We are all in the same boat as the author of the book of Hebrews. He was not around when Jesus proclaimed the good news and died on the cross to seal the fate of all believers. Whoever wrote this book is relying on the testimony of the original hearers. He tells us in Hebrews 2:3b-4, “It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”

It was Jesus Himself that declared salvation. God used to speak to man through His prophets, but not anymore! It wasn’t prophets or angels who mediated God’s final word to man, it was the Son Himself. The importance of Jesus’ message in comparison to the mediated message of angels and prophets is like comparing the beginning of a story with its conclusion. The whole Old Testament is about God’s love for mankind. But Jesus gives us God’s final word regarding His disposition toward us. Again, I must quote Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrated his own love for us in this. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” From the creation account in Genesis 1 through the end of Malachi, God expressed His love for mankind in many different ways. But in Christ God “demonstrated” that love in an undeniable way! Jesus is both the messenger of God and the message of God. How does the Bible end? With Jesus!

Those who heard the message first hand attest to its validity. John is referring to the apostles when he begins his first epistle. He writes in 1 John 1:1, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life…” He’s expressing the validity of the testimony of the apostles about the message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Furthermore, their message has been validated by God with many signs and wonders. Allen helps us understand this validation. He writes, “The confirming testimony of God via the miracles was given to those who heard the Lord, not to the author and his readers.”[1] If God was still performing these signs and wonders at the time of this writing the author would surely have referred to them as evidence of the authenticity of the Gospel. If we focus on the continuation of these signs and wonders we miss the point. The beginning of the story of redemption in Exodus was validated by miracles. The ultimate conclusion of the story of redemption is also validated by miracles and confirmed by reliable witnesses. Prophets and angels did not have the final word. Only Jesus did! Do we focus on God’s law or do we focus on God’s love? As Hughes says, “It is more blameworthy to sin against love than against Law, to ignore God’s mercy than to break his Law.”[2]

[1] David L. Allen, Hebrews, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2010), 198.

[2] R. Kent Hughes, Hebrews: An Anchor for the Soul, vol. 1, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1993), 52.