the sun. Yahweh accepts the offering of Abel, thereby acknowledging Abel's righteousness in giving the gift. On the other hand, Cain's offering is rejected because of an undisclosed unrighteousness. Like Abel and Cain, Jesus Christ and the Self-Righteous Jews bring their offering to God, the fruits of their labor. Jesus Christ offers his humble obedience to the Father's commands, and the Pharisees offer their man-made piety.

When Cain has his offering rejected he becomes envious of Abel and resentful toward Yahweh. If he cannot find acceptance in Yahweh's eyes, then he will destroy the object of God's pleasure so that He would have no other choice but Cain to show His favor toward. Rather than acknowledging God's choice and following his brother's example, Cain strikes Abel down. Like Cain, the Self-Righteous Jews envy Jesus Christ and cannot abide the glory he receives from the people, nor the power he wields over sin, the effects of the curse, and the enemies of God. Rather than submit themselves to God's choice and follow Christ's example, the Self-Righteous Jews strike Jesus down.

After Cain kills Abel, the blood of this righteous man cover the earth and cries out to God for redress.  The blood of Abel brings Cain's sin into the light, and in that light God pronounces His judgment upon Cain. Cain receives a harsh sentence, he must live with his sin, and he must do so as a wanderer without a land, without the family of God. Like Nineveh Cain receives a reprieve, but the line of Cain will eventually be destroyed in the Flood of judgment and cleansing the covers the whole earth. Like Abel, Jesus Christ's blood spills forth and covers the earth. Like Abel, the blood of Christ cries out to God for redress. Like the blood of Abel, Christ's blood brings the sins of the Self-Righteous Jews and the complicit Gentiles into the light, and in that light God pronounces His judgment upon these sons of Cain.

But unlike the blood of Abel, whose righteousness could only grant a reprieve, the blood of Christ speaks a better word--a word of full release. Though the whole of men stand like Cain guilty of the murder of the Better Brother, it is not a Flood of judgment that God unleashes upon the earth, rains from heaven and geysers from under the earth. Rather, God unleashes the Flood of righteous Blood and Water that came down from Heaven, descended into the earth, sprang up from the grave with the souls of the dead and ascended into Highest Heaven to Reign, sprinkling from His throne the blood that removes the stain of sin and turns the exiled wanderers and orphans into landed sons of God.

The blood of the righteous martyrs speaks, but it cannot speak in its own power on behalf of the world. It is only the blood of God Incarnate that has the power to destroy the power of death and bring the dead into resurrected life. So much better is the blood that Jesus speaks that should all the blood of all the righteous men of all the ages were to speak on behalf of mercy, it could only offer the reprieve of time. Only the blood of eternal God-become-Man could offer an eternal reprieve to those created to be Man-become-Image of God, but who fell into their own corruption and unmaking.

May we all learn the lesson of Abel, that there can be no righteous bloods, no power of fallen man that can make anew the unmade nature of Man. Only by the blood of the Second Adam, whose incorruption corruption swallowed into its bosom and was itself consumed, unmade, and remade in incorruptible righteousness.

Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ!

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