When Jesus speaking to scribes and Pharisees, He strangely gave a range from the murder of Abel to Zechariah for what was coming on that generation. Zechariah lived in the days on Darius and Abel lived before the flood of Noah. Obviously, many righteous prophets lived and died after Zechariah like John the baptist but why was the rest not included? In this post we will explore the hidden truth in Christ’s statement.
From Abel to Zechariah
Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!Matt 23:34-37
The scribes and Pharisees did not murder anyone from Abel to Zechariah whom Jesus was referring. He was referring to Jerusalem where these righteous prophets were murdered. The language is similar to who the Father spoke about Jerusalem in Ezekiel 16. For instance, John the baptist whom Jesus referred as the greatest prophet born of women, was not murdered in Jerusalem but in Machaerus, Jordan by Herod, who was tetrarch of Galilee. Hence, Jesus was revealing here that the first murder of Abel by Cain happened in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem vomits its inhabitants
‘So you shall not pollute the land where you are; for blood defiles the land, and no atonement can be made for the land, for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it. Therefore do not defile the land which you inhabit, in the midst of which I dwell; for I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel.’ ”Num 35:33-34
For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants.Lev 18:25
Apart from the several other sexual immoral activities mentioned in the Scriptures that defile the land, blood defiles the land. If a land is defiled, it will vomit it’s inhabitants. When Jesus said about the consequences for the murders from Abel to Zechariah, He is clearly referring to the land being defiled by murders and the vomiting out of it’s inhabitants, which got fulfilled during the Siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD. This confirms that the murder of Abel actually happened in Jerusalem.
Location of Jerusalem in Eden
What Jesus said about Abel and Jerusalem is important because He reveals to us the location of Eden.
Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden.Gen 4:16
After murdering Abel, Cain dwelt on the east of Eden.
The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.Gen 2:8
Therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.Gen 3:23-24
It is important to note that God did not send Adam and Eve out of Eden. They were only cast out of the garden which God planted eastward in Eden.
“Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created.Ezek 28:12-13
Further in the book of Ezekiel, God reveals that Tyre was in the garden of Eden.
As the Scriptures already mention the location of Eden to some degree, we can clearly see the connection of what Jesus spoke about the first murder that happened in Jerusalem.
The minor details from the words of Jesus can reveal things that are not clearly mentioned in the Scripture because of His knowledge as the Son of God, who is God Himself in Flesh. In this case, we can see how Jesus is revealing us regarding the first murder that happened in Jerusalem.