An article based on a Sermon
1 December 2007

The Shield Of Faith

by Jon Bowles

(PLAY FROM START)

You know when people use words like redemption, or salvation, or justification, or even faith, so many times eyes tend to glaze over. The reason for that is, quite frankly, the words have been Babylonianized. The word Babylonian comes from the word Babel, and Babel or babble means confusion, the confusion of the words. If you turn over to Luke 18:6 we find a scripture which applies directly to today:

"And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?" (Luke 18:6-7)

If God does bear long with us, at least, we've got to keep at it. Because that context is from Luke 18:1 where it says:

"And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;" (Luke 18:1)

In other words, just keep going. But it also says in verse 8:

"I tell you that he will avenge them speedily [God does and will answer prayer for us]. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8)

It's a rhetorical question that is being asked there by Christ. Look around us today - where is faith? Do we really understand faith today? Or, are we so steeped in a materialistic world, and has Satan got us so blinded with the materialism that surrounds us? We're now bouncing by satellites, or via cable across to America. People down in the Philippines are listening to my words now. It is going through a microphone and going down through the wires in a way that was unheard of twenty years ago, ten years ago even.

When you think back two hundred years ago - do you realise that there were no railways as we know it today? It was actually 1825 that was the beginning of the Darlington-Stockton railway line. The world's first public steam railway. That was the time they were taking coal from the colleries in the hills just above Darlington, bringing it down and were transporting it then over to Stockton, on the river Tees, where they could go ahead and load the barges, and take it down to London, or to wherever the barges would take the coal. So they had to construct that line, but that was 1825.

Here we are now in our own lifetime. We live in this world which is a mechanistic world. It is a technologically advanced world with the electronics that are there. Is it any wonder that we have problems with faith. How do you nail faith down? How do you take faith, and really understand? Everything we touch, everything we do is dealing with the physical. Typing on our computers or whatever else we happen to be doing...it is all physical. Here it says in Luke 18:8:

"I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8)

There was going to be a problem at the end time - in which we find ourself today - with faith, and there is! The problem that Mr. Armstrong has highlighted, if you go back and read the booklet 'What Is Faith?' is materialism. Materialism destroys faith. The materialistic frame of mind is one where everything has got to be touched, handled, or seen, and anything that is unseen is airy-fairy stuff. That is when the eyes glaze over and "faith" is dumped in there with "redemption, sanctification, justification"...these airy-fairy words. That is not God's view at all, not in the slightest. II Corinthians 10:3:

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh [so we are walking in the physical flesh, but we don't war that way, that's not the way we fight]: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations,[reasonings] and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled." (II Corinthians 10:3-6)

Filled to the brim. In other words you are doing everything you can to make sure you are on track, that we are on line, aligned with what God actually says. If you turn over to Ephesians, chapter 6, which really is where we are leading to. Here we have read this passage in Ephesians 6:12 where it says:

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness [or wicked spirits] in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all [now that can be taken two ways, it can mean above all the list that is there, or it can mean that you take the shield and you put it above you against the arrows], taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked [one]." (Ephesians 6:12-16)

Now what used to happen in days gone by, is that not only would they have bows and arrows - and they would fire these arrows across at people who were there trying to shelter from them, with their shield above them - but in addition they would also have, presumably, bamboo or a reed where the centre is hollow and in the hollow they would stuff something that would burn very, very readily. They would then light the thing - which would have a sharp point on it - and aim for the shield, or into the ship, or the sail, or whatever else it would be. So when it is talking here about "...quench all the fiery darts of the wicked [one]." (Ephesians 6:16) it is taking that analogy through.

Another thing that they used to do is they would have poison tips to them. So that if they actually struck anybody, poison would also go in, and therefore you would have this fiery, burning sensation as well. That also ties in very readily with Satan who is likened to a snake, and snakes bite! And like a fiery serpent these bites cause this burning sensation.

Here we find this shield of faith, and so what I want to do today is continue this series I have been giving on the armour of God, that you find here in Ephesians 6. And I want to talk about this shield of faith, because it is a vitally important subject. Whether in fact it is talking about 'above all,' as in lifting it up as these arrows come in. You put it above you, and therefore as the arrows are coming down they are not going to spear you, or give you this burning sensation.

The other interesting thing, as well, is what they used to do with these shields. They would get oil and rub them on the outside, so that arrows would glance off, and be stopped from actually embedding themselves in it. Again, a symbol of God's Spirit is the oil when we anoint. When you are anointed oil is placed on your head as the symbol of the very Spirit of God.

I thought, what five points can I give about faith? Try five hundred and five points! Where do you actually start drawing lines as far as faith is concerned? I started work on the sermon last week, but as of last night - and even this morning - I still didn't have my five points so I thought, well I can do really little better than what Paul did.

Turn over to Hebrews, chapter 11, which deals with faith. He goes through, point by point in a historically sequential order, and he gives these examples of faith. So, if I am going to try and illustrate something, which it says, as far as we are concerned today, when Christ returns "...shall he find faith on the earth" (Luke 18:8)? Shall He find this quality? ... then I can do little better than what Paul did here. So I'm going to take Hebrews 11, and start working my way through, but not just showing you the examples, but also looking at what it was that they must have gone through, in using a shield against Satan, what he was actually causing on these particular occasions. If you look at Hebrews 11:1, it says:

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)

You can rattle off that verse, you can roll it off the tongue, but what does it actually mean?

The interesting thing is that when you are looking at the word 'substance,' there is this horrendous Greek word, that if you remember back in Worldwide days, was foisted on us, 'hypostasis.' It is a compound apparently of two words, 'hypo' - one word, and 'histanai' which is the second word. It literally means 'understanding'.

You think about understanding the word 'understanding.' It is something I never really realised before. What does understanding mean? It means that you have a basis to your thought, under - standing. Standing under the thought. Therefore, you have this spread, this breadth that is there to the thought that you have on top of the understanding. It is under standing, standing under. Not in the sense of understanding mentally, but standing under. That is why it is actually a substance. [Metaphysical definition from Dictionary.com: "something that stand under and supports, the underlying or essential part of anything"]

You find it mentioned five places altogether within the New Testament. It is normally translated as confident, where it is used as confident boasting. These are; II Corinthians 9:4, II Corinthians 11:17, and Hebrews 3:14. There are two other places where it's used and the one that was foisted on us, and twisted out of all proportion, was Hebrews 1:3: [Theological definition from Dictionary.com: "one of the three real and distinct substances in the one undivided substance or essence of God, a person of the Trinity"]

"Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person [the word 'person' is standing under. What it literally means, is to do with His mentality, the express His image of what He stands for, of everything His foundation and what He stands for], and upholding all things by the word of his power..." (Hebrews 1:3)

Then there is this particular place here in Hebrews 11:1. When we hope for something, when we want to actually have something, the faith is what is there behind it. As we go through these examples, you will find that in each case there is not just a case of their faith, which is unseen, but there is always something there that you could see, that you could see as an altered life that is taking place. A life that is changed, entirely changed by the knowledge, by the faith that is underneath it, standing underneath it all.

So when you are dealing with Satan and Satan is putting in some thoughts, putting in some arrows, putting in some fiery darts, then there has got to be something underneath there to fight this off. It is also, as it says: Hebrews 11:1:

"...the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)

And the word 'evidence' is actually translated in II Timothy 3:16, where it says:

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof [the word reproof is this evidence, which I thought was quite interesting], for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" (II Timothy 3:16)

Here we see very clearly that where it is defining faith, it is saying that it is something that is there when we are looking forward, when we are anticipating something, and we are holding onto it. It is what we have before we actually receive it.

Turn over to Romans 4:20, the definition that Mr Armstrong used in defining faith as far as Abraham is concerned:

"He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform." (Romans 4:20-21)

That's the definition of faith. So when we apply that, and we apply it back then to Hebrews 11, it is the substance, it is what is there that you cannot see, what is hoped for. It has been promised, and it is the substance that is underneath it all, that is standing under it. It is the evidence, it's what you have, for things that are not seen. And as we go through this particular section in Hebrews 11, you will find over and over again, it refers back to this particular definition in verse one. It starts to explain what this actually means in verse two, notice:

"For by it [by this faith] the elders [the ancients] obtained a good report." (Hebrews 11:2)

The people that went before us had a good report. They had a good testimony. It's interesting that when you look at verse 4 it says:

"By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous " Hebrews 11:4) There is his testimony.

Verse 5: "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." Hebrews 11:5)

Here is this evidence. As it says, "For by it the elders obtained a good report." (Hebrews 11:2). Notice Hebrews verse 39:

"And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:" (Hebrews 11:39)

You can see that there is this testimony. It is not just a case of sitting there and believing. It is not just a case of sitting there and having this nice thought, this airy-fairy idea. It is that you have this utter confidence that then leads to action and gives therefore a witness towards the faith that is there. Hebrews 12:1:

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses [witnesses to what? Witnesses to that faith that has just been talked about], let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us," (Hebrews 12:1)

So we can see here that it is tying into today. Turn back to I Corinthians, chapter 10 and verse 6. In the Old Testament are many other examples we can look at, as well as those given in Hebrews 11.

"Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted." (I Corinthians 10:6)

Now here we see bad examples within scripture, and specifically here in the case of ancient Israel in the way that they handled things. It also says in I Corinthians 10:11:

"Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples [examples]: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the [age] are come." (I Corinthians 10:11)

So the examples here being mentioned in I Corinthians 10 are the bad examples. Here in Hebrews 11 are the good examples, and the two are contrasted together. In these good examples you will find something surfacing, that there is something behind it, standing under it - "hypostasis". And the thing that is standing under it is the faith. You can see the evidence of things not seen. The evidence is there because you can actually not only see the faith that is standing under it but the evidence of what is being done. We will go through and actually see it there.

Worlds Framed Through Faith (PLAY FROM 20:00)

So, coming back to Hebrews 11:3, it says:

"Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." (Hebrews 11:3)

Now I was reading that at one time, and thinking; well hang on a minute ... the first two verses of Hebrews 11 sets the scene, and it then starts going into the examples themselves, starting with this verse three. In every other verse that you go through, it's in a sequential order, point by point as you work through, and each one is going forward in time. But Hebrews 11:3, the way it is translated here it says:

"Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God..." (Hebrews 11:3)

So the faith is now! I thought, that doesn't sound right. So I phoned the Greek Orthodox Church, and I asked to be put through to someone who knows and who really can understand New Testament Greek. They finally got some divinity student within the Greek Orthodox Church over in London.

I said, "Get your Bible, get it in Greek, go to Hebrews 11 and read something for me and please tell me something about it." I said, "Go to verse three, where it says, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God." Is that right? Is that right in time sequence? He said, "Well, it can be taken two different ways. Yes, you can certainly translate it that way." So I said, "Well can you translate it that we understand that it is through faith that the worlds were framed?" He said, "Yes, yes. It can be taken that way as well." So it can be taken both ways.

If you read through this section, you will find each example that is being given through this particular chapter, is in a time sequential order, all the way through. The first one is this verse 3. Look around us, this world in which we find ourself today, what is it? I keep bringing this up, and I keep asking the question, because I don't have the answer! I look at it, and think what exactly is it? How did God come up with this? If you remember that ditty from the Monty Python skit: 'Just remember that you are standing on a planet that is revolving and revolving at nine hundred miles an hour...' But, - what is this matter that is here? It seems to be tied up with faith.

If we understand that it is through faith that the worlds were framed by the word of God, then the word of God goes out of the mouth of God. That's Jesus Christ, the One that became Christ, and it therefore went into presumably the Spirit, that then created whatever needed to be created and the faith holds it there. It is there because God says it's there. What He says, IS. It's real, and it's held there until He says "No." What exactly it is, how to actually tie it all together is beyond us now but eventually we will be able to do so when born into the God family.

But here, faith is involved in the process. Why is it so important that we have faith? Because it has something to do with creation, with creating things. It's like a child in the womb asking; "What have I got this hand for? What is the use of a hand? Why do I have lungs? You don't need lungs. You breathe in amniotic fluid and you breathe it out. Why do you have lungs? Why do you have hands? You don't need them."

Why do we have faith? It's one of these airy-fairy words in our materialistic society. But when we look at this and really start to understand it - where we are today as in the sense of being in the womb, in the sense of about to be born into the very family of God - this time when we are being developed, being changed, being made into the image of God, then we find that this subject is absolutely vital. It is as vital as lungs are to an infant.

When we get into the family of God, when we become His very children, literally born children, we are going to need this stuff. I don't quite know how it's all going to work together. I'm talking like a child in the womb to another child in the womb, saying, "Look, I know it's needed, but I'm not quite sure how."

It says here, and it seems to indicate that we understand that it is through faith that the worlds were framed by the Word of God. So the word goes out from this God Being and it's faith that seems to make whatever it is, made. That seems to be the indication. If you go through sequentially, through all the examples, this one is the first one of the whole span of examples here.

If we go back to that other one about hypostasis, which was so often used, we just read another part of it in Hebrews 1:3:

"Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person [hypostasis, this standing under. What is standing under God? It's His character. Remember what Moses said; 'show me your glory,' and He went by him, and then He said; 'Behold the Eternal God the great and loving...', it was the character of God, He is the express image of that standing under, that character], and upholding all things by the word of his power..." (Hebrews 1:3)

Upholding all things by the word of His power. All this is upheld by that word.

Now it's interesting about a TFT computer screen - thin film transistor. You get a glass and put a layer on it and you get this thin film transistor. Before that they used to have the LCD screen which is like a little calculator and every single pixel had to be individually wired. The reason why that TFT screen is so vital is because you can run wires from either side, and where they cross you have a little transistor at the point of the pixel which either lets light through or doesn't let light through. Therefore it turns it on, or it turns it off. This is the way it works.

Now, is that really what happens? Is that really how it works? Anybody using a computer has got something on the screen they want to do something with, so they get their mouse and they get hold of something, drag it over and use it - shrink the window down a bit or do whatever they want to do with it. But in reality, although they might be moving the mouse - a bit of plastic - they aren't moving anything on the screen. Underneath that is the word of the programmer. It is the word of the programmer that is controlling that to the nth degree. It doesn't matter what it is on a computer, that is what is happening. The programme is defining that when the mouse moves here, this will happen on the screen. When it moves there, that will happen on the screen.

I think I have mentioned before that the most interesting virus I had ever come across was called 'Snow'. What used to happen was that you would be working on a word processing programme and all of a sudden, at a certain date, a certain time and a certain hour, a programmer who had managed to get in and put his code into the actual programme that you were working on, suddenly took control and there was nothing you could do about it. Suddenly, with this particular word processing that you were typing, the letters started to disintegrate. They all went down like snow and ended up in a heap at the bottom of the screen. Everyone was tearing their hair out, and I thought it was very funny. Undoubtedly the programmer who wrote it thought it was funny as well, and managed to infect I don't know how many computers. It was all just done for a laugh.

It didn't matter how much you tore your hair out, or moved the mouse, or what keys you hit on the keyboard, there was nothing you could do to stop that happening. Once that programmer had said that was going to happen, that's it, unless you disinfected the actual programme.

If somebody in there on the Window's machine has decided that all Windows, on such and such a date, such and such an hour, such and such a second, all Windows will be round, then I don't care how you move your mouse. It doesn't matter what keys you hit on the keyboard. It makes no difference whatsoever. Those Windows will turn round at that date when the clock changes, and there is nothing you can do about it.

As it says here; " we understand, it is through faith that the worlds were framed..." (Hebrews 11:3) And as it says; "... He upholds all things by the word of his power..." (Hebrews 1:3) That's what we are looking at. It's something to do with His Word, something to do with the faith that is involved there. When we really understand it, where is this materialism? What is standing under materialism IS this Word, IS this faith. So, if Satan starts throwing arrows about materialism, where do we go back to? We go back to Hebrews 11:3. Let's look at a few other scriptures, Titus 1:3:

"Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;" (Titus 1:1-2)

It is impossible for God to lie, because when His word goes out, that's what is. That is what is, because what He says - is! It is what stands under ... upholding all things by the word of His power. It is actually standing up. All things are upheld by His word, by what He says. He is the master programmer.

Turn over to Psalm 33. I'll spend a bit of time on this, because it is so vitally important. When you are deflecting the arrows of Satan, it is this that you go back to. Where did all this come from? Where did my life come from? Satan should have thought that before he twisted his mind and started going down a pathway that reckoned he could knock God off His throne. Ridiculous! Where did his life come from? Exactly how the spirit life fits together, I don't understand that, but I can tell you this much, he's a created being, and the Eternal is eternal. Psalm 33:6:

"By the word of the [Eternal] were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth." (Psalm 33:6)

They got the Hubble Space Telescope and they pushed it out as far as it could go. They left the aperture open for eleven days in an area of black space, and what came back were beautiful, formed galaxies. Just the same as all the rest of them. It was Psalm 33:6:

"By the word of the [Eternal] were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth [by the Spirit that came from His mouth]. He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses. [verse 9] ...For he spake, and it was [the word 'done' isn't there, He spoke and it was, all things are held by that power of His word] he commanded, and it stood fast. (Psalm 33:7;9)

So everything that we experience, everything that is there, came from that word of God. It is interesting that when you go back to the case of Adam and Eve in Genesis, chapter 1. What happens on our TFT screens when we have these various wires going across, and they cross over and the various pixels light up, or they don't light up? What happens when the programmer programs whatever he is doing? Well, it's light that is coming through. We see, we experience light. It's interesting that when you are looking at Genesis 1:3:

"And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." (Genesis 1:3)

Now I personally believe, and what I was taught is that it's talking about a thinning of the atmosphere so that the light from the sun which was already there, was able to come through. It was the case of somebody being on the surface of the water and witnessing it. This is the perspective that is being used concerning Genesis chapter one. It is interesting that the light was the first thing that was mentioned. Genesis 1:26:

"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air..." (Genesis 1:26)

Again, it was through His word. This was the Logos, the One that became Christ speaking. As He spoke, so it was. He created man from the dust of the ground. He formed him. He told the dust to get together in a certain way, and it became a human being. The same way He tells the genes to get together in a certain way, and forty divisions later, it becomes a child.

This is this Being that commands, that puts His word out. He is the master programmer. I'm biased - I'm looking at God as the master programmer. You can look at Him as the master architect. You can look at Him as the master plasterer. You can look at Him as the master whatever. But as far as programming is concerned, the creation of reality is really what you are doing within a computer. What you are trying to simulate is a reality. This reality has been made and it is standing on God's word, which is under-girding it. It's hypostasis, this under-girding, and it seems to involve faith. It certainly is the word of God, but it involves faith as well. Here in Genesis 2:8:

"And the [Eternal] God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed [He formed him, He had spoken, He said, 'Let the dirt become this individual']. And out of the ground made the [Eternal] God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden [right in the heart and core of this garden was this tree of life], and the tree of knowledge of good and evil." (Genesis 2:8-9) That was also there, also available. Then over in Genesis 2:16:

"And the [Eternal] God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat [that includes the tree of life]: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof [in your margin it says, 'dying, thou shalt die', that's what it says in the Hebrew, you start a process that will end in death] thou shalt surely die." (Genesis 2:16-17)

You will take the first step in a process which will end in death. That is exactly what happened. They began that process as soon as they took of that tree. They took that knowledge to themselves, and they began to die. Why? Why did they begin to die? Because God said so, that's why. What God says is. When you look at faith, you can have faith in that. You can have faith in the word of God. What God says, is.

As I said, if the programmer who wrote Windows had in his code somewhere, that on such and such a date, and on such and such a time every Window is going to become round, that is what will happen. It doesn't matter even if you believe, that oh no, no, it's not going to go round, because I can move my mouse. I can hit the Ctrl-alt-delete. If he says disengage Ctrl-alt-delete on that date, you can press Ctrl-alt-delete till you are blue in the face. It will not work. It will suddenly have disappeared. Why? Because the programmer says it will. There is nothing you can do about it. That is what is happening when you are looking at the screen.

When we are looking at a situation, when we are looking at a world, this world, the one we find ourself in, when God says the day that you eat of it, dying you will die, then that is as good as Him saying, "...Let there be light..." (Genesis 1:3) That's as good as Him saying, "...Let us make man in our image, after our likeness..." (Genesis 1:26) It is the same word. Genesis 3:1:

"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the [Eternal] God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" (Genesis 3:1)

You can almost see him. A snake goes in a snake-like direction, it never goes in a straight line, but it always worms its way through. He said, "Has God said you shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" Of course that is not what God said at all. He said, "...Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:" (Genesis 2:16) He turned the whole thing upside down. Again, remember that the word devil means slanderer, it means twisting of the words. So what happens when these firebrands come in, and you've got your shield of faith up? Well, he's the prince of the power of the air, and the prince of the power of the air transmits moods, and attitudes. What are the moods and the attitudes? Well, here they are, wherever these thoughts come from. Genesis 3:1:

"...hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:" (Genesis 3:1-4)

"You are not going to surely die. I mean, it's not absolutely dead certain. Well, you might die a little, but not a great lot." However he phrased it, however he worded it, he started to put these firebrands in.

The stupidity is, that here is this individual who a week before wasn't in existence at all, who had just suddenly found herself alive - "Here I am". And here is this Being standing there as well, teaching her knowledge, and here is Adam as well, her husband. They are being taught, and this Being says, "I made you. I gave my word, and there you are." Yet she didn't believe that One, and here's this snake, and she believes him. It is incongruous. It is so foolish.

But the trouble is, that is exactly what we do! We listen to this little voice, if you like, inside ourselves that says, "Oh, don't worry about that, you can go down this way, it doesn't really matter." Yet, that is exactly what it's talking about here. Why, therefore, do we not believe what God says? Why do we not believe the Word of God? Because that same Word makes the reality. It says here: Genesis 3:6:

"And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." (Genesis 3:6)

So it was the case of this first experiment. It was the case of actually seeing something, touching it and interacting with it. And not remembering that the entire interaction is only there because God says so! So, we go back over to Hebrews 11:3 we find here:

"Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen [it was good to the eye, it was pleasant, it was desired to make one wise] were not made of things which do appear." (Hebrews 11:3)

They are made of spiritual things. There is a spiritual dimension even to the physical reality that we have. It is a case of under-girding it is the very word of God, which holds it in existence. The faith of God is also there causing that to stay where it is, and we lose sight of that, and we start to look at only the physical. We become materialistic. That is exactly what Mr Armstrong was pointing out if you go back to what he says in 'What Is Faith?' He said that materialism destroys faith. We start to get plugged into what we can touch, what we can see, the scientific method, and we forget that all of this rests on the word and the faith of God.

Cain and Abel (PLAY FROM 44:30)

Now there were two individuals, they were Cain and Abel. If you go onto Hebrews 11:4:

"By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh." (Hebrews 11:4)

You can still hear what he had to say, what he actually was talking about. Now go back to Genesis, chapter 4, because there is a very interesting element here that starts to come into the equation. Particularly when you understand that there is a shield of faith that is necessary. Here in Genesis 4:4:

"And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the [Eternal] had respect unto Abel and his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell [he was in a right paddy, he was really down at the mouth]. And the [Eternal] said unto Cain, Why art thou [angry]? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door [the Hebrew means to crouch, like a lion crouching by the door. You're going in a certain direction and what you don't understand is that there's a lion there]. And unto thee shall be his desire [it's not after anybody else, it's you that it's after, it's you it's about to destroy, the firebrand is coming in and it's got your name on it], and thou shalt rule over him." (Genesis 4:4-7)

You will rule over it! In other words, get a handle on these things. Turn over to Ephesians 2:1 we see where it says:

"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our [conduct] in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath [made us alive] us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in [the heavenlies or heavenly perspective] in Christ Jesus:" (Ephesians 2:1-6)

It is that different perspective in life that is so vitally necessary. Here, we see as far as Cain is concerned, God told him, "Now you get a handle on this, you rule over this. You make sure that you get your guard up. You get that shield up."

If he had any sense, he would have talked to his mother or his father, and asked, "What exactly happened back in that garden that we can't go back in?" His mother would have said "Well, we just didn't listen. We didn't listen to God. We listened instead to this snake. We listened to this serpent, to Satan. We allowed that to influence us as to what we saw, what we touched, and we didn't listen to the One whose word created everything." There would have been your shield. There should have been Cain's shield also, listening to what God said, because God said that to him before he killed Abel: Genesis 4:7:

"If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth [crouching] at the door. And unto thee shall be its desire [that is coming from this broadcast that is brought out in Ephesians 2:2], and thou shalt rule over it." (Genesis 4:7)

You will rule over this desire and make sure that it doesn't go down the direction it would naturally go.

Enoch (PLAY FROM 49:24)

Now, when we go to the next example we find in Hebrews 11:5 it says:

"By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." (Hebrews 11:5)

Now, there are two translations mentioned here, and they have nothing to do with translations of the Bible. The first is a spiritual translation. He was translated as in being begotten, in the sense that he was in fact a man of God. We will go back and read a little bit in a minute. "...that he should not see death..." (Hebrews 11:5) That death being the second death - he was given the power to become a child of God eventually. He "...was not found, because God had translated him..." (Hebrews 11:5) that is the first death.

We will go back and read what it actually says over in Genesis 5, because in this passage in Hebrews says "These all died in faith, not having received the promises..." (Hebrews 11:13) So these all died, including Enoch. So Enoch was not whisked up to heaven or whatever. He died. Genesis 5:18:

" And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch:" (Genesis 5:18)

The word Enoch means teacher. He was the teacher at that time. He was teaching about God's way of life, teaching of God's mind. Genesis 5:21:

"And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years [he was teaching about the way of God]: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." (Genesis 5:21-24)

So not only was he translated into the 'Kingdom of His dear Son' (Colossians 1:13), as far as being part of the select group of prophets who will eventually form part of the very Kingdom of God ultimately, but also God took him after he died, and buried him. In Deuteronomy 34:6. you will find this is actually what happened to Moses as well, because Moses was buried by the One that became Christ.

Just think about this. Here was this individual at this particular time, as it says here in Genesis 6:5: "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Genesis 6:5)

The whole of humanity had gone in this evil direction. In the midst of this was Enoch. We can see the evidence that he was righteous. How is that evidence there? It says: Hebrews 11:5: "... he had this testimony, that he pleased God." (Hebrews 11:5)

How do we have that evidence then? Because God went ahead and buried him. God translated him. God took him away. He took him out of it. He didn't just allow his body to be left as normal, but He took him away from the situation. Also, he translated him in so far as translating him spiritually, so that he will not see the second death. These are thee two things that are talked about here.

Just imagine this particular individual. Here he was, teaching God's Way. He was in a society that as is says in Genesis was only evil continually.

We can go and see the various things that are mentioned about people that misused the harp in Genesis 4, about artifacts of brass and iron, and the use of weapons - weaponry. The whole of society was going in a certain direction, and that direction was an evil one.

And here's Enoch. What is he like? What does he have to do? What is he holding onto? He is holding onto what ever knowledge he had of God. In faith, he is holding onto the fact that here's a Being that made all things, whose word is above all the words of the people around him. And he stands alone against them. The thing that stops the arrows from coming in is that shield of faith.

So he is given as an example of faith, and we can see that God was indeed pleased with him: "he had this testimony, that he pleased God." (Hebrews 11:5) God looked after him, because he was that teacher. That is the indication that is given in Hebrews 11:5. Going on to verse 6:

"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (Hebrews 11:6)

So we are looking at Enoch having been somebody who was diligently seeking God, seeing that God looked after him. That was the testimony.

So often, you and I can start to get down at the mouth and we can start to feel, "Well, God wouldn't really be interested in me. He has got a universe to run, why on earth would He be interested in me?" Look at this universe, look at how large it is. You're looking at what, a hundred thousand light years across. Thirty thousand light years from the centre point. That's just our galaxy. All going out at the speed of light. Each galaxy, a hundred billion galaxies, all flying out from each other. He knows every star by name, so how on earth, why on earth would he be interested in me and my problems? It says in Hebrews 11:6 again:

"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is [so you understand that He is God, yes we understand that, but the next bit is the difficult one], and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (Hebrews 11:6)

What is He interested in us for? Well here in Matthew 7:7 notice what it says:

"Ask, and it shall be given you..." (Matthew 7:7)

Now this One saying these words is the same One that says; "...Let there be light: and there was light" (Genesis 1:3).

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you [these are categorical statements, it is talking directly to people within the Church, because those are the ones that can understand these words]: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? (Matthew 7:7-11)

It is a categorical statement! All we've got to do is get on our knees and ask and trust. God says - the One that actually created man - has said, "You will receive." Now, we will receive in God's Way. God will look after us. There are many promises and many other areas as well. But so often we can become discouraged. Think of Enoch, and think of the way he was; in this world, where everybody was going in the wrong direction, and he was there as the teacher preaching. It would get you down. In fact it would get anybody down!

But as we see here that God gives us a promise. He says, "Look, you are my child," and if we understand these things, then we are indeed children of God. We are now children of God. We don't yet see what we shall be, but we are now those children. As we see newborns we realise that prior to birth, while in the womb, the baby is already cared for and loved. What are the parents looking at? They're looking at an enormous amount of potential that is there. It is the same here, it is exactly the same. Matthew 7:9 says:

"Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?" (Matthew 7:9-10)

Of course not. You just don't do that. It is the same thing for God. You see here, very, very clearly that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. We see it in Enoch. We see it in Matthew 7. Turn over to Matthew 10:24 and we will find it here as well:

"The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul[Gk: "psuche", breathing creature]: but rather fear him which is able to destroy soul [breathing creature] and body in [Gehenna]. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father [He knows what is going on]. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows." (Matthew 10:24-31)

Again, you look at a child in the womb. A child in the womb is valued; not in today's society, but in the right society it is supremely valued. Turn back to Hebrews 12:11:

"Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;" (Hebrews 12:11-12)

In other words, okay, you might be going through trials, or difficulties. So often we can get discouraged and this is something that Satan loves; for us to be discouraged and to concentrate on the physical things that we happen to be involved in, the difficulties that we are going through. But it does say, notice in Hebrews 13:5:

"Let your [conduct] be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee [He will never, ever leave us]. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Man is made of this dust of the ground. This dust, this dirt that is held there by the very word of God. These are words of God that we can put faith in, that we can put our confidence in.

We can see the example in Hebrews 11, where it talks about Enoch who was somebody right in the middle of things. If we ever find ourselves, and we probably will, in times to come, find ourself in the middle of things, where we have got to stand up and be counted, then we can remember Enoch. There is an example of faith, of somebody who was the teacher. Remember it says in Matthew 10:19:

"...take no [anxious] thought [beforehand] how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak." (Matthew 10:19)

When you are hauled before the court, it will be given to you in that hour. You may well have to remember Enoch. Enoch was there in a world that was going in the totally opposite direction. The teacher. It was clear that he had this testimony of faith, because God actually took him out of that. He looked after him. He went ahead and buried him on death. And in addition, He translated him and gave him eternal life as well. It is the same with us. We also can hold up the same shield that Enoch did and get rid of the discouragement, the doubts and everything else that is there. Because it is the same God. The One whose word frames the very world and everything that exists is held there by that word.

Noah (PLAY FROM 1:04:33)

Noah is the next one that is mentioned in Hebrews 11:7:

"By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." (Hebrews 11:7)

Here he was in a presumably dry area, building this enormous boat. The ridicule that he must have had is considerable. "Lovely day again isn't it Noah?" or whatever all his neighbours used to say. You can almost imagine! You talk about the fiery darts of the wicked one - they would have an absolute field day discussing Noah and his boat! The word must have gone around and he was saying, "There's going to be a flood." One hundred twenty years, it took. One hundred twenty years!

We think we've got things bad after Mr Armstrong's death? We can't have a hundred twenty years left, because it's in this generation that the end will come and a good few years have passed already. Noah must have put up with an enormous amount of flack, pouring all this money into this boat. That was some project - and for a hundred twenty years! When the barbs came in, what did he lift up? Turn back and read what it actually says in Genesis 6. You see, these are the ancients. These are good examples, showing us an example of faith. Genesis 6:11:

"The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood..." (Genesis 6:11-14)

"This is the way you're going to make it. This is how you make the windows. I'm going to bring this flood." He laid it down the line for him. Here was this Being, who was the One who gave the word, who actually made the heavens, who made the earth, who made the seas, who made the water courses under the earth, and all He had to do was give the word, and the whole thing would occur the way He specified.

But let's say it's the 'Windows' of the ancient world. You say "Right, the 'Windows' of heaven are going to open, and you are going to have this flood." You say, "Ah, but it's been dry all this time." It doesn't matter. The word of the programmer says; "The 'Windows' of heaven will open" This is what is being said, and how it is described as far as God telling Noah this is what is going to happen.

Noah, believed that word. Why? Because this is that same Being who made the world in the first place. It is the same programme that is upholding the world anyway. It's the same word. II Peter 3:1:

"This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts," (II Peter 3:1-3)

So here are the flaming arrows, the fiery darts, coming in - scoffers, walking after their own lusts. Noah had to put up with scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and doing what they wanted to do, putting in the jibe. II Peter 3:4

"And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation ['Windows' have always been square, of course they're not going to be round, impossible, I can move my mouse or whatever]. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:" (II Peter 3:4-5)

In other words, what we have as a reality, what is there, what is in front of our eyes, what we see; the 'Windows' we see are there by the words of the programmer. If the programmer says, "Look, they're going to be round." They will be round. If He says, "There is going to be a flood." There is going to be a flood. I don't care if you have had a drought for fifty years. It doesn't make any difference. If He says there is going to be a flood, there will be a flood. II Peter 3:6:

"Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judement and perdition of ungodly men." (II Peter 3:6-7)

We are looking right down into the Gehenna fire. It is the same word that upholds everything.

If the programmer says that on such and such a date on your 'Windows' machine, you will suddenly find that water will rush in from the left-hand side and sweep all of your icons across onto your right-hand side, and you will have no icons on your desktop ever again, then it doesn't matter what you do, how you hide your icons, or where you're going to put your icons, they are going to be washed across the screen and dumped out the other side of your 'Windows' machine. That is the way it works!

That is what happened in Noah's day. Today, we are told by that same word, that a time will come when the wickedness of man will come to such a point where God will intervene, through Jesus Christ. And all the kingdoms of this worlds will become under, and subjugated by our Lord and His Christ.

You can say, "Ah yes, but we will fight." No,it won't make any difference what you do. You can think of all the ideas and all the schemes. Here we are dealing with God. This Being designed the world. This Being's word upholds the world. So what is going to happen when they fight against Him? He will give the word, with the breath of His mouth, the sword that comes out of His mouth, and they will fall to pieces in front of Him. They will melt. The flesh will fall off them and the whole lot will disappear. Like snow all over again, just fall down in a heap. Why? Because the programmer says so, that's why.

It is as simple as that. It is so straight forward. You see, the faith that we have is quite simple. As far as Noah was concerned, it was quite simple. Here was this Being who made everything. He made the earth. He made the water. He said there was going to be a flood in a hundred twenty years. so then there is going to be a flood. Everybody else says, "It's been dry for fifty years." " It doesn't matter, it doesn't make any difference. There is going to be a flood."

"They'll always be an England"? No, there is not always going to be an England. England is going to go down. England is going to be destroyed. England is going to go into captivity. "Don't be ridiculous. Captivity? Days like today?" It will happen. Why? Because God says so. "But we have never been in captivity since 1066." Doesn't matter.

If He says the 'Windows' are going to be all round, they will all be round. It doesn't matter how square they have been for all your lifetime. That's the way it's going to be. Because that is what faith is all about. It is the substance. It is the under-girding. It is what holds it all up. It is what actually is there that you can't see. But it's there, and it's very, very real.

Abraham (PLAY FROM 1:13:25)

Now finally we come to Abraham. Hebrews 11:8:

"By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went." (Hebrews 11:8)

It's interesting, when you go back into Genesis 11:27, it says:

"Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot. And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees [Ur of the Chaldees is in the southern part of Iraq]. And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram's wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor's wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah. But Sarai was barren; she had no child. And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there." (Genesis 11:27-31)

Now Haran wasn't Canaan. They travelled to go to Canaan, but they didn't get there straight away. They didn't go right the way down. You had to go up into the mountainous area, and come back down again through Galilee into that area. That was the way they had to go, and they didn't do it. So, basically they came to Haran which is up in the North, and they stayed there. Genesis 11:32:

"And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran." (Genesis 11:32)

Genesis 12:1:

"Now the [Eternal] had said [notice, had said, in the past] unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed [or, shall bless themselves, RSV]. So Abram departed, as the [Eternal] had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran." (Genesis 12:1-4)

Now he had gone from Ur of the Chaldees, up to Haran and stayed there until Terah died, and then he carried on, going down into Canaan. So, there are years involved here as far as Abraham was concerned. If you go into Genesis 15:1 notice what it says:

"After these things the word of the [Eternal] came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield..." (Genesis 15:1)

This is the shield of faith. The faith in God, in what His word has said. What did His Word say? Notice "Now the [Eternal] had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country..." (Genesis 12:1) And leave Ur of the Chaldees. He went and he got as far as Haran where Terah died. He was seventy five when he finally left Haran. How long he was in Haran we have no idea. But in Genesis 15:1 it says:

"...I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." (Genesis 15:1)

So you don't fear. So here again, the shield of faith. You don't fear, the fearful and unbelieving are not going to be in the Kingdom of God (Revelation 21:8). "...I am thy shield [the shield of faith], and thy exceeding great reward." (Genesis 15:1) That is also what we are looking forward to.

Seeing Past the Physical (PLAY FROM 1:17:17)

Let's go over to II Corinthians, chapter 4. With so many of these things - countering Satanic attitudes - you can find the word of God being specified, and you can see these promises within scripture. You can see that God clearly has given us a clear Word. Christ clearly guided His Church. II Corinthians 4:3:

"But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." (II Corinthians 4:3-4)

So he has blinded them. They can't see the light. II Corinthians 4:7

"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." (II Corinthians 4:7)

We've got this shield of faith. We know what God has said. We know the mind of God and what His thinking is. We can therefore go to that, because that is more real than the things that we see, the things that we touch, the physical things. It is that word that upholds the things that we touch, the things that we see. II Corinthians 4:8:

"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed [there is the evidence of the things not seen, here you see the faith, the faith then produces the lack of distress]; we are perplexed, but not in despair [the faith is in God's word, the faith is in what is real, the evidence, the result is not being in despair]; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body." (II Corinthians 4:8-10)

He exhibited that faith. The kind of faith He had in the Father, in the individual that sent Him, was absolute. II Corinthians 4:11:

"For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you [giving these individuals eternal life]. We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; " (II Corinthians 4:11-13)

The faith and the word of God made everything. He believed and therefore spoke. We believe, we also speak. We act, and we go down a certain direction because of that belief. II Corinthians 4:14:

"Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God [that's the ultimate future]. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day [that faith is constantly there, we can constantly hold it up and stop the firebrands coming in]. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are [transient, they are only temporary, they are here for a certain purpose]; but the things which are not seen are eternal." (II Corinthians 4:14-18)

The Word of God and the faith of God that keeps everything in existence are indeed eternal.