What does Hebrews 11:28 mean?
ESV: By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.
NIV: By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.
NASB: By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch them.
CSB: By faith he instituted the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn might not touch the Israelites.
NLT: It was by faith that Moses commanded the people of Israel to keep the Passover and to sprinkle blood on the doorposts so that the angel of death would not kill their firstborn sons.
KJV: Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
NKJV: By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
Verse Commentary:
Moses is credited with demonstrating exactly the kind of "faith" God requires of us. This faith is not mere belief, and it is certainly not blind. Instead, it is based on what we know of God, trusting in Him for those things in the future we do not know and do not understand (Hebrews 11:1–3). This leads to obedience, even when we're unable to see all of the details. Abraham is held up as a prime example of this kind of faith (Hebrews 11:17–19), as is Moses himself (Hebrews 11:24–27). Moses, for his part, was willing to be identified with the people of Israel, though he could have remained in his adoptive Egyptian palace, instead (Exodus 2:1–10). Later in life, Moses would again demonstrate godly faith by taking Israel out of Egypt, risking the wrath of Pharaoh, but trusting in God to make good on His word.

Moses' actions during the first Passover also serve to demonstrate trusting obedience to God. Once again, God presented a scenario with consequences, and instructions, but no absolute proof or deep details. All Moses and the people really knew was that God wanted them to follow His commands. Moses had seen more than enough of God's goodness to trust Him, and so Moses obeyed by following the Passover instructions: sprinkling blood on the doorways of Israel. This obedience led to exactly the results God had promised: those homes were spared from the death of the firstborn, the last and worst of Egypt's plagues (Exodus 12:21–30).
Verse Context:
Hebrews 11:17–31 makes a subtle shift from the prior verses. Earlier, the writer had given examples of faithful obedience leading to God's blessings. Those cases were mostly general, where a willingness to trust God was weighed against an uncertain future. In this passage, however, we are shown men and women who chose to trust God despite immediate, personal hardships. This, as well, is a crucial aspect of faith, which the writer has already defined as a confident trust in God.
Chapter Summary:
True, godly faith is defined as trust, relying on God when looking to the future, and obeying even when we don't fully understand all details. The great figures of the Old Testament, such as Abraham, Moses, and David, all lived according to this type of faith. Ultimately, that means trusting God's intent to make good on His promises from an eternal perspective. The model of faith presented by those people, in light of the struggles they faced, ought to inspire Christians towards a more confident, purposeful faith.
Chapter Context:
Up to this point, the book of Hebrews has given extensive evidence proving that Jesus Christ, and the new covenant He brought about, is God's ultimate plan for mankind's salvation. Chapter 10 provided an additional warning about the danger of falling away from this truth. Chapter 11 begins by clarifying the meaning of the word ''faith,'' primarily by listing examples of Old Testament figures who exemplify it. The ultimate application of this knowledge should be a motivation to ''hold fast'' to the gospel, despite hardships. That encouragement is a major theme of chapter 12.
Book Summary:
The book of Hebrews is meant to challenge, encourage, and empower Christian believers. According to this letter, Jesus Christ is superior to all other prophets and all other claims to truth. Since God has given us Christ, we ought to listen to what He says and not move backwards. The consequences of ignoring God are dire. Hebrews is important for drawing on many portions of the Old Testament in making a case that Christ is the ultimate and perfect expression of God's plan for mankind. This book presents some tough ideas about the Christian faith, a fact the author makes specific note of.
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