The American Wisdom Series

Presents pamphlet #2611
Hebrews chapter 11

"What is faith?" Believe it or not, most Christians do not know for most have not read the Word of God.

In chapter 10 Paul made a strong appeal to us by explaining that we need to "Hold fast the profession [conviction] of our faith without wavering (for He is faithful that promised)".

In order to do that, i.e. to hold fast, we are going to have to believe and trust in God by knowing with "full assurance" that He is faithful to every promise He has ever made... to those who diligently seek Him.

Of course that precludes that one must first know what the "promises" are He has made to those who love and serve Him.

Believe it or not, most Christians do not know, for most have not read the Word of God and fewer yet have ever diligently (sincerely) studied it to show themselves "approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15)"!

So "What is faith?"

And if a person has it, doesn't common sense tell us there must be some reason, some foundation we can point to, that causes them to possess it?

Well, as we begin this 11th chapter of Hebrews, Paul is first going to explain to us what faith is and then bring forth the testimonies of those who possessed it and acted upon it during their many trials and tribulations demonstrating to us that God indeed IS FAITHFUL!

(By the way, none of the people Paul will discuss in this 11th chapter exercised their faith in believing and trusting in God because they were afraid of burning in hell, but rather for their love of God and the hope of the fulfillment of His glorious promises.)

Here then is the definition of "faith":

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Since it is so important to understand what Paul is teaching us here concerning faith, let's dig a little to gain a deeper understanding, beginning with taking a closer look at the word "substance" which is translated from the Greek word hupostasis. "Hupo" is a preposition which means "under" or "underneath" (like "sub" in sub-stance) and "stasis" (from histemi) means "to stand" (like "stance" in sub-stance) or "support".

"Hupostasis" therefore means the foundation (under you) upon which you stand to support your convictions (faith), i.e. your belief in the faithfulness of God to keep His promises (the things hoped for).

That foundational support had better be the Rock, the Word of God, or as it is written you will be swept away in the great flood of lies and deception in these last days.

The question therefore is: "Do you follow Christ, the Word of God, or do you follow men's church traditions like most Christians?"

The reason for the question is that if you do not know and do the things He commands, why would you expect Him to reward you at His coming?

Consider what Jesus Christ has to say on the matter:

Luke 6:46-49 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
Christ tells us in the following verse what He wants us to do.
[47] Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:
Here is what to do: Open your Bible and prayerfully go to Him, to Jesus Christ, the Word of God, and hear His Voice, and then do as He commands... not the commands of preachers and ministers who tell you that following their church traditions are pleasing to God.


Because if all you ever do is go to church and follow after the traditions of men, though you "think" you stand (1 Cor. 10:11-13), you will have no "substance", no foundation under you upon which to "hold fast without wavering",

(Hebrews 10:23 "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised)."

The point is, if you work in the field, if you plow and dig deep into the Word of God and lay that foundation under you, then you are indeed a "wise" and unshakable servant of God who shall be able to hold fast without wavering.

[48] He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.

[49] But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

So ask yourself another question: "How much substance supports my faith?"
Dr. Bullinger in his "Greek Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament", Kregel Publications, pg. 746, defines substance (hupostasis) as: "what is set or stands under; underlayer, prop, foundation; that which lies at the foundation of a matter; confidence;". He also points out in the Companion Bible, pg. 1839, that the word "substance" was "used of title-deeds in the Papyri" (Companion Bible, pg. 1839).

If you have a "deed" to something, it is the proof, the evidence, that you own it!

You see, the Word of God (the Bible) is that title-deed that is the proof of your inheritance, for if you are a child of God you are an heir to the promises God has made to those who love Him, even the promise of eternal life as a joint-heir with Jesus Christ. 

Romans 8:17 "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together."

Think about it for a moment.

If you possess the legal deed to an estate, for example, even though you may have not even visited the mansion, you still have the evidence in the title-deed you hold that it belongs to you, right?

Paul is going to make the point that our forefathers who had unwavering faith because they "believed" God and what He said was true,
all died never having received all the promises.

For example, Abraham "who looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God", though he never possessed it had the faith, i.e. he knew with certitude, that someday he would!

Hebrews 11:2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
The phrase "obtained a good report" is derived from the Greek word "martureo" which means to "be a witness".

You "see", our elders not only pleased God as His faithful servants but we have their testimony, their "good report", their witness to the immutable fact that God keeps His promises... every single one of them.

However, we must believe and endure, having patience knowing that all things work according to His will!

That takes the exercising of "faith"!

Advertisers know well how that many people are convinced by testimonials, even those of complete strangers like in an Infomercial,
that a product or service is good and worthwhile having or pursuing.

But we have the testimonials of our own family, our elders and forefathers who have all TESTIFIED to the faithfulness of the Word of God.

Seeing then the witness of their trust and faith (belief in God), serves to increase our faith by underlying the foundation upon which we stand.

Again, that is why Paul exhorts us so in 1 Cor. 10:11-13 to "take heed" to the things which are written because they show us that God IS faithful to all His promises.

Here is what he writes after speaking about Moses and our forefathers:

1 Cor. 10:11-13 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

[12] Wherefore let him that thinketh he standethtake heed lest he fall.

If you are going to make it to the end, through the darkest hour of this final generation (Mk. 13:13), you are going to have to have trust and faith in God... not in believing some non-Biblical fairy tale that He is going to rapture you away and take you out of tribulation...
but in having the faith to "holdfast without wavering" which is the subject Paul has been speaking about since the 23rd verse of the last chapter (Heb. 10:23).

Therefore, if you take the time to read and understand all the testimonials in the Word of God you will find supporting evidence through the witness (testimonials)  of all those who have gone before us that the following verse is true,the point being that GOD IS FAITHFUL!

His promises to you, to be with you unto the end and reward you for your faithfulness, are as sure as the sun coming up in the morning!

However, you must believe and step forward and claim the title-deed to those promises.

[13] There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
In other words, you are not going to be tempted (tried) with anything not covered in the Word of God!

Furthermore, as the evidence of the witnesses show He always does, your Father will provide a way for you escape from falling whereby you may stand and holdfast without wavering, and be able to endure unto the end!

(Matthew 24:13 "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."
Is not the thing made evidence of a maker?

Pay close attention to the witness and testimonials Paul is going to outline for us in this 11th chapter of Hebrews, commonly called the faith chapter.

Then too, a truly "wise" person would not consider the outline itself sufficient ground upon which to stand, but would at some point go back and dig out all the precious details of the things which are written, thereby strengthening his or her foundation.

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.
This is an example of where learning how to read what is written and just digging a little into the Word can increase one's understanding and also avoid error.

You "see", Paul is not talking about the material creation, the "earth" itself, but rather the worlds (plural), the "aions" past, present, and future, which are the three world ages Peter speaks of in 2 Pet. 3.

Read verse one again and you will find that "faith" is the evidence of things which are NOT SEEN, not evidence of the things which are seen.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance  of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
In other words, it does not take faith to believe in creation itself for if you can "see it" with your flesh eyes, then common sense alone tells you that someone made it.

Go ahead, try it!

Look all around you and see what there is you can see that was not made.

For example, if you look at a car you do not need faith to tell you someone made it, do you?

Is not the thing made evidence of a maker?

Of course it is!

Well, the same common sense that tells you someone made the car applies when see a much more intrinsically complex vehicle, like a horse!

It doesn't take anymore faith to tell you that someone made the horse than it does to tell you someone made the car.

It's what we call a no-brainer!

In other words, it just takes good old common "horse sense" which is far superior to intellectual "non-sense"!

(Note: I am not insulting the intelligence of horses when I use the phrase "no-brainer" for God knows they have more sense than someone with a PhD who believes in evolution.)

So it is not creation itself that requires faith, but rather the purpose, the plan,
the who and why of creation that requires faith and understanding.

These things cannot be "seen" under a microscope for they are invisible things.

However, Paul tells us in the Book of Romans that spiritual things which are invisible things can actually be understood by the creation, by nature itself.

Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
You see, what we know by faith is not that the creation was made, for we can see it, but rather that it was the Word of God who did all the creating of the things which do appear.

John 1:1-3 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] The same was in the beginning with God. [3] All things were made by him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made."

It is through faith, through the foundation we have laid by digging deeper into His Word and seeing "so great a cloud of witnesses" (Heb. 12:1) testifying that all He says is true, that God is Faithful to His promises, whereby we know that the "worlds", the three earth ages (aions) past, present, and future, have been "framed", i.e. fitly joined together in the Plan of God.

It is through that same faith then that we know  where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going!

To do God's will; that's what "good works" is!

Let us now take heed to the teachings of Paul as he recaps the testimony of the elders, the men and women who down through the ages have demonstrated their "belief" in God by the exercising of their faith, keeping in mind that the bottom line is God is Faithful to His every Word and He is the rewarder of all those "good things to come" to those who love Him! If you therefore believe in Him, you hold the title-deed to all the blessings and promises He has made. Imagine that! Just think about it!

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.
Abel's excellent sacrifice, to which God Himself gave witness, serves not only as testimony that he was righteous, but it also serves as witness (testimony) against the unrighteousness of Cain. You see, when judgment comes, all of the testimony (witness) will be laid out in the open and everyone will get exactly what he or she has got coming to them. For some, His children who love Him, that judgment will be the reward of His promises. For others, the children of disobedience, that judgment will be His vengeance, a "reward of recompense" He also has promised. You see, our Father doesn't forget and as it is written, all the witnessing and testimony is laid up in store for judgment and the day vengeance! Remember we saw in our last study where Paul quoted that very fact from the Song of Moses? (Hebrews 10:30 "For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.")

You see, God is completely fair (just and true are His ways, Deut. 32:4) and He will judge no one without sufficient witness and testimony according to their own doing... and you know what... everyone's life is on record in the courthouse of the Supreme Judge of the universe. Thank God for repentance and the forgiveness of sins whereby He blots them out! Think about it! And remember what Paul just said, that the testimony of Abel still speaks to us today, for his blood still cries out until that great day of judgment.

To that end, this first witness brings to mind the promise of the "true sacrifice" which Paul so eloquently spoke of in chapter 10. Hebrews 10:12-14 "But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; [13] From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. [14] For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."

The test of one's belief and true love for God lies in his or her actions, not just words.

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.
God "translated" Enoch, i.e. lifted him up from the earth that he should not see death, because he earned that just reward in demonstrating his tremendous faith as a servant of God.

And although we are not given all the details of His walk with God, his testimony is written ("he had this testimony") and what he did,
which became his testimony, PLEASED our Father greatly.

Yes, the test of one's belief and true love for God lies in his or her actions, not just words.

For example, you can tell your spouse that you love her or him, but if you never do anything that pleases the one you claim to love,
then your words become vain, which means they are empty and void of meaning.

The witness of Enoch's reward is so relative to these last days in that it reminds us of the promise spoken through Paul in 1 Cor. 15:51-53, that we who endure unto the end shall not all "sleep", but shall be changed in the moment and in twinkling of an eye into our spiritual bodies and be given a crown of life (immortality).

Paul then says in conclusion to that great chapter: 1 Cor. 15:58 "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable,
always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."

Indeed, your faith is not in vain for "He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him".

[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.
Many claim they believe in God, that He exists, but they do not believe Him, as in believe His Word because they do not know it.

In fact, many Christians rarely even open the cover to His Word much less do any plowing or digging.

It is for that very reason that it can be truly said (Isa. 29:13-17) they do not know Him, as in who He really is, for though they say Lord, Lord, they do not "diligently seek Him" as Paul states above.

You "see", for one who has been a Christian for some length of time to claim that he or she knows Jesus Christ, the "living" Word of God, but does not know the "written" Word of God, is itself "testimony" that he or she has forsaken Him.

That's right!

It doesn't matter how many times you go to church or how much money you give to this charity or that one, if you ignore the Word of God, you ignore Jesus Christ.

Is it any wonder that He will say the following to those many Christians who try to cash in their goodly deeds, having diligently followed the traditional things their preachers and pastors told them to do instead of diligently seeking the Word of God:

Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Again, why will they not receive the rewards of His promises?

They have no faith because they do not diligently (sincerely) seek after Him to hear His voice and do His will.

Remember we quoted Luke 6:47 earlier?

"Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth
, I will shew you to whom he is like.

Here is what Christ said just prior to "depart from me, ye that work iniquity":

Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. [22] Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? [23] And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
God speaks to us through His Word in these last days
Paul now reminds us of another witness relative to our day!
(Hint: They all are!)

Matthew 24:37 "But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

 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.
God warned Noah and Noah faithfully took action (worked) as he moved with reverence (as a watchman) because he believed God, not that He existed, but that He  would bring a flood upon the earth because He said He would.

Thus Noah believed God by faith because neither he nor anyone else had ever seen rain, much less witnessed a torrential downpour and flooding!

And because Noah prepared an ark of salvation for his house (exactly as per God's directions, i.e. God's way) while at the same time blowing the trumpet of warning to those who were "eating and drinking, and marrying and giving in marriage", his testimony and witness condemned (brought judgment against) the world.

Again, it is written that "as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be..."!

God has appointed His watchmen in these last days and has "warned us of things not seen as yet" which is the flood of lies and deception that will sweep the whole world by storm during the great tribulation (40 denotes "tribulation" in Biblical numerics) when Satan and his death angels (nephilium), come to this earth at the sound of 6th Trump as per Rev. 12:7-9.

How has He warned us in these last days, you say?

Do you not remember how Paul opened this great Book of Hebrews?

He let us know first off that "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
[2] Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds".

In other words, God speaks to us through His Word in these last days and as "He says", i.e. as it is written in Mark 13:23, "But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things."

The questions are, "Do you know about the worldwide "flood" that our Father has warned us will soon sweep the whole world?

If so, what are doing about it?

Are you making "preparations" for your house according to the blue print our Father has laid out in His Word?"

You see, God said He would bring a flood during the days of Noah, and HE DID!

God has also said He will bring a flood (a storm of lies and deception) upon this final generation, and HE SHALL!

Next we shall add some "concrete" evidence to the "footers" of our foundation with the witness of the faith of Abraham and Sarah!

Don't miss it!

It'll be a keeper!

It should also be pointed out that in order to confess (fully acknowledge) that one is a "stranger and pilgrim" (resident foreigner) requires the foundational knowledge of the three world ages which by faith we know are "fitly joined together" (Heb. 11:3) in the plan of God.

Are you "fully persuaded" that God is faithful to His Word and that He will fulfill all the promises He has made to you?

The reason to consider the question is that there is a vast difference in just saying you believe, which is a "blind" or "unsubstantiated" faith indeed, and being "fully persuaded" from "seeing" and internalizing the preponderance of evidence to the point there is no "staggering", no doubt whatsoever in your mind, that God is faithful and able to fulfill His promises.

It is that type of "full assurance" which is the "substance", the substantiation, the confirmation, upon which true faith and trust in God stands!

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance
 of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
You see, there is nobody who has as fully documented a "track record" of credibility as our Father, even much of which is second witnessed to by secular history itself.

To that end in this great 11th chapter of Hebrews, Paul is giving us but a short synopsis of the witnesses to God's faithfulness
in keeping His EVERY PROMISE to those who love and serve Him!

He has already summarized for us the faith and witness of Abel, Enoch, and Noah who became "heirs of the righteousness" which is by faith (Heb. 11:7).

We also learned and saw that God is a rewarder of those who diligently (earnestly) love and obey Him and that without believing that He is true to His Word and exercising your faith, it is impossible to please Him.

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.
Next we are going to witness the faith and trust Abraham and Sarah had in believing God's promises, especially in the face of seemingly impossible situations and circumstances.

The question is: "Why is it that Paul goes to such great lengths to remind us of all this?"

That's simple!

It is to increase the foundation upon which we stand, thereby strengthening our faith.

Consider Paul's words in the great Book of Romans concerning Abraham's faith:

Romans 4:19-25 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb:
God promised Abraham that he would have a son, even Isaac, though at his ripe old age of 100 and his wife Sarah's age of 90, whose womb was not only barren but now well past the age of menopause, it would certainly be obvious that it would now take divine intervention  to bring to pass the promise of a "seed".

"So what?", a man or woman of faith would say.

You "see", Abraham had the faith to know that "with God nothing shall be impossible"and so he wavered not one bit in his belief that God was able to fulfill His promise.

That is true faith, dear ones!

[20] He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
Abraham was strong in faith and "staggered not", which means he did not doubt nor waver to and fro in his mind.

And how is it he was so steadfast in his trust and belief in God?

Do not miss the REASON which is contained in the next verse!

[21] And being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform.
He was entirely convinced, fully persuaded, completely assured, that what God had promised He surely WOULD and WAS ABLE to perform.

That trust and strong faith in giving glory to God, pleased His Father and was therefore imputed to him for righteousness!

How "persuaded" are you?

[22] And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
These next two verses are the reason we came here:
[23] Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;

[24] But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

[25] Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

That's right!

The same thing applies to all of God's servants in that the "full assurance" of your faith in trusting and believing and giving glory to God, is also imputed to you for righteousness!

That is why we have the written testimony of our elders, the prophets, i.e. to give us confidence and build up the foundation upon which our faith firmly stands.

Let us now return to Hebrews and read what Paul has to say concerning the faithfulness of Abraham, whose name means the "father of many nations".

Hebrews 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.
It is that "full assurance", knowing that you have the "title-deed" to the promises of His covenant, that gives you the faith and trust in your Father to obey whatsoever He commands you to do.

In Abraham's case he was willing to give up all that he possessed in the land to go out and sojourn in a foreign land!

You "see", he had enough faith to trust that God would provide a better place, a better inheritance, than the one he left behind!

Also, the very fact that Abraham was willing to trust and follow God's commands even though at the time he did not know "whither he went" is very relative to God's elect today.

How so?

Well, just as Abraham did not fully know his "destination", i.e. what God had in store for him to fulfill according to His will, many of  God's elect also do not fully know their destiny but are willing to trust and obey God's commands knowing with "full assurance" that He will, in His time, bring them to fulfill their destiny according to His purpose!

[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:
The "same promise" of eternal inheritance which was made to Abraham was also made to Abraham's son, Isaac, and to his grandson, Jacob, whose name was later changed to Israel.

And would you believe that "same promise" to be His heirs is also made to us, the sons and daughters in this final generation of the fig tree?

Yes, that would be to you, if you love and serve Him!

[10] For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
To "look for" is to "look forward to", as in to eagerly anticipate, and God's elect today also "look for" that same great city our father Abraham was focused on, even New Jerusalem which we read about in Revelation 21, whose builder and maker is God.

[Speaking of foundations, "Did you know you can be made a 'pillar' in the temple of God (Rev. 3:12)?"]

[11] Through faith also Sara 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.
This verse emphasizes the very basis of what Paul has been teaching us concerning one's faith.

You see, it is when a person "judges" in his or her own mind, knowing with "full assurance" that Almighty God is faithful to His promises, that he or she receives "strength" (dunamis, power). In other words, if you truly believe in God and His Christ, that He is true to His Word regardless if what He says "appears" to the flesh eyes to be impossible or beyond reach, then you have the faith to receive strength as did Sarah and Abraham who were 90 and 100 years old respectively when Isaac was conceived.

Think about it!

This was a really old couple as far as both conceiving and bearing children is concerned.

Yet, it was to them that the promise of the "seed" was made and so it came to pass that the promise was fulfilled exactly as God said!

[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.
And so as it always has and always will, God's promise came to pass exactly as He said and that "seed" came forth even from one whose body was as good as dead.

Here is the promise to which Paul was referring in verse 12:

Genesis 22:17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
Of course Abraham was not only promised a son, and that his children would become innumerable as the sand of the sea,
he also knew that Messiah would come through his loins, through Isaac and Jacob.

Keep that in mind as we complete this study.

Hebrews 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.
Though they received many blessings even while in the flesh because they trusted and obeyed God, the one promise they did not receive before they died was the promised "seed" who would come and pay the price on the cross.

However, when Messiah did come, immediately following His death he went to those still bound by the penalty of sin and all who would believe in Him, even back to the antediluvian period (the days of Noah), were set free by the blood of the Lamb (1 Pet. 3:19-22).

It should also be pointed out that in order to confess (fully acknowledge) that one is a "stranger and pilgrim" (resident foreigner) requires the foundational knowledge of the three world ages which by faith we know are "fitly joined together" (Heb. 11:3) in the plan of God.

In other words, we know that this temporal flesh age is Satan's earth age and so we look forward to the heavenly kingdom.

Those who have faith, who know with certitude the promises of a "better inheritance", embrace those promises and hold on to them endearingly, knowing and confessing that they are not of this world, but rather sojourners on the earth.

This is confirmed by the very words of Jesus Christ Himself in that beautiful prayer to the Father in John 17.

Concerning His disciples He said:

John 17:16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Just like Abraham, we look forward to the city, the eternal city described in Rev. 21.

And we know that there is NOTHING in this earth age that can compare to that which is coming.

Even the trials and tribulations and sufferings in the flesh, in these tabernacles in which we dwell for such a short time, are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Romans 8:18 "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."

Hebrews 11:14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
When we say "we are not of this world", we "make no bones about it"!

We seek an heavenly country wherein our heavenly Father dwells.

By the way, the Greek word for country is "patris" which means father-land, figuratively a "heavenly home".

country =  patris pat-rece'Strong's #G3968
From G3962; a father land, that is, nativetown; (figuratively) heavenly home:—(own) 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.
Abraham could have returned to his former land and earthly possessions but his "eyes" were no longer focused on earthly things, on the things of this world!

Again, he knew that he was but a sojourner in the "land", i.e. on this earth, walking under the sun for a short time.

The point is, once your "eyes" are opened to the vision of the Father land, the heavenly country, that heavenly city that awaits those who believe in God, there is nothing worthwhile to look back upon!

So don't look back!

To wit, remember what happened to Lot's wife who looked back, meaning she longed to return to the former life she had (Luke 17:33).

Such a lack of faith, which is unbelief, is not pleasing to God.

[16] But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city.
Your faith and trust in your Father, in His Word, makes Him very happy and He is so delighted to call you His child.

And remember Hebrews 11:6 which declares that He is a "rewarder" of those who love and serve Him?

And so it is that He has prepared a beautiful new home for His faithful children, even that glorious New Jerusalem we read about in Rev. 21.

You "see", that great city is not "wishful thinking"!

We have the concrete evidence that the Word of God is true and accurate in every detail.

It always has been and so it always shall be!

How solid is your faith?

Is it founded upon the Rock, the Word of God?

Well, you will soon find out as we enter into the final hour of the last days, the period known as the great testing period... or if your prefer, the great tribulation!

Oh, you didn't know that your faith shall be put to the test?

Abraham's faith was surely tested, wasn't it?

Hebrews 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
This has got to be the ultimate test of one's faith!

However, remember we said earlier to keep in mind that Abraham knew that the promised "seed", not Isaac but Messiah Himself, would come through his loins, through his son Isaac?

Therefore, because Abraham "staggered not" in His belief that God is faithful to His promises and is able to perform them, he just logically figured that God would "raise up Isaac from the dead"!

In fact, verse 19 below documents that is precisely what was on his mind when he lifted up that knife!

[18] Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
Again, Abraham knew this promise of God and believed it to be true.

In other words, he judged God to be faithful to His Word!

That "full assurance" in his mind did not allow for doubt to conceive but to logically conclude that since God certainly is able to raise the dead, that must be what He is going to do to Isaac, raise him up.

[19] Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
Some people wonder why God would ask Abraham to do such a thing, but as we discussed in an earlier study, Abraham (whose name means "father of many nations") was a type of the Father who would sacrifice His only begotten to pay the penalty for the sins of the world.

Thought for today -  We will all be tested -God hasn't tested me, as yet, you say! You think not!  (Better read Psalms 17:3) - Then think about those strange situations you sometimes find yourself in, in your dreams? Do you remember what you had just done or said a moment before you woke up? God knows what you did or said!!! So, do you still think you aren't being tested????????

In conclusion, remember to stay in your Father's Word every day and become "fully assured" by the "witness" and "testimony" of all those who have gone before us, that our Father is faithful to all of His promises and He is a rewarder of those who sincerely love and serve Him.

Furthermore, know that it pleases Him so much that when we are "tried", though it be with fire, we "stagger not" and exercise our faith by trusting and believing in Him!

How precious it is indeed!

1 Peter 1:7-9 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

[8] Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

The joy of serving Him is beyond words.
[9] Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
Next Paul will continue to present the testimonials of our forefathers who through faith gave witness and testified to the fact that God is Faithful to His every word.

Are you "fully convinced"?

The evidence upon which you can stand is truly overwhelming!

To "know whose child you are" is quite a revelation to many of God's children!

One of the greatest "eye openers" to the sons and daughters in this final generation occurs when they come to "see" the fulfillment of the promises, the unbreakable covenant, that God made to Abraham (Gen. 17:4-7), established in Isaac (Gen. 26:1-5), and confirmed in Jacob (Gen. 35:10-12) whose name was changed to Israel. Therefore, let us begin by reading the confirmation that God Almighty gave to Jacob:

Genesis 35:10-11
And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel.

[11] And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins;

Yes, for the "fatherless" and "orphans" of the "Lost 10 Tribes" of true Israel to discover the way back home to their "fathers" literally fills their hearts with joy and gladness and increases their faith tremendously. I mean, to "know whose child you are" is quite a revelation to many of God's children! To that end, one of the promises of God was that He would send "Elijah the prophet (teacher)" to "turn back" the heart of the (lost) children to their fathers in these last days before the "great and dreadful Day of the LORD"! And as you know if you have faith, God ALWAYS keeps His promises.
Malachi 4:5-6
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

[6] And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest [before] I come and smite the earth with a curse.

We read of the faith that both Abraham and Sarah had regarding the promised seed and how that Abraham, in knowing with certitude that God's promise of both Messiah and an "innumerable multitude" would come through Isaac, had the faith to obey God when He asked him to sacrifice his only begotten son. Yes, Abraham believed that God could and would resurrect his son! Now, Paul is going to acknowledge for our benefit the faith of the Abraham's son and grandsons, the patri-archs (patri = fathers) Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, through whom the blessings of national greatness would come as promised.

Note: If you would like to know more about the migrations of the children of Israel and document from both scripture and the pages of secular history where those so-called "lost tribes" dwell today, then get and read a copy of "The Abrahamic Covenant", by E. Raymond Capt, (ARTISAN PUBLISHERS - P.O. Box 1529, Muskogee, Oklahoma 74402 - Phone (918) 682-8341 - and begin today to see how the promises of God come to pass exactly as they are written. This little booklet, which you can read in one sitting, is sure to open your eyes if you have been wandering as a lost child in the wilderness. You can also get some of the same information, although not as complete as the above booklet, by logging unto pamphlets #1064 and #1020 on this web site.

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

What is it we are to understand by this one short verse concerning the faith of Isaac? Well for one thing, that the blessings concerned a future time, a time to come, even the last days when both Jacob and Esau would become great nations, as in "superpowers".

Genesis 25:23
And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
You "see", we cannot know very much unless we go back and establish a firm foundation by learning all that transpired with Isaac and Rebecca and Jacob and Esau and know who these two nations are today that were in Rebecca's womb (Hint: They are America and Russia). Then we can know why it is Isaac blessed the younger over the elder as he blessed the future generations of these two! It is written (Rom. 9:13) that God loved Jacob but hated (loved less by comparison) Esau, even while they were still in their mother's womb. That is because even in "the world that then was" (2 Pet. 3:6) Esau did not regard (as in despised) his heritage, which he would once again prove in the flesh by "selling out" for a mere bowl of red pottage. Esau simply did not have the faith to truly trust God!

Also, a careful examination of the scriptures, knowing that Isaac knew what transpired at his sons' births concerning the "heel grabbing" and what God said in Gen. 25:23, will reveal that Isaac was aware of and had faith in the plan of God, i.e. that the greater blessings would go to Jacob.

Below is the blessing Isaac bestowed on Jacob after drawing him near to "kiss" and "smell the smell of his raiment", determining the smell to be that of a field.

Genesis 27:27-29
And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed:

[28] Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine:

The deeper student will refer to the Song of Moses, Deut. 32, in understanding the "dew of heaven", etc.
[29] Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.
Again, Esau received the lesser of the blessings because he did not have faith, for when he was an hungered he literally sold his birthright. There is nothing new under the sun and Esau will still "sell out" his people today for the same reason.

However, unlike his brother Esau, Jacob did have faith as testified to next!

Hebrews 11:21
By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.
The word "staff" used in this verse means a "sceptre" or "baton of royalty". In other words, this was a divine blessing Jacob bestowed upon Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, whom he literally adopted and split the birthright (national blessings) between the two. In so doing, Manasseh (whose name means "forgetful") actually became the 13th tribe, which is quite interesting because a little homework will reveal that the number "13" is stamped all over the Great Seal of the United States of America. In fact, there are 13 sets of "13" between the reverse and the obverse of our seal. Yes, Manasseh has become a "great people" indeed!
[22] By faith Joseph, when he died [was dying], made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.
Joseph believed all the promises of God without "wavering" and therefore knew, having no doubts whatsoever, that the children of Israel would exodus the land and dwell in the land flowing with milk and honey. He showed his faith along with his desire to be with them when he "gave commandment concerning his bones". Here is the account in Genesis where Joseph "makes mention" of the exodus:
Genesis 50:24-25
And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
And sure enough God did visit them to deliver them out of the land. Exodus 3:8 "And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites."

Here also is the commandment of Joseph concerning his bones:

[25] And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.
You will find that because of Joseph's faith God saw to it to bless the fulfillment of his desires: Joshua 24:32 "And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph."

We in this final generation of the fig tree, must also make a "choosing" as to whether they will patiently "endure to the end" or take the easier softer way and "enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season"!

You "see", it is written that most of our brothers and sisters "will sell out" (apostatize) to the peace and prosperity brought about by the deception of the false-christ.

Hebrews 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.
Moses' parents, Amram and Jochebed (Num. 26:59), "saw" that "Divine Spirit" shining in the face of this child from the moment he was born. You can document that by using your Strong's Concordance to look up "exceeding fair" (theos asteios) in Acts 7:20.
Acts 7:20
In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding fair, and nourished up in his father's house three months:
Moses' parents therefore knew that the hand of God was upon Moses and their faith was strengthened whereby they nourished him three months without fear of the king's command in Ex. 1:22 to destroy all the male Hebrew newborns. You "see", they trusted in the Lord to take care of His own for true servants of God who have faith in Him know full well the answer to the question Paul poses in Rom. 8:31, "... If God be for us, who can be against us?" The answer is "No One!" Did not Jesus also tell us in Mat. 10:28 to "fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul"? He went on to say "rather love your Father" who has all power over life and death, both physical and spiritual! Kings of the earth... beware!
Hebrews 11:24
By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;
Moses was at the point where the very throne of Egypt was within his grasp when he discovered the truth of his heritage, that he was truly of the House of Israel!

Many of God's elect today, along with the kings and queens of the ethnos, can attest to the same revelation and increase in faith when their "eyes are opened" to know the rich heritage of God's people!

[25] Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
Take heed to what we are learning in this great "faith" chapter and become well acquainted with all the men and women of faith whose testimonials and witness are recorded for our benefit (1 Cor. 10:11-13). The relevancy to what Paul just told us concerning Moses "choosing" rather to suffer affliction, is that the sons and daughters, the brothers and sisters in this final generation of the fig tree, must also make a "choosing" as to whether they will patiently "endure to the end" or take the easier softer way and "enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season"!

A word to the wise is sufficient.

You "see", it is written that most of our brothers and sisters "will sell out" (apostatize) to the peace and prosperity brought about by the deception of the false messiah who will come claiming he is God. But the true servants of God, those who have faith firmly rooted in the Word of God, who have the evidence sealed in their minds whereby they know with certitude that they hold the "title-deed" to the glorious riches of the kingdom of God, shall take a stand and suffer spiritual affliction (trials and tribulation), knowing as did Moses (next verse) that the "recompense of the reward" far exceeds the tribulation we must endure for such a short time!

[26] Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
Have you ever read the great Book of Ecclesiastes where wise old Solomon documents from his personal experience as the wealthiest, wisest, and most powerful man on earth, that there is simply not enough power, not enough money, not enough wine, not enough women, etc., to satisfy the flesh for even a short season, much less for all eternity?

Once a person's spiritual "eyes and ears" are opened to the REALITY of the heavenly kingdom, then all there is "under the sun" becomes vanity (emptiness, nothingness) by comparison.

[27] By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible.
Moses endured because he had faith! Will you endure unto the end and be saved and receive a crown of life?

Matthew 24:13 "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."

[28]Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
Do you have faith to know that when you "sprinkle that blood of the Lamb" on the doors posts of your mind, the death angel (Satan) must pass over you and cannot harm you?
Paul taught us well in this Book of Hebrews about "shadows", didn't he? We therefore know how Jesus Christ became the fulfillment of the types (shadows) and became the one and only true sacrificial Lamb (our Passover, 1 Cor. 5:7) who shed His blood once and for all time and has now entered into the heavenly Holy of Holies and sits at the right hand of the throne of His Majesty on High as our advocate and compassionate High Priest.

Do you have the faith to "keep the Passover"? Do you have the faith to know that as a child of the God when you "sprinkle that blood of the Lamb" on the doors posts and lintels of your house and your mind, the death angel (Satan) who shall soon come to destroy the "firstborn", i.e. the firstfruits, must pass over you and cannot harm you?

Hebrews 11:29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
This is actually a good example showing that mere boldness and bravery are not the same as the strength which comes by faith. Faith is belief and trust in God which the Egyptians did not have! Therefore, without faith, they were not pleasing to Him and brave though they may have been in trying to "cross over", they all drowned in their unbelief!
[30] By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.
One can only imagine what the inhabitants of Jericho thought about these priests of God marching around the city blowing the trumpets. The point is, as the servants of God sound the alarm that the walls of this flesh age and of Babylon the great shall come "crashing down" at the sound of the 7th Trump, so shall they also be mocked* and jeered. No matter... for the servants of God shall "endure unto the end" keeping focused on the "recompense of the reward" that awaits them.

*2 Peter 3:3-4 "Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, [4] And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation."

What makes you think your shortcomings are worse than others of your brethren? Have you never read what David did?

The promise of all promises was that Messiah would come and pay the price on the cross, so that all those who believe in Him would not "perish" but receive eternal life. You see, these all had faith even before that promised one, Jesus Christ, came in that they knew and believed God's promise that Messiah would come. In fact, the prophets testified of His coming. And as we discussed earlier, it is written in 1 Peter 3:19-20 that they saw Him immediately after the crucifixion and accepted Him and were set free from the penalty of sin, which is death.

Thus they obtained a "good report" and that "good report" has earned them the "recompense of reward" at His second coming when we as a family, the family of God, all join together with Him!

Hebrews 11:40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
Yes, we are so privileged to give witness and testimony for the Word of God, Jesus Christ, in this final generation of the fig tree. Just think of the reward for going through and enduring the "great tribulation" of these last days and "taking a stand" with the full panoply of "gospel armor" on and in place against the adversary, Satan, himself! That will be some "testimony", won't it? Think about it! As for all those who have gone before us and hold their "good report", their testimony (which we also have written for us), they must rest (wait) until this final season has ended and we have finished the work and given our witness and testimony for Christ to this generation:
Rev. 6:9-11
And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

[10] And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

[11] And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

Do you have faith and trust in God as one of His servants? Oh you're so weak in the flesh, you say! Poor baby! The question wasn't are you a "goody, goody two shoes"? To be sure, your not! None of us is without sin for we all fall short in the flesh. And besides, what makes you think your shortcomings are worse than others of your brethren? Have you never read what David did?
You "see", that is why Paul so thoroughly covered the 'sprinkling of the blood of Lamb' by our eternal High Priest after the order of Melchisedec before he taught us about real faith! The reality is, if you are going to spend a lot of your time worrying and concentrating on your sins, you aren't going to have much time to build a solid foundation of faith because you don't believe in the power of His sacrifice to begin with. Have you forgotten so quickly what the PROMISE of the New Covenant is? When you diligently seek Him and repent and ask for forgiveness, Hebrews 10:17-18 kicks right in there!  [17] "And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more". And THAT'S IT! Gone forever! So... are you now going to worry and doubt and ask for forgiveness again... showing your unbelief in Him, i.e. showing that you don't believe He is faithful to His Promise? [18] "Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin." Get with the program!

If you have faith, believing in Him and obeying His commands, then you have absolutely NOTHING to fear in this final generation. You "see", the One who has ALL POWER has promised to be with you, even to the end of this flesh age! It is written!

Matthew 28:18-20
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

[19] Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

[20] Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

To study the Bible is the noblest of all pursuits; to understand it, the highest of all goals.
We pray that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you accomplish both.

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