Hebrew’s Study 6
Doctors tell us that if we control our food portions and have a good diet, then we will have the glories of increased energy. We will sleep better, live longer, and be less susceptible to diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Yet, we are still tempted by an inordinate intake of buffalo wings, and cheese cake. Humans are uncanny creatures.
Is that your temptation, are you tempted to turn from a life glorious to a life gruesome?
That is the temptation of the Hebrews. They had Christ proclaimed to them, but they were tempted to return to Moses. The author seeks to persuade them otherwise. Jesus has similarities with Moses, but far surpasses Moses in glory.
“Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house.” (Hebrews 3:1–2)
A resemblance is given between Moses and Jesus in verse 2. The purpose of this comparison is to help the Hebrews transition from Moses to Jesus. It was not silly that the Hebrews were dedicated to Moses.
- Moses was a faithful.
- The first five books of the Bible were written by Moses.
- Moses received the Law from God Himself.
- Moses received instructions to build the tabernacle from God Himself.
- Moses with Aaron established the priesthood.
The author does not wish to disparage Moses, but he does wish to move Jesus into the place of Moses. He begins this transition with a comparison.
Jesus just like Moses was faithful. First, as stated in verse 1, Jesus was a faithful Apostle. This may sound strange, but an Apostle is someone who is sent in the name of a greater authority.
- Some were sent by a Church body. “Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.” (Acts 13:3) Thus, they were Apostles of Antioch.
- Some were sent by Christ himself as chosen witnesses of his resurrection. Thus, they were Apostle of Christ.
- Some were sent by God the Father. That role is specified in this passage for Jesus and Moses. God the Father sent them both to the Church.
The primary job of an apostle was to remain faithful to the one who gave the appointment (v.2). The Apostle Paul sheds light on this matter saying,
“Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:1–2)
Paul is tasked as an Apostle to be a steward of the mysteries of God. Likewise, Moses was commissioned as a steward of God’s mysteries to the OT Church.
- Moses established the Moral law, the Judicial Law and the ordinances of worship and priesthood.
- Moses taught God’s people the mind of God on how they may dwell together in a kind of sacred matrimony.
Jesus likewise was commissioned by the Father as a steward of God mysteries.
- Jesus faithfully clarified for Jew and Gentile the divine purposes of God the Father. This was Jesus’ prophetic office.
- Jesus faithfully ruled and defended His Church restraining and conquering all His and our enemies. This was Jesus’ Kingly office.
- Jesus faithfully represented God’s people as a spotless sacrifice to God for reconciliation between the Church and God the Father. Jesus also made intercession for His people. This was Jesus’ priestly office.
Allow me a moment to speak to the unfamiliar reality of Christ’s intercession.
Intercession is prayer for another: “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,” (1 Timothy 2:1)
The intercession of Christ, then, means that Jesus goes before the Father and prays for you. One high priestly prayer of Christ is seen in John 17. Christ prays with tender care, and love for you His Church.
If Jesus Christ has been faithful in reference to the whole family of God over which he has been appointed, as Moses was faithful faithful to the whole family of God over which he was appointed, then surely He must be worthy of equal honor. But He is not only worthy of equal honor, but of far superior honor.
“For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.” (Hebrews 3:3–6)
Jesus is worthy of more glory even over Moses. “For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses….” (Hebrews 3:3) The author gives two reasons to support this contrast:
He who built the house has more honor than the house (v.3). The metaphor is in terms of construction of a physical house. The house owner is more honorable than the house. In other words, every part of a house serves the desires or pleasures of the house owner.
If you ever get the chance to build a custom home, every part of the house may be designed unto your desires. For example, have you ever been frustrated when trying to hang pictures or mount a bathroom vanity?
You tap the wall and inevitably there are no studs present where you need them to hang the vanity? So you insert a plastic device into your drywall that expands as you twist the screw. However, they are precarious and rip out.
In a custom home, you can plan where you will have everything and put 2×6 backers at the appropriate height. You always, then, have a solid base for your vanities, mirrors or pictures. Every part of the house serves you.
The metaphor makes Moses a part of the house like a 2×6 backer. As a part of the house Moses served the desires and pleasures of the custom home builder who is Christ.
The author is not speaking of just the time of Moses, but of the whole construction of all the Church before and after Moses. Verse 4 clarifies this. “For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.” (Hebrews 3:4)
This is not referring to God the Father. The point is to establish the honor and glory of Christ. Thus, the point is to show that the whole Church from Adam onward was built by the second person of the Trinity.
“And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, but Christ as a Son over His own house,…” (Hebrews 3:5–6)
The author gives several contrasts.
- Moses was a servant, Jesus the Son.
- Moses was in the house, Jesus over the house.
- Moses was in another’s house, Jesus over His own house.
- Moses gave testimony of those things which would be spoken in reality by Christ later. The message Moses gave particularly in terms of worship was all pointing to Christ the head of the whole Church.
“For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.” (John 5:46)
Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:25–27)
ATHEISTS TAKE THE MAJORITY
“Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus,” (Hebrews 3:1)
Now verse 6 and verse 1 are book ends They lead us to the reason for all these arguments.
You can see in verse 6 that the author wants the congregation to persevere through temptation. They are tempted to leave and return to Moses.
The picture is similar to Israel after they left Egypt. Wandering in the desert, Israel was tempted to return to the delicacies of Egypt. Their old life became a temptation to them.
Are there other ways of life out there that are tempting to you?
In the year 1500, the entire society believed,
- In a Spiritual realm that was constantly imposing itself on the human realm. Storms and sickness were from God. Evil Spirits could possess you. The only protection was from a more powerful Spirit.
- In addition, all kingdoms on earth were for the service of the kingdom of heaven. The King gained his appointment from God. The Church gained her appointment from God. Every vocation was for the service of God.
For the first time in history, those two ways of thinking have just about vanished.
The result is that it is now presently harder to believe in God and easier to be an atheist.
In fact, most major institutions in the world are supported by a completely atheistic foundation. The effect is that we are tempted by profound doubts in Jesus. We are tempted to give in to some other way of experiencing a fullness of life.
Now how may Christians thrive in a world like that? Verse 1 gives the answer. Consider Jesus!
Now many of you read consider as to study with the mind like you would a math test. That is why we are so weak to begin with, because we don’t know how to consider Jesus.
EVER CONSIDER “CONSIDER”?
“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Luke 12:27–28)
To consider the lilies would be to meditate on their significance as Jesus presents them until they have made a practical difference in your life.
If I were teaching you how to fly fish and I said, “Consider how I allow the line to lay upon the water without creating a disturbance on the surface of the water.” If you slap your line on the water, then I would say to you, “You have not considered what I said.”
John Owen gives an illustration of this problem from Israel collecting Manna. God sent Manna to Israel. They were to collect all that they needed and could use. If they collected, but ended up not using the manna it turned purtid and filled with maggots.
Likewise, God has given you manna from heaven (His Word). Whatever you collect must be used. Whatever you simply collect and don’t use will turn into putrid pride and filled with the maggots of self-righteous deception.
Some of you may be saying, “Now I know what considering is, but what do I consider?
The author has given you an example of this. Consider Jesus particularly in his offices.
- Consider Jesus as your prophet.
- Consider Jesus as your King.
- Consider Jesus as your priest.
- Consider the offices of Jesus until they are put to use in your life.
- The assumption in this devotion is that secularism is the main enemy of the Church today. Without looking it up, write a definition of secularism.
- Al Mohler wrote a three part series on the primacy of preaching in a postmodern age. In the first part, he outlines the history and effects of secularism. Well worth your time.
- Now that you read Mohler, what is secularism?
- Imagine that you are a cliff and secularism is an incessant ocean wave. How is secularism causing the erosion of your faith?
- What does it mean to put the offices and person of Christ to use? Mark Jones wrote a book that is helpful.