"But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; Partly whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used." Heb. 10:32-33
During the time of the New Testament people would gather in the large open-air theaters or the large coliseums to watch as vicious animals were brought on stage. The animals would be made to do things to entertain the crowd.
It is interesting that the Hebrew Christians were reminded that they had been treated the same way as the animals. In Hebrews we read, " ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions;" The word "gazingstock" is a word that was used for showing and entertaining with the wild animals on stage. These Christians had been treated just like wild animals. They had been laughed at, pointed at, mocked, and looked upon as strange creatures.
The reference here also relates to the custom of exhibiting men doomed to death, in theaters. "In the morning men are exposed to lions and bears; the conclusion of the fight is death."
We sometimes forget what the early Christians had to endure.