February 1, 2010
11:1 NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].
1. Faith is the (Gr. Hupostasis) substance, the foundation for another thing to stand on.
2. The conviction (Gr. Elengchos) as is produced in the mind by the demonstration of a problem, after which demonstration no doubt can remain because we see from I that the thing is, as is proved to be.
3. Things hoped for: all the blessings obtained by Christ and freely given by faith under the New Covenant: also the resurrection of the body, the new heavens and the new earth and introduction of believers into the heavenly country.
2 For by [faith — trust and holy fervor born of faith] the men of old had divine testimony borne to them and obtained a good report.
1. It’s so interesting that there was not one word about Adam and his wife; no good report concerning them; was there no act of faith, no repentance????
2. Their son Abel was mentioned.
3. The promise of Jesus was given to them, so we may believe that they found redemption in that blood that was shed from the foundation of the world.
4. Was Adam’s rebellion against God too great and to glaring to permit his name mentioned with honor or respect??????
3 By faith we understand that the worlds [during the successive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible.
1. God made all things out of nothing.
2. Presently we see trees of different kinds are produced from trees, birds, fish, animals from other of the same kind and man from man, but the first of each was created by God out of nothing.
4[Prompted, actuated] by faith Abel brought God a better and more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, because of which it was testified of him that he was righteous [that he was upright and in right standing with God], and God bore witness by accepting and acknowledging his gifts. And though he died, yet [through the incident] he is still speaking. [Gen 4:3-10.]
1. Cain and Abel both brought offerings to the altar of God, probably the altar erected for the family worship.
2. Cain, being a farmer, brought a “minchah”, or Eucharistic offering, of the fruits of the ground, by which he acknowledged the being and providence of God.
3. Abel, being a shepherd, brought, not only the Eucharistic offering, but also the produce of his flock as a sin-offering to God, by which he acknowledged his own sinfulness.
4. Cain brought only the mincha, or thank offering was a very proper offering in its place, yet was not received because there was no sin-offering.
5. By this faith, in reference to an atonement, Abel speaks of the necessity of an atonement, and that God will accept no sacrifice unless connected with this. (Again pointing to Jesus, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
5 Because of faith Enoch was caught up and transferred to heaven, so that he did not have a glimpse of death; and he was not found, because God had translated him. For even before he was taken to heaven, he received testimony [still on record] that he had pleased and been satisfactory to God. [Gen 5:21-24.]
1. Translated: Gr. “metatithemi” to transfer, transport, exchange, change sides.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].
1. Must believe that God is eternal, self-existent, the cause of all other being, on whom all being depends and that through Him are supplied the means of continued existence and life.
2. And now a faith, a faith in God through Christ the sin-offering, without which a man cannot please Him, or be accepted of Him.
3. Earnestly seek: Gr. “ekzeteo” to search out, investigate, crave, demand, worship
7[Prompted] by faith Noah, being forewarned by God concerning events of which as yet there was no visible sign, took heed and diligently and reverently constructed and prepared an ark for the deliverance of his own family. By this [his faith which relied on God] he passed judgment and sentence on the world's unbelief and became an heir and possessor of righteousness ( that relation of being right into which God puts the person who has faith). [Gen 6:13-22.]
1. Holy fear; moved with fear: Gr. “eulabeomai” to reverence. Not a fear of losing his life, but from the fear of God, and hence, that fear is here attributed to faith.
2. He condemned the world: He walked in the way God had commanded, they did not.
a. He repeatedly admonished them, they disregarded it and this aggravated their crime.
b. His faith and obedience condemned the world, the unbelievers and became entitled to that justification which is by faith , and his temporal deliverance was a pledge of the salvation of his soul.
8[Urged on] by faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went, although he did not know or trouble his mind about where he was to go.
1. He went by faith and this faith led him to expect from God; the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. (Gen 12:1-4)
9[Prompted] by faith he dwelt as a temporary resident in the land which was designated in the promise [of God, though he was like a stranger] in a strange country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs with him of the same promise. [Gen 12:1-8.
1. Remarkably, Abraham did not acquire any house or land in Canaan except a burying place.
2. His faith showed him that it was only a type and pledge of a better country.
3. He along with Isaac and Jacob were content to live in tents instead of a permanent dwelling.
10 For he was [waiting expectantly and confidently] looking forward to the city which has fixed and firm foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God.
1. He knew that the earth couldn’t offer a permanent residence for an immortal mind, and he looked for that heavenly building of which God is the architect and owner.
2. He lost sight of earth, that he might keep heaven in view and all who are partakers of his faith possess the same attitude and mind.
3. Builder: Gr. “technites” artisan, founder, designer, architect, craftsman.
4. Maker: Gr. “demiourgos” a worker for the people, a governor of a people; one who forms them by institutions and laws.
5. God is represented the Maker or Father of all the heavenly inhabitants and the planner of their citizenship in that heavenly country.
6. This pointed to the time when the descendants would receive the promised land, then the kingdom of God on earth,(ushed in by Jesus resurrection, the New Covenant), then the 1000 year reign, and then heaven itself.
11 Because of faith also Sarah herself received physical power to conceive a child, even when she was long past the age for it, because she considered [God] Who had given her the promise to be reliable and trustworthy and true to His word. [Gen 17:19; 18:11-14; 21:2.]
1. Sarah first laughed at the divine message, judging it to be impossible, because she didn’t know then that it was from God.
2. When she knew it was God who said this, it doesn’t appear that she doubted anymore, but believed that what God had promised, He was able to perform.
12 So from one man, though he was physically as good as dead, there have sprung descendants whose number is as the stars of heaven and as countless as the innumerable sands on the seashore. [Gen 15:5,6; 22:17; 32:12.]
1. As good as dead: According to nature, he was long past the time of the procreation of children.
2. The birth of Isaac, with the circumstances of the parents was entirely supernatural.
a. The people who proceeded from this birth were a supernatural people; and this was shown by every period of their history to the present day.
13 These people all died controlled and sustained by their faith, but not having received the tangible fulfillment of [God's] promises, only having seen it and greeted it from a great distance by faith, and all the while acknowledging and confessing that they were strangers and temporary residents and exiles upon the earth. [Gen 23:4; Ps 39:12.]
1. Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Jacob continued to believe to the end or their lives that God would fulfill His promise even though they never saw the numerous seed or received the promised rest in Canaan.
2. Strangers and pilgrims: they don’t intend to take up residence in that place.
3. Are we too at home here in this world?????
14 Now those people who talk as they did show plainly that they are in search of a fatherland (their own country).
1. A man’s country is one in which he has constitutional rights and privileges which aliens or pilgrims don’t have.
2. No intelligent Jew would think that Canaan was all the rest which God had promised to his people.
15 If they had been thinking with [homesick] remembrance of that country from which they were emigrants, they would have found constant opportunity to return to it.
1. Abraham renounced Chaldea, and he even caused his steward Eliezer to swear that he would not carry his son Isaac to Chaldea because idolatry reigned and God called them to be the patriarchs of a people who had knowledge of the true God and worship required by Him should be established.
16 But the truth is that they were yearning for and aspiring to a better and more desirable country, that is, a heavenly [one]. For that reason God is not ashamed to be called their God [even to be surnamed their God — the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob], for He has prepared a city for them. [Ex 3:6,15; 4:5.]
1. They all expected spiritual blessings and a heavenly inheritance.
2. They sought God and He shows His affection for them by preparing a city for them, in heaven.
a. It is evident that the patriarchs had an understanding of the immortality of the soul, and expected a place of residence much different than that of Canaan.
b. See Acts 7:5
17 By faith Abraham, when he was put to the test [while the testing of his faith was still in progress], had already brought Isaac for an offering; he who had gladly received and welcomed [God's] promises was ready to sacrifice his only son, [Gen 22:1-10.]
1. Isaac is here called his only son because he was the only son he had by his legitimate wife; whereby he was heir to his property and heir to the promises of God.
2. Because Abraham proved faithful in such a trial, he deserved to have his faith and obedience recorded for all time.
18 Of whom it was said, Through Isaac shall your descendants be reckoned. [Gen 21:12.]
19 For he reasoned that God was able to raise [him] up even from among the dead. Indeed in the sense that Isaac was figuratively dead [potentially sacrificed], he did [actually] receive him back from the dead.
1. The resurrection of the dead must have been a doctrine of the patriarchs for they expected a heavenly inheritance even though they would die as other men.
2. Abraham was ready to slay Isaac but he escaped by the immediate intervention of God.
20[With eyes of] faith Isaac, looking far into the future, invoked blessings upon Jacob and Esau. [Gen 27:27-29,39,40.]
1. Isaac believed that God would fulfill his promise and God showed him the future and the outcome of that promise.
21[Prompted] by faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons and bowed in prayer over the top of his staff. [Gen 48.]
1. The ancient chiefs, in all countries had this staff or scepter continually at hand.
2. This staff was the ensign of his office, as patriarch or chief of a very numerous family.
3. He bowed in prayer: acts of adoration were performed by bowing and prostration.
22[Actuated] by faith Joseph, when nearing the end of his life, referred to [the promise of God for] the departure of the Israelites out of Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his own bones. [Gen 50:24,25; Ex 13:19.]
23[Prompted] by faith Moses, after his birth, was kept concealed for three months by his parents, because they saw how comely the child was; and they were not overawed and terrified by the king's decree. [Ex 1:22; 2:2.]
1. Moses, brought up as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, probably might have succeeded to the throne of Egypt, but finding that God had visited his people, and given them a promise of spiritual and eternal blessings, he chose rather to make God his portion forever, rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin.
24[Aroused] by faith Moses, when he had grown to maturity and become great, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, [Ex 2:10,15.]
25 Because he preferred to share the oppression [suffer the hardships] and bear the shame of the people of God rather than to have the fleeting enjoyment of a sinful life.
26 He considered the contempt and abuse and shame [borne for] the Christ (the Messiah Who was to come) to be greater wealth than all the treasures of Egypt, for he looked forward and away to the reward (recompense).
1. The Christ or Messiah had been revealed to Moses; Deut 18:15.
2. Generally the Hebrews didn’t know this, but Moses gives evidence of a Great Deliverer of whom he himself was a type.
3. It was just as easy to reveal Christ to Moses as it was for him to reveal him to Isaiah, the shepherds, or John the Baptist, or to manifest Him in the flesh.
27[Motivated] by faith he left Egypt behind him, being unawed and undismayed by the wrath of the king; for he never flinched but held staunchly to his purpose and endured steadfastly as one who gazed on Him Who is invisible. [Ex 2:15.]
1. Moses believed that God would fulfill the promise he had made, and he exchanged the earthly for the heavenly.
2. Not fearing the wrath of the king: This is referring to the departure of Moses with the Israelites; He was without fear when he went to Pharaoh because he went with God’s authority.
3. By calling God invisible, the apostle distinguishes him from the gods of Egypt who were visible and worthless.
4. The Israelites were worshippers of the true God, and this worship was not tolerated in Egypt who worshiped oxen, goats, monkeys, leeks, and onions.
28 By faith (simple trust and confidence in God) he instituted and carried out the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood [on the doorposts], so that the destroyer of the firstborn (the angel) might not touch those [of the children of Israel]. [Ex 12:21-30.]
1. God told him that he would destroy the first-born of Egypt, but spare all those whose doors were sprinkled with the blood of the Paschal lamb; Moses believed this, kept the Passover, and sprinkled the blood.
29[Urged on] by faith the people crossed the Red Sea as [though] on dry land, but when the Egyptians tried to do the same thing they were swallowed up [by the sea]. [Ex 14:21-31.]
1. The Egyptians thought they could walk through the sea as well; the Israelites walked by faith, the Egyptians by sight; one got saved, the other perished.
30 Because of faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encompassed for seven days [by the Israelites]. [Josh 6:12-21.]
1. The Israelites believed, did as they were commanded, and the promise was fulfilled.
31[Prompted] by faith Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed along with those who refused to believe and obey, because she had received the spies in peace [without enmity]. [Josh 2:1-21; 6:22-25.]
1. In Joshua 2:1 the Hebrew word for harlot is: ishah: which means woman, and zownaah: which also means innkeeper or tavernkeeper.
2. She was later married to Salmon, a Jewish prince: His son was Boaz who was a wealthy and honorable man of Bethlehem from the tribe of Judah.
3. If Rahab was a prostitute, it is extremely incredible that Salmon would have sought her out and married her.
a. She became an ancestor of King David and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
32 And what shall I say further? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, [Judg 4:1-5; 6:1-8,35; 11:1-12,15; 13:1-16; 1 Sam 1:1-30:31; 2 Sam 1:1-24:25; 1 Kings 1:1-2:46; Acts 3:24.]
1. Gideon, with 300 men destroyed a multitude of Midianites and Amalekites, and delivered Israel from oppression & slavery.
2. Barak: overthrew Jabin, king of Canaan to deliver Israel from servitude.
3. Jephthah: under the same guidance as Samson, defeated the Ammorites & delivered Israel.
4. Samuel: the last of the Israelite judges, to whom succeeded a race of kings, of whom Saul & David were the first.
33 Who by [the help of] faith subdued kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promised blessings, closed the mouths of lions, [Dan 6.]
1. The faith of Gideon consisted in throwing down the altar of Baal, and cutting down his grove in obedience to God’s command.
2. The faith of Barak consisted in his believing the revelation made to Deborah, and the command to go against Jabin’s numerous army.
3. Samson’s faith consisted in his obeying the leading of the Spirit of God.
4. Jephthah’s faith consisted in his believing the promise to Abraham that they should possess the land of Canaan, and fighting against the Ammonites that they might not deprive the Israelites of the land between Arnon & Jabbok.
34 Extinguished the power of raging fire, escaped the devourings of the sword, out of frailty and weakness won strength and became stalwart, even mighty and resistless in battle, routing alien hosts. [Dan 3.]
1. Shadrach, Meshach, and obed-nego were preserved from the power of the furnace fires.
2. Moses, escaped the sword of Pharaoh, Elijah escaped the sword of Jezebel, David escaped Saul’s, and many others.
3. They were mighty in battle and proved that God was with them.
35[Some] women received again their dead by a resurrection. Others were tortured to death with clubs, refusing to accept release [offered on the terms of denying their faith], so that they might be resurrected to a better life. [1 Kings 17:17-24; 2 Kings 4:25-37.]
1. The widow of Zarephath and the Shunammite (2Ki. 4:34) both received back their dead.
36 Others had to suffer the trial of mocking and scourging and even chains and imprisonment.
1. There were public exhibitions of the people of God at idol feast; (such as Samson before Dagon, when the Philistines had put out his eyes.
2. Scourgings was a common way of punishing even minor crimes, but also those that were to suffer the death penalty were also scourged. (As in the case of our Lord)
3. Joseph was cast into prison, Jeremiah was cast into a dungeon of mire, and the Prophet Micaiah was imprisoned by Ahab.
37 They were stoned to death; they were lured with tempting offers [to renounce their faith]; they were sawn asunder; they were slaughtered by the sword; [while they were alive] they had to go about wrapped in the skins of sheep and goats, utterly destitute, oppressed, cruelly treated —
1. Naboth the Jezreelite, refused to give up his father’s inheritance to a covetous king, because it had respect to the promise of God, was falsely accused & stoned to death. Ki 2:1-14
2. There is a tradition that the Prophet Isaiah was sawn in two with a wooden sword.
3. To be tempted is the common lot of every Christian.
4. 85 priests were slain by Doeg in 1 Sam 22:18; many were beheaded by the sword (it was then the custom, not by an axe) as Elijah complains in 1 Ki 19;10.
5. Elijah & later Elisha wore sheepskins as a sort of mantle; the false prophets also wore these mantles to deceive.
a. Zechariah 13:4 says: “On that day every prophet will be ashamed of his prophetic vision. He will not put on a prophet’s garment of hair in order to deceive.
6. Cruelly treated: often by those to whom they brought the message of salvation.
38[Men] of whom the world was not worthy — roaming over the desolate places and the mountains, and [living] in caves and caverns and holes of the earth.
1. They were driven from the society of men and forced to conceal themselves from the brutal rage of men.
2. The case of Elijah, and the hundred prophets hidden in caves by Obadiah and fed with bread and water. (1 Kings 18:4)
3. David also had to hide himself thus from Saul.
39 And all of these, though they won divine approval by [means of] their faith, did not receive the fulfillment of what was promised,
1. They all heard of the promises made to Abraham of a heavenly rest, a promised Messiah, (this was a constant tradition), but died without having seen the Anointed of the Lord, the Christ.
40 Because God had us in mind and had something better and greater in view for us, so that they [these heroes and heroines of faith] should not come to perfection apart from us [before we could join them].
1. This something better & greater is the dispensation of the Gospel, with all the privileges and promises it confers.
2. Believers before the flood, after the flood, under the law, and since the law, make but one church.
a. The Gospel dispensation is the last, and the church will not be considered complete until the believers under all dispensations are gathered together. (Rev. 6:11)