Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 2 * BOOK 52
By Faith – Part 2
Now let’s continue with our Bible study in the Book of Hebrews. In our last lesson we finished verse 9 of chapter 11. So let’s go to verse 10.
“For he…” Abraham – because of that Abrahamic Covenant. And I just put on the board the basics of the Abrahamic Covenant – and those of you who have heard me teach at seminars and so forth, this is almost a staple of my teaching format; that that Abrahamic Covenant in a nutshell, was that out of Abraham would come a nation of people. And one day God would move them into a strip of land that He had promised and deeded to Abraham. And then someday in the future, of course never setting dates, that someday in the future He would provide their government in the Person (Christ as) their King.
And so all of the Old Testament then, from Genesis chapter 12 on up until the New Testament opens up, is looking forward to that coming promised King. As I mentioned in the last program, they became a nation of people when they were in Egypt in slavery. And maybe we should go look at the verse. Come all the way back to Genesis chapter 46, and let’s start with verse 1. And of course, we’re up to the time of Jacob, and his son Joseph is already down in Egypt.
“And Israel (the man Jacob) took his journey with all that he had and came to Beersheba, (which is down in the Negev or South of Jerusalem) and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac. 2. And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I.” 3. And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt;…” Now you remember in the last program we read where God told Isaac what? Don’t go to Egypt. Sojourn in the land of promise and I will bless you. So it was a forbidden territory to go down into Egypt. But now you see, God in His Sovereignty, He can do this. Now He tells Jacob:
“…fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there (down in Egypt) make of thee a great nation:” See how plain this is. Now they were down in Egypt then another 215 years. That’s a long time. See I’m afraid, too many times, people do not take time in Scripture in its full impact because we look at the whole period of 6,000 years and consequently we think 200 is just a drop in the bucket. But, 200 years is 200 years. That’s a long time. Look what America has done in the last hundred, let alone two hundred. And so, 215 years from the time that Jacob goes down into Egypt until Moses brings them out, and they are now several million people. I always say from six to seven million. And they were the largest individual nation group in the whole Middle East. And so they were a great nation of people, all because of Abraham’s response of faith. Now back to Hebrews chapter 11, and verse 10.
“For he looked for a city (a city of which this King would be ruling and reigning) which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
Now, of course, the book of Revelation hadn’t been written yet and so that gorgeous city foursquare had not been even mentioned anywhere in Scripture. But I think that has a part in everything that Abraham was looking forward to – that when God would literally rule on the planet and He would be in control, it would be Heaven on earth. And that’s why it’s called then “the Gospel of the Kingdom” because Heaven would come down on earth in the Person of the King. Well, all that was out in the future from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’s day, but they looked forward by faith. All right, now verse 11.
“Through faith also Sara (the true wife of Abram) herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child (when?) when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.” It was a miraculous birth. They were way beyond the age of childbearing. But God, in His Sovereignty brought it about and so she was delivered when she was past age because of her faith.
Now you’re going to probably get tired of hearing me hammer faith, but remember, this is what God is looking for. God wants people who will believe what He says. And it’s just a matter of responding to His Sovereignty – to say, “Yes, God I believe you. I believe every word you say and have said.” And that’s pleasing to His ears. All right, that’s the whole idea, how that God responds to the faith of human kind. Now verse 12. So because of the faith of Abraham and Sarah:
“Therefore sprang there even of one, (one man) and him as good as dead,…” Because he was a hundred. I hope there’s no hundred-year-old ones in here! (Laughter) I’ve had a few in my classes over the years. In fact, I think the lady might have just passed away. Owen, where are you? When I was teaching some over in your nursing home, we had that lady who was a little over a hundred and she and her husband had actually served the American Government with Chiang Kai-shek, you remember that Owen? That’s a long time ago. Oh, she said, we had many a formal dinner with Chiang Kai-shek and his lovely wife. But she was a hundred years old. And that’s a long time of living. But that’s how old Abraham was when Isaac is born. Even in that period of time it was past the age of normal childbearing. All right, so “him as good as dead.” Now finishing the verse.
“…so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.” Now I’m sure that that’s a play on words. It’s just simply to show us that the number of people that came from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were such a multitude. Now again, I’m stressing everywhere I teach, and I haven’t done much of it on the program, but I’ll probably hit a little more in a later half hour today. But, do you realize that the Jewish people who had been scattered into every nation under heaven for the last, you might say, 2,600 years, going back to Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian captivity – they have been scattered out amongst all the nations of the world. They should have disappeared. They should have just simply been assimilated into the other nations of people, by intermarriage and what have you.
But because of these promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob there, they are back in the land tonight. And the world can’t comprehend it. But the little Nation of Israel is there because God has kept them under His wing, even though they’re there in unbelief. I wouldn’t doubt but that there are more almost agnostic, if not atheistic Jews in Israel than believers of any sort. But God has kept them in spite of all of their adversity. They have not intermarried to the place that they lose their identity and they’re still God’s covenant nation. And I don’t think people stop to analyze that. That a little nation of only an average of 10 million people should have disappeared. They should have just gone out into the various nations by intermarriage and lost their identity. But they didn’t. And there they are. A Jew is a Jew is a Jew.
I was reading in some magazine the other night. A Jewish community clear up in the boondocks of Siberia. And they had their Synagogue and they had been practicing Judaism for centuries. Just a little pocket of them. Well, that’s the way it’s been all the way around the world. And they have kept their identity. All right, so here it is. Verse 13 now.
“These all died in (what?) faith,…” They never stopped believing that this Abrahamic promise was going to be fulfilled through this nation of people coming from these three men. All right, they didn’t receive the promises. Not on this earth.
“…not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Why? Well, as yet they don’t have a designated homeland. They do not have a designated king or government or constitution. They are just simply held together by God’s invisible power. But nevertheless, they’ve always survived as a nation of people. All right now then, verse 14.
“For they that say such things declare plainly (without any gobbledy-gook to it) that they seek a country.” One that would be ruled by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Now let’s see, let’s go back to Luke. I don’t think I did this in the last several programs and if I did, it won’t hurt to repeat. Let’s go back to Luke chapter 1 – and this of course is the father of John the Baptist at the time of John the Baptist’s birth. So, we’re approaching the coming of the Messiah but He certainly hasn’t made His appearance as yet. So the father of John the Baptist by virtue of being filled with the Holy Spirit, up there in verse 67:
“And his father (that is the father of John the Baptist) Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, (or spoke forth) saying, 68. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel;…”Now every time I teach this I make the point – there’s no Gentile in here. Not a reference to anybody but Jews. Israel. “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel.” Now we know the Abrahamic Covenant looks way past all this to when this Messiah will become the Savior of the whole world but, remember, He’s going to deal with Israel first. You know I’m always quoting Romans 15 verse 8 – I guess I’ll quote it every chance I get.
“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” That’s what Paul writes in Romans, that Jesus Christ came to confirm these promises that Hebrews is also reviewing. And now this is what Zacharias is talking about. The promises that have been made to Israel. All right, verse 69.
“And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us (Israel) in the house of his servant David; (how many Gentiles in the House of David? None. We’re not talking to Gentiles. We’re talking to Israel. Read on.) 70. As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, (the Old Testament) which have been since the world (ages) began:” Here it comes in verse 71.
“That we (the Nation of Israel) should be saved from our enemies,…” Now goodness sakes, who were Israel’s enemies at the time of the birth of John the Baptist? Well, the same ones that are there today. Nothing’s changed. The Egyptians hated the Jews. The Syrians hated the Jews. The Arab world hated the Jews. This is nothing new. And so this is what Zacharias is proclaiming. “Oh, when their Messiah comes they’ll be protected from all their enemies.”
“…and from the hand of all that hate us; 72. To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; 73. The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,” They hadn’t forgotten what God had promised to Abraham. That’s been handed down – and then the prophets started writing as the Spirit moved them and everything is moving toward the time when the promises made to Abraham would become fulfilled. And then, goodness sakes, because of the rejection of the Messiah and crucifying Him, God stretched out another 2,000 years by dispersing them into the nations of the world and turned to us Gentiles with the Gospel of Grace through the Apostle Paul. But listen, everything we’re seeing on the planet today is screaming – now I don’t set dates, it may be another 50 years, you know a year is nothing in God’s sight. But it certainly wouldn’t appear that it could be that long because everything now is getting ready for the final fulfillment of all these promises.
Israel is back in the land for the most part. Oh, they’ve still got a tough row to hoe. They’re not through by any means. In fact come back with me to Matthew chapter 24, and this tells you that Israel’s worst is still ahead of them and I think we all realize that it must be awful to live in constant fear of somebody blowing up your bus or shooting at your car. But, they’ve still got, at least for now, America as a friend. They’ve got a few other areas of the world that still are friends of Israel, but listen, this is what’s coming. And this is from the words of the Lord Himself. And if anybody…anybody shows any doubt about the current scenario in the Middle East, just show them a verse like this. Hey, this is all promised. Israel is just at the beginning; the worst is yet to come.
“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, (that is the powers that be.) and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” Now, never forget, why are the Jews such a hated people? Because Satan knew, from the day that God told Abraham, that that nation of people would be the nation through whom all the blessings of the world would come. And Satan knew that if he could destroy the Jewish people, then everything that God said falls through the cracks. And so this is why they’ve been under such intense pressure. Satan is doing everything he can to thwart the will of God and if God does not have the Nation of Israel on which He can fulfill His promises, then He’s lost His Sovereignty and Satan knows that. And so this is why we have to pray for the Jewish people – they are under a Satanic attack, because Satan wants to destroy them.
Come back to Luke chapter 1, I didn’t quite finish there. Luke chapter 1 again, and just another verse or two, then we’ll go back to Hebrews. We did verse 73. “The oath which he sware to our father Abraham.” Now here comes the promise again. Now remember this Zacharias, a priest of Israel, is under the power of the fullness of the Holy Spirit as he speaks.
“That he would grant unto us, (the Nation of Israel) that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him (their Messiah, their King, their Savior, their Redeemer. How?) without fear, (it’ll be Heaven on earth. See?) 75. In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.” Now that’s what Israel is waiting for. When they can live in total peace and in fellowship with their God and they can see fulfilled these covenant promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. All right, let’s come back to Hebrews chapter 11 once again and make a little headway this half-hour. And now verse 13.
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, (they never did have that king. They never did have that glorious kingdom on earth. They died looking for it.) but (they)having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, (by faith, remember) and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” They alone were in that place of promised blessings. All right, verse 14.
“For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.” Now that’s kind of a tough verse because it’s a lot of “double” in there. But, had they been mindful of the Ur of Chaldees or maybe even Egypt, then they would have been from the human side, drawn back, and they would have never had the faith to accept the glorious thing that was still future. Because you remember, when they came out of Egypt and they were under all the trials and tribulations of that desert existence, what was their murmuring statement? “Oh, would to God that we’d stayed in Egypt.” See? At least we didn’t have to swallow dust every day. But, the whole idea was that out of their adversity would come the blessings.
And I guess the lesson is for us isn’t it? You know I’ve said on this program over and over – God never, through Paul’s writings or anybody else, promises the believer a life of a rose-petaled pathway. A lot of people try to tell us that but it’s not true. God does not promise us a rose-petaled pathway. On the other hand we are promised that we are going to have tribulation. We’re going to suffer. We’re going to have obstacles ahead of us. And in spite of it all our faith keeps looking past all of that.
And so this is a whole concept of Christian living that we don’t have to have all these good things every day of our lives. That’s not what we’re here for. But we are going to suffer adversity as well as enjoy the blessings. Okay, now verse 16. Here we come to that word that we’ve seen all through the book of Hebrews. What is it? Better. B-E-T-T-E-R. Verse 16.
“But now (because of faith) they desire a better country,…” Remember how we’ve been stressing this all through Hebrews that everything in the past was okay, it was good. But this is so much better – even the eternal view. This is so much better, because now they were looking for not just the earthly things, but heavenly things.
“…that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” I was going to take you back to Revelation this time, but I don’t have to, because you all know what it is. The streets paved with pure gold. The gates made of pure pearl. And all the gemstones that you can imagine are the stones of the foundation. Oh, that city is coming. God hasn’t forgotten. God is never going to go back on His Word. And so this beautiful city that they were looking for by faith, will one day become a reality!