Bible: What Does Hebrews 11:23-40 Teach Us About The "Hall of Faith" (Part Two)?
Moses at the Burning Bush
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Hebrews 11:23-40-- The "Hall of Faith" (Part Two)
The Faith of Jochebed and Amram
Next in the “Hall of Faith,” the writer reviews the contribution of Moses (vv. 23-29).
Before Moses could exercise faith, his parents (Jochebed and Amram) needed to keep him from falling victim to the brutal decree of the king of Egypt.
By trusting God, they did not allow their fear of execution to prevent them from hiding their beautiful son; they believed God would keep Moses safe (v. 23).
The Faith of Moses
The author credits Moses’ belief in the heavenly reward with strengthening him to make life-changing decisions.
Rather than bask in the pride of being the heir to the throne of Egypt as “the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,” and enjoy the temporary pleasures and the astounding wealth of the Egyptian court, Moses chose to endure suffering with God’s people who waited for their Savior, counting the reviling he received as worth far more than all he could have amassed in Egypt (vv. 24-26).
[The Israelites’ belief in a coming Messiah caused the Egyptians to abuse them].
Not allowing fear of the king’s disapproval and the punishment this ruler would administer to dissuade him from following his unseen God, Moses (by faith) abandoned his life in Egypt and continued to endure hard times with his people (v. 27).
He obeyed God’s instructions to institute the Passover feast and to command “the sprinkling of blood” on Israelite doorposts in order to avoid the death angel’s judgment (v. 28).
Finally, Moses trusted God to lead His people safely through the Sea of Reeds; the Egyptians who pursued them, however, failed to cross the water and consequently drowned (v. 29).
Maccabees--Is It From God?
Was 1 and 2 Maccabees God-inspired Scripture?
The Faith of Joshua
The author continues his review of faith heroes by next relating the incident from Joshua’s time in which the Israelites, believing that God would cause Jericho’s walls to fall, marched around the city seven times and watched the city’s collapse (v. 30; cf. Josh. 6).
Rahab’s faith, exercised when she hid the Israelite spies, saved her and her family from the sword (v. 31).
As the author winds down his “speech,” he delineates a rather lengthy list of heroes of faith and the deeds that won them renown (vv. 32-40).
[Ryrie provides the passages where writers report these works in the Old Testament and the Apocrypha (New Testament Study Bible 414).]
The Faith of Judges, King David and Daniel
Verse thirty-two lists judges (Gideon, Samson, Jephthah), and one king (David); it names one prophet (Samuel), lumps the rest of the prophets together, and mentions a general (Barak).
[Barak does not appear to be a great hero; interestingly enough, Deborah judged Israel during Barak’s days, but the author does not include her name.]
These men won battles against Canaanite enemies, took their land, and did righteous deeds. By faith Daniel, Samson, and David shut the mouths of lions (v. 33).
Daniel (actually the “fourth man”) put out the fire in the furnace; others survived conflicts with swords, and became strong and courageous as they battled and defeated alien armies (v. 34).
[Note that God accomplished these various victories as the heroes exercised faith in Him.]
Before the author turns to heroic examples from the apocryphal book of 2 Maccabees 6:18-7:42 (vv. 35b-38; Ryrie ), he alludes to times in the OT when God brought people back to life and gave them back to their wives (v. 35a; cf. 1 Kings 17:22-23; 2 Kings 4:35-36).
[The NKJV translates exi anastaseos “raised to life again”; the NASB, opting not to be “doctrinally correct,” chooses the word that this Greek phrase usually signifies: resurrection.
Were the widow of Zarephath’s son and the Shunammite’s son resurrected, or were they merely raised to life again?]
The Faith of Intertestamental Jews
The writer lists several types of ill-treatment that intertestamental Jews endured, and how these afflictions affected them.
Possibly while being forced to recant, believers suffered torture instead of “release” (“deliverance”), so that God might grant them a better status in the resurrection of the just (v. 35b).
These tortures consisted of mockings, scourgings, chains, and imprisonment (v. 36); often, the persecution meant stoning, being sawn in two, being tempted, and being executed with swords (v. 37a).
On still other occasions, the Jews’ enemies merely dressed them in animal skins and banished them to the wilderness, mountains, and caves, forcing them to fend for themselves against wild animals (vv. 37b, 38b).
The author comments that these believers were too good to live in their world (v. 38a); by their faith (God-given), they gained the LORD’s approval.
Yet they did not receive the benefits of Messiah’s reign, because God planned to bring their hopes to fruition only when the Church received her inheritance (vv. 39-40).
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