Hebrews Chapter 11

Originally Published 12/05/2010.

Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

This chapter of Hebrews is probably one of the best known, loved, and preached chapters of the entire Bible. It likely ranks in popularity with Psalm 23, the Shepherd Psalm, Proverbs 31, the Good Wife, and 1 Corinthians 13, the Love Chapter.

Many call Hebrews Chapter 11, “The Hall of Faith,” because it tells us about the faith of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets.

The Greek word for faith is πιστις (pistis-4102). It comes from πειθω (peitho-3982), which means to persuade. In this context, faith is the absolute conviction that a thing is true. That which is true here is the Gospel, the good news that Christ is come, and has paid the penalty eternally for our sins.

We define substance as the essential nature, the essence, of a thing. Our English word ultimately comes from the Latin substare, to stand under. This is exactly the meaning of υποστασις (hupostasis or hypostasis-5287), the Greek word rendered substance. It is a combination of the prefix υπo (hupo or hypo), under, and ιστεμι (histemi), to stand; together they make hupostasis, to stand under. Therefore, in this case, substance is what stands under something. That which stands under a building, for example, undergirds that building. What undergirds a building? It is the foundation of course. Without a foundation, a building cannot be stable. One can build a building with no foundation, but it is not a stable building, for in that condition, a force could move it, shake it, or it could even fall down. Nevertheless, one could build such a building. The foundation then becomes a requirement for a stable building. The foundation is the essence of the building’s stability.

So, in this light, we can say that our faith is the essence of our hope. Now hope is not that uncertain longing we have when we wish for something to happen, though that is certainly one definition of hope. Here hope is the certainty of future gain. Webster (1828) defines this type of hope as “Confidence in a future event; the highest degree of well founded expectation of good; as a hope founded on God’s gracious promises; a scriptural sense.” Merriam Webster gives this definition: “archaic : to place confidence or trust — usually used with in“. So our hope is not dreaming, it is the fact that a future event will occur. Paul1 is saying that faith is the essence of our expectation of the unseen future. Though this future is unseen, we know it. We know that our hope is an eternal life in the presence of God with all the benefits of such presence.

Faith is not only the substance, or the essence of our certain hope, it is also the evidence of, or proof of the things we look forward to. Since our faith is the conviction of the truth, the fact that we have such confidence is proof positive of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives. And that makes it the proof that the promise of the Gospel is true. Faith is the key to the door to the grace of God, a door that opens when we have faith, allowing God’s grace to pour out on us providing for our salvation. The fact that we have faith in the first place is the evidence of the power of God in our lives.

Hebrews 11:2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.

Or, “For by faith the elders obtained a good report.” The phrase rendered ‘good report’ by the KJV translators is ἐμαρτυρήθησαν, hemarturēthēsan, (bore (good) witness, or received (good) testimony) from μαρτυρέω, martureō, witness or testimony. They obtained a good report or testimony in God’s eyes. God credited righteousness to them because of their faith (Gen 15:6; Rom 4:3, 9, 22). The elders are the ancient godly men and women of Israel. Paul is going to list a few.

Hebrews 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

The word “framed” is the KJV rendering of κατηρτισθαι (katertisthai), the perfect passive infinitive of καταρτιζω (katartizo), to complete. The term ‘word’ is the uninflected Greek ρημα, rhēma, which means the spoken word; God said (LXX—ειπεν) “Let there be light,” and there was light. The Apostle John told us that Christ Himself is the Word of God and that the worlds were made by Him (John 1:1, see The Memra). The first phrase of the verse, restated, says, through faith we understand that the worlds were completed or made by Christ. The things we see, that is, the entire physical universe including all things around us as well as the earth, moon, sun, stars, and all created things, were not made of anything we can see. There were no physical building materials from which to create the universe. God’s spoken words created them. In Genesis 1, we repeatedly see the words, “and God said…”

Hebrews 11:4 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.

To understand the sacrifice of Cain, I will quote from an earlier study (Genesis Segment 6):

Notice that God makes a point of telling us that Abel brought the first-fruit of his increase. Cain simply brought of the fruit of his increase. I believe that the reason why God had no respect for Cain’s offering is that Cain just brought some of his increase instead of the first-fruit. Cain’s offering was not sincere, but a casual and careless offering. God does not want our casual or second best offerings, he wants our first and best. He gave us His first and best offering, Jesus Christ, and that is what he expects from us.

God’s acceptance of Abel’s gift was the witness that he was righteous. The LXX says that God looked upon Abel’s sacrifice but not upon Cain’s. The KJV says God had respect unto Abel and his offering, but He did not have respect unto Cain and his offering. In other words, God accepted Abel and his offering and passed by Cain and his offering without acceptance. By respecting Abel, He gave His approval of righteousness to Abel.

God recorded His testimony of Abel’s gifts (apparently Abel brought both a grain offering and a blood offering) in His testimony to men, that is, in the Scriptures. Though Abel is dead, killed by his own sibling, his faith still speaks through God’s testimony of him.

Here is an illustration of how I see the difference between these two offerings:

Cain’s thoughts were, “Well, here it is Sunday again, so I will get on down to the church and show up for the worship service. I don’t need to go that boring old Sunday-School class. Just attending just the worship service will keep me in good standing with God. Oh, and while I am there, I have a couple of bucks in my wallet; I’ll just drop them in the offering plate and that will take care of my obligation for this week.”

Abel, on the other hand prays, “Thank your Lord for bringing me through another week and allowing me the freedom to go down and join the other believers in worshiping you. Thank you for the nice place to go and worship. Thank you for the pastor and his hard work preparing for the service. Thanks for the choir, and all the workers. It is by your grace that I am able to worship in freedom and security. You have taken care of my needs this week and have graciously blessed my family and me. Here is my offering, the first part of my earnings for the week and a little more to help the less fortunate. Thank you Lord for providing this increase for me and I humbly and gratefully return a part of it to You, Lord. All that I am, and ever hope to be, I owe it all to Thee; to God be the glory! I love you Lord; in Jesus Name, amen.”

Which one is more acceptable to God? Of course, it is Able because of his faith. Cain was cavalier with his “offering” while Abel humbly and gratefully gave the first fruits of his increase and was pleased to do so.

Hebrews 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

The King James says that God took Enoch: Genesis 5:24, “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.”

The Septuagint says that God translated him: “And Enoch was well-pleasing to God, and was not found, because God translated him.”

Enoch walked with God. He was conversant with God. He was intimate with God. Then he was not; he became nonexistent. There was no trace of him and no flesh left. God transfigured and took him. While in the KJV, the Old Testament may not specifically use the word ‘translated’ the New Testament does. Therefore, according to Scripture, God translated Enoch, that is, He conveyed him to heaven without suffering death. A modern term might be rapture, meaning, “snatched away”.

The testimony, again, in the Scripture, was that he was a friend to God and therefore the testimony of his faith is that he pleased God.

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

This is to show that Enoch’s pleasing God required faith in God. By coming to God, Enoch believed in Him and God rewarded because of his diligence in walking with God. To please God we must trust Him, we must believe Him, and if we do, He will reward us. The reward for our faith is salvation. The reward for walking diligently with God is a crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:7-8). Paul said he had fought the good fight, finished his course, and kept the faith therefore he would receive therefore a crown of righteousness. That describes Enoch. He too had fought the good fight, finished his course, and kept the faith.

Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

The testimony of Noah’s faith was his righteousness. Note that Noah had faith in things unseen. His faith was the essence of Noah’s hope of future unseen things. He had faith that God was truthful and that what God Said would surely come to pass. He did not know how events would transpire, but he had the faith to believe that God would save him. He had the faith that God would take care of him and his family after the flood had subsided. He had faith that he and his family would be able to survive when they were the only humans on the earth. He had faith that God would be able to feed, clothe, protect, and shelter him and his family in a newly fashioned earth. He had enormous faith in God his Creator.

We should have the same faith. We need the faith to have hope in our yet unseen future. We do not know what the future will bring. We don’t know the day of our death. But we do know that God has said He will neither leave or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:8 , Hebrews 13:5), that He will take care of all our needs (Psalm 84:11 , Matthew 6:33 , Philippians 4:19), and that he had prepared a place for us after our earthly death (John 14:2 , 2 Corinthians 5:1).

In the face of certain hostility, Noah built a very large ship on dry land. Noah had 120 years to build the ark so he needed faith to keep building it when there was no sign of a flood; indeed, it had never rained. Yet, Noah, who found grace in the eyes of the LORD, had the faith to keep on building in the face of certain criticism and probable jeering.

The saving of Noah’s family condemned the rest of mankind to certain destruction. God had decreed that mankind should perish. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. The flood was going to happen because of the decree of God. However, since Noah found grace, he and his family would be the only ones saved, condemning the rest of the world to perish in the flood.

Since he and his family were the only ones remaining after the flood, and he had faith in God, he was the heir of God’s righteousness. Being the heir means that he received the righteousness of God just as we did when we believed in Christ. He was the only believer and therefore the only heir. We receive the righteousness of Christ because of our faith. Noah had faith and was the heir, or receiver, of God’s righteousness (Romans 4:22-25).

Heb 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

Terah, Abraham’s father, took his entire family and moved them from Ur of the Chaldees, to the land of Haran (Hebrew Charan) which is distinguished from his brother Haran, who died in Ur. Terah and his family lived happily in Haran until Terah died. Then God told Abraham to leave his kindred and his land and go into Canaan.

Terah had lived with his family in Ur, a city of paganism. They had gotten away from the worship of the One True God, and had begun to worship men, animals, and hand made idols. When God called Abraham out from his kindred and their land, he was signaling a break with the old things, for Abraham would be the father of the nation that produced the Messiah.

God called for Abraham to leave his kindred and the land of his kindred, Abraham accepted the call of God and went with much faith, out into the unknown land of Canaan. He had no idea what the future held; he just knew that his God had called him. So he went.

God had promised him an inheritance: “I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing,” (Genesis 12:2) There was no immediate fulfillment to that promise, so Abraham trusted that God would deliver on His promise.

Heb 11:9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:

His faith allowed him to dwell in tents in while journeying a strange land. His own heirs were not yet born, but were yet in his loins (compare Hebrews 7:10).

Heb 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

That city is the new Jerusalem, or Heaven. Abraham lived in tents. His city was one completely of tents. He looked forward to a city that had foundations, that is, it had buildings and not tents. He was sojourning away form home. He looked forward to going home to Beulah land.

There’s a holy and beautiful city
Whose Builder and Ruler is God;
John saw it descending from Heaven,
When Patmos, in exile, he trod;
Its high, massive wall is of jasper,
The city it-self is pure gold;
And when my frail tent here is folded,
Mine eyes shall its glory behold.
-Arthur F. Ingler, 1929

Heb 11:11 Through faith also Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

Sarah believed the God would give her a child even though she was beyond the change of life and even though she had been barren all her life. Her faith gave her the strength to believe God and He honored her belief.

Heb 11:12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

Abraham was near death because he was 100 years old. Most would have believed that he could have no more children. Yet, because of his faith, he fathered on child with Sarah through her faith as well. From this one child, born near the end of Abraham’s life, came the innumerable hosts of his children. Added to that are countless millions more who are adopted children of Abraham through Christ.

Heb 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

All of these men of faith mentioned by Paul died in their faith. They never saw the nations promised, nor the multitudes. They never saw the Christ, but they looked forward to these things. But they still believe the promises of God. Their faith remained with them until their deaths. Now they see the things of promise. Now they see the Christ.

They knew and admitted that this old earth was not their home, that they were wayfaring strangers in the earth and that someday they would go home.

Heb 11:14-16 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. (15) And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. (16) But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

We are among them. We declare plainly that we seek such a country. These patriarchs might have gone back to their old country, had they thought wistfully on their old country, the land of Mesopotamia and Ur, they might have returned “home”. But their thoughts were not on the old country, but on God and on being with him in a better land, the land called heaven.

I’m kind of homesick for a country
To which I’ve never been before
No sad goodbyes will there be spoken
For time won’t matter anymore
-Squire Parsons

Because of their faith and their looking forward to being with God for eternity in their home called Heaven, God is not ashamed of them. He will bring them into His presence for He has prepared a place for them and for us. If it were not so, He would have told us.

Heb 11:17-19 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, (18) Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: (19) Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

Abraham had the faith to trust God, even when He told Abraham to sacrifice his only begotten son, for Ishmael was gone and as good as dead, and the promise of God was not upon Ishmael. It was preferred to Isaac whose seed would be called the children of Abraham. Abraham trusted God with his only begotten son. He even believed that if he sacrificed Isaac, then God would raise him up again to life.

The Old Testament shows the faith of Abraham but does not tell us the details we have written here. It is likely that the Rabbis taught what is written here in Hebrews when expounding the scriptures in Genesis. Abraham, the old man, had learned time and again that he could trust God, so he trusted Him with the life of his only begotten (by his wife, Sarah) son.

Abraham, Isaac, and two servants calmly chopped the wood for the burnt offering and then tied it onto the donkey. When they reached Moriah, Isaac carried the wood while Abraham carried the fire and the knife. Isaac asked his father where the lamb for the burnt offering was and Abraham said, The LORD will provide a lamb. That is why they called place Yehovah-yireh, which means, the LORD will provide.

Abraham had the faith to tell his young son, whom he loved dearly that God would provide. We know from the Epistle to the Hebrews what Abraham was thinking. He knew that even if God allowed him to slay Isaac, God would raise him from death. For God had promised, “in Isaac shall thy seed be called.” Therefore, Abraham believed God when He told Abraham that his posterity would be in Isaac. That belief held even unto the very death of Isaac. Abraham had raised the knife to strike when the angel of the LORD stopped him. An instant later, Isaac would have died.

The figure is, of course, Christ. Adam, the first son, had sinned and been banished from the Garden. His sin had removed him from direct fellowship with God. But God’s only begotten son, Jesus, was sacrificed for the sake of the human race. And God was able to raise Him up from the dead.

Abraham’s first son, Ishmael, was banished from Abraham’s presence. He was removed from direct fellowship with his father Abraham. Abraham was willing to sacrifice this only son. God stopped Abraham short but allowed His Own Son, Jesus, to die.

Just as we can empathize with Abraham, so should we be able to feel that same empathy with God over His own Son. As a father and grandfather, I could no more kill my son or grandson than I could jump up into the air and fly by flapping my arms. I can have the same feelings Abraham did. I do not believe I could ever go through with sacrificing my son or grandson. Do I trust God? Yes, but Father, help me in my unbelief. Yet, Abraham was willing. God the Father was willing and did give up His Son to death. I know what kind of loss that would be. So I can know a little bit of how the Father felt when His very own Son was dying on that cross.

Heb 11:20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.

Isaac had faith that God had shown him the future for in his blessing of Jacob and Esau, he simply believed that the future he foretold would come true. He could not test it; he could only go on faith that these things would occur. You might say he had faith, which was seemingly unfounded, that, though he could not see, he believed he was blessing Esau. His faith was misplaced in this instance-at least in the human way of looking at it. Nevertheless, in God’s way, he really blessed the right person, for God had told Rebekah, “the elder shall serve the younger” in Genesis 23:25.

Heb 11:21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshiped, leaning upon the top of his staff.

This is the Septuagint reading. The Masoretic text reads, in Genesis 47:31, “And he said, Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head.” The LXX reading of the same verse is: “And he said, Swear to me; and he swore to him. And Israel did reverence, leaning on the top of his staff.”

The reason for the difference is that the word bed and staff are the same consonants in the Hebrew; only the vowel points are different. We can show this in Unicode characters:

Here is mittah (bed): מִּטָּה. The points (the small marks beneath the letters) are hiriq (i like in machine) and qamats (aw like in saw). There is a dagesh (a dot in the middle of a letter) in the mem and tet. The dagesh makes the letter hard, thus the double ‘t’ in both words.

Here is matteh (staff): מַטֵּה. The points are patah (a like in father) and tsere (e like in they). Here there is only a dagesh in the tet. It is natural to soften the ‘m’ sound before an ‘ah’ sound (here in matteh), hence, no dagesh.

In Genesis, by bowing, Israel is giving deference to his son, Joseph. That is in fulfillment of the prophecy Joseph uttered when he was a lad (Genesis 37:9-10). In Genesis 47:29, Jacob asked Joseph if he had found grace in Joseph’s sight. Joseph was vizier, or prime minister; He was the second most powerful man in Egypt and probably in the world at that time due to the drought. Jacob did indeed have to defer to Joseph, his second youngest son. So after asking Joseph to make sure his body was buried in Canaan, Jacob bowed down before Joseph. Hebrews makes it clear that he was worshipping God while giving deference to Joseph.

Jacob had faith that God would indeed bring to pass the blessings he gave Ephraim and Manasseh. Jacob had faith that he was doing the right thing when he placed his right hand on Ephraim, the second born, thus giving him the spiritual blessing. He kept his right hand on Ephraim even over the objection of Joseph. The second born in Abraham’s family always got the blessing. That is because Adam, the firstborn, served Christ the second born.

Heb 11:22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.

Joseph was aware of the prophecy that Abraham’s descendants would possess the land of Canaan. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did not keep such a great family treasure from their sons. Fathers passed it down for generations until Moses committed the account to writing. Joseph had faith that his God would honor this prophecy and eventually the Israelites would leave Egypt to go and possess Canaan.

There was no way Joseph could have known that the Israelites would leave Egypt nearly 400 years after his death. He did not know the method, but he believed that God would see to it. He had faith that God would keep His promise to Abraham.

The Egyptians embalmed Joseph’s body and it would have lasted a great while-easily 400 years. When Moses took the Israelites out of Egypt, he took Joseph’s bones with him. The bones stayed with the Israelites for the 40 years of wandering and they buried them after the conquest and after Joshua’s death in Shechem. They laid his remains to rest in the field his father Jacob bought from Shechem’s father Hamor (Joshua 24:32). The promise was fulfilled.

Heb 11:23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.

Amram and Jochebed, Moses’ parents (Exodus 6:20), had faith that God would preserve the life of Moses, even though the edict to cast all the male Hebrew infants into the river was in effect. They kept him hidden at great peril to themselves had they been caught. They had faith that God would protect them. They hid him for three months. Anyone that has had or has been around infants knows that when they are in pain, hungry, tired, or generally unsatisfied, they bellow. Folks can hear an infant crying from a good distance. The providence of God certainly kept young Moses safe. It took a great deal of trust in God to hide him from the Egyptians.

Eventually, after three months, Jochebed fashioned an ark of bulrushes, (actually, papyrus) gathered upon the shore of the river. She sealed it with pitch and, taking a great risk, she placed her precious babe in the raft and sent it floating out in the current. Miriam followed the raft as it moved with the current. It was providence and probably a bit of planning on Jochebed’s part that the ark floated into the princess’ bathing area. Moses’ parents were a very faithful couple that put their trust in God, even where their little child was concerned.

The joke was on Pharaoh, for Amram and Jochebed did cast young Moses into the river. Nevertheless, instead of killing Moses, it saved him. In addition, casting him into the river thrust the child into Pharaoh’s very home. Even Moses’ name was a part of the joke for it means, “drawn out from the water.” Furthermore, adding insult to injury, Jochebed and Amram were able to nurse Moses and keep him at home during the years before the beginning of his education.

Heb 11:24-25 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; (25) Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;

Moses grew up in the courts of Pharaoh. Being Pharaoh’s adopted grandson, though probably not heir to the throne of Egypt, Moses had all the advantages of royalty. He had wealth, education, position, power, respect, all the trappings that go along with being a member of the royal family. God used this time in Pharaoh’s household to educate Moses and for him to gain experience with the affairs of state. He was able to use all of these things to lead the Israelites.

After Moses grew up (after he was come to years), at age forty (Acts 7:23), he went and killed the Egyptian guard who was beating an Israelite. He then fled into exile in Midian for forty years. This is when he chose to suffer affliction with God’s people, when he killed the guard and fled from Egypt. Up until this incident, Moses had identified himself with Pharaoh’s house. When he knowingly went out among his own people, and purposely killed an oppressor, he forsook the house of Pharaoh and its trappings (the pleasures of sin). This was, by the way, premeditated murder: “he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.” (Exodus 2:11-12). He saw the Egyptian smiting the Hebrew. He thought about it, then looked around to see if he was being watched, then killed the man, and then buried the body in the sand. That is premeditated.

At age forty, when he could have lived in luxury for the remainder of his life, He made the decision to go out among his people. It is obvious that there was a crucial point in Moses’ life at age forty. He had a midlife crisis. He looked out from his luxury and knew that his people, the Hebrews, were being mistreated. He had to have known before, but it was not until forty that he actually allowed that to come to the forefront of his mind. He had sown his wild oats, he had probably pursued a hedonistic lifestyle, and he was at the point in his life that he was finally ready to listen to his yearnings for his own people. When he walked out of court and into the land where his people labored in cruel slavery, he had already made up his mind to suffer with his people rather than continue to enjoy the pleasures of sin. Moses put his faith in God and went out from Pharaoh’s house, knowing how Pharaoh oppressed his people and knowing how Pharaoh would ostracize him for taking this stand. He knew he would lose all of his status, and indeed his livelihood by going out among his people. When he went out among the children of Israel, he took a step of faith.

Heb 11:26-27 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. (27) By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

Though Moses had not heard of Jesus, he was aware of the Messiah, for he prophesied of the coming Messiah himself in Deuteronomy 18:15. Though he could not have fully understood all the things that the Christ would suffer, he esteemed that reproach by taking it upon himself. He suffered reproach from the people he led just as Christ suffered reproach among the same people. They rebelled against him, they murmured, they worshipped idols in his absence, and they reproached him at every turn. Moses did fear the wrath of the king when he fled, but after God spoke to him from the bush, Moses had no fear of Pharaoh. He went back into Egypt, full knowing that he had fled the king’s wrath, but he no longer feared his wrath.

Hebrews 11:28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.

He trusted God to save everyone who had placed the blood on the lintels of their doors.

Heb 11:29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians attempting to do were drowned.

The Israelites trusted that God would keep the sea at bay while they crossed. The wind blew just long enough for them to cross and them flooded back upon the Egyptians.

Heb 11:30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.

They had faith that God would deliver Jericho into their hands. They never doubted.

Heb 11:31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

She had faith in God. That is why she hid the spies at great peril to her own life. She knew that God would deliver Jericho to the Israelites. Her faith saved her.

Heb 11:32-34 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: (33) Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, (34) Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

All of these men struggled and through their faith overcame. Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, and David all subdued kingdoms because of their faith and not because of their strength. All of these accomplishments occurred because of the power of God and the faith of these people.

Heb 11:35-38 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: (36) And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: (37) They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (38) (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

But not only did these people do great things because of their faith, they were also able to suffer greatly because of their faith. They suffered faithfully and willingly.

Heb 11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:

Though they had faith, they never saw their promised Messiah. They could only look forward to His coming.

Heb 11:40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

Perfect, here, means complete. They would not be complete without us. They were not yet complete for Christ had not yet come. We on the other hand, are complete in Christ. As Paul said in Ephesians 4:4-6, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; {5} One Lord, one faith, one baptism, {6} One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” And in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” And as he said in verse 10 of this chapter, they looked forward to the city designed and built by God, a city that has foundations. It is a city descending from Heaven. It is a city where they and we will be with our Lord forever.

 Updated 10/23/2015

  1. The reason I use “Paul” instead of “the writer of Hebrews” is explained in the preface to Chapter 1. If you disagree that Paul is the writer, please continue to read for I have no argument with you. As a scholar once said, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, diversity; in all things, love” (attributed to Augustine).
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