1 Persuasion confirms confident expectation and proves the unseen world to be more real than the seen. Faith celebrates as certain what hope visualizes as future. (The shadow no longer substitutes the substance. Jesus is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of everything the prophets foretold. The unveiling of Christ in human life completes man’s every expectation. Col 1:27.)
2 People of previous generations received the testimony of their hope in faith. It was faith that made their hope tangible. (Only the Messiah can give substance to the Messianic hope. No substitute will suffice!)
3 Faith alone explains what is not apparent to the natural eye; how the ages were perfectly framed by the Word of God. Now we understand that everything visible has its origin in the invisible.
4 It was faith that made the difference between the sacrifices of Abel and Cain, and confirmed Abel’s righteousness. God bore witness to righteousness as a gift rather than a reward! Even though he was murdered, his faith still has a voice today. (It was not in what they brought, but in Abel’s faith that righteousness was revealed.)
5 Enoch enjoyed God’s favor by faith, in spite of Adam’s fall; he proved that faith defeats death. (His absent body prophesied the resurrection of Christ; faith does not die!)
6 There is no substitute reward for faith. Faith’s return exceeds any other sense of achievement. Faith knows that God is; those who desire to respond to his invitation to draw near, realize by faith that he is life’s most perfect gift. (If he is the desired one then no substitute will suffice. Jesus Christ defines God’s faith; he is Emmanuel. He is the substance and evidence of all that God believes. Jesus is what God believes. The word translated “reward” is the word misthapodotes. This word is only used once in the Bible and is an interesting combination of two words, misthoo, a wage and apodidomi to give away; righteousness is revealed by faith as a gift and not as a reward for keeping the law; faith pleases God, not good or bad behavior.)
7 Noah received Divine instruction to save his household from judgment; faith prompted him to construct the Ark immediately, long before the rains were evident. His faith demonstrated the difference between judgment and justification.
8 By faith Abraham acknowledged the call of God which gave him his identity and destiny, as evidence of his inheritance as he journeyed into the unknown. (The word, kaleo, means to call, to identify by name, to surname.)
9 Nothing but his faith seemed permanent while Abraham camped in tents like a stranger in the land of promise. His sons Isaac and Jacob joined him as sojourners; equally persuaded that they were heirs of the same promise.
10 His faith saw a city with permanent foundations, designed and constructed by God.
11 Sarah’s testimony of faith is just as amazing: she conceived and bore a child when it was humanly impossible. She believed that God would be faithful to his promise, and gave that belief authority over her life. (The word, hegeomai, strengthened form of ago, to officially appoint in a position of authority.)
12 Faith brought into reality an offspring beyond calculation; from one as good as dead children would be born more numerous than the stars and as impossible to count as the grains of sand on every distant sea shore. (The uttermost parts of the earth, bordered by the sea shore, will know the blessing of righteousness by faith which is the blessing of Abraham, meant for the entire world.[1 Pet 1:3] )
13 These heroes of faith all died believing. Although they did not witness the promise in their lifetime, they saw its fulfillment in the future and embraced the promise by their persuasion. Convinced of its reality; they declared by their way of living that they were mere sojourners and pilgrims in a shadow land whose geography could neither confine nor define their true inheritance.
14 They clearly declared by faith a hinterland beyond their immediate horizon. (A place of promise where God and man would be one again.)
15 They did not regret the country they had left behind. Their faith took them beyond the point of no return. (Do not allow the contradictions in your past or present to become your reference once again. James says that the person who goes back into an old mind-set immediately forgets what manner of man he is, as revealed in the mirror word, the law of perfect liberty [Jas 1:24, 25]. The revelation concerning who man is in Christ declares that the old things have passed away [in his death]. Behold, everything has become new! In his resurrection we were born anew. [2 Cor 5:14-17, 1 Pet 1:3])
16 Their faith saw a greater reality in the spiritual realm than that which they experienced in their present situation; they reached for their true native city designed by God where he himself is proud to be their permanent address. (The fulfillment of the promise is Christ. He is both our native land and our eternal city!)
17 Faith became a more tangible evidence of the promise than even Isaac could ever be to Abraham. Isaac neither fulfilled nor replaced the promise. Inspired by what faith saw, Abraham was ready to do the ridiculous; to sacrifice his only son, convinced that not even Isaac’s death could nullify the promise that God had made to him. (If Isaac was not the substance of Abraham’s faith then who was? Abraham saw beyond Isaac. Jesus said, “Abraham saw my day!” [Jn 8:56-58] “Before Abraham was, I am.”)
18 Yet Abraham knew that God had said that his lineage of faith would be traced through Isaac!
19 He made a prophetic calculation by faith to which there could only be one logical conclusion based on the word he had received: that God would raise the promise from the dead. (In the context of Abraham’s vision, this was an analogy pointing to the parable of the death and resurrection of Christ. A calculation, logical conclusion, from the word, logitzomai, from logos; God’s faith is God’s logic.)
20 By the same faith Isaac extended the future of the promise in the blessing he pronounced over his sons, Esau and Jacob.
21 In his dying moments, Jacob, in worship to the God of Abraham, as the father of the nations, included in the promise the sons of Joseph who were born in Egypt. (In exalting the two grandsons into the rank and right of Joseph’s brothers, he bestowed on them, rather than on Reuben, the double portion of the first-born. Again, faith exceeds the natural. Even though they had an Egyptian mother, they would have an equal interest in all the spiritual and temporal blessings of the covenant of promise.)
22 At the end of his life, Joseph prophetically reminded his sons of the exodus. He had such a firm belief that they would possess the land of promise that he exacted an oath from them: they were not to leave his bones in Egypt.
23 By faith the parents of Moses did not fear the king’s decree, but hid him from Pharaoh for three months, because they saw a future in the child.
24 It was faith that made Moses realize that he was not the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.
25 By faith he preferred to be associated with the affliction of God’s people rather than with the fleeting privileges of Pharaoh’s house, which did not constitute the true portion of his inheritance. (The word, hamartia, from ha, meaning negative, and meros, meaning form or portion, without your portion, to fall short of your portion; often translated as sin.)
26 He was not embarrassed to be associated with the Messianic promise at the expense of the treasures of Egypt. He deliberately looked away from those towards the greater riches of his reward in Christ. (No reward of the flesh can compare with the wealth of faith.)
27 The rage of the King did not scare him when he abandoned Egypt; faith, giving substance to the invisible, made him brave.
28 His faith saw the Paschal Lamb and the sprinkled blood on the door posts as the salvation of the people.
29 By faith they crossed the Red Sea on dry ground, but the Egyptians drowned when they followed them.
30 By faith the walls of the city of Jericho collapsed when Israel marched around the city for seven days. (They did not conquer through the strength of their army.)
31 Rahab the prostitute’s faith saved her even though her house was built in the wall! While all the other houses collapsed around her, her own remained. She welcomed the spies and acknowledged the God who saved them out of Egypt. (Josh 2:11) Her family also was given an equal opportunity to be saved through her faith. (Imagine their surprise, bearing in mind her life and shameful reputation!)
32 And so the list of faith-heroes continues. There is not enough time to tell the stories of Gideon and Barak and Sampson and Jephtah, of David, Samuel and the prophets.
33 These are they who conquered kingdoms by faith. (Gideon, like Rahab, was in no position to claim any credit for his achievement; faith nullifies boasting [see Rom 3:27, Judg 6:11-16] They accomplished righteousness by that same faith and thus secured the promise [by faith and not by performance]. Deborah told Barak the son of Abinoam that, although he would deliver Israel, he would not get the honor, since a woman would do it for him. [See Judg 4:21] In the principle of righteousness by faith, the flesh will take no glory. Barak, means to worship in adoration, and Abinoam means, “my father’s delight” or “grace.”) By faith they shut the mouths of lions. (Samson, whose mighty achievements were immediately accredited to the Spirit of the Lord who moved upon him. Again there was no occasion to glory in the flesh.)
34 Their faith extinguished powerful fires. They escaped from fierce battles. They were empowered in spite of their frailty. They became heroes in battle and caused hostile armies to flee before them. (Jephtah whose own brothers disinherited him because his mother was a prostitute became the captain of the army of Israel.)
35 By faith women received their children back from the dead. (1 Kings 17:18-24, 2 Kings 4:32-34) Others were severely tortured for their faith and refused to accept release when it was offered them on condition that they would renounce their opinions. To have accepted deliverance then could have saved their lives, but their faith saw a more honorable and glorious resurrection.
36 Still others were mocked and ridiculed for their faith: they were beaten up, shackled and imprisoned.
37 While some were stoned to death, others (like Isaiah the prophet) were sawn asunder with a wood saw. There were yet others who were tempted by the promise of possible release from torture, and then were brutally slaughtered with the sword. Many became wandering refugees with nothing but sheep and goatskins for clothing. They lost everything and were harassed and tormented.
38 The world did not realize their worth. These faith-heroes were often driven from their homes and forced to live in the deserts and mountains; sleeping like animals in caves and holes in the ground.
39 Their lives were trophies to their faith, as the substance of what was visualized by their hope, and the evidence of things their natural eyes never saw.
40 God saw the perfect picture in us; we now complete the history of their lives. (Everything that the shadows prefigured has now found its substance through Christ in us.)
by Mirror Bible – mobile app. http://www.mirrorbible.com