Hebrews 11:30 – 31
A common error amongst popular Christian preachers and Pastors today is that they see Hebrews 11 as a chapter in the Bible used to gain material blessings from God. They tend to use the chapter predominantly to teach on the subject of FAITH. This is based on their perspective on the subject of FAITH, which has somehow been misconstrued and misrepresented as that force we exert when we want God to do anything for us. It gives a picture of what we can do to make God respond to most of the things we lust after. The idea presented is that the moment you don’t possess the “material blessings” or the things you have asked God for, then the individual is deemed to lack “FAITH”. This has its basis in the erroneous teaching of the health and wealth gospel.
Contrary to what these preachers teach today, the writer of the Book of Hebrews had his audience, which were predominantly Jews (Saved and Unsaved) and his quest to see majority if not all of them respond positively to the plan of God, played out in the message of the Gospel. His presentation had gotten to a point where he was encouraging the UNBELIEVING JEWS to respond to the message so that they will not only hear and know what Jesus came to do but coupled with their knowledge of the Gospel was the positive response. He had concluded in the last verse of Chapter 10 about believing to the saving of the soul escaping perdition.
He started the chapter by elucidating on how and what his UNBELIEVING audience could do to escape perdition. According to this brilliant writer, FAITH was equated with Salvation. The whole idea of writing this Book was to give an opportunity to the Jews about the plan of God for Salvation and nothing else. The template of Salvation firstly is, there must be a message from God (substance of things hoped for) and the recipients must not only hear but also respond to the message heard from God (evidence of things not seen) of which the resulting effect of the response culminates in Eternity.
The prolific writer went on to further supplement his presentations that through his definition in the first verse, the Jewish ancestors received endorsements from God and he started with Cain and Abel, our progenitors as the very first example who responded to God’s way of Salvation by the blood sacrifice, which Abel positively responded to. He went on to Enoch who walked with God and he was raptured signifying the end of the Age of Grace when Jesus comes back for the Church – for those who have responded positively to the message of the Gospel.
He didn’t stop at Enoch’s endorsement by God but proceeded to another ancestor in the person of Noah, who will give a picture of the preacher and his message about the plan of God, again at the end of the Age. The ones who went into the Ark were the ones who responded to his message and when the time of destruction came – the flood came and destroyed all except the people in the Ark. The time of destruction in the time of Noah is the same as what the writer referred to as PERDITION. In other words, at the end of the age, the SAVED would experience eternity, while the UNSAVED ends up in ABYSS.
He didn’t stop at Noah; he went on to the story of Abraham (who is the most important example in this subject of FAITH or SALVATION) who believed God and it was accredited to him as RIGHTEOUSNESS. It was Abraham who received the promise of Salvation from God and who also had to pass it down to his child Isaac and to Jacob and to Joseph and to Moses, even up until now. Apostle Paul declared that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us because cursed is anyone who hangs upon a tree that the BLESSING of Abraham may come upon those who have and would respond to the message of the Gospel.
The idea behind going through these names was to encourage the UNBELIEVING JEWS that if their ancestors, whom they were all aware of, could believe and respond positively to the message of the Gospel, nothing should stop his listeners from responding positively to the message. His presentation bordered on the lines of “if you believe in all of these ancestors, then nothing should stop you from responding to the message of Grace through Faith alone”. They all responded to the MESSAGE from God and then RESPONDED POSITIVELY to the message and here comes the plan for ETERNITY.
The writer went on to discuss the wall of Jericho as it crumbled because Joshua and the Israelites responded positively to the message they heard from God – who instructed that they should walk around the wall for seven days. Like I mentioned earlier, it all starts with a message from God – it is the substance of things hoped for that produces the evidence of the unseen when it is properly responded to.
Rahab, the HARLOT was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God for she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. All she heard and knew about the Israelites was when she admitted to them about how the inhabitants of Jericho had been dreadful of the Jews ever since they conquered the Egyptians via the Red Sea miracle (some 40 years prior). She then agreed to help them escape, provided that she and her family were saved in the upcoming encounter and conflict. The spies agreed to her request, giving her three conditions to be met:
- She must distinguish her house from the others by hanging a scarlet rope out of the window so the Israelites would know which home to spare;
- Her family must be inside the house during the battle; and
- She must not later turn on the spies.
We know the story that Rahab was saved and her name made it to the book of Hebrews in the eleventh chapter as one who received endorsement from God. That was all Rahab knew about the Israelites not to talk of this writers’ audience whom he has been trying to persuade from the first chapter of this Book. Irrespective of the dangers of keeping the spies, Rahab had not seen God yet she made a quality and wise decision and she was saved. She was convinced of the safety from God ignoring the punishment that she could have been faced with, had they found out she was party to the conspiracy. It was the evidence of the UNSEEN.
Rahab was not an Israelite but a Canaan prostitute who also was saved by the message she responded to, meaning salvation was also going to be extended to whosoever would respond to the message of the Gospel. It wasn’t just restricted to the Jewish people or Nation alone.
His audience would have been confronted with the fact that if a prostitute could respond and be saved, what should stop them from responding positively to the message of the Gospel. She didn’t need to hear more than what she had heard before she responded.
“The first link between my soul and Christ is, not my goodness, but my badness; not my merit, but my misery; not my standing, but my falling; not my riches, but my need. He comes to visit His people, yet not to admire their beauties, but to remove their deformities; not to reward their virtues, but to forgive their sins.” – C.H Spurgeon
Keep it right here and be refreshed!