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Book of Hebrews: Chapter 3

study of Hebrews
study of Hebrews
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Verse 1

This verse concludes the end of CH 2 where the author tells us that Jesus was flesh and blood and made just like us in every respect. "Therefore" (read verse 1) the author continues the thought. Now notice the many names of Christian: CH 2 'brothers'; 'brethren'; 'offspring of Abraham'; 'holy brethren'. He continues. You share in a heavenly calling. The Christian call is from God, a call to heaven itself. This is clearly a letter written to Christians and not to the unsaved.

In verse 17 of CH 2 Christ is called a merciful and faithful high priest. In 3:1, the author says, "consider Jesus." The thought is not simply "consider Jesus." But consider Jesus, the merciful and faithful High Priest. He is also called an Apostle. The word 'faithful' comes up often and that is because the author clearly wanted his readers to understand this attribute of Jesus. He also wanted the Hebrew Christians to remain faithful. This section along with CH 4 introduces two contrasts. Christ and Moses and then Christ and Aaron.
What does the word 'Apostle' mean? Not merely "one sent", but "one sent with full authority to carry out a mission." This means if it isn’t authorized, it should not be taught, carried out, or heeded. This is the only passage that explicitly says that Jesus was an Apostle but there are other passages that allude to this thought (Luke 10:16; John 12:49; 1 John 4:9)

"Apostle" here applies first and foremost to Christ and then to His chosen men. The high priest in the Old Testament made atonement for the sins of the Israelites; however, those sins really never went away. They were remembered year after year. Jesus is the High Priest who makes atonement for the sins of the people (2:17). Our sins are remembered no more so long as we repent.

Verse 2
Throughout the Lord's ministry Jewish rulers placed Moses far higher than Jesus. After the blind man who was made to see for the very first time, the Jewish rulers said, We know that God spake to Moses, as for this fellow (Jesus), we know not from whence He is. (John 9:29). One the high mountain Peter wanted to erect three tabernacles--for Moses, Elijah and Jesus. Peter exalted Moses and Elijah too highly. To do so would bring Christ down too much.
Now the author is explaining how Jesus is superior to Moses. Why would Moses be mentioned instead of Abraham or any other "hero of faith"? Perhaps it was because Moses can be considered and ante-type of Christ. Let us consider a few facts about Moses that we learn from the Old Testament.:

1. A.) Moses was called by God to deliver the Israelites-(Read Exodus 3:1-10)
B.) Christ came to deliver man from sin (Read John 3:16-17)
2. A.) Moses performed miracles (Read Exodus 4:1-4)
B.) Christ performed miracles-the first miracle He performed was turning water to wine
3. A.) Moses and the bronze serpent (numbers 21:4-9)
B.) Jesus spoke of this (John 3:14)
C.) Jesus was lifted up on the cross (Mark 15:21 "come down…")
4. A.) Moses interceded for the Israelites, especially when they were rebellious to God
B.) Likewise Christ intercedes for us. w/o Christ, we could not approach God. Because we are a sinful people, we lost the privilege in the Garden of Eden. This is why at the end of our prayers, we say, in Your Son's name, amen. We cannot get to the Father except through Christ.
5. A.) Moses was given the 10 commandments to give to the Israelites (Exodus 34)
B.) Christ gave His commandments to Christians
6. A.) The tabernacle was a type of church
B.) Christ built His own house

Moses was an important prophet in the Jewish faith and heritage. Even though this is true, the Hebrew Christians who desired to return to Judaism should have brought to remembrance the encounter in the mountain. Turn to Mark 9:2-8 and read.
So we have Elijah, Moses and Jesus. The voice of God said, "…" Elijah and Moses disappeared and only Jesus remained. This suggests that God was pleased and satisfied and approved of the law of Christ over the prophet Elijah and the Law of Moses. Moses had his day as prophet, lawgiver and Israelite deliverer. Elijah had his day as a restoration prophet. It is now Christ's time.

How was Jesus faithful? Why is Jesus' faith being compared to the faith of Moses? The author references 1 Samuel 2:35 and Numbers 12:7. 1 Samuel 2:35 speaks of a faithful priest and his sure house. Numbers 12:7 refers to Moses as my servant Moses who was faithful in all God's house. Though Moses was faithful, he was not sinlessly perfect. He, along with Aaron, sinned at the waters of Meribah which cost both of them entrance into the land of Canaan.
Perhaps these Christians were confused about Moses and Christ. To leave Christianity for Judaism, these Christians were glorifying more in the servant Moses more than in the Son of God.

Verse 3

Jesus is superior to Moses to what degree? Verse 3 tells us--As much more glory as the builder of a house has more glory than the house itself. In CH 2 we talked about glory and honor which man had before the fall in the Garden of Eden. Christ is now crowned with glory and honor. He Himself is the creator (1:2); He is the builder of the house. Moses was the servant in the house, not the builder of it. If God is the builder of all things and Scripture teaches that Christ created all things then this means that Jesus is God.

Verse 4

Zechariah 6:12-13; Matthew 16:18 teaches us that the house of God and Lord's church has a builder who is Christ.

Verse 5
The Pentateuch was written by Moses. It is composed of the first 5 books of the Bible. He was faithful, a lawgiver, a writer, a leader, a mediator between God and the Israelites. Moses actually wrote of Christ in Deuteronomy 18:15-19 and Christ said that Moses wrote of Him in John 5:45-47. He was a type of Christ or an ante-type.

Verse 6

The Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:31, Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord. This is conditional: We are part of Christ's house, if we hold fast. This means that the recipients of this letter obeyed the Gospel in its entirety--they heard the Gospel, they believed it, they repented of their sins, confessed Jesus and the Son of God and the Messiah and were baptized for the remission of their sins. There is work to do in order to be saved and a lifetime of work to do to stay saved. We do contribute to our salvation. 2 Peter 1:5-11 reads, "…" If we neglect to make sure we are doing what we need to do, we can lose our salvation. This passage defeats the doctrine of Calvinism.

Verses 7-11

This quote is from Psalm 95:7-11. The author brings into remembrance the stubbornness and hardened hearts of the Israelites. Their hearts were removed from Him. They were at times rebellious and arrogant. They knew the ways of grumbling, rebellion and sensuality. God swore His wrath. They would not enter into His rest. Canaan was a type of heavenly rest. Those Israelites who died in idolatry, immorality, etc., will not inherit heaven. Heaven was denied then and it will be denied now to any who commits these same sins. Those Israelites who grumbled against God will not enter heaven when the world ends and eternity begins.

The warning here is a reminder to the Jewish Christians. The Israelites were disobedient; they tested God so they were punished. In CH 2 we learned that retribution was given to anyone who disobeyed one command in the Old Testament. The message was clear. If there were retribution for laws broken in the Old Testament then there will be retribution for laws broken now.

Verse 12

In this verse the Holy Spirit lets them know that they too, can fall away. He says, Take care, brothers,…" It is possible to fall from grace. Calvinism is wrong--there is no such thing as "once saved always saved." There would be no warning from the Holy Spirit if there were no danger of apostasy, "Take care" or "take heed" is an obligation to all Christians.

Verse 13

What does it mean to exhort someone? To give urgent advice; to caution earnestly; to admonish. So the author is telling the Christians that they should help out their fellow brother or sister in Christ if they see that they are falling into sin. Proverbs 27:17 tells us iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Where it says As long as it is days exhort one another, means "as long as Christ has not returned, as long as you have opportunity, never cease to warn your brethren of their transgressions." Never be ashamed to receive exhortation from your brethren. It is better to be rebuked by a Christian than to be rebuked by a non believer.

References used: Everyone's Guide to Hebrews, Neil R. Lightfood

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