A CLOUD of WITNESSES
BY: RAY PRINZING
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, 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
Chapter divisions were made by man, and while we will not quarrel with them over their decisions, betimes we need to connect the first verse of a new chapter with the final verses of the preceding one, and such is the case here. “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:39-40)
The writer to the Hebrews has brought to mind a great array of men and women of faith, “who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises…” Their exploits were many and definite testimony to their faith in their Go. Yet these all died in faith, embracing a vision of entering into full perfection, and they have now become that great cloud of witnesses to observe that which God is doing in His people in this generation and time. Without a doubt they are also supporting us, and as “ministering spirits” coming to our aid many times, though we are not aware of their ministry, for our eyes are single to Him who “is the Author and the Finisher of our faith”. But they also are eagerly watching to see how we shall come through our testings, by God’s grace, to be made perfect, for in our perfection is the TIME SCHEDULE when they also shall be manifested in their perfection. Not just “spirits of just men made perfect,” but also perfected souls to be clothed upon with a perfected, glorious body.
They saw the promise, embraced it, believed it, but could not obtain because of the timing – born, as it were, out of due season. Because God has us in mind, and had something greater and better in view for us so that they should not come to perfection apart from us, that is, before we could join them. What shouts of victory fill the cloud of witnesses when God’s chosen of this hour gain new advances over the world and its allurements, for it means their final perfection is also drawing near.