Hebrews 11:30-40 – The few, the many and the justification of faith – The search for our God (2023)

Faith made God's people win battles, endure persecution and anticipate life after death. Joshua led his people around Jericho for seven days, in what must have seemed to pagan onlookers completely nonsensical and ridiculous (Joshua 6). Faith strengthened the Israelites with the conviction that their God could do the impossible.

The heathen prostitute Rahab had heard of the exploits of the God of Israel (Joshua 2:10-12), and her faith in God motivated her to receive the spies. Her faith allowed him to see them as divine agents rather than enemies.

The list of faithful servants in Hebrews 11 consists of six names (v. 32) that were typical of the period of the Judges and early monarchy along with some of the prophets, including Gideon, Barak, Samson, and Jephthah (Judges 4-16). . The faithful works of Samuel and David were recorded in the history of Israel. Samuel was a link between the judges and the monarchy. David was the most revered and prominent representative of the monarchy.

30By faith the walls of Jericho fell afterthe Israeliteshe had marched around them for seven days.31By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with the disobedient, after she received the spies in peace.32And what else should I say? Because time will fail me if I speak of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David and Samuel and the prophets,33who by faith conquered kingdoms, accomplishedacts ofjustice, promises obtained, closing the mouths of lions,34they quenched the power of fire, they escaped the edge of the sword, they became strong out of weakness, they became mighty in war, they put foreign armies to flight.35The women receivedbackhis dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection;36and others suffered mockery and scourging, and, moreover, chains and imprisonment.37They were stoned, they were sawn in half, they were tempted, they were killed by the sword; were dressed in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented38(peopleof whom the world was not worthy), wandering through the deserts,emmountains, andtake refuge incaves and holes in the ground.39And all these, having obtained approval by faith, did not receive the promise,40because God has provided something better for us, so that they without us would not be made perfect. (NASB)

(Video) Jesus' People of Faith, Part 4 - Hebrews 11:30-40


  • Faith in God and His promises allowed the Old Testament saints to cling to His promises and experience God in the most trying circumstances.
  • Faith in God does not guarantee comfort in this world. But such faith has incredible rewards in the world to come.
  • Faith led believers to experience God's best blessing. No matter what it looks like at the time, God has provided something better for us. (vv. 39-40)


Verses 30–31:Readers can also look forward to victory over their enemies (cf. 1:13–14). They might learn from the destruction of the Egyptians and the collapse of the walls of Jericho what triumphs faith can win over its adversaries. If, as seems likely, there were some Gentiles in the church who received this letter, they might take comfort in the experience of "Rahab the harlot," a Gentile who was saved when Jericho was conquered.

Verses 32–35a: There were too many heroes of faith for the writer to cover them all in detail. Quickly, the writer mentioned the various accomplishments of some of them. At the climax of this list are the women who “recovered their dead through the resurrection,” a truly superlative victory for the faith that does not allow death to defeat it (cf. 1 Kings 17:17–24; 2 Kings 4:17–37 ). ).

(Video) A Conquering, Courageous Faith, Part 2 (Hebrews 11:32-40)

Verses 33–34 contain nine statements about the accomplishments of faith. The statements appeared in three groups of three compliments. The first group of statements marked accomplishments such as conquering kingdoms, performing acts of righteousness, and inheriting spiritual promises. By conquering kingdoms, people weak and strong in faith defeated Israel's enemies (Joshua 8:1–29). By performing acts of righteousness, Israel's leaders practiced justice instead of injustice (ie, established justice; 1 Sam. 7:13–17). Upon receiving the promises, the faltering humans clung to God's words and lived by them.

In the second trio, it is resistance actions aimed at rescue. Faith shut the lions' mouths by saving Daniel (Daniel 6). Faith quenched the raging flames with the dealing of Sadrac, Mesac and Abed (Daniel 3). And finally, faith escaped the edge of David's sword in 1 Samuel 23:19–26.

The third trio focuses on the positive accomplishments of believers. Hezekiah found his weakness turned into strength (Isaiah 38). David became mighty in battle and defeated foreign armies (2 Sam. 8:1–18).

Verses 35b–38: In a quick transition of thought, the writer passed from the evident triumphs of faith to what appeared to be its defeats. But these defeats were only apparent, not real. Those who were tortured and refused to be released did so because they knew their suffering would lead to a richer, “better resurrection” experience. Therefore, readers can also endure suffering unconditionally and expect rewards in the world to come. Indeed, all kinds of physical suffering (vv. 36–37, 38b cites about a dozen types of persecution) were endured by people of faith, as well as ostracism from their homes and countries, treatment readers can also experience. to have. to hold on . But with a touch of charm, the writer commented that "the world was not worthy" of those he banished.

(Video) Jesus' People of Faith, Part 1 - Hebrews 11:1-17

Verses 35-38 present a remarkable display of spiritual vigor and endurance. Elisha raised the Shunammite's son (2 Kings 4:18–37) as an example of a woman who welcomed her dead from the dead. Enduring torture required an inner source of strength known only to people of faith.

In intertestamental Jewish writings, a famous story of courageous martyrdom involved the death of a mother and her seven children (see 2 Maccabees 7:1–42). Many scholars feel that the reference to enduring torture in Hebrews 11:35 has this incident in mind. All eight suffered barbaric torture because they refused to disobey God's laws. A touching incident in the story occurred when the pagan king asked the mother to encourage the last of the seven sons to renounce their faith and eat pork. The mother, who had seen six other children die, said to her son: “Do not be afraid of this executioner, but, being worthy of your brothers, accept your death, so that I can receive you again in mercy with your brothers”. The son refused to obey the king's order, and the king treated him angrier than all the other sons.[1]

Joseph (Gen 39:20) and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:2; 37:15) are among those who endured insults, scourgings and imprisonment. Most scholars associate the reference to being cut in two with Isaiah. Although this incident is not mentioned in the Bible, Jewish tradition clings to this terrible manner of the prophet's death. In addition to violent death, we also find instances (v. 37) of prolonged deprivation, including misery, persecution, famine, and severe abuse (1 Kings 18:13).

These cases of extreme difficulty led to the exclamation that the world was not worthy of them (v. 38). These people of faith lived in deserts, mountains and caves. They were banished from society without fellowship. Many of God's servants had to live like animals. Faith in God does not guarantee comfort in this world. Such faith promises abundant reward in the only world that matters.

(Video) Hebrews 11 13-29 Expository Teaching on Our Faith Journey and Our Impossible Trials & Victories

Why are these verses important? Because this really is the death nail to prosperity theology. People say if you really walk by faith you won't get sick. I've heard people say that if you say you have enough faith you won't get cancer. To know? Has this happened to you? They say I don't have enough faith, and that's my problem. They say that I have sin in my life, or that I did something that caused this. Then say I don't have enough faith. Another thing people say is that if you had faith you would be rich and so on. This is pure, pure rubbish. It makes me very angry because some dear saints take it very seriously when you tell them that the reason you are sick is because it is not God's will for you to be sick. We hear this all the time. It is not God's will for you to be sick. Or is it God's will for you to be rich. Well, what about Paul in 2 Corinthians 12? Remember he said Three times I sought the Lord to remove this sting. And they never took that away from me. Never. And when it says three times, you know Paul clung to God three times. It wasn't just a passing prayer at night. Lord bless me. No. Three times he sought the Lord to take it away from me. So we need to know this to combat prosperity theology.

Verses 39–40:In a final summary, the writer pointed out that the great heroes of faith they spoke of had not yet realized their eschatological hopes. This fact shows that “God has provided something better” for them and for us. Indeed, it is "better for us" that the future hopes to which they aspire are postponed, for only then can believers enjoy the present experience of becoming companions of the Messiah who leads them to glory. Consequently, the perfection (cf. 10, 14; 12, 23) of the worthy of the Old Testament, that is, the realization of their hopes, awaits that of all believers.

The promises that believers looked forward to appeared only in Christ. Old Testament saints did not experience eternal inheritance. Their faith earned them an outstanding reputation and the favor of God. They lived and died waiting for a fulfillment none of them saw on earth. The obtaining of benefits did not take place until Christ opened the way to spiritual treasures.

Verse 40 may have been a warning to some Jewish Christians who rejoiced with Jewish heroes to forget their own faults.[2]These believers needed the finishing work that Christian believers could provide. No part of God's community can be complete without the rest.

(Video) Jesus' People of Faith, Part 2 - Hebrews 11:17-22

Christ's revelation of God's redemption allows all believers to experience their eternal inheritance. Eventually, all the redeemed of all ages will be gathered under Christ (Ephesians 1:9–10).

[1]Thomas Lea, “Hebrews,” in Holman New Testament Commentary – Hebrews & James, vol 10, edited by Max Anders (Nashville: B&H Publishing, 1999), 205.

[2]Thomas Lea, “Hebrews,” in Holman New Testament Commentary – Hebrews & James, vol 10, edited by Max Anders (Nashville: B&H Publishing, 1999), 205.


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