These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them…
It is a country and it is a city. A country. That thought throws before us at once the great idea of breadth and vastness. As we are passing to the other world, we are not passing to a confined sphere, but to one where there will be wide places for the powers of every man and of every woman called to unite in the work of that land, wide places for all to exercise their power, and for all to dwell in it. It is a city. It is not a lonely place, but a place of society. It is a city: it is not an undefended place, but a place with its walls and bulwarks, and eternal fences. It is a city: it is not a place built by chance and without arrangement, but a place built upon a plan. It is a city that hath a builder and a maker; that is, as we should say in our modern language, both an architect and a builder. The word translated "builder " means the architect who builds the structure first within his soul before it is ever built outside. An oration, a sermon, a grand scheme, or a palace, is in the first place produced within the soul of a man, and there it stands, and grows, and shines, perhaps far nobler than it ever does in the outer world. And so that city has its Architect, the great God; for, in what He would delight in the midst of His own, in what He Himself would dwell, where His children should be housed, in what streets the princes of God should walk, in what abbey the multitudes of the happy should assemble, and with what defences and adornments the city of the ,Great King should shine upon the eyes of His own for ever, He formed this first, and then He made it. Both architect and constructor is God; and that city and that country are His country and His city.
(W. Arthur, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.