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Hebrews 3

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Introduction**

We move now into the third argument for the superiority of Christ: Christ is better than Moses. Of course, Moses was the great hero of the Jewish nation, and for Paul to prove Christ’s superiority over Moses was tantamount to proving the superiority of the Christian faith over Judaism. How could these people go back to Judaism when what Christ offered was so much greater than what Moses could offer?

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, a great theme of this letter is the “betterness of Christ.”

I pointed out that there is a Greek word used throughout this letter … κρείττων kreittōn which means “Better.”
The word occurs 12 times in these 13 chapters.
In the first chapter of this letter, the author pointed out that Christ is better than the patriarchs and the prophets.
This would have been pretty shocking for many Jews to hear, because they highly revered the patriarchs and the prophets.
And they revered none more so than Moses … the man through whom God gave Israel the law.
To an Israelite, Moses stands supreme as the pioneer of the nation.
To the Jew, Moses stands supreme as the pioneer leader of the nation; to the Jewish Christian respect for Moses continues, but ‘Jesus has been found worthy of greater honour than Moses’—such is the testimony of verse 3.
To the Jewish Christian respect for Moses continues, but as verse 3 says, ‘Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses.’
While Moses was the pioneer of the nation, as chapter 2 said, Jesus is the pioneer of our Salvation.
Moses couldn’t take Israel into the promised land … only Joshua or Yeshua … or Jesus could.
----
A great illustration of the betterness of Christ is what happened on the Mount of Transfiguration, which really wasn’t named that … it was a crest of Mount Hermon that the events happened.
A great illustration of this is what happened on the Mount of Transfiguration, which really wasn’t named that … it was a crest of Mount Hermon that the events happened.
It’s recorded in , , and .
Peter also referenced it in 2 Peter 1.
Jesus took a few of His disciples with Him … Peter, James and John.
And as they observed, Jesus was transfigured before them … the Shekinah glory of God, incarnate in Christ, shown through.
And Moses and Elijah appeared and were in conversation with Jesus.
Peter then interrupted and suggested that they should build three tabernacles … one for Moses, one for Elijah, and one for Jesus.
In other words, they were putting the law (represented by Moses), the prophets (represented by Elijah), and the Gospel (represented by Jesus) on the same level.
But the reality was that Jesus was better.
And so the Father spoke out and said, “Listen to My Son.”
And suddenly, the only One who stood before them was Jesus.
This is important, guys.
If you go back in scripture if you dig into the Torah and the Navi’im you will find that they speak of Christ.
That was the point of the law … it was, “Our tutor (schoolmaster, guardian) to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
Do not read below:
Galatians 3:24 NKJV
Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
The law is good in that through the law we become aware of our sin.
But nobody will be declared righteous in God’s sight by works of the law.
Why can’t we be declared righteous by works of the law?
Because:
Romans 3:10 NKJV
As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;
And ...
Romans 3:23 NKJV
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Paul wrote that the law was made weak through the flesh which was incapable of keeping the law perfectly.
But what the law could not do, God did.
He sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.
And as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh.
And so ...
Romans 8:1 NKJV
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
God had introduced a system of sacrifices of animals.
That could offer a temporary covering for man’s sins, but those sacrifices had to be made day after day, week after week … year after year.
Jesus, however, fulfills all the requirements for a sacrifice and because He ever lives to intercede on our behalf, His sacrifice is once for all who will receive Him.
So then … Jesus offers a better revelation … a better position … a better priesthood … a better covenant … a better sacrifice … and a better power.
Jesus is better than the patriarchs and the prophets … He is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets.
He is better.
----

The author spent the better portion of the chapter explaining that Christ is better than angels.

He did this because people came to think of the angels as intermediaries between God and human beings.

people came to think of the angels as intermediaries between God and human beings.
They came to believe that God spoke to them through the angels and the angels carried their prayers into the presence of God.
This is an idea that needed to be defeated because:
NKJV
1 Timothy 2:5 NKJV
For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
And so in chapter 1, he asked a series of rhetorical questions and provided the answers using scripture.
Generally it was along the lines of, “To which angel did God ever say … but to the Son He says ...”
And he finally gets to the point that the angels are ministering spirits and they minister to those who will inherit salvation.
----

In chapter 2, the author continued in his presentation of the “betterness” of Christ, focusing on Christ over angels.

But let’s not overlook that the author made it clear that Christ’s work was not for the angels, but for man.

Hebrews 2:16 NKJV
For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham.
The author was writing primarily to Messianic or Christian Jews who were drifting away from the truth of the Gospel.
As is the case for most of us, the old habits tend to retain a pull.
Can you imagine how hard it was for Jewish believers in that day NOT TO participate in the sacrifices when family and friends did?
AND … how hard it would be to not drift back to the law when under threat of persecution by those who hold to the law?
But as we will see soon enough the author of Hebrews calls out and confronts this behavior as “drifting and backsliding.”
----

Chapter 2 closed out with some really deep theological truth.

That truth is this:
• did not come to save angels (note ).
Jesus did not come to save angels.
He came to save people.
This meant that He had to take on flesh and blood and become a Man.
Only then could He die and through His death defeat Satan.
Satan is the author of sin, and sin brings death.
Satan uses the fear of death as a terrible weapon to gain control over the lives of people.
We who trust in Jesus Christ have once and for all been delivered from Satan’s authority and from the terrible fear of death.
And because Jesus became like us and endured temptation as we do, yet without sin He is able to be a merciful and faithful High Priest.
And because Jesus became like us and endured temptation as we do, yet without sin He is able to be a merciful and faithful High Priest.
----

We move now into the 3rd argument for the superiority of Christ.

So then, that argument is: Christ is better than Moses.

Of course, Moses was the great hero of the Jewish nation.

In today’s chapter, the author is going to take on the Jewish reverence of Moses.
While Moses was not a patriarch, HE WAS revered as great because it was through him that God gave the law to Israel.
If the author was to prove that Christ is better than Moses it would be the equivalent of proving the superiority of the Christian faith over Judaism.
And if salvation is by grace through faith and not by works of the law or by being born an Israelite, then why choose the law over grace?
If salvation is by grace through faith and not by works of the law or by being born an Israelite, then why choose the law over grace?
And in regards to backsliding believers … How could anyone go back to Judaism when what Christ offers is so much greater than what Moses offers?
So that’s where we are this morning.
Let’s pray, and we’ll dig into our Bibles.
v1-2
Prayer: Lord, as we embark to study your Word, we ask that our hearts would be open to receive all that You have to say to us. We desire to be hearers and doers and for You to lead us in Your ways. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.

v1-2

In verse 1, holy is ἅγιος hagios meaning holy as in belonging to God.
Brethren is ἀδελφός adelphos meaning brothers and sisters as in a closely associated group of persons.
Apostle is ἀπόστολος apostolos meaning a special messenger.
And High Priest is ἀρχιερεύς archiereus (AH-hee-ehr-ez) meaning most important priest.

The first 2 describe those who would be reading this letter.

The latter 2 describe our Lord Jesus Christ.

So then, from the first 2 we know that the intended audience of this letter were believers … that is, those who have been saved by the Gospel.
Believers are brothers and sisters in Christ and we are counted as holy unto the Lord.
The second is not something that any unbelieving Jewish man or woman could claim because it insinuates belonging to what we call the church.
The intent of the word is not only clear from how it is used here ...
… It is also used in Acts and the writings of Paul as well as in James in reference to the church.
And this association with the church is made even clearer by the phrase, “Partakers of the heavenly calling.”
And that word “Partakers” is the same word that is translated “partners” in .
There it describes the relationship of 4 men who were in the fishing business together.
Do not read below:
Luke 5:7 NKJV
So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.
You know there are quite a few things that Christians share in.
A few are give here:
We share in our confession of Jesus Christ and
We share in a heavenly calling.
According to we are, “Members of His body.”
Do not read below:
Ephesians 5:30 NKJV
For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.
Verse 4 of Chapter 6 tells us that we are together “partakers of the Holy Spirit.”
Every believer has the Holy Spirit.
teaches us that the Holy Spirit is the seal of salvation for all those who believe:
Ephesians 1:13–14 NKJV
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
And tells us that only believers have the Spirit.
Romans 8:9 NKJV
But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
reminds us that we share in another benefit … that of God’s chastening.
It’s a blessing because His chastening is evidence that we are His and He loves us.
And there are many other things that the Bible says we share in as believers.
But let’s go back to one we noted earlier from the first couple of verses here.
That is: Our mutual “confession” of faith in Jesus Christ.
Because these people were holy brothers and sisters, and partakers of a heavenly calling, they were able to give a “confession” of their faith in Jesus Christ. The word simply means “to say the same thing.” All true Christians “say the same thing” when it comes to their experience of salvation. Twice in this epistle, the writer exhorted the readers to hold fast to this confession (; , nasb). It was this same confession that they were “strangers and pilgrims” on the earth that characterized men and women of faith in the ages past ().
The word is ὁμολογία homologia and simply means “To say the same thing.”
The word simply means “to say the same thing.” All true Christians “say the same thing” when it comes to their experience of salvation. Twice in this epistle, the writer exhorted the readers to hold fast to this confession (; , nasb). It was this same confession that they were “strangers and pilgrims” on the earth that characterized men and women of faith in the ages past ().
When it comes to salvation, Christians are supposed to “say the same thing.”
In chapter 4, Hebrews says, “Let us hold fast our confession.”
Do not read below
Hebrews 4:14 NKJV
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
And chapter 10 says, “Let us hold fast the confession.”
And chapter 10 says, Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering.”
Do not read below:
Hebrews 10:23 NKJV
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
Twice in this epistle, the writer exhorted the readers to hold fast to this confession (; , nasb).
This is the confession of faith in what Christ has done for us … that we hold onto, ... regardless of our circumstances.
Twice in this epistle, the writer exhorted the readers to hold fast to this confession (; , nasb).
It was this same confession that they were “strangers and pilgrims” on the earth that characterized men and women of faith in the ages past ().
It was not Moses who did all of this for the people addressed in this epistle … nor was it the patriarchs, prophets, or angels.
It was Jesus Christ!
Verse 1 is an exhortation … it’s not an exhortation to consider Moses, but to consider Christ.
The writer did not exhort them to consider Moses, … but to consider Christ.
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The word consider in verse 1 is κατανοέω katanoeō and means “to consider carefully, to understand fully.”

It’s a c

To do that we need to carefully consider who Christ is and what Christ has done.

And to that end, the author sets up a comparison between Moses and Christ.

That Christ is superior to Moses probably seems an obvious fact to us, but to
That Christ is superior to Moses in His person is an obvious fact. Moses was a mere man, called to be a prophet and leader, while Jesus Christ is the Son of God sent by the Father into the world. The title apostle means “one sent with a commission.” Moses was called and commissioned by God, but Jesus Christ was sent as God’s “last Word” to sinful man. You may want to read some of the verses in the Gospel of John where Jesus is referred to as “sent from God” (, ; , ; , ; ; ; ; ; ; and note also 13:3).
Moses was merely a man.
He was called to be a prophet and leader.
On the other hand, Jesus Christ is the Son of God sent by the Father into the world.
And while Moses was certainly called and commissioned by God as a special messenger, Jesus Christ was sent as God’s “last Word” to sinful man.

From the time of Adam forward to the close of the prophet Malachi's ministry, was an initial period of God’s revelation.

It was a time in which God pointed man toward the work that His Son would accomplish on our behalf.
God was preparing the way for His final Word.
In giving His holy law through Moses, God exposed man's sin and his need of a Savior.
And when Jesus was here, messianic prophecies of the past would bear witness to His claims.
The types, offices, ceremonies and even the people of the Old Testament, illustrated concepts that bore witness to the future work of Christ.
These things produced a text that made it possible for us to understand the person and work of Christ.
but Jesus Christ was sent as God’s “last Word” to sinful man. You may want to read some of the verses in the Gospel of John where Jesus is referred to as “sent from God” (, ; , ; , ; ; ; ; ; ; and note also 13:3).
The author of Hebrews opened up this letter saying, “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son.”
Do not read below:
Hebrews 1:1–2 NKJV
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;
God's final word came to us through Jesus Christ. So significant was his coming that it divided both the historical calendar and our Bible. Christ Jesus is the anti-type of all old covenant types, the subject of the prophets and the object of Israel's forward-looking faith.
Hebrews 1:
God's final word came to us through Jesus Christ.
So great was the revelation made through the Son, that he is called "the Word."
God's final word came to us through Jesus Christ. So significant was his coming that it divided both the historical calendar and our Bible. Christ Jesus is the anti-type of all old covenant types, the subject of the prophets and the object of Israel's forward-looking faith.

Christ is the fulfillment of all old covenant types.

Christ is the fulfillment of all old covenant types.

He is the subject of the prophets and the object of Israel's forward-looking faith.

So great was the revelation made through the Son, that he is called "the Word."
The law which Israel received through Moses could not save, but it revealed to us how sinful we are.
The solution to our sin is Jesus Christ.
Moses was a prophet who on occasion served as a priest, but he was never a high priest.
That title belonged to his brother Aaron.
In fact, Jesus Christ ultimately has the title “great High Priest” as all high priests who came before Him were imperfect shadows of His perfect High Priesthood.
As the Apostle, Jesus Christ represented God to men.
This is the only place in the New Testament where Jesus is called an Apostle.
It speaks of His role as one sent to proclaim salvation.
As the High Priest, He now represents men to God in heaven.

Moses, of course, fulfilled similar ministries.

He taught Israel God’s truth and he interceded with the LORD on behalf of Israel at various times.
But Moses’ ministry was one of preparation while Christ’s was one of fulfillment.
Moses was primarily the prophet of Law, while Jesus Christ is the bringer of God’s grace.
John 1:17 NKJV
For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
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However, the writer of Hebrews notes that Moses and Jesus Christ were both faithful in the work God gave them to do. Moses was not sinless, as was Jesus Christ, but he was faithful and obeyed God’s will (). This would be an encouragement to those first-century Jewish believers to remain faithful to Christ, even in the midst of the tough trials they were experiencing. Instead of going back to Moses, they should imitate Moses and be faithful in their calling.

In verse 2, the writer notes that Moses and Jesus Christ were both faithful in the work God gave them to do.

Moses was not sinless, as was Jesus Christ, but he was faithful and obeyed God’s will.

When Moses’ sister and brother, Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses, the LORD intervened and said, “He is faithful in all My house.”
He is faithful in all My house.
Do not read below:
Numbers 12:7 NKJV
Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house.
These arguments that the writer is presenting were meant to be an encouragement to those first-century Jewish believers to remain faithful to Christ.
They were enduring trials and being tempted to “drift away” by returning to the law or to try to blend together the two in order to fly under the radar, so to speak.
This would be an encouragement to those first-century Jewish believers to remain faithful to Christ, even in the midst of the tough trials they were experiencing.
Instead of going back to Moses, they should imitate Moses and be faithful in their calling.

v3-6

Do you recognize a word repeated multiple times in these verses?

It’s the word “house” … occuring 6 times here.

It’s the Greek word οἶκος oikos (YOO-kohs) and it means house or home.
The word “house” is used six times in these verses. It refers to the people of God, not to a material building. Moses ministered to Israel, the people of God under the Old Covenant. Today, Christ ministers to His church, the people of God under the New Covenant (“whose house are we,” ). You find an illustration of this dual use of “house” in . David wanted to build a temple for God, a house in which God could dwell. But God told David that He would build David’s house (household, family) and make a covenant with David’s descendants.
The author is developing a theme by playing off of his earlier reference to Moses being faithful in all His house in verse 2.
But first I want us to notice something from verse 2.
Who’s house is it?
Look at the pronoun … it’s HIS House.
The “His” in “His house” in verse 2 and verse 5 refers to Christ … it’s Christ’s house.
Moses was faithful in all God’s house .. the house that Christ built.
But there is even more to it here.
Now, … chapter 1 had told us that it was through Christ that God made the worlds.
But house here is not referring to the earth or the universe.
Verse 6 says, “Whose house we are.
“His house” refers to the people of God, … not to a material building … or to the earth or the universe.
Moses ministered to Israel, the people of God under the Old Covenant.
Today, Christ ministers to His church, the people of God under the New Covenant.
When it says, “Whose house we are” we should keep in mind who this letter was written to … that is believing Jews.
A great illustration of this dual use of “house” is found in .
David wanted to build a temple for God, a house in which God could dwell.
But God told David that He would build David’s house (household, family) AND make a covenant with David’s descendants.
So we have the house of Israel under the old covenant.
And then we have the household of faith under the new covenant.
And, of course, David

Both were in operation at all times.

Israel is God’s special people, but in Israel there were those who had faith and those who did not.

So there was a house within a house, so to speak.
Remember that Salvation has never been through obedience to the law (because the law was made weak through our flesh) but salvation has always been by grace through faith.
Prior to the first incarnation of Christ it was faith in the LORD and after it is faith in the LORD … in both instances dependent on Christ’s sacrifice.
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So then, Moses was faithful in all of the LORD’s house.

This draws out the contrast between Moses and Christ.

Moses was a servant in the house, while Jesus Christ IS a Son OVER the house.
Moses was a member of the household, but Jesus BUILT the house.
By the way, the truth in these verses is a powerful argument for the deity of Jesus Christ.
If God built all things, and Jesus Christ built God’s house, then Jesus Christ must be God.
But, the end of verse 5 and verse 6 demonstrate another part of Christ’s superiority over Moses.
That is that Moses spoke about things to come … “A testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward.”
But Jesus Christ brought the fulfillment of those things as indicated with verse 6.
Later, we’ll see how speaks of Moses serving the pattern and shadow, while Jesus Christ brought the full and final light of the Gospel of the grace of God.
Do not read below:
Hebrews 8:5 NKJV
who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”
Hebrews
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Look at verse 5.

The Greek word translated “servant” is not the usual New Testament word for servant or slave.

In fact, in the New Testament, it is used only of Moses.

It’s the word θεράπων therapōn and speaks of someone who renders service voluntarily out of affection.
Remember that at the beginning of his ministry, Moses was a bit hesitant and resisted God’s call.
Remember that at the beginning of his ministry, Moses was a bit hesitant and resisted God’s call.
“I’m the wrong person for this.”
“I can’t speak well.”
He had plenty of excuses.
But once he surrendered, he obeyed out of a heart of love and devotion.
----

Now, we need to spend a little bit of time on this “if clause” that closes out verse 6, “If we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.”

Do not read below:
Hebrews 3:6 NKJV
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

This should be understood in the light of the total context of the story of Moses … that is Moses leading Israel out of Egypt and to the Promised Land.

The “if” clause () needs to be understood in the light of the total context, which is Moses leading Israel out of Egypt and to the Promised Land.
The writer is not suggesting that we, as Christians, must continuously work to keep ourselves saved.
If that were the case, it would contradict the major theme of this letter which is the completed work of Christ and His heavenly ministry that guarantees our eternal salvation.
This statement should be understood as an affirmation that those who hold fast their confidence and hope are proving that they are truly born again.
A better way to understand this is as an affirmation that those who hold fast their confidence and hope are proving that they are truly born again.
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I know ya’ll probably get tired of me reciting these Greek words to you, but … here it goes again.
In verse 6, the word “confidence” is παρρησία parrēsia and literally means “freedom of speech, openness.”
When you are free to speak, you can speak plainly with openness.
We see this same word later in chapter 4 and verse 16:
Hebrews 4:16 NKJV
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
There it is translated as “boldness.”
But it’s the same word.
It gives the idea of being able to come before the throne to confess without fear of condemnation.
We might confess sin, failings, fears, doubts … whatever it is, if you belong to Christ, you have an audience with Him without worry of condemnation.
A believer can come with boldness (same word as “confidence”) to the throne of grace () with openness and freedom and not be afraid.
reveals how we have this boldness because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 10 NKJV
For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come— In the volume of the book it is written of Me— To do Your will, O God.’ ” Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: “For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.
Do not read below:
Hebrews 10:19 NKJV
Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,
Because He shed His blood for us we may have the gravest sin to confess, yet we need not fear to bring it before Him.
We can have confidence in Jesus Christ who never fails.
----

And look at the last few words of verse 6 … rejoicing and hope (that is firm to the end.)

Because of this confidence in Christ and this confession of Christ, we can rejoice now in our eternal hope.

Yes, there are trials that we all experience in this life … especially as Christians.
And yet because of the goodness of our LORD, we can enjoy our spiritual endurancerather than just endure it.
Jesus Christ rules over His house, and He will care for each member of the family.
He is the faithful High Priest who provides all the grace we need for every demand of life.
In chapter 13, Jesus is referred to as, “That great Shepherd of the Sheep.”
Do not read below:
Hebrews 13:20 NKJV
Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
Hebrews 13:20
And it continues with the idea that the sheep are being made complete in every good work to do His will.
He is working in His sheep to do what is well pleasing in His sight.
As the Great Shepherd of the sheep (), Jesus Christ is using the experiences in His people’s lives to equip them for service that will glorify His name.
This does not mean that God has given you some specific grand duty to fulfill that is your destiny … and if you don’t, then you have failed God.
This is a popular idea going through the church these days.
You have this great destiny that God has created you for and if you are simply going to work, supporting your family, being a good friend … then you are letting God down.
Instead, you need to press in and take hold of that great calling … that amazing thing that you are going to do.
And God’s Word by no means teaches that … instead, people teach that out of their own ideas.
does not speak of some great grand work that you are destined to do.
Ephesians 2:10 NKJV
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Instead, it’s works … plural.
And in , it is “every good work.”
And in , it is plural.
James 2:17 NKJV
Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
The Greek word in all of these instances speaks of deeds done by people.
The Greek word in all of these instances speaks of tasks accomplished by people.
Good Works are not those things that only a select few people ever achieve.
Good works are those things that are pleasing to God.
Good Works according to scripture are things like:
Loving your enemies and lending to others.
Luke 6:35 NKJV
But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
Trusting in the Lord:
Psalm 37:3 NKJV
Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Doing good and sharing:
Hebrews 13:16 NKJV
But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
Hebrews 13:6 NKJV
So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
Being a testimony of the LORD to others.
Taking care of your family.
I could list out things for hours and hours because good works covers everything we do … doing them as unto the Lord.
This means that your good works can include how you operate your motor vehicle, what you do at work, in the classroom, in your neighborhood, at church, etc.
If you're a boss, part of your good works involve the way you manage your employees.
If you're a parent, your good works include making dinner for your children.
You know as a Pastor I can finish up Sunday service and go into my office and feel like I’ve failed God because only a handful of people showed up.
But that’s me not understanding what God thinks of as a good work.
Did I work diligently to prepare the message?
Did I teach God’s Written Word faithfully to those who showed up?
That then is a good work.
There used to be times when I would give the sermon to empty chairs.
That was still a good work.
And it’s not for me to
I’m not trying to point to myself, just give an example and it’s hard for me to give an example from someone else’s life because I’m not them.
So, please forgive me for using myself.
But the point is that we somehow feel like what mankind or what many Christians consider success to look like is what defines a good work.
says that these “good works” are things that God prepared beforehand for us to walk in.
So then, if we are being critical of the good works (they aren’t big enough, great enough or grand enough) then we are being critical of God.
As the Great Shepherd of the sheep, Jesus Christ is using the experiences in His people’s lives to equip them for service that will glorify His name.
Those who teach that every Christian has a great big destiny to fulfill might appear to be concerned about exalting the Lord, but they are very concerned about their own name being in lights.
Billy Graham has not proven

“Whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end” in verse 6 speaks of proven faith.

hose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.
Proven not by grand exploits, but by steadfastness, confidence, and joyful hope.
In other words, those who have trusted Christ prove this confession by their steadfastness, confidence, and joyful hope.
We are not burdened by the past or threatened by the present.
We are simply living to please the LORD as we await the “blessed hope” of His return.
It is a very good work to simply believe God, and it pleases Him greatly.
They are not burdened by the past or threatened by the present, but are “living in the future tense” as they await the “blessed hope” of their Lord’s return. It is this “heavenly calling” that motivates the believers to keep on living for the Saviour even when the going is tough.
Stay simple, my friends.
Let’s pray: Lord, we thank you for this time we have had together worshipping You and studying Your Word. We thank you that You are faithful and Your mercy endures forever. Increase our love for one another and for all, establish us in all things. Keep our minds and our hands from evil and protect us from the deceptions of our enemy the devil. Thank You for being our Great High Priest. Lord, we thank You for that good work that You have begun in us and will bring to completion. Lead us in works that glorify You.
Here we begin a new long section that really runs into chapter 4, but we won’t get there today.
In the first exhortation (), the writer pointed out the danger of drifting from the Word because of neglect. In this exhortation, he explains the danger of doubting and disbelieving the Word because of hardness of heart. It is important that we understand the background of this section, which is the Exodus of Israel from Egypt and their experiences of unbelief in the wilderness.
This long section is the second of the five exhortations in this epistle. In the first exhortation (), the writer pointed out the danger of drifting from the Word because of neglect. In this exhortation, he explains the danger of doubting and disbelieving the Word because of hardness of heart. It is important that we understand the background of this section, which is the Exodus of Israel from Egypt and their experiences of unbelief in the wilderness.
To begin with, we must understand that there are spiritual lessons in the geography of Israel’s experiences. The nation’s bondage in Egypt is an illustration of a sinner’s bondage in this world. Much as Israel was delivered from Egypt by the blood of lambs and the power of God, so a sinner who believes on Christ is delivered from the bondage of sin (). Jesus Christ is “the Lamb of God” whose death and resurrection have made our deliverance from sin a reality.
It was not God’s will that Israel remain either in Egypt or in the wilderness. His desire was that the people enter their glorious inheritance in the land of Canaan. But when Israel got to the border of their inheritance, they delayed because they doubted the promise of God (). “We are not able” wept the ten spies and the people. “We are able with God’s help!” said Moses, Joshua, and Caleb. Because the people went backward in unbelief instead of forward by faith, they missed their inheritance and died in the wilderness. It was the new generation that possessed the land and entered into their rest.
What does Canaan represent to us as Christians today? It represents our spiritual inheritance in Christ (, , ). It is unfortunate that some of our hymns and Gospel songs use Canaan as a picture of heaven, and “crossing the Jordan” as a picture of death. Since Canaan was a place of battles, and even of defeats, it is not a good illustration of heaven! Israel had to cross the river by faith (a picture of the believer as he dies to self and the world, ) and claim the inheritance by faith. They had to “step out by faith” () and claim the land for themselves, just as believers today must do.
Now we can understand what the wilderness wanderings represent: the experiences of believers who will not claim their spiritual inheritance in Christ, who doubt God’s Word and live in restless unbelief. To be sure, God is with them, as He was with Israel; but they do not enjoy the fullness of God’s blessing. They are “out of Egypt” but they are not yet “in Canaan.”
With this background, we can now better understand one of the key words in this section—rest (, ; , , ). The writer mentioned two different “rests” found in Old Testament history: (1) God’s Sabbath rest, when He ceased from His Creation activities (; ); (2) Israel’s rest in Canaan (; ; ). But he saw in these “rests” illustrations of the spiritual experiences of believers today. The Sabbath rest is a picture of our rest in Christ through salvation (; see ). The Canaan rest is a picture of our present rest as we claim our inheritance in Christ (; note the emphasis on the Word of God). The first is the rest of salvation; the second is the rest of submission.
But there is a third rest that enters into the discussion, that future rest that all believers will enjoy with God. “There remaineth, therefore, a rest to the people of God” (). This word for rest is the Greek word sabbatismos—“a keeping of a Sabbath”—and this is the only place in the New Testament where this word is used. When the saints enter heaven, it will be like sharing God’s great Sabbath rest, with all labors and battles ended ().
We may diagram these rests in this way:
Past
Present
Future
God’s Sabbath rest
Salvation rest
Heaven
Israel’s Canaan rest
Submission rest (victory in Christ)
With this background of Israel’s history and the “rests” involved, we may now examine the passage itself. The writer gives a threefold admonition.
v7-19
Take heed to what? To the sad history of the nation of Israel and the important lesson it teaches. The writer quotes from , which records God’s response to Israel’s tragic spiritual condition. God had delivered His people from Egypt and had cared for them, revealing His power in many signs and wonders. Israel saw all of this and benefited from it, but the experience did not bring them closer to God or make them trust Him more. All that God did for them did not benefit them spiritually. In fact, just the opposite took place: they hardened their hearts against God! They put God to the test and He did not fail them; yet they failed Him.
The heart of every problem is a problem in the heart. The people of Israel (except Moses, Joshua, and Caleb) erred in their hearts (), which means that their hearts wandered from God and His Word. They also had evil hearts of unbelief (); they did not believe that God would give them victory in Canaan. They had seen God perform great signs in Egypt. Yet they doubted He was adequate for the challenge of Canaan.
This long section is the second of the five exhortations in this epistle. In the first exhortation (), the writer pointed out the danger of drifting from the Word because of neglect. In this exhortation, he explains the danger of doubting and disbelieving the Word because of hardness of heart. It is important that we understand the background of this section, which is the Exodus of Israel from Egypt and their experiences of unbelief in the wilderness.
When a person has an erring heart and a disbelieving heart, the result will also be a hard heart. This is a heart that is insensitive to the Word and work of God. So hard was the heart of Israel that the people even wanted to return to Egypt! Imagine wanting to exchange their freedom under God for slavery in Egypt! Of course, all this history spoke to the hearts of the readers of this letter because they were in danger of “going back” themselves.
To begin with, we must understand that there are spiritual lessons in the geography of Israel’s experiences. The nation’s bondage in Egypt is an illustration of a sinner’s bondage in this world. Much as Israel was delivered from Egypt by the blood of lambs and the power of God, so a sinner who believes on Christ is delivered from the bondage of sin (). Jesus Christ is “the Lamb of God” whose death and resurrection have made our deliverance from sin a reality.
God’s judgment fell on Israel in the wilderness at Kadesh Barnea. That entire generation was condemned to die, and only the new generation would enter the land. God said, “They shall not enter into My rest” (). But what message does this bring to a believer today? No believer today, Jew or Gentile, could go back into the Mosaic legal system since the temple is gone and there is no priesthood. But every believer is tempted to give up his confession of Christ and go back into the world system’s life of compromise and bondage. This is especially true during times of persecution and suffering. The fires of persecution have always purified the church because suffering separates true believers from the counterfeit. True believers are willing to suffer for Christ and they hold firmly to their convictions and their confession of faith (see , ). We are not saved by holding to our confession. The fact that we hold to our confession is proof that we are God’s true children.
It was not God’s will that Israel remain either in Egypt or in the wilderness. His desire was that the people enter their glorious inheritance in the land of Canaan. But when Israel got to the border of their inheritance, they delayed because they doubted the promise of God (). “We are not able” wept the ten spies and the people. “We are able with God’s help!” said Moses, Joshua, and Caleb. Because the people went backward in unbelief instead of forward by faith, they missed their inheritance and died in the wilderness. It was the new generation that possessed the land and entered into their rest.
It is important that we take heed and recognize the spiritual dangers that exist. But it is also important that we encourage each other to be faithful to the Lord (). We get the impression that some of these believers addressed were careless about their fellowship in the local assembly (see ). Christians belong to each other and need each other. Moses, Caleb, and Joshua did try to encourage Israel when the nation refused to enter Canaan, but the people would not listen.
What does Canaan represent to us as Christians today? It represents our spiritual inheritance in Christ (, , ). It is unfortunate that some of our hymns and Gospel songs use Canaan as a picture of heaven, and “crossing the Jordan” as a picture of death. Since Canaan was a place of battles, and even of defeats, it is not a good illustration of heaven! Israel had to cross the river by faith (a picture of the believer as he dies to self and the world, ) and claim the inheritance by faith. They had to “step out by faith” () and claim the land for themselves, just as believers today must do.
Now we can understand what the wilderness wanderings represent: the experiences of believers who will not claim their spiritual inheritance in Christ, who doubt God’s Word and live in restless unbelief. To be sure, God is with them, as He was with Israel; but they do not enjoy the fullness of God’s blessing. They are “out of Egypt” but they are not yet “in Canaan.”
It is clear from this section that God was grieved with Israel during the entire forty years they wandered in the wilderness. The Jews had not been out of Egypt long when they began to provoke God (). After He supplied bread for them, they complained about a lack of water (). Moses called that place “Massah and Meribah” which means “provocation and trial.” These same words are used in .
With this background, we can now better understand one of the key words in this section—rest (, ; , , ). The writer mentioned two different “rests” found in Old Testament history: (1) God’s Sabbath rest, when He ceased from His Creation activities (; ); (2) Israel’s rest in Canaan (; ; ). But he saw in these “rests” illustrations of the spiritual experiences of believers today. The Sabbath rest is a picture of our rest in Christ through salvation (; see ). The Canaan rest is a picture of our present rest as we claim our inheritance in Christ (; note the emphasis on the Word of God). The first is the rest of salvation; the second is the rest of submission.
The sin of Israel is stated in —“departing from the living God.” The Greek word gives us our English word “apostasy.” This is the only place this word is used in Hebrews. Does “apostasy” mean abandoning one’s faith and therefore being condemned forever? That does not fit into this context. Israel departed from the living God by refusing God’s will for their lives and stubbornly wanting to go their own way back to Egypt. God did not permit them to return to Egypt. Rather, He disciplined them in the wilderness. God did not allow His people to return to bondage.
The emphasis in Hebrews is that true believers have an eternal salvation because they trust a living Saviour who constantly intercedes for them. But the writer is careful to point out that this confidence is no excuse for sin. God disciplines His children. Remember that Canaan is not a picture of heaven, but of the believer’s present spiritual inheritance in Christ. Believers who doubt God’s Word and rebel against Him do not miss heaven, but they do miss out on the blessings of their inheritance today, and they must suffer the chastening of God.
But there is a third rest that enters into the discussion, that future rest that all believers will enjoy with God. “There remaineth, therefore, a rest to the people of God” (). This word for rest is the Greek word sabbatismos—“a keeping of a Sabbath”—and this is the only place in the New Testament where this word is used. When the saints enter heaven, it will be like sharing God’s great Sabbath rest, with all labors and battles ended ().
We may diagram these rests in this way:
Let us fear (vv. 1–8). Believers today may enter and enjoy their spiritual inheritance in Christ. We must be careful lest we fail to believe God’s Word, for it is only as the Word is “mixed with faith” that it can accomplish its purposes. The argument in this section is given in several propositions: (1) God finished His work and rested, so that His rest has been available since Creation. (2) The Jews failed to enter into their rest. (3) Many years later (), God said that a rest was still available. That “today” is still here! This means that Joshua did not lead Israel into the true rest, because a rest still remains. (Note that the name “Jesus” in , kjv, ought to be “Joshua.” “Jesus” is the Greek form of “Joshua.”)
The Canaan rest for Israel is a picture of the spiritual rest we find in Christ when we surrender to Him. When we come to Christ by faith, we find salvation rest (). When we yield and learn of Him and obey Him by faith, we enjoy submission rest (). The first is “peace with God” (); the second is the “peace of God” (). It is by believing that we enter into rest (); it is by obeying God by faith and surrendering to His will that the rest enters into us.
Past
Let us labor (vv. 9–13). “Give diligence” is a good translation of this admonition. Diligence is the opposite of “drifting” (). How do we give diligence? By paying close attention to the Word of God. Israel did not believe God’s Word, so the rebels fell in the wilderness. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” ().
In comparing the Word of God to a sword, the writer is not suggesting that God uses His Word to slaughter the saints! It is true that the Word cuts the heart of sinners with conviction (; ), and that the Word defeats Satan (). The Greek word translated “sword” means “a short sword or dagger.” The emphasis is on the power of the Word to penetrate and expose the inner heart of man. The Word is a “discerner” or “critic.” The Israelites criticized God’s Word instead of allowing the Word to judge them. Consequently, they lost their inheritance.
Present
Of course, God sees our hearts (); but we do not always know what is there (). God uses the Word to enable us to see the sin and unbelief in our own hearts. The Word exposes our hearts; and then, if we trust God, the Word enables our hearts to obey God and claim His promises. This is why each believer should be diligent to apply himself to hear and heed God’s Word. In the Word we see God, and we also see how God sees us. We see ourselves as we really are. This experience enables us to be honest with God, to trust His will, and to obey Him.
All of this is possible because of the finished work of Jesus Christ. (The two “He’s” in refer to Jesus Christ.) God rested when He finished the work of Creation. God’s Son rested when He completed the work of the new creation. We may enter into His rest by trusting His Word and obeying His will. We can do this as we listen to His Word, understand it, trust it, and obey it. Only in this way can we claim our inheritance in Christ.
Future
Before Joshua conquered Jericho, he went out to survey the situation; and he met the Lord Jesus Christ (). Joshua discovered that he was second in command! The Lord had a sword in His hand, and Joshua fell at His feet in complete submission. It was this action in private that gave Joshua his public victory.
We too claim our spiritual inheritance by surrendering to Him and trusting His Word. We must beware of an evil heart of unbelief.
God’s Sabbath rest
Salvation rest
Heaven
Israel’s Canaan rest
Submission rest (victory in Christ)
With this background of Israel’s history and the “rests” involved, we may now examine the passage itself. The writer gives a threefold admonition.
Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, pp. 287–288). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
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