We have talked about the Hebrew Epistle being a legal treatise. How the writer is making a legal argument for the defense of something and someone. When we get to chapter 11:4, we enter what is commonly known as the “Hall of Faith”. But remember the epistle is a legal argument for the defense. So then if we are to be logically consistent, then it is not so much the Hall of Faith, as it is a witness list. It is a list of witnesses who have been summoned to testify on God’s behalf; to answer the charge, is God faithful?
“By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.” Heb. 11:4
Many assume that the roll call begins in 11:4. It does not. Many believe that the first witness who is called upon is Abel. It is not. The roll call begins in 11:3. The first witness called upon is creation itself.
"By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible". Heb. 11:3
In the Creation Account we see that the first thing God creates is time (Gen. 1:1). Then He calls for light (Gen. 1:3). Time is a physical thing. In fact we cannot speak about time without talking about space. When we refer to space, we are talking more along the lines of height, depth, width, etc. Therefore we are actually talking about the world around us. We live in the reality of the “time dimension”.
The attributes of light mirror the attributes of God Himself. So when God creates time and calls for light, He literally flooded all of time, space and reality with His divine attributes. This means that no matter where Man looks, he will see God’s glory, grace and goodness.
In Hebrews the writer starts with time. In Hebrews 11:4 the writer then begins to call from a list of people who are:
• Born in different eras
• Born in different countries and continents
• Born in different cultures and civilizations
• Born in different political climates
• Born to different walks and stations in life
• Born to and endured different situations and circumstances
They all have a testimony that is uniquely their own. Yet they all attest and declare to the same fact. The charge against is God is, is He faithful? They all answer the charge in the affirmative.
By starting with creation, the Writer is making it clear that since the beginning of time God has been faithful. Through every generation, in every culture, He has been faithful. In every situation, circumstance or political climate, God has been faithful.
Throughout it all God’s glory, grace and goodness has also been seen.