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Salvation in the Cain and Abel Story

The first time the word “saved” or yashah appears in the Hebrew Scriptures is in the story of Cain and Abel. Christians speak of “being saved,” but what does that really mean from a Hebraic perspective? The first clue in our passage about Cain and Abel is the time frame of the story. The phrase, mikketz yamim is used and means “at the end of days.”

Scripture further tells us that Abel brought himself, as well as his offering which was a firstborn animal of his flock. The passage also says, in Hebrew, that God “saved” or “rescued” Abel and his offering but He did not “save” Cain and his offering. The word for saved is yashah and here it is most often translated as “God turned to” or “God accepted,” not “saved” Abel’s offering.

The two-letter root of the word for saved is shah and means “watch” or “shepherd.” The shepherd, then, watches over the flock on the lookout for danger so that when an enemy attacks, the shepherd destroys him. A variation of the word is the name of the Messiah, which is Yeshua.

Perhaps Abel is a picture of the Messiah, and Cain is a picture of the enemy. At the end of days, God will rescue Abel and his sheep, who are the people of God, and He will destroy the predator. So, though the enemy of men’s souls came to steal, kill and destroy the Messiah and his flock, God promises He will rescue and “save” them from that enemy at the end of days.

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