The Berean Expositor
Volume 43 - Page 55 of 243
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the earth, is the gospel that carries with it age-lasting issues. It operated in Eden, and was
believed by Abel.
The epistle to the Hebrews looks at righteousness by faith from a different angle from
that of Romans. In Hebrews we see faith at work. "By faith Noah . . . . . prepared an
ark". Such is the simple statement. We must, however, not omit the moving causes that
assisted Noah's faith to prepare, against all reason, an ark on dry land. Noah's act is the
result of (1) a divine warning, and (2) a pious fear.
A divine warning.
We are not allowed to forget the important truth that "faith cometh by hearing, and
hearing by the Word of God". Noah was doubtless wise in consequence of his 600 years
of experience, his fellowship with God, and his purity of life, which would all be in
favour of enabling him to foresee the goal toward which the ungodliness of his day was
fast heading, but this wisdom would never have evolved "an ark". Chrematizo, to warn,
is used in the N.T. to indicate a warning given by means of a dream (Matt. 2: 12, 22); by
the Holy Spirit (Luke 2: 26); or by an angel (Acts 10: 22). Its direct connection with the
body of the epistle to the Hebrews will be seen by looking at Heb. 8: 5 and 12: 25.
Moses was "warned" by God in connection with the Tabernacle which he "prepared" (see
Heb. 9: 2). Heb. 12: 25 applies this "warning":
"See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused Him
who WARNED them on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from
Him that WARNS us from heaven" (not AV JP).
The verse following reveals that the two warnings, the one so much greater than the
other, were the voices of Sinai and Calvary. Heb. 2: 1-4 is here repeated with solemn
emphasis and with the same sequence. The warning of Heb. 2: 1-4 is followed by a
reference to the "world to come" and its dominion. The warning of Heb. 12: 25 is
followed by a reference to a kingdom that abides the terrific "shaking" of the last days.
So, to come back to Noah, we have the warning, the Flood (parallel with the shaking),
and the world to come, the dominion restored after the Flood, called in Heb. 11: 7 "the
inheritance of the righteousness which is by faith". Though we may have passed these
close parallels lightly by, the originally exercised readers of this epistle would have found
them very pointed.
Both Noah and Abraham received a message from God that put a great test upon faith,
for Noah was warned of things "not seen as yet", and Abraham went out "not knowing"
whither he went. What they did know was the faithfulness of Him Who spake. So these
Hebrews, taught from infancy to believe the law of Sinai to be eternal and unalterable, to
believe their ritual to be not only of divine appointing, but to be as lasting as God's
throne, found an almost insuperable difficulty in the teaching of the apostle that such
things were waxing old and vanishing away, that God Himself found fault with the first
Covenant and had set it aside for the aionian Covenant sealed by the blood of Christ