The Faithful See from Afar
1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of realities not seen.
2For by it the elders received commendation.
3By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen did not come from anything visible.
4By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain. Through faith he was commended as righteous when God approved of his gifts. And through faith he still speaks, although he is dead.
5By faith Enoch was taken so as not to see death, and he was not found because God took him. For before he was taken, he was commended as pleasing to God.
6Now without faith it is impossible to please God. For the one who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
7By faith Noah, when warned about events not yet seen, in holy fear prepared an ark for the safety of his household. Through faith he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
8By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place he was to receive as an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he was going.
9By faith he migrated to the land of promise as if it were foreign, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob—fellow heirs of the same promise.
10For he was waiting for the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
11By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive when she was barren and past the age, since she considered the One who had made the promise to be faithful.
12So from one—and him as good as dead—were fathered offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven, and as uncountable as the sand on the seashore.
13These all died in faith without receiving the things promised—but they saw them and welcomed them from afar, and they confessed that they were strangers and sojourners on the earth.
14For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.
15If indeed they had been thinking about where they had come from, they would have had opportunity to return.
16But as it is, they yearn for a better land—that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.
17By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac. Yes, he who had received the promises was offering up his one and only son—
18the one about whom it was said, “Through Isaac offspring shall be named for you.”
19He reasoned that God was able to raise him up even from the dead—and in a sense, he did receive him back from there.
20By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even concerning things to come.
21By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and he bowed in worship while leaning on the top of his staff.
22By faith Joseph, when his end was near, made mention of the exodus of Bnei-Yisrael and gave instructions about his bones.
23By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was an extraordinary child and they were not afraid of the king’s decree.
24By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.
25Instead he chose to suffer mistreatment along with the people of God, rather than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.
26He considered the disgrace of Messiah as greater riches than the treasures of Egypt—because he was looking ahead to the reward.
27By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger—for he persevered as if seeing the One who is invisible.
28By faith he kept the Passover and the smearing of the blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch them.
29By faith they passed through the Red Sea as if on dry ground. When the Egyptians tried it, they were swallowed up.
30By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were circled for seven days.
31By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she welcomed the spies with shalom.
32And what more shall I say? For time would fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets.
33By faith they conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions,
34quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, and made foreign armies flee.
35Women received their dead raised back to life; and others were tortured, after not accepting release, so they might obtain a better resurrection.
36Others experienced the trial of mocking and scourging—yes, and even chains and prison.
37They were stoned, they were sawed in two, they were murdered with the sword. They went around in sheepskins and goatskins; they were destitute, afflicted, mistreated.
38The world was not worthy of them! They wandered around in deserts and mountains, caves and holes in the ground.
39And all these, though commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised—
40because God had provided something better for us, so that only with us would they reach perfection.