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PGA Chaplain Bible Studies

Weekly Bible Study - Study 44 - Hebrews Chapter 11:35b - 40
- Being connected to what has come before and after us!

 “Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned to death, sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute persecuted, tormented – of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and in holes in the ground. Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not apart from us, be made perfect. (Hebrews Ch 11: verses 35 to 40)(New International Version)

Being connected to what has come before and after us!

One of the real challenges of any community is how we view the past and the future. Working in the church primarily among older people I see often people largely looking to the past for their inspiration. Working in the golf industry I see many of the younger looking to the future to build their life and career. While this difference is related to age and our tendency to relate to groups similar to us, I see great value in having a healthy dose of both what has gone before us and what lies ahead.

This idea is picked up at the end of our chapter on faith when it says; “God has provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.” Our writer here is referring to the unity of the people of the Old and New Covenants, but particularly those who suffered for their faith under the Old Covenant..
It is common to stress the difference between the Old and the New Covenant. Jesus has brought to us a new covenant through his death, resurrection and ascension where he has on behalf of us all, won the victory over sin and death and brought new life. But we make a mistake if we view the Old Testament as a failure of some kind. The nature of the Old Testament is that it is progressive in nature and was always looking forward to a better day, the day of Jesus. How this great chapter concludes gives us an insight into how the Old and the New Testaments tie together. We have already discovered through this chapter that a distinguishing mark of faith believes in the promises of God, even if they have yet to be fulfilled.

With Jesus’ coming we find ourselves in a similar situation in that we too who have believed in Jesus have yet to receive the fulfilment of God’s promises. As our writer indicates in the last verse it is the perfection or fullness if you like of the promises of God that is in view. So we share the same hope by faith of the people of the Old Testament that one day God will bring to perfection the world and his people in a new future.
Faith in Jesus links us to what came before him in the Old Covenant and together we share the future. It’s a great lesson of faith that we are always seen in relationship to where we have come from and where we are going. I hope in our lives, in all facets, that we keep this in mind and value those who have gone before us and think of those who will come after us.

Prayer. Our God you are the same yesterday, today and forever, the beginning and the end. Help us to see our place in the grand scheme of things with all your people. Amen.

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