Derek Prince - God Honors Faith's Confession
We're in Hebrews 11:28. This is still part of the record of the accomplishments of Moses by faith. We stopped last time because we ran out of time in the middle of the record of what Moses accomplished by faith. So now we come to verse 28: By faith he observed the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, in order that the destroyer might not touch their firstborn. That, of course, refers to the Passover ceremony in the history of Israel. I've given you the reference there, I don't think we'll turn there tonight, but the reference is Exodus 12:21–30. I'm sure most of you are familiar with the story. God was about to bring judgment on the Egyptians because Pharaoh had persistently hardened his heart and refused to obey the Lord's command to release the Israelites, and the judgment would be that the destroying angel would pass through the land at midnight and slay the firstborn in every home and among all the beasts.
Every firstborn, whether man or animal, was to be slain at midnight. But, in order that the Israelites might be preserved from this judgment of God, the Lord ordained the ceremony of the Passover. Every Israelite father had to find a lamb without blemish, slay him at the appointed hour on the appointed day, catch the blood in a basin or a receptacle of some kind, and then he had to sprinkle the blood on his home on the outside on the lintel and the two sideposts of the door. The blood was never to be sprinkled on the floor because it was sacred; no one was ever to walk over the blood. Then the second part of the ceremony, which is not really referred to in this, was that the Israelites that evening were to feed on the flesh of the lamb, eating it with bitter herbs, with their loins girded and staves in their hands because they were about to start on that long journey which ultimately would take them to the Promised Land.
Of course, this ceremony, in a different way, has been observed and is still observed by the Jewish people up to this time, which is well over three thousand years. Let's consider the significance of what Moses was asked to do. Like, I would say, all the sacrificial animals recorded in the Old Testament, but in a very special way, the lamb was a prefiguration of the Lord Jesus Christ: the Lamb of God. And when Jesus appeared on the banks of the Jordan to begin His ministry, you'll remember that His forerunner, John the Baptist, said of Him, "Behold, the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world". And every Israelite would instantly begin to think in terms of such ceremonies as the Passover when he heard that phrase "the Lamb of God". What John the Baptist was saying, "This lamb, Jesus, will not merely provide redemption for the Jewish people but He'll provide redemption for the world".
I'm always impressed by the fact that there was only one way that the blood was to be applied. If you look there, each father had to take a little bunch of hyssop, a plant that grows very commonly in the Middle East, and dip it in the blood and apply it on the outside of his house. I've continually made this point, which I believe is relevant for Christians: The blood in the basin protected no one. It had to be transferred from the basin to the house, and only there did it provide protection. There was only one permitted way to transfer the blood from the basin to the house. And, that was with this little bunch of hyssop. Hyssop is a very cheap, common herb. There's no difficulty about obtaining it.
I believe that the blood of Jesus shed on the cross provides total redemption for all who believe in Him. But the fact that the blood was shed protects no one. The blood has to be transferred from the basin in the parable to the place where we're at, the place where we need protection. As I understand it, the only way that we can transfer the blood of Jesus so that it covers and protects our lives is by the confession of our mouth. In Revelation 12:11 it says of the victorious saints: They overcame [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony... In other words, they overcame Satan when they testified personally to what the Word of God says the blood of Jesus does for us. This brings out, I think, in such a vivid way the absolute vital importance of confession, of making the right testimony, of saying the right thing with our mouths. We may believe in Jesus, we may believe in His blood, but we are not protected until we make the confession that applies the blood to our lives.
In my outline there you'll see that we reiterate two of the principles already stated. Principle number 7 is that faith must be confessed. Principle number 9 is that God honors confession of our faith. In this case, confession of faith came through publicly displaying the blood of the lamb on the outside of the house, where it could be seen by God and by the destroying angel. I might mention something else which always occurs to me in connection with this incident. In 1979 Ruth and I spent the summer in Jerusalem studying at the Hebrew University studying Hebrew. In Israel you get news from the rest of the world somewhat sporadically if it doesn't concern Israel. If they have time on the news they'll give you a little news about somewhere else. If they don't then the rest of the world is ignored.
One day we got the news over the radio that there was a hurricane approaching Florida from the southeast. Those of you that lived here will remember that. I think it was probably about July of 1979. There was a very vivid description of people battening down their windows in Miami and people filling their baths with an extra supply of water. Then some crisis flared up in the Middle East and we never could find out what happened next, which, of course, was somewhat rather tantalizing. Well, about three or four days later I got hold of a Hebrew newspaper, and read that, Incidentally, Ruth and I prayed a prayer of authority. We were talking about being able to make decrees with divine authority. We were praying together and we prayed that the hurricane might change its course, that God would divert the hurricane. We didn't hear any more until I got this newspaper which said that precisely what we prayed had happened.
Contrary to all the forecasts, the hurricane had been diverted and had passed by and left nothing more than some very heavy rainfall in the area where we lived. We actually read this news item in the class to practice our Hebrew. The Hebrew word for Passover is Pesach and the verb from it is pasach. In this account in the newspaper they actually used that word. They said the hurricane pasach, "passed over," Florida. And the Jewish students in the class didn't know what it meant. I said to them, "Well, of all people, you ought to know what that word means. It's the same as Pesach, and it means that instead of judgment coming upon you, it passes you by". That's always made it so vivid to me that that was the purpose of the blood, was to cause the judgment of God to be diverted from the homes of the Israelites and to pass by.
Now we'll go on to the next verse which is just one verse, verse 29, the final faith accomplishment of Moses and the children of Israel together. I think it's significant that, in a certain sense, Moses brought the children of Israel out of the place where they shared his faith. I think initially he operated out of his own faith but by the time he'd been ministering and dealing with Pharaoh and the Egyptians he brought his people to the place where they could share his faith. So, in the next verse, verse 29, it doesn't speak only about what Moses did but about what the children of Israel did. It actually says "they," but we understand that's the Israelites. By faith they crossed through the Red Sea as on dry land; which the Egyptians, attempting to do were drowned. What was the accomplishment here? Crossing the Red Sea as on dry ground.
If you want to know where the account is found, it's in Exodus 14:21–29. Incidentally, if you have a New American Standard with the full margins, all these references are given there. That was the act of faith, was passing through the Red Sea. It was initiated when Moses stretched out his rod. I believe I've emphasized in previous sessions faith always has to be expressed in some act. It may be an extremely simple act, but faith without works is dead. The simple act of Moses in this case was simply stretching out his rod over the Red Sea. When he did that, God sent the wind that parted the waters. We've looked at the result in each case. What was accomplished by this particular example of faith? In this case, the result was final separation from Egypt. I think it's important to see that the Israelites were saved in Egypt through the blood but they were separated from Egypt through the water.
Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 10 that this has a very clear application to us as Christians. I would like to turn for a moment to 1 Corinthians 10. Keep your finger in Hebrews 11, we'll be back there. Just the first two verses of 1 Corinthians 10: For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren... And I pointed out, I think, more than once that when Paul says "I do not want you to be ignorant or unaware," in most cases contemporary Christians are ignorant of whatever it is that he didn't want them to be ignorant of. So the situation hasn't changed much in nineteen centuries! I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea... The "sea" is the Red Sea, the cloud was that mysterious cloud that came down over them as they approached the waters of the Red Sea and then led them for the next forty years through the wilderness. The cloud is a very vivid picture of the Holy Spirit.
In the next verse Paul says: ...and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea... So both the cloud and the sea represent baptism. And Paul goes on to say in this chapter they are all patterns that we should follow. Let's ask ourselves for a moment: What is typified by these two baptisms? Notice it says they were baptized into or unto Moses. They were set apart as a people who followed Moses by this double baptism. Remember that the word baptize basically always means "to immerse". So, when they came to the waters of the Red Sea, they experienced a double immersion. The order given here is in the cloud and in the sea, which I understand to represent baptism in the Holy Spirit and baptism in water. The cloud came down over them and every Israelite passed through the cloud. They were immersed in the cloud coming down over them from above.
And almost every place in the book of Acts where it speaks about people being baptized in the Holy Spirit, the text actually states that it came down upon them. This is a vivid picture. But then they went down into the sea, passed through the sea and came up on the other side. That is a very clear picture of baptism in water. They went down on one side and came up on the other side. They went down as fugitives, they came up as victors. When they came up, they were a new people with a new leader, new laws and a new destination. What a vivid picture of what water baptism ought to be. You go down out of one world but you come up into a new world. In Christ you've passed through death and into resurrection into newness of life. What I want to emphasize, returning to Hebrews 11, is that it was not the blood that separated them from Egypt. The blood saved them in Egypt, but it was the water that finally separated them from Egypt. It was the water that the Egyptians could not pass through.
I personally believe that brings out a tremendously important aspect of baptism in water. It is the final act of separation from the old life and the old world. I've counseled with many, many people who have problems from the old life following them up. I always check with them, "Have you ever been buried and resurrected"? If not, you really don't have the legal right to be free from those problems because that's God's appointed way of separation. In my case, I can look back to 1942. I had been a Christian just over one year. I'd spent most of that year in the deserts of North Africa where there was no water to be baptized. In any case, there was no one to baptize. Then I went on military leave to Jerusalem and I stumbled into the arms of a Pentecostal missionary and his family. They mercilessly began to talk to me about being baptized in water. I was still trying to adjust to all that God had already done in my life and I wasn't sure I was ready for anything more. They said, "We'll take you down to the Jordan and we'll baptize you there".
To many people, apparently, that is very romantic. But to me it wasn't. I just didn't like the idea. However, I'm a logical person and as I looked at the Scriptures I saw it's obviously there, there's no way of getting around it. I said, "All right, I'll do it". I still have two pictures of that ceremony. Those of you that have been to Israel know Jordan is not in the least bit a romantic stream. It's very muddy, particularly the bottom of it is about six inches deep in mud. It's very difficult to stand up on it. And for some reason which I'm sure was very appropriate, they didn't have a white baptismal robe for me, they had a black one. They were emphasizing resurrection, they were emphasizing death. So I went in and the first picture shows the pastor and me standing side by side in the water. The next picture just shows the pastor, and a splash where I was! I have full photographic evidence that I was truly buried.
Well, what I want to relate is that I'd had a marvelous experience with salvation. My whole life, personality, had been totally and radically transformed. I had been saved from sin. But, I still had in my mind many memories of the old sinful ways. I wasn't imprisoned by them, but I wasn't totally free from them. I didn't have any theories about what water baptism ought to do except I knew I had to do it. After a little while I realized that when I went down into the water, those memories were buried. When I came up, I was free from them. You see, if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin but the spirit is life because of righteousness. That's the new birth. But it is a scandal to leave a dead body lying around unburied. If you study the New Testament you'll find that they invariably buried people by baptism immediately. There never was delay. On the Day of Pentecost, three thousand were baptized in one day.
When Philip met the eunuch on the road to Gaza, they didn't even complete the journey. The eunuch said, "There's water beside the road; let me be baptized". I think most dramatically of all, in Philippi when the earthquake liberated the prisoners and the jailer came in and got saved, the Scripture says he and all his household were baptized that very night. They didn't even wait for dawn. I believe there's a kind of urgency about being baptized which we've lost, most of us. Put your name down, and when we have a baptismal service we'll baptize you. That's not New Testament. Or, if I feel like it. I have to tell you Jesus said very clearly, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved". He did not say anything about the one who believes but isn't baptized. I'm not saying such a person is not saved but I'm saying they're trespassing on the grace of God.
Let's look at our outline again. The result: final separation from Egypt, a type of water baptism. P.14, principle number 14: that which is begun in faith must be completed in faith. I think that's tremendously important. They were saved through faith in the blood but they couldn't then find some other means to complete their salvation. They had to go on in faith. I've seen many people get into difficulties by beginning in faith and then going back to their natural ability and natural thinking. I think that was the problem of the Galatians. "Are you so foolish? Did you begin in the Spirit and are you now seeking to be made perfect by the flesh"? I think that's an important lesson for us today. The only way to complete what we began in faith is by going on in faith. I quote there the last two verses of Hebrews 10 where it gives us just two alternatives: either to go on in faith to salvation or to turn back to perdition. It's a very solemn alternative.
Going on to verse 30, which again speaks of an accomplishment of the Israelites after they'd entered the Promised Land and under their new leader Joshua. It's a very short verse. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had been encircled for seven days. You remember the strategy for taking Jericho was that the entire male Israelite population was to march around the city once a day for six days, but on the seventh day, seven times. Which makes how many times altogether? Thirteen. At the end of the thirteenth time when the priest blew the ram's horn, all the people were to give a shout. But prior to giving a shout they were to say nothing. That was a real test of discipline, especially if you know Jewish people, because the hardest thing for them is not to say anything! I don't know whether you've ever traveled on El Al Airlines but they'll stand in the aisles of the plane all night talking to somebody rather than just sitting quiet.
So, Joshua really had something that he could keep them all silent for seven trips 'round Jericho. Then they gave this shout and the walls of Jericho fell down. Again, I give the reference in Joshua 6:15–21. This is example 15, the result: total victory for Israel without a single casualty. The principles I bring out are a reiteration of principles 7 and 9 which you should be getting to know by know. Principle 7: faith has to be confessed. Principle 9: God honors faith's confession. Their confession was their shout. The shout wasn't so loud that it brought the walls down, but it brought God on the scene. He honored the confession which was represented by their shout.
Now we go on to verse 31 and this to me is the most outstanding example of faith, in a way, in all this list. Maybe not so much of faith as of grace. Grace is defined usually as God's free, unmerited favor toward the undeserving and the ill deserving. We deserve punishment but instead we get blessing. But it's only by grace and the essential principle of grace is it can never be earned. The moment you earn something it's not grace. That's the problem with many, many religious people. They feel they've got to earn it and so they never really receive it because it cannot be received by earning. There are many things we can earn from God but not grace. So, let's look at this example. By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish with those who were disobedient [or unbelieving, the word can mean either], having received the spies with peace.
I give the reference but time, I think, indicates we shouldn't try to read it. Joshua 2:1–21 and 6:22–25. You remember that Joshua sent two spies ahead of the Israelite army to spy out the land and they came in the city of Jericho and they took refuge or they found shelter in the house of Rahab the harlot. I'm not really an expert in these old customs, but apparently the lady that kept an inn was always referred to as the harlot. In other words, that particular profession combined with the other one. And so, they were not necessarily going into a brothel, they were just going into the inn. But, it was kept by Rahab, which gives a kind of picture of the morality of the times. Then the king of Jericho heard the spies had come in and sent to Rahab to have them brought out so they might be killed. But Rahab had hidden them on her roof under the stalks of flax which were being put out to dry before they were turned into whatever flax is turned into.
Rahab lied, I have to say. Really, I'm not capable of judging the morality of this or the ethics. She told a flat lie. What would you do if you were in Nazi Germany during World War II sheltering some Jews in your attic and a storm trooper came in and said, "Do you have any Jews in this house"? Before you criticize Rahab, you better face that question. I've always trusted God that in His mercy He'd never put me in that position because honestly, I wouldn't know what to do. I think I'd do what Rahab did. You can form your estimate of me that way. I think I would never forgive myself if I betrayed the innocent to their brutal murderers. But, you see, there are a lot of situations in life you better be praying when you get into them. Not everything is an easy decision. Some religious people make everything just black and white but it really isn't exactly that way. Anyhow, she lied. She said, "They were here; they've gone. Hurry after them and you'll catch them".
She got them off her back and then later that night she went up and talked to them and said a remarkable thing. I think maybe we should just read that. You'll find it in Joshua 2. You know one of the things that impresses me is you meet people in all sorts of walks of life who have the most remarkable discernment. They're not churchgoers, you wouldn't think they were spiritual but they come out and say something that really penetrates to the heart of the matter. And Rahab was in that category. We'll look at Joshua 2:8 and following. Now before they lay down [that's these two spies], she came up to them on the roof, and said to the men, "I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea..." She had no doubt, see? How did she know? By faith. It's by faith which brought discernment.
Then she said let's make a deal. Verse 12: "Now therefore, please swear to me by the LORD, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father's household, and give me a pledge of truth,..." One thing that impresses me about Rahab is she had a big heart. She didn't want to just save her own life, she wanted to save her whole household. I think some non-churchgoers and non-religious people are much more merciful than some churchgoers. I always think of the words of David when he was given a choice and he said, "Let me fall into the hands of the LORD, for very great are His mercies". That's my attitude. If I've got to fall into anybody's hands, let it be the Lord's and not the church's. All right. I've heard Bob Mumford say once, "Joe the bartender has a lot more compassion than many churchgoers". Really. That's why he's a good bartender because he listens to everybody's tales of woe.
You know people are longing to find somebody that will just listen. Verse 13: "'...spare my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and deliver our souls from death.' So the men said to her, 'Our life [or our soul] for yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall come about when the LORD gives us the land that we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.' Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall [I want you to note that], so that she was living on the wall. And she said to them, 'Go to the hill country.'", verse 17, "And the men said to her, 'We shall be free from this oath to you which you have made us swear, unless, when we come into the land, you tie this cord of scarlet thread in the window through which you let us down, and gather to yourself into the house your father, your mother and your brothersand all your father's household. And it shall come about that anyone who goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be free; but anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if a hand is laid on him.'"
It's somewhat similar, in a way, to the Passover ceremony, isn't it? In the Passover ceremony they had to put the blood on the outside of the house, and then they had to stay inside the house. No protection was offered to anybody who didn't stay behind the blood. And here another symbol, the scarlet thread, was to be hung in the window, but only the people in the house behind that window were protected. Anybody who went out of the house lost their guarantee of protection. Now, let me ask you a question. For whose benefit was the scarlet thread hung in the window? Who was to see it? Well, if you read the story, it didn't make any difference to what happened as far as the Israelites were concerned. It must have been for the Lord's benefit. It was her confession typifying the confession of faith in the blood of the lamb. We have friends in Israel who have a little daughter whose name is Shani, which is the Hebrew word for "scarlet". She represents the scarlet thread that runs all through the Bible.
Now let's look at what happened because this is really very vivid. We'll come to Joshua 6:20. So the people shouted, and [the] priests blew the trumpets, and it came about, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, that the people shouted with a great shout and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city. Some people believe the wall fell right down into the ground, it just went straight down like an elevator into the basement. Where was Rahab's house? On the wall. But her house didn't fall down. Who protected it? Not man, but God. Why did He protect it? Because of the scarlet thread in the window. Look at verses 22 and 23. And Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, "Go into the harlot's house, and bring the woman and all she has out of there, as you have sworn to her".
So the young men who were spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and her mother and her brothers and all she had... She had a big heart, she had a lot of faith... they also brought out all her relatives, and placed them outside the camp. [verse 25] However, Rahab the harlot and her father's household and all she had, Joshua spared; and she has lived in the midst of Israel to this day, for she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent [out] to spy out Jericho. That was not the end of Rahab's story. She had a destiny. Turn to the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1. To me, this is one of the most remarkable things in the Bible really. And in the whole genealogy of Jesus, the wives and mothers are not mentioned except for two people, each of whom was not an Israelite. The first was Rahab, the second was Ruth.
Look in verses 5 and 6. ...and to Salmon was born Boaz by Rahab... So she married Salmon, who was a prince of Israel, and in the direct line of the ancestry of Jesus... and to Boaz was born Obed by Ruth... I don't know whether there was something in his blood that predisposed him toward Gentile women but you see, it's rather interesting. ...to Obed, Jesse; and to Jesse was born David the king. So she was the mother of Boaz and the great-grandmother of King David. Then, going down to the end of the genealogy in verse 16: ...to Jacob was born Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ [or Messiah]. So she was a direct ancestress of the Messiah. That's why I say I cannot think of any greater example of the grace of God anywhere in the Bible than to take a woman who was a harlot living in a city under a curse and doomed to be destroyed by the judgment of God, protect her and all her family, cause her to be married to a prince of Israel, become the mother of Boaz, the great-grandmother of David and the ancestress of the Messiah.
So never set limits to the grace of God. It is limitless. Also, if you have unsaved relatives, here's a real encouragement. Because, I believe a father, in a certain sense, has a right to claim his family for the Lord. Rahab was not a father. She just had a big heart and lots of faith. I think the two really go together. I sometimes question the Lord about some of the people who He uses in the church. Of course, you would never do that! I think, "Lord, why so and so? I could point out a lot of weaknesses in him". And I felt the Lord has given me the answer more than once. "Well, I couldn't find anybody else who would believe Me". Then I've come to see men who have faith usually have big hearts. They may have other failings. The men who raise millions of dollars for some project for the Lord, believe me, that's not easy. It takes a lot of stress, prayer and hard work to do it. Why did they do it? Because they've got a big heart, that's why. That's not universally true but it's generally true. Remember, God looks at the heart, and not at the outward appearance. Let's look then at P.7 and P.9, we've already seen, we don't need to mention them. Rahab's scarlet thread was her confession.