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37) Hebrews - Chapter 11:8 and following - By faith (continued 2)
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By faith Abraham when he was called

This man is so great as to be recognized by the three theistic religions in the world.  His grave at Hebron is the
common shrine for Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

His name occurs more than three hundred times in twenty seven books of the Bible.  He was called of God in the
midst of idolatry; Ur was the center of moon worship.  Abraham worshipped God; otherwise he would not have
obeyed God.

Genesis 12:1-3 gives us his call in substance.  This land to be given to his posterity was unknown to him at the time.
To leave home and loved ones shows a strong faith.  He went out to Haran where he remained five years.  After his
father died he went on to Canaan at the age of seventy-five. (Genesis 12:4).

He was a "sojourner," never really possessed the land.  Round about him were the walled cities, over which he was
not King, but he made an impression.  The Hittites said, "Thou art a prince." Genesis 23:6

He looked for the city which hath the foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God.  This accounts for their
steadfastness.  They did not worry about living in tents when cities abounded, their eyes penetrated heaven.  
"Foundations" suggests perpetuity rather than something transitory and fading.  They had revelations which have
never been transmitted to us.

The city is the heavenly Jerusalem - Galatians 4:26, Hebrews 12:22, Hebrews 13:14 - which is for the present
located in heaven.

Sarah is mentioned since she is the mother of the faithful.  She was openly charged with unbelief, so it may seem
strange for her to be included, Genesis 18:12-13.  Remember Abraham also laughed at first, Genesis 17:17.

Wherefore also there sprang of one and him as good as dead.  This refers to dead Abraham - dead as to the power
of begetting children.  This accounts for his attitude in Genesis 17:17, where he named his age and laughed.

These all died in faith, not having received the promises - what promises are meant?
       a) He never saw his posterity in such numbers
       b) He never saw his seed receive an everlasting inheritance (Genesis 12:7, Genesis 13:15, Genesis 15:18-21,
           Genesis 17:8)
       c) He never saw the earth blessed through his seed (Genesis 12:3, Genesis 22:18).

Jesus may throw light on this expression.  John 8:56: "Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad."
"Them" must refer to promises and not to people.  A distant view was had, but that was all.

These could have returned to their native land if they had desired to do so.  Abraham could have returned to Ur of
the Chaldees, for he was not banished.

God showed that He was not ashamed of these men, in Exodus 3:6 when God said He was God of Abraham, Isaac
and Jacob.  It is a singular honor for God to attach His name to men.  When they renounced the world, considered
themselves pilgrims, then God claimed them.  We must do the same if God would claim us.  Galatians 3:26 indicates
that we are sons of God through faith.  Genesis 17:7 shows that God promised this relationship to Abraham's seed.