Hebrews 2: 1-4
We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
Angels, as servants of God, and assigned to carry out His will and purpose on behalf of humanity, had a hand in delivering, or making known, the Old Testament Law of Moses. Verse two of this passage specifically states that the message was “spoken through angels.” When Stephen was stoned to death by the Jews for his preaching about Jesus, he stated to them: “And now you have betrayed and murdered Him—you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it” (Acts 7:52-53, NIV). In writing to the Christians in Galatia, the Apostle Paul stated that, “The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator” (Galatians 3: 19, NIV). It is also pretty clear from passages in the Old Testament that Moses is the human mediator, or “go between” referenced in this passage. It was Moses who represented God to the people and the people to God (See: Exodus 20:18-22, Leviticus 26:46, and Deuteronomy 5:5). This is the reason that the Old Covenant Law is referred to as the Law of Moses.
But none other than Jesus Christ Himself, the only begotten Son of God, is the mediator of the New Covenant, under which all children of God live today. And, as this passage points out, the salvation that we experience under the New Covenant was first announced, or made known to us, not by Moses or any other typical human being on earth, but by the Lord Himself. We can read all about that in the Gospels—the first four books of our New Testament.
Then, those who heard Jesus’ message—the apostles and prophets who actually walked and talked with Jesus—confirmed His message to us through their preaching and teaching. How do we know that the message that they proclaimed, and that has been preserved for us in the pages of the New Testament, is legitimate, that it really does come from God Himself, and that it really does contain the words and teachings of Christ? Well, as this passage states, “God also testified to it by signs, wonders, and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will” (verse 4).
When Jesus gave His Great Commission, following His death, burial, and resurrection, telling his disciples to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation,” and saying to them, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned,” He also told them, “And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” (Mark 16:15-18, NIV). The text then goes on to state that, “the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and THE LORD WORKED WITH THEM and CONFIRMED HIS WORD by the signs that accompanied it” (verse 20).
We can see that there was a very meaningful and practical purpose for the signs, wonders, and miracles that Jesus said His disciples would perform back in the first century. That purpose, clearly stated in scripture, was to “confirm His word.” And this is precisely what our passage in Hebrews, chapter 2, verse 4 is stating as well when it says, “God also TESTIFIED TO IT by signs, wonders, and various miracles…”
The purpose for the miraculous events that accompanied the preaching of the Gospel during the Apostolic Age—the first century—was to confirm that the message being proclaimed by the apostles and prophets of the first century really was the word of God, and not just the make-believe notions of mortal men. That “word” has been confirmed now and has been preserved for us in the pages of the New Testament. This is why we no longer need the signs, wonders, and various miracles any longer—we have the New Testament.
This is also why the Apostle Paul made the statement that, “Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away” (I Corinthians 13:8-10, NASB). The partial of which Paul speaks—prophecy, tongues, divinely imparted knowledge—has now been done away with because the perfect—the complete and confirmed word of God—has come.
I do not trust any man or woman who comes to me in the name of the Lord (A hem) claiming to have a divinely inspired message for me. Rather, I choose to read my Bible and trust it!
Oh Lord, my God, thank you for the written Word of God preserved for us down through the ages and still available to any and all who love You and who truly seek to know You. The world around us seems so directionless, Oh Lord, like “sheep without a shepherd.” Many simply wander about aimlessly without You, content to follow the herd, or the flock, to eternal destruction. Others willfully and rebelliously refuse to be led by You, seeking first their own self-willed wants, desires, and ambitions. But Lord, may I be numbered among the remnant, among the faithful children of God, among those who believe that You are, and that You are a rewarder of those that seek you. May your Holy Spirit strengthen my weaknesses and help me to love, feed on, and cling to your precious and holy, divinely inspired, complete and confirmed, written word… that historical text we refer to as the New Testament.
Copyright © 2022 Philip R. Stroud
All rights reserved