At a trial two or three witnesses are required to corroborate evidence (Matt. 26: 60; Heb. 10: 28). They can initiate sentence of death (Deut. 17: 7; Acts 7: 58). False testimony is severely punished (Deut. 19: 16–21). In the NT a witness is one who can testify to the deed of Jesus in his ministry, death, and resurrection (Acts 1: 22). The word has come to have a specialized meaning when applied to someone who has witnessed to Jesus even to the extent of dying for him—hence a ‘martyr’ (derived from the Greek martus, ‘witness’). The word is on the way to this meaning in Heb. 12: 1, where the ‘cloud of witnesses’ who in spite of suffering have retained the faith are compared to cheering spectators in a stadium.