Thursday, May 12, 2016

There’s more on the video- Kant, John Mill- Moral Theory- Utilitarianism, Kantianism. Dead Sea Scroll-s ‘Lost Books’ of the bible- Septuagint- Jerome- Alexander the Great- Ptolemy- Seleucids- Essenes- Qumran community- Ecclesiology- Local Church  etc.

Judaism in transition.
Did they ‘move on’ ?
Who was Elazar ben Yair?

End notes of chapter-


 ‘For the law having a SHADOW of good things to come, AND NOT the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? Because that the worshipers once purged should have no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year’. Paul shows how the simple fact of ongoing sacrifices in and of itself testifies of the insufficiency of the law. The on going sacrifices were a reminder that the peoples sins were still there. If the sacrifices really worked, then why do it over and over again every year? He will contrast this with the singular sacrifice of Christ. The fact that Jesus did it once shows the superiority of his sacrifice over the law.

 ‘Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. THEN SAID HE, lo, I come to do thy will O God. ABOVE WHEN HE SAID sacrifice and offering…THEN HE SAID, lo, I come to do thy will O God. He taketh away the first that he may establish the second’ Here Paul uses the actual order of the verses in Psalms to prove that the Old law will pass away and a New covenant will replace it. The fact that David [Psalms] says ‘sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared for me’ in this order shows that God always planned on taking away the sacrificial system and replacing it with Christ [or fulfilling it!] So even in the simple prophetic order of these statements Paul sees the Old law passing away and a new one being instituted. Wow again!

 ‘By the which will we are sanctified thru the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every high priest STANDETH daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, SAT DOWN on the right hand of God’ The comparison here is that the priests under the law stood, showing their sacrifices were never sufficient, they could never say ‘it is finished’. The fact that they stood while offering sacrifices showed the incompleteness of the system. Jesus sat down. This showed that his sacrifice was once and for all. Now, no where does scripture teach this concept between ‘sitting and standing’. Where does Paul get this stuff from? From ‘revelation’, that is God is supernaturally showing this stuff to Paul as he writes. This is the prophetic element of scripture. While we don’t ‘write scripture’ any more today, there are still lots of hidden meanings that we don’t fully see yet. It is the job of the Holy Spirit to ‘bring to our remembrance all the things that Jesus taught us’ [also all the things about Jesus!] So when you read the Old Testament, look for Jesus! He is there in more ways than you realize.

 ‘For by ONE offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us [of what? Of the singularity of Christ’s offering. The fact that the Holy Spirit thru Jeremiah prophesied that God would never remember our sins any more speaks to the truth of the one offering of Christ, we will read ‘if there is no more remembrance, then there is no more sacrifice’] this is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin’. Do you see the point Paul is making? It is common for preachers and Christians to read these letters and to simply glean practical truths from them. That’s OK. But like I said in the introduction, when you see these things in context, then you can still make practical application, plus you are seeing the relevance behind the teaching. The practical part of this is ‘wow, God will not bring my sins back up into remembrance before his face!’ Now that’s practical!

 ‘Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest [true holy place, that is Gods presence in the throne room] by the BLOOD OF JESUS, by a new and living way[ the early Christians were at times called ‘the way’] which he hath consecrated for us, thru the veil, that is to say his flesh’ We now have total access to the Father thru the Son. This is the ONLY WAY man can have this access! It is common today to teach a type of pluralism that says ‘all religions will eventually lead us to God’ some will lead straight to hell! Sorry. The only way to the Father is thru the Son. God ordained it to be so. Don’t fight over it, God says ‘come freely’ those who don’t come, they will never GET THERE! Jesus flesh is called the ‘veil’. During the crucifixion the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom. Most believers know the significance of this. I would submit to you that when the scripture says ‘the veil was ripped’ that it was not only speaking of the actual veil that was in the temple on that day, but it was also prophetically speaking of the true veil, Jesus Body, that was being torn apart on the Cross.

The veil of the temple not only restricted access for man coming to God, but it also separated God from the true community of people. The tearing of the veil [Jesus body] not only allowed man to have access to Gods presence in heaven, but it also opened the door for the Spirit of God to tabernacle with men on the day of Pentecost. After the tearing of Jesus flesh [which Jesus is also called the door] it is like a door opened, both letting man into the presence of God, as well as ‘letting’ God tabernacle with men [note- Jesus ‘Emmanuel’ was ‘God with us’ so in a sense God was already tabernacling among men thru Christ, but at Pentecost God ‘spread’ this ‘tabernacling’ to a community with worldwide potential, as Christians would increase thru out the ages, so would Gods presence increase as he dwells in men. Thus the Kingdom starts small, like a little leaven, and before you know it the whole earth is filled with the knowledge of the Lord. It culminates at the second coming of Christ].

 ‘And having an high priest over the house of God [remember, even though in Hebrews Paul speaks of heaven itself as the tabernacle, yet he also told the Jews ‘who’s house are we, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end’] let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water [baptism]. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering [for he is faithful that promised] and let us provoke one another to love and good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another…’

 A few things here. First, Paul is exhorting them to ‘get washed in pure water’ [baptism]. Remember, some of the recipients of this letter were believing in the message as Paul preached it as he traveled thru their cities, others were still on the edge. In this chapter it seems as if he is saying ‘some of you who have heard and seen all of these things, it’s time to make the decision to go all the way. Others have made a good profession, you too need to stick with the message’. Now, to those who would ‘revert’ back to the law, after they ‘received’ the truth, Paul says there is only judgment down the road. Even though they heard and the message reached them. Even though Paul presents the gospel in a way that says ‘you are all sanctified’ yet there was always the danger of apostasy. Those who believe you can lose your salvation [Arminians] take these verses and say ‘see, those who were once sanctified, if they sin, they face judgment’. I have actually viewed this chapter in different ways in the past. I never saw it as the Arminians, but I have debated over whether or not Paul was saying ‘now that you are believers, don’t think you can get away with sin, remember there is only one sacrifice, if you keep sinning God will judge you’ [not hell, but chastening]. But I have come to view it more along the lines of ‘those of you who are still in transition, you have made a good profession, Jesus blood has sanctified everyone [in a sense] so if you continue to sin [go back to the old system that taught that continual sin was part of the plan. Remember, the law made provision for continual sinning. This worldview of sin and judgment was unique to the Jewish community of the day.

It really should have been easier to convert Israel, they already had a ‘Jewish’ world view. But one of the dangers of this world view was they had provision for ongoing sin. The idea of ‘continuing to sin’ was engrained in their culture. Paul is warning them that in Christ the fact that there is only one sacrifice means you cant still live with the worldview of ‘I will continue to sin’] In essence Paul seems to be saying ‘if you continue to sin, and think that the Cross is like the old system, then you are fooling yourselves. The fact that the Cross happened only once means that it is sufficient to truly cleanse you once and for all from your sin’ to those who wanted to keep sinning, because it was fun, Paul says ‘watch out, judgment awaits’. So in keeping with what I showed you in chapter 6, I see this chapter continuing to appeal to Jews, some who have even made an initial profession, but he still had to warn them about going back to their old way of continuing to sin. Remember, there were many who were preaching that the law was still necessary for salvation, Paul is telling them it isn’t.

‘For if we sin willfully [something that was expected under the law, that’s why they had all the sacrifices!] after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses law died without mercy under 2 or 3 witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?’ Once again Paul contrasts the severity of the law to the New Covenant. Remember how earlier Paul showed that those who ‘neglect so great a salvation’ have more to worry about than those who rejected ‘the word of angels’ [law] Here Paul again says ‘Those who disrespected the old system died without mercy, how much worse shall it be for those who disrespect the blood of the everlasting covenant’ I see this being directed at those who never fully convert to Christ.

 While Gods discipline is also harsh on believers who continue to live in rebellion [Corinthians] this language is never used of believers. So Paul is saying ‘beware, if you decide to walk away from all that has been presented to you, you will bear a much harsher punishment than those who sinned under the law’. What was the punishment of those who sinned under law? They died. What is the punishment of those who reject so great salvation? Eternal judgment. Let me add a note about ‘not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together’. It is common to use this verse to defend ‘Sunday church’ a lot of times it is used in this way to fight against the house church movement. What is the context here? The Jews already met together regularly before they believed in Christ. They had both temple and synagogue. Paul is simply saying ‘after you convert, keep getting together’ this is not a verse for defending Sunday church! [It is OK  to go to church on Sunday]. ‘For we know him that hath said, vengeance belongeth unto me…the Lord shall judge his people’ In context, remember how I already showed you that ‘his people’ and ‘holy brethren’ and other terms like this in Hebrews can be speaking of 1st century Israel in transition? They were still considered ‘his people’ at the time the gospel was presented to them. Ultimately when they rejected Christ they would lose that designation, but many of the terms in this letter speak to Israel this way. So ‘his people’ can most definitely describe believers. But in context in this letter it more than likely is saying ‘don’t forget Israel, God does judge his people. So don’t think that your natural heritage of ‘being his people’ will get you out of the crunch this time!’

The Jews were always appealing to their privileged position with God ‘we have Abraham as our father’ they would always appeal to their ‘pure’ orthodox heritage, here Paul says ‘God will judge all of us based on what we do with his Son, even ‘his people’! ‘For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods’ many of the Jews who were embracing Paul’s message did suffer persecution. Historically we know many of them were plundered. They lost their goods! It’s funny, Paul doesn’t say ‘get back what the enemy stole from you’ [though you can!] but he says ‘don’t worry about the loss of your wealth and stuff, you have a better inheritance of eternal things in heaven’. Most modern preaching doesn’t even think about this. We are so consumed with preaching a gospel that says ‘come to Jesus and you will be rich’ that we never even give a second thought to these verses. We will read in the next chapter how Moses ‘forsook the pleasures of Egypt so he could bear reproach with Gods people’. Now I know that when they fled God gave ‘the treasures back’ but the point was Moses went thru a period of leaving all of it behind for a higher calling. Don’t always tell people [to you preachers!] that the wealth of the world is waiting at your doorstep if you receive Christ. They might be on the verge of ‘getting their goods spoiled’ for a season knowing that in heaven they have a better and enduring substance.

‘NOW THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH, but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him’. In the original bible you didn’t have chapter divisions. Sometimes the divisions interfere with the meaning of the text. It is important to see that right before Hebrews 11, Paul makes this famous statement on justification by faith! He will go into chapter 11 with this theme in mind. We often read chapter 11 as believers and see the great stories in it of the heroes of the faith, but this is not the primary reason for the chapter. The main reason is for Paul to make the case of law versus grace. He has just spent 10 chapters explaining the superiority of grace over law. Now he will show Israel that all of the great heroes of the faith PLEASED GOD BY FAITH! He will be laying out a grand overview of the great Old Testament figures and be saying THEY ALL RECEIVED  A GOOD REPORT [JUSTIFIED] BY FAITH.

 It is real important for you to see this as we head into the chapter. When you read it with this in mind, then you begin to focus in on the statements of faith in a different way. While chapter 11 will give all believers a great boost in faith, the primary reason behind it is to say to Israel ‘look, all of our great forefathers [and fore mothers!] pleased God by faith, not the works of the law. Some of them were even law breakers! [Rahab, Samson] yet they were JUSTIFED [pleased God] by faith!’ Well, lets get into the chapter before I preach the whole thing right here.

If the sacrifices under the law were sufficient- then why did the priests keep offering them?
The writer says that’s proof they ‘didn’t really work’.
But Jesus offered himself once- for all- and that shows us that his death was the final one.
He quotes Psalms 40- and once again- like we saw earlier- he sees the actual order of the verses in this Psalm as having meaning.
‘Sacrifice and offering you do not want’ first
‘But a body you have prepared for me’ second.
He then says ‘see- God took away the first’ [meaning the Old Law covenant is ending]
‘Then- he established the 2nd’ [meaning the Body of Christ being offered].
He then says ‘the Holy Spirit also testifies to this”
He quotes Jeremiah 31-
‘I will make a new deal with the people- not like the old one- in this deal [covenant] I will not REMEMBER their sins any more’-
If God had some new covenant- in which HE would not remember the sins of the people- that shows that in the new deal- there would be no more sacrifices.
Now- he exhorts the reader ‘let us have faith- draw near to God with a clear conscience- having our bodies WASHED WITH PURE WATER’.
See- this is an exhortation to COME INTO this covenant- he’s saying ‘believe- and be baptized’.
This letter is not speaking to ALREADY BAPTIZED PERSONS.
We also see- once again- the writer saying that this New Covenant is MUCH HARSHER than the Old.
‘If those under the law disobeyed- and died under 2 or 3 witnesses- how much worse will it be for those who have the light [thru their Old Law- Christ was indeed in there- thru types and images] and reject it.’
‘for if we/you continue to sin- after having these truths revealed- there is no more sacrifice left- but a fearful waiting for judgment’.
In time I’ll develop this more- but in the New Testament letters- written to the Gentile churches- you don’t read stuff like this.
You do see God judging his people [in those letters- meaning Christians].
But you don’t see the New Covenant compared to the Old Covenant in this way- saying ‘it’s much harsher than the old’.
But- to those outside of the covenant- to the ‘unbaptized- unbeliever’ then yes- this warning holds true.
The theme thru out Hebrews is ‘if the first century Jew does not BELIEVE in Christ as the Messiah- then he in effect does disgrace to the Blood of Jesus’-
He will not find repentance any more [under the old system]-
And he will face a stricter punishment then those who rebelled under the law-
[They died physically- but in this new covenant- if you reject Christ- you suffer spiritual death- and the ultimate judgment of God].
One last note- as we study the letters of the New Testament down the road- we see a theme- yes- about how we should view earthly riches/wealth.
Here we read ‘you suffered the loss of your earthly goods- knowing that in heaven you have a more enduring substance’.
The theme is never ‘claim your covenant rights to wealth’.
But ‘the things in this life- material wealth- are nothing to be compared to the spiritual riches we have in Christ’.
And yes- this is true.
Psalm 40:6 Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.
Psalm 40:7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,
Psalm 40:8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
Jeremiah 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
Jeremiah 31:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
Jeremiah 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Jeremiah 31:34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

CHAPTER 11: [see commentary on Acts 21]

 ‘Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, FOR BY IT THE ELDERS OBTAINED A GOOD REPORT [JUSTIFIED]’ This is the key verse to the chapter. Paul will go on to prove that all the Old Testament figures that ‘pleased God’ did it by faith, and not by works! ‘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’ Faith is not ‘blind’. It informs and gives understanding. This understanding is real! Let me show you what I mean. All of the universe and creation had a beginning point. Science did not always know or believe this. Today science teaches this. It is called ‘the point of singularity/density’. Science has traced back the origins of all things and has found scientific evidence to prove that all things had a ‘beginning point’. Now if you were to ask science ‘what did you have right before the beginning point’? They are stumped. Some of course believe in God and will boldly proclaim him at this point. To the others they can not answer this question. Why? Because they realize, thru science, that matter is not infinite.

Some have theorized that either all things always existed [which science has now disproved] or that at one point nothing existed [which science also teaches that if this were true then you would have nothing today. You can not get something from nothing!] So all true science has gone back to this ‘point of singularity’ and can not see what is right before ‘the point’. The Christian ‘sees’ God at this point! He ‘understands’ that by necessity there has to have been something that existed before creation, science teaches this. This something can not have been created also, because then where did the ‘being’ who created ‘it’ come from? So science teaches us that whoever got the ball rolling [Saint Thomas Aquinas calls this the ‘prime mover’] had to have been preexistent/ self existent in order to have done it. And we know that creation couldn’t have done it by itself, so therefore all reasoning and understanding leave us at the philosophical point of ‘there had to have been something/someone who existed forever  in order for anything to be today’. So now you see how ‘by faith we understand that all things that now exist were brought into existence by someone who we can not see’. FAITH UNDERSTANDS!

 As we go thru the rest of this chapter I want you to focus in on all the references of justification by faith. You will be surprised [I think?] on how many examples Paul gives to Israel from their own history [his too!] on God justifying people by faith. I will also try and show you [if I remember] how this chapter links the division between Paul’s epistles to the gentiles [Romans, Galatians] with James letter to the Jews. James was one of the lead Apostles at Jerusalem [Acts 15] and the Judaizers who were always accusing Paul of preaching grace in a way that justified sin, they came out of Jerusalem. James and Paul were rivals in a sense. James had the difficult job of overseeing the Church at Jerusalem, who had all the Pharisees who believed, while Paul was preaching this radical message of grace. This is why James’s letter [book of James] focused so much on faith and works. James was seeing the Genesis 22 account of Abraham’s justification when he offered Isaac on the altar. James will say ‘see how Abraham was justified by his works’. While in Paul’s letters he focuses on the Genesis 15 account of Abraham believing God and being made righteous. James was not contradicting Paul; he was showing the actual outcome of the life of a person who was previously justified by faith. James was saying ‘When God made Abraham righteous [Gen 15] he later actually became what God made him!’ [Gen. 22].

 Now when Abraham would later do righteous things, he only did them because he previously had faith in Gods promise. But the fact still remains that when Abraham did a righteous act, God still justified him [in a sense, God has the prerogative to say ‘good job son, I am pleased with you’ so this can be described as an act/function of justification]. Well, now that I already showed you all this, I guess I wont have to remember telling it to you later. The point is in this chapter Paul will go down and show all these examples of Jewish leaders acting by faith and doing righteous deeds. This sort of bridges the gap between the strong emphasis on faith in Paul’s letters, with the strong emphasis on works in James letter. Paul is telling Israel ‘yes, all the old saints did do good works that pleased God, but they did them by faith!’ ‘Faith without works is dead’ [James]. So in a sense this single chapter bridges one of the key divisions in the early church between Jerusalem and Antioch [Acts 13 and 15]. Note; I believe all the chapter references above are correct, I write all this from memory so you might want to go back and double check the references. I know all the stories are right.

 ‘By FAITH Able offered …by which he obtained witness that he was RIGHTEOUS…by FAITH Enoch was translated…he had this testimony that he PLEASED GOD…without FAITH it is impossible to PLEASE HIM [all these ‘please him’ references are like saying ‘being justified’ when a person is justified by God, God sees him as acceptable, pleasing. ‘Thou art my beloved son in whom I am well PLEASED’ God to Jesus!] By faith Noah… prepared an ark to the SAVING of his house…and became heir to the RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH IS BY FAITH [wow, he makes this one real plain] By faith Abraham…went out into a strange land…and sojourned’ interesting, both the aspect of ‘going out to a new land’ and ‘staying in it when you get there’ are both functions of faith. Let me throw in some practical stuff here. Over the years of ‘doing ministry’ I have seen and been a partaker of both of these experiences. Sometimes it takes an act of faith to uproot us from familiar territory and move on to the next level. And do you know what can happen next? The enemy will try to intimidate you once you get in the land of promise, and tell you ‘you cant stay here, look at all the people who hate you. Look at all the mistakes you made’ and it often takes an act of faith to STAY IN THE LAND. Don’t leave the land of your destiny; all true leaders will go thru both of these dealings.

‘For he looked for a city which hath foundations [Jesus is the foundation of this city!] whose builder and maker is God’ All of these great heroes of the faith were looking forward towards a future promise of being in Gods true church, the ‘City of God’ the Bride, the Lambs wife. Paul shows Israel that this 1st century appearing of Messiah was for the purpose of Israel coming into the ‘new land’ the Body of Christ. It is important to see this. There are many preachers today who are treating natural Israel as in if everything is just fine. It isn’t! They need Christ as much as the Muslim does. God was telling Israel ‘come into this new city’ [New Jerusalem versus Old Jerusalem] he wasn’t appealing for them to stay in ‘old Jerusalem’ and be a ‘completed Jew’. [I know this sounds harsh, but I want to emphasize to all my evangelical friends that Jews need Jesus, they play a special role in Gods plan, but ultimately they need Christ!]

 ‘Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed’ it takes faith to produce spiritual offspring! It might look impossible, but with God all things are possible. ‘Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky and the sand by the shore’ sometimes God will allow you to bring forth one ‘seed’ [person or act of ministry] and you will be surprised how much fruit can come forth from this singular effort. This is why it’s so important to simply hear and obey God. Often times in ministry we do tons of ‘leg work’ which is OK. But when God gives you an idea or mode of function that you weren’t even thinking of, go with it. These are usually the ‘little seeds’ that produce the great harvest! ‘THESE ALL DIED IN FAITH, NOT HAVING RECEIVED THE PROMISES’ I want to emphasize here that it is possible to live your whole life in faith without actually seeing the fulfillment of all that God has told you.

 Now faith does obtain promises [verse 33] but sometimes we also see things many years down the road and we must realize that the measurement of faith is not whether or not you are currently getting the actual promise. In the above [and below] verse’s we see Abraham and Sara being told that their offspring would number in the millions. They believed these promises, but it is obvious that they didn’t live to see it fulfilled, but they sure knew that after they were gone it would come to pass. So I want to exhort you to believe to see certain things fulfilled in your life time, but have some greater goals that you initiate while here on earth, knowing that after you depart they will be fulfilled. ‘And truly if they had been MINDFUL of the country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned’ what is Paul saying here? The greatest threat to the gospel taking root in the Hebrew community was the desire to go back to old law and culture. How many believers ‘revert’ back to an older form of church simply because they missed the old culture and ‘feelings’ that they had when they were younger? Many of the Jews would not go all the way with the gospel because they were ‘mindful’ of the good old days of law and sacrifice.

 I just watched a show the other day that told how even some gentile believers began celebrating certain feasts of Israel with their Jewish neighbors. While it is good to understand and see the significance of the feasts, yet we know Paul wrote the early believers and said ‘you observe days and times and feasts, and I am concerned about it’. So when we [or 1st century Israel] are ‘mindful’ of the ‘good old days’ then there is always a danger of going back! ‘By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac…of whom it was said in Isaac shall thy seed be called. Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure’ Abraham exhibited characteristics of the Father [God] as well as Isaac being a type of the Son [Jesus]. It’s interesting that these verses show that Abraham knew for a fact that God was going to give Isaac millions of children, Abraham also knew the voice of God so well that when he ‘thought’ he heard God say ‘offer up this boy’ that in the mind of Abraham, the only way these 2 things could be reconciled, is he came to the conclusion ‘I guess God will have to raise him up, being he has told me this boy will have millions of children, plus he is telling me to kill him’. Most of us would not have come to this conclusion! We would have doubted either the original promise, or said ‘surely this can’t be God telling me to offer Isaac’ [most likely we would have doubted the latter!].

There is a real important reason for Abraham to have been a real man of faith. God wanted this ‘picture’ of the offering up of Isaac for a type of the Cross and Resurrection. The only way he could have shown this example was to have had someone so radically filled with faith, that he would have come to this conclusion of ‘well, I guess God will just raise him’. It was necessary for the figure to have been truly fulfilled. It took Abraham many years of hearing and believing God before he would get to this stage. The part of Abraham’s mind that said ‘God will just have to raise him up’ was important for the figure to truly work. God knew he could only bring someone to this conclusion by arranging the whole scenario around a person of faith. It truly took a real person of faith to have come to the conclusion of resurrection as being inevitable! [For Abraham to fulfill the type of God, he had to have been convinced beyond all doubt that after he offered up his son, that he would be raised again. This is exactly what the Father [God] believed and knew about his own Sons death. So not only did Isaac fulfill the type of Jesus in this story, but Abraham also fulfilled a type of God!] [NOTE; Today is September 22, 2007. Israel’s Day of Atonement. I just heard a brother preach on the feasts of the Lord [I have done this also] but he preached it in a way that said ‘because God said you were to observe these feasts perpetually, therefore all gentile believers need to start observing these days’ he added ‘I know Paul taught the law passed and all, but these feasts are supposed to be forever because God said so’.

 How are the feasts ‘perpetual’? Thru the fulfilling of them in Christ! Paul makes this plain all thru the New Testament [as well as this letter!] I was surprised to hear the brother preach that the first 2 feasts [out of the 3 main ones] were fulfilled and memorialized, but the 3rd one [Atonement/tabernacles] has yet to be fulfilled! What? Jesus fulfilled Passover and Pentecost for sure, and they are still being ‘fulfilled’ God is still bringing people in thru the blood of Christ and the Spirit is continually being poured out on people, and of course the ultimate reality of our atonement thru our high priest is a daily reality [he ever lives to make intercession] that is ‘fulfilled’ all the time[ I understand what the brother meant, that both Passover and Pentecost were fulfilled at the Cross and the day of Pentecost, and Tabernacles still has a future fulfillment. That Jesus will ‘ingather’ all peoples to himself at the end. The way he said it was in a way that he said Atonement, the beginning of Tabernacles/booths, still has to be fulfilled. It really came out badly!] I just thought it worth noting that today is natural Israel’s feast day, and we hold this feast in reality 24/7!]

‘By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of pharaohs daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, then to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward…by faith the harlot Rahab perished not…’ I want you to see that faith in Moses situation caused him to forsake great riches and leave a successful future. This is in keeping with all the times Jesus called people in the Gospels ‘forsake all and follow me’ mentality. We too often equate the ‘treasures of Egypt’ with following Jesus; the scripture puts a different spin on it! Also Rahab ‘perished not’ because she ‘believed’. Paul teaches in Corinthians that those who believe are ‘being saved’ and those who don’t believe are ‘perishing’. I want you to see that Paul is really making a theological argument for ‘being saved by faith’ in this chapter. Even a harlot can be saved! Wow. The law seemed to have no mercy on someone like that!

 ‘Who thru faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, stopped the mouths of lions…women received their dead raised to life…others were TORTURED not accepting deliverance…others had mocking and scourging and bonds and imprisonment, they were stoned, cut in half, were slain with the sword… being destitute, afflicted, tormented…they wandered in deserts and mountains and dens and caves of the earth, ALL THESE [both the ones who shut the mouths of lions as well as the one’s who were tortured without deliverance] OBTAINED A GOOD REPORT THRU FAITH, AND RECEIVED NOT THE PROMISE’ Faith does not always cause you to be better off in this life. I am very familiar with all the verses of God blessing us and providing for us ‘the blessing of the Lord it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow to it’. I believe and claim these verses just like the next guy. I also don’t want to tell people ‘give your life to Christ and all will go well’ did it go well for the ones who were tortured not getting delivered? Sure did. It went well the moment they saw the face of God. The same for those who were cut in half. It also went well for the women who received their dead raised to life. The point is ‘going well’ is not always defined by your outward circumstance.

We must see the overall biblical worldview of all things here being temporary, while all true spiritual riches are eternal. Moses actually was ‘less rich’ by the choice to follow Christ. But he was ‘more rich’ in that he fulfilled Gods purpose. It is important to see that many of these great heroes of the faith died without fully seeing the promise in this life. Now the last verse does say ‘that they without us should not be made perfect’ and this does show that the promise is now fulfilled thru Christ. We have all become recipients of eternal salvation thru Christ. The Old Testament patriarchs have ‘found that city’ in that we are all now members of the great ‘City that comes down from God out of heaven’ we are all in Christ today, even our Old Testament brothers who had faith. The point is don’t always measure a persons faith by their outward wealth and condition. James rebuked this idea in his epistle, he taught us not to show partiality to people who were rich while despising the poor.

 When believers see faith only from the standpoint of outward things, they are missing the true riches. Jesus taught that all these outward things were not the true riches; I am surprised how many believers spend so much time hoarding and storing things that will all pass away some day. Let’s close this chapter on a good note. Paul has offered Israel all of their Old Testament heroes as an example of being justified by faith. He is saying ‘look, all the great fathers of the faith pleased God, just like you have said and taught for ages. I am declaring unto you they were all ‘justified/pleasing to God’ by faith, not law’. Therefore if you want to follow the example of Abraham and Moses and all the other wonderful fathers, then you too MUST BELIEVE!
This chapter is loaded with the history of the Jewish people-
I could teach on each story- but that would be a bit much-
So I pasted the verses below to show that the writer is saying ‘see- all of our forefathers were justified- received a GOOD REPORT- by faith’.
Wait a minute- they DID THINGS- in these stories-
Isn’t that WORKS?
If you read the letter of James- and the letters of Paul- some scholars says there is a disagreement-
Paul says a man is justified by faith- and not by works.
James says ‘see how a man is justified by works- and not faith only’.
If this letter [Hebrews] was written by Paul- then it’s a true masterpiece- because he is combining the examples that James uses [Rahab- and Abrahams Genesis 22 experience- which James uses to say ‘see how works justifies’].
So- to me- Paul would be saying ‘no- I’m not contradicting James- we both believe/teach the same thing’.
If the letter was written by Barnabus- then it also is a masterpiece- because Barnabus might be trying to bridge the gap between Paul and James.
We read about this tension in Acts chapters 13 and 15.
This chapter is certainly not showing us how to obtain stuff [money- etc.] thru faith- because look at the examples- ‘Moses chose to suffer- and reject the wealth of Egypt- BY FAITH’-
‘SOME WERE TORTURED- SUFFERED- CUT IN HALF- by faith’- ‘CHOOSING TO not be delivered- because they had faith’.
We also see the heavenly city- as the goal of the patriarchs- they were all waiting for THE CHURCH- the city that the apostle John spoke about in the book of revelation.
The writer says ‘if they were mindful of the city they came out of [a reference to the law covenant- meaning if the Jews kept clinging to the law- the ‘city they came out from’- they will have a hard time moving on- into the New Covenant revelation of Messiah].
I didn’t quote verse 2- but we could teach modern physics from that one [the bible says all things were made from something invisible- modern physics has come to that reality in the 20th century- yet this verse was penned 2 millennia ago]!
By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
So yeah- lots of good stuff in this chapter- but the main point is these ancients were justified by faith- the example of Noah and Abraham actually use that very language- salvation/righteousness [it’s a bit clearer in the King James Version- the above verses are from the NIV].
Yes- the writer is saying ‘everything is based on faith- and even our ancestors were justified by faith- they did all these things because they believed God- and God saw their faith- in action- and they too were made righteous- by faith’.
By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them
By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.
By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.
And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning;[e] they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

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