“That They Might Obtain A Better Resurrection”

Hebrews 11:35


We must not forget that these Old Testament believers were men and women of like passion with us. They were made of the same stuff as we are. Their bodies were the same tender and sensitive flesh as yours and mine. They felt pain just like we do. Yet, the care they had for their souls was so great that they chose to endure the tortures of their persecutors, rather than deny their God and Savior. Their faith in Christ was so dominant in their lives, and their hope of a better resurrection was so confident and sure that they refused to accept deliverance from the persecutor’s torments at the cost of denying the gospel, “not accepting deliverance that they might obtain a better resurrection.” As I read those words, I ask the Lord God to grant me such confident faith and such a sure hope.




You see the issue is really the same today. Those believers described in Hebrews 11:32-35 preferred the loss of all things temporal, the loss even of life in this world, to the loss of Christ, the loss of their souls, and the loss of eternity. I cannot help thinking, “What countless multitudes, like Esau, lose their souls eternally for the temporary gratification of the flesh!”

The issue was crystal clear. They had choices to make; and we do too. Which did these saints of God esteem more highly: the present comfort of their bodies or the eternal interests of their souls? The issue is just as clear today. Which do you esteem the more highly, your body or your soul? Which do I esteem more highly? The question is not hard to answer. Which receives the more thought, care and attention; which is "denied," and which is chosen?

These men and women refused to accept a temporal "deliverance," (when it could have been obtained easily – at great cost – but easily!) because to have obtained deliverance would have meant the renunciation of their faith and apostasy from God.




It was "through faith" that they made their costly, but noble choice. It was love for Christ, love for the truth, love for the gospel, that caused them to hold fast that which was infinitely dearer to them than an escape from bodily suffering. A. W. Pink wrote, “They had bought the Truth, at the price of turning their backs on the world and their former religious friends, and bringing down upon themselves the scorn and hatred of them. And now they refused to sell the Truth (Pro. 23:23) out of a mere regard to bodily ease.”




Here is the thing that sustained them. —"Not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection!" The language here is figurative. They were offered a "resurrection" on the condition of denying Christ. They were offered a "resurrection" from reproach to honor, from poverty to riches, from pain to ease



and pleasure. It was a "resurrection" from the physical torture and presumed death to life and ease (Compare Hebrews 11:19). But they refused that for “a better resurrection.”

Their hearts were occupied with something far greater than earthly comfort and honor, or even earthly life. Their faith anticipated that morning without clouds, when Christ shall appear without sin unto salvation, when their bodies would be raised up in glory and made like Christ’s. They endured their great trials with patience, because they hoped for that great day when they would be taken up to glory to be with Christ forever. It was this hope that sustained their souls in the face of extreme peril and horrible sufferings.

"That they might obtain a better resurrection."—Never imagine that the saints of God in the Old Testament were ignorant of these things. Nothing could be further from the truth. The resurrection has always been the top-stone in the building of faith (Job 19:25, 26; Acts 24:14-16). The faith of the "fathers" embraced "a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust." This glorious resurrection will more than compensate for any pain, persecution, or loss we must endure here for Christ’s sake.


Our Hope


We live in hope of the resurrection. With Paul, we say, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Cor. 15:19). In making that statement Paul does not mean that the believer’s life in this world is a sad, morbid life, or that it is really more delightful and pleasurable to live in this world without faith, or that were it not for the hope of eternal glory, the people of God would prefer not to live as they do in obedience and submission to our heavenly Father.

When Paul says, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable,” he simply means this—If there were no eternal life in Christ, no eternal bliss of life with Christ in glory, and no resurrection, then the believer would be the most miserably frustrated person in the world. We would never have that which we most earnestly desire. We would never see the end of our hope. We would never embrace Christ, or be embraced by him. We would never see our Redeemer. Such a thought is the most distressing thought I have ever entertained. Nothing could be more cruel and miserable than to live in hope of seeing Christ, being with Christ, and spending eternity in the presence of Christ, only to die like a dog! “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” What a horrible thought! What a tormenting supposition!

But it is not the case. We live in hope of the resurrection; and our hope is both sure and steadfast – “For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me” (Job 19:25-27). In sickness I am calm, because I live in hope of the resurrection. In sorrow I am peaceful, because I live in hope of the resurrection. In trial and affliction I am at ease, because I live in hope of the resurrection. In bereavement I am confident, because I live in hope of the resurrection. And I hope to die in confidence and joy, because I live in hope of the resurrection.