Studies In Hebrews #4
by Alex D. Ogden

The Superiority Of Jesus To Moses (3:1-6)

Although Jesus is above angels in rank He lowered Himself to become a man so He could be a merciful and faithful High Priest, to destroy the power of Satan, to deliver those in bondage to sin and to help those who are tempted (Heb. 1 & 2). Based upon these things, "Wherefore" (3:1), the writer calls upon his readers to "consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, even Jesus". He wants them to fix their attention on Jesus and come to understand some important things about Him.

This is the only place where Jesus is referred to as being an Apostle. An apostle literally is "one who is sent forth." By considering the apostles of Jesus we can understand some things about His being an apostle. First, none of them chose to be apostles, but rather were chosen to be such by Jesus (Jn.15:16; Lk.6:13). They were "sent forth" by the one who chose them. In the same way Jesus did not choose to become an apostle but was appointed such (3:2; cf.1 Jn.4:14). Second, none of the apostles of Jesus chose for himself the work he would do or the message he would proclaim. They were "sent forth" with a particular work and message (cf.Mk.16:15). Likewise Jesus was "sent forth" from the Father with a particular work and message (Jn.6:38-40). Truly Jesus was an apostle. Moses also was an apostle of God (cf.3:2). He was never called an apostle but was referred to as "one sent" (Ex.3:10,13,15; 4:28; 5:22; 7:16).

There are three ways in which Jesus is shown to be superior to Moses. First, Moses, as a man, was a little lower than the angels (2:7). However, Jesus was above angels in rank (chapt.1). Therefore, Jesus is superior to Moses. Second, the builder of a house is always worthy of more glory than the house itself (3:3,4). In other words, Moses was a part of the house (Nation) of Israel whereas Jesus, as God, built the house. Therefore, Jesus is superior to Moses. Third, Moses was a servant in God's house whereas Jesus is a Son over God's house (3:5,6). Since Jesus is a "Son over" and Moses a "servant in" then Jesus is superior to Moses. The apostleship of Jesus is superior to that of Moses and, therefore, His message should be heeded. It would be a tragic mistake for the Christian to reject Christ even for Moses.

The Danger Of Unbelief (3:7-19)

In 3:6 the author states that Christians are the house of God (see also 1 Tim.3:15; 1 Cor.3:9; Eph.2:19-22; 1 Pet.2:5) if we will "hold fast...firm unto the end." Here he goes from argument to exhortation. He exhorts them to hold fast by showing them the consequences of not holding fast. He first quotes from Psalms 95:7b-11. The Psalmist alludes to Israel's journey from Egypt to Canaan through the wilderness. An entire generation of Israelites were not permitted to enter the promised rest (land) "because of unbelief" (3:19). They doubted the power of God to drive out the inhabitants of the land. They perished in the wilderness because of their unbelief. Since unbelief caused many of the Israelites to perish under Moses, Christians, under Jesus who is superior to Moses, will surely perish if we make the same mistake. The Hebrew writer, therefore, encouraged them to "take heed" and "exhort one another day by day" (3:12,13). There is danger in unbelief! This is why it is important for us, as brethren, to not only assemble together regularly but also be in contact with each other throughout the week. If we do not "take heed" and "exhort one another day by day" then unbelief will creep in and many will not be able to enter into our promised rest as discussed in chapter 4.

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This page was last updated on Thursday, May 28, 1998.