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Perfection or Perdition
The Author and Finisher of Faith
(12: 1 - 4).
pp. 1 - 5
The long list of witnesses to faith having been written, "the better thing" emphasized,
a giving up and a patient endurance on the part of the faithful pointed out, the apostle
turns to the Hebrews to apply the lesson.
Chapter 11: may be looked upon as a great parenthesis; chapter 12:, fortified with
chapter 11:, reverts to the close of chapter 10:, and gives a fresh application of its truth.
Let us refresh our memories by a revisal of 10: 32-39. We are in an atmosphere of
suffering, yet a suffering illuminated by the prospect of future joys: "knowing that ye
have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. Cast not away therefore your
confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience . . .".
The immediate danger that beset these Hebrews was that of "drawing back", growing
weary, and to encourage them the apostle puts forward three items:
The Second Coming of the Lord. "Yet a little while" (10: 37).
The examples of faith taken from the Old Testament (11:).
The example of Christ Himself (12: 1-4).
It is this third feature which is now before us. Words are used in this passage which
demand careful consideration, and it may be well, before attempting the whole passage,
to be a little more certain of the words that are employed here.
WITNESSES (Greek martus). This word does not mean spectator. It means one who
bears witness, even to the length of suffering martyrdom for it. The English word martyr
is the Greek word for witness, and surely no martyr was a mere spectator. We find the
word in Heb. 10: 28, "two or three witnesses". Rev. 1: 5 speaks of "Jesus Christ . . . . .
the faithful Witness"; and Rev. 2: 13 uses the same words of "Antipas, My faithful
martyr". Heb. 10: 15 says, "the Holy Ghost is a witness", and 11: 4 tells us that Abel
It may be of service if we give all the occurrences of martus, martureo and marturion
in the epistle to the Hebrews.
"For a testimony of those things" (3: 5).
"Of whom it is witnessed that he liveth" (7: 8).
"For He testifieth, Thou art a priest" (7: 17).
"The Holy Ghost also is a witness to us" (10: 15).
"Died . . . . . under two or three witnesses" (10: 28).
"The elders obtained a good report" (11: 2).
"He obtained witness that he was righteous" (11: 4).
"God testifying of his gifts" (11: 4).