Hebrews 11:35-36 Commentary

Hebrews 11:35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: elabon (3PAAI) gunaikes ex anastaseos tous nekrous auton; alloi de etumpanisthesan, (3PAPI) ou prosdecamenoi (AMPMPN) ten apolutrosin, hina kreittonos anastaseos tuchosin; (3PAAS)

Amplified: [Some] women received again their dead by a resurrection. Others were tortured to death with clubs, refusing to accept release [offered on the terms of denying their faith], so that they might be resurrected to a better life. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

KJV: Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:

NLT: Women received their loved ones back again from death. But others trusted God and were tortured, preferring to die rather than turn from God and be free. They placed their hope in the resurrection to a better life. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: Some returned to their womenfolk from certain death, while others were tortured and refused to be ransomed, because they wanted to deserve a more honourable resurrection in the world to come. (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: Women received by resurrection their dead, and others were tortured, not accepting the deliverance in order that they might obtain a better resurrection. (Eerdmans)

Young's Literal: Women received by a rising again their dead, and others were tortured, not accepting the redemption, that a better rising again they might receive,

WOMEN RECEIVED BACK THEIR DEAD BY RESURRECTION AND OTHERS WERE TORTURED, NOT ACCEPTING THEIR RELEASE: Elabon gunaikes ex anastaseos tous nekrous auton: alloi de etumpanisthesan ou prosdechamenoi ten apolutrosin: (Jn 11:40, 41, 42,43, 44, 45 Ac 9:41) (Tortured Ac 22:24,25,29) (Not accepting: Ac 4:19)

Women (1135) (gune/gyne - gives us our word "gynecology" - branch of medicine dealing with health care for women) refers to the female gender, in context specifically referring to mothers.

As Spurgeon rightly observes " faith works equal wonders in women as in men." Such is the power of faith when it uses the weapon of all prayer: even the gates of the grave cannot prevail against it.

Received back (2983) (lambano) means primarily to take or grasp. It can indicate both benevolent and hostile actions, and have as object either people or things; e.g. take a wife, collect taxes, accept a verdict, take a road, and fig. take courage. It is used with a material subject, as when, for example, fear or terror seizes men.

In Elijah's time we encounter an example of resurrection…

1Ki 17:22 The LORD heard the voice of Elijah, and the life of the child returned to him and he revived. 23 Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house and gave him to his mother; and Elijah said, "See, your son is alive." 24 Then the woman said to Elijah, "Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth." (See also 2Ki 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, Lk 7:12, 13, 14, 15, 16)

Resurrection (386) (anastasis from ana = up, again + histemi = to cause to stand) literally means “to stand again" or "to cause to stand again" and most NT uses refer to a physical body rising from the dead or coming back to life after having once died. The resurrection is distinguished from belief in Reincarnation (reincarnation, why do I need Christianity?), which usually involves a series of rebirths from which the soul may seek release. The resurrection is the central, defining doctrine and claim of the gospel for as Paul wrote "if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain." (1Co 15:14)

Resurrection is a reality because in the final analysis it is a Person, Christ Jesus, Who declared…

John 11:24-27 Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day." 25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" 27 She said to Him, "Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world."

Anastasis - 42x in 40v - Mt 22:23, 28, 30, 31; Mk 12:18, 23; Lk 2:34; 14:14; 20:27, 33, 35, 36; Jn 5:29; 11:24, 25; Acts 1:22; 2:31; 4:2, 33; 17:18, 32; 23:6, 8; 24:15, 21; 26:23; Ro 1:4; 6:5; 1Cor 15:12, 13, 21, 42; Phil 3:10; 2Ti 2:18; He 6:2; 11:35; 1Pe 1:3; 3:21; Rev 20:5, 6

Related Resources on Resurrection:

The Two Resurrections - "First" and "Second" - on a timeline

Seven Resurrections in Scripture

Resurrection - Is it Taught in the Old Testament?

Christ's Resurrection Prophesied in the Old Testament…

First Fruits as a prophetic picture of Christ's Resurrection

The Sign of Jonah as a prophecy of Christ's Resurrection

The "Third Day" in Hosea - Does it predict Christ's Resurrection?

Resurrection in the Old Testament

FAITH THAT ENDURES
SUFFERING

If the author had stopped with the discussion at this point, he might have left the false impression that faith excludes us from suffering, which of course is far from true as he proceeds to illustrate in graphic language. Perhaps you know someone who has been fed this false doctrine (some call it the "health and wealth gospel" an oxymoron for it is not "good news" but "bad news"!) that the reason you are suffering as a Christian, is that you don't have enough faith! Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I would submit that the Bible teaches so much the opposite truth, that if you boast in the fact that you have never experienced suffering in some form for your faith, there is some reason to question whether your faith is genuine. I was once one of a group who interviewed prospective members at a local Bible church and ask a well-respected, "well off" prospect if he had ever suffered for his faith, to which he proudly responded "Absolutely not. Never!". That was the last time the church leadership let me interview prospective members!

We see this same idea alluded to in Paul's last letter to his young disciple Timothy, a letter which included exhortations as well as warnings, all inculcated to spur him on to fight the good fight of faith (1Ti 6:12)…

If we endure (present tense = speaks of a lifestyle of bearing up under the resistance we might encounter for our testimony regarding Jesus and His Gospel) , we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us (2Ti 2:12)

It should be emphasized that the present tense indicates sustained activity. Suffering is important, but endurance in that suffering was even more important to Paul and to the writer of Hebrews. Why? Because endurance demonstrates that one is remaining steadfast and faithful when others are giving up. This degree of sacrifice and fidelity is both impossible and incomprehensible to the one who does not have genuine faith!

Tortured (5178) (tumpanizo is from the Greek word tumpanon = a tambourine or drum; English = tympanic membrane or eardrum) is a very picturesque verb which means to stretch on an instrument of torture resembling a drum and thus to beat to death.

Vine - The verb tumpanizo signifies either to beat to death (tumpanon, a drum, beaten with a drumstick), or to stretch upon a wheel for torture. The sense is general, i.e., to inflict any kind of torture.

John MacArthur - The particular torture referred to involved stretching the victim over a large drum-like instrument and beating him with clubs, often until dead. God’s faithful are willing to be beaten to death rather than compromise their faith in Him. They would not sacrifice the future on the altar of the immediate. They preferred being put to death, because by faith they knew that one day they would be resurrected. (MacArthur, John: Hebrews. Moody Press)

The root word tympanum is used in the Septuagint (LXX) for the timbrel or tambourine. Liddell Scott quote Hdt.4.76, which describes it as a kettledrum as was used in the worship of the mother goddess and Dionysus. There are two uses below describing the tympanum as a rack, a wheel shaped instrument of torture, over which criminals were stretched as though they were skins (like skins over a tambourine) and then were horribly beaten with clubs or thongs. It follows that the verb used here in Hebrews 11 means to beat or scourge the victim upon the rack (tumpanon), in essence beating them to death, a horrible way to die.

The root word tympanum is used 21x in 20 verses all in the Septuagint (LXX) - Ge 31:27; Ex 15:20; Jda. 11:34; Jdg 11:34; 1 Sam 10:5; 18:6; 2 Sam 6:5; 1 Chr 13:8; 1Esd 5:2; Jdt 3:7; 16:1; 1Macc 9:39; 2Macc 6:19, 28; Ps 80:3; 149:3; 150:4; Isa 5:12; 24:8; Jer 38:4. Note that all of these uses except for two refer to the musical instrument upon which one beats to "make a beat". The NRSV has the following two exceptions in the Apocryphal writings…

2 Maccabees 6:18-20 Eleazar, one of the scribes in high position, a man now advanced in age and of noble presence, was being forced to open his mouth to eat swine's flesh. 19 But he, welcoming death with honor rather than life with pollution, went up to the rack (tumpanon) of his own accord, spitting out the flesh, 20 as all ought to go who have the courage to refuse things that it is not right to taste, even for the natural love of life.

2 Maccabees 6:27-28 Therefore, by bravely giving up my life now, I will show myself worthy of my old age 28 and leave to the young a noble example of how to die a good death willingly and nobly for the revered and holy laws." When he had said this, he went at once to the rack (tumpanon).

A ccepting (4327)(prosdechomai from pros = in compound Greek words implies motion or direction toward + dechomai [word study] = a deliberate and ready reception) means to accept favorably, to receive one into intercourse/companionship, to give access to oneself or receive to oneself.

Not is the modifier of accepting and is the Greek word ou which signifies absolute negation. The point is that these saints of great faith absolutely refused release because of their "uplook" which gave them an eternal "outlook"! We need to emulate their faith. The idea seems to be that these men and women refused to be released or set free from the prospect of torture. What would result in them being set free? If they had denied God's Truth and Christ their Redeemer. This offer has been made to many of His martyrs over the centuries but true believers have always held fast to the end (Heb 3:6-note, Heb 3:14-note, cp Mt 24:14) and chosen not to expediently deny Jesus in order to obtain futile passing "freedom" (which is really spiritual bondage) in this life, a poor exchange for an eternal life with God in the ages to come. The clarion charge of the past, present and future is to hold fast to the confession of your hope without wavering for He Who promised is faithful (Heb 10:23-note).

Spurgeon - They flung their lives away without a sigh, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. And they were no fools; they were gainers by their losses. The ruby crowns they wear today and forever are the full reward of all their sufferings: “Seek first his kingdom and righteousness” (Matt 6:33). What wondrous faith it was that sustained the saints under the awful tortures to which they were subjected! The story harrows one’s heart even to read it; what must it have been actually to endure?

Steven Cole

The description of some being tortured, not accepting their release, may refer to two incidents during the reign of terror of the wicked Antiochus Epiphanes (reported in the apocryphal 2 Maccabees 6 & 7).

In the first, an old teacher of the law, Eleazar, was forced to open his mouth to eat pork. But, “preferring an honour-able death to an unclean life, he spat it out” (2Macc. 6:19, New English Bible). They then stretched him on a rack and flogged him. At one point, they offered that he could eat clean meat, but pretend that it was the pork that the king had ordered. He replied, “Send me quickly to my grave. If I went through with this pretence at my time of life, many of the young might believe that at the age of ninety Eleazar had turned apostate. If I practiced deceit for the sake of a brief moment of life, I should lead them astray and bring stain and pollution on my old age. I might for the present avoid man’s punishment, but, alive or dead, I shall never escape from the hand of the Almighty” (2Macc 6:24-27).

In the other incident, seven sons of one woman were tortured and killed in front of her for refusing to eat pork.

Our text refutes the health and wealth heresy, to say the least! It shows us the fierce opposition that Satan has towards the faithful people of God. It reveals the irrational evil that consumes wicked people to inflict such atrocities on the godly. And, it should en-courage us to endure rejection, ill-treatment, injustice, and even torture and death, if need be, for the sake of the gospel. Although, like the Hebrews (He 12:4-note), we have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in our striving against sin” it may come to that. If we do suffer for the sake of Christ, we will join a great company of God’s people down through history “of whom the world was not worthy” (He 11:38). (Faith's Reward - See Sermons by Book)

Release (629)(apolutrosis from apo = marker of dissociation or separation + lutroo = to redeem <> from lútron = ransom <> from luo = loosen what is bound, loose any person tied or fastened) refers primarily to the payment of a price to ransom but in this context does not involve payment with money. The required "redemption price" was a recanting of one's belief in Jesus, which which would result in deliverance of the recanting person from torture.

Their release - More literally "the release" as the definite article is present in the Greek text, indicating that the specific deliverance offered at the price (the "redemption price" so to speak) of denying their faith was refused.

Henry Morris on not accepting their release - The apocryphal books of the Maccabees describe how many faithful Jews were tortured unto death, even though they could have received deliverance and riches if they only would recant and renounce their faith. This type of experience was later shared by many of the early Christians, but they had faith in such promises as that of II Corinthians 4:17: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” (Defender's Study Bible)

A W Pink on release - It was offered to them, but at the price of apostasy. Two alternatives were set before them: disloyalty to the Lord, or enduring the most excruciating suffering; surrender of the Truth, or being tortured by devils in human form. Freedom from this torture was offered to them in return for forsaking their profession. This is expressly affirmed of Eliezer and his seven brethren in 2 Maccabees. Yea, they were not only offered freedom from tortures and death, but promised great rewards and promotions, which they steadfastly refused. The principal design of Satan in setting torture before God’s saints is not to slay their bodies, but is to destroy their souls. Space has always been given to the victim for consideration and recantation: entreaties have been mingled with threats to induce a renouncing of their profession. Thus, the real test presented was, which did these saints of God esteem more highly: the present comfort of their bodies or the eternal interests of their souls? (cp Mt 10:28) Let it be remembered that they were men and women of like passion with us (cp Jas 5:17): their bodies were made of the same tender and sensitive flesh as ours are, but such was the care they had for their souls, so genuine was their faith and hope in a better resurrection, that they listened not to the appeals and whinings of the outward man. The same issue is drawn, though in another form, today: alas, what countless millions of people lose their souls eternally for the temporary gratification of their vile bodies (cp Mk 8:34, 35, 36, 37). Reader, which do you esteem the more highly: your body or your soul? Your actions supply the answer: which receives the more thought, care and attention; which is "denied," and which is catered unto? (An Exposition of Hebrews)

IN ORDER THAT THEY MIGHT OBTAIN A BETTER RESURRECTION: hina kreittonos anastaseos tuchosin (AAS): (Mt 22:30 Mk 12:25 Lk 14:14 20:36 Jn 5:29 Ac 23:6 24:15 1Co 15:54 Php 3:11)

In order that (see importance of observing terms of purpose or result) - Expresses purpose, in this case the following truth explains why they refused to reject their Savior. In short, their refusal of release from torture was evidence that their faith in a better hope was genuine.

Might obtain (5177) (tugchano/tynchano probably from tucho/tycho = the idea of effecting) properly means to "hit" as of hitting a mark. To hit, strike, reach a mark or object as by a weapon. To happen to be, to chance upon, to be found in a certain state, to chance to meet (the noun tyche was used in secular Greek for name of a pagan deity - Fortune, Greek personification of luck (the derivative Tychicus was a popular Greek name). To fall in with or meet persons casually. To hit upon, light upon, to happen, to reach, to meet and then to attain (reach) one's aim, to acquire, to get, to obtain, as in this use in Hebrews 11.

Tugchano while somewhat difficult to define as you can discern from the range of meanings above (and below) tends to be used of what people cannot achieve but may be given, of what is beyond their control and yet not due to mere chance (God is in control and so there is really no such thing as "luck" in this sense that something happens by chance. The dice may roll and we call it good luck but God is in absolute control of the roll, whether we can fully understand it or not).

In Webster's 1828 dictionary to obtain means "To get; to gain; to procure; in a general sense, to gain possession of a thing, whether temporary or permanent; to acquire."

Tugchano means (1) to experience or have to happen (Acts 19:11, 24:2, 2Ti 2:10, Lk 10:30). (2) Probably, perhaps (1Cor 14:10, 16:6).

Tugchano is used in the verb entugchano (en = at, in, on + tugchano = to chance upon, to happen, to reach a mark) means to fall in with in order to converse. Vincent explains that the verb entugchano "means to light upon or fall in with; to go to meet for consultation, conversation, or supplication. In classic Greek entugchano was used to refer to bringing a petition before a king on behalf of another person, a perfect picture of what our great High Priest daily does for us (see use in Ro 8:34).

Zodhiates on tugchano - (I) Trans., to attain to, obtain, gain, receive (Luke 20:35; Acts 24:2; 26:22; 27:3; 2 Tim. 2:10; Heb. 8:6; 11:35, in the 2d aor. subjunctive).

(II) Intrans., to happen, to chance.

(A) With ei (1487), if, and the impersonal túchoi, if it so happens, it may be, perchance, perhaps (1 Cor. 14:10; 15:37 where it is equivalent to “for example”).

(B) Part. tuchon, masc., fem. tuchoúsa, neut. tuchón. (1) As an adj., to happen anywhere and at any time, chance, casual, common. Hence, ou tuchon (ou [3756], not), means uncommon, special (Acts 19:11; 28:2). (2) Neut. tuchón as an adv. meaning it may be, perchance, perhaps (1Cor. 16:6).

(C) After the part. of another verb, tugchánō is used in an adv. sense much like the Eng. to happen to be, to chance to be, before a part. In Luke 10:30 the part. tugchánonta follows aphéntes, the aor. part. of aphíēmi (863), to leave, meaning “leaving him happening to be half dead” (a.t.), leaving him, as it were, half dead. (Complete Word Study Dictionary- New Testament - Dr. Spiros Zodhiates- Excellent resource for Greek word studies)

Haule on tugchano - Its uses are varied: in 7 instances tugchano has a genitive object and is used of attain / obtain; twice it appears in the optative clause ei tuchoi, if it should happen, for example, perhaps; once it is a participle used adverbially of perhaps; and twice it appears negated with a participle used adjectivally referring to something unusual. In every instance, as in writings outside the NT, the element of chance or of the unusual resonates (which does not extend to the related noun tuche/tyche). 2. When tugchano takes an object it refers either to an eschatological element of salvation or to earthly salvation. In the former case one attains the future world (Lk 20:35), salvation mediated through Christ Jesus (2 Tim 2:10), a better resurrection (Heb 11:35), or Christ’s special high-priestly ministry (8:6), all of which it is presupposed that God has made possible. In the latter case one obtains lasting peace through the governor Felix (Acts 24:2), God’s aid (Acts 26:22), and the care of one’s friends (Acts 27:3). Tugchano thus always signifies a gift, never one’s own work. 3. The idiomatic phrase ei tuchoi, which developed during the Hellenistic period, refers either to a possible example (1Cor 15:37: “a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat”) or to an indefinite quantity (1Cor 14:10: “There are who knows how many languages in the world”). 4. The aorist participle tuchon occurs in 1Cor 16:6 in an adverbial sense: “Perhaps I will stay with you.” Tugchano here refers to the open-ended nature of Paul’s travel plans. 5. The intransitive participle with negation is used adjectivally and refers to an unusual event: God performs “extraordinary miracles" through the hands of Paul (Acts 19:11, referring to the unusual healings in v. 12); the natives of Malta show “unusual hospitality” to Paul after the shipwreck (Acts 28:2). (The Exegetical Dictionary of the NT)

Friberg - strictly hit as a target, especially with an arrow; (1) with the genitive experience something, meet up with, have happen to (Acts 24.2; 2Ti 2.10; Heb 11.35); (2) as a litotes (understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by the negative of the contrary), what one doesn't experience or meet up with every day; (a) of miracles extraordinary, uncommon (Acts 19.11); (b) of hospitality unusual, unexpected (Acts 28.2); (3) intransitively happen, turn out; (a) happen to be; leaving him for half-dead, as in fact he was (Lk 10.30); (b) idiomatically ei tuchoi = literally if it should happen, i.e. probably, perhaps (1Cor 15.37); (c) neuter aorist participle tuchon as an adverb perhaps, if possible (1Cor 16.6; Acts 12.15)

TDNT on classic Greek use of tugchano - The word mostly means “to hit” a target, then “to do the right thing,” “to obtain,” and intransitively “to happen.” Even when a hit is made, there is an element of good fortune as well as skill. After Homer the accidental element gains in strength, as in the phrase “it so happened.” In the Septuagint tugchano - 1. tynchano does not fit in easily with any Hebrew original. It occurs in Dt 19:5 for the chance blow. In Job 17:1 (negative) the grave is the object, and in Job 7:2 the shadow. In Pr 30:23 a despised woman finally becomes a wife. 2. tynchano is more common in 2 and 3 Maccabees but has little theological significance. 3. In Is. 65:11 the noun tyche denotes a pagan deity ("Fortune"). In the NT - 1. tynchano does not fit in easily with any Hebrew original. It occurs in Dt. 19:5 for the chance blow. In Job 17:1 (negative) the grave is the object, and in 7:2 the shadow. In Prov. 30:23 a despised woman finally becomes a wife. 2. tynchano is more common in 2 and 3 Maccabees but has little theological significance. 3. In Is. 65:11 the noun tyche denotes a pagan deity. The only other instance of

BDAG (summarized) - 1. to experience some happening = meet, attain, gain, find, experience w. gen. of pers. or thing that one meets, (Lk 20:35; Acts 24:2; 26:22; 27:3; 2 Ti 2:10) 2. to prove to be in the result = happen, turn out (Lk 10:30) (a) happen to be, find oneself (b) ei tuchoi = if it should turn out that way, perhaps (1Cor 15:37, 1Cor 14:10); (c) if it turns out that way, perhaps, if possible - 1Cor 16:6;

Liddell-Scott - A. To hit especially to hit a mark (with an arrow) - (1) To meet by chance, meet with, fall in with (a person); (2) to meet with, hit, reach, gain, get, obtain (a thing from a person) (3) also in a bad sense - to meet with, suffer (violence); (4) to hit the mark, to make a hit; (5) to have the lot or fate. (B) Intransitive - To happen to be at a place (2) of events, and things generally, to happen to one, befall one, fall to one's lot, c. dat. pers., Ib., Att.; also to turn out well,as it chanced, i.e. without any rule, indefinitely

Tugchano - 12x in 12v - Usage in NAS: attain(1), attained(1), extraordinary(2), obtain(2), obtained(2), perhaps(3), receive(1).

Luke 20:35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage;

Acts 19:11 God was performing extraordinary (negative + tugchano = literally = "not common") miracles by the hands of Paul,

a

Acts 24:2 After Paul had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying to the governor, "Since we have through you attained much peace, and since by your providence reforms are being carried out for this nation,

Acts 26:22 "So, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place;

Acts 27:3 The next day we put in at Sidon; and Julius treated Paul with consideration and allowed him to go to his friends and receive care.

Acts 28:2 The natives showed us extraordinary (negative + tugchano = literally "no ordinary") kindness; for because of the rain that had set in and because of the cold, they kindled a fire and received us all.

1 Corinthians 14:10 There are, perhaps, a great many kinds of languages in the world, and no kind is without meaning.

Comment: In 1Cor 14:10, 15:37 the idiomatic phrase "ei tuchoi" is used and refers either to a possible example (1Cor 15:37 - "a bare grain, perhaps of wheat") or to an indefinite quantity (1Cor 14:10 - "There are who knows how many languages in the world."

1 Corinthians 15:37 and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps (literally - "it may be") of wheat or of something else.

1 Corinthians 16:6 and perhaps (it may be) I will stay with you, or even spend the winter, so that you may send me on my way wherever I may go.

MacArthur on Paul's use of tugchano in sense of "perhaps" - While we ought to have vision, and plan ahead about what we will be doing and how, we also must be flexible. Our plans should always be subject to the Lord’s revision. The future does not always come together as we think it will. Our original understanding of God’s will for us may not have been entirely right or complete, or His plans for us may change. In any case, we should always qualify our intentions as James advises: “If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that” (James 4:15). Our spiritual gifts and talents, as well as our desires as prompted by the Holy Spirit, may give us clues as to the type of work the Lord has for us to do, but He may want us to use our gifts in ways that we have not imagined. If we are rigidly convinced in advance about what God wants us to do, we can become insensitive to His leading when the call to a specific ministry comes. Our vision, no matter how sincere and how carefully thought out, is not infallible. Inflexibility can be a great barrier both to knowing and doing the Lord’s work. Flexibility is not a sign of weakness but of humility. Though Paul had a good purpose in mind and a strong personal desire to visit Corinth after “going through Macedonia” (1Cor 16:5), he went on to say that perhaps he would stay with the believers there, or even spend the winter. Both perhaps and even, along with wherever and “if the Lord permits” (1Cor 16:7), express Paul’s concern that his own plans and thinking not become presumptuous and inflexible, usurping the Lord’s prerogative to change them as He saw fit (cf. Pr. 16:9). The apostle was not fickle or indecisive, as the Corinthians later accused him of being, but realistic and humble. He was realistic because he knew that no one can be “captain of his own fate and master of his own destiny.” There are far too many things in life that are completely out of our control. He was humble because he knew that God is sovereign and has the absolute power and right to change any person’s plans whenever and however He chooses. “Therefore, I was not vacillating when I intended to do this, was I?” he later explained. “Or that which I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yes, yes and no, no at the same time?” (2Cor. 1:17). We are not always able to go where we want to go or do what we want to do, no matter how sincere. self-less, and spiritual our motives may be. Apostles were no exception. Modifying the trip to Corinth was not the first time God had adjusted Paul’s plans. On his second missionary journey Paul planned to “visit the brethren in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are” (Acts 15:36). They were able to visit most of the places as planned, but the Holy Spirit specifically forbade them “to speak the word in Asia” or “to go into Bithynia” (1Cor 16:6–7). It was the Lord’s will for Paul and Silas, with their new companion, Timothy, to revisit some of the churches on the original schedule, but before all of them could be visited, God sent the group to a completely new field, Macedonia (vv. 9–10), where they became the first to preach the gospel in Europe. All of his life, David Livingstone wanted to be a missionary to China. Even in old age he longed to have the opportunity to go there and minister. But God sent him instead to Africa, where he worked and died opening up that great continent to mission work, much as Carey had done in India. He never went to the place where he personally wanted to go, but he served willingly, unreservedly; and fruitfully where God put him. He had a great vision for China, but because he wanted, above all else, to do the Lord’s will, he was flexible. He was willing clay in the Potter’s hands (Ro 9:21), to he molded and remolded in whatever ways God pleased.

2 Timothy 2:10 For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.

Hebrews 8:6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.

Hebrews 11:35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection;

Tugchano - 7v in the Septuagint - Deut 19:5; Esther 3:13; 8:12; Job 3:21; 7:2; 17:1; Prov 30:23;

Better (2909) (kreitton/kreisson, comparative of agathos = intrinsically good) means better in the sense of more useful or more profitable.

Resurrection (anastasis) - In context this could refer to a resurrection which is better than the temporary resurrections just alluded to, because they were revived only to die again. Believers receive a resurrection which is "permanent" and from which they will never die again.

Vine - There may, however, be an indication that their resurrection will result in a greater bliss and reward than if they had avoided suffering.

Here is a saint of the past who is in the historical "Hall of Faith"

JOHN WYCLIFFE (1329-1384) English reformer; Bible translator - A native of Yorkshire, Wycliffe attended Oxford University, where he received a doctorate of theology in 1372. Wycliffe, the most eminent Oxford theologian of his day, and his associates, were the first to translate the entire Bible from Latin into English. His teachings influenced John HUS and laid the foundations for the PROTESTANT REFORMATION on the Continent.

Wycliffe has been called the “MORNING STAR OF THE REFORMATION” because he boldly questioned papal authority, criticized the sale of indulgences (which were supposed to release a person from punishment in purgatory), denied the reality of transubstantiation (the doctrine that the bread and wine are changed into Jesus Christ’s actual body and blood during Communion), and spoke out against church hierarchies. The pope reproved Wycliffe for his heretical teachings and asked that Oxford University dismiss him. But Oxford and many government leaders stood with Wycliffe, so he was able to survive the pope’s assaults.

Wycliffe believed that the way to prevail in his struggle with the church’s abusive authority was to make the Bible available to the people in their own language. Then they could read for themselves how each one of them could have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ—apart from any ecclesiastical authority. Wycliffe, with his associates, completed the New Testament around 1380 and the Old Testament in 1382. Wycliffe concentrated his labors on the New Testament, while an associate, Nicholas of Hereford, did a major part of the Old Testament. Wycliffe and his coworkers, unfamiliar with the original Hebrew and Greek, translated the Latin text into English. Therefore, their Bible was a translation of a translation, not a translation of the original languages. With the coming of the Renaissance came the resurgence of the study of the classics—and with it the resurgence of the study of Greek, as well as Hebrew.

Thus, for the first time in nearly a thousand years (500–1500—the approximate time when Latin was the dominant language for scholarship, except in the Greek church) scholars began to read the New Testament in its original language, Greek. By 1500, Greek was being taught at Oxford.

After Wycliffe finished the translation work, he organized a group of poor parishioners, known as Lollards, to go throughout England preaching Christian truths and reading the Scriptures in their mother tongue to all who would hear God’s word. As a result the Word of God, through Wycliffe’s translation, became available to many Englishmen.

Wycliffe was loved and hated. His ecclesiastical enemies did not forget his opposition to their power or his successful efforts in making the Scriptures available to all. Several decades after he died they condemned him for heresy, dug up his body, burned it, and threw his ashes into the Swift River.

One of Wycliffe’s close associates, John Purvey (1353–1428), continued Wycliffe’s work by producing a revision of his translation in 1388. Purvey was an excellent scholar; his work was very well received by his generation and following generations. Within less than a century, Purvey’s revision had replaced the original Wycliffe Bible.

Steven Cole - Faith's Reward (Pastor Cole's sermons are highly recommended - See Sermons by Book)

So the first part of the list teaches us that sometimes God blesses those who trust Him with spectacular results. Even though they are flawed people, God uses those who trust Him to accomplish things that are explainable only by His power. That part of our text is exciting. But we must keep reading:

Sometimes God blesses those who trust Him with the grace to endure horrible trials without wavering (Heb 11:35b-38). “Women receiving back their dead by resurrection” is the apex of the spectacular. It doesn’t get any more impressive than that! Yet without skipping a beat, the author continues (He 11:35b-38), “and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted [this has weak manuscript support and may not be original], they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.”

After reading the first part of the list, you want to say, “These guys on the second half of the list must not have had faith, right?” But the author continues (He 11:39), “And all these, having gained approval through their faith,…” Those on the second half of the list were just as much people of faith as those on the first half! In fact, you could argue that they had greater faith, because it’s not as easy to trust God when you’re being scourged, stoned, or sawn in two as it is when you’re seeing foreign armies put to flight and the dead raised to life. While all of us, if we could, would sign up to be in the first group, we need to recognize that sometimes God is pleased to withhold spectacular results and bless us instead with His grace as our sufficiency in overwhelming trials (2Co 12:9, 10).

With one exception, many names could fit into the various categories on this list of persecutions. That exception is “sawn in two,” which is not in the Bible. Tradition says that the wicked King Manasseh killed the prophet Isaiah by sawing him in two. A Jewish work, The Martyrdom of Isaiah, recounts this terrible ordeal, saying, “Isaiah neither cried aloud nor wept, but his lips spoke with the Holy Spirit until he was sawn in two” (in Philip Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews [Eerdmans], p. 514). (Index to Pastor Steven Cole's sermons by Bible book - Highly Recommended - They read much like a verse by verse commentary)

Hebrews 11:36 and others experienced * mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: heteroi de empaigmon kai mastigon peiran elabon, (3PAAI) eti de desmon kai phulakes

Amplified: Others had to suffer the trial of mocking and scourging and even chains and imprisonment. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

KJV: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:

NLT: Some were mocked, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in dungeons. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: Others were exposed to the test of public mockery and flogging, and to the torture of being left bound in prison. (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: And still others received a trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, moreover, of bonds and imprisonment. (Eerdmans)

Young's Literal: and others of mockings and scourgings did receive trial, and yet of bonds and imprisonment;

AND OTHERS EXPERIENCED MOCKINGS AND SCOURGINGS, YES, ALSO CHAINS AND IMPRISONMENT: heteroi de empaigmon kai mastigon peiran elabon, eti de desmon kai phulakes: (mockings: Jdg 16:25 2Ki 2:23 2Ch 30:10 36:16 Jer 20:7 Mt 20:19 Mk 10:34 Lk 18:32 23:11,36) (scourgings: 1Ki 22:24 Jer 20:2 37:15 Mt 21:35 23:34 27:26 Ac 5:40 16:22,23 2Co 11:24,25) (Chains: He 10:34 Ge 39:20 1Ki 22:27 2Ch 16:10 Ps 105:17,18 Jer 20:2 29:26 Jer 32:2,3,8 36:6 37:15-21 38:6-13,28 39:15 La 3:52, 53, 54, 55 Ac 4:3 Ac 5:18 8:3 12:4-19 16:24-40 21:33 24:27 2Co 11:23 Eph 3:1 4:1 2Ti 1:16 2:9 Rev 2:10)

More literally the text reads "and others of mockings and scourgings did receive trial, and yet of bonds and imprisonment

Others - This word is heteros which means others of a different kind. Wuest explains that heteros…

This word introduces a different class of victories achieved by faith, although mockings and scourgings were endured by the martyrs just mentioned.

Spurgeon on mockings - Is this also a feat of faith? Yes; instead of showing their faith by putting their enemies to flight, they prove it by enduring all manner of tortures without shrinking.

Mockings (1701)(empaigmos from empaizo = to mock) includes the ideas of scoffing, derisive contemptuous remarks, public ridicule. While we might all agree that mocking is better than the torture rack, we need to be honest and acknowledge that this genre of suffering for our faith is very painful to our soul, and especially so when it comes from those who are (or were) close to us, such as friends and family.

Samson was mocked by the Philistines - It so happened when they were in high spirits, that they said, "Call for Samson, that he may amuse us." So they called for Samson from the prison, and he entertained them. And they made him stand between the pillars. (Judges 16:25-note)

Elisha was mocked - Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up by the way, young lads came out from the city and mocked him and said to him, "Go up, you baldhead; go up, you baldhead!" (2Ki 2:23)

Israel mocked God's men sent to warn them of the coming exile "but they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, until there was no remedy. (2Chronicles 36:16)

The prophet Jeremiah felt the pain and disrespect of being mocked by his contemporaries (one reason he may have been the "weeping prophet", although more likely he wept for his people who refused to heed his warnings of coming judgment) - "O LORD, You have deceived me and I was deceived; You have overcome me and prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; Everyone mocks me." (Jeremiah 20:7)

The supreme example is that of sinful men mocking the God-Man Christ Jesus "and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up. (Matthew 20:19)

Spurgeon comments…

Possibly I speak to some who are suffering from the evils of persecution. Trials of cruel mockings are still common. There are many ways in which the devil’s whip can reach the back of the child of God. Persecution is still abundant. Many a man’s foes are in his own household. I will not tell stories of Christian women with jeering husbands or godly youths who endure mockings far worse. But many a house is still a place of martyrdom.

Gracious sufferers, may the Lord keep you from anger and unkindness. By faith alone can you bear persecution and turn it for the good of others. Do not attempt to escape by yielding what is right and true. Ask the Lord to help you to stand firm for Him. If it is true that the Lord still has martyrs, let it be seen that they are as brave as ever. They no longer gather in the great amphitheatre, where the emperor sits in state, with all the proud citizens of Rome gazing at them with cruel eyes. Not now do I see them lift the great iron door and let loose the monsters that come out roaring, hungry for their prey. Not now do I see them standing in the middle, a man and his wife and his children, all unarmed. Not now do I hear the shout of the mob, cheering as Christians are given to the lions. This is all over. Christ, in His suffering members, has conquered Caesar and pagan Rome.

Though a softer spirit comes over the human mind, still there is as much enmity against God as ever, but now it finds a less public arena. Today, the tested one suffers alone and misses the encouragement of Christian eyes. At times, he has to feel that it were better to fight with the beasts at Ephesus than to hear the taunts, threats, and slander of ungodly relatives. My sister and my brother, have faith in God in your hidden sorrow! Cry to Him in the secret of your soul, and you will carry your burden. Yes, you will bear it calmly, and you will win those who hate you. Do not fear.

Scourgings (3148) (mastiz and the plural form mastigos - see mastigoo) refers to a whip used to lash the body creating torment and great suffering, as it did to our Lord Jesus in His Passion.

Chains (1199) (desmos) refers to that which serves to restrain someone as by tying or fastening. A fetter refers to a specific type of chain around the feet.

Imprisonment (5438) (phulake) in an active sense refers to a watching or keeping watch but in other context such as the present passage it refers to the place where prisoners were kept.

Charles Simeon comments on by faith

How diversified its (faith's) operations—There is nothing to which it may not be applied, and nothing for which it will not equally avail. It will alike enable us…

To suffer any thing—It is scarcely to be conceived what sufferings men have inflicted on the people of God. Of these we have many instances mentioned in the verses after my text… But, if faith will enable men to bear up under such sufferings as we read of in the Scriptures of truth, how much more will it qualify us for sustaining the common evils of life; yea, and enable us to “glory in tribulation,” (Ro 5:3-note) so far as God shall see fit to subject us to its assaults. (Hebrews 11:32-35 Power of Faith)

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