Introduction: The Epistle to the Hebrews at Jerusalem was to explain the transition from the Mosaic Covenant to the New Covenant and the necessity of a transition of the priesthood from the priesthood of Aaron to the New Covenant Priesthood of Jesus Christ.
Then in Hebrews 10 Paul turns to the subject of faith in the New Covenant, its High Priest and its promises.
Now in Hebrews 11 Paul speaks of those who have demonstrated their faith by their works of faith, through history before the time he was writing.
Remember that these chapter divisions were established by men for convenience in searching the scriptures and are not always appropriately placed.
In ALL these cases one point stands out above all else: Every one of these people had the WORKS of FAITH.
Not once did these powerful examples of godliness ever say that to believe is enough! They believed and obeyed and stood boldly on their faith doing the WORKS of FAITH! Shadrach and these others set a Shining Example for all people that only the Eternal is to be exalted, obeyed and worshipped!
They ALL had faith and the WORKS of FAITH which is zealous obedience and to live by EVERY WORD of God! (Mat 4:4, Mat 4:10)! For faith without the works of faith is dead and useless!
Faith and the Works of Faith
James 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? 2:5 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 2:16 and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body, what doth it profit?
2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 2:18 Yea, a man may say, You hast faith, and I have works. Show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works. 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble [Yet the demons will not obey God’s Word, therefore their belief brings them nothing but the sure knowledge of their coming judgment]. 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified [by his deeds] by works when he [obeyed God] had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought [worked with] with his works and by works was faith made perfect? 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 2:25 Likewise also was not Rehab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.
Yes, there is a spirit in our body. It is a spirit of man, a spirit in man. And without the body it doesn’t function; it doesn’t think, it is not conscious. It must be plugged into the body. And the two work together; the spirit must be plugged into the body: And faith must be plugged into works, and works into the faith; so that trust and belief result in the works of faith.
Faith without works cannot stand on its own. If we have faith, if we believe God, we will do what God says which is our works.
We cannot do what God says if we do not believe [have faith] Him; anymore than the spirit can live without the body. These things are inseparable. Faith is inseparable from the works of faith. If you have faith and no works, our faith is meaningless, it is a waste of time. Believing without acting on that belief is a waste of time; it won’t get you anywhere.
We are to grow and learn and perfect ourselves by discarding error for the truth as we learn; that is called overcoming.
Therefore my friends, let us be full of faith in our perfect High Priest and follow him in His Works of Faith; fully living by every Word of God without any hint of turning or compromise!
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 11:2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
Nineteen hundred years ago Paul spoke of physical things being made from the invisible things; which was confirmed by E=MC2 which means that energy is mass times the speed of light squared or multiplied by itself. The opposite is also true that mass consists of energy. The Creator God who was spirit [pure energy] made matter by converting energy to matter!
Paul understood this by faith; which thing is today confirmed by discovery of the facts. Matter is energy concentrated into matter. Just like ice is a form of water and water is a form of vapor!
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.
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.
That is, Abel is dead and yet he is spoken of to this day, and he will be raised up in the resurrection.
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.
How can we obey God if we do not believe that He is? and how can we please God [obey Him] if we do not believe he exists?
11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is [exists], and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, [believed God and] prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world [which would not believe the warnings], and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
This is a lesson, that in the same way; those in the Ekklesia of the called out, who do not believe the warnings and turn to God in sincerity and truth will also be destroyed.
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. 11:9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles [The Feast of Tabernacles requires that we dwell in temporary shelters to make the very point that if we are called of and faithful to God we are strangers in the world] ] with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God
We are to be focused on the spiritual things of the whole Word of God as Abraham was; and we are to be built on the whole Word of God; which is Moses, the Writings, the Prophets and the Apostles [the Holy Scriptures] with Jesus Christ being the Chief Stone of the foundation: All of which were inspired by God!
Abraham believed God and therefore he acted on what God told him to do. To believe God is one thing; to actually act on what God says and to obey him, is something else.
We must believe before we can obey, but if we believe and do not start obeying, there is no sacrifice for your sin and there is no reconciliation with God for us.
As long as we continue to reject living by every Word of God, we can believe all we want and it won’t do us any good at all. We must believe and then we must act on that belief and start doing what God tells us to do.
Our reconciliation with God and our relationship with Him depends upon us keeping His commandments, and one of those commandments is to honor thy father and thy mother.
In order to keep that commandment, we must be willing to do anything that God the Father tells us to do. Was there any law that said Abraham had to move to a different land? Was there any law that told Noah: by law you have to build this ark? No, there wasn’t.
The law is: Obey God in ALL things. We are obligated by the commandment do what our Father tells us to do, and He told Abraham to leave that land and He told Noah to build that boat. We are to obey God our Father in whatever He tells us to do. This concept of obedience goes far beyond just the commandments. Yes, we are to keep all of His commandments but we are also to love Him with all our hearts, to serve Him with all our strength and to try and please Him in every way; and that means doing whatever He says; always, always, always, at all times.
11:11 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. [Where was there any faith in Sarah regarding this promise? She gave herself to her husband Abraham in her old age, trusting that God would give her a son!] 11:12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
Out of Sarah and Abraham came a son by God’s promise; out of Abram who was a very old man as “many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore enumerable. Now, if they in their great age had not believed that promise, and not added the works of faith to their belief and had not come together; the promise would have been of no effect! The birth of Isaac was by faith in the promise of God, coupled with the works of faith!
Notice they all DIED: which means that Enoch also died. These all died in faith. Enoch was translated that he should not see death; in other words, he was moved from one place to another so that he would not be murdered or killed for his faith. But later on he died;
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
Those who reject worldliness for godliness, are making a clear statement that they are not of this world and that they seek another and godly nation, the Kingdom of God; and if any turn aside from their zeal to keep the whole Word of God, which is the constitution of the Kingdom of God, and go back into worldliness; they are become worldly again.
11:14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 11:15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
And that is what dwelling in tabernacles or temporary structures at the Feast is all about. To teach us that this flesh is temporary and that we are seeking a better promised land; an eternal spiritual future.
It is to remind us that we are temporary sojourners and foreigners in this society and we must be seeking a better society and a better and spiritual Promised Land, which is found in the Kingdom of God. We are really just temporary sojourners in this flesh; and we should all be looking forward to a better and more permanent place to dwell, a change to spirit and the promise of eternal life. Which is the gift of God for all those who sincerely repent, who turn from sin and commit to sin no more, who are reconciled to God the Father and given His Spirit.
Those who endure and overcome may then be given Eternal life in a new spiritual body at the resurrection when they are changed to spirit. However, right now we are living in this flesh, which is temporary, transitory, it will die. It will decay and we need to find a better way, and that better way is offered by God through Jesus Christ.
11:16 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 [the faithful who believe and have the works of faith] a city [The New Jerusalem].
Abraham had received promises that Isaac would be the father of countless descendants, yet not understanding the command to kill Isaac when such promises had been made, Abraham still obeyed.
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, 11:18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: 11:19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
Figuratively speaking, he received Isaac back from the dead because he was about to kill him and God delivered Isaac.
11:20 By faith [in God’s promises] Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. 11:21 By faith [in God’s promises] Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. 11:22 By faith [in God’s promise that he would bring Israel out of Egypt] Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.
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.
11:24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 11:25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 11:26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
Who? Moses esteemed who? Paul showing here that he KNEW that Jesus Christ was the God who was an Husband to Israel under the Mosaic Covenant declares:
By faith in the promise of God, Moses chose to reject Egypt and follow the God of his father Abraham.
11:27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
Moses obeyed the call of God from the burning bush in Sinai and by faith Moses believed God and killed the Passover in Egypt. It Moses had said I believe and had not had the works of faith in commanding the killing of the lambs; what would have happened to Israel?
11:28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. 11:29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
What if Joshua had said I believe you can do it LORD; and then did not demonstrate his faith with the works of faith and did not march around Jericho?
11:30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.
What if Rahab had not saved the spies and what if she had not tied the scarlet ribbon [a red ribbon like the red blood of the lambs in Egypt, representing being under the protection of the Lamb of God] to her window? Have you ever wondered why a scarlet ribbon? The red ribbon was a type of being under the protection of the blood of the Lamb of God!
11:31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.
11:32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: 11:33 Who through faith [and the works of faith, doing mighty deeds in obedience to God] subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.
11:34 Quenched the violence of fire [Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego], escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
11:35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 11:36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 11:37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 11:38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
All of these faithful called out over the past 6,000 years, who were FULL of the works of Faith and still died, and now wait in their graves for the promise of the resurrection to eternal life in the Promised Land of eternity! Yet today, so many of the Ekklesia are afraid to take a stand to question and prove the words of men by God’s Word; afraid to learn and to keep the whole Word of God; afraid to take a stand against the deceivers and idols of men!
11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 11:40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
All of these ancient called out people [and very many more since Paul] mentioned by Paul through faith did things. They didn’t say, “Oh, I’ve got faith. Praise the Lord,” and then do nothing. They had the FAITH to be DOERS of the Will and the whole Word of God!
No watering down, No compromise, No dimming of their light of example, to appease the world!
They were valiant people, courageous people, godly people, and they were made strong by the power of their belief in God and the power of God’s Spirit dwelling within them; which God gave to them because of their belief and their willingness to ACT on that belief and be full of the works of faith, to put Almighty God first and to act and do whatever God wanted them to do.
They had faith. Abel believed God and acted on that belief having the works of faith. These people acted on their faith and they did what God wanted them to do. They kept His commandments and they did whatever He told them to do.
Faith without works is dead.
They did not fear to take a stand, nor did they love this world; they looked forward to another and a better world; being willing to give up their lives in this world to follow the whole Word of God to attain that better world. While most today would not even give up a meal in a restaurant on Sabbath!
Like Esau the church of God today has sold its birthright for a bowl of pottage; for the pleasures of this world and for fear of trials.
Revelation 21:7 He that overcometh [sin which is commandment breaking] shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 21:8 But the fearful, [Those fearing the deceiving idols of men in leadership positions or those afraid of persecution and fearing men more than God so that they compromise with God’s Word] and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Matthew 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many [The zeal of many for God and his Word] shall wax cold. 24:13 But he that shall endure [and reject temptation to break any part of the whole Word of God, and commit sin] unto the end, the same shall be saved.