HEBREWS 10: 36 to 11: 22, then 32, then 12:2
This section we have read is an exhortation(?) to Patience or Endeavour. It closes with the words "Let us also run with patience (endurance or steadfastness) the race that is set before us looking unto Jesus". It begins where we read --- "For ye have need of patience that having done the will of God ye may receive the promise". "Receiving the promise" is what lies behind the great examples of faith in this chapter. Some of these witnesses of faith "obtained promises" it says (v 35); yet in general, and as to complete fulfilment, as it say (v 39), "they received not the promise". Abraham was called out and became a sojourner in the Land of Promise dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise. Sarah, it says, "counted him faithful who had promised". Of some it says, they died in faith, not having received the promises. The Hebrew Epistle is not addressed to us, nor does it pertain to our calling; but it is part of all scripture which is inspired and its message can surely be applied by each one of us who walk by faith --- even under a dispensation of God which is in faith. As to the covenants of promise, we are strangers; as to the "promise of God in Christ", of which we read in Ephesians(3:6) according to the mystery made known to Paul, --- we, of the nations, are to be partakers.
In 2 Tim.1:1, Paul calls himself "an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus". Though our hope is not presented in Hebrews we can still apply the message to ourselves, as in the words of ch. 10: v.22 where it says "let us hold fast the profession of our hope without wavering for Be is faithful that promised". Holding fast, of being steadfast, is the exhortation of the passage. The word translated patience should be endeavour or steadfastness, so v.36 of ch.10 may, for us, read "We have need of steadfastness that, having done the will of God, we may receive the promise" --- for us, surely, the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus.
Moat of us are familiar with Mr. Welch's chart of the Hope of Israel, based on an anchor and showing the relationship of the seven epistles of Paul's Acts Period ministry. "The just (or righteous one) shall live by his faith" is a quotation from Hab.2:3 which links Gal 3:11 and Rom 1:17 with Hebrews here in ch. 10:38. It is thus stressing "living by faith" and introduces the first section of ch.11 with examples of persons who witnessed to living by faith. The next section portrays those who "died in faith" --- then a section concerning Moses and the nation, which we did not read.
Somaone once tried to prove to me that Eaooh must have died because it says "these all died in faith": but close examination reveals that this is actually a heading for those from Abraham to Joseph who died in faith, knowing that they were about to die but having confidence in the hope of resurrection. Abel lived by faith but did not die in faith --- for he was murdered --- a righteous man who lived by faith and whose blood testified before God --- surely a type of the Righteous One who was taken by wicked hands and crucified. It is not in my mind to consider those individuals --- those just ones --- who lived by faith, but rather those persons who are named as ones who died in faith. Abraham is in both categories. As we read of Abrahams actual death in Genesis 25, it is not there marked with any more significance than that of Ishmael, contained in the same chapter. For Abraham, the appropriation of dying in faith centres in the offering up of Isaac when he took took the knife to slay his son Isaac. (Read ch. 11: 17-19). Abraham faced the reality of death, in faith, with the hope of resurrection before him. Only with a confidence in a living God, who views the raising of the dead as accomplished, can anyone positively die in faith. We may not have credited Isaac with any great degree of faith, but one Scripture says "by faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau even concerning things to come". In fact Isaac actually died some years after, but it was in facing death that he blessed Jacob and Esau --- in fact he gave Jacob a future blessing in sending him away to Laban, Isaac's faith is perhaps seen in his refusal to change his mind after Jacob's deception (ch 12: 16-17).
Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, skilfully putting Ephraim the younger above Manasseh the elder. In Gen. 49 he also blesses his twelve sons but this is not marked out for mention as being of faith. It says in Genesis "When Jacob made an end of charging his sons he gathered up his feet into his bed and yielded up his spirit". Joseph, too, dies in faith with the confidence of the divine promise to restore Israel to the land of promise. His instruction as to his bones means that he looked on to a time of resurrection in the land --- and that is even yet future.
In the course of time there have been many believers of various callings of whom it could rightly be said that they died in faith, having settled their life here in the certain knowledge of a further life to come after completing their course. Such has been the will of God for them. For others, God's will has been different. But God's ways are not our ways, and it may not be understandable to us why some persons, evidently walking uprightly in the truth, should be permitted to die a violent death --- cut off without completing their course --- so it would seem.
An argument used for evidence of the change of dispensation is that after Acts 28 the gifts of healing were no longer available as they were in the Acts period, but this is a weak argument for in the Acts period some people were not healed and some were not raised from the dead.
Consider James the brother of John who was allowed to be killed by Herod, and so terminated the ministry of the 12 --- for he was one of them. We do not read of any statement of this James, as an individual, but he must have borne a faithful testimony if Herod wanted him killed, and this pleased the Jews also. In the ways and wisdom of God, James was permitted to be killed, but Peter was not allowed to receive similar treatment. We cannot comprehend why this should be, but we bow to the divine wisdom.
Stephen was said in Scripture to be "a man full of faith" and of the Holy Spirit, and that being full of grace and power he wrought great signs and wonders among the people. But the Pentecostal sign of raising the dead was not to be for Stephen. Instead he was allowed to be stoned to death, and so ended the appointed ministry of the seven deacons. Stephen still awaits his raising to life and an understanding of the wisdom of God that used his witness to secure a special vessel of grace in Saul of Tarsus.
John the Baptist faithfully filled out his commission and testified that "after me cometh a man who is become before me" --- that this is the Son of God - the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world --- he must increase but I must decrease" But John was taken by Herod and put in prison. When Jesus heard of this He did not go to release him but instead, went to Galileo. There in Nazareth he made that notable declaration in the synagogue "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, anointing me to preach deliverance to the captives ...." But John remained in prison: no wonder John enquired if they were to look for another! And what are John's disciples told? "The deaf hear, lepers are cleansed --- even that the dead are raised. But neither deliverance nor. resurrection were for John --- instead he was allowed to be slain in a rather brutal and shameful manner. In Revelation 11: 3-11, "When they have finished their testimony the beast shall kill them". It is a matter of the will of God. The God of resurrection uses the death of those that are His to fulfil His purpose according to His own wisdom. The recognition of the sovereign will of God for each one, whether in life or in death, seeing beyond to another life, is what relates all this to ourselves. We can, to ourselves, apply the verse we began with. Heb 10: 36.
For WE have need of steadfastness that having done the will of God, WE may receive the promise
NOTE 1 With regard to Abraham's faith in resurrection as to Isaac, it should be noticed that it says in ch.11 verse 19 "from whence the dead he did also in a figure receive him back". This statement provides a fortifying basis to meet the peculiar /////// set out in the Companion Bible as to Jonah and Matt.12:40 on page 1247 and page 1335.///////? ////////? of logic would lead to the view that if Jonah actually died and was raised, this must necessarily debar the event from being a figure. Under such a supposition the evident provision of a Saviour in the form of a 'whale' would be redundant. In fact the AS and SO of Matt.12:40 indicates not a type symbol or figure, but a simile; and this stresses a single likeness in the two parts of the comparison. To take a simile further than this is dangerous and can lead into error, as on this point it has done.
NOTE 2 The phrase "change of mind" [Gk. metanoia] is commonly translated Repentance. The Repentance that Esau sought for with tears was not his own but his father's. Isaac's faith is seen in his refusing to 'change his mind' about his greater blessing given to Jacob, even after the deception was disclosed. The A.R.V. renders Hebrews 19:17 thus: "For ye know that even when he afterward desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected; for he found no place for a change of mind in his father, though he sought it diligently with tears".
Maurice Lloyd undated.
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