"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" (Hebrews 11:4).
Adam's second son, Abel, offered an appropriate sacrifice to God. Our text tells us that it was by faith that he understood what would please God. Three aspects of Abel's proper offering should be studied: First, "he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof" (Genesis 4:4). Cain sacrificed first, but it was of the "fruit of the ground" (v.3). From the beginning of sacrifice for sin (Genesis 3:21), the example was an animal killed to provide a covering. Abel somehow knew that it would take the shedding of blood to cover or atone for sin. Thus, from the flock came the suitable sacrifice.
Second, Abel also wisely gave God of the bestfrom the firstlings of the flock. Primacy and dedication seem to be associated with the first born. More than that, the first product of one's labor is most precious to the laborer. It is, indeed, hard to give up that first evidence of personal merit, humanly speaking. But Abel knew that his gain was due to God, not himself. Under these circumstances, just as with Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac, it is not as difficult to give up the first fruits. God will provide.
The last in this array pertains to "the fat thereof." The deposits of pure fat covering the intestines and overlying the kidneys are implied. Why should the fat be singled out as important to God? The Hebrew word for fat means the richest, or best. Pure fat, as a meal, is virtually indigestible to us, and flavorless, but to God, it represents purity.
Thus, every aspect of the sacrificethe blood, the firstborn, and the purityforeshadowed the perfect Sacrifice, Jesus Christ. KBC