Wednesday, October 8, 2014

No Mention of Sinai in Hebrews 11

Hebrews chapter 11 is sometimes referred to as the "Faith Hall of Fame." It provides us with a list of many Old Testament heroes along with their exploits. These saints likely make up the "so great a cloud of witnesses" recorded in Hebrews 12:1-2.

Abraham, the man of faith, is mentioned more than anyone else in Hebrews 11. Much of Abraham's life is contained in this chapter. Moses, the lawgiver, is also spoken of in Hebrews 11. What is fascinating is what aspects of Moses' life are recorded in chapter 11 and what are not.

Hebrews 11:23-29 focuses on the life of Moses. These verses tell us:

By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king's edict. 24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them. 29 By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned.

The author of Hebrews focuses on acts of faith in the life of Moses. Notice where the verses conclude: at the crossing of the Red Sea. This is before the Sinai account, which by all measures is one of the most significant passages in the entire Old Testament. Surely we must hear some mention of Sinai. But no, we do not. Rather, Hebrews 11:30 says, "By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days." The writer skips all the way from the crossing of the Red Sea to the fall of Jericho. In his focus on faith, the writer jumps completely past the events of Mt. Sinai.

Why would the writer do this? The answer is both simple and profound. The Sinai account focuses on the giving of the law. It has nothing to do with faith, which is what Hebrews 11 is all about.

Law keeping and living by faith do not mix. They are completely different things.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we live by faith. The law, which we see ignored in Hebrews 11, has no hold upon us. Since that is the case, we need pay the law no heed as we consider how to live today. Many church problems stem directly from trying to look to the OT law for direction. This is fruitless. Rather, let us look to New Covenant passages to inform how we live life together now.


Aussie John said...

For Christ is the end of the Law [the limit at which it ceases to be, for the Law leads up to Him Who is the fulfillment of its types, and in Him the purpose which it was designed to accomplish is fulfilled. That is, the purpose of the Law is fulfilled in Him] as the means of righteousness (right relationship to God) for everyone who trusts in and adheres to and relies on Him. (Rom 10:4, AMP)

Eric said...


I so wish the church would stop trying to fulfill what Christ has already fulfilled. Many believers simply do not understand grace.