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Enduring Knowledge

32 Remember the earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to taunts and afflictions, and at other times you were companions of those who were treated that way. 34 For you sympathized with the prisoners and accepted with joy the confiscation of your possessions, because you know that you yourselves have a better and enduring possession. (Hebrews 10:32-34)


From verse 32 to the end of the chapter, the author closes with a word of praise to the believers who have endured persecution and encouragement to continue. In verse 32, the author cites a specific instance in which immediately after the believers became believers, “after you had been enlightened,” they were immediately faced with persecution and challenges, “you endured a hard struggle with sufferings.” The believers “were publicly exposed to taunts and afflictions,” being scorned by the people. And even though some may not have been attacked in that instance, they knew other believers were being attacked in such a manner, being “companions of those who were treated that way.” As Thomas Lea comments, “They suffered because of their association with others. They found it a privilege to share in the sufferings of others.” Verses 32 and 33 are general challenges that believers will face, as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself was berated verbally by opponents, even at His death, while His disciples also faced persecution. Verse 34, on the other hand, speaks specifically of the author’s readers and their circumstance of their persecution. They had “sympathized with the prisoners.” During that time, if you were a prisoner, in order to survive your prison sentence, other people had to take care of you, providing food, clothing and medicine; these were not items provided by prisons unlike our modern prisons. So, some of the believers may have been placed in prison due to their beliefs, and by other believers going to visit and provide for their fellow believers’ needs, they were shamed and persecuted. Not only was this visitation for prisoners a cause for persecution from others, but they had their physical possessions taken away from them. Yet, they had amazing attitudes, accepting it “with joy.” Why? “Because you know that you yourselves have a better and enduring possession.” Christ promised them treasures in heaven as seen in Matthew 6:19-21,


19 “Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


Even though they had their physical possessions, they knew that those were nothing in comparison of the future treasure in heaven rewarded to them by Christ. The author reminds them of these days, when they were excited and powered through these trials with the enduring knowledge of Christ and His promises. If you are a believer, and may have gotten cold or bogged down by the challenges and trials of this world, remember the time when you accepted Christ into your life. Remember His promises and rely on His provisions for strength, for it will empower you to persevere.


Blessings,

Isaac De Guzman

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