Hebrews 11:32-34 tells us about the victories that God’s anointed Judges, Prophets and Kings had through faith and then verse 35 speaks of the ultimate faith victory, resurrection from the dead. Hebrews 11:35 says, “By faith women received back their dead by resurrection.” This is for sure a picture of faith’s ultimate victory over man’s greatest enemy. First the Prophet Elijah raised the child of the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:17–24).  Then Elisha raises the child of the Shunammite (2 Kings 4:17–35). Further we see that Jesus gave the widow of Nain her son back from the dead in Luke 7:11-15. Jesus also gave Martha and Mary their brother Lazarus back from the dead in John 11:1-44. God had promised victory over death. That victory cannot be achieved by the efforts or works of man. It is something promised by God, given by grace, and received by faith.

In His struggle with the religious leaders of His day, Jesus brings up the story of Elijah and the resurrection of the son of the widow of Zarephath. In Luke 4:25-26, Jesus rebuked their unbelief and said, “But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.” Some of the more ancient manuscripts of this verse in the book of Hebrews say that the resurrections of both Elijah and Elisha were of “alien” women. The channel through which the resurrections were delivered was faith. It was Elijah’s faith regarding the widow of Zarephath and it was Elisha’s faith combined with the faith of the Shunamite. As these two women trusted in God and the messenger He sent, the religious leaders of Jesus’ day had no faith in the messianic deliverer God sent in His own Son.

Victory over death is the promise of God to all who believe in and trust His messenger, Jesus Christ. The ultimate victory does not come through the religious system of the Jews that the leaders clung to. The ultimate victory does not come through hard work, effort and great sacrifices as the religious system of the Jews demanded. The religious system that they clung to as their hope proved totally inadequate to save anyone. Jesus confronted another group of religious leaders in John 5:39-40 saying, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” The whole Bible is about the Good News of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ leading to everlasting life to all who believe, Jew and Gentile alike.