The Better Resurrection (Heb. 11:35): A Key To The Structure And Rhetorical Purpose Of Hebrews 11 -- By: Gareth Lee Cockerill

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 51:2 (NA 2000)
Article: The Better Resurrection (Heb. 11:35): A Key To The Structure And Rhetorical Purpose Of Hebrews 11
Author: Gareth Lee Cockerill


The Better Resurrection (Heb. 11:35):
A Key To The Structure And Rhetorical Purpose Of Hebrews 11

Gareth Lee Cockerill

Summary

This study demonstrates through a detailed study of Hebrews 11 that references to future resurrection (11:17-19 and 11:35) are of foundational importance to the structure and logic of the argument of the chapter, and thus to the faith encouraged by the author in this chapter. This further suggests that the common assumption that the resurrection of Christ was of no importance to the author of Hebrews is mistaken.

I. Introduction

It might be thought that a study of the resurrection in Hebrews was like looking for water in a desert, or a needle in the haystack. After all, the writer of Hebrews makes explicit mention of Christ’s resurrection only once, and that occurs only in the closing benediction of Hebrews 13:20.1 Nevertheless, he does speak of the resurrection of the dead on three occasions (6:2, 11:17-19 and 11:35). While, in the first of these references resurrection is relegated to the elementary teaching beyond which the readers must progress, the next two references occur in Hebrews 11, the ‘role call of the faithful’. It will be argued in this paper that these two references to resurrection are central to the structure and argument of the chapter, and thus that resurrection faith is at the heart of our author’s concerns.

The generally perceived paucity of reference to either Christ’s resurrection or the resurrection of believers may be partially explained

by the way in which Old Testament imagery has shaped the thought of Hebrews. The high priest’s entrance into the Most Holy Place on the Day of Atonement is the pattern for Christ’s High Priestly entrance into God’s presence (9:1-14). After making purification for sin, Christ our High Priest enters the presence of God and sits down at God’s right hand from which position of authority He is able to mediate the benefits of His work to the faithful (1:3, 2:17-18; 4:14-5:10; 7:26-28;...

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