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it not, "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them
afar off, and were persuaded of them" (Heb. 11: 13). They had both the substance and
the discipline, and these alone will enable the believer to go on unto perfection.
Dispensational truth and faith.
According to the A.V., verse 3 turns aside to speak of the creation of "the worlds". It
is reserved for the speculative mind of man to conceive of "worlds". Scripture speaks of
the "world". Material creation, however, is not in view here. An "age" was drawing to
an end. A dispensation that was secret was about to be introduced. The Hebrew believer
could see nothing tangible; things were being shaken, and the apostle draws attention to
the fact that:
"By faith we understand that the ages were readjusted by the word of God, so that
things which are seen were not made of things that do appear" (Heb. 11: 3 not AV JP).
The word translated "framed" in the A.V., and which we render "readjust" is
katartizo, and occurs in Heb. 10: 5, where it is translated "prepared"; also in 13: 21,
where it is translated "perfect". In both passages "adapt" seems the best translation.
That there is a sense of repairing or readjustment in the word can be seen in Matt. 4: 21,
the first occurrence, where it is translated "mending", and in Gal. 6: 1 where it reads
"restore". The peculiar work of the gifts of the ascended Lord at the inauguration of the
new dispensation seems to combine both words. The apostles, prophets, evangelists,
pastors and teachers of Eph. 4: were to "readjust and adapt the saints" owing to the
cleavage that had come at Acts 28:
The Hebrew believers were being shown that a change was imminent. The setting
aside of Israel involved a change in the economy of the ages. Not only had these Hebrew
believers to have a faith that could grasp the realities while the types and shadows passed
away, but they must be prepared to exercise a faith that would appear to have nothing
substantial beneath it, except the bare Word of God, and the blessed hope of resurrection.
This faith saw no immediate "land" or accessible "city", saw no evident prosperity, no
"milk and honey" as a reward for faithfulness and obedience. All its possessions were
afar off, and those who were exhorted to "live by faith" were also told of those who "died
in faith" without having received the promises, but who saw them "afar off".
These words, weighty in themselves, introduce the seven-fold series of those who
each in their turn set forth some one aspect of that faith which in its perfection was
exhibited in Christ.