In our previous two studies we have been talking about Hebrews 2:1-3. In our last article, we only partially covered the third verse. In this article, I am going to quote all four verses that begin the second chapter of Hebrews. However, we are only going to study through the end of verse three and what is written in verse four. Here is the text: “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will” (Hebrews 2:1-4)?
We know that John came and prepared the way for Christ to do His work (Mark 1:1-11). This is not what the writer of this letter is focussed on. He is focused on what our Lord began. This ties back to the overall contextual point of the change from the words of the prophets to the words of Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2). When the inspired writer of this letter said that the great salvation was first spoken by the Lord, we can look and see those events happening (Matthew 4:12-25 and Luke 4:1-44).
As you study through the life of Christ on earth, you find that He never set forth to preach the Gospel to the whole world. Rather, He came to focus on bringing Israel to repentance (Matthew 10:1-15, Matthew 15:21-28, and Acts 3:1-26). He left the work of preaching the Gospel to every nation, beginning first in Jerusalem, to the Apostles with help from the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:16-20, Luke 24:36-53, and John 16:1-13).
Did you catch, in our text of study, that the penman of this book made a statement that indicates he was not with Jesus while Jesus was alive? Go back and read verses three through four. You should have caught this statement: “…was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness…” The penman of this book was taught about what happened. The penman of this book received confirmation by those whom had seen what the Lord did with signs, wonders, etc. Think about how all of that works together. This is similar to Luke. With Luke we read: “Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed” (Luke 1:1-4).
When Jesus sent the Apostles into the world with His message, He sent them with the abilities given by the Spirit to confirm the message. Notice: “Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen” (Mark 16:14-20).
The signs and wonders worked by Jesus and the Apostles were key, as you just read, in the confirmation of the message of the Gospel. Paul, whom was an Apostle born out of due time (I Corinthians 15:8), wrote: “For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ” (Romans 15:18-19). With the signs, wonders, and work of the Spirit being so important; of even greater importance was the testimony of the eye witnesses. In fact, such served then and even until now as the evidence of our faith.
The Apostles were the first of the witnesses (John 15:18-27, Acts 1:1-8, Acts 2:32-33, Acts 4:33, Acts 5:29-32, Acts 10:34-43, Acts 13:26-33, and Acts 22:1-21). To be an Apostle, a man had to be an eye witness of the resurrection of Christ (Acts 1:12-26). However, they were not the only witnesses (I Corinthians 15:1-8). So, the Hebrew writer is relying upon the witnesses that had seen what he and those he addressed had not seen. This plays great importance going forward in this letter. Later we shall read how that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
Verse four concludes with “according to his own will”. The wonders that were worked and the gifts of the Holy Ghost were how the Lord chose to confirm His word. We see this reasoning with the erring saints in Galatia (Galatians 3:1-5). I love that point. None of this was done haphazardly. God had a plan and He executed it the way He wanted to. The life, death, and works of Christ came about and were witnessed as God had planned long ago (Acts 2:22-23). Therefore, we can walk by faith (II Corinthians 5:7) based on evidence!
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