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4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?


The message of the previous verse received confirmation through miracles and gifts of verse 3.

4 God also bearing witness

The only time the Greek word for “bearing witness” occurs in the New Testament is here. This is a legal term speaking of God’s corroboration of the testimony to His salvation. The meaning of the verb is to bear witness at the same time together with. God brought together the witness of the apostles with miracles to confirm the message. This would bind together (1) “signs,” (2) “wonders,” (3) “miracles,” and (4) “gifts.”

The Greek grammar of our verse suggests that signs, wonders, and miracles ceased by the time the book of Hebrews was penned, by the time of second-generation Christians. The “confirmation” of the verse 3 “eyewitnesses” or the apostles was no longer going on. “Bearing witness” depends on the main verb “was confirmed.”

both with signs and wonders,

In addition to Jesus’ words and those who heard Him, God gave the power witness to mighty confirming acts. “Signs and wonders” are miraculous actions. This may refer to both those that God performed in Egypt and those that Jesus and the apostles performed (Ex 7:9; Deut 6:22; 34:11; Ps 135:9; Isa 20:3; Jer 32:20; Acts 7:36; Mark 13:22; Acts 2:22, 43; 4:30; 5:12; 2 Cor 12:12).

A sign focuses on the meaning of the miracle or points to a purpose of a miracle; a sign signifies something. It witnesses to the truth of what is said. The design of a sign is to convince the listener as to what is true.

“Wonders” is something that happens outside natural law and produces astonishment. A wonder is an unusual or out-of-the-ordinary happening. It creates a sense of awe. The design of a wonder is to create dissonance in the listeners to break them out of their bias about what is true.

with various miracles,

The idea of “miracles” is mighty deeds or acts of power. Here the idea is of a demonstration of God’s power. A miracle shows the supernatural nature or origin of an event. The word “various” indicates that God did a variety of miracles.

and gifts [distributions] of the Holy Spirit,

“Gifts” are the special, supernatural capacity to do the work of God. (The Holy Spirit bestows at least one of these gifts on every believer at the point of his or her salvation, which is not the term used here.) The idea of “gifts” here, however, is distributions.

All four types of miracles authenticated the message of the apostles (Ac 14:3; 2 Co 12:12).

according to His own will?

God witnessed by all four means listed in this verse by His “will.”

PRINCIPLE:

God verifies His message through a rich variety of divine activity.

APPLICATION:

Signs, wonders, and mighty works marked the ministry of Jesus and the apostles (Ac 2:43). The “distributions” of the Spirit sealed the truth spoken by the Son. They corroborated the reliability of the message of the New Testament. At times, people need to go back to the foundations of what they believe.

Hebrews was written before the canon (assembly of books of the Bible) was completed. There was a need for signs, wonders, and miracles to ratify that these books were from God and not some concoction from men.

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