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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: The Letter to the Hebrews

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Frameworks: Hebrews 11 & 12

 

(The objective of these ‘Frameworks' is to provide an easy-to-read layout of the text in order then to use these individual verses for verse-by-verse study or meditation. To focus each verse we have also added in italic a simple comment of what is happening)

  

GO TO Ch.12

    

FRAMEWORKS: Hebrews 11: The Gallery of Faith

     

v.1-3 Faith Basics
v.4-7 Faith: Abel to Noah
v.8-12 The Faith of Abraham
v.13-16 Faith is looking for More
v.17-22 Faith: Abraham to Joseph
v.23-31 Faith: Moses, the Exodus and taking the Land
v.32-40 Faith: the wider picture

 

 

v.1-3 Faith Basics

 

v.1 (a basic definition) Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

v.2 (just see it in the Old Testament) This is what the ancients were commended for.

v.3 (it starts by believing in the Creation by God) By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

 

 

v.4-7 Faith: Abel to Noah

 

v.4 (it was seen in the way one son brought a heart-felt offering) By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

v.5 (it was seen in this embryonic walk with God) By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” [Gen 5:24] For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.

v.6 (the definition is extended) And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

v.7 (it was seen in Noah's response to God) By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

 

 

v.8-12 The Faith of Abraham

 

v.8 (likewise in the way Abram left home.. [Gen 12]) By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

v.9 (… and made his home in Canaan..) By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.

v.10 (… the way he was looking for a community, a dwelling of people with God in the midst…) For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose arhitect and builder is God.

v. 11 (…the way Sarah even came to the point of believing for the impossible… ) And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.

v.12 ( … the way this nation thus came into being) And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

 

 

v.13-16 Faith is looking for More

 

v.13 (faith looked beyond death..) All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.

v.14 (.. looking for an eternal dwelling) People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.

v.15 (it was beyond their present earthly experience) If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.

v.16 (they looked to heaven, to their God and His eternal city) Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

 

 

v.17-22 Faith: Abraham to Joseph

 

v.17,18 (yes, Abraham's faith even stretched to being prepared to let Isaac go [Gen 22]) By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” [Gen 21:12]

v.19 (he trusted in a God of resurrection) Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

v.20 (Isaac's stumbling blessing of his two sons was an act of faith [Gen 27]) By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.

v.21 (similarly Jacob when prophesying over Joseph's sons was moving in faith [Gen 48]) By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

v.22 (by faith Joseph at the end of his life believed God would return them to Canaan [Gen 50:24,25]) By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.

 

 

v.23-31 Faith: Moses, the Exodus and taking the Land

 

v.23 (Moses' godly parents acted in faith by hiding him) By faith Moses' parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king's edict.

v.24 (it was an act of faith that made Moses believe for his people) By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter.

v.25,26 (by faith he stepped out [wrongly as it happened] to save them) He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.

v.27 (his faith was seen in obedience to God despite Pharaoh's anger) By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.

v.28 (by faith he and his people kept the first Passover [Ex 12-]) By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

v.29 (by faith they came to an impossible place and went through on dry land) By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

v.30 (by faith Joshua obeyed God's instructions) By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.

v.31 (by faith Rahab changed sides) By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.

 

 

v.32-40 Faith: the wider picture

 

v.32-36 ( .. and indeed there were so many more who demonstrated faith) And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.

v.37,38 (… death did not deter them) They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

v.39,40 (these wonderful men and women persevered even though still waiting for God's promises to be fulfilled) These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

 

 

[Comment: The Flow of Writing: Remember at the end of chapter 10 the writer referred to "those who have faith and are saved." He has now been encouraging his readers by the many examples of faith throughout the Old Testament and will use these to launch into more encouragement at the satart of the next chapter.]    

 

 

 

 

FRAMEWORKS: Hebrews 12: Exhortation, Discipline, Exhortations, Today's reality

 

v.1-3 Run the Race Jesus did
v.4-13 God's Discipline
v.14-17 Four Exhortations
v.18-21 Sinai: The Mountain of Fear
v.22-29 Zion: The Mountain of Joy

 

v.1-3 Run the Race Jesus did

 

v.1,2 (with all these people in mind, may we too go all out for it, letting Jesus be our example of an overcomer) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

v.3 (let his overcoming resistance help you to keep going) Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

 

 

v.4-13 God's Discipline

 

v.4 (it may be a struggle but not yet shedding blood) In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

v.5,6 (if God has to rebuke and discipline you, see it as His love for you as His child) And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline,   and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,   and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” [Prov 3:11,12]

v.7 (if life seems tough, take is as training [discipline is more to do with training than correction or punishment]) Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?

v.8 (where there is no discipline you wonder if you are a true child) If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.

v.9 (if our human fathers disciplined us, why not God) Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!

v.10 (God's discipline is always for our good) They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.

v.11 (it may appear hard at the time but it will create righteousness and peace in you) No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

v.12 (so be strengthened) Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.

v.13 (let your faith be purposeful so you will not stagger) “Make level paths for your feet,” [Prov 4:26] so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

 

 

v.14-17 Four Exhortations

 

v.14 (let peace and holiness work in you) Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

v.15 (get God's grace and avoid becoming bitter) See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

v.16 (avoid all forms of immorality) See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.

v.17 (Esau blew it and couldn't backtrack) Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.

 

 

v.18-21 Sinai: The Mountain of Fear

 

v.18-20 (you are not experiencing Sinai and the Law again) You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded, "If any animal touches the mountain it must be stoned to death."  [Exo 19:12,13]

v.21 (which just creates guilt and fear ) The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.” [Deut 9:19]

 

 

v.22-29 Zion: The Mountain of Joy

 

v.22-24 (but instead you have come to wonderful community life with God and all that means) But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

v.25 (make sure we heed him, not like those in the past who fell) See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven?

v.26 (He's come to shake everything of the old that can be shaken..) At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” [Hag 2:6]

v.27 (so that the new world He brings will be all that remains) The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

v.28,29 (so let's thank and worship Him that we now have an unshakable kingdom) Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” [Deut 4:24]

 

  

[Comment: The Flow of Writing: With all the testimonies of chapter 11 in mind, let's make sure we persevere just like Jesus did, and if life gets tough, let's just see it as God training us by coping with hardships to bring out a harvest of peace and holiness and righteous living not letting any of the sins from the past return that might cause our downfall. Remember we're following the paths that Israel followed after Sinai, of following the Law, failing and feeling guilty. No we have a new life that culminates in living in the heaven community with God. Let's let those things encourage, strengthen, and keep us.]

 

(CONTINUE to CHAPTER 13)