By John David Pitcher, Jr, MD
After the physician Luke recorded an unusual parable of Yeshua the Messiah in his Gospel in Luke 18:1-5 not recorded by Matthew, Mark or John about a widow that often came to a judge to ask for defense against her adversary, he records Messiah’s words in Luke 18:8 after the judge that neither feared God or respected men concluded that God will avenge his chosen ones who are crying out to him day and night, and yet he exercises patience with them:
“I tell you that he will avenge them quickly. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Previously, I have shown through the study of Midrash in six of Paul’s letters in the New Testament that the meaning of a Greek word in the New Testament holds onto its contextual meaning from its first use in the LXX, the Septuagint, the 70 Rabbis’ translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek.
The word “faith” (pistis is its transliteration from the Greek) in Luke 18:8 has its first use in the LXX (and only use in the Torah) in Deuteronomy 32:20 within Moses’ Song to the assembly of Israel. Note the English translation of the Greek from the LXX where the word “belief” is the word “faith”:
“And he said, ‘I will turn away my face from them, and I will show what will be to them at the last times, for it is a generation being distorted; sons in whom there is no belief in them.’”
It is evident the words of Messiah regarding finding faith in the last days is linked both contextually and chronologically with the words of Moses.
After the “Love Chapter” of 1 Corinthians 13, perhaps there is no more discussed chapter in the New Testament than the “Faith Chapter” of Hebrews 11.
I have previously shown that the New Testament book of Hebrews is a complete Midrash of the book of Genesis, with over 490 words of Hebrews lining up in sectional order with the first book of the Hebrew Scriptures. Specifically, there are 74 words used in sectional order in Hebrews 10:37-11:39 in five sections with 181 uses of those same words in sectional order in Genesis 38:27-44:15 in the LXX.
Since the Greek word “faith” does not appear in the Tanakh until Deuteronomy 32:20, what is the “Faith Chapter” built around?
This is amazing.
The “Faith Chapter” is built around a characteristic of the children of Israel in their dealing with their brother Joseph, whom they did not recognize. I’ve tried to illustrate the amazement of the brothers of Joseph in the attached sketch inspired by the film “The Revolutionary” regarding the Messiah appearing after his Resurrection similar to when not being dead Joseph says to the children of Israel, “I am your brother!”
The characteristic is found in Genesis 42:20. Note the English translation of the Greek in the LXX where the word “I will trust” is the verb form of the noun “faith”:
“And you lead your younger brother to me! And I will trust your sayings; but if not you shall die. And they did so.”
There are over 100 similarities between the life of Joseph and the Messiah, first pointed out by A. W. Pink. Here, the faithfulness of the children of Israel to return to first Joseph and soon to the Messiah is THE most important and through the repetitive use of the word “faith” 25 times in this section of the book of Hebrews there is a hint that there is an eschatological flavor to the Faith Chapter!
Indeed, some but not all commentators have pointed out that its preamble in Hebrews 10:37-38 is a combination of two prophecies taken verbatim from the LXX, Isaiah 26:20 and Habakkuk 2:3-4 linking the two prophecies to the Coming Messiah.
That same section of the Midrash has as its Source Text the birth of Tamar’s twins, Perez and Zerah. In an unusual twist of events, Zerah’s hand appears first and a scarlet thread is tied around his wrist only to learn that his hand is pulled back in and Perez is born first. (This is the foundation for the saying “the first will be last and the last shall be first”; Matthew 20:16.) From the story of Rahab, we learn that the scarlet thread is used for future identification. Although an explanation is given for the name Perez, unusual for the book of Genesis no explanation is given for the name Zerah, although there is a similarity of his name to the Hebrew adjective “bright” and the Hebrew noun “rise” suggesting he was born at daybreak. There are many places in Scripture where the birth of a baby is compared to the end of days. (Isaiah 13:8; 42:14; Jeremiah 49:24; Matthew 24:8; Mark 13:8 to name a few.)
If this were not enough, the contextual meanings of numerous words or names from Hebrews 10:37-11:39 or the Source Text in Genesis indirectly foreshadow the Rapture and end time events. There are elements foreshadowing the Rapture and elements pertaining to Israel (this is a partial list with other aspects of the end of days such as the Temple also hidden in the contextual meanings of the words Paul uses):
• The Messiah is coming (Hebrews 10:37-38)
• The birth of Zerah, whose name means “rising” (Genesis 38:27-30) marked with a scarlet thread for future identification
• Enoch was “taken away” (Hebrews 11:5)
• Noah was “raised up” (Hebrews 11:7) (The word “righteous” in Hebrews 10:38; 11:4 contextually is related to Noah in its first use in Genesis 6:9. The word “ark” in Hebrews 11:7 contextually is also related to the account Noah in its multiple uses in Genesis 6:14-19. The word “house” in Hebrews 11:7 is also contextually related to Noah from its first use in Genesis 7:1. The word “his end was near” in Hebrews 11:22 has its contextual meaning from its first use in Genesis 6:17 within God’s instruction to Noah to build the ark.)
• Seven years of famine (Genesis 41:54) (The word “without” in Hebrews 11:6, 40 contextually is related to the famine that occurred in the days of Isaac with its first use in Genesis 26:1 when he was instructed to stay in the land of promise as is the word “time” in Hebrews 11:32 with its first use in Genesis 26:1, 15. The word “raise up” in Hebrews 11:19 is contextually related to seven years of famine from its first use in Genesis 41:4, 7.)
• The word “foundations” in Hebrews 11:10 has its first use in Deuteronomy 32:22 in the Song of Moses describing how the Jewish people would be moved to jealousy with those who are not a people and provoked to anger with a foolish nation. (A significant double use of the word is found in Isaiah 28:16.)
• The uncommon word “innumerable” in Hebrews 11:12 is first used in 1 Kings 8:5 and contextually is related to Rosh Hashanah. (The month of Ethanim is also known as Tishri.)
• The faithfulness of Israel’s sons to return to Joseph (Genesis 42:20, “will be verified”) (The uncommon word “spies” in Hebrews 11:30 is contextually related to the account of Joseph and his brothers with its first use in Genesis 42:9-34.)
• Now they (those that died in faith) desire a heavenly country (Hebrews 11:16)
• The word “better country” in Hebrews 11:16 is contextually related through its first use in Exodus 14:12 of the children of Israel not aware of the salvation the LORD would work and that they would see that day.)
• God has prepared a city for His own (Hebrews 11:16) (The word “prepared” is first used in Genesis 24:14, 31, 44 and contextually related to the “bride” the LORD has appointed for the master’s son, Isaac, foreshadowing the Messiah.)
• The word “to come” in Hebrews 11:20 is contextually related to its first use in Genesis 25:22 in the birth of twins to Rebekah and her question to the LORD, “What is about to happen to me?”
• Joseph’s bones were ‘raised up’ (Hebrews 11:22)
• Judah declares himself as surety to Israel (Genesis 43:9; 44:32) (The relatively uncommon word “he looked for” in Hebrews 11:10 is contextually related to its first use in Genesis 43:9 describing Judah promising to his father to bring to his father him who he promised to be a surety for.)
• The word “wrath” in Hebrews 11:27 is contextually related to Israel and the children of Israel being spared from wrath in its first use in Genesis 27:45.
• The word “endure” in Hebrews 11:27 has its sole use in the New Testament here and it’s first use in Job 2:9 associated with the ‘come to the end’ and it’s only other use in the LXX in Isaiah 42:14 is the LORD’s prophetic statement, “I will now amaze and dry up at the same time”.
• The parting of the Sea of Suf (Hebrews 11:29) (The word “walls” in Hebrews 11:30 has its first use in Exodus 14:22-29 and contextually is related to the parting of the Sea of Suf.)
• Rahab was saved as Jericho perished (Hebrews 11:31) (and she was marked for future identification with a scarlet cord)
• The uncommon word “would fail” (Hebrews 11:32) has no other use in the New Testament and has its sole (and double) use in the LXX in Jeremiah 33:17,18 describing when the Branch of Righteousness will execute justice and righteousness and Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell in safety.
• The word “I told” in Hebrews 11:32 has its first use and therefore related contextually when the bride of Isaac for which a surety had been paid lifted up her eyes and saw the bridegroom Isaac.
• The word “lions” in Hebrews 11:33 has its contextual meaning from the prophecy of Israel to his son Judah, “a crouching lion”. “Who will rouse him up?”
• Dead raised to life (Hebrews 11:35) (The word “resurrection” in Hebrews 11:35 has its first use in the title of Psalm 66, a psalm of “rising up”.
• The word “sheepskins” has its sole use in the New Testament in Hebrews 11:37 and is only used in the Hebrew Scripture to describe the mantle of Elisha (1 Kings 19:13, 19) being passed on to Elisha (2 Kings 2:8, 13, 14). (The Messiah is the Shepherd of all those in sheepskins, Elijah representative of those Raptured and Elisha representative of the Jews that will believe in Messiah at the event of the Rapture.)
• The word “destitute” in Hebrews 11:37 has its first use in the LXX in Numbers 9:7, 13 describing the Second Passover. After the Rapture Jews will accept Messiah and be clean and alive to Yeshua, no longer being dead in sin just as is the case with all that accept the Messiah as Lord and Savior.
• God “having provided” something better for those dead in faith and those alive (Hebrews 11:40)
o Believers to be made perfect
o The wicked’s day is coming (Psalm 37:13). (The word “having provided” is only used in Hebrews 11:40 and Psalm 37:13.)
o God’s promise to David (Psalm 56:8)
o God’s promise since the foundation of the earth (Amos 9:6)
• Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1)
• The sons of Israel recognize their iniquity (Genesis 44:16)
• The sons of Israel realize their father’s favorite son is alive and has gone before them to preserve a posterity for them (Genesis 45:7)
• The sons of Israel (specifically Benjamin) see that Joseph is alive and tell of his glory (Genesis 45:12) (The contextual meaning of the word “seen” in Hebrews 11:7 is from its first use in Genesis 45:12.)
• Sons of Israel given provisions (Genesis 45:21)
• All of Israel is saved (Genesis 46:3-4) (Cf. Romans 11:26.)
Finally, to surprise everyone, Paul makes a descriptive statement regarding the Hebrew Scripture saints he has just enumerated. It is often overlooked but you can look for it yourself in Hebrews 11:40:
“…apart from us they should not be made perfect.”
The Hebrew Scripture saints described in the “Faith Chapter” are “dead in Messiah” and will rise first along with those Christians that have believed in Messiah. (1 Thessalonians 4:16)
Will Messiah find faith on the earth? You better believe he will! And the children of Israel will be faithful to return to their brother, Yeshua the Messiah!!
Have you accepted the Messiah as your Lord and Savior? You can today by confessing him as the Passover Lamb who takes away your sins, and indeed the sins of all those that call upon him. Don’t wait for that Second Passover opportunity. Do it today and put on your sheepskin!