“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for; the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.”
We move right on with the concept from the previous verse, “But we are not the retreating type of believers designed for the purpose of destruction of our spiritual lives; but the doctrinal type for the purpose of doctrinal preserving of the soul for the execution of the Christian Way of Life.” Faith in these verses generally refers to doctrine, the body of faith. Faith as an act of believing is not defined in Hebrews 11:1-3, rather Bible doctrine in relationship to chapter 10:39 is being defined. Hebrews 10:39 is amplified by chapter 11:1-3.
Assurance of things hoped for means reality, confidence, and substance. Assurance of anything spiritual comes only by means of Bible doctrine in your soul. Whether you seek assurance of your salvation or assurance of God’s provision for your spiritual life, the Word of God is the only source. Therefore, do not give yourself an excuse for not being consistent in the learning of Bible doctrine. The reality of things for us as believers is that spiritual growth is a commandment from God. And the only way we will have full confidence in those things for which we anticipate with joy (the Biblical meaning of hope) is through Bible doctrine (faith).
The power of God is unequalled by anything that man can invent or manufacture. In Greek the word is “dunamis” (from which we get the word “dynamite”). It is this power that is securing forever the believer’s salvation. Translated in the Bible as “able,” God’s power is His ability to keep the believer safe for all eternity. Since the believer has obtained an eternal relationship with omnipotent (all-powerful) God, nothing can separate us from this relationship. As a member of God’s family, it is irrational thinking to believe that you can remove yourself from His family by some failure on your part. (Romans 4:21; 8:14-17, 31-39; Galatians 4:4-7; II Timothy 1:12; Hebrew 7:25)
Conviction of things not seen means proof or persuasion. Bible doctrine (faith) is the proof or the persuasion of all that you cannot see regarding God and His plan, but know is true. It proves that the Father’s plan is perfect. It proves that all spiritual reality is bound up in Bible doctrine and nothing else. The unseen world of the Angelic Conflict and our reason for being here is known only through Bible doctrine. The unseen members of the Trinity are known through doctrine; the reality of Divine Viewpoint is known only through doctrine. As believers we do not look at the things which are temporal. We look at the things which are unseen and eternal. The more doctrine we learn and apply the more real the things of God become. Jesus Christ becomes very real to us as we advance spiritually.
We have the most powerful advocate in the universe on our side, Jesus Christ. He is not only our advocate, He is our mediator and our intercessor. Christ is at the right hand of God the Father as our representative. No one can bring accusations against a believer that are not answered by Christ on the believer’s behalf. Even Satan attempts to discredit us before God, but Jesus Christ Himself stands up for us declaring that we are secure forever “in Him.” (I John 2:1; Romans 8:34; I Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 9:15; Revelation 12:10)
Verse 2 explains how doctrine is related to people in the Old Testament. They did not have a completed Canon of Scripture, but doctrine was still available to them. There never has been a generation for which doctrine was not available.
Believers in the Old Testament gained the approval of God by means of Bible doctrine. They received divine approval through the intake and application of Bible doctrine. The gaining of divine approval means the entrance into spiritual maturity. “The men of old” or “the ancients” were able to reach spiritual maturity without doctrine in writing as we have it today. They had to have positive volition and they had to submit to a system of discipline, whether it was angelic creatures providing the information, prophets or, later on, Levitical priests. But until the time of Moses there was no written doctrine at all, it was always communicated by some person. If the believers in the Old Testament could reach spiritual maturity without having the amount of doctrine that we have in the royal family, then there is no excuse for anyone of us failing to reach it.
Though believers in the Old Testament did not have the Canon of Scripture to the extent that we do and did not have the permanent indwelling and filling of the Holy Spirit, they had Faith-Rest. Faith-Rest is knowing, believing and applying the promises, the principles and the doctrines of the Word of God. (Isaiah 33:6) There are over 7,000 promises in the Bible for the believer, many of which are in the Old Testament. These promises do a believer no good unless they are mixed with faith and applied to a believer’s situation. (Hebrews 4:2) Claiming these promises eliminates mental attitude sins such as fear, worry and anxiety, which cut off Divine Viewpoint Thinking. Faith-Rest will restore Divine Viewpoint Thinking and stabilize the believer in times of pressure and adversity. Faith-Rest results in a relaxed mental attitude. (Matthew 11:28-30) This was the essence of the spiritual life of believers in the Old Testament.
Bible doctrine explains the creation of the universe which gives a believer even more assurance in God and His Word. When examining the creation of the universe, which includes planet earth, we will consider only what the Bible says about these events. We will not delve into scientific data or attempt to disprove the theory of evolution. If a person believes the Bible, he cannot believe in the theory of evolution – they are not compatible. It must also be pointed out that there are numerous theories about the creation of the universe among Christians. Some Christian scientists attempt to make the Bible fit their particular theory, instead of letting the Bible interpret itself. A lack of study of the original languages leads one to a misunderstanding of Creation. We will examine the words from the original languages that describe Creation in order to arrive at an accurate understanding of these events. The Bible is not a science book, but when it speaks of true science it is always accurate.
Genesis 1:1 in the King James Version of the Bible says “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” This verse seems very straightforward as stated, but let’s examine the original Hebrew words in the context and some Greek words referring to Creation. Verse one is the only verse in Genesis that presents the creation of the universe. The Hebrew language in this verse is a key to understanding Creation. There are three words in Hebrew for creation: “bara,” “jatsar” and “asah.” “Bara” means to create something out of nothing. “Jatsar” means to fashion something on the exterior like a sculptor. “Asah” means to build out of something that already exists. These words are important to our understanding of the account of Creation.
“In the beginning” – Hebrew “bereshith” – this is a prepositional phrase made up of “be” meaning “in,” plus “rishah” meaning “beginning.” However, in Hebrew there is no definite article. Therefore, this indicates “a” beginning, not “the” beginning. A more literal translation would be “In a beginning that was not a beginning.” What does that mean? It is a reference to eternity past. We have a similar verse in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” The Greek word is “en arche” and means the same as the Hebrew, first beginning or eternity past. John refers to the existence of God in eternity past and Moses, the writer of Genesis, refers to the existence of the universe in eternity past. The truth is that it did not take six days to create the universe. Its creation was instantaneous and occurred sometime in eternity past before man was created. Therefore, we cannot put a date on the age of planet earth. What we find upon examination of the Bible is that after the creation of the universe and between the creation of angels and man, the earth became chaotic. This chaos was most likely the result of a battle among the angels and God’s judgment of them. (Isaiah 14; Ezekiel 28:15-16)
“God created” – Hebrew - “Elohim Bara” – the Trinity created out of nothing. “Elohim” is a plural noun and “created” is a singular verb, which is an indication of the Trinity. Therefore, the entire Godhead was involved in Creation. “The heaven and the earth” – Hebrew – “ha shamajim” and “ha aretz” – notice the “im” suffix, this indicates a plural. It should be “heavens” and earth (singular). This verse should say, “In a beginning, which was not a beginning, in eternity past, God created out of nothing the universe, including earth.”
“And the earth was” – Hebrew – “hajah” – since we know that the earth was created perfect by a perfect God, the word “was” is a bad translation. It should be translated “had become.” It was created perfect, but it became without form and void. “Without form and void” – Hebrew – “tohu waw bohu” – desolate and empty. Animal life and plant life no longer existed on earth. The earth had become desolate and empty. “And darkness was on the face of the deep” – Hebrew – “choshek” – a darkness that keeps out light and heat. “tehom” – this is the Hebrew word for deep and it means raging waters. Absence of light and heat would result in ice (perhaps a reference to the Ice Age of science). Under this ice were the raging waters.
“And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” – Hebrew – “ruach Elohim” – correctly translated “the Spirit of God.” “rachaph” is the Hebrew word for “moved” and literally means “to brood or to incubate.” The Holy Spirit incubated or provided heat to melt the ice pack. “Waters” is the Hebrew word “hamajim” and means “melted water.” What was God doing? He was not creating the universe; He was preparing the earth for habitation by man, animal life and plant life.
“And God said” – Hebrew – “Elohim amar” – God spoke. “Let there be light: and there was light” – Hebrew – “hajah” – a spoken command by God. Light was necessary in the restoration of life on the earth for heat and energy. “And God saw the light, that it was good” – Hebrew – “ra-ah tobh” – “God saw” is an anthropomorphism to explain God’s attitude toward the light that He had created.
“And God divided the light from the darkness” – Hebrew – “badal” – this means to cause to separate. The angelic conflict had caused darkness to exist, therefore God was preparing the earth for habitation by man. “And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day” – Hebrew – “Elohim qara jom” – God named the light, Day and the darkness, Night. The existence of light caused the earth to begin rotating. It became evening or dark and then it became light again as the earth was rotating. To this point the earth was held in an ice pack, unable to rotate. It is the incubation from the Holy Spirit and the introduction of light and heat that caused the earth to begin to rotate once again. It should also be pointed out that the waters of the earth began to shape the earth’s surface.
And God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters” – Hebrew – “raqija” – this is the word for firmament and it means “atmosphere.” What God was doing was dividing the waters of the earth by the atmosphere. Some water would remain on earth’s surface and some water would be above the atmosphere. Our atmosphere, of course, is made up of gases and is unseen. We often call it the “air”, but the Bible calls it “atmosphere.”
“And God made” – Hebrew – “asah” – to manufacture out of existing material. He made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. “Divided” means to cause to separate and “it was so” means that it came to pass. “And God called” - Hebrew – “qara” – named the firmament, Heaven – the atmosphere was named by God. There are actually three heavens in Scripture: the atmosphere, the stars/planets and the abode of God. “And the evening and the morning were the second day” – it became evening or dark and it became day or light.
What is the practical application of this study of the first two days of creation, as God prepares the earth for habitation by man? There are several applications: