Posted by: Billy Marsh | May 22, 2007

I. Sojourners: Hebrews 11:13-16 (A) Having Acknowledged . . .

I apologize for not being honest by not posting another blog like I said in 24 hours time. I underestimated my workload this weekend, and was not able to spend the time necessary to write this post. Anyways, here it is, and I hope you like it!


       Hebrews 11:13, “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.  


       Sojourners know that they are sojourners. In fact, in this text, the author of Hebrews states that they “acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” Not only did they know that they were sojourners, but also they acknowledged it. They affirmed it. They testified to it. For instance, Jacob describes his entire life as “sojourning” to Pharaoh in Genesis 47:9, “And Jacob said to Pharaoh, ‘The days of the years of my sojourning are 130 years. Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their sojourning.'” Even King David, in all of his majesty and fame, considers himself a sojourner as a part of his patriarchal heritage in Psalm 39:12, “Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear to my cry; hold not your peace at my tears! For I am a sojourner with you, a guest, like all my fathers.”


       As we make our way into the New Testament, we also see Jesus manifesting a sojourner mentality in statements such as John 18:36, “Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.'” And, for fear of using this verse prematurely, Paul declares in Philippians 3:20, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,”. A blatantly obvious example of this prevailing mindset among God’s people is in 1 Peter 2:11 when he names the “Beloved” that he is writing as “sojourners and exiles”. And the list can go on and on. In fact, just from some of the statements in Hebrews 11 I could build my case substantially. However, all I am trying to get across is that not only were these great men and women of faith sojourners on earth, but also they were completely aware of this fact.


       In the Greek, the participle [h]omologesantes which the ESV translates “having acknowledged” is probably better understood as “having confessed” and it represents a contemporaneous action going on during their living and dying in faith. In other words, this attitude was not inadvertently discovered as they laid on their deathbeds only a few heartbeats away from glory. Instead, this was the underlying disposition in their hearts as they walked in faith living and dying according to the precious promises of God.


       Are you living content and unaware of your heavenly citizenship? Do your ambitions and passions for the Lord and the spreading of the gospel reflect whether or not you view earth as your eternal home or the new heaven and new earth as your eternal dwelling place with God? Better yet, do people know that your life cannot be merely explained from worldly and earthly standards and expectations? Remember, in Hebrews 11, these men and women who were commended for their faith by God also died in faith, not receiving the things promised. This type of lifestyle can only be understood from an eternal perspective. Next time, I will elaborate more on this verse identifying who “These all” are and demonstrating the definition of “faith” by which our great fathers in the faith lived and died.


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