Summary: WE Christians can learn a great deal about our coming "Better Resurrection" as is stated in Hebrews by studying about those who once lived died and were resurrected back to this temporal life.
FORMER FAILURES FORTIFIES
A Better Resurrection is the promise given here by the writer to the Hebrews. He has given nine “betters” so far in his writing. Now, he gives his tenth one for his readers to ponder. He lists three of the nine “betters” here in this eleventh chapter and he builds this one on the previous one found in verse sixteen when he wrote that the patriarchs sought a better country. Here, he continues with this theme of seeking something better, but broadens it to include a “better resurrection.”
Leading up to his thesis of a “better resurrection” he picks up where he left the saints of old in the first part of this chapter and then adds more saints to this Heroes of
Faith Chapter. Along the way he digresses a bit and touches on some of the ones who were looking for a better land but who died before they found that for which they were seeking. Along with stating the obvious fact that all of the saints he mentions had already died, seeking for that better land, some of them were brought back to life to continue their struggle in living out their faith. However, he promises that even those who were favored by God for what ever reason to be resurrected, that resurrection was only temporary and he promises that God has in store for all of His saints a better Resurrection-one that will be final in Him.
He reminds his readers and those who were undergoing suffering that by holding on to their faith just a bit longer, God was going to raise them to a new and a better life. When one compared the former resurrection of some who were thus favored, to the one Resurrection coming-there just was no comparison. The future resurrection would be so much better than the one that certain saints enjoyed while living out their faith for God. That future resurrection would be the final and the glorious one bestowed by God on all of His saints-not just a few.
In studying this Better Resurrection which is to come there are some things to keep in mind for a clearer perspective of just what the writer was trying to convey to his readers. To do this I first look at the FORERUNNERS of just what the writer was trying to convey when he said that some were resurrected and now serve as types of what is in store for all believers. I next look at the FREEDOM that this new and “Better Resurrection” holds for all saints. Then, lastly, I look at the FACT of that future resurrection.
I. FORERUNNERS: Just who were the ones who were resurrected according to the Scriptures? The writer does not give the names here but they are listed in other places within the Sacred Word. The readers of this letter would no doubt remember these people from their close reading and careful observation of the Scriptures. These are included here:
A. The Woman of Zarapath’s Son by Elijah,
B. The great Shunamite Woman’s Son by Elisha, II Kings 4;
C. The Resurrection at Elisha’s Tomb,
(his bones) II Kings 13;
D. The Raising of the Widow’s Son of Nain by Jesus, Luke 7:11-17
E. The Raising of Jairus’ Daughter by Jesus, Luke 8:41-56;
F. The Raising of Lazarus by Jesus,
G. The Raising of Dorcas by Simon Peter,
Acts 9: 39-43;
H. The Raising of Eutychus by Paul,
These were the ones to which the writer to the Hebrews was referring when he wrote in verse 34 that some were resurrected by the power of God. They were the FORERUNNERS of that which was to come. However, their resurrection is not like the First Resurrected One. These listed were restored to life to die again, but Jesus was resurrected never to see death again and this was the point the writer is trying to convey when he wrote about a “Better Resurrection.”
First of all as we study these who were stricken and then restored to life we are reminded of the Frailty of this life. As the readers of this epistle read these words of the writer, they were reminded just as we should be reminded that this earthen body of ours will not last forever. These listed all died just as we shall if the good Lord tarries. The bodies of every one of these who were resurrected, lived in a body that was doomed to die. No matter how much we pamper this body of ours, it is of the earth and it will return to the earth some day. Some of these ones who were resurrected were sick and regardless of all of the attempts of medical help in the days in which they lived, they all succumb sooner or later. Yet, for some reason or other, these ones listed were resurrected for the glorification of God and the reasons for their restoration to life are known only to God.