They are probably the worthies referred to in Heb. 11 chapter, whose triumph through faith are recalled. The word "witnesses" (Heb. 12:1) has two meanings and it is not certain which of the two the writer of the epistle had in his mind. A witness may be a spectator, or he may be one who testifies as in a court of justice. If the word in this passage is used in the former sense, it implies that departed and glorified saints are observing the trials and victories of the Christian on earth. If the word refers to a testifier, it means that the Christian has good reason for making the effort mentioned in the passage, because of the testimony of the Old Testament saints cited in the previous chapter.