By Faith, Heb 11:23-40

In Heb 11:23-40, Paul recounts how former Jewish saints lived by faith and accomplished great things.  By their example, he encourages Jewish Tribulation saints to live by faith, as well.  

By faith they overcame fear – 11:23, 27.  Moses’s parents were not afraid of the king’s commandment when they hid their child for three months, Ex 2:2.  The king had commanded that all males born to Hebrew parents were to be drowned in the river, Ex 1:22.

Moses was not afraid of the king’s wrath when he forsook Egypt, Ex 10:28-29.  Moses had “seen by faith” (Heb 11:1) our God who is invisible.  Likewise, the Tribulation saints will have to overcome the fear of the antichrist by faith during the Tribulation, Matt 10:28.

By faith they made implausible choices – 11:24-27.  When Pharaoh’s daughter found Moses by the river’s brink, she took him to be her son, Ex 2:10.  But when Moses was grown, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, though he could have enjoyed the pleasures of royalty and the treasures in Egypt.  He chose rather to suffer affliction with his own people, Ex 1:12-14; 2:23.

His choice is an example and encouragement to the Tribulation saints.  The reproach of Christ, which they will bear, is greater riches than the treasures in Egypt (a type of the world under the antichrist’s rule) because of the recompense of the reward (see Heb 10:34-35).  The pleasures of sin and the riches in Egypt are but for a season.

By faith they saw God do incredible miracles – 11:28-31.  They saw the death of every firstborn male of men and cattle, while their own firstborn, protected by the blood of the passover lamb, were spared, Ex 12:21-23, 29-30.

They miraculously passed through the Red Sea on dry ground.  Yet, when Pharaoh and his army tried to pass through, they were drowned, Ex 14:21-22, 26-29.

They saw the walls of Jericho crumble after they had walked around them seven days, and yet Rahab and her family were spared in her home on the wall, Jos 6:20-23; 2:15.  Her portion of the wall miraculously didn’t fall.  Likewise, Israel will, by faith, witness incredible miracles at the hand of God.

By faith they won impossible victories – 11:32-35.  Gideon defeated 135,000 Midianites with 300 men, Jud 7:7, 8:10.  Barak defeated Sisera and a superior army with only ten thousand men, Jud 4:13-16.  Samson slew a thousand men with the jawbone of an ass, Jud 15:15-16, and three thousand men and women when he “brought the house down”, Jud 16:27-30.  Jephthah subdued the children of Ammon, Jud 11:32-33.  David delivered Israel from all their enemies, 2 Sam 22:1; 1 Ki 5:3-4.  And when Samuel judged Israel, the Philistines were subdued, and the hand of the Lord was against them all the days of Samuel, 1 Sam 7:7-13.

Through faith they:

  • Subdued kingdoms – like Hezekiah and Judah subdued the Assyrians, 2 Ki 19:32-37.
  • Wrought righteousness – like Josiah led Judah back to the Lord, 2 Ki 23:3-25.
  • Obtained promises – like Judah’s return from their Babylonian captivity, Neh 1:8-9.
  • Stopped lions’ mouths – like Daniel in the lion’s den, Dan 6:22.
  • Quenched fire – like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, Dan 3:27-28.
  • Escaped the sword – like David escaped Saul, 1 Sam 24:15.
  • Were made strong out of weakness – as when Jehoshaphat and Judah defeated the children of Moab and Ammon and the inhabitants of Mount Seir, 2 Chr 20:12-17, 23-24.
  • Fought valiantly – like David’s mighty men, 2 Sam 23:8-12.
  • Turned armies to flight – as when the Syrians fled from before Samaria, 2 Ki 7:6-7.
  • Received their dead raised to life – as when Elijah raised the widow’s son, 1 Ki 17:19-23, and Elisha raised the woman of Shunem’s son, 2 Ki 4:32-36.

Likewise, Israel will have to depend upon God by faith to give them a miraculous victory over the antichrist and his army.

By faith they endured unimaginable affliction – 11:35-38.  The affliction that Jewish saints endured typifies the unimaginable affliction that the Jewish saints will endure during the Tribulation, Matt 24:21.  These afflictions will include torture, mocking, scourging (Matt 10:17), imprisonment (Rev 2:10), stoning (Acts 7:58-59), sawing asunder (like the Ammonites in 1 Chr 20:3), being slain with the sword (Rev 12:11, 20:4), and wandering in skins, in deserts (Rev 12:6), mountains (Matt 24:16), dens, and caves.

As the world was not worthy of the former saints, the world will not be worthy of these faithful saints who endure such affliction.

Conclusion: 11:39-40, The Tribulation saints must live by the same faith as these former saints to receive the promise that was given to them and to be perfected with them.  They should be  encouraged to endure to the end to receive the new covenant promised to Israel, the land grant promised to Abraham, and the eternal life promised by Jesus Christ.

To study the prior lesson, see The Just Shall Live By Faith. To study the next lesson, see, Duties of Tribulation Saints.