HEBREWS - Chapter 11 - CONTINUED HERO HALL OF FAITH (27-40) (2024)



 HEBREWS – Chapter 11: 27-40


Tuesday Morning Bible Study, May 14, 2024, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom



We concluded in our last study with Hebrews 11:26, Moses’ faith declaration: sacrificing, suffering and enduring faith, at the time he came into his manhood


Hebrews 11:26: By Faith, Moses…  Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.


As Stephen put it, Acts 7:22-24:  Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.  When he was fully forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel.  Seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian.


By faith he came to know they were God’s chosen people and that God would fulfill his promise to lead them to their own land.


11:27:  By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeking Him who is invisible.


11.   MOSES ---Faith’s fearlessness---Moses feared not the visible king because he was seeking the invisible one.


As is stated here, before the visitation of the “burning bush,” Moses had already experienced a visitation of the Lord in Egypt.   


Moses went to the Hebrews to offer himself as their deliverer.  When word of the killing of the Egyptian reached Pharaoh, he wanted Moses’ life.  So now Moses was in trouble.  But that wasn’t all.  His own brethren also turned against him, saying, “We won’t have you as our judge!” Pharaoh wanted to kill him; his own brethren refused his leadership.  There was no way for him to do what God had called him to do.  So, he wisely chose to retreat to the Sinai desert.  He was now aware that he had made a mistake in judging the Lord’s timing.  He fled to Midian, hopefully to pray and seek the Lord.  It took great faith for Moses to sit out 40 years of inaction.  “You receive the promise early, but God fulfills it late.” 


12.   MOSES – Faith’s Protection--- 11:28:  Through faith he kept the Passover, and the sprinkling of blood, less He that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.


When the day finally came for God’s people to leave Egypt, Moses was commanded to do two unusual things; (1) have the people eat the Passover lamb; (2) put blood on the doorposts.


As strange as these orders were, Moses proceeded to obey the Lord without batting an eye.  So completely did he trust God, it no longer mattered what He asked Moses to do.  This institution of the First Passover is a shadow and type of the Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the Passover Feast.  Observing that feast that night was an act of faith.  But Moses didn’t stop there.  He went on and laid down regulations for the keeping of that Passover throughout all future generations as a witness of their deliverance from Egypt until the fullness of time when the feast was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.


Moses never once doubted that God meant to deliver His people out of Egypt.  The second act, putting blood on the doorposts, also required  faith.  As part of the 10th plague on Egypt, the death angel was to go through all Egypt, slaying the firstborn of man and beast in every household.  To prevent this from happening to the Israelites, God instructed Moses to sprinkle blood on their doorposts.  With unflinching faith, he proceeded to do exactly as he was told.  As a result, the plague did not touch the firstborn in any Israelite family. 


13.   ISRAEL - -Faith’s Preservation—11:29: By faith they (Israel) passed through the Red Sea on dry land, which the Egyptians attempted to do and were drowned.


On the day of the great exodus, the people of Israel gathered their families and belongings.  At this point only Moses’ faith was in operation.  They simply acted on his orders.  Their march halted at the Red Sea.  Then they heard that the Egyptian army was bearing down on them from the rear.  In fear, they cried out against Moses, “You brought us out here to have us killed!”  Then the rugged 80-year-old leader commanded them “Fear not but stand still and see the salvation of the Lord!”  As they watched, Moses’ faith went into action again.  He lifted his rod and the sea divided before their eyes.  It was thrown back, says the Scriptures, so that the water was walled up on both sides (Ex. 14:22). 


Then Moses gave the command to go forward between those quivering walls of water.  Now it was time for Israel’s faith to go into action.  It did.  They obeyed Moses’ command by faith.


The faith of the Israelites stands out against the presumption of the Egyptians.  The author is specifically speaking of the faith of the Israelites here, not the faith of Moses.  In all the 40 years of wandering which followed, they never again were able to trust God for a great deliverance such as this.  It was the only time they appropriated the power of God as a people.


14.   ISRAEL ---Faith’s Miracle ---11:30:  By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.


Verse 30 moves forty years into the future.  A new generation of Israelites have arrived at the border of the promised land.  They are ready to act on God’s Word and take the land.  Their path is barred by a great fortress, the city of Jericho.  This high walled city was a formidable barrier.  They couldn’t bypass it.  If they did, they’d never have any peace in the land.  Yet, from a military point of view, it was impossible to conquer.


The Israelites came as nomads off the desert.  They had no battering rams or engines of war.  God told Joshua and the people, “I’m going to give you this city.”  They believed Him.  They were ready to trust Him and carry out His orders no matter how foolish they seemed.  Imagine how the soldiers manning the walls of Jericho must have laughed to see grown men hoping to conquer a fortress simply by marching around it.


Led by the priests blowing the ram’s horns, they marched around the city once a day for six days.  On the 7th day, the Israelites shouted and the walls of the city came rumbling down---flat.  There is archeological evidence that an earthquake may have occurred at that same time.  In any event, the Israelites “went up into the city, every man before Him, and took the city” (Joshua 6:20).


The fall of Jericho was not a military conquest; it was an act of faith.  They never expected to conquer the city in their own strength.  They believed God was going to do it for them.  The Jericho story teaches us that what is impossible for man is always possible with God through faith.


15: RAHAB – Faith’s Deliverance---11:31: By faith the harlot, Rahab, perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.


Here is one of the most surprising personalities in the hero hall of faith. Rahab, a Gentile woman, who was a prostitute and betrayer of her country is listed here because she told a lie---by faith.


When Joshua sent spies to scout out the military situation in Jericho, they took lodging in Rahab’s house.  Somehow their presence was discovered and the city officials sent soldiers to Rahab’s house to seize them.  The harlot hid them, lying to the soldiers as to their whereabouts.


After that she helped them escape from the city, the only thing she asked in return was that she and her family might be spared when Jericho fell to the Israelites.  The people of Jericho had heard of the mighty deeds of the Israelites (Red Sea crossing and destruction of the Egyptian army); but only this woman interpreted these as being done by the God of Israel.


Of her own free will, she elected to put her faith in the Lord.  To the spies she said, “I know the Lord has given you the land!”  What a remarkable statement of faith!  She made this decree when the downfall of Jericho seemed impossible.  She went on to say …the Lord your God, He is God in heaven and earth beneath (Joshua 2: 9-11).


By faith she joined the people of God and married Salmon.  She became the mother of Boaz which makes her an ancestress of the Lord Jesus.  This woman was far from great in the eyes of the world for she was a harlot, a betrayer, and a liar.  But in the eyes of God, she was great enough for His Hall of Faith Heroes.  That’s the difference faith makes.


16. GIDEON ---Faith’s Miraculous Victory

17.  BARAK—Faith’s Triumph

18.  SAMSON---Faith’s Physical Strength

19.  JEPHTAH – Faith’s Boldness

20.  DAVID –Faith’s utter reliance

21.  SAMUEL – Faith’s Integrity

22.  17 works of Faith


11:32-35:  And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthae, David, Samuel, and the prophets, who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to fight the armies of the aliens.  Women received their dead raised to life again; and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection.


Our writer employs rapid-fire phrases in listing the achievements of faith heroes.  The history of Israel is full of them.  The first four come from the time of the judges, and there is something comforting about his selection.  When you read the account of their lives in the book of Judges, once could wonder whether or not they had real faith in God.


But because of their faith in God, they were instruments in His hands.  The only king mentioned is David.  We know him for his sins and his great faith.  God used him to build Israel into a powerful nation.  David was definitely one who smashed kingdoms and ruled in righteousness.  He took God at his Word and saw promises come true right before his eyes.


Samuel was the first of the prophets.  He not only anointed Israel’s first two kings, but there were times when he and the prophets who followed him, stood alone against the entire nation of Israel in trying to bring the people back to God.


From the time of Joshua to the time of the Maccabees, men who were weak in themselves, became strong through faith, and time and again routed whole armies from their soil.  The incredible odds against these people meant little to them when they knew they were instruments in the hands of God.


When the writer speaks of women receiving their dead back again by resurrection, there are two who come to mind; (1) the poor widow of Zarephath, whose son was restored by Elijah (1 Kings 17:17), (2) the wealthy Shunamite woman whose son was restored by Elisha (1 Kings 4:32).


The boys were restored to natural life.  They died again.  That is not what the N.T. means when it speaks of resurrection.  Because of that, we will shortly find our author speaking of a “better resurrection.”


11:35-38: Women received their dead raised to life again; and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: and others had trial of cruel mockings and scourging, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment.  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; (Of whom the world was not worthy).  They wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.


Our writer listed some of the amazing things the O.T. saints achieved by faith.  But that’s only part of the story, the glamour side.  There’s another side, the suffering that goes with faith.


The interval from the prophets to the time of the Maccabees abounds with examples of suffering on the part of the faithful.  Many of the prophets forfeited their lives to remain faithful.  Some, like Zechariah, were stoned to death.  In the days of Jezebel at least 100 prophets were slain by the sword on her orders.


According to Jewish legend Isaiah was sawn with a wooden saw by orders of King Hezekiah.


We can tell from the language and choice of phrases that he is describing the incredible sufferings that occurred under Antiochus Epi-pha-nes.  The bible doesn’t furnish any details of those sufferings, for they occurred during the silent years, the 400-year interval between Malachi and Matthew.


The books of the Maccabees, while they are not inspired, give us an accurate account of what happened during that period and the awful tortures inflicted on the Jewish race.


From these, we learn of the deaths of Eleazar, an old Jewish scribe, and seven brothers who chose a horrible death.  They were torn apart on racks, skinned alive, whipped to pieces, and roasted alive in a huge frying pan.


The reference to living in mountains and caves pertains more precisely to the Syrian governor, Antiochus Epiphanes.  In 168 B.C., this king captured Jerusalem.  Using torture methods equal to anything dreamed up by Hitler, he persecuted the Jews ordering them to forsake God and the law.


Those believers, who were not captured, fled to the mountains and deserts.  The reference to animal skins indicates they were stripped down to nothing.  Homeless and impoverished they went without the bare necessities of life.


Faith in the Lord carries no guarantee of comfort or safety in this life, but it does offer and undreamed-of reward through eternity.  That is the life that really counts.


11: 39-40: And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise; God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.


Oh my!!!  The church of the United States of America will have much to answer for!!!  We are the most blessed people the world has ever known.  How can we neglect so great a salvation???  The promise referred to here is that of the Messiah, the sum and substance of all the O.T. promises.


No one could be joined to God and inherit the divine nature until sin was cared for.  That couldn’t be done until the right moment in history.  The coming of the Lord Jesus had to wait until the fullness of time.  Yet, even though actual sonship was denied the O.T. believers, the hope of it burned so brightly in their hearts they were able to live for God and take the worst of the world’s abuse and persecutions.


The believing dead were said to be comforted in “Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16: 22-26).  Here they waited until Jesus could put away their sins and bring them into sonship.  Abraham’s bosom is a Jewish idiom, meaning “paradise.” .   (Lk. 16: 19-31; 23:43).

 This was the abode of the righteous after physical death where they were held captive by the devil against their will until Christ conquered death, hell and the grave.  It is now empty of the righteous who go to heaven at death since Christ captured the captives in hell and took them to heaven with Him when he ascended on high.


Eph. 4: 8-10:  When he ascended up on high, He led captivity captive and gave gifts to men.  Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?


Jesus went in the Spirit and announced the news to the people in Sheol (1 Peter 3: 18, 19).  Those who had died in faith received their son ship and righteousness that instant.  They had their Pentecost in the “lower parts of the earth.”  They were led into Heaven where they are now members of the same body with us, making but one family in God (1 Cor. 12:13).  Thus, these saints were “in Christ” before we were (Heb. 12:23).


We know the O.T. saints are in heaven because of Matthew 8:7-11. Jesus was commending the faith of the centurion, he marveled, and saidassuredly, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel.  I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.


He was saying that many Gentiles will come in with great faith, BUT in verse 12, the sons of the kingdom (Jews) will be cast out into outer darkness.  There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  


The bible speaks of five departments in the underworld of departed spirits. 

1.      Tartarus is a prison for angels (1 Pet. 3:19; 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6-7)

2.      Hell (Mt. 16:18; Lk 16:19-31) This is the torment compartment of sheol-hades where wicked souls have always gone and will always go until the end of the Millennium.  Then the wicked will be brought out of here to be reunited with their resurrected and immortal bodies and to be cast into the lake of fire for eternity. (Rev. 20:11-15)


3.       The Abyss or bottomless pit (Luke 8: 26-31; Rom 10:7; Rev. 9:1-3; 11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1-10;  This is the abode of demons and some angelic beings

4.     The Lake of Fire - This is the eternal hell and perdition of all fallen angels, demons and wicked men.  It is the same as Gahanna.  It is the final hell prepared for the devil and his angels. (Mt. 25:41)  It is eternal in duration.  (Mt. 25:46; Rev. 14:9-14)

5.      Paradise.


The O.T. saints wouldn’t dare address God as “Papa” (the Abba of Romans 8:15).  The Christian enjoys total access and acceptance as God’s own child.  When we die, we will go direct to heaven.  We will be judged at the judgment seat of Christ (I Hope) and will not have to stand before God at the Great White Throne Judgment.


Pastor Carolyn Sissom

Eastgate Ministries Church, 10115 West Hidden Lakes Lane, Richmond, TX


Scripture from K.J.V. I entered into the labors of Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible and Lovett’s Lights on Hebrews.  Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of those who I entered into their labors. 

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