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Hebrews Chapter 3


This next section explains why the Son is superior to Moses. But please don't make the mistake of thinking that the world must choose between the two and discard one. We're only going to show the differences in their respective ranking.

Heb 3:1-2 …Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God's house. (NIV)

Getting people to focus their thoughts upon a topic in which they probably have little or no interest to begin with is not an easy thing to do. They'll doze, they'll day-dream, they'll tune you out; they'll drift away.

The *holy brothers* are, of course, the author's Jewish countrymen.

The *heavenly calling* that the holy brothers share in isn't Christianity; no, it's Judaism; specifically Abraham's promises, and the covenant God made with the people of Israel after He liberated them from Egyptian slavery— a covenant which is sometimes called Moses' covenant.

The high priest whom *we* confess would not, of course be confessed by each and every Jew in the author's audience, but would at least include the author and his associates.

This is now the second time in the book of Hebrews that Jesus is referred to as high priest. The first was 2:17. The office of the high priest is extremely important because they act as mediators between God and the regular people. In the old days, the patriarchs acted as priests for their own clans up until the official Aaronic priesthood was established. Aaron's priesthood isn't perfect however because they don't actually have a direct one-on-one access to God; nor does anybody else for that matter.

The word apostle is from the Greek apostolos (ap-os'-tol-os); which means: a delegate; of whom Jesus said; "He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. (Matt 10:40)

So the regular apostles were delegated to represent Christ; but Jesus himself was delegated by God to represent The Almighty, just as also Moses did in his own day. However— and this needs to be emphasized —neither man appointed himself, nor was he appointed by a committee or a church board. Each was hand-picked and appointed by God himself personally.

The word for house; oikos (oy'-kos) means: a dwelling. It can also mean a family. Both of those definitions describe God's relationship to his people perfectly. He dwells in them, and they are his family as well.

The author of Hebrews paid Moses a very high compliment by saying: "Moses was faithful in all God's house."

Num 12:5-7 ...The Lord came down in a pillar of cloud, stopped at the entrance of the Tent, and called out, “Aaron and Miriam!” The two of them came forward; and He said, “Hear these My words: When a prophet of the Lord arises among you, I make Myself known to him in a vision, I speak with him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses; he is trusted throughout My household."

Next.

Heb 3:3-4 …Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. (NIV)

We pointed out in chapter 1 that the Son, as God' word, created every thing in every era. Moses can't possibly rank equally to his creator any more than shingle nails can compare to the roofers who hammer them in. The difference in rank is beyond measure. Not to mention that Moses is merely flesh and blood whose origin can't be traced any farther back than to Adam; a creature manufactured from earthly elements. But the Son's origin is God's word, and can link his heritage straight to The Almighty.

1Cor 15:45-47 …So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. (NIV)

The physical man, Moses, a product of nature, didn't have the power to make things come alive; and he was a subjected being accountable to The Creator. But God's word, who itself created all things, including Moses, is above scrutiny; and is especially not accountable to puny little creatures down here on the planet made of all natural ingredients— nor has Moses ever sat at God's right hand; sharing His throne and power.

Next.

Heb 3:5 …Moses was faithful as a servant in all God's house, testifying to what would be said in the future. (NIV)

Moses predicted that a special man would some day appear and have very important things to say to the people of Israel.

Deut 18:15-19 ...The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet from among your own people, like myself; him you shall heed. This is just what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb, on the day of the Assembly, saying, “Let me not hear the voice of the Lord my God any longer or see this wondrous fire any more, lest I die.” Whereupon the Lord said to me, “They have done well in speaking thus. I will raise up a prophet for them from among their own people, like yourself: I will put My words in his mouth and he will speak to them all that I command him; and if anybody fails to heed the words he speaks in My name, I myself will call him to account. (1985 JPS Tanakh)

Next.

Heb 3:6 ...But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast. (NIV)

That is somewhat humiliating but facts are facts and I guess there was just no easier way to say it. Moses, in spite of the wonderful standing he enjoyed with God, was really no more than household help. But the Son is at the top of the heap, as Joseph was in Egypt, and it is he who supervises all the household help; including Moses; just as Joseph ruled over his own dad Jacob down in Egypt. So the Son outranks Moses because he is The Almighty's heir. Servants, being a dime a dozen, come and go. But children remain connected to the home forever. Like they say; blood is thicker than water. Moses is in God's house; but the Son as an heir of his own home; runs it.

John 8:35-36 …A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will indeed be free. (NLT)

The *hope of which we boast* is not exactly the same as the Christian hope. Orthodox Jews look forward to resurrection into their homeland free from foreign domination, and blessed with peace, prosperity, and long life (Isa 11:1-16, Isa 65:17-25, Heb 11:8-10).

Next.

As we progress farther and farther into the book of Hebrews, and learn even more about The Son's rank; warnings for ignoring him become ever more severe.

Heb 3:7-11 …So, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, 'Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.' So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest. (NIV)

Not long after the people of Israel were rescued from Egyptian slavery, they were given an opportunity to enter Palestine and begin a new life. But a majority of the scouts turned in a negative debriefing and convinced the people that it was impossible to conquer the inhabitants of Canaan. So the people balked, and refused to listen to Moses in spite of his insistence that they would win.

Because of that God kept them in the Sinai peninsula forty years until every adult over twenty years old died except for Joshua and Caleb. So other than freedom from slavery, the adults never got to reap any of the material benefits of the mighty salvation that God wrought for them down in Egypt.

Next.

Heb 3:12-14 ...See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. (NIV)

If the repercussions were serious when the Jews ignored angels, and were serious when they ignored Moses, then just think how much more serious the repercussions will be for toughening their resolve and ignoring God's living word; especially now that they have been made aware that The Son is in charge of God's house and of the world of the future. He is also the one who will judge everyone in Divine judgment when it's all over.

Acts 17:31 ...For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead. (NIV)

Next.

Heb 3:15-19 …As has just been said: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion." Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. (NIV)

This study in Hebrews is not going to do anyone a bit of good if they blow off its teachings. It will in fact only make things that much worse for them. The major malfunction of the Jews under Moses was unbelief— they just didn't believe God would assist them to take Palestine —and that lack of confidence led to disobedience, which then led to their loss of the promised land's benefits.

God promised them the land. It was theirs, and all they had to do was move in and begin taking it away from the local inhabitants. And He promised them they would win. But no; they listened to the scouts and balked. They didn't trust God, and they didn't listen to Moses when he tried to urge them to get going.

Today, God is making available to the Jews His best religious leader: Jesus Christ, whom Moses foretold. If they would but let the Son take charge and manage their salvation, they are certain to succeed. But whoever ignores him, and goes off in some other direction, following someone else; then I'm afraid there's just no hope for them at all.

 

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