Nobody from that particular church had died yet because of their relationship with Christ. The statement is clear, but the fact may surprise us. Most people think that the original readers of the Book of Hebrews lived in Judea. But Christians in Judea were the first to die because of their relationship with Christ (Acts 7:60; Acts 12:2).
Perhaps Acts 11:19 explains this. Christians from Judea established churches in many different places. So perhaps the original readers of this book belonged to one of those churches.
Nobody had died yet, but these Christians certainly had suffered. Hebrews 10:32-34 explains how they suffered. People had insulted and attacked them. They had taken away the Christians’ possessions. They put some Christians in prison. And Hebrews 13:3 shows that some Christians were still in prison.
We know from history that many of the first Christians did die because of their beliefs. That had not happened in this particular town yet – but the Christians should prepare themselves. It was likely that it would happen in their town too. Perhaps some of the original readers of this book would die because of their love for God. These things were happening everywhere. It was not likely that they would escape.
The author had shown them how to behave in such circumstances (Hebrews 11:35-38). Like God’s people who suffered before them, they too must trust God. God would help them to be strong, and he would give them the words to say (Mark 13:11). Perhaps evil people would kill their bodies, but their spirits would go to live with God in heaven. There, they would have life that never ends. And the struggles, problems and difficulties of this life would be over.
Next part: Why do Christians suffer? (Hebrews 12:5-6)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.