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Third Millennium Study Bible
Notes on Hebrews 11:27-38

He left Egypt, not fearing - Hebrews 11:27

Some interpreters - such as Bruce - take Hebrews 11:27 to refer to the first time Moses left Egypt. But Moses, after choosing to identify himself with his own people against the Egyptians (Heb. 11:24-25), killed an Egyptian and, because he "was afraid" (Exod. 2:14), "fled from Pharaoh" (Exod. 2:15). Therefore, it is more likely that this verse refers to the actual exodus, at which time Moses clearly was without fear. Moses grew in faith in the desert in his encounters with God (Exod. 3; 4). Moses acted in faith as seeing him "who is invisible." His faith reminds us of David's when he says, "The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?" (Psa. 27:1). Moses was a man of faith, who told the people not to be afraid, to stand firm, and to watch and observe how the Lord fight for them (cf. Heb. 11:13-14). By God-given faith Moses was unafraid, for he knew that God was on his side.

Sprinkling of blood - Hebrews 11:28

It was by faith, that Moses instituted the Passover in accordance with God's divine command (Exod. 11:1-12:28). Moses directed that blood be sprinkled on the doorframes of Israelite homes in expectation of the coming destruction of firstborn children in the land and of the deliverance of Israelite households from this awful event (Exod 12:7, 12-13). This was another act of faith in that which was not yet seen. O'Brien states:

Although our author does not draw out any typological significance from this event (as elsewhere in the New Testament where Jesus is presented as the paschal lamb: 1 Cor. 5:7; note John 19:36), the imagery does recall the importance of sacrificial blood in the earlier exposition of Christ's sacrifice (Heb. 9:12-14, 18-22).

Passed through the Red Sea - Hebrews 11:29

The author now moves from 'individual' faith to the Churches' (Israel's) faith (cf. Gal 6:16). But as Guthrie says, "It is well to remember that corporate faith of this kind is but the sum total of the faith of each individual." It is interesting to note that God baptized the "household of faith" (Gal 6:10; Heb 3:6; cf. Eph 2:19; 1 Pet. 4:17). See "They were all baptized into Moses - 1 Corinthians 10:1-2" and "Chloe's covenant household - 1 Corinthians 1:11" below.

Walls of Jericho - Hebrews 11:30

"The Lord commanded all the men-of-war to go round [Jericho] once every day, and on the seventh day seven times" (Calvin). They walked by faith as their only knowledge that this would result in the defeat of the city was provided by God's assurance, "I have delivered Jericho into your hands" (Josh. 6:2). Note the tense, "I have." Faith is established upon the sure promises of God.

A prostitute - Hebrews 11:31

See Joshua 2:1; 6:22. Though the walls of Jericho fell - all the faith was not just 'outside' the city - some of it was 'inside.' God is everywhere, he paving 'the way' through God-given faith. Lenski referring to Rahab states, "This pagan woman who had sunk to harlotry believed the report about the God of Israel that filled the city." Rahab proved her allegiance to God when she protected the Israelite spies. She was justified (Jas. 2:25) and became an ancestor of Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:5), even though she had been a prostitute. Hughes says, "By faith, like Noah and Moses before her, Rahab saw the unseen, and that changed her whole life." God saves prostitutes, pimps too; all kinds of sinners.

Accomplishments and sufferings of some of the faithful - Hebrews 11:32-38

A sample of accomplishments achieved by faith moves from those in which faith's victory was manifest in history (Heb. 11:33-35a) to those in which faith entailed suffering and apparent defeat (Heb. 11:35-38). If we had lived during this time period would our name have been listed? If so, why? If not, why?

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