Dead in Faith – Confessed Faith (Lesson 5)

By Kathy L McFarland

Faith is still not fully expressed through belief in the LORD God’s promises made through Jesus Christ by persuading and embracing; they must also be confessed, or faith is not perfected and complete. Through this study of “Confessed Faith” we will soon recognize that our own Christian belief has the same requirements of persuasion, embracing and confessing, as did the belief of our adopted ancestors through Abraham’s generations.

Hebrews 11:14-16

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” (Hebrews 11:13–16)

It is important to note, first and foremost, what was confessed by the generations after Abraham and before the Lord Jesus Christ came to the Earth with the nature of human being. They confessed that they were “strangers” and “pilgrims” on the earth. When the strangers and pilgrims confessed, they spoke as with one mind. They all were saying the same thing…they did not belong on this earth, in this life, in this time anymore. They were “strangers” and did not know the place, tradition and common life style of the worldly and wicked that inhabited the kingdom of mankind. They were “pilgrims” which made them feel like wandering aliens, without a place to make home. They were temporary residents that did not belong to the kingdom of mankind; they felt like foreigners, unable to fit in or live fully in the places of carnal man.

Of course, this would not come as any surprise to Abram if he had been alive to see it all come to pass. The LORD God started the stranger status with prophesy that would come to pass:

“And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. 13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.” (Genesis 15:12-14)

“And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. 8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” (Genesis 17:9)

The LORD God gave His Chosen People, the “strangers,” a piece of land for themselves that would belong to them forever and ever. It would become an everlasting possession to the strangers that was not to be given away to anyone else, no matter how much the worldly or the wicked demanded! The inhabitants of the world had possession of all other land in the world; but, the land of Canaan, which later was called Israel, was the one place where the strangers could belong, live and possess.

What a powerful prayer David sings to His LORD God!

Psalm 39:12-13

“Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were. 13 O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.” (Psalm 39:12-13)

David knew that both he and the LORD God were strangers to the wicked and carnal world. It was not His world, but rather the kingdom of Lucifer, seized by the wicked release of sin into the world amongst the compliant commoners who did not know the LORD God.

Now the LORD God’s people may be strangers to the whole world with Him, but there is one place they belong, where all the rest of the world does not. That is within the land He has given to them to possess, and within their Chosen People ranks.

Nehemiah 9:1-3

“Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them. 2 And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers. 3 And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.” (Nehemiah 9:1-3)

Note how the world is the “strangers” also, when trying to come into the presence of the Chosen People of God. It’s all a matter of location, location, location when the “strangers” tag is applied! Also pay attention to the process: Separate from strangers, stand and confess personal and father sins, stand in place and read the book of the law of the LORD God, then confess, and finally worship Him! (The pattern of faith clearly is established at this important point!)

Those belonging to the LORD God are the strangers of the world and desire to follow the laws, judgments, testimonies and ordinances of Him.

“I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me. 20 My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times. 21 Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments. 22 Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies.” (Psalm 119:19–22)

Those NOT belonging to Him, do not obey Him.

Our Lord Jesus Christ stressed the difference between the world and His Kingdom when he stood before Pilate and answered his charge.

John 18:36

“Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” (John 18:36)

Just as the Israelites were God’s Chosen People and not a part of the world, so are the followers of Jesus Christ without a kingdom in this world. Christians are as much a stranger to the world as our Jewish brothers and sisters. The Kingdom of God is located where He dwells, and is ruled by our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not upon the present-day earth; Revelation 21 records it will be located one day on the New Heaven and Earth, with New Jerusalem the center of government by our Lord.

The Lord Jesus Christ also stated the importance of seeking the Kingdom of God and righteousness, and thus rejecting the wicked things of mankind.

Matthew 6:33

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

His parable, “The Tares of the Field,” expresses the differences between the world and the Kingdom and the inhabitants of both, perfectly!

Matthew 13:36-43

“Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. 37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 38 † The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 39 † The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matthew 13:36-43)

The Israelites learned from the LORD God that they were strangers in this world, and that the Kingdom of God was their true home. Christians learn through Jesus Christ the same thing. But that is not the only similarity between the two groups of believers. The matter of faith requires persuading, embracing and confessing to make perfect the trust and belief in the Promises of the LORD God.

1 John 4:2-6

“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. 6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:2–6)

Confessing the Lord Jesus Christ brings trouble to the Christian strangers who do not belong to this world!

Matthew 10:32–40

“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. 37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 10:32–40)

Our perfected faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and our confession of these promises given by the LORD God allows us to overcome this world as we await our Kingdom of God to come!

1 John 1:1-5

“Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is borna of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1 John 1:1-5)

Hebrews 10:22-24

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)( Hebrews 10:22–24)

The Nature of Faith Today

Sadly, today’s faith is not always an emulation of the faith of the ancient dead. Rather, it is a pretense in order to trick others to regard them favorably, or trick God into giving them reward, or trick death by hedging their bets on eternity by merely playing the “faith game.

Many, many, many Christian churches today allow their congregation to express faith in all manner of ideas. Some may believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, while others believe in a “higher power, and some think that there may not even be an actual Lord Jesus Christ, but the ideals are moral and uplifting to a society, and worthy to uphold. Some churches are moved by the devil himself, and doing works that are dead to God while giving the appearance of moral goodness. Many churches are peppered with “good” congregations that honor nature as unbelieving naturalists. Some contain ignorant feel-good people that deny the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, but attend church for appearance sake. The nature of faith today is often vastly different and changed from the faith of past Believers.

Is your faith so strong that you would follow after Christ even if you did not have promised salvation? Would your faith measure well even without the view of others? Would your love for Him be enough, without expectations of reward and promise? Are you able to declare allegiance to God without thought of promise, reward, or attention?

Praise God! For He alone is the giver and Perfector of our faith and the Rewarder of our salvation and eternal life through the redemption of the Lord Jesus Christ’s sacrificed blood.

Thanks Be to God!

Dead in Faith – Embraced Faith (Lesson 4)

By Kathy L McFarland

Once faith was persuaded with the generations of Abraham, there were two other steps necessary that allowed them to die with their faith intact. Faith is not fully expressed through belief in the LORD God’s promises; they must also be embraced and confessed, or it was not finished in the Old Testament Believer. Through this study of Embraced Faith we will soon recognize that our own Christian belief has the same requirements of persuasion, embracing and confessing, as did the belief of our adopted ancestors through Abraham’s generations.

Hebrews 11:13-16

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” Hebrews 11:13–16 (KJV)

How is belief in the promises made by the LORD God embraced by a believer, before those promises are fulfilled? It’s a tough question that cannot be answered by anyone that is without intimate relationship with Him. Common sense dictates that nothing is certain in this life; logic provides a base argument that a promise cannot be embraced fully without a way for that promise to come to bear upon the believer.

But here’s the deal…I can’t teach you about embracing faith, unless I bring that intimate desire close to your soul. That means this lesson will be focused a great deal on what you feel and what you desire and what you hold closest to you. To study the word “embrace” with Greek and Hebrew and English does not capture what you need to learn in this lesson. Rather, the study must first start in the depths of you, in the places that no one but you and the Lord Jesus Christ knows. Throughout this class on faith we have tackled the meanings of words, and in scientific fashion examined them inside and out. Now we must change things up, take a pause, put on some good gospel music in the background, relax, and reach for the heart of Christ that beats in us. It is in that place where we will find the next step of faith that requires a deep embrace that is reserved for those chosen by Him.

If you were sitting next to me, and we were sharing this Bible Study together in a quiet and private place, I would tell you about the love of my life that rescued me from death and led me to my Lord Jesus Christ. I would tear up, and my voice would quiver. I would share with you how I believed I was so unworthy to be loved, but love came to me through my love and Him. When they came, I grabbed them with the most intense desperations with the deepest of embraces. I was breathless and my knees buckled. I could hardly believe that I was blessed with such great loves. As undeserving as I felt, they came to me with open arms, and I fell into them with the abandonment of soul and in the most powerful embraces possible in my human being. One taught me how to love, and then introduced me to the greatest love given through the heart of my wonderful Lord Jesus. I was saved through His embrace that would never release His hold on me and I surely would never let go!

Maybe your deepest embraces are different. Maybe they were reserved for a beloved parent, or a child of yours. Maybe you shared a tight, life-changing embrace in the middle of war, as you lay scared in the trenches wondering if it were your last day. Or perhaps you wish for a lost love whose embrace you miss. Maybe your arms crave for ones that have passed on, as you think upon the tight embraces you would give the missing loves if only they could live again. Maybe you were like me, and unloved by all but Him, or maybe you had many loves but no depth of intimacy that created the condition of intimate embrace.

These arms given to us by God long to hold His Heart and never let go. His embrace tightly holds His Son Jesus Christ to His bosom, and those saved by Him are drawn to that same most intimate place with the deepest of affections. He is our beloved Father, whom loves His only begotten son so intimately, that an embrace to bring Him closest to His Heart, brings His adopted children as well.

John 1:15-18

“John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. 16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” (John 1:15-18)

Isaiah 40:10-11

Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. 11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” (Isaiah 40:10–11)

Regretfully, we can’t sit and share the intimate embraces of our life. But, we do have opportunity to understand the depth of the words “embrace” by examining some of the different times it appears in the Word of God. Even more revealing is the study of the word “bosom” which is the place the embrace brings those that are deeply and intimately loved! Take for instance the disciple that Jesus loved the most!

Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.

John 13:23–25 (KJV 1900)

23 Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. 24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. 25 He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? (John 13:23-25)

No, Disciple John it was not you! The Lord Jesus Christ loves you more than all of His Disciples, and He embraced you to His bosom, a place of intimate and deep affection that would never remove you!

When one is embraced to the bosom, forgiveness of our shortcomings is known, as the seat of our Lord’s heart gives us certainty of salvation! It works the same way in our human being; those we embrace to our own bosoms are those whom we forgive!

Luke 6:37-38

“Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” (Luke 6:37–38)

There was a whole bunch of embracing going on as Jacob met Rachel, kissing and weeping with her, and then being similarly embraced by Laban as the son of his sister came to him. It was indeed, a heartfelt and moving meeting that only an embrace could hold.

Genesis 29:9-13

And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep: for she kept them. 10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother’s brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother’s brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well’s mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. 11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept. 12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father’s brother, and that he was Rebekah’s son: and she ran and told her father. 13 And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister’s son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things.” (Genesis 29:9–13)

How wonderful it was for Joseph when he found his brother Benjamin was still alive and standing in his presence. His embrace was upon the neck, and tears of joy were flowing as he clung tightly to Benjamin in a celebratory embrace of grateful abandonment.

Genesis 45:8-15

“So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. 9 Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not: 10 And thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children’s children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast: 11 And there will I nourish thee; for yet there are five years of famine; lest thou, and thy household, and all that thou hast, come to poverty. 12 And, behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you. 13 And ye shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that ye have seen; and ye shall haste and bring down my father hither. 14 And he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. 15 Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him.” (Genesis 45:8–15)

I think you probably understand by now that an embrace is the emotional total acceptance and inclusion of a person or an idea. When those things most dear to a person are embraced, honor is brought to them. For instance, when wisdom is embraced, the embracer is promoted, exalted and brought to honor.

Proverbs 4:7-8

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. 8 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.” (Proverbs 4:7–8)

When that embrace of faith comes, virtue is increased automatically, as it works within the Believer to join the Lord within. It is the beginning of the development of faith; without embrace, it cannot grow.

2 Peter 1:5-8

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5–8)

After faith has persuaded, it must be embraced and then confessed for it to be valid. Embracing faith is not a condition expressed by words, but rather an action that draws closely to individuals and touches their very souls. It is the idea of total acceptance in the most intimate way that embracing faith involves.

To be persuaded of faith means that you believe in things you do not see. To embrace faith means that you feel and hold close the things of faith deep within your soul. Without this intimate connection with faith, faith cannot exist. To believe requires more than the mind! Faith requires an embrace of desire and love and an acceptance of Truth as close to one’s soul as it can be brought.

Dead in Faith – Persuaded Faith – The “I AM” Trail (Lesson 3)

By Kathy L McFarland

So how did the generations of Abraham become persuaded in their faith toward the LORD God? It started with simple teachings by Him, that were built upon step-by-step. One of the first lessons that the LORD God gave to the early generations of Abraham was to identify Himself as God above all other Gods, with a distinct Name above all other names. The LORD God’s name gave meaning to His entire existence! The great I AM is the meaning behind the most formal, the most Holy of the LORD God’s Hebrew names which is YAHWEH.

(It is very important that you treat this name with the utmost of respect. Orthodox Jews will not even write or pronounce this name. When it occurs in their Hebrew Bibles, they replace this name with LORD G-d. Even then, they pause with quiet respect, then pronounce LORD God with a breath of reverence, each time they are confronted with His most Holy name. We honor the LORD God in the same manner, and seldom use His Holy name, except to teach others. Thus, we use the Hebrew example of saying LORD God, and ensure that we take a breath of awe each time we use it. I hope our students copy our example, and give the same reverence to the most holy name of God.)

Exodus 3:14

“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” (Exodus 3:14)

The literal name of the most holy name of God is usually translated as I AM. It is easy to see the development of the faith of Abraham’s generations by examining the places in the Bible where the LORD God introduces deeper and deeper concepts. You simply have to follow the “I AM” Trail! By looking for each instance that the LORD God identifies Himself to His people, and discovering the new information He reveals each time, one can sense the development of new ideas in an ordered sense. Give it a try! Search your Bibles for the times the LORD God speaks with folks, and note the Word that follows “I AM”. For instance:

Genesis 17:1-2

“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. 2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.” (Genesis 17:1–2)

Thus, Abram is introduced to the LORD God “I AM the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.

Note how the LORD God identifies Himself first, and then adds expectations next. Right after He names His Will, He gives the receiver a promise or a warning. In the case of Genesis 17:1-2, the LORD God gives His Identity and His Will then makes a promise with Abram. It is highly profitable to study the LORD God’s revelations of Himself by searching for the “I AM” Trail. The “I AM” Trail gives us the ability to see Faith develop throughout the Old Testament, and into the New Testament of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Take the same concept, and search the “I AM” Trail for the Lord Jesus Christ. Every time He uses the words “I AM” He is delivering a new teaching of faith, and building, step-upon-step the faith of Believers! That “I AM” Trail is one of the most powerful journeys you can take to know your LORD God and the Lord Jesus Christ perfectly.

One day, we will develop a class that walks that Trail with deep revelations, awe, and mystery. Until then, I encourage each of you to pull out a notebook and make three columns. The first should be the location of verse, the second should be the teaching of new faith, and the third the result of application. Do this, and you will be fully prepared when our “I AM” Trail class begins!

Hopefully, each of you have peeked into your Bible, and found parts of the “I AM” Trail. Note the events that happen right after the new concepts are taught. In almost every case within the Word of God, there is a supernatural event or standstill moment or mystery expression or parable or miracle that happens that reinforces the new teaching of faith. So maybe it would be fruitful to add a fourth column to your journey, and list that supernatural event that hones the teaching of faith perfectly!

You have now received teaching that has increased your walk with the LORD God dramatically. But, the “I AM” Trail is not the only way that faith is persuaded.

(Important Reminder: We are talking about the increase of faith, not the giving of faith. Faith is given in proportions to individuals by the LORD God through His Grace. He expects the Believer to add to that faith through His Teachings. Those teachings are reflected on the great “I AM” Trail and increase the faith of Believers.)

There are other means that the LORD God uses to persuade an increase of faith, or even to persuade lies within the enemy of Him. The LORD God sends His Spirits to increase the faith of the believer, or persuade the opposite of His Truth within His enemies! Check out the example of one of God’s Spirits subverting the enemy by causing their mouths to speak the lies their false faith is based upon!

1 Kings 22:15-23

“So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king. 16 And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD? 17 And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace. 18 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil? 19 And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. 20 And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. 21 And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. 22 And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. 23 Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.” (1 Kings 22:15–23)

Now let’s look at the example for the Faithful that shows the connection of faith and the Holy Spirit sent to Believers to indwell and seal them as children of the LORD God.

Jude 1:20-21

“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (Jude 1:20–21)

Building up of holy faith is persuasion. When your faith builds, you are persuaded that the newest addition to your belief is sure. Praying in the Holy Ghost brings certain persuasion to your holy faith, and increases your surety in its Truth!

We have learned that the “I AM” Trail, supported by new teachings, signs and wonders, and the Holy Spirit lead to increased persuasion of faith. But there are other avenues that bring added persuasion to bear upon believers! The learning of Scripture and your study of the Word of God is “profitable for doctrine, which instructs into righteousness, and thoroughly prepares you to do good works!

Now stay with me here for just one more point:

What is the beginning of good works? FAITH! What must you be persuaded, convinced, sure of before you start a work of God? FAITH! What leads to this surety of Faith? STUDY OF THE WORD OF GOD!

2 Timothy 3:10-17

“But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, 11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:10–17)

And finally, doing the works of God persuades us and increases our faith!

James 2:18-26

“Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James 2:18–26)

Faith cannot be persuaded in those that cannot hear the Word of God. But it goes deeper than that, if one desires to travel the “I AM” Trail. If one cannot connect the Old Testament with the New Testament, if Abraham, Moses and the Prophets are not able to be seen as a progressive development of faith through Jesus Christ, then faith is not securely held.

Luke 16-19-31

“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” (Luke 16:19–31)

Full persuasion of faith begins with Abraham and the first generations and follows through the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ with the nature of man, to live amongst us, be crucified and buried, and resurrected into eternal life forevermore. Without the fullness of all Scripture, total persuasion of faith is impossible!

Acts 18:1-6

Another often overlooked action to persuade faith is the ability to reason the things you have learned from the Word of God, and express them in ways that they can be understood.

“After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; 2 And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. 3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers. 4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. 5 And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. 6 And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.” (Acts 18:1–6)

Apologetics are the defense of Christian doctrine with evidence supported by Scripture. They define the word “reason” perfectly. Reason means to logically support a claim with proof; thus, just as Paul tried to reason with the Jews, the Faithful are encouraged to do the same. When reason is rejected, we move on to those who have ears to hear because God has moved them toward Him in Grace.

It often takes more than just gentle reason to persuade faith! Sometimes we must speak boldly! Bold is the opposite of gentle. Usually, when strong Christians speak BOLDLY, they are chastised for going against the humble and gentle nature of the Lord Jesus Christ, and are often shunned by the polite, perfumed believers.

Their error in misunderstanding this BOLD instruction in faith is not having an intimate familiarity of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. Paul found the hardening of hearts common among those he boldly spoke; yet, for those who heard, their faith was persuaded with supernatural miracles to confirm his reasoned and BOLD presentation!

Acts 19:8-12

“And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. 9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. 10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. 11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: 12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” (Acts 19:8–12)

Abraham was fully persuaded of the Promises of the LORD God and knew he could perform the things that He instructed, because he believed fully. That persuaded faith made him righteous.

Romans 4:17-22

“(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. 18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. 19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: 20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.” (Romans 4:17–22)

What an interesting comparison Abraham’s faith of the surety of the LORD God’s promises developed into the perfect Christian faith as expressed by Paul!

Romans 8:38-39

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38–39)

Persuaded faith is individual. Each believer must be persuaded on his own. Faith is individual. The LORD God, Lord Jesus Christ and their Holy Spirit lead each to the spiritual path that persuades faith perfectly for that person. While the spiritual path of each Believer is different, all have one sure thing in common. Faith through the Lord Jesus Christ persuades all of the entire surety of their God, King, Savior, and Lord.

Romans 14:5-9

“One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. 7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.” (Romans 14:5–9)

Faithful Christians are instructed to persuade men of the terror of the LORD God. This instruction holds ample evidence that before persuasion of faith can begin, one must fear the LORD God; thus, instruction of His terror may well be the first step an unbeliever must have in order to receive God’s graced gift of faith!

2 Corinthians 5:9-11

“Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.” (2 Corinthians 5:9–11)

Note how unbelievers should have terror of the LORD God, while Faithful Christians are shown to the same most powerful LORD God and our consciences without fear because of the persuaded of faith that has developed within us.

The persuasion of faith does not come from man, but from the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ throughout the Word of God. It is the LORD God who calls us from the wombs of our mothers to receive His grace, and be able to receive persuasion in the full faith of His Word.

Galatians 1:10-17

“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. 11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: 14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: 17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.” (Galatians 1:10–17)

Sound spiritual words, faith and love through the Lord Jesus Christ, that is kept by the Holy Spirit within us persuades our Faith even more!

2 Timothy 1:6-14

“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. 7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: 11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” (2 Timothy 1:6–14)

The Doctrine of Jesus Christ lays the first foundation for a believer. It covers sin, baptism, resurrection and judgment; after this, Christians are encouraged to move deeper into His Word and find better and better things, to persuade faith deeply and perfectly!

Hebrews 6:1-20

“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this will we do, if God permit. 4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. 7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: 8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. 10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: 12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. 13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, 14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 16 For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. 17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: 18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Hebrews 6:1–20)

The generations of Abraham died with faith in the promises made to them by the LORD God. The generations following the Lord Jesus Christ’s resurrection are persuaded in perfected faith, as their paths are guided by Him to the better country within the Kingdom of God.

Hebrews 11:13-16

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” (Hebrews 11:13–16)

DEAD IN FAITH – What Faith Do the Dead Hold? (Lesson 2)

By Kathy L McFarland

Don’t take lightly the Grace of the LORD God in your life! Christians know with surety that when their physical bodies die, their baptized spirits ascend to Heaven (Rom 6:1-11), where they are given a new body; or, unbaptized spirits sleep in their grave for a while until resurrected to live eternally upon the New Earth; or, raptured alive believers ascend with their physical bodies, where they receive white robes in Heaven for a time (Rev 7:9-17). All Christians know that through their belief and acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ, their sins will be forgiven and justified, promising eternal life, regardless of how they assume the next life. So, it is a known ingredient in our thought process; we know we will live eternally, so our death (without sting) does not terrify us.

1 Corinthians 15:35–50

“But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? 36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: 38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. 39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. 40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” (1 Corinthians 15:35–50)

One day, folks, there is going to be a big battle between the righteous soldiers of the LORD God, led by Jesus Christ, and the wicked minions of Lucifer, upon the battlefield of Armageddon. Our Christian faith allows us to know this battle is a done deal. We know the end of the story. WE WIN! Our side is victorious.

However, here’s a shocking announcement: the other side thinks they are going to win also. Lucifer is recruiting his soldiers today, preparing for that great and final battle. His wicked forces believe they will annihilate the forces led by Christ when the fog of war draws near.

Revelation 17:14

“These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. (Revelation 17:14)

Would you want to live eternally if Lucifer were victorious? Of course not! Christians hold unshaken faith that their Lord Jesus Christ will be victorious in their battle against the fallen angel Lucifer. We know that in the end, our omnipotent Lord will pummel the enemy and cause his blood to fill the battlefield. And when we have won the battle, we are given a glimpse of the wonderful life we will have upon the New Earth, freed from the grips of the devil and sin.

We know the end of the story! We have the Word of God in our hands, and we can read with clear understanding about the great battle to come. To think that conflict between good and evil would end any other way is unthinkable and impossible because we know the power and might of our Lord.

Revelation 19:11–21

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. 17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; 18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. 19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.” (Revelation 19:11–21)

Often Christians hold fast their salvation promise in an attitude of focusing on what Christ brings to them. However, there is a much bigger picture that is unfolding, as the forces of good and evil prepare for battle. Our King has prepared us with His Word. He has let us know about the battle beforehand. He has started the basic training of his soldiers by using the military terms necessary to prepare by encouraging us to put on His armor and learn to use it before the battle comes. He has presented the call to order, by illustrating that only one Master can be followed. He gave recruitment instructions to His apostles, and followed up with orders to all Christians to continue the recruitment process throughout the world.

Unfortunately, those Old Testament saints and sinners didn’t have the easily understood battle plan in their hands. They did not have an understanding of the Messiah that would come to prepare them for war. The books in their Bible were not fully written when they lived; and if the major prophets of the Old Testament were alive in some of the times of the more recent people of the LORD God, they talked in depths that were hard to understand. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Joel, Amos, Micah, Zephaniah, Zechariah, Malachi speak clear prophesy that will happen past the time of the lives of the Old Testament people; some of the Prophets speak of events that happen even past our own time!

Abraham’s generations did not have the information we have today. They did not have the complete Word of God, because the Word of God had not come yet! They did not know the Lord Jesus Christ; for most, the prophecy of His coming was unknown, and those who heard it, misunderstood.

For the most part, they had only the five books of our present-day Bibles. These five books are called the Pentateuch. These books were the writings of Moses, which expressed the laws of the LORD God and His Creation in the books Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy (These are English translated words; the Hebrews name their books from the first word spoken in each).

What did the generations of Abraham faithfully hold that they took confidently to their grave? They had the promise of a Messiah one day coming, and they believed that He would free them from the wicked grasp of their enemies. They knew that when they died, they would sleep in their grave until awakened by the LORD God; as time unfolded, they were hopeful that their line would continue and multiply their generations as the Chosen people of God. They knew that while they suffered oppression and persecution, that one day their Messiah would come and destroy their enemies quickly. That faithful confidence gave them purpose to live and follow after the LORD God’s will and ways.

Hebrews 11:13–16 tell us specifically what they knew!

Hebrews 11:13-16

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” (Hebrews 11:13-16)

Check it out! Even before the Lord Jesus Christ came to reveal the Kingdom of God completely to His followers and give the promise of eternal life, the generations of Abraham knew they were strangers in this world! Their faith was persuaded, embraced and confessed. Through those acts, we know they sought a country, the Kingdom of God, even when they did not have the promise realized in their generation. It is only Christians who had full access to this knowledge!

Revelation 21:1-8

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:1–8)

It is through these three acts of persuading, embracing and confessing that present-day Christians can know that Abraham’s generations had faith in the providence of the LORD God. They knew their LORD God was omnipotent, and would one day restore them into a Kingdom that did not contain their enemies. Thus, it is worthy for us to examine these three concepts of faith, to include them within our own spiritual growth of faith, as His Word is revealed deeply to us.

It is also important to look deeply into the desire of the generations of Abraham to live in a Kingdom where God is not ashamed of them. Even before the Messiah was revealed fully to them, they knew that the LORD God was able to create a place where the wickedness was gone, and where their righteousness could shine. Even back then, they were confident that one day God would make a place for them to honor Him.

Faith must be persuaded, embraced and confessed by all Believers, both Jew and Christian. Without these three aspects of faith expressed, there is no faith. It is fascinating that the generations of Abraham figured this out before the complete revelation of the LORD God’s plans through the Word of God. And it is humbling to realize that present-day Christians have access to the full expression of the Word of God and yet struggle with the aspects of persuasion, embracing, and confessing. Thus, it is time for us to take a lesson from our brothers and sisters of old, and learn the ways of faith, even when the “rest of the book” is unknown.

DEAD BEFORE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST – The Faith of the Dead (Lesson 1)

By Kathy L McFarland

Hebrews 11:13-16

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” (Hebrews 11:13–16)

This study module is focusing upon a group of people, rather than a specific person. However, don’t take the lack of specificity to define the importance of this expression of faith example in Hebrews 11. Rather, examine the amount of words that Hebrews 11:13-16 contains in defining this type of faith, and recognize that it is both noteworthy and essential for all Believers to understand perfectly!

Who are the dead in faith? They are the ones that died before the promises of the coming Messiah were fulfilled, and who were not taken directly to Heaven as a Saint. It was the promises given through the Lord Jesus Christ that overpowered death, and gave life to those that believed and followed after Him. Until His Time was fulfilled, most of the Chosen People of the LORD God went to their graves, and are presently sleeping; they unknowingly await the resurrection at the final Judgment of Jesus Christ, to receive their reward or punishment.

Revelation 20:11-15

“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11–15)

The Israelites that descended from the generations of Abraham did not receive the promises of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew 1 traces the generations that led to the designated father’s side of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Matthew 1:1-17

“The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; 3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; 4 And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon; 5 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; 6 And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias; 7 And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa; 8 And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias; 9 And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias; 10 And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias; 11 And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon: 12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel; 13 And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor; 14 And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud; 15 And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob; 16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. 17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.” (Matthew 1:1–17)

Traditionally, Bible scholars have attributed the generations listed within Matthew 1 to represent the line of Joseph, while the genealogy listed in Luke 3:24-38 to show the lineage of Mary, showing a family relationship between Mary and Joseph. Luke 3:24-38 traces the generations that led to the Lord Jesus Christ, clear back to the time of Adam!

Luke 3:24-38

“And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli, 24 Which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Janna, which was the son of Joseph, 25 Which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Amos, which was the son of Naum, which was the son of Esli, which was the son of Nagge, 26 Which was the son of Maath, which was the son of Mattathias, which was the son of Semei, which was the son of Joseph, which was the son of Juda, 27 Which was the son of Joanna, which was the son of Rhesa, which was the son of Zorobabel, which was the son of Salathiel, which was the son of Neri, 28 Which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Addi, which was the son of Cosam, which was the son of Elmodam, which was the son of Er, 29 Which was the son of Jose, which was the son of Eliezer, which was the son of Jorim, which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, 30 Which was the son of Simeon, which was the son of Juda, which was the son of Joseph, which was the son of Jonan, which was the son of Eliakim, 31 Which was the son of Melea, which was the son of Menan, which was the son of Mattatha, which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David, 32 Which was the son of Jesse, which was the son of Obed, which was the son of Booz, which was the son of Salmon, which was the son of Naasson, 33 Which was the son of Aminadab, which was the son of Aram, which was the son of Esrom, which was the son of Phares, which was the son of Juda, 34 Which was the son of Jacob, which was the son of Isaac, which was the son of Abraham, which was the son of Thara, which was the son of Nachor, 35 Which was the son of Saruch, which was the son of Ragau, which was the son of Phalec, which was the son of Heber, which was the son of Sala, 36 Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noe, which was the son of Lamech, 37 Which was the son of Mathusala, which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which was the son of Maleleel, which was the son of Cainan, 38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God. (Luke 3:23–38)

Now, when you compare the names in both of these genealogies, you will notice a few inconsistencies. Some of the names are different, but similar, which can be explained by the Hebrew vs. Aramaic translation of the names. Some Kings are left out, like Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah, those between Joram and Uzziah, and Jehoiakim in the Matthew line. Matthew also includes women in the lineage, which is a rare event in ancient genealogies. While rare in tradition, their places in the lineage were crucial to establishing certain timelines in the Bible, just as the missing Kings were unimportant to the author’s point. Comparisons of Luke and Matthew show disagreement, but can be explained in scholarly fashion. But, you know what! We don’t have to worry about any of these arguments, to go to the places we need to go to learn about the faith!

We only need to look at Luke 3:23-28 to realize that there were a whole bunch of people, generation after generation for many generations that brought forth the fulfilled line of David through our Lord Jesus Christ! That means that all of those past people who contributed to the human being expression of Jesus Christ DIED IN FAITH! They went to their graves, when they died. They did not realize the promises that their faith looked forward too! Most of the actual human being relatives of our Lord Jesus Christ are not in Heaven! That’s an amazing statement of fact!

Remember, the lineage of Jesus Christ as expressed in Matthew 1 and Luke 3, represents one branch of the generations before Jesus Christ! There were hundreds upon hundreds of offspring that sprang from the seed of Abraham! The specific genealogy of the Lord Jesus Christ is but one of many that form the tree of Abraham that leads to the Twelve Tribes of Israel that are God’s Chosen People who looked expectantly to the future promise of the coming Messiah.

Philippians 2:5-11

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5–11)

The hope of all Jewish people is centered fully upon the promise by the LORD God to send a Messiah to them, to lead them from the oppressions of this world. Sadly, when the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ came to this earth with the nature of a human being, few of the Jews knew Him. They did not recognize Him as Messiah, because they thought the Messiah would be powerful and mighty and cause their enemies to perish. The Lord Jesus Christ not only exhibited the nature of human being, but was easily crucified upon the cross. The Jewish people were made blind by the LORD God, and unable to see the glorious Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. They could not connect this with the perfect expression of God’s power over death, and His exaltation of His only begotten Son.

John 4:19-26

“The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.” (John 4:19–26)

The Lord Jesus Christ, coming in the nature of man, with the flesh and blood of human being, had to die, in order to destroy the power of death.

Hebrews 2:14-18

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” (Hebrews 2:14–18)

It was only after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ that brought him to die, that death could be conquered. Thus, all those that lived before the Lord’s coming, died with faith that He would one day come. It is the circle of faith that took generations upon generations to accomplish the fulfillment of His Promises to His Chosen People.

Hebrews 11 honors those of faith in the Promises of the Messiah that were unable to see the fulfillment of His coming. It is with that same heart we look with honor upon the ancestors of God’s People before Christ, who kept the faith pure and moving forward, without guarantee that they would see the Promise in their lifetime.

The generations of God’s People had a faith that is worthy of study, recall and emulation, as our own time troubles began to increase beyond endurance. The Promised return of our Lord Jesus Christ is an important promise to Christians, just as those generations of Adam looked to the first Promise of the Messiah’s return. Thus, it is worthy to know the coping tools of the Chosen People of the LORD God, to give us the survival tools of our own time, promising a hope where all seems impossible, and encouraging a faith that is sure and true in salvation, redemption and rescue by our Lord Jesus Christ, regardless of the wickedness that surrounds us.