Life-Study of Hebrewsby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Hebrews 11 is a chapter on faith with its history. From verses 3 through 40 it presents a brief history of faith—from God’s creation, through all the generations of God’s chosen people, to all the New Testament believers, consummating with the New Jerusalem in eternity—to prove that faith is the unique pathway for God’s seekers to receive His promise and take His way. As He inspired the writing of this chapter, the Holy Spirit certainly had such a view. Everyone involved in this history of faith was a witness. Hence, Hebrews 11 is not only a chapter on faith with its history, but also with its witnesses. The word “witness” here refers to the person testifying, not to the testimony. In Greek, the word for witness is the same as the word for martyr. Every witness is a martyr, suffering martyrdom for the testimony of faith. In this chapter we read of many martyrs (vv. 32-39). Some were stoned and others were sawn in two. In this message, we shall consider the history of faith, especially concentrating on the consummation of this history, which is very much related to us.
Verse 3 says, “By faith we understand that the universe has been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen has not come into being from things which appear.” Scholars have spent a great deal of time in attempting to learn how the universe was framed. All their propositions regarding this are nonsense. The universe was framed by the word of God. God spoke and it came into being. We do not know this by our five senses; we know it by faith, by our substantiating sense.
Verse 4 says, “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained testimony that he was righteous, God testifying to his gifts, and through it, he having died still speaks.” According to typology, Abel’s more excellent sacrifice was a type of Christ who is the real “better sacrifices” (9:23). In our reading of Hebrews, we can see that only Christ Himself is the more excellent sacrifice. By faith, Abel offered the type of such a sacrifice.
Verse 5 says, “By faith Enoch was translated so that he should not see death, and was not found, because God had translated him. For before his translation he obtained the testimony that he was well-pleasing to God.” Enoch was not only translated from death but from the seeing of death.
Verse 7 says, “By faith Noah, having been warned concerning things not yet seen, being devout, prepared an ark for the salvation of his house, through which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” Consider Noah’s situation: as he was building an ark for a flood that was to come, no one believed him. The sky was clear and no one expected a flood to come. Nevertheless, substantiating the coming flood by faith, Noah built the ark.
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