“All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” Hebrews 11:13.
Such a great testimony of so many who saw their heavenly reward from afar and so they walked by faith during their stay upon this earth. They went through many trials and suffered hostility from the devil’s children. Maybe one of the saddest passages in the scriptures describes what some of them went through:
“32And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, 33who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the
sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; 36and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. 37They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38(men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.” Hebrews 11:32ff.
I’m glad God included their story in the holy writ because it actually encourages me. Their stories are incredibly sad, but what faith! I’m encouraged to keep looking to heaven and to not be discouraged by whatever troubles I experience in this life. Like Peter said, we are strangers and aliens here. We are just passing through on our way to the eternal reward where we drell with our beloved Savior and our Father in heaven.