ABEL AND THE POWER OF FIRSTFRUITS
by Nathan Shaw
The Witness of Enoch and Abel
Recently there has been an increased emphasis on the significance of Enoch. Enoch is one of the many witnesses who surround us (Hebrews 11:5; 12:1). His message and his witness are strategic for our times. There is a second witness that is strategically important. That is the witness of Adam’s son, Abel (Hebrews 11:4). Abel’s witness will become more prominent in the days ahead. The combined witness of Abel and Enoch will cause a dramatic increase of faith on the earth.
Enoch walked with God for 300 years and was caught up to God (Genesis 5:22-24). But what was Abel’s witness? Abel gave an offering (Genesis 4:3-5). That’s it. He brought an offering to God from the firstborn of his flock. He gave God the first and the best. His brother, Cain, on the other hand, only casually brought an offering from his produce. God looked with favor on Abel’s offering, but not on Cain’s offering. Abel modeled the principle of bringing a firstfruits offering to God. Firstfruits offerings acknowledge God as the source of our harvest. They give Him first place.
The Power of Firstfruit Offerings
When God entered into covenant with the Israelites He commanded them to keep three feasts each year (Exodus 23:14-19). The feasts coincided with specific harvests. In all three feasts they were to bring the first and the best of their harvests as firstfruits offerings to God. The principle of firstfruits was part of Israel’s world view and way of life. It set them up to live in the prosperity of God’s full provision. Consider the power of firstfruits offerings:
They acknowledge that this is just the first.
They acknowledge that it is God’s intention for us to have the full harvest.
They acknowledge that God brings forth and protects the full harvest.
They acknowledge that God is generous.
They acknowledge covenant relationship — the wholehearted giving of two parties to each other.
Firstfruits offerings establish a life of faith and wholehearted commitment.
Hebrews chapter 11 is one of the greatest chapters on faith in the Bible. It mentions many witnesses. Abel is the first witness (Hebrews 11:4). Significantly the first witness demonstrates the principle of firstfruits. Enoch is the second witness (Hebrews 11:5). The writer of Hebrews intentionally highlights Abel and Enoch. They form the foundation from which the other witnesses follow. Abel and Enoch are highlighted by placing them in-between two profound revelations about faith.
Firstly: “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3). And secondly: “Without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
The context in Hebrews chapter 11 highlights some important things about Abel’s offering:
It acknowledged God as the source of all things (Hebrews 11:3).
It acknowledged the invisible realm (Hebrews 11:3).
It was made by faith, not duty (Hebrews 11:4).
It demonstrated Abel’s active belief in God’s existence (Hebrews 11:6).
It demonstrated Abel’s confidence that God rewards those who diligently seek Him (Genesis 4:4, Hebrews 11:6).
Abel’s greatest delight was to bring pleasure to God. The principle of firstfruits had first priority in Abel’s life. The conclusion is clear: The principle of firstfruits is foundational to a life of faith.
Voices Igniting a New Generation — How Abel and Enoch's Faith Impact Us Today
Something often overlooked is the impact Abel’s faith had on Enoch. Abel was murdered by his brother Cain before Seth was born. Enoch came from the line of Seth. This meant that Enoch never met Abel. But Enoch did know Adam (their lives overlapped by 308 years). Enoch knew about Abel’s faith through Adam. Enoch’s faith to walk with God was inspired by Abel’s offering! What does it mean to walk with God? Walking with God means giving God our first and our best every day of our lives.
Abel and Enoch both lived short lives. Abel’s life was cut short when he was murdered. Enoch’s life was cut short when he was caught up to God. (Enoch was caught up at 365 years of age which is very young when you consider that most people lived to over 900 years old at the time). It’s not the length of a life that determines its impact. Faith determines the impact of a life.
When we hear the voices of the witnesses that have gone before us we are strengthened to run our own races (Hebrews 11:4, 12:1). Abel gave a firstfruits offering. Enoch walked with God. Their faith actions impacted future generations. Abel and Enoch were prophets who informed the world view of first century Christians in powerful and significant ways (Matthew 23:25, Luke 11:51, Hebrews 11:4-5, Jude 14-15, 1 John 3:11-12).
But what of our day? Abel’s voice and Enoch’s voice will be heard with increasing clarity. Their voices will ignite a new generation. There will be a profound release of faith and the miraculous. Who would have thought that a single offering could be so powerful?
Released through Elijah List September 3rd 2018.
Nathan Shaw helps bring individuals and churches into dynamic encounters with God's indescribable love. Nathan's passion is to equip churches so that they can move in the Spirit, access heavenly realms, encounter God's heart and release His Kingdom on the earth. Over the last twenty years he has been instrumental in ushering in significant moves of the Spirit in over ten different nations. Many have experienced life changing prophetic encounters and dramatic visitations from God. Nathan is the author of two books: Passion and Fire and Unto the Least of These and he is the senior pastor at Fire and Destiny Centre www.fireanddestiny.org, Dunedin and Celebration Church, Mosgiel www.celebrationchurch.xyz.
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