And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground.”
God now reveals to Cain that He, as the all-knowing and omnipresent God, knows Cain had murdered Abel and had lied. God uses figurative language to represent Abel’s death: “The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me.” Obviously, Abel’s blood was not literally “crying out” because the Bible teaches that the “dead know nothing” (Ecclesiastes 9:5).
Jesus Christ identified Abel as the first of the righteous martyrs for God’s way of life. Speaking to the Pharisees, who would later instigate His martyrdom, Jesus Christ said: “On you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah” (Matthew 23:35).
Hebrews 12:24 likens Jesus Christ’s ultimate sacrifice to Abel’s—in that both gave their lives for doing right—but Jesus’ sacrifice “speaks better things than that of Abel.”
Abel’s death should remind us that God’s people often suffer and are persecuted for obedience to God. The fifth seal of the book of Revelation pictures the martyrdom that some of God’s people will face in the end time. Figuratively, these martyrs cry out: “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:10).
The good news is that prophecy reveals that the martyrs for God’s truth will be rewarded for their faithfulness (Revelation 20:4).
Study these scriptures to learn more about why true Christians often suffer persecution in this life: Matthew 5:44-48; Luke 6:22-23; 2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 3:17; 1 John 3:11-14.
To learn more about Satan’s past and future persecution of God’s people, read “Revelation 12: Who Are the Woman, Child and Dragon?”