Statements of persuasion from Hebrews…(14)
In the last post, we endeavoured to explain the what the statement of persuasion from Hebrews 10:23-26 was. We also found out the purpose and content of Christian meetings. We also explained what it meant for the ‘day to approach’. Today, we move on to another statement of persuasion from the book of Hebrews. Hebrews 12:1-2, ‘Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.’
There are four key terms we’d examine in this portion, as we seek to explain why it is a statement of persuasion. They are, ‘cloud of witnesses’, ‘run with patience the race set’, ‘looking unto Jesus’ and ‘author and finisher of faith’. Before we analyze these, let’s examine the pretext; Hebrews 11:39-40, ‘And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.’ What is the promise that wasn’t received? Acts 13:32-33, ‘And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.’
The ‘perfect’ happened when Christ rose from the dead. This is why the Fathers in Hebrews 11 are called ‘Just men made perfect’ in Hebrews 12:23. The resurrection of Jesus is the promise fulfilled. This is why he says, ‘Therefore, seeing we are compassed by a great cloud of witnesses…let us run the race set before us…’. Let’s see those terms. Firstly, we have ‘a cloud of witnesses’. ‘Cloud’ refers to a ‘dense multitude’. ‘Witnesses’ refer to ‘those who attest to the validity of a fact’.
What were the patriarchs, witnesses to? Hebrews 11:3, ‘Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.’ Here, he says that IN FAITH, we understand that the dispensations were caused, brought about by the word of God, so that what was seen (observable activities) were made of things which do not appear. What was the word of God? It was the promise God made. Concerning whom? The resurrected Jesus.
The dispensations (Abel’s sacrifice, Noah’s ark etc) as listed in Hebrews 11 were brought into being by God’s promise of the resurrection of Christ. The patriarchs ATTEST to this ALL IMPORTANT fact of the Gospel. The Gospel deals with the glorious resurrection of Jesus.
Hence, the author in convincing the unbelieving Jew calls their attention to the focus of the faith of the Fathers; Jesus resurrected. We’ll continue later. #Dunamis