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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE HEBREWS - Chapter 12 - Verse 24
Verse 24. And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant. This was the crowning excellence of the new dispensation, in contradistinction from the old. They had been made acquainted with the true Messiah; they were united to him by faith; they had been sprinkled with his blood. See Barnes "Heb 7:22, and See Barnes "Heb 8:6".
The highest consideration which can be urged to induce any one to persevere in a life of piety is the fact that the, Son of God has come into the world and died to save sinners. Comp. See Barnes "Heb 12:2, seq. of this chapter.
That speaketh better things than that of Abel. Or, "than Abel; "the words "that of" being supplied by the translators. In the original there is no reference to the blood of Abel shed by Cain, as our translators seem to have supposed; but the allusion is to the faith of Abel, or to the testimony which he bore to a great and vital truth of religion. The meaning here is, that the blood of Jesus speaks better things than Abel did; that is, that the blood of Jesus is the reality of which the offering of Abel was a type. Abel proclaimed by the sacrifice which he made the great truth, that salvation could be only by a bloody offering—but he did this only in a typical and obscure manner; Jesus proclaimed it in a more distinct and better manner by the reality. The object here is to compare the Redeemer with Abel, not in the sense that the blood shed in either case calls for vengeance, but that salvation by blood is more clearly revealed in the Christian plan than in the ancient history; and hence illustrating, in accordance with the design of this epistle, the superior excellency of the Christian scheme over all which had preceded it. There were other points of resemblance between Abel and the Redeemer, but on them the apostle does not insist. Abel was a martyr, and so was Christ; Abel was cruelly murdered, and so was Christ; there was aggravated guilt in the murder of Abel by his brother, and so there was in that of Jesus by his brethren—his own countrymen; the blood of Abel called for vengeance, and was followed by a fearful penalty on Cain, and so was the death of the Redeemer on his murderers—for they said, "his blood be on us and on our children," and are yet suffering under the fearful malediction then invoked;—but the point of contrast here is, that the blood of Jesus makes a more full, distinct, and clear proclamation of the truth, that salvation is by blood, than the offering made by Abel did. The apostle alludes here to what he had said in Heb 11:4. See Barnes "Heb 11:4".
Such is the contrast between the former and the latter dispensations; and such the motives to perseverance presented by both. In the former, the Jewish, all was imperfect, terrific, and alarming. In the latter, everything was comparatively mild, winning, alluring, animating. Terror was not the principal element; but heaven was opened to the eye of faith, and the Christian was permitted to survey the Mount Zion—the New Jerusalem—the angels—the redeemed—the blessed God— the glorious Mediator—and to feel that that blessed abode was to be his home. To that happy world he was tending; and with all these pure and glorious beings he was identified. Having stated and urged this argument, the apostle, in the remainder of the chapter, warns those whom he addressed in a most solemn manner against a renunciation of their Christian faith.
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