Heb 11:1 says, Faith is substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. In this lesson on Heb 11:1-16, we are going to study the evidence of faith.
The elders obtained a good report by faith, v.2. Paul wrote about the faith of some of the Old Testament saints who acted on what they believed. The evidence of their faith is a testimony to the Tribulation saints who are going to have to believe something similar and act on what they believe. Refer back to Heb 10:38, “Now the just shall live by faith”.
By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, v.3. See Jn 1:1-3, Heb 1:3. Believing in the God of creation and worshipping him is part of the everlasting gospel that will be preached during the Tribulation, Rev 14:6-7.
Now, notice the evidence of faith found in the lives of these elders.
Faith evidenced by a more excellent sacrifice – v.4, Abel. Abel believed that a sacrifice from the cursed ground would not be accepted by God. Rather, he believed God would accept the sacrifice of a lamb. His sacrifice foreshadows the more excellent sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. Abel was righteous; Cain was evil, 1 Jn 3:12. Likewise, in the Tribulation, those who believe Jesus will be righteous.
Faith evidenced by a translation – v.5-6, Enoch. Enoch believed that God could translate him (move him from earth to heaven). His faith and translation foreshadow the rapture of the Tribulation saints, Rev 7:3-14; Rev 14:1-3. Enoch was righteous; but the generation in which he lived was ungodly, Jude 14-15. Likewise those in the Tribulation who live by faith will be righteous.
Faith evidenced by an escape from destruction – v.7, Noah. The Tribulation is going to be as the days of Noah, Lk 17:26-27. When they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, 1 Thes 5:3. Destruction comes on them suddenly like the rain suddenly began to fall in Noah’s day. By faith, Noah built the ark. He was a preacher of righteousness, 2 Pet 2:5, to a condemned world. Those in the Tribulation who live by faith won’t be condemned.
Faith evidenced by an obedient departure – v.8-10, Abraham. By faith Abraham left his country to go where God sent him, Gen 12:1-7. He went out to a land which he should after receive for an inheritance, Heb 11:8. His departure is a testimony to the Jews who must run from Judea in the Tribulation, Matt 24:15-21. In their case, they have to flee their future inheritance to go to a place in the wilderness, Rev 12:7, 14. Their inheritance will be inhabited by the wicked during the latter part of the Tribulation.
Faith evidenced by a miraculous conception – v.11-12, Sara. Isaac’s miraculous birth foreshadows Jesus’s miraculous birth and the miraculous birth of a nation in a day, Is 66:7-10. The Jews in the Tribulation will have to believe that their new covenant will be fulfilled and their nation will be saved. This will help them to endure by faith to the end.
Faith evidenced by seeking a better country – v.13-16, the seed all died in faith not having received the promises. They were strangers and pilgrims in the earth. And they that say such things (that they are “strangers and pilgrims”) declare plainly that they seek a country, v.14. The country they will eventually inherit is the promised land, Ezek 47-48.
But they won’t inherit this land and have their own Jerusalem which the Lord hath prepared for them, v.16, where the Lord will dwell, Ezek 48:30-35, until Jesus returns at the Second Coming, as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Hence, in the meantime, they look to the city, which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God, v.10, Rev 21:12-14, Ps 48:2. They desire that better, heavenly country, v.16, because this is where their Redeemer is. Jesus is in heaven.
And they won’t return to the country from whence they came out, like Abraham didn’t return to his country, Gen 24:4-6, because the antichrist is there during the Tribulation, sitting in the temple, 2 Thes 2:3-4. They’ll wait by faith till Jesus returns.