Hebrews 11:1 –“Faith is being confident of what we hope for, convinced about things we do not see.”
Hope, according to Daniel Webster, is the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out well. The Bible, however, defines hope as being the anticipation with certainty, a trust in or expectation of or in, and centers in Yahweh’s promises and fulfillments, not our own. In other words, hope is the anticipation of a favorable outcome under Yahweh’s guidance, the confidence that what Yahweh has done for us in the past guarantees our participation in what Yahweh will do in the future. Randolf Tasker puts it this way: “Because of what Yahweh has done in the past, particularly in preparing for the coming of Christ, and because of what Yahweh has done and is now doing through Christ, the Christian dares to expect future blessing at present invisible.”
Throughout the Bible, there are several words that are used to express or connote “hope”. In the Older Covenant, several words are used: yachal [H3176 יָחַל], meaning to be patient, to wait for, to hope; tiqva [H8615 תִּקוָה], meaning to look for something with eager expectation; qavah [H6960 קָוָה], meaning to expect; shabar [H7663 שָׂבַר], meaning to watch for with hope and patience; and batach [H982 בָּטחַ], meaning to place confidence in something or someone reliable. In the Newer Covenant the primary words used are: elpis [G1680 ἐλπίς], meaning to anticipate with expectation or confidence the resurrection through Yeshua Ha’Mashiach; and elpizo [G1679 ἐλπίζω], meaning to place one’s expectation upon or in another. Three other words used are: proelpizo [G4276 προελπίζω], meaning to hope in advance of other confirmation; apokaradokia [G603 ἀποκαραδοκία], meaning an intense or earnest anticipation; and prosdokao [G4328 προσδοκάω], meaning to expect or to await.
Hope in the Older Covenant
Psalm 71:5 – “For you are my hope; Adonai Elohim, I have trusted in you since I was young.”
Hope in the Older Covenant always centers around Yahweh [Elohim]. Psalm 131:3; Isaiah 8:17; and Lamentations 3:24 all speak of this. It is Yahweh who cares for, teaches, and promises to his people a future in which “every one of you will eat from your own vine and your own fig tree, and drink water from your own cistern” (2 Kings 18:31; Isaiah 36:16).
It is a hope that claims the promise that their “children shall come back to their own country” (Jeremiah 31:17). Hope usually looks toward the future, rather than to the immediate present, for complete fulfillment, but almost always centers in Yahweh’s steadfast love (Psalms 33:18, 22, 130:7, 147:11). It is the Lord whose steadfast love continues to burn, no matter how recalcitrant his people have become. Yahweh never gives up but never fails to be their “faithful, loving husband” regardless of their infidelity. He says you will call him, “my husband” (Hosea 2:16), and “he will take you for his wife forever; he will take you for his wife in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy” (Hosea 2:19).
For others hope may center in Yahweh’s salvation (Psalms 119:166, 130:7; Jeremiah 50:7), which can also be expressed in the hope of a new David or messiah. Isaiah states, “then a throne shall be established in steadfast love in the tent of David, and on it shall sit in faithfulness a ruler who seeks justice and is swift to do what is right” (Isaiah 16:5). Still, for others, hope may center simply in Yahweh’s word (Psalms 130:5), or in his provision (Psalms 146:5; Jeremiah 14:22, 17:13, 29:11).
For others, hope may center in his ‘new covenant’ expressed tin terms of a ‘new heart’. “The days are surely coming, says Yahweh, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel [and Judah] and . . . I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:31-33).
And for yet others, hope may center in the hope of a new Jerusalem, or a new heaven and a new earth, again expressed in terms of steadfast love. Yahweh “has extended to us his steadfast love . . . to give us new life to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judea and Jerusalem” (Ezra 9:9).
Hope, at least in the Older Testament, centers around Yahweh, and more specifically, around his steadfast love. This steadfast love is shown in his promises of salvation through a new David, of land through a new Jerusalem, of Torah through a new heart, and of commitment through the image of the faithful husband. Praise Yahweh for this picture of Older Testament hope.
Hope in the Newer Covenant
Hope in the Newer Covenant, just as in the Older Covenant centers around Yahweh. 1 Peter 1:21 claims that our “faith and hope are set on Yahweh.” 1 Timothy 4:10 agrees, saying, “We have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people.” Unlike the Older Covenant, however, hope no longer centers around a ‘future’ messiah, for the Messiah is already present in the person of Yeshua of Nazareth, who also, with Yahweh the Father, becomes the center of hope for many. As Matthew 12:21 says, “And in his name the Gentiles will hope.”
Hope still continues to look toward the future, rather than the immediate present for complete fulfillment, but those who hope “wait for it with patience” (Romans 8:25). As mentioned above, much hope centers in the person of Yeshua Ha’Mashiach (Hebrews 10:23). More specifically, this hope manifests itself in the hope of the rapture at the first phase of his second coming (Titus 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:19). “He who rescued us from so deadly a peril will continue to rescue us; on him we have set our hope that he will rescue us again” says 2 Corinthians 1:10.
Hope in the resurrection and rapture is a big theme in the Newer Covenant. Paul claims he is arrested and on trial for his hope in the resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous (Acts 23:6, 24:15). A greater hope in resurrection is evidenced due to “the resurrection of Yeshua Ha’Mashiach from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3-4), in which the hope then centers around “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:5). Titus 1:2 and 3:7 also reflect this hope of eternal life, and both Colossians 1:27 and Ephesians 1:8 depict the hope of many to share in the glory of Yahweh. Hebrews 6:19-20 shares the same hope, expressed as a “hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain” just as Yeshua has done. Romans 5:2 states that “we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of Yahweh” and Galatians 5:5 says “we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.”
Hope in the Newer Covenant, like that of the Older Covenant, centers around Yahweh, and more specifically, around his son, Yeshua, and still looks toward the future for complete fulfillment of his promises. The hope of a New Jerusalem, from the Older Covenant, has been superseded by the hope of resurrection and sharing the glory of Yahweh in a New Heavens and a New Earth. The hope of a more intimate relationship with Yahweh is symbolized by the opening of the inner shrine, which we hope for with patience. Praise Yahweh for this picture of Newer Testament hope.
Hope in Genesis and the Older Covenant is found in the blessing of Land (a place or home), Descendants (people, family), Blessings (Yahweh does it), and Being a Blessing to Others. Hope in the Newer Covenant is found in the fulfillment of Older Covenant Hope, in Yeshua, and the Kingdom of Yahweh being at hand.
Prophecy as foretold by the Hebrew prophets continues to unfold in an escalating pattern. The stage is nearly completely set. The great and terrible Day of Yahweh, Joseph’s Trouble, hastens forth and will not delay. Time is short – Yeshua Ha’Mashiach is coming soon – get busy reaching the lost.