I received an email from someone who wanted to know about the cloud of witnesses. That is found in Hebrews 12:1 but chapter 11 gives you a list of some of the ones who are in that cloud of witnesses. Paul says, “Without faith it is impossible to please the Lord” (Hebrews 11:6). So we have to have faith. The Lord knows we need faith and so He will put us through a lot of circumstances where faith is needed. You won’t ever appropriate His faith until you are in a place where you need it. So God has us in a place where we can learn to increase our faith. That is important.
Hebrews 11:1, 6 Now faith is…
6 …for he that comes to God must believe that He is…
He is and faith is. The faith you need is Jesus Christ Himself; He is the faith! In fact, He is the righteousness, the justification, the humility, the dedication, and everything else that we need. Whatever it is that we need in order to have a walk with God that is what He is. None of those things are found within yourself. You can say, “Well, I’ve got faith.” Oh really? I’m sorry, but faith isn’t found in a human being. Faith just isn’t there. If you have real faith then you have the Lord because He is your faith, your righteousness, your understanding. He is your everything!
He is! It is necessary for us to understand that. The Lord is not a was. Revelation 1:4 says, “He that is, and was, and is to come.” The Greek reads, “He is, and was, and the is coming.” He is – He is present. The Lord is in the now. If in your thinking He is up there in the sky, then you haven’t met Him yet. Remember it says in Deuteronomy 30:14, “The Word is nigh thee, even in your mouth that you may do it” (Cf. Romans 10:7-8). You don’t have to send someone up into the heavens to get it and bring it down or someone down into the abyss to bring it up. But He is near you, even in your mouth. You have to believe that He is.
He is. The most difficult thing for a Christian to do is to believe that He is. They get discouraged, they get down, they get arrogant, they get all kind of things because their human nature is the devil’s workshop and playground. He likes to move on your soul life, push a little button here and make you have a certain thought or make you have a certain feeling or emotion and you believe the thought and feeling and then, “Oh man, I’m in trouble! I’m down and out. Woe is me!”
I was reading about Joseph this morning – the thirteen years he was in prison and yet free. He was free. You see that with Paul and Silas also. They were in jail, but their spirits weren’t in jail (Acts 16:25). They were free and they were worshiping the Lord.
What kind of situation are you in? What are your circumstances? Are your circumstances a prison? They don’t have to be a prison to your spirit. Do you have any idea how much time Paul spent in prison? Many of his epistles were written while he was in prison. He said, I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the Word of God is not bound (II Timothy 2:9). The Word is not bound. Your spirit does not have to be bound either, regardless of your circumstances. The only time your spirit can be in bondage is when you allow it to be. We are the ones who put our spirits in bondage. “Well, the devil made me do it.” Blame yourself. You didn’t have to listen to him.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Faith is the substance of the One hoped for and the evidence of the One not seen. You can’t see the Lord, and it is a good thing that you can’t see Him because by not seeing Him in the flesh gives you the opportunity to really know Him.
Why is the Lord invisible? When my son was a little, he was on the floor playing with his toys and saw an Arab on television. He asked me, “Is that Jesus?” I told him, “No, Jesus is invisible.” He is invisible for a reason. As an individual in the flesh, Jesus was limited, very limited, in what He could do. But in Spirit, He is not limited. He is. He is all things to all people, to anyone who wants Him to be. He is.
He is without limitations – except when He comes forth in an individual. That individual’s flesh sometimes limits Him. If your flesh nature limits you, it also limits the Lord. How much we have limited the Lord and what He could do through us! Do you remember what Hebrews 6 talks about – crucifying Christ afresh by not allowing Christ to move through you? “Well, I couldn’t help it. I was all wrapped up in the doldrums. I was hindered by my thoughts.” Why do you love your thoughts so much? Why do you love your flesh so much? Let it go, let it die, because that will set you free!
Hebrews 11:1-3 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of
things not seen.
2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
3 Through faith we understand that the ages were framed by the Word of God…
We have learned through revelation that anything in the area of a time zone represents a realm or a level. Through faith we understand that the ages, the spiritual ages – your babyhood stage, your adolescent age, where you are in your moving in God – if you are in a certain area or certain age with your walk with God, it was created by God. He brought you into it. You can’t take any credit for where you are spiritually. Like Paul said, “What do you have that wasn’t given to you (I Corinthians 4:7)?” So don’t boast as though you had it all along. Wherever you are in your walk with God, God created that. Now let Him create the next age for you also. That is important. He needs your help and you can do that by saying, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the IS.” Believe that He is.
Hebrews 11:3 …so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
Whatever your spiritual age, whatever you have become, what you are seen as now was not made of things which appear (Romans 4:17). In other words, it wasn’t made of your flesh nature. Your flesh nature cannot take any credit. “Yes, but I’m pretty smart.” Your smartness didn’t have anything to do with where you are in God. It might have something to do with where you are not in God. The one thing that will hinder a person’s walk in the Lord more than anything else is arrogance – “I’ve got it.” Not so.
Hebrews 11:4-5 By faith Able offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than
5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death…
Who is this faith? What is it? It is Christ! Through Christ Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice. Through Christ Enoch was translated. Substitute Christ for faith.
Hebrews 11:6-10 But without faith it is impossible to please Him…without Christ
in your heart, it is impossible to please Him … for he that comes to God … comes
into His likeness … must believe that He is, … you cannot become anything that
you don’t believe is … and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek
7 By faith Noah, being warned of God … prepared an ark…
8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place…
9 By faith he sojourned…
10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
You can be a city. You can enhouse Christ. You can enhouse the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. You can have Isaiah in there, too, and Jeremiah and all the different ways of God. But that is something that God makes. You can’t do it on your own.
Hebrews 11:11, 13, 20 Through faith also Sarah herself received strength to
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises…
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac…
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
And there are more – by faith Jacob…, by faith Joseph …, by faith Moses. Verses 24-25 says: By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. The pleasures of the flesh life don’t last very long. You may have to suffer some affliction to choose the life God has for you, but you will get a life that is eternal.
Then it talks about how the walls of Jericho fell and Rahab by faith perished not as well as Gideon, Samson, David and Samuel.
Hebrews 11:33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.
Do you need a promise? By faith obtain one. “Lord, I don’t have a promise for such and such so right now I am obtaining a promise.” By faith you can obtain a promise and that will stop the mouths of lions. Lions – He walks about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. That is Peter talking about the devil. But his roar is nothing.
Hebrews 11:34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong…
That’s how strength comes. It comes out of weakness. The weaker your flesh becomes, the stronger you will be in the Lord. That is enough right there to encourage a person to say, “I’m going to be weak.” Paul said, “If I boast of anything I boast of my weaknesses because when I am weak, then I am strong in the Lord” (II Corinthians 12:10). These are very simple things, but they are very important to help us in our walk with God.
Hebrews 11:35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance…
To know Christ and have a life in Him has to mean an awful lot to you to accept the torture, doesn’t it? Do we want Him that much?
Hebrews 11:35-38 …that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goastskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
You may be thinking by now, “I don’t know if I want to walk with God if that is what it means.”
Hebrews 11:39-40 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith,
received not the promise … Why? Because of the next verse.
40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
Now all these people who are listed here are saints from a bygone day, of another time. With all that they did, with all their faith, it is not that they are not going to receive the promise – they are. But they receive it because there has to be the coming together of the saints of this day and the saints of that day. All these people who are listed here and many others are part of this cloud of witnesses in verse 1 of the next chapter.
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 (steadfastness or endurance) the
race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.
Jesus is our faith. He is the author of it and the finisher of it. There is the coming together. Those of that time and those of this time begin to work together in bringing forth the will of God and establishing His Kingdom. We have talked about a remnant that God is raising up. God is not raising up a remnant and they alone are going to get the will of God done. No, these other guys, a lot of them, men and women of faith who have lived their lives for a better resurrection will be a part of this also.
I believe it will be like it was on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8). Jesus with Peter, James and John went up on the mountain. They ascended and when they got to the top, lo and behold, there was Moses and Elijah – the types of the Old Testament saints. They were still alive and that is why God said, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” And Jesus said, “He is not God of the dead, but of the living” (Matthew 22:32). They are still living; they are still active and still ministering. I feel sure that at some point or another, whether you knew it or not, they have been active in your life because Hebrews 1:14 talks about the ministering spirits sent forth to minister to the heirs of salvation. That is their job.
So there has to be the coming together of two worlds. Actually, it is one world but we are coming out of this world into God’s world. Jesus is the head of this many-membered Christ. I kind of feel like it will take a little determination. It will take some dying out. It will take some becoming. Listen, you cannot live your life the way you decide you want to live it and God is going to automatically bless you and then you’ll be in the promises receiving everything God has for His people. That is a bunch of baloney! You’re going to lay down your life! Jesus said, “If any man will come after Me, become as I am, then he will deny himself. Take up his cross and follow Me. Anyone who would save his life, his present life, his flesh life will lose it. He that will lose his life for My sake, then they are the ones who will find this heavenly life” (Matthew 16:24-25).
I don’t know if it means anything to you or not, being a part of the ministry with Moses, Isaiah, Jacob, Samuel, Samson, Paul, Peter, James and John, etc. – to have a part of their ministry. They without us are not made perfect.
Hebrews 12:18-26 For you are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and
that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest – You are
not coming to Sinai again.
19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:
20 (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart:
21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)
22 But you are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
23 To the general assembly, and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect – because they believed that He is.
24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things than that of Abel.
25 See that you refuse not him that speaks: for if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him that speaks from heaven:
26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now He hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
If you can see the importance of this thing you will cry out unto God to shake your earth and your spirit.
Hebrews 12:27 And this word, Yet once more, signifies the removing of those things that are shaken…
You have a lot of things attached to you, a lot of things in your flesh nature. They have to go. What is it going to take to shake them loose?
Hebrews 12:27 …as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
The things of the Kingdom, the things the Lord has brought forth in your life cannot be shaken.
Hebrews 12:28-29 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us
have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear;
29 For our God is a consuming fire.
That consuming fire will consume all that you are if you’re lucky, if you let Him. I heard a Baptist preacher say one time, “I can go out and live like the devil, do anything I want to do, just live like the devil. Before it is too late God will bring me back in.” I wouldn’t count on that too much. It takes a people who are willing to die out to self, who want to become. They want to be in the body of Christ. It means more to them than living this life. Now God is a consuming fire for those who believe in Him.
Give yourself to the Lord. You will have to go through your wilderness and through your shaking but it is worth it. Become what the Lord wants you to be. And if you don’t know what God wants you to be, find out. Ask Him, “What do you want me to be, Lord?” Amen.
Copyright © 2009 by Henry DuBose