But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us. Hebrews 11:35b-40 NLT
From the text, the writer of Hebrews describes how a person having faith in God will endure even in times of severe persecutions. The writer mentions about believers refusing “to turn from God in order to be set free.” They would rather endure for they are anticipating “a better life after the resurrection.” They trust God’s promise that He has in-store a better life for believers in the world to come. All these horrible details of how believers are being persecuted because of their faith were mentioned to provide encouragement to the readers that they too should persevere. Stoning to death is one of the prominent choice of weapons against the prophets in the Old Testament times. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me” (Matthew 23:37). There are those who were killed by the sword. Others went through deprivation “Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated” (Hebrews 11:37b). These are faithful believers rejected and hated by the world yet “They were too good for this world” (Hebrews 11:38a). The enduring faith of these believers will be rewarded by God. They will have great reputation before the presence of God. “Yet none of them received all that God had promised” for they died even before the coming of Christ on this earth. They received their salvation and it will be fully realized after Christ completed His work on earth. Everyone who has made the decision to place their faith in Christ will be in this promise of perfection when Christ returns. We have been called to be assured of God’s reward of eternal life and this should provide us hope living our lives here on earth. We must not be deceived that life for believers will get easier for we can see how the world has continue to fall in unbelief. Let us not get lukewarm at this time in our relationship with God for just like what the Bible says, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).