Hebrews 11:29-40 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Faith That Overcomes the World
Comments for Study 11

Hebrews 11:29-40
Memory Verse 11:39


I. The Faith of the Exodus Generation (29-31)

>1. What kind of faith did the people of Israel have? (Ex. 14:13-29) What was the fate of the Egyptians? Why did they have this result although they had attempted to cross the Red Sea?

>2. What does their fate show us about the nature of the faith of the Israelites?

Hebrews 11:29 "By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned."

* Exodus chapters 14 and 15.

* The third four year period of Moses' life was spend leading the Israelites and others out of Egypt's slavery and through the desert to the boundary of the promised land.

* "By faith" -were they afraid? Fear is the opposite of faith.

* "the people" -Exodus 12:37-38 states, "The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. Many other people went up with them, as well as large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds."

* "passed through... they were drowned" -Just as the Israelites were not destroyed by the water because they had obeyed God; and the sinner Egyptians were, so when Jesus comes again he will take his people away so they will not destroyed by the judgement of fire. One of many places it says this is Luke 3:17; "His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

* "Red Sea" -A common translation of two Hebrew words "yam suph". "Yam" means "sea",” but "suph" does not normally mean "red".” Suph often means “"reeds" (Ex. 2:3,5; Isa. 19:6) or "end,” hinder part" (Joel 2:20; and 2 Chron. 20:16; Eccl. 3:11). "Yam suph" could be translated “"Sea of Reeds" or "“Sea at the end of the world".” The earliest known translation of the Hebrew Bible (the Greek Septuagint about 200 B.C.) translated "yam suph" consistently with "Erthra Thalassa “Red Sea".” Jerome continued the process in the Latin Vulgate (A.D. 400) by using "Mare Rubrum “Red Sea”" for "yam suph". Most English translations have followed the Vulgate and use “Red Sea” in the text with a footnote indicating the literal translation is “Reed Sea... Although the name “Reed Sea has been widely accepted by many scholars, there have been many recent attempts to prove the term “Sea of Reeds is not a legitimate reading for yam suph.” (Holman Bible Dictionary)

>3. What was the choice of the Israelites before the impregnable walls of Jericho? (Josh. 6:11-17) With what conviction would the Israelites march around them? How was their faith vindicated?

Hebrews 11:30 "By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days."

* Moses' place was taken by Joshua.

* "the walls of Jericho fell" -Place name meaning "moon".” Jericho is situated in the lower Jordan Valley, which, according to Genesis 13:10, was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord... The Old Testament town lies beneath tell es-Sultan near one of Palestine's strongest springs. (Holman Bible Dictionary)

* "after the people had marched around them for seven days" -We can learn about Jesus' coming from his leading Israel into the Promised Land. The King Jesus led his first love, the Israelites across the Jordan River into the Promised Land. (Jos. 1-4) Joshua [Yehôshua in Hebrew/Aramaic, similar to Y’shua (Jesus)] was the leading judge at the time. The Lord told the Israelites through Joshua that they were to take the land wherever they went from the hands of the evil doers who occupied the land. Jericho was the first city to be taken. (Jos. 5) During the battle the Lord did all the fighting. The Israelites were told to march around the city once a day for seven days with seven priest blowing seven trumpets at the front of the procession. On the last day they sounded the trumpets and the Lord tore down the walls and the Israelites took the city. (Jos. 6) The Lord tells us this so that we will understand what he is soon to do upon his return. The seven trumpets of Revelation will sound and evil doers will perish and the righteous will take possession of the land.

>4. Who was Rahab? (Josh. 2:1-24, James 2:25. Matt. 1:5) What was the cost of her faith? How was her faith rewarded?

Hebrews 11:31 "By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient."

* "the prostitute Rahab" -Her way of life before her newly found faith. She was able to escape the destruction of Jericho days before it was destroyed. There is hope to the very end for all to repent.

* Joshua 2:8-11 and 6:22-25.

* "welcomed the spies" -James 2:25 states, "In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?"

* "who were disobedient" -Also translated "unbelieving". Anyone in Jericho could have done what Rahab did. They did not because they did not believe destruction was coming.

II. The Faith that Won the Victory (32-40)

>5. What are the common characteristics of the faith of the faithful men quoted in verse 32?

>6. What are the three kinds of descriptions of explain about the faithful men? (33-37)

>7. What does it mean by "administered justice"? Who does the author refer to? Who does the author refer to when he mentioned about those who shut the mouths of lions? (Daniel 6:17-22, and 1 Sam.17:34-37, and 1 Chron. 11:22, Judges 14:5-6)

>8. Who is in the author's mind when he speaks of those who "quenched the fury of the flames"? (Daniel 3:23-27) How about the one who escaped the edge of the sword? (1 Kings 19:2) Why was their faith commendable?

>9. How is their victory reveal the power of faith?

Hebrews 11:32-34 "And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 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."

* These verses shows us that as we study the Old Testament we should see it through the revelation of the New Testament. At the beginning of this letter the author pointed out that Jesus is far greater than Moses and the Prophets. He also pointed out Jesus' revelation is far greater than the Old Testament. This does not say that the Old Testament is useless or out-dated. NO! Rather, it can be understood better when we apply Jesus' teachings to it. Jesus teachings is like salt applied to a bowl of vegetable soup.

* One of the common themes of the Old Testament is people either responded and overcame with faith to the one true God, or rejected him and remained in sin. They all prove the point made by the author of this letter, "We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved." (10:39)

>10. Describe the instances of the women who received their dead back to life. (1 King 17:17-24, and 2 Kings 4:18-37, Luke 7:11-14, Acts 9:36-41) Why did the author say "a better resurrection"? (35a) How did the faithful keep their faith even when they were not delivered from various kinds of physical sufferings?

Hebrews 11:35-37 "Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated--"

* Many of God's people in the Old Testament suffered at the hands of unbelievers just as those who received this letter, just as we are.

* Jesus said, "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Matt. 5:11-12) And he taught, "But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. This will result in your being witnesses to them. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life." (Luke 21:12-19) And Jesus taught, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me." (John 15:18-21)

* Meekness is the mark of a believer. Matthew 5:5 records Jesus saying, "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth."

>11. Why were they worth more than the whole world? In what respect did they have everYthing although they lacked many things in the world?

Hebrews 11:38 "the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground."

* "not worthy of them" -They were greater than the sinful unbelieving people of the world.

* "they wandered" -A nice permanent home all the time is not guaranteed for God's people.

* When a teacher of the law said he would follow Jesus anywhere he went "Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." (Matt. 8:20)

Hebrews 11:39 "These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised."

* "commended for their faith" -God was pleased with them.

* "yet none received" -Just because God is pleased with those who have faith does not mean that we will receive all right away. We will receive, but in time.

* Proverbs 19:11 states, "A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense."

>12. Through this passage what do you learn about the superiority of their faith?

* "God had planned" -Our future is God's idea.

* "something better" -than this current world.

* "for us" -The author includes those who he rebuked and challenged earlier in this letter.

* "would they be made perfect" -The body of Christ will be perfect when completed.