Hebrews 11:1-5
Heb 11:1 (KJB)
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Faith - As we enter the faith chapter it must be realized that faith is always a noun and it is not a verb which would denote work.
The substance - Underlying essence or reality
Evidence - Proof, conviction or evident demonstration
As the inspired writer has been warning against the sin of unbelief, he now begins to pen the antidote which is faith. In the entire New Testament the word “faith” is always a noun plus it is a fruit of the Spirit. (Gal 5:22 KJV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Every one of these items is a noun which means none of them are a work. The word “believe” in the New Testament is a verb and that is the work. The fact is that a person must have faith before they can believe. As we saw above that “faith” is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Nowhere in the Scriptures are we told that a person can believe without faith. Faith directs us to the object of our belief. It is impossible for any person to believe without having the undergirding of faith. Man’s condition before salvation is one of being spiritually dead. (Eph 2:5 KJV) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
In the opening verse the writer states that faith is the substance of things hoped for. This means that a person walks by faith until they receive the promise which God has promised them. A person who has obtained the object of their faith no longer walks by faith toward that object. A person walks by faith in the anticipation phase of their life. As Christians we anticipate the return of the Lord Jesus Christ and we continue to walk by faith till it happens and when it does, then the faith will be sight. Then the writer states that faith is the “evidence of things not seen.” We have not seen God nor the Lord Jesus Christ, yet our faith in them is the evidence of their existence. For if they did not exist (as the atheists are hoping) then there would be no implanting of faith in the believer which means there would be no ability to believe. The faith that we walk in concerning the return of Christ is the evidence that this event is going to take place and until it does we walk in faith expecting it to occur. So basically faith is invisible evidence just as the wind is invisible yet we can see the evidence of it when it stirs up a tree.
Heb 11:2 (KJB)
For by it the elders obtained a good report.
As we will see in this chapter, the elders in view were the Old Testament Patriarchs who believed God and as a result, they obtained a favorable testimony. No one will doubt that Abraham’s testimony was not undergirded by faith because he believed God and all that he did was in response to the faith which God gave him. Joseph is another example who had great faith in God and after a period of 13 years of testing went from prisoner to Governor of all of Egypt. His too was also a great testimony.
Heb 11:3 (KJB)
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
The tremendous advantage the believer has is that they are able to explain the origin of the universe. It is through faith in God that we understand His ability to create and that for Him to have such extensive powers. The unbeliever has to create all kinds of fantasies to explain the origins of the universe and, of course, the Big Bang theory is the most prevalent one. The question I have is if the Universe is made of exploding matter, then how did the huge amount of matter get there in the first place so it could explode and what caused it to explode? God created the Universe Ex Nihilo which means “out of nothing.” This means that the material which makes up the Universe, did not exist in any form before creation. The material came into being when God spoke it into existence. The unbeliever being spiritually dead will have no ability to believe God created the Universe since they have not had faith implanted in them by means of the fruit of the Spirit. On the other hand, the believer has full faith and confidence that God created the Earth and Universe and was created in such a way that it causes the unbeliever to stumble in their understanding. For example, a star which is 100 million light years away, God created it at a vast distance from earth and the light from it instantly hits the earth. The unbeliever believes that the light took 100 million years to reach Earth and therefore surmises that the earth must be at least 100 million years old, although the evolutionist claims it is about 4 billion years old. Yet the believer can look at some of the beautiful things in the Universe and see the handiwork of God, such things as the Horse Head Nebula or the Crab Nebula.
Horse head Nebula - http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_89.html
Crab Nebula - http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_567.html
Heb 11:4 (KJB)
By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
A more excellent - More or greater - It is a comparative adjective
He obtained witness - Borne witness
Here the writer begins to give three examples of how faith in service to God produces a more excellent result. He starts off with Abel concerning his sacrifice. He immediately states that Abel was a believer because he had faith. As we saw before no one could have faith unless the Holy Spirit indwells them imparting the fruits of the Spirit to the individual. We read that Abel’s sacrifice was more excellent than Cain’s. “More excellent” is a comparative adjective which means that both sacrifices were compared and Abel’s was found to be superior. Abel’s sacrifice, mixed with faith, was evidence that Abel was a believer but Cain was not. (1 John 3:12 KJV) Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous. 1 John 3:12 speaks of Cain being of that wicked one, that is, he was a child of Satan and there is no way that a child of Satan can be righteous before God. God even bore witness of the fact that Abel was a righteous man. We do not know what method God had used to affirm the righteous sacrifice of Abel for sometimes God would affirm the sacrifice by sending down fire such as in the case of Elijah on Mt. Carmel. Nevertheless, God had accepted his sacrifice because Abel was righteous and his life still stands as a testimony even though he is dead. His life is a reminder to all that one must have faith, that is, be saved, to be approved by God.
Heb 11:5 (KJB)
By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
(Gen 5:23-24 KJV) And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: {24} And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. Here we read that Enoch had walked with God. The Hebrew word “halakh” for “walked” carries with it both figurative and literal meanings. The figurative meaning is applied in Genesis 5:24 that Enoch had walked righteously before the Lord. He had a testimony that he pleased God. Here is a proof that Enoch was a believer because the unbeliever cannot please God. (Rom 8:8 KJV) So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
Those in the flesh cannot please God and the difference between the unbeliever and the believer is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Enoch had the fruit of the Spirit which was evidenced by faith. God took him to Heaven and he did not see death. Enoch’s translation was a figure of the rapture of the believers which will take place on the last day. There will be millions of believers who will not see death when the Lord returns. It is important to note that the verse tells us that “before” his translation he had the testimony of faith. This tells us that to get to Heaven, one must be born again on this side of the grave. It also teaches the believers that the only time we can garner a good life’s testimony is before we are taken to Heaven, either by physical death or the return of the Lord. We only have this time to available to us to walk in a manner to please God. That is why this life, even though transitory, is very important and should not be taken lightly.