CHRIST AND MOSES

Hebrews 3:1-6

The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your country-men, you shall listen to him. (Deuteronomy 18:15).

Of all of the characters of the Old Testament, there was none who was reverenced and held in such high esteem by the Jews as Moses.

He was the man who spoke to God face to face. He was the man who was entrusted with Godís holy law. He was the man who was chosen by God to lead the Israelites out of their slavery in Egypt. He was Simon Bolivar and George Washington and Abraham Lincoln all rolled up into one.

Throughout his life, the hand of the Lord was upon him. God protected him as a young child, when the Pharaoh of Egypt; had condemned all male Hebrew children to death. Through a fantastic process of circumstances, the young Moses came to be adopted by the daughter of Pharaoh so that he was raised and educated in the palaces of Egypt. As a man, he attempted to begin the deliverance of his people by murdering an Egyptian taskmaster. As a result, he was forced to flee to the wilderness. But even here he was not forgotten and God appeared to him and commissioned him.

Moses stood before Pharaoh, the most powerful king in all the world in that day. Through the hands of Moses great and awesome plagues were brought against the land of Egypt, devastating the land until the Pharaoh was forced to release the Hebrews.

Moses led the people through the Red Sea and by his hand, the armies of Egypt were destroyed when they attempted to follow.

He went up to meet God on Mount Sinai and was given the Law of God. Forever after, it was known as the Law of Moses. Later, when the people had broken the Law, he served as the advocate for the people, pleading for their forgiveness. When he came down from Mount Sinai, his face shown with the reflected glory of God.

Even in death, the hand of God was on Moses, digging his grave and burying him on Mount Nebo. He was the prophet and priest and king. And yet, as great as Moses was, the writer to the Hebrews points out that there is One who is better. That One is Jesus.

 

CONSIDER JESUS

Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession. (Hebrews 3:1).

Notice how this chapter begins. It begins with the word "therefore." Whenever you see the word "therefore" it is there for a reason. The reason takes us back to the previous chapter. What did we see in the previous chapter? We saw that...

This is addressed to Hebrew Christians. That is why we call this epistle by the name of Hebrews. They have heard the message that Jesus died for their sins and rose again from the dead. They have accepted that message. They became Christians. They became "partakers of a heavenly calling."

But now there is a problem. Some of them have begun to turn away from Christ. They have begun to turn back to the Mosaic Law. They are turning from Christ back to Moses. And, because of this, they are called upon to "consider Jesus."

Consider Jesus (3:1).

What does it mean to "consider Jesus"?

You might be saying, "How does this apply to me? After all, Iím not being tempted to return to Judaism."

However, you might be going after something else. You might be following after your own good works. You might be focusing on some religious experience. You might have your eyes on some spiritual leader. Or you might be looking at your past life before you came to Christ and thinking of those times as "the good old days.

If this is the case, then you need to consider Jesus. When problems come, consider Jesus. When temptations arise, consider Jesus. When you get ready to throw in the towel, consider Jesus.

Why is it so important to consider Jesus? Because if you are a Christian, then He is your goal in life. You are running in a spiritual race. There is a goal. You are going somewhere. Your life is not the product of blind chance. It has a purpose. It has a goal. The goal is Jesus. One of these days, you are going to become just like Him. In the meantime, you are moving in that direction.

 

REASONS TO CONSIDER JESUS

  1. They ought to consider Jesus because of who THEY are: Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling... (3:1).
  2. a. They are brothers.

    This epistle is written to Hebrews. That is why we call it the epistle to the Hebrews. They are Jewish. They are all descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

    b. They are holy brethren.

    They have been set apart as a special family. That is what the word "holy" means. It literally describes something that has been "set apart."

    The Jews did not set themselves apart. They are not special because they decided to be special. Theirs is not a self-imposed holiness. They are holy because God has made them holy. He called them to be His special set apart people.

    c. They are partakers of a heavenly calling.

    This epistle is written to those who are heaven bound. They are not heaven bound because they are good or deserving. They are heaven bound because of the grace of God. That is the only way that anyone anywhere can hope to reach heaven.

    This is written to people who have already come to know Jesus. They are a part of the earliest church. They are "holy brethren" and "partakers of a heavenly calling," not because of their goodness or even because of their Jewishness, but because of Jesus. They have come to faith in Him.

    This means that this passage can be applied to US who are not Jewish. We are also brothers, not in the physical sense, but spiritually. We have also been called to a holy brotherhood. And we have also been made partakers of a heavenly calling. And because of all this, we also ought to consider Jesus.

  3. They ought to consider Jesus because of who HE is: ...consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession (3:1).

We have already been introduced to Jesus in this epistle. He has been described as the Son of God (Hebrews 1:2, 5) who sits at the right hand of God. Now we see two other aspects concerning the identity of Jesus.

a. He is the Apostle

When we think of the word "apostle," we normally think of the Twelve who followed Jesus ó Peter, James, John and the others. But the word "apostle" has a wider meaning than merely the twelve disciples.

Our word "apostle" is a transliteration of the Greek word , a compound word made up of ("from") and ("to send"). This word was used as early as the Peloponnesian Wars to describe the admiral of the Athenian fleet who was "sent out" with authority to command the navy in battle.

The twelve apostles were given their own apostleship in a similar vein. They were commissioned by Christ and sent forth with authority to be His representatives to the world.

In what sense are we to understand Jesus as the Apostle of our faith? He was sent forth from heaven itself as Godís official representative to mankind. He has been given all authority from heaven to establish His kingdom upon earth.

That is what Jesus said about Himself. "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth" (Matthew 28:18). It is on the basis of His authority given from heaven that He has delegated authority to the twelve apostles and sent them forth to make disciples of the nations.

Jesus was sent from heaven with authority. His authority was given by the Father. When He spoke, He did so with the authority of God.

For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me commandment, what to say, and what to speak. (John 12:49).

Jesus did not speak on His own behalf. He spoke the message of God. He spoke the words of God. He is the Apostle of God. But I want to stress that Jesus is not merely an apostle. He is THE Apostle. All of the other apostles were appointed by Him. Their authority comes through Him.

Within the county in which I live, there is a sheriff. He is an elected official. Now, the Broward County Sheriffís office has quite a number of Deputy Sheriffs. But there is only one who is The Sheriff. All of the others are merely deputies. They have no authority of their own. They have been delegated their authority from the Sheriff. This is what Jesus did. He delegated his authority to certain men. They became apostles because He delegated His authority to them.

b. He is the High Priest of our Confession.

We have already been introduced to the concept of Jesus as our high priest in Hebrews 2:17 where we saw Him described as becoming "a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God."

Whereas there were many sorts of apostles in the ancient world, there was only one high priest. The high priest in Biblical times was the loftiest office of the entire priesthood. The high priest was the president of the Sanhedrin, the supreme court of Israel. He had the solemn privilege and duty of entering once a year into the innermost part of the Temple to offer the blood of atonement for the sins of the entire nation.

The high priest was the only man in all of Israel who was permitted to enter the Holy of Holies.

The Holy of Holies was the innermost sanctum of the Temple. It was separated from the rest of the Temple by a great double veil. Within this room had once stood the Ark of the Covenant on which sat the Mercy Seat - the throne of God.

This room was considered to be the throne- room of God on earth. It was the most holy place on all the earth. No other man was ever permitted to enter here. Even the high priest was permitted to enter only once a year.

Each year, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest would pass through the veil and enter into the Holy of Holies. He would approach the presence of God on behalf of the people. He would carry in his hands the blood of a freshly sacrificed animal. He would sprinkle the blood on the Mercy Seat to atone for the sins of the nation. We have a High Priest today. He is Jesus. He has entered into heaven. He has approached the throne of God. He provided Himself as the sacrifice and then He approached God on our behalf.

Remember that this passage is written to Jewish people and it is written at a time when there was still a Temple in Jerusalem and still a high priest serving in that Temple. And yet, the Christian (whether Jewish or Gentile) has a special high priest who transcends any simple earthly high priest. Our high priest has not entered into an earthly temple. He has entered into heaven itself to become the High Priest of our Confession.

 

THE WORKS OF JESUS & THE WORKS OF MOSES

He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house. 3 For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house.

For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. (Hebrews 3:2-4).

This section will be a study in contrasts and comparisons. It will involve a series of comparisons and contrasts between Moses and Jesus.

That doesnít mean all too much to those of us who are not Jewish. But it meant a great deal to the Hebrew readers of this epistle and it means a lot to Jewish readers of today. Moses is the hero of the Jewish faith. It was he who stood head to head with the pharaoh of Egypt. It was he whom God used to free the Israelites from their slavery. It was he who led them into the wilderness and brought to them the law of God. It was he who taught them that they were to be a holy nation and a special people. It was he who gave them a promise of a land and a nation.

Moses

Jesus

Moses was faithful (3:2).

Jesus was faithful (3:2).

Moses was given honor (3:3) - He is the representative of the House of God.

Jesus was given more honor (3:3) - He is the builder of the House of God.

Moses was faithful in the House of God as a servant (3:5).

Jesus was faithful in the House of God as a Son over the House (3:5).

  1. Moses and Jesus: Two who were Faithful: He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses was also faithful in all His house (Hebrews 3:2).
  2. One of the most important qualities in an apostle is the he be found faithful - that he discharge the duties for which he was appointed. Jesus is not merely the Apostle of our faith. He is the FAITHFUL Apostle. He had a trust committed to Him and He fulfilled that trust.

    The point of this comparison is not to make Moses look bad or to lower his perception in the eyes of the Jews. The writer begins this section by affirming the faithfulness of Moses. Even though there were times when Moses sinned, he was generally faithful as a servant to the Lord.

    Jesus was also faithful to the Lord. He is the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises given by Moses himself that there would come One who would be a prophet like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:18).

  3. Jesus the Builder: For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. 4 For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. (Hebrews 3:3-4).

Here we come to the first point of contrast between Jesus and Moses. It is in the area of the creature versus the Creator. We have already said that Moses was faithful as a servant in the House of God. But the faithfulness of Jesus transcends that of a mere servant. Jesus not only served the house - He BUILT the house.

When we read of the "builder of a house" we naturally think of an architect and a contractor and construction workers. While the text is able to carry that meaning, the phrase "builder of the house" can also refer to the founder of a dynasty or the establishment of a household. In this way, we could say that the founder of a royal family has more honor in that family than a faithful servant to that family. This in not a detraction against the faithful servant. It is rather a placing of honor where it is rightfully due.

Thus we have two images portrayed in this figure of speech:

a. The builder of a house.

b. The head of a family.

Which is in view? They are BOTH correct. And it is possible that this is a play on words in which we are to understand both ideas.

Jesus is the head and founder of our spiritual family. When you come to faith in Him, you find that He has become your older brother. He is the heir to the kingdom and you have become a co-heir with him.

Jesus is also the maker of heaven and earth. We read in John 1:3 that "all things were made by Him and without Him there was not anything made that was made."

Now we see why Jesus is better than Moses. Moses lived in his house. But Jesus built His house. Moses was merely a servant in the house of Israel. But Jesus was the Son in His house.

Moses

Jesus

He was faithful to his obligations

He was faithful to His obligations

He was born into the house of Israel

He created the house - in fact, He created all things

He ruled over the house of Israel

He rules over the church

He was a servant in the house

He is a Son

Let me illustrate this relationship. Let us consider two people. The first is Mister homeowner. He has purchased his own home free and clear. The second is Mister Rental. He pays rend in order to live in a house that belongs to a landlord.

The simple truth of the matter is that Mister Homeowner has more authority over the house in which he lives than Mister Rental has over the house in which he lives. Why is this the case? Because one owns the property and the other does not.

The same is true in our comparison of Jesus and Moses. Moses only had the authority of a servant in the House of Israel. But Christ is the Lord over His House. He is Lord because He made His House and every other House.

By way of further explanation, the author adds this general statement about the building of things.

For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. (Hebrews 3:3-4).

Do you see the point? We have just seen that it is Jesus who is the builder of the house of God. And now we are told that the builder of all things is God.

Jesus built Godís house

+

All things were built by God

Therefore...

Jesus is God

 

WHOSE HOUSE ARE YOU?

Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; 6 but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end. (Hebrews 3:5).

 

Up to this point, everything we have read in the book of Hebrews has been didactic. That is, it has been teaching us ABOUT Jesus and how he is better than the angels and how He is worthy of more honor than Moses. But now we move to the realm of the practical in the last part of this verse. Notice the continuing analogy of the house.

Jesus is the heir to the household. It is a household to which we belong...IF. It is at this point that we are introduced to a conditional clause. We can be said to be holy brethren and partakers of a heavenly calling and members of the household of God IF certain conditions are true.

Whenever you see a conditional clause in the New Testament, it is one of four possible types:

Clause

Explanation

Example

1st Class Condition

"If" and it is assumed to be true

"If you are the Son of God" (and you are) - Matthew 4:3.

2nd Class Condition

"If" and it is assumed to be false

"If you will fall down and worship me" (but you wonít) - Matthew 4:9.

3rd Class Condition

"If" and it might or might not be true

"If you confess your sins" (perhaps you will and perhaps you wonít) - 1 John 1:9.

4th Class Condition

"If" and I wish it were true but it isnít

"If you are reviled for the name of Christ" (I wish you were, but you are being reviled for other reasons) - 1 Peter 4:14).

The conditional clause found here in Hebrews 3:6 is a third class condition. The question has not yet been settled in the minds of the readers whether they will indeed continue to hold fast their confidence in Christ. That is why this epistle is being written - to warn them of the potential consequences of not enduring in their faith.

What are the conditions which determine whether or not we are members of the household of God? There is only one mentioned. It is the condition of ENDURANCE.

We are called to "hold fast," literally to "get down" our confidence and the boast of our hope. These are not two separate things which we are to "get down." They are the same thing.

Our confidence

=

The boast of our hope

Both of these must be held firm until the end. It is not to those who begin the race that the victory goes, but to those who finish the race. The story of the Hebrews is of a people who had began well but who were now being tempted to stop. And so a warning is given. The warning is that the victory only goes to those who endure to the end.

Are you a member of Godís household? We would normally answer that question by saying that you are if you have come to trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. But the writer of Hebrews does not put it that way. He would answer the question by saying that you are if you continue to trust in Christ.

Here is the principle. The faith that God gives is a continuing faith. When God saves a man, He saves Him both permanently and continually. And Godís people are known because they continue to believe.

How can you tell if a person is really a child of God? Because he believes in Christ and because he goes on believing. He endures in his faith. That doesnít mean that he never stumbles. But he always gets back up. He always comes back. And he continues to hold firm to his confidence in Christ.