A Look Back from Joseph & Forward from MosesVolume 2, Number 20
Created Date: May 7, 2006
Posted Date: May 7, 2006
Vol 2 - No 20, May 7, 2006
A look back from Joseph and forward from Moses in Hebrews 11:
The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is being used as a general guide in these studies. As previously pointed out, there are 16 individuals, 14 men and two (2) women, named in Hebrews 11 as being borne witness to by their faith. The first group of eight (8) all lived during the time recorded in Genesis. The lives of the first seven (7); Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Jacob, are types pointing to a specific aspect of the finished work of Jesus Christ. Briefly, Abel pointed to Christ's sacrifice; Enoch to Christ's walk with God; Noah to His judgment of sin while saving the righteous; Abraham to His leaving His heavenly home to sojourn in a strange land and the cutting off of the sinful flesh; Sarah to the promised son; and Jacob who became Israel, pointing to God's son.
The eighth person in the first group is Joseph, a perfect type of Christ Jesus. Nothing negative is recorded about Joseph. He faithfully obeyed his father and left home to see about his brothers. However, they jealously rejected him and sold him into slavery, reporting him dead to his father. He suffered much from what they did, withstood temptation and demonstrated unconditional forgiving love for his brothers by saving them from starvation and bringing them plenty. Thus, the faith borne witness to by the first eight people mentioned in Hebrews 11 all point to and teach about the coming of the son of God and man, the man of faith, Jesus Christ and what He accomplished by faith in life, in death and in resurrection to new life.
We have already begun to study the second group of eight (8) named in Hebrews 11, which also consists of seven men and one woman: Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthae, David and Samuel. The order of these eight is reversed from that of the first. For in this group it is Moses, the first one named who like Joseph typifies, albeit imperfect, a more complete description of Christ Jesus. As seen in Vol 2, No's 2 - 14 Moses voluntarily descended from his place of privilege at the throne of Egypt to rescue his people Israel from slavery and death. He gave the law and presided during their sanctification, which allowed them access and fellowship with God. He spoke for God to Israel: "Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel." -.
After Moses, we studied Joshua who is not mentioned by name in Hebrews 11 - Vol 2, No 17. It is obvious that he too was a type of Christ. In fact, he presided over Israel during their best and most glorious hour to date when, being totally sanctified and in tune with God's Law, they entered The Promised Land and defeated Jericho by walking in perfect faith in God's word. So, it is asked, why is Joshua not mentioned by name in Hebrews 11? Could it be that the witness of faith of the 18 mentioned by name in Hebrews 11 pointed specifically to the work that Jesus Christ accomplished during His first advent whereas the witness of faith of Joshua points to that glorious future day described in the book of Revelation when the Lord Jesus Christ will lead Israel, finally unified in perfect faith, out of the Tribulation and into the promised Kingdom? This thought will be examined in future studies.
Here we also note that every named individual in Hebrews 11 from Abraham on, save one (1), points specifically to God's dealings with the nation Israel. This coincides with the fact that from Abraham in Genesis throughout the Old Testament and into the first part of Acts in the New God dealt specifically and exclusively with Israel. Thus it is that only one person in the second group of eight (8) named individuals in Hebrews 11 is a Gentile, and she the prostitute Rahab. In the Vol 2, No 18study we saw how Rahab was saved from death by her faith in God's word. By this, she is obviously a type of how Israel could bring God's blessings to the gentiles. The teaching in the Old Testament and up to Acts in the New is clear that the way of salvation for gentiles during those years had to be through Israel because gentiles had no standing before God during that time. Jesus Christ himself declared this during his ministry on earth: "But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." - . The Apostle Paul addressed gentiles living from his time and up until the present, explaining their/our status during all those years between Genesis and Acts: "Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:" - .
Notwithstanding their privileged position with God the history of Israel after Joshua is generally marked by increasing apostasy. As we saw in our last lesson it was after the miraculous defeat of Jericho that one (1) man in Israel disobeyed God and kept some of the loot from that city for himself. This was the beginning of Israel's downfall. As their history unfolds thereafter, throughout the Old Testament and into the new, the prevalent trend is away from God. In coming studies we will examine the remaining individuals named in Hebrews 11 after Moses and Rahab in an attempt to understand their significance. They are Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthae, David and Samuel. In these men (and some others such as the prophets, who are not identified by name in Hebrews 11) are found notable high points in faith, but, Israel as a nation continued to deteriorate in faith to the point they finally rejected their Messiah, giving Him over to the Romans for crucifixion. Given another chance by God through Peter and the 12, Israel as a nation again refused their Messiah by rejecting His messengers, among whom was Stephen, who they stoned to death - Acts 6:5 - 7:59.
And so during the Acts period Israel was set aside for a time, as described by Paul in Romans 9 - 11. And from that time to the present, almost 2000 years, God has offered salvation by grace (unmerited favor) to all, whether Jew or Gentile. This began in Acts when Saul who had been a leading Jew that persecuted those who followed the Lord Jesus Christ was saved. He became the Apostle Paul and through him God revealed a plan not previously known or prophesized -; 16:25 & 26; . After explaining in Ephesians 2:11 & 12, quoted above, how gentiles had been alienated from the promises of God in times past the Apostle Paul continues: "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both (Jew and Gentile) one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, (we Gentiles) and to them that were nigh (the Jews.) For through him we both (Jews and Gentiles) have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye (Gentiles) are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God (the economy based on God's grace) which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power." Ephesians 2:13 - 3:7. (Note: I added the words italicized in parenthesis while those in normal type are in Scripture.)