Lesson 45 - Chapter 11:4-7

Lesson 45 - Chapter 11:4-7

Lesson for April 12, 2015

The Book of Hebrews

Chapter 11:4-7

Verse 4

“By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.”

By faith is a reference to Bible doctrine, faith being the body of teaching that Abel believed as taught to him by his parents. Abel had a lot of doctrine in his soul as demonstrated by his offering to God. Therefore when it says, by faith Abel offered, it means by Bible doctrine in his soul Abel offered. It means that he had a maximum amount of doctrine and it means that he had the privilege of expressing this doctrine through ritual that was very meaningful and very important to him, and he understood it. Ritual was not a means of gaining the approbation of God; it was an expression on the part of Abel that he had reached spiritual maturity.

A better sacrifice indicates that Abel’s animal sacrifice was better than Cain’s sacrifice from his garden. The sacrifice of Abel was greater for two reasons. The first reason was Abel was a believer and understood the significance of the animal sacrifice as a representation of the coming Messiah’s payment for sin. It is impossible for anyone who is an unbeliever to enter into any ritual that truly worships God. The ritual is meaningless if the person does not have a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. All worship is predicated on the principle that you are a believer in Jesus Christ. Therefore Cain, who was not a believer, was eliminated from even being considered under the principle that “ritual with reality is meaningful” because he brought an offering from his own efforts representing human good works which was the principle that “ritual without reality is meaningless.” Attitude toward Christ determines acceptability of worship. The second reason was Abel was a growing believer who reached spiritual maturity. He had learned Bible doctrine as it was available to him in that particular time in history and understood the proper offering to bring before the Lord. Abel was positive and responded to the doctrine. The whole key to this verse is that Abel was not only a believer, but a believer with doctrine resident in his soul. Abel demonstrated the fact that he was justified (declared righteous) by God by bringing the proper offering to God.

Testifying about his gifts means that Jehovah approved of Abel and his offering. He declared Abel righteous at the point of believing in Jehovah (Christ). Not only did He justify him but He provided for him Bible doctrine for his soul by word-of-mouth from his parents. The offerings Abel presented pleased God because the reality of the ritual was in his soul, he had the doctrinal assets of his soul, he was a spiritually mature believer, and he was obviously blessed in many ways because in those days materialistic wealth was measured in terms of livestock. Obviously, then, he had a great deal of materialistic wealth because he had sheep to sacrifice, but he did not forget the source of that wealth.

Abel had everything that life at that time had to offer him over a long period of time before his departure through physical death. Abel was murdered by his brother Cain but his testimony regarding doctrine in his soul keeps going long after his death and he is a permanent monument to the grace of God and the importance of reaching spiritual maturity.

Verse 5

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up, for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.”

By faith means by means of Bible doctrine. Jude 14 helps us understand who Enoch was and why he was mentioned in this list of faithful believers. Enoch was not only a great believer but he was a communicator of doctrine, as a prophet. A person who functioned as a prophet in the Old Testament communicated Bible doctrine and often spoke of future events. The source of the prophet’s material was conversations directly with God, dreams, visions, sometimes angelic teaching and often from parents. Genesis 5 has a commentary on Enoch. Enoch was a spiritually mature believer during the period of history in which he lived. The word witness means Enoch had a testimony, he was well-spoken of and approved of by others and by God.

The prophecies of future events by Enoch dealt with apostasy in the future Tribulation and the coming of Christ at the end of the Tribulation. Enoch spoke of the period of the Tribulation with emphasis on the Second Coming of Christ where there would be one of the greatest judgments against apostasy. Enoch warned the apostates early in history; he was only the seventh generation from Adam and he looked into the future to illustrate the judgment of apostasy. Because of Enoch’s faithfulness, God decided to take him directly to Paradise without experiencing death.

Verse 6

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

Once again, faith in this verse means Bible doctrine. Pleasing God is based on consistent and persistent positive volition toward Bible doctrine. None of us can please God without doctrine in the soul and none of us have ever received doctrine in the soul without submitting to the consistent discipline of studying and learning. He who comes to God means to approach Him, and to occupy one’s self with Him, specifically with Jesus Christ. Occupation with the Person of Christ means that Jesus Christ has become your best friend. It means that we are fully aware of Christ in every area of our lives and that we are staying in fellowship with Him a maximum amount of time. It means that we are thinking divine viewpoint based on our knowledge of His Word and that we have no higher goal in life than to bring honor and glory to Him in our thoughts, in our attitudes, in our words and in our actions. Our minds are to be saturated with His mind. (I Corinthians 2:16b; II Corinthians 10:5; Philippians 1:19-21)

Must believe that He is has to do with inner necessity. So it means more than “must believe,” it means compulsion of duty; it means necessity growing out of a given situation. Given situation: you are a believer, you are a member of the Royal Family of God, your life now has meaning and purpose, and the Word of God has defined your objectives and your definition in life. Therefore, you must comply with these things if you are to please God and be rewarded with divine blessings (a rewarder of those who seek Him). Must believe therefore means to be convinced of the truth of Bible doctrine to the point that you know the effectiveness of Bible doctrine in your life. You have experienced the effect of taking in doctrine on a consistent basis and then applying it to the circumstances of your life. And you have seen that it works to resolve any issue in life!

Verse 7

“By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”

Again, faith means Bible doctrine in the soul. Most of us know the story of Noah and the Flood, but there is a tremendous amount of doctrine and analogy associated with this story. In this story we find the doctrines of Theology (the doctrine of God), Christology (the doctrine of Christ), and Soteriology (the doctrine of salvation).

Satan and his demons were hard at work prior to the Flood attempting to spoil the plan of God. It was Satan’s goal to stop the humanity of Christ from being born or to corrupt the entire human race so that Christ could not be born true humanity. Many believers have no clue as to the significance of the humanity of Christ and why Christ had to become a man by means of a virgin birth. But the very first gospel message in the Bible places the emphasis on His humanity and on the virgin birth. While many Christians do not understand the importance of the humanity of Christ, Satan does and always has. He has understood so thoroughly that one of the great subjects of the Old Testament is the tremendous number of attacks upon the line of Christ (the seed of the woman — Genesis 3:15). Satan has made specific attacks on the humanity of Christ in order to keep Him from coming into the world, because if Jesus Christ was prevented from coming into the world then there would be no salvation.

Jesus Christ is God. He is also true humanity. In His deity Jesus Christ is eternal life, and eternal life cannot die. He is immutable and can’t change. He is sovereign and is not subject to death. And yet the only way for man’s salvation is the Cross, and so Christ had to become true humanity, because it is the humanity of Christ which died. Only the humanity of Christ could bear the sins of the world. (Hebrews 2:9-14; Philippians 2:5-8)

So we can see Satan’s attack of Christ in Genesis chapter six - a demonic infiltration into the human race attempting to destroy “true humanity.” This is the greatest attack ever made upon our salvation. It was so successful that the line by which Jesus Christ would come into the world was narrowed down to one family, the family of Noah. Had it not been for the Flood, the attack would have been entirely successful since there would have been no “true humanity” left in the human race. All of the human race would have been part human and part demon.

When you have doctrine in the soul as Noah did and you take the proper action even though you are in the minority, even though people say that you are crazy or that something is wrong with you, there is one principle of doctrine we might as well learn right now: the minority with accurate doctrine is a majority. So Noah was warned of things which had not yet occurred. As a spiritually mature believer, Noah received doctrinal information about the termination of civilization. Quite often spiritually mature believers get adequate warning before any major catastrophe in history occurs, from the study of future events outlined in the Bible. Their warning system gives them the opportunity to take action that will glorify God. The ship that Noah constructed was his action. This information came to Noah at least 120 years before the flood, according to Genesis 6:3. The divine revelation to build the Ark was the basis of further blessings both in survival of the catastrophe and afterwards. So, greater blessings often follow a pattern: warning followed by the catastrophe followed by great prosperity. Noah took action as instructed by God even though he was in the minority. He was laughed to scorn, and he was the source of ridicule until the flood came. They ridiculed him, they mocked him, they made life miserable for him, but for 120 years he fulfilled the principle of faithfulness.

In reverence means Noah understood the Gospel as presented to him and was a faithful believer even before God instructed him to build a ship. And remember that it had never rained before in the history of the world. So it took a lot of faith and faithfulness on the part of Noah and his sons to construct the Ark. It always takes a great deal of strength, a tremendous amount of doctrine in the soul, to stand up against continual opposition over a long period of time. The whole world condemned Noah, the whole world ridiculed him, and he didn’t budge from God’s plan. And he turned all of their condemnation back on them.

God spun the whole course of history around Noah. One man can change the course of history by concentrating on what is important, what pleases God. And the only way you can please God is with Bible doctrine applied on a daily basis. It was the application of doctrine resident in Noah’s soul that turned around the course of history and staved off the attack of Satan against the humanity of Christ.

Noah’s Ark

(Genesis 6)

  1. The Hebrew word used for Noah’s ark is “tebah,” which refers to a wooden ship constructed of gopher (cypress) wood, used because it is a light but tough wood. The bulkheads were secured with pitch (asphalt). It was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. The Ark represented God’s divine provision for believers.
  2. It had one material, gopher wood, representing the humanity of Christ. Christ became true humanity to propitiate God so that the justice of God could be satisfied.
  3. The pitch used to secure the bulkheads was analogous to the work of Christ on the Cross. It sealed the Ark just as faith in Christ keeps out “the waters of divine judgment.” And pitch is like doctrine which keeps us adjusted to the justice of God.
  4. Only one set of plans was used – God’s perfect one. The ratio and dimensions of the Ark made it completely seaworthy. The principle is that only the plan of God has stability.
  5. There was only one door in the Ark, analogous to the fact that there is only one way to adjust to the justice of God and that’s through Jesus Christ before salvation and Bible doctrine after salvation. (John14:1-6).
  6. The Ark had one window which was analogous to the fact there is only one objective after salvation, to reach maturity. There is only one legitimate perspective for believers - Bible doctrine.
  7. There were three floors to the ark, which represent the concept of spiritual growth and building the Edification Complex after salvation.
  8. There was only one place of security in time of disaster, inside the Ark. The Ark represents to us the principle of eternal security, being in union with Christ.