Answer: The ancient worthies are identified by the Apostle in the 11th chapter of Hebrews as those individuals who prior to the death of Jesus demonstrated great faith in God by their obedience. “And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, (40) because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.” Heb. 11:39,40 (NASB). The reward for faithfulness is God “shall make them princes in all the earth.” (Psa. 45:16 NASB) They will used in Christ’s kingdom as earthly representatives of that kingdom. They will be used to convey “the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” (Isa. 2:3 NASB)
Paul identifies Abel as one. “By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous.” (Heb. 11:4 NASB) Enoch was another. “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; … for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.” (Heb. 11:5 NASB) “By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” (Heb. 11:7 NASB)
He mentions both Abraham and his wife Sarah as being part of this group. “By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.” (Heb. 11:8 NASB) “By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.” (Heb. 11:11 NASB)
Moses is identified as an ancient worthy. “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,(25) choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, (26) considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.” (Heb. 11:24-26 NASB)
Paul adds in Heb. 11:31-34 (NASB): “By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace. (32) And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, (33) who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, (34) quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.”
“All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. (14) For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. … (16) But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.” (Heb. 11:13,14,16 NASB) God has prepared a better country for them, Christ’s kingdom which is based in heaven but for which they will be the earthly representatives.
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