“Women received their dead raised to life again.” Hebrews 11:35
Hebrews 12:1 says that the readers “are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.” We are obviously readers as well and so we have many who witness to us. Of whom was the writer referring?
He is referring to all the men and women of faith mentioned in chapter 11. The word for “testimony” in 11:2 and “witness” in 12:1 are the same and 11:4 specifically says that Abel “still speaks” even though he has died. He is still witnessing through the record of his life in the Bible and through those who follow his example of faith. The same is true of all the people mentioned by name or collectively in that chapter.
There have been a lot of false concepts of what faith is passed around and they give rise to wrong teaching and a false idea of what faith is.
Christian faith is taking God at His word even without any evidence to support it. If we seek evidence beyond His word it means we don’t trust Him. Noah had not seen rain or even a minor flood yet he believed what God said. Christian faith always is expressed in actions that demonstrate that God’s word has been accepted as faithful. Noah built an ark, filled it with living creatures and his family and climbed aboard in spite of the mocking and ridicule of his peers and contemporaries. Without this kind of expression it is doubtful that there is Christian faith at all.
Only a few men and only one woman are mentioned by name in Hebrews 11 although many are referred to collectively. The one woman mentioned is Rahab. Rahab (a gentile) expressed her faith in the God of Israel by risking her life. She hid Israel’s spies; she lied about their whereabouts and saw them safely out of Jericho. That would have made her a traitor punishable by death.
Not only did she risk her life to save them she also risked her life to save her family. In order to save her family she had to reveal her treacherous act to them. If they didn’t believe her and the word of the spies they could have handed her over to the authorities to be put to death.
The writer also says that there were other women who had loved ones raised to life after they had died.
While physical life is very important to us concerning our loved ones, their spiritual life is even more important. If God can raise the physically dead, and He can, then the application is that He can breathe new life into a loved one in our time. Those women of faith that we read about in the Bible are living witnesses still speaking to us today that God can raise the dead.
Such women are with us even to this day. They faithfully pray for their unsaved spouse, child or grandchild until they come to faith and maturity in Jesus Christ.