God Jointly Witnessing

Chapter 2 picks up the term “salvation” from the end of Chapter 1 and applies it to the definitive “word” that God is now speaking in one who is a “Son.” In Jesus, He has revealed the “word of salvation” in this new era (“upon these last days”). And God Himself confirmed this word with “signs, wonders, and mighty works” wrought by His Spirit, this message that began with His Son, and subsequently, was attested to and preached by the apostles – (Hebrews 2:1-4).

And because of the greatness of this “word,” believers must continually “be holding fast to the things that have been heard, lest at any time they drift away.” The failure or refusal to heed this “word” will result in dire consequences.

Hebrew Scroll - Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash
[Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash]

If the Israelites did not escape punishment for disobeying the statutes and ordinances of the Law of Moses, how much worse will the punishment be for the believer who disobeys and thus dishonors the vastly superior “
word” spoken by God in His “Son”?

And this “word” was first heard in the ministry and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. This “great salvation” commenced “being spoken through the Lord by them who heard, unto us was confirmed, God jointly witnessing also, both with signs and wonders and manifold mighty works, and with distributions of Holy Spirit, according to his own will?” - (Hebrews 2:3-4) – (The Emphasized Bible).


This “word” was borne witness to by the apostles, and it was confirmed not only by human witnesses who heard Jesus teach, meaning the apostles who accompanied him, but also by God Himself via “signs and wonders and manifold mighty works, and by distributions of Holy Spirit.”

There are different nuances implied by the several terms used though the passage draws no significance from them (“signs and wonders and manifold mighty works”). But the term “distributions of Holy Spirit” is unique, found only here and in 1 Corinthians 12:11 (“But all these energizes the one and the same Spirit, distributing to each one individually even as it is disposed”).

And the use of the term, “distributions of Spirit,” may suggest the Author’s familiarity with the Apostle Paul’s teachings on the gifts of the Spirit. The Greek term rendered “distributions” means “impartation, distribution,” something that is given. In 1 Corinthians, Paul clearly means the gifts of the Spirit by “distributions” (e.g., speaking in tongues, prophecy).

Whether the Letter to the Hebrews also means specific gifts of the Spirit or the Spirit’s gifts and provisions, in general, is not stated. However, this is not especially relevant to the point being made, that God validated the words of the Lord with supernatural acts.

Interestingly, the Letter elsewhere attributes scriptural passages it cites to the Spirit that is now speaking to the church through them (all quotations are from The Emphasized Bible):

  • Wherefore, even as the Holy Spirit is saying, Today if ye shall hear his voice” - (Hebrews 3:7).
  • The Holy Spirit making this evident—that not yet hath been manifested the way through the Holy place, so long as the first tent hath a standing”- (Hebrews 9:8).
  • But even the Holy Spirit beareth us witness; for after having said…”- (Hebrews 10:15).

And this word of salvation, “UNTO US was confirmed, God jointly witnessing also.” This description indicates that some, at least, of these supernatural “signs” occurred among the believers addressed by the Letter in addition to what the apostles witnessed previously.

In other words, the supernatural activities of the Spirit were not limited to the original apostles or only those men who held apostolic office; they occurred also in the early churches.

And these several supernatural manifestations were “according to his will.” In the Greek text, the pronoun “his” is masculine and can only refer to the “God who jointly witnessed” the word of the Lord. The Greek noun rendered “spirit” is neuter and is always used in the New Testament with neuter pronouns according to Greek grammatical rules (i.e., “it”).

But the point of the exhortation is that believers must cling tightly to the word of “salvation” that was first “spoken” through Jesus, then through “those who heard,” and finally, confirmed by God’s Spirit. The failure to do so will result in catastrophe for any follower of Jesus who refuses to heed the Son’s “word of salvation.”



His Superior Word

The Purification of Sins