Hebrews 11-13

Last night’s church Bible study was all about faith and what it means. We read Hebrews chapters 11-13 and 11 is a very oft quoted chapter on the subject of faith, but really all three chapters stirred our conversation on the topic.

Many are familiar with the opening verse, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” The verses following talk about many of the Old Testament prophets and other followers of God and how miracles were brought about in their lives through them stepping forward believing that indeed the miraculous would occur by the unseen hand of God:

   • Enoch was transformed, becoming immortal, an eternal and taken into heaven.
   • Noah was saved from the flood because he built the ark.
   • Sarah conceived and bore a child when she was past age.
   • Moses’ parents were not a afraid for Moses when they hid him, as they had faith that Moses would be delivered from the Pharaoh.
   • The children of Israel crossed over the Red Sea on dry land.
   • The walls of Jericho fell down.
   • and so many others:

   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 flight the armies of the aliens.
   Women received their dead raised to life again…. [11:33-35]

“For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” [11:10]

“By faith … we are blessed concerning things to come.” (11:20) Seek God and God will reward you. He’s prepared his city for us, we just have to seek it and it is ours.

It has been a mighty and most strange thing for me lately. I have never felt this odd in all my life, never felt the faith I feel within me now. From moment to moment, it feels like… it just feels odd. Like everything is falling together so perfectly. We’ve had such a very strange cool-temperatured summer, things are almost becoming unspeakable. Not that it is dangerous to speak, but that there is no need to speak, there simply is no reason to. Like very soon, with our minds, together, we will be tearing the temple down and that it will be rebuilt anew, in the blink of an eye.

I cannot explain what is coming over me.

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” (12:2) When we consider the moving of mountains as Jesus suggests, yes we can choose to endure the loss of paradise, but we can lay that down, setting our eye upon the highest vision, as an eternal the heavenly city.

Some of the chapter 12 speaks of the concept of empathy:

   Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
   And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.
   Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
   Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God…. [12:12-15]

Faith is living in the grace which leads to the Lord. And as we read, it seems that the believer and the world around them becomes the eternal:

   And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:
   But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
   To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
   And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant…
   Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
   And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
   Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved….
[12:21-24, 26-28]

Right now, everything that is not eternal is being shaken to dust and rubble so that the only thing standing will be the eternal, and the sooner that everybody wakes up to that, the better off we’ll all be. And that really, our faith is the thing that brings the heaven to earth. The more I study the Bible, the more it seems that this book is really the very key to it all.

Some say, we, you and I, everyone in Pomona, and others created the Gulf Oil Spill and finally we decided to turn it off and even get rid of it. I don’t want to “say” it, but I think we’re getting rid of rent and house payments too. I think we’re all going to be standing around soon as Pomonians and we’re going to ask ourselves, “As eternals, what shall do now?” Or maybe, we won’t even speak it.

   Let brotherly love continue.
   Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
   Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
   So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. [13:1-2, 5-6]

We are eternal. We don’t need to covet because God is giving us everything. We don’t need to fear, God abides with us, none can bring us harm, and we are provided for every moment. At this point in the reading, we discussed how in the early church, miracles were an everyday thing. Prisons fell down, freeing the believers. People were miraculously brought to full-health out of sickness.

Chapter 13 speaks of the leaving behind of the Hebrew health laws in favor of having faith in deliverance through Jesus who is “the same yesterday, to day, and forever.” (13:8) As Jesus has said unto the Samaritan woman at the well:

   Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
   But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. [John 4:13-14]

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